Waatea News Update

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Last song for Sonny Day

Musicians from around the country will be heading to Taitokerau over the weekend to farewell entertainer Sonny Day.

The Maori showband veteran died yesterday.

Born Hone Wikaira, Day launched his career in the late 1950s, playing with his band the Sundowners at Auckland venues like Trades Hall and the Jive Centre.

His career took him to Australia and the Pacific Islands, and he had a revival in the 1980s with the blues-based Sonny Day and the Allstars.

Max Purdy, the pianist in the Sundowners, says New Zealand has lost one of its best singers.

“He had a very rich, rich golden voice, one of the most beautiful voices I’ve every heard, and later on he went the blues way, but this was prior to that period. When he went the blues way his voice developed very husky, but he was one of the best at what he did,” Mr Purdy says.

The tangi is at Motukaraka Marae in Rawene.


Hone Harawira is defending his side trip to Alice Springs as a legitimate use of Parliamentary resources.

The Tai Tokerau MP left a select committee trip to Melbourne three days early, and flew to Alice Springs to talk with Aboriginal leaders about the
Australian Federal government's crackdown on child abuse in outback communities.

He says rather than meeting with Australian officials, he wanted to talk to people on the other side of the rabbit proof fence.

“We came over here as part of a justice and electoral law select committee trip to look at issues around electoral matters like why the hell Aboriginals would want to bother when both Labour and National over here want to be stealing their land. We’re over here to talk about legal services, which aboriginal people have very little access to. We’re over here talking about victims rights, and nobody knows more about victims rights than Aboriginal people brother,” Mr Harawira says.

The Clerk's Office has been asked by the Speaker to investigate whether any action should be taken against Mr Harawira for his unauthorised walkabout.


New health targets should help improve Maori health.
Associate health minister Mita Ririnui says the ten targets aim at areas like immunisation rates, reducing waiting times for cancer treatment and getting more people checked for diabetes.

He says the goals are achievable - the Wairarapa District Health Board managed to immunise 94 percent of Maori children in its region, far more than the national average and even higher than its coverage of Pakeha children.

“They won't be impossible. They won’t even be difficult. But for that to happen to a very high response level, they need to be targeted specifically, they need to be resourced specifically, and then they need to be reported against specifically in terms of the increased health situation of particular communities,” Mr Ririnui says.

The targets are aimed at the health of all New Zealanders, but there are key areas where Maori feature highly in negative statistics.


A Waikato hapu is considering going back to the Waitangi Tribunal if it can't get a fair hearing from the body considering a new power line to Auckland.

Spokesperson Willie Te Aho says the Transpower's new pylons will start at Lake Karapiro, which is the awa of Ngati Koroki Kahukura.

The hapu had sought a tribunal hearing on the plan, but were told to go through the Resource Management Act process first.

Mr Te Aho says now the Government is setting up an independent board of inquiry on the plan, bypassing the RMA, a lot will depend on who sits on the board.

“Our view is that there must be someone who fully appreciates tikanga Maori and issues relating specifically to Maori. It may be in a commercial sense but there still needs to be someone who understands those issues on the board,” he says.

Mr Te Aho says opposition to the pylon planning has created rare unity between Maori, farmers and other affected communities.


Opponents of a Rotorua land settlement are heartened by the Government's failure to introduce legislation implementing the deal.

The Waitangi Tribunal has recommended the settlement with Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa be delayed because of its effect on the greater Te Arawa confederation and neighbouring iwi.

Representatives of most Te Arawa hapu met yesterday to discuss ways to resolve rifts in the iwi, and to develop an alternative settlement which includes the whole tribe.

Maanu Paul, who was at the hui, says the government is missing important deadlines because it can't win cross party support for the bill.

“They didn't get it into the House last night so obviously the Government hasn’t got the numbers and for our group of people, they’re totally overjoyed and see it as a great victory for democracy,” Mr Paul says.

A spokesperson for the Treaty Negotiations minister, Mark Burton, says the MMP process means the government needs to consult with other parties, and that can take time.


It's a big weekend for Maori as they mark two important milestones.

At Te Kaha, groups from around the motu have gathered to welcome home Willie Apiata, the first New Zealand soldier since World War Two to win a Victoria Cross for bravery.

Corporal Apiata grew up in the eastern Bay of Plenty, but there's a big contingent from Ngapuhi, where his family came from.

On the other side of the island near Taumarunui, more than 5000 supporters from around the world are expected at Manu Ariki Marae to celebrate the 90th birthday of prophet Alex Phillips.

While his Kotahitanga Building Society isn't as well known as other movements like Ratana and Ringatu, anthropologist Bernie Kernot says Mr Phillips is part of the Maori prophetic tradition.

“Prophets very characteristically arise in troubled times, and these people tend to have kind of visions which change the way people see themselves and see their world and so they kind of build new worlds,” Mr Kernot says.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Ngati Porou ups port presence

Ngati Porou Seafoods has boosted its presence on the Gisborne waterfront.

It's taken over the Moana Pacific retail and wholesale business in the port, which is owned by pan-Maori seafood company Aotearoa Fisheries.

Robin Hapi, the executive chair of Aotearoa, says Ngati Porou paid a commercial price for the business, which has a turnover of almost a million dollars a year.

Ngati Porou has leased its quota long term to Aotearoa, which in exchange will guarantee supply to fish and shellfish to the Gisborne business.

Mr Hapi says Aotearoa could consider similar creative deals with other iwi.

“We're keen to engage with iwi in the business and activity of fishing and we’re also very keen to be able to promote them in their own localities where there can be commercial benefit to both of us,” Mr Hapi says.

Eleven iwi now lease their quota to Aotearoa Fisheries, giving it an extra 16,000 tonnes of annual catch entitlement to be fished and marketed by Sealord and other subsidiaries.


Green MP Sue Kedgley is confident of Maori Party support for amending foreign ownership laws.

Prompted by a Dubai company's bid to buy a majority stake in Auckland International Airport, Ms Kedgley wants to add a clause to the Overseas Investment Act which would allow the minister to veto the sale of strategic assets.

The Bill will go into the ballot, after National blocked her attempt to introduce the amendment by a motion of the House.

Ms Kedgley is confident she can win support from other parties.

“I'm sure the Maori Party will support it. The Labour Party is indicating that they will support it, at least to first reading, and I think New Zealand First would have to support it because they say it’s what they say they believe in. I will now put it into the ballot next week. If it was selected, I think it would have some support,” Ms Kedgley says.


An exhibition offering a bicultural lens on the nation's art history opens at the Wellington City Gallery tonight.

Te Huringa ... Turning Points: Pakeha Colonisation and Maori Empowerment has been touring the country.

Art historian Jo Diamond provides a Maori perspective, while co-curator Peter Shaw gives a Pakeha view.

Ms Diamond says with work ranging from colonial painters like Charles Goldie to Ralph Hotere, Colin McCahon, Robin Kahukiwa and Shane Cotton, the show captures more than a century of change.

“And of course those earlier works say very much different things from the later works that Maori have produced, and some of those of course through our eyes today aren’t that good or aren’t that helpful. And of course some are racist,” Ms Diamond says.


Maori Party co leader Tariana Turia says the government should bring back an initiative from the 1980s to address child abuse.

Maatua Whangai grew out of Maori community initiatives to address the number of Maori children in social welfare homes, and developed into a system of identifying extended whanau networks to take care of tamariki and rangatahi.

It was scrapped by the incoming National government in 1991.

Mrs Turia says it was one of the most successful programme any government has been involved in.

“It was something that I felt when I was associate minister that they should be considering again because of the success and because of the significant issues. And we’ve had five or six years go past and absolutely no notice taken of that,” she says.

Tariana Turia says sometimes the search for new ideas can overshadow old ideas that work.


National is looking for more Maori candidates to put on its party list.

The party has only the MPs of Maori descent in its caucus - Georgine te Heuheu, former New Zealand First cabinet minister Tau Henare, and newcomer Paula Bennett.

Former Wellington Central candidate Hekia Parata, who withdrew from active membership after Don Brash's Orewa speech, is being tipped as a candidate.

Leader John Key says he has other prospects, and the issue is a priority.

“It's just frankly unacceptable to have a very small number of Maori caucus members when they represent such a large percentage of the population and a big part of the future of New Zealand, so we’re working hard on that front and I’ve got to say we’ve had some approaches from some people who are not only of Maori ethnicity but they are wonderfully talented individuals,” Mr Key says.


But Labour's senior Maori MP says John Key has got a lot more to learn before he makes a play for the Maori vote.

Parekura Horomia says recent statements from National's leader shows how little he knows.

He made a statement the other day he was the first politician to go into Tuhoe since Apirana Ngata, senior politician. Well, heaps of us have been in there over a period of time,” Mr Horomia says.


Robyn Kahukiwa is set to make a splash at next month's New Zealand fashion week.

Four paintings by the Raumati based artist will be used as part of the set for the event.

Ms Kahukiwa says one of the works, from her series Native New Zealand, will become something special for a select group of designers and fashion critics.

“That's also been made as a print which will be presented to the VIPs as a koha in their goodie bags, and that is about wahine Maori, rakau, our trees, and manu, our birds,” she says.

Robyn Kahukiwa will also display some paintings from her new series, Superheroes for my Mokopuna, which will be exhibited in Auckland later this year.

Harawira goes walkabout

Hone Harawira has gone walkabout.

The Maori Party MP has abandoned fellow members of Parliament's justice and electoral select committee in Melbourne and headed for the Northern Territory.

The committee was today supposed to be visiting a Neighbourhood Justice Centre and meeting Victoria's Victims of Crimes Assistance Tribunal.

Instead Mr Harawira is in Alice Springs, meeting with native title holders and visiting Hermannsburg - the first community to receive health checks as part of the Australian Federal government's crack-down on child abuse.

He has already slammed the Australian Government as racist for its military-backed intervention in the remote aboriginal communities.

Select committee trips are considered Parliamentary business, so the Tai Tokerau MP is expected to have some explaining to do to speaker Margaret Wilson when he gets back.

A spokesperson for Ms Wilson says the matter has been referred to the clerk's office.


Gisborne District Councilor Atareta Poananga is crying foul over a working group to oversee construction of the town's new wastewater system.

The committee includes three councilors and representatives of tangata whenua.

Ms Poananga, who is one of only two Maori on the council, was nominated for a seat.

But she says councilors bloc voted to keep her off.

She says puts the whole working group exercise in jeopardy.

“Even though we have 50 percent of Maori in this district, that point of view is not allowed to be accepted, and our issues are constantly denied by these sorts of racist processes,” Ms Poananga says.

She's considering seeking a judicial review of the council's process.


Aotearoa Fisheries has sold its Gisborne wholesale and retail operations to Ngati Porou Seafoods.

In exchange, the pan-Maori fishing company will lease Ngati Porou's annual catch entitlement for three years.

Robin Hapi, Aotearoa Fisheries' executive chairperson, says AFL has guaranteed to supply the iwi business with its seafood requirements.

He says 13 iwi now have commercial agreements with Aotearoa Fisheries, giving it access to 16,000 tonnes of annual catch entitlement.


Ngati Raukawa eight-year-old Matiu Samuel is dancing on top of the world.

The Lower Hutt boy beat 50 dancers from the United States and Australia to win his age group at the World Dance Challenge in Las Vegas, showing his moves in jazz, tap and ballet.

His mother, Maureen Samuel, says the success hasn't gone to Matiu's head.

“To him he just loves to dance. He loves the moment on stage. He loves the feeling of getting an audience with him. But fortunately at his age at the moment it’s not something he’s got big headed about. He just loves that atmosphere,” Mrs Samuel says.

Matiu's sisters Aroha and Marie also competed, and the trio brought home 19 trophies.


The Council of Trade Unions believes Maori unemployment is still too high.

Maori vice president Sharon Clair says while the quarterly Household Labour Force Participation survey shows the highest number of people in work since the survey began, 7 percent of Maori are still jobless.

She says for this number to drop, significant barriers to employment need to be removed

“We have a high youth population and removing any barriers to education has to happen for them so they can participate in employment, removing barriers to skills and training, building our capability of workplace leadership, of whanau leadership, our capability in these areas,” Ms Clair says.


The Salvation Army's national Maori ministry has Maori leadership again.

Joe Patea from Te Ati-Haunui-a-paparangi and his wife Nan from Ngati Porou are the army's new full-time cultural advisors.

The positions have been vacant for several years.

Spokesperson Ross Gower says the army needs help on its bicultural policies.

“We really just want to honour the treaty and be bicultural in all that we do. We have a policy of biculturalism and we’re really just wanting to increase our sensitivity to Maori and Maori issues,” Major Gower says.

One of the couple's first official duties will be to represent The Salvation Army at the coronation of the Maori King next week.


A book celebrating the 125th anniversary book of Te Puke has unearthed previously hidden details of Maori occupation of the region.

Nga Tangata Me Nga Waahi, by Christine Clement and Lynne Roberston, goes from the pre-European settlement of the central Bay of Plenty to the contemporary townscape.

Ms Clement, a genealogist, used historical records such as the 1908 Maori electoral roll to give names to the shadows of the past.

“It's the first electoral roll that’s survived for the Maori electorates, so I’ve extracted all the Te Arawa people living in the Te Puke area so that’s the very first time any of that will have been seen,” she says.

She's also been able to include the names of the first pupils at the Te Matai and Pukehina Native Schools, which opened early last century.


Maori may be under-estimating the impact of local government on their lives.

That's the view of Local Government New Zealand, as it tries to encourage Maori to put their names up for October's council elections.

Spokesperson Mike Reid says only about 6 percent of councilors are tangata whenua.

He says decisions councils make are often more important to people's lives than what happens at central government level.

"The condition of the roads, can you get back and forth to work easily, you’re not spending a lot of time in traffic jams. Is your community safe? It’s not just a matter of police, but has your community been designed in a way that it’s a safe and welcoming place to be. All of these are decisions that are actually made by your local elected representative,” Mr Reid says.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Te Ohu a model for settlements

Outgoing trustee Shane Jones says Te Ohu Kaimoana has shown treaty settlements can be a success.

The Labour backbencher handed in his resignation as a trustee at yesterday's board meeting, ending 14 years as a member of the body administering the Maori fisheries settlement.

Te Ohu Kaimoana is ahead of target in allocating fisheries assets, with three quarters of iwi now mandated.

Mr Jones says after years of wrangling about allocation, iwi were quick to get behind the process once they could see positive momentum.

“It's when negativity sets in and there doesn’t appear to be any progress and people start to look to the past and perhaps imagine problems that aren’t there so I think Te Ohu Kaimoana has done really well over the last couple of years to get all that putea out and it shows where you are proactive and have a good set of safeguards, you can make a huge success of these treaty settlements.

Te Kawai Taumata, the iwi electoral college, will meet today to kick off the process of finding replacements for Shane Jones and fellow commissioner Rob McLeod, who resigned to head up accounting firm Ernst and Young.


A Pukekohe grandmother who led an anti-P march on Parliament says she's all hui-ed out.

Marie Cotter says methamphetamine abuse continues to cause havoc in Maori communities.

But she says there's too much talk and too little action.

“They just have continually hui hui hui hui. There is no conclusion. Nobody is getting out in the community and saying right, we’ve got a solution. You’ve got babies here that are getting beaten up. Look at the backgrounds of those people who are beating them up. I guarantee that each and every one of those families are involved in alcohol or drugs,” Mrs Cotter says.

She says social agencies don't have the presence in the community to make a difference.


It will be early to bed tonight for a group of kaumatua from Ngapuhi.

They're leaving in the early hours tomorrow for Te Kaha to take part in this weekend's celebrations acknowledging New Zealand's latest Victoria Cross winner.

Ngapuhi Runanga spokesperson Lani Souter says while Corporal Willie Apiata was raised in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, his bones are from Ngapuhi.

The bus is sponsored by the Russell RSA so Northland elders can attend can, and the ope is led by 28 Maori Battalion veteran Tamati Paraone.

“He doesn't venture out very much at all from his house so it’s a significant journey for him to leave his house at 1am in the morning and travel all the way down from the north here to Te Kaha to take part in those celebrations. It shows the significance to those members of the 28 Battalion, how much of an honour this VC is,” Ms Souter says.


A Pukekohe grandmother says the problems methamphetamine is causing in Maori communities can't be solved with a nine to five attitude.

Marie Cotter set off on her anti-P crusade after a fellow kuia asked her for information about the drug which was affecting her mokopuna.

She says because of her leadership of a hikoi on Parliament demanding more resources to tackle the problem, she's called at all hours of the day and night by desperate parents.

“12 o'clock and 1 o’clock in the morning you’re going out. I tell you there’s a lot of families out there that are devastated by this drug. It’s a killer drug. This drug is worse than any prognosis of cancer. I’ve seen what it’s doing to the families. It is absolutely heartbreaking,” Mrs Cotter says.

She wants to see less hui and more action on the problem.


Maori involvement in local government seems to have flatlined.

Mike Reid from Local Government New Zealand says the number of councilors who were Maori has been between five and six percent for the past three elections.

He says the chance of an increase in this year's election depends on how many Maori put themselves up, and how much name recognition they have.

“Maori are far more successful at getting elected to small and provincial councils. You go to say a council like Porirua which has got quite strong Maori representation, but getting into the big metros seems to be much more difficult, and I suspect that is also a financial thing. It’s more expensive to campaign. You have to be pretty well known to get into those big city councils,” Mr Reid says.

Nominations close on August 24


A woman who provided an invaluable record of Maori life over the past half century has been acknowledged as a living icon by the Arts Foundation.

Ans Westra migrated from the Netherlands in 1957, and soon became known in Maori communities with her camera.

Her 1964 book for School Publications, Washday at the Pa, caused a controversy because of its frank depiction of Maori living conditions.

Garry Nicholas from Toi Maori says Ms Westra's photographs, particularly those for the Maori Affairs Department's Te Ao Hou magazine, documented Maori in a period of dramatic change.

“Ans was an important gatherer of imagery that reflected our people through that period of time I certainly place her as a great icon of this country and a great asset to us to be bale to lok back and see those early images of our old people,” Mr Nicholas says.

Ans Westra's icon medallion was formerly held by writer Janet Frame.

Big fish retires from TOKM

Backbencher Shane Jones has finally cut his ties with the Maori fisheries settlement trust.

The Labour list MP stepped down as chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana earlier this year.

He told today's board meeting he will finish as a trustee at the end of the current fishing season, ending 14 years on the settlement body.

Whe he was elected to Parliament in 2005, Mr Jones was asked to stay on until allocation issues were resolved.

Three quarters of iwi have now been mandated and received the bulk of their settlement assets.

“I'm really lucky that during my time there we’ve been able to get an enormous amount of the resource out to the iwi, and the tasks that remain can very easily be dealt with in a very administrative way and perhaps the blend of skills that I was able to bring to the table, the time for that blend of skills is over it’s a different time now and different talents are needed,” Mr Jones says.

Te Kawai Taumata, the iwi electoral college, which meets tomorrow to find a replacement for Business Roundtable head Rob McLeod, will now be looking for two new members.


A Rotorua health board member is disappointed Maori councilors won't support his attempts to get a fluoridation referendum on the agenda for the local government election.

Rob Vigor-Brown says councilors didn't seem to be on top of the issue.

He says the lack of fluoride in the water has a major impact on children.

In cities with fluoridation like Waitakere, up to two thirds of children under five are caries-free, but only 15 percent of Maori pre-schoolers in Rotorua have no signs of tooth decay

“Fifteen percent under-fives, caries free, that’s not good at all. That leads to, in Rotorua, 180 under-fives undergoing general anaesthetic each year so that dentists can work on their teeth because of course they’re non-compliant. We want to bring that down,” Mr Vigor-Brown says.

He'll still try to make flouridation an issue in the election, so an incoming council may act.


A Maori spiritual leader who's celebrating his 90th birthday this weekend is considered an heir to the Maori prophetic tradition.

Thousands of supporters are expected at Manu Ariki Marae in the King Country to celebrate the birthday of Te Kotahitanga Building Society founder Alex Phillips.

Anthropologist Bernie Kernot says he's observed Mr Phillips in action at Manu Ariki, and he has an undeniable sway among his supporters.

He says the prophetic tradition grew out of the colonial experience of the 19th century, as the power of traditional rangatira waned.

“The chiefs, to a large extent, their authority was subverted by the machinations of the land courts and these kinds of things and prophets came in and filled a void, partly political, partly spiritual, so Alex Phillips moves into that particular kind of tradition,” Mr Kernot says.

Manu Ariki is one of the largest marae in the country, so it will easily cope with the crowds expected.


The increasing number of people identifying themselves ethnically as New Zealanders is being seen as a backlash to Maori becoming more politically visible.

The Statistics Department says 11 point 1 percent of people wrote on their 2006 Census form that their ethnicity was New Zealander.

Most of them would have been in the New Zealand European category in previous censuses.

Independent statistician Tahu Kukutai says the ethnicity question is a way to record how people identify themselves.

While groups like Maaori, Samoan, Tongan and Chinese are used to thinking about themselves in ethnic terms, the emergence of New Zealander as an ethnic category raises questions about what's happening in Pakeha society.

“When did Pakeha fall out of favour? Why do many people object to that now? I think increasing immigration and the rise of indigenous politics in the last 15 years has a lot to do with the emergence of New Zealand as an ethnic group and I think it needs to be understood in that context,” Ms Kukutai says.

Statistics New Zealand may need to ask more questions about ancestry, so demographers can better understand who is calling themselves a New Zealander.


The number of Maori with cystic fibrosis has trebled in the past three years.

Kate Russell from the Cystic Fibrosis Association says much of the increase is due to intermarriage with people of European origin.

It's a hereditary disease that affects the lungs and digestive system, shortening life expectancy.

Ms Russell says while numbers of Maori sufferers is still small, the rate or increase is alarming, and education is needed.

“We have not done enough to reach out through various iwi to do a bit of education too about what it is because it is quite new to the Maori community and I think that’s a piece of work we need to get on to fairly quickly,” she says.

The Cystic Fibrosis appeal ends this Sunday


Tuhoe sculptor Arnold Wilson has joined an elite group of New Zealand artists.

He's been named an Icon Artist by the Arts Foundation.

Wilson was the first Maori to gain a Diploma in Fine Arts, being part of the first generation of Maori artists to embrace modernism.

Garry Nicholas from Toi Maori says Mr Wilson's greatest contribution may be his work as a teacher.

“Arnold's work has been exemplary in the education sector as an early advocate for the introduction of Maori stories and images into our arts, and as a art educator, the work he did throughout the northern colleges in introducing those communities to community arts and leaving those art pieces throughout those schools,” Mr Nicholas says.

Other Art Icons included photographer Ans Westra, the late actor and filmmaker Don Selwyn, painter Don Peebles and set designer Raymond Boyce.

Carbon credits should stay with Maori

Maori landowners want any carbon credits generated off their forests to go into the Maori economy.

Roger Pikia, the chair of the Maori reference group which is working through how climate change policies will affect Maori, says there is a lot of concern about how any new emission trading regime will work.

Two thirds of Maori land is in native or production forests.

Mr Pikia says Maori want their contribution recognised.

“The first thing that we needed to get acknowledged is that the Maori economy as a whole is recognised and acknowledged as an economic sector that contributes to New Zealand Inc. if you like, New Zealand’s economy, and not simply a stakeholder within the industries or within various sectors if you like, the dairy sector, the forestry sector and so on,” Mr Pikia says.

He says the Maori economy is already carbon negative because of its holdings in forest and scrub land.


The Government's support of a group it wants to settle Te Arawa land claims with is coming under fire.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Mark Burton says good faith demands the Crown go ahead with its settlement with Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa, because that group has a proper mandate.

The Waitangi Tribunal has recommended the $85 million plus deal be delayed, because in its present form it could have a negative impact on settlements for overlapping iwi - and for the rest of Te Arawa.

Maanu Paul from Nga Moewhare says Nga Kaihautu started off representing almost all of Te Arawa, but it shed half its members during the negotiations.

He says that's culturally significant.

“When Maori meet and hui about a topic, those Maori who don’t like what’s happening simply walk away from the hui as a show of no confidence. The fact that now Nga Kaihautu does not represent 50 percent of the constituents of the Te Arawa waka tells me quite clearly that Burton is barking up the wrong tree,” Mr Paul says.

He says there's no good faith involved in the Nga Kaihautu settlement, because it involves the illegal use of Crown forest assets.


A new programme to tackle obesity is proving popular with Maori and Pacific Island patients.

Tamaki PHO, the country's largest Maori-led public health organisation, has taken on a full-time dietitian to give free consultations.

Clinical director Lorraine Hetaraka-Stevens says that means people are much more likely to get advice which can help not just with weight loss but with reducing heart disease and diabetes.

“Some of the things that have added to the critical success is that it’s been whanau-focused, so it’s not just about the individual. It’s about who cooks the meal, who purchases the kai. It’s about lifestyle change for the whole whanau, not just the individual,” she says.

GPs at Tamaki PHO can also refer patients to an on-staff social worker, psychologist, and other specialists.


A fivefold jump in the number of people identifying themselves as a New Zealander in the Census could be a challenge for Maori.

Statistics New Zealand says 429,429 people, or 11.1 percent of the population, wrote New Zealander in response to the ethnicity question.

Independent demographer Tahu Kukutai says that explains why the number of people of European descent dropped from 80 to 67 percent.

Those identifying themselves as a New Zealander were more likely to be older, male, living in rural areas of the South Island and with more educational qualifications and higher average incomes than the total population.

Ms Kukutai says the write-in campaign was encouraged by some Opposition MPs, and it remains to be seen whether the trend will continue.

She says there are dangers in confusing national identity with ethnicity.

“If increasingly this New Zealander ethnicity comes to be associated with people who are otherwise understood to be New Zealand European, or white or Pakeha or however you want to frame it, what does that imply for our national identity in a sense of belonging if it becomes more of an exclusive label,” Ms Kukutai says.


While the rest of the country strives to be carbon neutral, the Maori economy is already carbon negative.

That's according to Roger Pikia, the Waiariki representative on a Maori Reference Group on climate change.

The group is developing the Maori response to new emissions trading and carbon credit policies.

Mr Pikia says two thirds of Maori land is covered in indigenous or production forests, more than off-setting Maori participation in pastoral and dairy farming.

“We're of the view that upon measuring the carbon footprint of the Maori economy, that the Maori economy is actually carbon negative, so we want that to be acknowledged, recognized and rewarded, not have other sectors of the country riding on the coattails of the Maori economy for no reward,” Mr Pikia says.

The reference group wants acknowledgement that there is a separate Maori economy when carbon credits are allocated.


The axing of an affirmative action programme is damaging a core Maori health initiative.

As part of a review of race-based policies led by then state services minister Trevor Mallard in response to Don Brash's Orewa speech, the government scrapped scholarship for Maori registrars who wanted to do the extra training to become a GP.

They were replaced with a new scholarships for students wanting to improve Maori and Pacific Island health.

Karen Thomas from the Royal College of General Practitioners says those scholarships are open to all doctors, and they do nothing to address the critical shortage of Maori GPs on the front lines of the health sector.

“While we have been very successful in increasing the number of doctors generally who are interested in being trained as GPs, we have not been able to increase the number of Maori doctors to be trained as GPs,” Ms Thomas says.

Only two percent of GPs are Maori.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Court turns down skeleton injunction

Taupo landowners are welcoming a Maori Land Court refusal to injunct a lakeside development at Acacia Bay.

A protest group sought the injunction after a skeleton was found on the land, which is being developed by Symphony Group.

Hiruharama Ponui Trust secretary Andrew Kusabs says and the trust is pleased by court's decision.

“It's borne out what we’ve always said, that there’s not an urupa there, it’s not waahi tapu, the urupas are elsewhere on the block, which we’ve already reserved, so we’re quite happy that at least that part of it’s over,” he says.

Mr Kusabs says the trust is concerned the protesters, who represent less than five percent of owners, may appeal or seek a rehearing.


Hone Harawira's call for all Maori MPs to attend a child abuse wananga in wintry Waiouru has drawn a frost response from colleagues.

The Maori Party MP says if his fellows put aside their political colours, they could develop workable policies to address problems of child abuse in Maori and other communities.

He says as a bloc, they should be able to get any required legislation passed.

“We are 21 MPs in the House. We have that power to make the changes. The trick is for us to get over ourselves and our egos and that’s why I reckon get ourselves locked away in a barracks somewhere cause if there’s no camera, there’s no media, there’s no loopies trying to jump all over the place and grandstand, I think Maori MPs will settle down and work together to try and come up with something,” Mr Harawira says.


But the man Mr Harawira defeated in the Tai Tokerau seat says Hone's hui won't work.

Dover Samuels says political grandstanding doesn't help the the plight of abused children.

He says the issue is wider than the Maori MPs, and he'd like to see a call for action among the wider Maori community.

“What I'd suggest and I’d certainly support, if there was a major hikoi to wake up the spirit and the wairua and the nationhood of Maori who always say they love their mokopuna, they love their children, they respect women, and all those sorts of things that are part of our whakatauki and our mihimihi in the marae, we hear it all the time,” Mr Samuels says.

He says unless attitudes change, no amount of resourcing will help.


A Whakatane student says whanau involvement in business inspired her to enter a Rangatahi Business Competition.

Jenna Hudson from Ngati Awa, the head girl at Trident High School, won a 25 hundred dollar Neil Richardson Scholarship for Leadership Development.

It will go towards her studies for a business degree at Waikato University.

Ms Hudson says she has lots of family support.

“My uncle Ben is opening a business taking tourists on horse treks up the coast and that’s the kind of stuff, I want to own my own business and be able to do my own thing. That’s what he’s been trying to tell me and so has my dad, he owns his own business too. So I’ve got a lot of whanau who own their own businesses and it kind of rubs off on me a bit,” Ms Hudson says.


A central North Island forestry claimant says claims of good faith by the Treaty Negotiations Minister are delusional.

Mark Burton says delaying a settlement with Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa, as recommended by the Waitangi Tribunal, would be a sign of bad faith on the part of the Crown towards mandated iwi representatives.

Nga Kaihautu will pick up 85 million dollars of Kaingaroa Forest land as well as other assets in the Rotorua region.

Maanu Paul from Ngai Moewhare says Nga Kaihautu lost its mandate in Maori cultural terms, because more than half of its members walked out during the negotiation process.

He says the Crown is making up new rules, rather than using the settlement mechanisms it had developed with Maori.

“My mind just cannot accept that something which is not part of the Crown Forests Assets Act is an issue of good faith. The parties to that may delude themselves that they have good faith between themselves, but in actual fact the Government is seeking to do an illegal act and then get some retrospective legislation to make what they’ve done now become legal,” Mr Paul says.

Te Arawa iwi will meet this week to develop a unified approach towards the Crown.


A shortage of Maori GPs is hampering efforts to improve Maori health.
Karen Thomas, the chief executive of the Royal College of General Practitioners, says only two percent of GPs are Maori.

That's despite tangata whenua making up almost 15 percent of the population.

Ms Thomas says GPs are crucial in the battle to improve Maori health.

“Most people see their GPs for their healthcare so if we want to start to help Maori in starting to improve health outcomes for Maori we need to be doing this at the primary care level, and that’s why we must be thinking about the Maori GP workforce,” Ms Thomas says.

Scholarships for Maori registrars to train for the extra qualification were axed in the wake of former National leader Don Brash's Orewa speech.


Patience with a minority group of Lake Taupo landowners is wearing thin.

The Maori Land Court turned down a request for an injunction which would have stopped development of a 100 million dollar residential subdivision at on leased Maori land Acacia Bay.

Andrew Kusabs, the secretary of the Hiruharama Ponui Trust, says the protesters are trying every avenue to attack the development.

He says the group has the support of less than 5 percent of owners, but it's a huge headache.

“The troublemakers seem to be encouraging other people to come into their cause to make it difficult for everybody. These people are not owners, most of them are not hapu members, but they are looking to a struggle they feel is worthwhile jumping in on our problem so if they can go away and we can all get down to business, we'd be happy,” Mr Kusabs says.

The legal battles have cost the Hiruharama Ponui Trust thousands of dollars.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Burton not willing to concede mistakes

Central North Island iwi are looking for ways to engage with the Government on the treaty claims.

The Waitangi Tribunal yesterday released the remaining volumes of its comprehensive report on loss of land and resources by iwi from the Bay of Plenty to just south ot Lake Taupo.

Prospects for settlement are complicated because the Government has already negotiated an $85 million settlement with a group representing less than half of one of the iwi, Te Arawa.

A separate tribunal panel has recommended this settlement not go ahead in its present form because of its impact on overlapping claimants.

But the Minister of Treaty Negotiations, Mark Burton, says the Crown can't walk away now.

“The obligations and undertaking that we’ve given in good faith to those who’ve been mandated to negotiate on behalf of the affiliate Te Arawa iwi hapu, as to the timeframe with them, and we can’t just unilaterally renege on our obligations to them, so obviously any decisions continue to directly involve those mandated representatives,” Mr Burton says.


A Ngai Tahu woman is urging Maori to become more aware of a disease which affects the lives of thousands of women.

Endometriosis happens when tissue grows outside the uterus, causing bleeding and scarring.

Hana O'Regan says many people wrongly believe the painful condition doesn't affect Maori and Pacific Island women.

She says Pakeha women are more likely to know about its impact on their mental health, their strength and their fertility, which is often why it's detected.

“Maori might have their children younger, so the issues around infertility that can often happen with the disease aren’t as apparent within Maori society, or that they just feel whakamaa and embarrassed about talking about issues around they gynacological health and associated pain,” Ms O'Regan from the New Zealand Endometriosis Foundation says.


A rare chance to hear from kaumatua what life was like when they were young.

Veteran showband entertainer Ben Tawhiti says a new series he's preparing for Maori Television is unlocking stories of a dramatic period in Maori life.

The sixteen elders interviewed for Maumahara ... which is Maori for remember ... talk of going from life on the papakainga through the Depression of the 1930s, through the war, and then being part of the massive movement of Maori into the cities.
Mr Tawhiti says he had to give producer Hinewehi Mohi a lesson in talking to kaumatua.

“When the girl said to me she had all the questions to ask I said ‘no dear, let them talk, don’t ask them the questions, let them talk.’ Some questions could be tapu, and they know their boundaries, these kaumatua,” he says.

Mr Tawhiti and his band, Nga Kaumatua, will play a song from the era in every episode.


A former head of Women's Refuge says Maori women are increasingly resorting to violence.

Merepeka Raukawa-Tait says Maori communities need to show leadership on stopping child abuse.

She says it's not just Maori men who are a problem.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of our women who are resorting to violence as well. We shouldn’t be surprised by that. Little girls are growing up in the homes where they’re seeing violence, so why do we think that the violence would just tend to shoot towards the young boys and not towards the girls as well,” Mrs Raukawa Tait says.


Meanwhile, a public health specialist says child abuse is part of a wider problem of marginalisation in society.

Clive Aspin from Ngati Maru says the problems Maori face are similar to those of other indigenous communities.

He says it's part of the legacy of colonisation.

“When people are dispossessed and marginalized, we see significant social disruption which can contribute to those sorts of issues like child abuse and when you do take away their land and all that is of meaning to them, these sorts of social problems are likely to occur,” Dr Aspin says.


An Auckland University population expert says New Zealand cities will look a lot less white in future.

Ward Friesen says while most of the South Island still feels predominantly Pakeha, the north is changing rapidly.

He says while some Maori have moved back to tribal areas to eke out a living, the urbanisation of previous decades means they are predominantly an urban people, joining other new settlers.

“Probably the larger cities, Auckland but also probably Wellington and Christchurch are going to continue to become less European if you like, more through Asian and Pacific migration probably than new urbanisation of Maori, but putting all those things together, places like Manukau already more than half non-European, and will be even more so in the future,” Mr Friesen says.


Students from Ruatoria's Ngata College have been getting a taste of army life.

A group of 15 and 16 year olds joined a week long training course at Waipiro Bay.

Vice principal Karen McClutchie says the army instructors were impressed with what the East Coast kids had to offer.

She says a military career can look pretty good for many Maori students, both for the opportunities for further education and for the military culture.

“When they've come from a community where everything is whanau, whanau, tatou, tatou, when things are good of curse, you’ll find that that’s the mentality that flows through the forces, that they’re well looked after,” Ms McClutchie says.

CNI iwi plot alternative path

Central North Island iwi have asked Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell to facilitate a series of hui to work out which hapu Kaingaroa Forest should go back to.

The iwi met in Kaingaroa Village yesterday to consider a Waitangi Tribunal report critical of a proposed settlement which would give a Te Arawa group $85 million of forest assets.

The tribunal said the negotiation process and the settlement offer were inconsistent with treaty principles, especially in their treatment of overlapping groups.

It recommended all iwi be involved in developing a durable settlement.

Hui convenor Maanu Paul from Ngai Moewhare says the treaty settlement process has gone off the rails, and the tribunal's advice should be heeded.

“What has transpired over the last 17, 18 years is that the Crown has mystified the process. Created mysterious methodologies of mandate and only dealt with their favourite children. They didn’t deal with the ugly ones which we belong to,” Mr Paul says.

He says the Te Arawa deal would give that iwi land in the forest it had no ancestral connection with.


But an angry denial from the Treaty Negotiations Minister to criticism the Government is playing favourites.

Mark Burton says the deal with Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa should be allowed to stand.

He says while the Waitangi Tribunal has raised questions of good faith, it would be wrong to turn its back on the group, or delay its settlement.

“I suppose one of the points I would take exception with the tribunal is the inference that somehow the Crown’s picking favourites. Well actually, the Crown’s responding to those who perhaps feel they are ready to engage, and I think we would be properly criticized if we simply said ‘we’re not going to talk to you’ if people came and said ‘we want to engage and progress our claims,’” Mr Burton says.

He says there are sufficient resources available to settle with other iwi and hapu in the central North Island.


A Ngati Porou kuia has been honoured for her lifelong contribution kapa haka and other Maori arts.

Merekaraka Ngarimu, 85, was one of this year's recipients of Sir Kiingi Ihaka kaumatua awards from Te Waka Toi.

Her daughter, Hinetuu Dell, says Mrs Ngarimu was taught Ngati Porou waiata, haka and tikanga by Apirana Ngati, making her an invaluable repository of the East Coast tribe's traditions.

“Ngati Porou's history in terms of kapa haka has a lot to do with her leadership throughout the years. Her focus is really about tikanga and it is about nga mahi o te runga o te marae, because kapa haka has changed now, eh. It’s a regimental, competitive type culture,” Mrs Dell says.

The other recipients of the award were Waitangi Tribunal member Tuahine Northover, Hokitika language teacher Hilda Georgina Tainui, Waikato carver Hikairo Herangi and his wife, weaver Te Rawerawe Herangi.


Putiki Marae by the Whangnaui River was jammed today for the opening of Waitangi Tribunal hearings into the Wanganui land claims.

The claims cover the area from the river mouth to north of Taumaranui, as well as the Whangaehu and Waitotara catchments.

The tribunal was welcomed into the rohe by Rangatihi Tahuparae, who this morning presented the customary history of the iwi reaching back before the canoes, as taught in the traditional Whare Wananga o Whanganui.

Mr Tahuparae says while Whangnaui tribes did not suffer confiscation after the wars of the 1860s, they still struggled to hang on to their lands.

“What they did was took the land through different Acts like the Scenic Reserves Act, and in order to maintain that they used the Coal Mines Act, they used the Harbour Boards Act, all sorts of Acts to take the land,” Mr Tahuparae says.

Whanganui iwi expect a long fight to get a settlement, as they are still waiting for action on their river claims, which the tribunal reported on in 1999.


Queenstown is considering introducing Maori wardens because of a disproportionately high rate of alcohol-related offences among young Maori.

David Richards, who's heading a Queenstown Lakes District Council initiative to curb alcohol-related violence, says drink is the cause of most crime in the Central Otago holiday capital.

He says while Maori make up only 4.7 percent of the region's population, less than a third of the national average, it's not reflected in crime figures.

“When translated into the statistics, the offending rate works out to pretty much the same per head of population, so we think it’s important to work with Maori on trying to develop initiatives that can address that offending,” Mr Richards says.

The council is also consulting with police iwi liaison officers, Maori mental health services, Ngai Tahu and maata waka groups.


People who want to talk about their tax affairs in te reo will be able to do so now.

Inland Revenue's language line has added Maori to the 39 tongues it covers.
Spokesperson Valerie Price says the translators are provided to the tax department by the Office of Ethnic Affairs.

Previously the Maori option was only been available for child support queries, but people can now get advice on student loans, working for families, KiwiSaver and voluntary organisations such as Marae and trusts.


Former Auckland University pro-vice chancellor Maori Graham Smith has been appointed to head Te Wananga o Awanuiaarangi.

The post has been filled on a temporary basis since the departure of Gary Hook at the end of 2005.

The Whakatane-based Maori university has had to deal with a slump in student enrolments, leading to over-staffing and a $4 million deficit.

Professor Smith, from Ngati Apa, Ngati Porou and Kahungunu, is known for his innovative approach to education.

At Auckland, he and wife Linda launched a programme to increase the number of Maori working towards post-graduate degrees.

In recent years he has been teaching in North America.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Roaming and co-location could benefit NZ Coms

The chair of a Maori-backed mobile phone company says new rules on co-locating cellphone towers makes environmental sense.

New Zealand Communications is building a 100 million dollar network to make use of frequencies reserved for Maori.

Bill Osborne says a draft report on regulation of mobile roaming and co-location, released last Friday by the Commerce Commission, should benefit the company.

He says it will also benefit the country.

“We can still build towers and we can do it pretty cost effectively n the areas where we are wanting to have them initially, but it’s not sensible for New Zealand to have more towers built than it needs to have. We’re not a big enough economy to sustain multitudes of these types of constructions around the country,” Mr Osborne says.

He says New Zealand doesn't have a competitive environment, so consumers are paying more than they should for mobile phone services.


Gisborne iwi have agreed on a compromise to allow the town's $24 million sewerage scheme to go ahead.

No appeals were filed against a resource consent for a new trickle system, which should be built by 2010.

Ronald Nepe, the chief executive of Te Runanga o Turanganui a Kiwa, says while it's not ideal, the system is better than pumping sewage out to sea, as happens now.

“Our desire is to stop human waste going out into our moana. That’s still our objective and it’s the outcome we’re still looking for. What we see with this process is a step towards that,” he says.

Mr Nepe says four tangata whenua representatives will sit on the committee overseeing the new system and looking for long-term alternatives.


One of the recipients of a lifetime achievement award for contribution to the Maori arts says there's no songs like the old songs.

Tommy Taurima has led kapahaka groups in Aotarearoa and Hawaii and composed many well known waiata.

He received Te Tohu Toi Ke from Maori arts council Te Waka Toi on Saturday for his contribution to the retention of Maori artforms.

He says the hardest thing to teach these days is the Maori choral tradition.

“You've got haka, waiata, moteatea, they’re all kind of similar, but when it comes to singing, ka tu mai nga ropukapake te waiata, not everyone but most of them, they don’t sing, they screen. So what’s happened to the lyrical voice, the natural harmony of the Maori e hoa?” Mr Taurima says.


More Northlanders are finding work than ever before.

After decades of high unemployment, especially among Maori, the region is experiencing historic highs in employment.

The labour force grew 12.6 percent in the five years to 2006, so the area is now exceeding the national labour force participation average of 68.5 percent..

Marama Wiki, the Northland commissioner for the Ministry of Social Development, says while the labour force is growing faster than the national average, programmes which bridge school and work mean youth unemployment is less of a problem than in the past.

“We don't see them coming into our Work and Income offices and registering for unemployment benefit. I suppose the world is their oyster. At this stage they’ve got so many opportunities out there. For us it’s about making suyre they’re getting the right training and development from an early age to make sure they can be successful in the labour market,” Ms Wiki says.

She says Northland's workforce is still under-qualified compared with other parts of the country, and extra effort is going to encouraging young Maori men to get job skills.


Alcohol Healthwatch wants to work with Maori organisations to address the harm caused by alcohol abuse in their communities.

Director Rebecca Williams says alcohol is often the catalyst for domestic violence, but that seems to be overlooked in a new plan to use hospital admissions as an opportunity to identify women in violent situations.

She says the government hasn't talked to professionals in the sector, who can make valuable contributions.

She says Maori should also be much more involved in planning strategies.

“Maori communities would have an incredible voice to be coming through to not be taking the criticism but to be taking on the challenges of reducing alcohol related harm and drug harm in their communities,” Ms Williams says.


Maori entertainer Mike King is having trouble shaking his comedian tag as he gathers stories for his new series.

The Waipu based entertainer starts filming this week on a series about the Treaty of Waitangi.

While he's presented serious programmes, many people still associate him with programmes like Pulp Comedy, where swearing and irreverance were the norm.

Mr King says that won't be happening in his Lost in Translation series.

“If you put your relatives forward to take part in the programme there’s no way I’ll be taking the piss out of them. That’s not the sort of programme we’re making. I can understand a lot of people’s reluctance to come forward, especially with me at the helm, given my past track record, but this isn’t that type of show. The show’s positive, warm, fuzzy,” Mr King says.

He's looking for fellow descendants of treaty signatories, as well as people who have got a good yarn to tell about the country's founding document.