Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

My Photo
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, August 24, 2007

Horomia puts Maori over party

Former MP John Tamihere is stepping on Labour toes with his bid for the Waitakere mayoralty, but he's getting support from at least one senior government member.

He wants to unseat Bob Harvey, a former Labour Party president who is considered one of the intensely tribal party's elder statesmen.

But Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says Mr Tamihere ... and former Alliance MP Willie Jackson, who's after the Manukau mayoralty ... have his blessing.

“You know I've just sent a message out that more Maori should contest local body elections. They’re both very capable. JT’s always been tailor made for that sort of stuff. I think they wouldn’t be short of support but certainly I would support any Maori running for a local authority,” he says.

Both the mayoral candidates share Ngati Porou whakapapa with Mr Horomia.


Meanwhile, a former mayor has some words of advice for the mayoral aspirants.

Derek Fox served 12 years on the Wairoa District council, six of them as mayor.

He says the way to advance Maori concerns is through logical argument and building rapport with fellow councilors.

Mr Fox says councils can lose sight of their duty to represent all constituents.

“You know all you had to do was be fair and the lot of Maori would improve. That’s all you had to do. Just be absolutely fair and do the thing that was fair and reasonable and the plight of Mari would improve. Because by and large councils have not done that,” he says.


The Conservation Department is finally removing a carpark and toilets from sacred ground at the top of the North Island.

Work is due to start next month on moving the facilities at Cape Reinga, at the same time Transit starts sealing the 19 kilometres of road from Waitiki Landing.

A replacement carpark is being built 100 metres to the south.

Both projects have faced resistance over the years from the iwi which are considered the guardians of the end of Te Ara Wairua, or the pathway of the spirits.

Ngati Kuri and Te Aupouri want the Crown to first resolve their treaty claims to the area.

But DoC spokesperson Carolyn Smith says Ngati Kuri is taking an active part in the development.

“There's been a nursery developed at Te Manawa by Ngati Kuri and with support from the department and Transit, producing plants for replanting along the side of the road with the road sealing project and also with the healing of the site out at Te Rerenga Wairua once the current carpark and toilets are removed,” Ms Smith says.

By the time the project is completed in three years, there will be no trace of the former buildings.


Businesses are being encouraged to see the positive side of hiring Maori.

A report by the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust and Auckland University's business school has identified that by 2021 almost one in five workers will be Maori.

Co-author Chellie Spiller says businesses need to learn how to attract and retain Maori talent, so they can take advantage of the opportunities ahead.

“Employing Maori can help improve service, increasing your share of the growing Maori market, and improving teamwork and understanding within the corporate culture, and also increasingly, businesses are looking to have relationships with iwi through trusts and how business can build profitable partnerships within their local communities,” Ms Spiller says.


A west Auckland-based National MP says the entry of John Tamihere into the Waitakere mayoral race will make for an interesting couple of months.

Tau Henare says he's pleased to see Maori candidates putting their names forward.

He says incumbent Bob Harvey looked safe until the former Labour Party maverick turned up.

“I tell you what. It’ll make the campaigning out in west Auckland really really interesting. Democaracies need to be interesting and democracies need some characters and certainly in those two fellows we’ve got a few characters,” Mr Henare says.


Kaanga wai, inanga, paraoa parai, hangi, towai, puha, horopito and kawakawa.

That may sound foreign to some people, but for Ngarakitawhiti Anaru, it's an expensive wish list of favourite foods.

The Te Puke chef is a finalist in the Hospitality Association's beef excellence awards with her peppered sirloin dish.

Ms Anaru used to incorporate Maori kai into her menus, but says it's now too rich for most diners.

“It's far too expensive for the hotel and you don’t really get appreciated as much, or within Te Puke here, no one really wants to pay that $35 mark just for a dish, because most of the Maori kai that you can source now is mostly organic, so it's quite pricey,” Ms Anaru says.

She encourages other chefs to have a play with Maori ingredients, in the same way they've incorporated flavours from Asia and other cuisines.


A leading Ta Moko artist says Maori now have a range of first class tattooists to call on.

Gordon Toi is just back from his annual trip to Europe, where his work is increasingly popular.

He says the leading ta moko artists like Derek Lardelli, Mark Kopua, Rangi Kipa and Laurie Nichols have developed distinct styles which people interested in the ancient art can identify.

“Five, ten years ago you never really had a choice. You could go to the cuzzie in the garage of the Pakeha tattooist. Now you’ve got a whole host of different guys that are out there doing moko. That’s a good thing too. I say the more the merrier. The main thing is just to mahi really,” Mr Toi says.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New King gets Fox stamp of approval

The new Maori king is taking the right steps to fill his mother's shoes.

That's the verdict of veteran journalist Derek Fox after King Tuheitia's first public appearance following his year of mourning.

Fox says the week long Koroneihana at Ngaruawahia was an extraordinary celebration of the Kingitanga, and the king's advisors have done a remarkable job over the past 12 months of easing him into the role.

“I've bumped into King Tuheitia a few times in the past 12 months and each time I’ve seen that he’s grown a bit. His mother was a little lady who left some very big shoes to fill, and I think it’s going to take a while to fill those shoes, but I think he is certainly taking the right steps,” Mr Fox says.

King Tuheitia is facing unprecedented scrutiny because of the international interest generated by Dame Te Ata's tangi.


Manukau mayoral aspirant Willie Jackson says he won't be running a joint campaign with Waitakere contender John Tamihere.

The two former MPs share an afternoon radio talkback programme, and today made a joint announcement of their plans to stand.

But Mr Jackson says there are separate issues in each city, so there will be separate campaigns.

“It just so happens that we’re both Maori, we’re both very political, and we’ve gone down similar territories in terms of our political careers but that’s just how it is. It’s not as if we have to do things together. It hasn’t worked out like that at all. But both of us have been thinking about the problems in our areas,” Mr Jackson says.

The two campaigns will share resources, including advisors from across the political spectrum ... former Alliance president Matt McCarten and National Party-linked Matthew Hooten.


Maori men in west Auckland are getting tips on the tikanga of being a father.

West Auckland social worker Joe Waru developed his Tu Matua course to teach tane the traditional Maori values associated with parenting, and ways they can communicate with their children.

He says Maori fathers need help to identify their strengths and build on them, rather than constantly being told about their shortcomings.

“Maori fathers are demonized. They’re the bad guys. And there is a difficulty for many agencies and service providers to connect with Maori fathers. I think that’s because there is little understanding of the language of Maori fathers and how to connect with them,” Mr Waru says.

He works out of Man Alive in Henderson and at the Helensville Men's Resource Centre.


National Maori Affairs spokesperson is accusing the Government of playing political games over the award of a Victoria Cross to SAS Corporal Willie Apiata.

Tau Henare says no National Party MPs were invited to Government House for Corporal Apiata's investiture.

Nor was his local MP, the Maori Party's Te Ururoa Flavell.

Mr Henare says it's part of a wider problem.

“I'm really worried that some of our institutions are being politicised and used by the government as some sort of advertising tool for its own purposes,” Mr Henare says.

The guest list was put together by the Honours Secretariat of the Prime Minister's Department, in consultation with Government House and the Defence Force.


The west Auckland mayoral contest is shaping up to be a battle royal between two Labour-linked politicians.

Former Tamaki Makaurau MP John Tamihere today confirmed he will try to deny former Labour president Bob Harvey a fourth term as mayor of Waitakere City.

He's sharing campaign resources with another Maori former MP, Willie Jackson, who is seeking the Manukau mayoralty.

Political commentator Chris Trotter, who has been in on the early discussions about campaign strategy, says in a three way fight with Len Brown and Dick Quax, Mr Jackson has a strong chance of taking south Auckland.

But it will be a lot harder to grasp the mayoral chain out west.

“JT with his charisma and his cheeky qualities is up against Bob Harvey, an ad man, someone who’s equally cheeky, not afraid of dropping his trousers to make a point. These two I think are going to have a battle royal,” Mr Trotter says.

The other high profile Maori seeking a mayoralty, former Labour MP Georgina Beyer, has dropped out of the race for Carterton.


A focus on healthy kai has put two put two Te Puke chefs into the finals of the Hospitality Association's beef excellence awards.

Rhiannon Dobbs from Tainui was inspired by first nations people from Great Turtle Island - also known as North America - for her Beef Cherokee, which uses sirloin marinated in berries with sauteed yam and mint.

Ngarakitawhiti Anaru from Te Arawa, the head chef at Te Puke Hotel, is serving peppered sirloin on organic potatoes topped with basil herb pasto and a balsamic tomato, roast garlic, red wine and wholegrain mustard vinagrette.

She says the dish is a reaction against the fatty nature of a lot of Maori kai.

“My one's to do with absorbing iron. You’ve got your vitamin C with your acidic flavours to help absorb the iron within the meat and also the garlic and the mustards and the vinegars to help keep away germs,” Ms Anaru says.

She'd like to see education in healthy eating starting with the chefs of tomorrow ... at kura kaupapa level.

Data collection helps set health priorities

A leading researcher is warning changes in data collection could mean Maori health issues get a lower priority.

Paparangi Reid says a new report on the effect of ethnic and socioeconomic inequalities on mortality between 1981 and 2004 is a valuable indicator of where resources need to go.

The report, by Otago University and the Ministry of Health, found the Maori mortality rate grew during the 1980s and 1990s to almost twice the Pakeha rate, but the gap may now be closing up.

Dr Reid says since the data was collected, the Ministry has switched from looking at inequalities to a whole of population approach.

That can be misleading.

“Cancer of the cervix is the ninth most common cancer among New Zealand women but it’s third for Maori, so once we start doing the top five it goes off the scale but it’s really big for us and so if we take a whole of population approach, we often miss what’s really important for us as Maori,” Dr Reid says.


The leader of New Zealand First says the Government has no need to feel embarrassed about a critical report on New Zealand's race relations.

Drawing on submissions by groups like Treaty Tribes Coalition and the Maori Party, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination identified several areas of concern, including the legal status of the Treaty of Waitangi, ... continuing disagreement over the Foreshore and Seabed Act ... and the over-representation of Maori in the prison population.

Mr Peters says the committee failed to understand how New Zealand's constitutional and political system works, including the increased number of MPs of Maori origin elected under the MMP system.

“Those developments, surely people can see that they represent progress and so to paint the Maori as some sort of downtrodden victim in a democracy like New Zealand is demonstrably and palpably wrong,” he says.

Mr Peters says progress is so good, it may be time for Maori to start debating whether the Maori seats should go.


South Auckland artists are getting a chance to fine-tune their creative and business skills.

Five artists, including Ngati Porou fashion designer Carol Stainton and multi-media artist Leilani Kake, make up the first intake of the Arts regional Trust-funded ART source programme.

Director Candy Elsmore says they will get mentoring, networking and support.

“We also have a workshop programme which brings in industry specialists to talk to them about some meaty topics which are going to be pretty much about something they are all going to need to work on like marketing your product, protecting and knowing your rights, basically getting out there and raising your profile, marketing yourself and your work,” Ms Elsmore says.

ART source is targeting creative people with a track record who have a new project to launch.


A poverty activist says a report on loan sharking in Pacific Island communities could apply equally to Maori.

The report was slipped out with little fanfare by Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel last Friday.

John Minto says the government's approach seems to be to distribute a few information brochures and review advertising rules.

He says the assumption seems to be that people go to fringe lenders in emergencies, but the report makes it clear that expensive debt is normal for many low income families.

“The loans that were being taken out were being taken out for day to day living expenses, for grocery bills, for power bills, and second most common reason for borrowing was cars, and in each of these cases people are really being screwed blind,” Mr Minto says.

Stronger action is needed, such as capping the maximum finance rate, making lenders prove that borrowers can replay loans, and making cheap loans and budgeting advice available through Kiwibank.


Auckland University researchers want to know why some Maori reach old age.

Ngaire Kerse from the medical and health sciences faculty says the number of people in the oldest age group is set to double over the next five years.

For non-Maori that means people over 85, but for Maori, making your 75th birthday puts you in the oldest age category.

She says the Advanced Age Cohort Study is initially looking for 100 Maori and Pakeha volunteers from the Lakes and Eastern Bay of Plenty districts.

“We're very interested in how these older people got there, and how they can help the next generation’s work as far as advice about ways of living and lifestyles that have helped them age so successfully,” associate professor Kerse says.

By looking at the old people's health status, their social support networks and their living environment, the study could help policymakers and service providers find ways to improve the quality of life of New Zealanders as they aged.


A leading criminal lawyer says the courts need to take more account of Maori cultural principles during trials and sentencing.

Peter Williams QC is endorsing the finding of a United Nations committee that cultural rights are being overlooked.

The Sentencing Act allows cultural factors to be considered, but few Maori ever take up the option.

Mr Williams says that's because the whole system forces defendants into a monocultural mould.

“We in New Zealand impose a prototype of European culture when we make a scale of judgment, and sometimes we’ve got to break the mould and we’ve got to look at other cultures and understand them and bring principles into play which may have a very important effect on the outcome of the case,” Mr Williams says.

Cultural factors can change the outcome of a case, particularly when defendants are making please of mitigation when they're sentenced.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Maori Television dropped the ball by not running live coverage of King Tuheitia's coronation ceremony in te reo Maori.

That's the view of Massey University Maori language head Taiarahia Black.

Professor Black says it was an ideal opportunity to promote the reo.

He says King Tuheitia served as a role model by delivering his speech in Maori, but most of the programme content was in English.

“The language exhibition that we heard yesterday was basically about informing non-Maori and not supporting Maori language revitalisation. Again and again and again, where arte we heading to. Such a powerful medium and yet we use it all the time to describe our culture, not in our indigenous language,” Professor Black says.

He says the board of Maori Television seems to forget the channel was set up to revitalise the Maori language.


A Northland elder says the government should have expected major subsidence problems at Ngawha Prison.

Construction costs for the regional prison ballooned out to more than 130 million dollars because of problems with the site, which is an old lake bed above a geothermal reservoir.

Cracks have been appearing as it sinks, and the Corrections Department intends to do remedial work once the building has finished settling.

Saana Murray says the instabilty of the ground was one of the major reasons tangata whenua objected to the site, but their concerns were ignored or dismissed by project managers and Corrections ministers.

“That is very important for the people to listen to those ones at Ngawha because not only was it the god given healing for our nation, for our people, it is wrong for them to build it right there. They were toldnot to build it there and it is happening now,” Mrs Murray says.

The Ngawha field has always been unpredictable, with springs likely to turn up anwhere.


With trans Tasman diplomatic relations showing strain over the Australian Defence force chartering Air New Zealand planes to the Iraq war, a senior Labour MP is offering his own brand of diplomacy.

Dover Samuels has jumped to the defence of Australian Opposition leader Kevin Rudd, who is under attack for a drunken foray into a New York strip club four years ago.

Mr Samuels says he saw plenty of Kings Cross strip clubs during his rugby playing days.

“Many young men and women still go to that type of entertainment. Good on them. I can only dream about it now. Those were the days, and I don’t see why people are so politically uptight and PC about what I think is quite a healthy expression with regard to entertainment and hospitality,” Mr Samuels says.


Wisdom from the past against a call to incorporate the Treaty of Waitangi into legislation.

A United Nations committee says it's hard for Maori to invoke treaty provisions before the courts and in negotiations with the Crown, because it's not a formal part of domestic law.

But New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says Sir Apirana Ngata, the leading Maori politician during the first half of the 20th century, always argued against such a course.

“What he said at the time was that if you bring it into the law, the next day you can repeal that law and there goes the treaty. He always argued that the treaty should sit on the side and be some guideline or some sort of beacon point on which you would judge things going into the future,” he says.

Mr Peters says criticism by the UN committee of a bill to delete references to Treaty of Waitangi principles from legislation shows it failed to understand New Zealand's constitutional system ... which allows private members like New Zealand First's Pita Paraone to put up legislation for consideration by Parliament.


Ethnic and socio-economic health inequalities are narrowing.

That's the conclusion of a new study by the Ministry of Health and Otago University of mortality data between 1981 and 2004.

Paparangi Reid, the head of Auckland University's Te Kupenga Hauora Maori health unit, says the report offers some reasons for optimism.

But she says there are still signs Maori are getting a poor deal.

“The big big big finding for me is that unacceptable health inequalities remain between Maori and Pakeha in this country. Maori mortality is still twice that of Pakeha mortality and that is evidence of a breach of our indigenous rights and our Treaty rights to equity,” Dr Reid says.

It's important to continue collecting data on inequalities, because taking a whole of population approach to health statistics means Maori issues can be overlooked.


The country's future growth will depend largely on the encouraging Maori to reach their economic potential.

That's one of the reasons the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust is giving for a new publication on how to employ and work effectively with Maori.

Co-author Chellie Spiller, from Ngati Kahungunu, says by 2021, almost one in five workers will be Maori.

She says the country will increasingly depend on young people to generate wealth, so it's important they be brought into the workforce and trained for high skill occupations.

“So whilst many employers are benefiting from the value added by Maori, there still remains a major opportunity to employ Maori by accessing the talents and energy of young Maori in the context of the aging workforce and developing the talents of those in employment,” Ms Spiller says.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

King’s speech sets out legacy

The Maori king has set the tone for his reign with a promise to build on his mother's legacy.

King Tuheitia's coronation speech ended the week-long Koroneihana hui at Ngaruawahi yesterday.

Delivered in te reo Maori, it emphasised the importance of culture, life long learning and the strengthening of links not just among Maori but with the indienous peoples of the pacific and beyond.

Tainui kaumatua Koro Wetere, says it was the sort of message the thousands gathered at Turangawaewae wanted to hear.

“A good opening was made in his maiden speech to the people of New Zealand that he intended to carry on with the programme that was left by his late mother and to firmly concentrate on the areas of education and particularly working among our young people in bringing about a closer relationship of our people,” Mr Wetere says.


The Prime Minister is dismissing a UN report critical of the way her government is handling Maori and treaty issues.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said the government was diminishing the importance and relevance of the Treaty of Waitangi.

It said the policy of scrapping any programme which could be said to be based on ethnicity had created a context unfavourable to the rights of Maori.

Helen Clark says the criticism was coming from a body which doesn't have the status of the Security Council of General Assembly.

“It comes from a committee which is not populated by ambassadors or even representatives of countries. It’s people drawn from different walks of life in particular counties, and it’s clear when you look at what countries who have (quote) “experts” on it that New Zealand’s human rights record would stand up extremely well against all of them,” she says.

Ms Clark says the report does contain some worthwhile suggestions which the government will take on board.


Maori with gambling problems should benefit from a new Gambling Helpline text message service.

Chief executive Krista Ferguson says a sense of whakamaa or shame stopped many Maori with gambling problems from seeking help.

She says texting was a private way of taking the first steps to get help.

Ms Ferguson says Maori are three and a half times more likely to experience gambling related harm.

“We already know in New Zealand that pokie machines in pubs and clubs are concentrated in lower socioeconomic areas. We’ve been able to map that. So those things are out there in communities where unfortunately Maori are more likely to be living,” Ms Ferguson says.

Gamblers who send an anonymous free text to 8006 will get a free number they can call to get advice or resources to help them tackle their problem.


Maori children with disabilities are doubly disadvantaged in access to education.

Metiria Turei, the Green's spokesperson on both education and disability, says the Inclusive Education Action Group to be launched today will fight those barriers,

The group is made up of academics, practitioners, disabled people ... and parents concerned at difficulties their children face going to their local school.

Ms Turei says Maori parents face challenges not only finding schools which will take their disabled children, but which will teach them in a way which is culturally engaging.

“Since Maori children are often excluded or somehow discouraged from participating fully in school for other reasons, Maori disability groups have a really good understanding of what that means to be excluded and what’s needed for the children to be included,” Ms Turei says.


A Maori historian says problems with its Auckland Central and central North Island settlements are just the tip of the iceberg.

The Government doesn't appear to have the numbers to pass settlement legislation because of concerns the deals exclude many legitimate claimants.

Paul Moon, a professor of history at Auckland University of Technology, says the Office of Treaty Settlements cut corners in its hurry to get tribal areas off its books.

He says that means it is not only ignoring traditional relationships and tikanga within Maori society, it is also ripping up the law on the way treaties with indigenous peoples should be interpreted.

“Even as far as Pakeha culture goes they’re breaching the rules of the game, so there’s no excuse in a way to say they’re not familiar with tikanga and so on and that’s the problem, because it’s not just about that. They’re not even familiar with the basic precepts of international law regarding treaties, and the recognition of parties to treaties. Sort that out, and you sort half the problem out,” Professor Moon says.

Hapu who have been left out of major regional settlements now find no place to go to get their grievances heard.


A mixed media artist is crediting Ngati Tuwharetoa for inspiring works which are being bought around the world.

Raewyn Booth, of Chinese and Welsh whakapapa, says growing up in Taupo led to close contacts with tangata whenua and a continuing interest in natural fibres and Maori concepts.

Her work has won judges' and people's choice awards at Tuwharetoa's annual Toi Ake festival of contemporary Maori art.

She says working across cultures can pose challenges.

“A lot of things I have tried to get in to I have not been able to because I haven’t got a whakapapa. But now I have. The Tuwharetoa tribe. They’ve adopted me. They’ve been so supportive to me because I’ve put their culture on the map with my stuff, because it’s been really successful," Ms Booth says.

Her current collection of fibre works, Nature's Embellishments, is at the Rotorua Arts Village until the end of the month.

Lax speaking crowns hui

The Koroneihana hui at Ngaruawahia has concluded, but not without hitches.

Thousands of people from around the motu came to Turangawaewae on the banks of the Waikato River over the week to celebrate the new reign of King Tuheitia.

But Tainui's famous control of ceremony wasn't as apparent as in previous years, with today's timetable thrown out by additional and unexpected speechmaking.

Waatea News reporter Mania Clarke says there was surprise and concern among the kaumatua and even among the crowd at the seemingly liberal approach of some of the speechmakers that were allowed to pay tribute to Tuheitia on this, his first coronation, such as (Manukau mayor) Sir Barry Curtis and mangai kaumatua from various iwi.

“One young boy was physically removed. Even that approach, in times before of King Koroki and Te Arikinui, even a young man speaking would not be appropriate so this will cause much discussion and debate in coming days as to the lax, liberal approach to this more formal occasion,” she says.


If at first you don't succeed, try and try again.

New Zealand First MP Pita Paraone says the imminent failure of his bill to remove Treaty of Waitangi principles from legislation isn't the end of the matter.

Labour has told the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination it supported the bill's introduction because of its confidence and supply agreement with New Zealand First.

But it will go no further, because its passage would harm the relationship between Crown and Maori.

Mr Paraone says it hasn't been a wasted exercise.

“It certainly has been a useful exercise for New Zealand First in terms of hw we prepared the original bill but I think what we will do is come back with a more refined bill with suggestions of what those definitions (of treaty principles) should be,” Mr Paraone says.

He says the current situation leaves judges too much room to define treaty principles.


Witi Ihimaera is going back to school.

The Whale Rider author will spend five months at the Binger Filmlab feature-film development centre in Amsterdam turning his 1996 novel The Matriarch into a screenplay.

Mr Ihimaera says with Kai Tahu performer Rachel House off to Prague to study directing, it's clear a new sort of Maori film sector is emerging.

“The more skills we bring, the better we are able to sustain and begin to develop a Maori film industry. At the moment we have got the beginnings of one so I’m really excited about the chance all of us have, Rachel, myself, the new directors, Taika Waititi and all of those others to create a Maori film industry. That’s what all of this is about,” he says.

It will be his first time in Amsterdam since his honeymoon in the 1970s.


The new King has spoken, and the people are well pleased.

That's the feeling at Turangawaewae today, as a week of Koroneihana celebrations for King Tuheitia reached its conclusion.

Reporter Mania Clarke says while his inaugural speech was short, its positive and forward-looking tone was well received.

“After much anticipation, finally the iwi have heard their king Tuheitia make his first formal speech and talk about the things that are on his mind.

“There were three main things that came across in his first speech. One was the importance of education as a huarahi for us as Maori people to go forward.

“Two was about unity, about working together as iwi espite our differences, and thirdly was let’s take a broader global look to complete and fulfill the things we have in the kainga at roots level, so some good concepts, some good thoughts, and people are really pleased with what's been said,” Ms Clarke says.


A leading criminal lawyer is endorsing the finding of a United Nations committee that cultural rights are being overlooked by the courts.

The Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination says while the Sentencing Act allows cultural issues to be raised, few Maori defendants know this.

Peter Williams QC says such material could make a difference to sentencing, but few Maori are prepared to assert their rights.

“Some Maori people in particular don’t challenge the court process enough and they are often overborne by the solemnity of it and they don’t communicate many matters which could act in their favour or in mitigation,” he says.

Mr Williams says the justice system failed to recognise the multicultural nature of New Zealand society.


It's make or break time in Sydney for New Zealand basketball.

After a 12 point loss in their first game against the Australian Boomers, they need a win tonight to keep alive their chances of filling the Oceania slot at next year's Beijing Olympics.

Former Breakers coach Jeff Green, who will call the test for Maori Television, says the Tall Blacks have an uphill battle going on the court so soon after flying back from a European tour.

He says the intensity of the rivalry will be seen from the initial haka.

“The Aussies love it. They stand there and they understand the haka and the challenge the Tall Blacks are throwing at them and they stand toe to toe. They don’t stop the teams from advancing. Especially the Australians understand what it’s all about and take the challenge face on,” Mr Green says.

He says while captain Pero Cameron performed to his usual standard last night, fellow Maori players Paul Henare and Paora Winita will need to lift their game tonight.

Tuheitia gets change to make mark

The Minister of Maori Affairs believes King Tuheitia will follow in the footsteps of his mother and become one of the great Maori leaders of contemporary times.

Thousands of people are expected at Turangawaewae Marae today to hear the Maori king's first public speech, capping the week-long Koroneihana hui.

Parekura Horomia says it should give some pointers as to how King Tuheitia intends to carry on the work of his mother, Te Atairangikaahu.

“It's an important speech and he’ll give his direction and there are changing times in the sense of a growing rangatahi and how he presents himself is something we shall certainly see ad I have every confidence he will head off to be like his mum one of the great leaders of contemporary times,” Mr Horomia says.


The sponsor of a bill to remove Treaty of Waitangi principles from legislation isn't upset by its imminent demise.

In response to a question from the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the government confirmed it would not support Pita Paraone's bill past the select committee stage.

It supported the bill's introduction as a condition of its confidence and supply agreement with New Zealand First, but told the UN committee its passage would be injurious to the overall Crown-Maori relationship.

Mr Paraone says Labour has lived up to its side of the bargain, and New Zealand First got what asked for.

“We had hoped that through the submission process there would be enough evidence to support the notion of at least defining what those principals were but unfortunately I don’t think we’re going to see that in the report back to Parliament,” Mr Paraone says.

He is considering another member's bill which will offer clear definitions of treaty principles.


The ASB Community Trust is encouraging marae to install sprinkler systems to protect their taonga.

The trust this year handed out $67 million in grants to almost 800 groups in Auckland and Northland.

Chief executive Jenny Gill says they include some Maori organisations, and the trust is keen to assist the sector.

It has a particular interest in making sure historic whare have fire protection, after a spate of blazes in recent years.

“It just breaks everybody's heart really to get an application form a group who are struggling to rebuild something from scratch, and quite often there isn’t a sprinkler system or there isn’t necessarily even insurance, and so part of what we’re encouraging applicant groups to do is certainly to insure the buildings but also to ensure that sprinkler systems are put in,” Ms Gill says.

The ASB Community Trust can make capital grants from as little as 15-hundred dollars to one and a half million.


The path from national to local body politics is through talk radio.

That seems to be the pattern emerging in some high profile mayoralty contests.

Radio Live presenters John Tamihere and Willie Jackson are eying up runs for Waitakere and Manukau respectively.

They're seeking to follow in the footsteps of Michael Laws, who adds a Radio Live paycheck to his Wanganui mayor's stipend, and John Banks, who filled the talkback airwaves on the way to his first term ... so far .. as Auckland Mayor.

Mr Jackson says he's been sounding out support.

“I know that if I stand I’ve got a chance, a real chance, and talking to some people over the weekend, certain person, if he runs the campaign I’d be 99 percent sure I’d be there if he'd take it over,” Mr Jackson says.


Meanwhile, a former Auckland mayoral candidate says it's time for Maori to stand up and be counted in local body elections.

Matt McCarten says out of more than 200 elected officials in the Auckland region, the number of Maori can be counted on one hand.

The former Alliance president says it may take the entry of high profile candidates like John Tamihere and Willie Jackson to change that.

They have until noon Friday to get their nominations in, but Mr McCarten says both floated their names out to gauge support.

“Both will have quite a lot of support for all sorts of reasons. John would be a populist centre right and Willie would be a populist centre left, so they’re different in that sense although they are kind of, because they’ve got their radio show and they’ve been good mates, it will be a sort of a double act if they both run,” Mr McCarten says.


Maori sports stars are sharing their secrets with rangatahi who want to pursue a career in sport.

A celebrity panel will be a feature of the AUT Maori Expo later in the month, including Dean Bell, Deon Nukunuku, Wynton Rufer, Tony Kemp, Farah Palmer and Tawera Nikau.

Organiser Amelia Kapa says the low number of Maori in the All Black World Cup squad raised questions about what is needed to develop more high performance Maori athletes.

“We're talking about what’s needed in the home, what needs to happen at administration level, what needs to happen in schools. We want to take a really wide scope on this one and get them to talk about it because they’ve been through it, they’ve developed from being young rangatahi with huge dreams to being on top of their game,” Ms Kapa says.

Monday, August 20, 2007

MPs turned DJs consider career switch

Keep the audience guessing is a showbiz adage talk hosts Willie Jackson and John Tamihere are living up to.

The two former MPs are refusing to confirm speculation they will seek the mayoralty in Manukau City and Waitakere respectively.

Any run would follow a well-established pattern, with their fellow Radio Live presenter Michael Laws the incumbent mayor in Wanganui, and Auckland mayoral candidate John Banks a former talkback host.

Mr Tamihere says he's still consulting on a run.

“I've always thought that is I was going to do anything at local body level, you’d allow your opposition to be declaring and going to the opening so of oysters and all that stuff but I thought the best strategy was to wait until the last minute, conduct the consultation rounds that we need to do out here with a whole range of stakeholder groups, and then make and informed decision with the family and that hasn't yet been made,” Mr Tamihere says.

Local body candidates have until noon Friday to declare.


The Maori Party's justice spokesperson says a United Nations report on race relations in New Zealand goes a lot further than the foreshore and seabed debate.

As well as criticising the government's handling of Treaty of Waitangi issues, the UN Committee on Racial Discrimination reiterated its earlier concerns about Maori over-representation in poverty and crime statistics.

It said cultural issues aren't taken into account during sentencing, even though the Sentencing Act allows them to be.

Te Ururoa Flavell says the committed has recognised the relationship between the justice system and Maori is disfunctional.

“If the system for example is racist by intent, then clearly it’s not just about one matter and it’s not just about one cultural element. What it is is about addressing the whole issue about the justice system,” Mr Flavell says.

He says the report is a blow for New Zealand's international reputation on race relations.


New Zealand's multicultural society is helping forge a new type of tattooing.

That's the perspective artist and curator Steven Ball is trying to put across in The Living Art of Pacific Tattoo, images of ta moko by nine photographers.

The exhibition has been to Tahiti, Milan, Amsterdam, London, Auckland and Whakatane - and it's now on show in Napier.

Mr Ball says the blending of cultures in New Zealand can be seen in the ink.

“There quite a lot of bicultural people, part-Maori, part-Samoan, part-Tongan, part-English, part-European, whatever, and I think a lot of those styles are getting mixed up and a lot of crossover is happening and I find that exciting because it totally represents where we are now,” Mr Ball says.


Anticipation is growing about King Tuheitia's maiden speech tomorrow, capping the week long Koroneihana celebration.

The speech is expected to be non-political, outlining major issues facing Maori in the coming years.

During the week the King has heard words of support from a wide range of poltical and tribal leaders ... but he's also been warned to stay clear of partisan politics.

The chair of Tainui's executive, former New Zealand First MP Tukoroirangi Morgan, says King Tuheitia will be heeding that advice.

“Tuheitia sits above all of those things and in the end it is people like myself who are charged with the responsibility of working the political issues out,” Mr Morgan says.


The Race Relations Conciliator believes criticism of this country by the United Nations is relatively mild.

In its latest report, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has noted the disproportionate number of Maori in the prison system.

It repeated its earlier criticism of the Foreshore and Seabed Act, and called for renewed dialogue between Government and Maori on the issue.

The conciliator, Joris de Bres, says it was a balanced report, and no one is pretending New Zealand's record is perfect.

“Looking at the list of things I’d like to see fixed, it’s still pretty long, but then as Ngahiwi Tomoana said to me at the committee meeting, he said we were wedged between Costa Rica and Khazakstan and his impression was that when you looked at New Zealand in between those two countries, we weren’t doing too bad,” Mr de Bres says.


Maori organic growers could be on the verge of a boom.

Percy Tipene, from Te Waka Kai Ora, says Maori have the potential to be significant players in the organic produce sector.

At Organics Aotearoa New Zealand's first national conference this weekend, the Maori growers' organisation unveiled its Hua Maori certification, blending tikanga Maori with existing international frameworks.

Mr Tipene says greater emphasis on organics could have health and economic benefits.

“With the actual amount of Maori land that we have available that’s been unadulterated by any chemicals ort any other phosphatic fertilizers, I think we’re in a good position to manage a process that’s going to be to the betterment of our people here in Aotearoa,” Mr Tipene says.

Maori people should be encouraged to eat more organic kai, instead of foods which encourage obesity and heart disease.

Ngati Hine picks up phony bookwork

A former staff member from Ngati Hine Health Trust is due to appear in court this week for alleged theft.

Trust spokesperson Mike Kake says it involved diverting funds due to the trusts from clients living in residential care.

He says none of the clients will suffer any personal financial loss.

Mr Kake says it was picked up by internal management systems.

“Through our normal monitoring we picked up on something and found she’d got access to clients’ bank accounts and went around picking up money as if she was collecting rent. It was money for services owed to the trust, but she was picking it up and putting it into her own bloody bank account,” Mr Kake says.

Ngati Hine Health Trust informed its residential clients about the alleged fraud, and all are happy to continue using its services.


Te Herenga Waka in the Hibiscus Coast finally has a home after 20 years of searching.

Chairperson Richard Nahi says the community organisation has secured a lease over the former Silverdale primary school for a year.

With no marae between Northcote and beyond Warkworth, Te Herenga Waka provides a point of contact for those seeking to learn more about Maori language and culture.

Mr Nahi says the search is now on for land for a marae.

This particular facility now offers us a chance to have a resource centre for the area, and it’s an opportunity also for Te Herenga Waka to promote te reo and culture and also to help to deliver programmes relating to the Treaty of Waitangi,” he says.


Part time Auntie Rachel House has been given a chance to learn from some of the world’s best theatre directors.

The Kai Tahu actor and director is to spend the next nine months at the Prague Centre for Further Education and Professional Development.

Her acting credits include Whale Rider and Eagle vs Shark, and she directed the award winning drama Have Car Will Travel … as well as appearing as an occasional panelist on Maori Television’s Ask the Aunties.

Ms House says she wants to use what she learns to find new ways to bring Maori stories to life.

“We've got fantastic Maori directors around. We’ve got Mereta Mita and Taika Waititi, Peter Berger, but there’s still not that many of them and I think what we’re still finding is a lot of our stories are being directed by people who aren’t Maori and that’s all good and well and it’s absolutely fine but I’d like to see our stories be told by us,” Ms House says.

There’s be a special Send Rachel to Prague gig at Auckland’s Galatos Theatre next Sunday to raise some of $40,000 cost of the course.


Ngati Hine Health Trust is assuring its clients that none will be out of pocket as a result of an alleged fraud by a former employee.

A woman is due to appear in Whangarei District Court tomorrow on charges of stealing from the community services provider.

Trust spokesperson Mike Kake says a staff member allegedly took money which was supposed to be paid by clients in residential care for services from the trust.

He says it was picked up by internal management systems, and the trust had acted quickly to uphold the integrity of its service and maintain public confidence.

“We go on the front foot with it. We didn’t want any ‘Oh, what’s happening with the Ngati Hine Health Trust. We want to be up front with it and say it won’t cost the clients anything and the due process of the law is going to take place. We wanted to make sure people knew that particular area of our services, the health trust services, was going to continue,” Mr Kake says.

Ngati Hine Health Trust has served the Northland Community for over a decade and has more than 100 staff.


A new breed of Maori trustees is emerging.

That's the view of accountant Heta Hudson, whose latest trustee training programme wrapped up in Manukau yesterday.

He says it’s usually a mahi people are thrown into by their whanau, so they often need a crash course on their roles and responsibilities.

People are getting involved in the financial affairs of their hapu and whanau at a younger age.

“What we notice with people we take through the trustee training, there seems to be a generation of younger ones – when I say younger say between mid-20s to 45 – who are either looking to become trustees or are trustees now have notices that a lot hasn’t happened with the assets or the shares that they have in their whanau trusts and they’re really looking to step things up and move forward,” Mr Hudson says.

The courses were backed by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.


A Maori songwriter says artists are having to seek audiences overseas because songs in te reo can’t get played on mainstream radio here.

Andrea Tunks is a finalist in the Maori language section of the next month’s APRA Silver Scroll awards.

She says while Maori radio is giving Maori artists confidence and an audience, they also want to reach listeners who don’t speak the reo.

“No matter how good the music, because look at Whirimako and Ruia and Moana and Hinewehi, who good the music, it’s very hard to get that material played by mainstream New Zealand radio which is why they skip here and go straight overseas to try to create their demand,” Ms Tunks says.

She says fans should trying ringing mainstream music stations so they can create demand for their favourite songs to be playlisted.