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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Clark denounces Destiny cult

Prime Minister Helen Clark has described attempts by the Destiny Church to become an Urban Maori Authority as ridiculous.

Helen Clark says the church is a "cult" which should have no place acting as an Urban Maori Authority.

“I think probably most people in Maoridom will be thinking what is going on here? This is not an urban Maori authority. This is a cult. It’s ridiculous, as is, in my view, any suggestion of a treaty claim by Black Power or the Mongrel Mob. It’s not real. It’s not serious,” Ms Clark says.

However the Federation of National Urban Maori Authorities has welcomed an approach by Destiny Church inviting it to lodge a formal application for membership which will be sponsored by existing member the Manukau Urban Authority.

NUMA executive officer John Tamihere says he is not surprised by Helen Clark's attitude as the church has opposed three of the government's major pieces of legislation, the Civil Unions Act, the Prostitution Act and the Crimes Act Amendment known as the anti-smacking bill.


A hui on the life of Sir Graham Latimer has led to calls for a revitalisation of the Maori council.

A symposium at Te Papa in Wellington yesterday attracted an extraordinary gathering of Maori leaders.

The symposium brought together many of the people that 82 year old Sir Graham Latimer and his wide Lady Emily have worked with in the past four decades in the Maori Council.

They have talked of his unique leadership style and his deal-making ability which has led to advances for Maori in treaty claims, forestry, fishing, broadcasting and the protection of te reo Maori.

Former protester Donna Awatere-Huata pointed to the way Sir Graham was able to use the activities of the protesters on the street to get concessions out of those in power.

She said under his leadership the Maori Council allowed the voice of ordinary Maori to be heard.

She says it needs to be reborn anew, with the fibres of the old net interwoven with the new net.


The Electoral Enrolment Centre has hit back at criticism from the Maori Party's Waikato Hauraki candidate.

Angeline Greensil says many voters she came across during weekend campaigning were confused as to whether they were in her electorate or Pita Sharple's in neighbouring Tamaki Makaurau.

However the Electoral Enrolment Centre National Manager Murray Wicks says considerable effort has been put in to inform voters about such things as boundary changes.

“In May every registered elector was sent a pack with a form showing their current details and what their new electorate was. In late July election rolls were published so people could go along and check their names and what electorate they were in,” Mr Wicks says.

He says now rolls have closed information packs will be sent to every registered voter showing which electorate they are in.


The Federation of Urban Maori Authorities is not surprised by Prime Minister Helen Clark saying it is ridiculous that the Destiny Church should be considered for membership of the organisation.

Helen Clark says the church is a cult which should no more be considered as an urban Maori Authority than the Black Power or Mongrel Mob should have treaty claims acknowledged.

However the Federation of National Urban Maori Authorities has invited Destiny Church to make an application for membership supported by existing member - the Manukau Urban Authority.

NUMA Executive officer John Tamihere says he is not surprised by the Prime Minister's attitude.

“Well she doesn't believe in God. They do. They don’t believe in prostitution. She’s sponsored bills and voted for them. They don’t believe in civil unions. She does. They don’t believe in the anti-smacking legislation. She does. So does tens of thousands other kiwis and Maori. So that’s no surprises to anyone, is it,” Mr Tamihere says.

The question is not whether the group making application is Christian or not but does the group advance the cause of Maori people on the street day in and day out and the Destiny Church clearly does that.


Ngati Hinewaka hapu is concerned it doesn't have the authority to stop damage from a 24-lot subdivision on coastal land at Torea on the Wairarapa coast.

Chair Haami Te Whaiti says councils and the Historic Places Trust are the ones who should be protecting such significant Maori land sites but they are not doing so.

“We'd like to think that instead of fighting a rear-guard action, that councils and the Historic Places Trust are being more proactive. They’re the ones that have the authority to be able to do this work. We’ve identified that there are areas that are sensitive to that type of development. We’d want them to be working towards protecting those values,” Mr Te Whaiti says.

The Awhea Subdivision by Martinborough Coastal Developments is damaging historic Pa, traditional maara and exposing bones or koiwi.


Maori attitudes to organ donation are changing according to an advocate for maore maori involvement in organ donation.

Phil Heremaia, who has worked in the Maori health sector for many years, says Maori organ donation rates have traditionally been very low.

However he says with education this is changing as evidenced by recent organ donations from Maori whanau.

“They’re saying the wairua’s gone, it’s just a shell sitting there, the tupapaku, and if we can give help to someone when we’re gone, so be it,” Mr Heremaia says.

With many Maori patients reliant on donated organs the key is to provide people with the information to make the choice that's right for them and their whanau.


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