Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, March 21, 2008

Maori ceremony not right in government

The race relations commissioner says it may not be appropriate to import Maori protocols wholesale into government departments.

Joris de Bres isn't commenting directly on a ruling by the Human Rights Review Tribunal that former probation officer Josie Bullock suffered detrimental treatment because of her gender when she was ordered to sit behind men during a Corrections Department poroporoaki in 2004,

But he says the case highlights some of the difficulties of trying to make organisations more bicultural.

“It is perfectly clear to me that if someone goes to a Maori context, a marae or elsewhere, it is a very simple and reasonable expectation that people will observe and respect the protocol of that place. If it is a protocol in a government department or a non-Maori setting then it is a matter of working towards a protocol that reflects the culture of that organisation,” Mr de Bres says.

He says the Army has shown how a hybrid organisational culture can be developed without undervaluing or usurping either culture.


Maori Catholics from around the motu are gathering at Silverstream in the Hutt Valley for a weekend of sports, singing, competitions and prayer.

The Hui Aranga started in Otaki in 1946 to keep the faith growing among Maori, and it moves to another centre each year.

Henare Ngaia from the kaunihera matua of the Hui Aranga council, says fundraising by the host region keeps down costs for manuhiri.

He says it's a great chance to catch up with old friends.


Meanwhile, Maori netballers are heading for Te Taitokerau.

Up to 4000 players and supporters from 11 regions or waka are expected at the 21st Aotearoa Maori Netball tournament in Whangarei.

Jane Rehua, from Aotearoa Maori Netball, says it's a good way to promote a healthy lifestyle message.

“We have health coordinators, all those thngs, to help our rangatahi, because it’s for them. We have the premiers there to tautoko and play their best and it’s really competitive,” Ms Rehua says.

Aotearoa Maori Netball wants to get a Maori team into the world netball series, but Netball New Zealand has refused to back the idea.


A new member of the Waitangi National Trust says the visitors centre at Waitangi has outlived its usefulness.

The Historic Places Trust and Northland-based Labour list MP Shane Jones have come out against a proposed new centre to be sited just north of the Treaty Grounds behind the Whare Runanga.

Erima Henare says they should put any concerns to the consent process being run by the Far North District Council.

The current centre below the Treaty Grounds was opened by Prince Charles and Lady Diana a quarter century ago.

“There's a need for a new facility that will cope with the numbers of people that now come to Waitangi, that will delver them a quality product around what is available on the estate, and at times the café part of it can serve to assist the whare runanga for gatherings it might have,” Mr Henare says.

He says there seems to be an agenda to bring the Waitangi Treaty Grounds back under the control of the Crown.


John Key says National wouldn't support any plan to include Maori seats on any Auckland regional authority.

The idea is contained in an issues paper put out as part of the Royal Commission into the way the country's largest city is governed.

The National leader and Helensville MP says it's a non-starter.

“Yeah I'm not sure that really delivers in the way we would want. I mean I kind of go back to I guess our general view of representation, that I genuinely believe that if all representatives have the broadest responsibilities, then you’re likely to get buy-in and people taking up issues. Otherwise it looks a bit tokenism and I don’t think it always works,” Mr Key says.

He says there are other ways to ensure Maori issues are properly debated.


Caring for old Maori soldiers is an ongoing responsibility for Maori.

That's the view of Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia, who is a guest at this weekend's reunion of the 28 Maori Battalion in Gisborne.

The Ikaroa Rawhiti MP says he's honoured to spend time with the World War 2 veterans.

“Their numbers are dwindling now. They’re down to the 40-odd mark. It’s not a big rush and shindig there. They like to get together, they like to take it easy, and they like to talk about things they did together and certainly it’s a good gathering, and they’ve also got the king (Tuheitia) coming to rededicate a couple of the marae in Turanga,” Mr Horomia says.

He says Maori veterans from the Korea, Malaya and Vietnam deployments also need ongoing support.

A large group from the north is expected at the powhiri tomorrow bringing the kawe mate or memory of former battallion association president Tamati Paraone, who was buried on Monday.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Boot put into TPK spending

The National Party is questioning the spending of Maori development money on rugby.

Spokesperson Georgina te Heuheu says a financial review of Te Puni Kokiri has revealed that it is handing out grants in an ad hoc manner.

She says money from the Maori potential fund, which is supposed to build up matauranga or knowledge, strengthen whakamana or leadership and develop Maori rawa or resources, has instead gone to sports clubs.

“That was the job of others, namely the rugby union, to foster rugby I guess in various places, and when the need of Maori is so high in areas like housing and jobs and incomes, which really do address the potential of Maori, then we can see the rationale for that sort of funding,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

The select committee was also concerned at what value Maori would have got from the $90,000 spent on foreign travel by Maori Trustee John Paki during the year.


There's more to being the hau kainga than meets the eye.

That's why Te Wananga o Aotearoa's Rotorua campus is offering a pilot course on marae roles.

Tutor Maia Mihaka says many kaumatua are concerned that many of the younger people coming through don't have a solid grasp on some of the kawa and tikanga involved.

She says the old ways of handing on knowledge over many years don't suit everyone's lifestyle.

When you are the koeke or the kaumatua of the marae you’re expected to be the ones in the wharenui and do all the korero there, and then if you’re a bit younger you’re stuck in the kitchen and sometimes I think because of the way our world is today there’s just no way everyone can get off work to attend important hui at the marae,” Maia Mihaka says.


There's a call for Maori to go back to the breast.
The Government has launched a strategy to up breastfeeding rates and create supportive environments mother's feeding their children.

Marewa Glover from Auckland University's School of Population Health says Maori rates of breastfeeding are much lower than other New Zealand women.

She says that's because Maori mums were told they needed the change the way they cared for their babies, when they should have been sticking with what their grandmothers did.

“This is the way we did it and this is what we have to get back to. It is absolutely normal, it is the best thing to do, it’s cheap, it’s clean. Baby doesn’t need anything else up to six months and then the World Health Organisation recommends breast feeding up to two years and beyond,” Dr Glover says.

She says Maori women have lost confidence in their own abilities, which makes them vulnerable to aggressive baby food marketers.


A Maori academic is backing the idea of separate Maori seats in any rejig of Auckland's regional and local councils.

An issues paper prepared for the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance suggests an Auckland regional body could be elected based on existing electorates - which would include the three Maori electorates which draw on the city.

The Royal commission's chair, retired High Court judge, says it's an idea worth considering.

Rawiri Taonui, the head of Canterbury University's School of Maori and Indigenous Studies, says separate seats put Maori at the table where crucial decisions are made.

“Auckland's too big a city to dilute Maori opinion just because a minority are Maori so I think it’s a brave opinion on his part and good luck to him and let’s just hope that Auckland Maori get organised and make submissions and try to secure something for themselves,” Mr Taonui says.

Submissions to the Royal Commission close in a month.


The Accident Compensation Corporation's new director of Maori and community relations wants to see more Maori taking up the services they are entitled to.

Paula Snowden from Ngapuhi has previously held senior positions with Te Puni Kokiri, the Alcohol Advisory Council and Housing New Zealand.

She says Maori women are particularly slow to get help when they need it.

“One of the issues for women generally is that women priorities the healthcare of their children and their husbands over themselves and that’s true for all women. One of the challenges is to show women how they can access the right healthcare services including injury prevention and treatment for their own injuries that benefits their families, that prioritising their own health care does not deprioritise their families,” Ms Snowden says.


A children's author hopes his books will show Maori tamariki ways to stay on the straight and narrow.

Tim Tipene, a martial artist and trained counselor, founded a basic martial arts programme, Kura Toa Warrior School, to help kids at risk.

He's also won prizes for books like Haere, Farewell Jack Farewell and Taming the Taniwha,

His latest title, Rewa Finds his Wings, tackles themes of identity and motivation.

“Basically it's about a young fellow who’s not too happy about his direction in life, with the path of work he’s chosen, though he certainly enjoys the bush and admiring the birds, so his mum is concerned about him so she sends him up north to see a tohunga that she knows, and he helps him discover his path,” Mr Tipene says.

His experience working on men's anger management and violence programmes made him realise how important it was to work with children before they made big mistakes in their lives.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Maori suicide rate stays up

A new five-year strategy on suicide prevention includes a big push for more Maori research.

Merryn Statham, from Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand, says the government's action plan will promote mental health and well-being, improve the care of people who survive suicide attempts, and try to change the way the media and entertainment industries handle suicide stories.

She says there's also concern that while the overall suicide rate has dropped by 19 percent in the past decade, too many Maori are still killing themselves.

“We've still got too many people dying by suicide and unfortunately we haven’t seen the same decrease for Maori communities as we have in other areas of the community and that’s why there’s such a real focus this time on how can we actually get the same decrease looking at Maori populations as we have for Pakeha communities,” Ms Statham says.

New resources will be available later in the year to help Maori communities reduce suicides.


The Ministry of Health is acknowledging the work of four now-deceased elders in bringing Maori concepts into the health system.

It's dedicating its new Te Apa Mareikura scholarships to the late Rongo Wirepa from Ngati Porou, Anne Delamere from Te Whanau a Apanui, Te Arawa, Denis Simpson from Ngati Awa and Bill Katene from Ngati Toa Rangatira.

Students who have a track record in community health and proven leadership ability can apply for the two $10,000 scholarships before April 11.

Mita Ririnui, the Associate Minister of Health, says the four kaumatua showed how community leadership could improve the health of Maori.

“We thought it very important to acknowledge their contributions by launching these important scholarships in their names so that their work is continued and not forgotten,” Mr Ririnui says.

Other Hauora Maori Scholarships have been boosted to cover expected tuition fee increases.


There should be more mainland tuatara sanctuaries.

That's the view of Lindsay Hazley, the tuatara curator at the Southland Museum.

He says it's one of the living taonga of Aotearoa and a link to the distant past, yet few New Zealanders have seen one because they're mostly on predator-free island sanctuaries.

“It's very fine having island sanctuaries but people never get to see these island sanctuaries. They don’t have access. But creating mainland sanctuaries, fencing them off, getting rid of the vermin and reintroducing small sections back to the native state,” Mr Hazley says.


National's Maori Affairs spokesperson says the Ministry of Maori Development is wasting money on rugby clubs.

Georgina te Heuheu says a review of Te Puni Kokiri's financial performance shows the ministry doesn't have much of a plan.

She says the select committee looked closely at grants for developing Maori potential in knowledge, resources and leadership.

“We found their spending to be pretty ad hoc, sometimes no rhyme or reason as to why they’d allocated grants under certain heads and often times it was a sort of scatter gun approach that if you throw enough money around, maybe something good will happen. Well of course that doesn't happen,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

The grants include several to rugby clubs, which she says is not the business of the Ministry for Maori Development.


A Maori health researcher is comparing the tactics of baby food companies with the tobacco industry.

Marewa Glover from Auckland University's school of population health says Maori babies are more likely than other Kiwi babies to be artificially fed from birth.

She says like big tobacco, the baby food companies push their product despite clear evidence of its negative health effects.

“They're allowed to advertise and they’re allowed to market their products and give away free samples and they are pushing this artificial milk baby powder and also they’re pushing baby foods onto women top feed their babies solids way earlier than recommended by the World Health Organisation,” Dr Glover says.

The new Government strategy on breastfeeding launched today highlights concern about aggressive promotion of infant formula.


Kai Tahu singer Ariana Tikao is off to see the world.

Her bilingual album, Tuia, has been released this month, following on from her 2002 effort Whaea.

The former Pounamu singer is off to London next week with husband Ross to promote the disc and take up a Te Waka Toi residency at the University of London.

She's following in the footsteps of musicians like Moana and Wai, who have shown there is an international market for music in Maori.

"We're out there representing Aotearoa when we go away, and especially for te reo Maori artists, we don’t quite get the recognition here that some people have been getting overseas and sometimes it takles a bit of going overseas before that mahi is actually honoured,” Tikao says.

She's taken up playing taonga puoro, inspired by the sounds of traditional instruments that Richard Nunns contributed to Tuia.

Te Arawa wants water back too

Te Arawa members want to reopen talks on the ownership of the water in their lakes.

They instructed the annual hui of the Te Arawa Lakes Trust to investigate lodging a treaty claim for what the Crown calls the stratum - the water in the lakes and the air above.

The stratum was left out of the settlement passed into law two years ago, which gave the iwi ownership of the beds of Rotorua and 13 other central North Island lakes.

The trust's chairperson, Toby Curtis, says the water wasn't on the table during negotiations.

“When they did the settlement, there was no opportunity to ever consider the water. That was nearly four years ago. The climate has changed. Tainui as got their water back with the river. Tuwharetoa’s got its water back with the lake. They have to give ours back,” Mr Curtis says.

The trust was told to report back on progress to next year's annual meeting.


Terms like cuzzy, auntie, nanny and my bro help whanau learn core values like whanaungatanga and manaakitanga.

That's the finding of new research into everyday conversations in Maori families.

Researcher Huia Tomlins-Jahnke says her pilot study of four families found music, sport and food were common topics, karakia was an integral part of daily life, and many of the conversations with the children focused on children.

While similar studies of non-Maori families found the use of personal pronouns was uncommon, in her sample they helped connect whanau members.

“References to each other a cuzzie or my cousin, my auntie my uncle, just using those kinds of kinship terms. These were really clear markers about how important whanau and whanaungatanga is as a core value in our society,” Ms Tomlins-Jahnke says.

Her study found children were not excluded from issues like illness and death within the whanau.


It was a family affair for the winner of the women's section of last weekend's Te Houtaewa challenge.

Ady Ngawati says the best part was running down Te Oneroa a Tohe or 90 Mile Beach with her dad, who did his first 21 kilometer race.

The Ngapuhi woman, who also won last year's Auckland marathon, says her 63 kilometre run was the longest she's ever attempted.

“The intensity is a lot lower than with the marathon because it’s all about pace and stamina, it’s endurance. I’ve never been over 50 kilometers before so it was the unknown doing an extra 13 kms. You just don’t know where your mind’s going to take so and more so where your body’s going to take you at the end,” Ms Ngawati says.

She finished second overall in 5 hours 16 minutes.

Her next big challenge is the Rotorua marathon in early May.


The Maori Doctors Association wants to see more done to boost Maori participation in the health sector.

Chairperson David Jansen says Medical Council figures showing only two and half percent of doctors identify as Maori is evidence of years of neglect.

Maori make up almost 15 percent of the population.

Dr Jansen says encouraging Maori into the sector is a good investment.

“They're less likely to go overseas. They’re more likely to stay. They’re more likely to work with Maori communities. So for the investment we make, we get a better return, so for my money we ought to invest more in that area so I think it’s really valuable to get Maori involved in the health sector,” he says.


An Auckland University think tank is asking Maori and Pacific island youth about their experiences of mental health or drug and alcohol services.

Shona Clarke from the Werry Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health says today's hui will look for ways to get more rangatahi using the services.

She says most mental health programmes are designed ands delivered by adults, so it's important young people can have input.

“The project is about increasing the numbers of young people that are participating and having an active say about the youth mental health and alcohol and drug services that they use. We’re trying to encourage services to employ young people and get young people involved, improve it as well so it's not tokenistic,” Ms Clarke says.


The host of this year's Polyfest has apologised for a mistake which led to the wrong school being declared the winner of the kapa haka section.

Craig Seuseu, the director of the Auckland secondary schools Maori and Pacific Island cultural festival, says a time penalty against Te Wharekura o Hoani Waititi wasn't picked up when scores were initially collated by Wesley College scrutineers.

When it was picked up, the five point penalty was enough to drop the West Auckland school down to fourth place.

“The mistake was realized Sunday morning, so all four kuras have been invited down to Wesley and their mistake was explained to them so all four schools are aware of that, they’re aware of where it leaves them, there’s been and apology made due to the collating error by Wesley College and those four schools are aware those taonga will be reallocated between those four schools,” Mr Seuseu says.

Te Kahurangi from Auckland Girls Grammar School's Te Kahurangi emerged the winner, with Te Kapunga from James Cook High School second and Otara's Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Piripono third.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hoani Waititi penalised out of top spot

A time penalty has cost Te Wharekura o Hoani Waititi the top spot in the Maori competitions at this year's Auckland secondary schools' cultural festival.

Te Kahurangi from Auckland Girls Grammar School came through to win for the first time, with Te Kapunga from James Cook High School in Manurewa and Otara's Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Piripono taking the minor placings.

Polyfest director Craig Seuseu says Hoani Waiti was given the top prize on the day, but a check of the paperwork on Sunday found judges hadn't counted a five point penalty for staying on stage too long.

“It was very close between the top four schools. They’re four schools that regularly in the top four of the Maori stage first division, and five points was enough to move Te Wharekura o Hoani Waititi from first to fourth,” Mr Seuseu says.

The schools have all been contacted, and they will be coming to host school Wesley College for the taonga to be reallocated.

The Maori section was this year divided into three divisions, with another James Cook roopu winning the second division and a combined team from Wesley and Waiuku Colleges


The Prime Minister says there is a precedent for separate Maori seats for an Auckland regional council.

Peter Salmon, the chair of the Royal Commission on Auckland governance, says that's one of the ideas that could be considered.

Helen Clark says it's been tried successfully elsewhere.

“The Bay of Plenty Regional Council put to Parliament through Mita Ririnui a local bill to enable the Maori people in the Bay of Plenty Regional Council area to have elected representatives on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council so there is a precedent for that and we will just have to look very closely at what the Royal Commission says,” Ms Clark says.


The Problem Gambling Foundation says pokie machines are poisoning Maori communities.

Chief executive John Stansfield says pokies are the addiction of nine out of 10 of the Maori women who seek help for gambling.

He says times have changed since housie was the only game in town.

“Some people did have problems with Housie but because it was a socialised activity. If you lost all your money at the housie, you could reach across the table and borrow a fiver from auntie Min to buy some spuds and a bit of mince on the way home to put the kids’ tea on, and you couldn’t do it all day and all night, and you weren’t placing a bet, as you are on a pokie machine, every 2.6 seconds,” Mr Stansfield says.

He says gambling used to be a predominantly male activity, but over the past decade the industry has targeted women, introducing pokie machines with feminine themes.


The Te Arawa Lakes Trust is sounding out beneficiaries on the feasibilty of a Te Arawa superstructure to manage the affairs of the Rotorua-based confederation.

Chairperson Toby Curtis says the trust's annual hui was concerned at the proliferation of groups representing tribal interests.

The trust itself is responsible for the lakes settlement, and has taken over many of the functions of the old Te Arawa Maori Trust Board.

There is a separate organisation managing Te Arawa's share of the fisheries settlement, and other groups pursuing land and forestry claims.

Mr Curtis says the call is driven by the increase in assets and income held collectively by the confederation.

“Instead of the iwi being confused with the money here, money there, we have got to get in and say hey we don’t confuse the people, let’s set up one superstructure. Let’s amalgamate, so it makes it easier for the people, and that we don’t end up competing but we’re all doing it for the good of the people,” Mr Curtis says.

He says the Lakes Trust will consult with iwi members over the coming year and report back to the next annual meeting.


We've had the blue light disco.

Now the police are trying the kanikani kahurangi approach to recruitment.

Tia Winekerei, the iwi liason officer for the Auckland district, says the 12 Maori officers involved in Te Haerenga made an impact when they hit the stage for the first time last night at Whangarei.

“We're using kapa haka as the waka and it’s just an approach I guess to engage with our whanau and I guess we’re selling our experiences in our jobs but also that we have a whanau side that we love and enjoy and that we’re Maori but we also work for the police,” Ms Winekerei says.

A threatened protest against Te Haerenga failed to materialise.


A new study has found out what Maori whanau talk about in their every day lives.

Researcher Huia Tomlins-Jahnke says the idea of the pilot, funded by the Families Commission, was to discover how tamariki were socialised and learn core values through talking.

She says little is known about communication within Maori whanau, and the pilot showed the concept of the study is sound.

“We got some pretty good information from the study and it provides some pretty good information for examining what the role is in everyday talk which might help us understand how various kinds of Maori whanau, what makes them tick. It has implications not just for Maori but for other New Zealanders as well,” Ms Tomlins-Jahnke says.

There were four families involved in the Whanau Talk Project, including one committed to Maori language immersion at home, and there is scope for a larger study.

Poananga not going it alone

The spurned Maori Party candidate for Ikaroa Rawhiti is ruling out an independent run for the East Coast seat.

Atareta Poananga, the 2005 candidate, lost out to former partner Derek Fox in a poll of party members at 14 selection hui this month.

She's challenged the process, but says there's little that can be done because the ballot papers were destroyed.

Ms Poananga still supports the Maori Party, and says she hasn't thought of running on her own.

“Having been in an independent campaign and actuall running that campaign for Derek in 1999, I know the difficulties posed to anyone going as an independent. I’m the sort of person would have to have a hard analysis like that before I even thought about it, so I’m not thinking of it at this point,” Ms Poananga says.


The Problems Gambling Foundation says gambling is undermining Maori culture.

Chief executive John Stansfield says there are reports of Maori selling whanau taonga to feed their habits.

That causes stress and shame in whanau.

He says kuia have also told him of problems at the marae level.

“They had a problem recently at a tangi. When they looked into the back of the wharekai for the ringawera, they were nowhere to be seen, and they were up the road at the RSA playing the pokies, so it’s not just our cultural taonga but also our traditions that are placed at risk,” Mr Stansfield says.

Gambling also steals time that parents should be putting into making sure their children feel cared for and don't get into trouble.


A special service is starting about now at Turangawaewae Marae to celebrate a double anniversary.

Not only is it the Ngaruwahia Poukai, it's the 70th birthday of the flagpole, Pikiao, and the carved house, Tuhono.

Pokaia Nepia, the marae komiti chair, says the flagpole is a reminder of the links between Kingitanga and the Ngati Pikiao people from around Late Rotoiti, which were strengthened by the late Princess Te Puea Herangi.

“We all know that Te Puea once stayed in Pikiao. She was very well known for that, for starting up all these farms around the district, and we can gather probably from that where she managed to bring this flagpole back to Turangawaewae and erect it there to coincide with the opening of Turongo,” Mr Nepia says.

The kitchen has baked a cake to be cut by Raima Turner and Hikairo Herangi... two kaumatua who have a clear memory of the flagpole being erected.


The Royal Commission looking onto Auckland governance wants to hear suggestions on how all Maori living in the metropolis can be heard.

Its chairperson, QC Peter Salmon, says Maori representation is definitely on the commission's agenda.

The retired retired High Court Judge says the existing councils have tried to address how they should strengthen their relationships with the region's iwi like Ngati Whatua and Tainui-related groups, but it can't stop there.

“I think all Maori would agree that the mana whenua iwi have a special status in relation to local government in Auckland. Then there’s the question of proper representation of other Maori as well and that’s something we want to hear about from Maori,” Mr Salmon says.

The Royal Commission will hold consultation hui with mana whenua and taura here groups.


The Children's Commissioner wants the government to help Maori service providers deliver positive messages about parenting.

Cindy Kiro says there was so noise around the so-called anti-smacking bill that the real consequences of the move didn't get discussed properly.

She says rather than making Maori parents fear the law, there need to be programmes to encourage behaviour change.

“They should feel proud of the leadership that was taken through that time, proud of the stance that New Zealand has taken because we’re the first English-speaking country in the world to do this, and proud they can achieve as parents and caregivers in the future. There are things we can do and we can look forward with iwi and Maori to a more non-violent life,” Dr Kiro says.

She says the new legislation seems to be having a positive impact, and public attitudes are changing.


Maori vegetable growers are excited by the early results of a programme to breed viruses out of Maori potatoes.

Huub Kerckhoffs from Crop & Food Research says the joint project with Tahuri Whenua, the national Maori vegetable growers collective, has been working on several cultivars.

He says there was some concern that Maori potatoes could be naturally poor performers, but that's was shown to be wrong when part of the crop was dug up last week.

“These ones without the viruses are really out-performing, really big yields, more capable of fighting off other stress. I’m amazed by the buy-in of Maori. I’ve got a lot of East Coast people here last week and every one is really enthusiastic about it. Maori growers are really keen to link in with these sort of techniques,” Dr Kerckhoffs says.

There's a revival of cropping on the East Coast, with Maori keen to grow some of the older species on their under-developed land.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Maori Party ballots burned

An attempt to challenge the selection of Derek Fox as the Maori Party's Ikaroa Rawhiti candidate seems to have foundered for lack of paper.

Atareta Poananga, who is mounting the challenge, says each of the five candidates appointed scrutineers to act on their behalf.

But she says the scrutineers weren't allowed to observe the counting at each of the 14 selection hui - and now the ballot papers have been destroyed, so there can be no recount.

“The scrutineering role to me was the number one issue and so I’d like some confidence that everything went well but when you don’t have the ballot papers any more there is little you can do about it. It‘s like a foregone conclusion, in the sense that there’s nothing you can do about it,” Ms Poananga says.

She's putting her faith in party president Whatarangi Winiata to the process is improved for future selections.


Tainui's chairperson says the hard work is just beginning on cleaning up the Waikato River.

Representatives from Tainui and other river iwi have joined the region's mayors and crown members on a committee to establish the guardianship structure that is part of the Waikato-Tainui river settlement.

Tukoroirangi Morgan, who co-convenes the committee alongside Treaty Negotiations Michael Cullen, says it's the first time the iwi have been able to sit beside the Crown as an equal partner.

He says both sides are fully committed to the process.

“We have to do a substantial amount of work around the vision and strategy,. We have to look at innovative ways of how to achieve the over-arching purpose of Waikato-Tainui’s claim which is to restore and protect the health and wellbeing of the river,” Mr Morgan says.

Public consultation on the plan starts in May.


A book about one of the country's youngest professional skateboarders has given a Gisborne family a lasting tribute to their koro.

Learn to Skateboard with Luka was written by nine-year-old Luke Peta and his parents Lee and Errol.

Luke's grandfather, Tokikapu Peta, translated the book for its bilingual edition shortly before he died last year.

Lee Peta says it was a huge contribution.

“I asked him if he would translate this book for Luka about two years ago and he moaned and groaned and didn’t want to have anything to do with it because as a child he was never really allowed to speak his language. One day he came over and said because it was for his moko, he actually changed his mind,” Mrs Peta says.

Luke has won Gisborne's under 12 regional competition four years in a row, and came second at the Under 12 nationals when he was five.


Maori seats could be back in the Auckland region.

Peter Salmon QC, the chair of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance, says that's one of the options which could be looked at when the commission looks at issues of Maori representation.

The local government reforms of the 1980s got rid of the two electorate-based Maori seats on what was then the Auckland Regional Authority, but he says the idea could be looked at again.

“One idea that’s been suggested to us is that the regional government, and of course Auckland has to have a regional government, whatever form it takes, could be Elected on the basis of the national electorates which would include the three Maori electorates in the Auckland region,” Mr Salmon says.

The public can make submissions until April 22, with hearings scheduled in May and June and the commission's report to the Governor-General due by the end of the year.


The retirement commissioner wants to see iwi helping their people to get the savings habit.

Ngai Tahu's Whai Rawa scheme, which subsidises saving for home ownership and management, already has 13,500 members.

Tainui is looking at a similar scheme.

Diana Crossan says it's a sound policy, as Maori are earning more and living longer, so they can think about retirement.

“Ngai Tahu as an organisation or as an iwi has managed its money well, and what we want to do is help individuals and their families manage their money well and some of the things about Kiwisaver leads people to getting better financial education so it might be that in the first instance you don’t join Kiwisaver but you manager your debt and your mortgage better so you are better off in the long term,” Ms Crossan says.

The retirement commissioner chairs Ngai Tahu's Whai Rawa savings scheme.


One of the last of the 1939ers was late to rest today.

Hundreds of people passed through Otiria Marae near Moerewa over the weekend to honour Tamati Paraone, who died last week at the age of 92.

The Ngati Hine kaumatua joined the 28 Maori Battalion in 1939, and was always a great supporter of the battalion's association, serving for several years as its president.

Hemaana Waaka, the director of a Waka Huia documentary on Mr Paraone, says even before going off to war he was known for his speed and athleticism.

This led to him being given a special position in the wero, and he was one of the last to be trained in the traditional manner.

“In the early days when the challengers went out there was no taiahas. You just went out there and greeted the visitors and laid your stick and intimidated your visitors to the extent they would want to chase him and beat him up. So the host made sure to send a man there that had the speed to run because, because the visitors had their runners too, and so it was a bit of a disgrace if they caught your runner, and Tamati never ever got caught,” Mr Waaka says.

Maori stay away from nursing course

The number of Maori studying nursing in Canterbury has plummeted.

Only three of the 114 students in the February intake for Canterbury Polytechnic's Bachelor of Nursing are Maori.

Hector Matthews, the director of Maori and Pacific health on the Canterbury District Health Board, says that's a concern for industry leaders wanting to improve Maori health outcomes.

He says the problems start well before rangatahi enter tertiary study.

“A lot of Maori kids will drop science at the first opportunity in year and immediately a lot of doors are closed to them in a whole lot of levels in health so that’s an area we need to concentrate on at whanau level and school level,” Mr Matthews says.


The Government wants to boost the number of Maori and Pacific island people signing up to Kiwisaver.

In the first six months of the scheme only about 10 percent of those who joined are Maori, and 5 percent Pacific Island,

That's below their proportion of the total population.

The Retirement Commissioner, Diana Crossan, says Maori whanau tend to be younger and in the lower income brackets, so they may have been put off by the contribution levels.

“We certainly need to do things. The government has just announced a 2 percent possibility for people to join Kiwisaver. Up until now you have to join with 4 percent of your income, and they recognise there is a lot of people who may not be able to access it,” Ms Crossan says.


Maori on the East Coast are celebrating a return to cropping their land.

The trend has been encouraged by scientists from Crop & Food Research, who have been helping with seed stock and advice on organic growing of plants like kumara, Maori potatoes, white corn and kamokamo.

Scientist Huub Kerckhoffs says when the project started five years ago, there were few gardens in the area.

“Drive all the way the Hicks Bay and you could not see any evidence of cropping It was really sad because a lot of people were saying it was a major area of cropping and kumara gardens and it was quite a reality check for a lot of people,. They were saying how can we go back to that mindset where people can see the opportunity for themselves in a whanau and get back to cropping and make a decent living out of it,” Dr Kerckhoffs says.

The growers are getting ready for the first East Coast organic festival in Tolaga Bay at the end of the month, which will celebrate the region and the International Year of the Potato.


A poverty campaigner is backing Ron Mark's claims there is a crisis in the supply of state rental housing.

The New Zealand First MP says a Christchurch family was told to move to a campground because there were no houses available.

Alan Johnson from the Child Poverty Action Group says there's a shortage of state houses, and Housing New Zealand's solution is to push tenants towards private rental.

He says despite the rhetoric of caring for people, the Labour-led government has refused to spend its surpluses on those who need it most.

The bulk of the benefits have gone to middle class people by way of Kiwisaver, Working for Families and also the superannuation thing. The whole superannuation thing, if you think about the inequity it represents to Maori. To benefit from the superannuation scheme, you actually got to live long enough. Most Maori don’t. So there is an equity issue in the fact we’re saving money for a future many people won't have,” Mr Johnson says.

He says the government should go back to training Maori school leavers in the building trade... and use them to replenish the state housing stock.


A life member of Black Power says a proposed bill to allow councils to ban gang patches is a silly diversion from the real issues.

Wanganui MP Chester Borrows, a former police officer, will present the Wanganui District Council (Prohibition of Gang Insignia) Bill to Parliament.

Dennis O'Reilly, who set up gang liaison programmes in the 1980s, says beating up on gangs is a popular election year tactic.

He says it ignores the problems that are driving youth crime and gang recruitment.

“Fifty percent of Maori boys are leaving school without their NCEA level ones in English and math. The Maori population in jails is three to one compared to other New Zealanders. These are the big issues. This other stuff is just sort of like the little pimple. What's going on in the deeper body?” Mr O'Reilly says.

There are already laws on the books which allow police to crack down on gang members who intimidate members of the public.


A Maori singer songwriter has come home for inspiration.

Jayson Norris from Tai Tokerau has been living in London since 2004.
He's developed a loyal following there for his Pacific roots acoustic music.

But he's back to eat kaimoana and show off his new album Basket of Knowledge, which features many Kiwi and Maori themes.

“One of them is for my grandfather, who fought in the Second World War, the 28 Maori Battalion. I do a version of E Papa. There’s a song called Kumi Road, which is my old road backup in Awanui, so definitely influenced by my upbringing and my Maori side,” he says.

Jayson Norris is currently on an Acoustic Lounge Tour with Jason Kerrison from Opshop