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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, July 11, 2008

Three vie for Te Tai Tonga selection to select in

Maori Party members in Te Tai Tonga must decide this weekend who will be the party's candidate in the southern Maori electorate.

Three nominees are seeking to replace the late Monte Ohoa, who died last month.

They are Rahui Katene, a Wellington lawyer and treaty consultant, Gina Haremate-Crawford, who works for an Invercargill tertiary education provider, and Hector Matthews, the Maori services manager for the Canterbury District Health Board.

Mr Matthews is a former army officer who did a rescue job on Nga Hau e Wha National Marae in Christchurch before entering the health workforce.

He says his passion for kaupapa Maori was fueled by hands on involvement through his children in kura kaupapa Maori and kohanga reo.

“(I’m) part of that generation of Maori that grew up through the Land March and Bastion Point and Mana Motuhake. My grandfather was the founding secretary of Mana Motuhake so grew up at the feet of getting the Treaty of Waitangi ratified in all our legislation and so on, so a commitment to being Maori and kaupapa Maori is also one of the driving passions behind that,” Mr Matthews says.

The voting will be done at 10 hui in the South Island and Lower Hutt over the next two days.


Meanwhile, the Maori Party is still dealing with the fall-out from newspaper its Ikaroa-Rawhiti candidate, Derek Fox, had incidents of domestic violence in his past.

Co-leader Pita Sharples says the veteran journalist and former mayor of Wairoa has the support of his electorate and the party.

He says Mr Fox has faced up to the consequences of his actions, which happened more than a decade ago.

“He apologised to the world and he went to the police on his own account and said ‘I’ve done something I‘m ashamed of’ and got himself prosecuted and went through the process and since then has tried to turn his life around. So we accepted that and his electorate accepted it, which is the key things, so they selected him and we’re going with that,” Dr Sharples says.


A big contingent from Ngai Tuhoe is expected at Auckland's Civic Theatre tomorrow for the New Zealand premiere of the Vincent Ward's Rain of the Children.

The film tells the life story of Puhi, who as an 80 year-old kuia featured in Ward's 1978 feature In Spring One Plants Alone.

Ward returned to the Waimana Valley to draw out the links between Puhi, the prophet Rua Kenana and the 1916 police raid on Rua's Maungapohatu community.

He says it was a story Ngai Tuhoe came to feel they owned.

“It's probably the first Tuhoe story that’s really been told as a feature film so I think Tuhoe that have seen it, and we’ve shown it to 400 Tuhoe already, feel really strongly about it and are really making the effort to come up to Auckland to support it,” Ward says.

He says a lot of people in the Tuhoe area have come to appreciate his original film over the years, as it captured a way of life that has largely disappeared.


Fancy political marketing will count for nothing in this weekend's Maori Party selection, as the three nominees for the Te Tai Tonga candidacy try to get friends and whanau to the 10 polling places.

The contest is between Hector Matthews, a Christchurch health manager, Gina Haremate-Crawford, who works for an Invercargill tertiary education provider, and Rahui Katene, a Wellington lawyer.

The party believes seat is winnable because of the work put in by the original candidate, Monte Ohia, who died last month.

Ms Katene, who missed out to Mr Ohia in February, says the fact the candidates won't be able to address all the hui won't matter much, because very few undecided voters come along to selection meetings.

With nominations only finalised on Tuesday, it's been a hectic week.

“It's been really flat out so the emails have been going everywhere, the texts have been going all over the place and we’ve been saying ‘pass it on to your networks’ so it’s really been getting people to do it themselves rather than me being able to contact everyone this time round,” Ms Katene says.

The only hui where all three candidates will speak is at Te Tatou o te Pou Marae in Lower Hutt on Sunday.


The strong connection between Tuhoe and the Presbyterian Church is being celebrated in the Bay of Plenty tomorrow.

Whakatane Museum is opening Hihita and Hoani: Missionaries to Tuhoe, an exhibition featuring taonga gifted to missionaries Annie Henry and John Laughton early last century.

Karl Chittam, the curator, says the value of the taonga reflected the appreciation Tuhoe felt for the pair's years of service in Te Urewera.

“There's some that are well known. There’s a hue or a taha which is a gird that’s though to have come from the Mataatua waka. There’s a small cooking pot that’s thought to have come off the Endeavour, but there’s also some other objects in the show that are really important as well. There’s a traveling organ which is one they used to cart around on pack horse throughout the terrain up there,” Mr Chittam says.

Some notable faces may be missing from tomorrow's opening, as up to 500 Tuhoe are expected at the Auckland International Film Festival for the New Zealand premiere of Vincent Ward's Rain of the Children.


There's a warning from a tourism veteran that many Maori are moving into the sector with unrealistic expectations.

Oscar Nathan, the chair of Maori in Tourism Rotorua and acting chief executive of the Tourism Industry Association, says the days are gone when operators could put out a sandwich board and expect business.

He says international travel wholesalers need to develop confidence in the Maori tourism products they on-sell.

Those relationships and income streams take time to develop.

“You've really got to make sure that you understand the distribution chain and that distribution chain usually takes 18 to 24 months before you’re getting anything coming through it or. More importantly, before the wholesalers that are pushing business through it actually trust your product, respect your product and give your product time to see that it hasn’t fallen over or gone off on to some other tangent before they will start plugging people through,” Mr Nathan says.

He says global economic uncertainty is slowing the number of inbound tourists.

Key positive on Maori Television future

National leader John Key expects digital broadcasting will lead to more endeavours like Maori Television.

Mr Key says claims National's broadcasting policy is a threat to Maori content is scaremongering.

He says while he was initially skeptical about a separate Maori channel, he now sees it growing an audience across all ethnic groups and pointing the way ahead.

"Under the digital model ultimately there will be more channels like Maori Television that i think will be specialist in nature. That's the beauty of digital, that you can start developing channels on a cheaper basis because the costs are greatly reduced.

"So it's not true, the funding for Maori Television will remain, there's no intention to change things there and we're supportive of what they're doing," Mr Key says.


The Prison Service is trying to make its relationship with Maori more than symbolic.

Iwi took part in this week's ground-breaking ceremony for the new Auckland Prison, which will replace the 120-year old Mt Eden Jail.

Neil Campbell, the Corrections Department's treaty relationships manager , says iwi have a role in reducing the number of people entering prisons, helping them while inside and following them back out.

"When it comes to the reintegration of offenders, and all offenders need to be reintegrated eventually back into our society, they have the type of networks that we need to facilitate a safe reintegration back into our communities," Mr Campbell says.

The two new accommodation buildings at Mt Eden are due to be finished by 2011. 

A new governance model being trialed in Murupara could lead to the re-emergence of native schools throughout the country.

Pem Bird, the chair of Nga Kura a Iwi o Aotearoa, says 14 schools led by his own Te Kura Kaupapa Motuhake a Tawhiuau have signed up to a plan which gives local iwi more say in what is taught and how.

He says it will allow the development of a curriculum which taps into the dialects, tikanga and knowledge held by iwi, and harks back to the native schools which were phased out in the 1960s.

"We see the revival of that model as a step forward for us. It allows iwi to pursue their aspirations in a way that's real providing ownership, accountability and providing opportunity for iwi to determine their own destiny," Mr Bird says.

The schools are also considering forming a separate Maori education authority to assist them in their relationship with the Crown.


It's one of the shortest selection battles in New Zealand political history.

The three nominees to replace the late Monte Ohia as the Maori Party's Te Tai Tonga candidate have had since Tuesday to rally support.

Voting takes place this weekend in 10 locations around the South Island and Wellington.

Wellington lawyer Rahui Katene missed out to Mr Ohia in February's selection round.

She believes she can bring something that is missing from the party's caucus.

"What you've got in there are some very good people but they're mainly focused in the areas of health and education. Someone with a legal background is going to be a real help in there. You're in the debating chamber, issues come up, and a trained legal eye can see what is going on and where it is going to lead to," Ms Katene says.

With her whakapapa to Ngati Koata, Ngati Toa, Ngati Kuia and Kai Tahu, she covers the whole electorate, so she's hoping for a big turnout of relatives to the weekend voting hui.

Another nominee, Gina Haremate-Crawford, stood for the Maori Party in Invercargill last election.

She believes Mr Ohia was well on the way to winning the seat from Labour's Mahara Okeroa before his sudden death, and it's still a wide open race.

The Invercargill tertiary education worker's connections are to the East Coast and Tainui, but she says her grass-roots work throughout the South Island means she's well known among the iwi.

"I work through a lot of departments through the motu so I am actually at grassroots level working with management. I advocate on behalf of a lot of people at grassroots level, but i am also on advisory boards at the management level," Ms Haremate-Crawford says.

The third nominee is Hector Matthews from Te Aupouri and Te Rarawa, who works as a manager at Canterbury District Health Board as well as chairing the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of technology.

Hinga atu he tete kura, ara mai ano he tete kura.

The breadth of Maori art has been recognised with new appointments to Te Waka Toi.

Literature specialist John Huria, painter Kura Te Waru Rewiri and kapa haka expert Te Kahautu Maxwell have replaced Patu Hohepa, Sandy Adsett and Suzanne Ellison on the Maori arm of Creative New Zealand.

Mr Huria, from Ngai Tahu, set aside work on a PhD in English literature to become an editor with Maori publishing house  Huia.

He says that's given him an appreciation of his role in the artistic firmament.

"The object of editing is to bring the writer's voice out rather than to impose your own voice over the top of it. If you let your own personal tastes as an editor get in the way, then that's just a recipe for disaster," Mr Huria says.

He has also worked on an award-winning publication on painter Shane Cotton and updated the encyclopedia of Maori Life and Custom.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mental health stigma attacked

A new study has identified a sense of hope as crucial for those fighting mental illness.

Judi Clements from the Mental Health Foundation says there were two common responses to illness among Maori surveyed for the Whawhai Atu te Whakama Hihira or Fighting Shadows report, which looks at Self-Stigma and Mental Illness.

Some felt their sense of mana protected them from self-stigma.

Others tangata whai ora said they were affected by people's negative reactions.

"The things that could make a difference were if people were accepting of their difference, and if there was an affirmation of peoples' human rights so the right to a quality of life that includes the sort of thing that everybody wants like partnership and a job and decent lifestyle. People should be encouraged and included in activities within their whanau," Ms Clements says.

A Maori academic says Maori should concentrate on constitutional protections for their place in New Zealand society rather than get hung up on immigration policy.

The Maori Party says it's hearing a lot of concern from members about Asian immigration.

Rawiri Taonui, the head of Maori and indigenous studies at Canterbury University, says more immigration is inevitable.

He says Maori can avoid a sense of being swamped by protecting their Treaty of Waitangi rights and hanging onto the Maori seats.

"Our colonial history history, besides the wars and the land theft and all those sorts of things, the biggest driver of what went on there was demographic swamping. In 1840 there were 80, 100,000 Maori, something like that, and 2000 Pakeha. By 1885 there were 100,000 Pakeha and about 60,000 Maori. Demographic swamping, and we don't want to experience that a second time," Mr Taonui says.

He says cultural diversity should be welcomed as bringing greater tolerance.

A Murupara kura is putting iwi at the centre of how children are taught.

Principal Pem Bird says Te Kura Kaupapa Motuhake a Tawhiuau could be a blueprint for iwi-driven schools.

He says 14 schools signed up for the model launched last week ago at Hirangi Marae in Turangi which gives schools a  more direct relationship with their iwi, alongside the relationship they have with the Crown.

"Our aim is derived from taonga tuku iho, passed on to us from our old people, including te reo Maori, our dialects that is, traditions, customs, histories, whakapapa, world view. and using that the basis to design curriculum as values to underpin the way we teach," Mr Bird says.

Existing legislation covering character schools allows iwi to work alongside schools and convert them into kura a iwi or tribal schools.

The Corrections Department says Maori input will be welcome at the new Auckland Prison.

Neil Campbell, the department's treaty relationships manager, says tangata whenua played a major role in a soil turning ceremony to mark a start on replacing the 120-year old Mt Eden Prison.

He says iwi whanui gave a Ngai Tuhoe kaumatua, Bert McLean, the honour of leading the karakia.

"Their ancestor Mokomoko was buried in Mt Eden Prison, later pardoned and his remains returned to Tuhoe so that was a lovely gesture by iwi whanui to give that honour to a kaumatua from Tuhoe to perform," Mr Campbell says.

He says relationships with iwi Maori helps the prison and prisoners build links with communities offenders must return to.

Give the wardens a park.

That's the response of the Maori Wardens northern regional co-ordinator to Rotorua District Council's refusal to give the city's wardens two free carparks.

George Ngatai says Auckland and Manukau wardens can use police car parks.

He says the volunteers do a lot for the communities they work in, but their contribution is often taken for granted.

"We will be supporting and working with councils as well, so providing one free car park should not be too much of a hassle for the council and the Maori wardens," Mr Ngatai says.

Funding was given in the budget to buy the wardens vans to increase their effectiveness.

Maori in Te Tau Ihu are being encouraged to see a doctor sooner rather than later.

Joe Puketapu, the chair of the Nelson Marlborough Iwi Health board, says many Maori never see a general practitioner.

Their first taste of medical treatment is often when they get to hospital.

"Maori have not been good at getting to the doctor so they can identify chronic health issues that they have early, and what normally happens is that when we don't identify early, by the time we do identify the problem has gotten too far," Mr Puketapu says.

He says many Maori are still unaware GP costs have been slashed by the government.

The Aotea branch of the Maori Woment's Welfare League is what a Tuwharetoa woman will miss most about Great Barrier Island.

Rereahu Woodcock is returning to the mainland after almost 40 years in the Hauraki Gulf.

The former school principal says the branch has become a focal point for the whole community since it was formed in 1994.

"The greatest achievement is bridging, because we have Pakeha in our group and they are very active, and while we hold the offices they are, we have seen a whole lot of reaching across and people embracing our kaupapa," Mrs Woodcock says.

It's time she and her husband, who hails from the north, put some time and effort into their own tribal affairs.

Alternatives to arrest sought

A police Maori stategic advisor wants his colleagues to think of alternatives before they arrest young Maori.

Huri Dennis says the upcoming National Responsiveness to Maori conference will ask how police should use the considerable amount of discretion they have.

He says it will take courage, but there are Maori options and services which can help offenders turn their lives around without exposing them to the full force of the criminal justice system.

"Te Houhanga Rongo, restorative justice type set-ups, things that Maori communities and iwi, hapu, marae, whanau are quite familiar with and we're asking our officers and our leaders to sort of make those decisions. Instead of putting our people before the courts, let's take the holistic view and get some results another way," Mr Dennis says.

The Green's Maori affairs spokesperson says the country's immigration policies would be improved with Maori input.

Metiria Turei says talk of an Asian influx ignores the fact that most migrants are still from white English speaking countries.

She says Maori have no input into who settles here, and deserve a say on immigration policy.

"If the government had a system of any kind that Maori would have an involvement in that decision-making, it would make a big difference to the nature of the criteria so it was more socially focused rather than being focused on wealthier people coming into New Zealand, it would be better education and support for those people coming here, it would be more humanitarian, focused on indigenous peoples and supporting indigenous peoples from other countries," Ms Turei says.

Maori people should awhi other indigenous people who move to Aotearoa because of war or discrimination in their own country.

The life histories of six leading New Zealand composers are being collected as part of a new project for the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Roger Smith is interviewing the composers for the Alexander Turnbull Library's Oral History Centre, including Gillian Karawe Whitehead.

He says Ms Whitehead carved out a distinguished career as a composer and teacher in Britain, Europe and Australia, but it's her work since she returned to this country a decade ago which is raising eyebrows.

"The way that she has been able to blend European art music with traditional Maori music, and she has taken a really leading role in that, and I think she deserves all the credit she gets for it," Mr Smith says.

The series also includes Jenny McLeod, Dorothy Buchannan, Ross Harris, John Rimmer and Jack Body.


The Maori Party's immigration spokesperson says rather than looking at who is coming in, Maori should ask who is going out.

Hone Harawira says Maori are telling the party they are concerned about Asian immigation.

He says they should look at the bigger picture than get hung up about where people are coming from.

Mr Harawira says high tertiary fees mean graduates feel no loyalty to the country, which leads to skill shortages which need to be filled from somewhere.

"The simple answer to the equation is to simply change the way we manage our own country so that people are encouraged to stay here, and the more we keep here, the less we need to bring in. We're bringing in people to fill gaps that have been created by people leaving. It's really dumb, if you ask me, and we, Maori people are losing the cream of our youth to them going overseas," he says.

Mr Harawira says immigation has been a problem since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The country's top Maori netball coach says the trans-Tasman championship has created a new audience for the code.

Noelene Taurua is at the helm of Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, which takes on the New South Wales Swifts this weekend in the first round oF play-offs.

Top of the table Magic is the only New Zealand franchise to make the finals, but Ms Taurua says the demands of intense week in week out competition mean they should be better prepared next year.

"I think it's exceeded everybody's expectations. i know with ours and the players, it pretty much feels form week to week that it's international test matches. The public awareness has increased, and I'm finding a lot of males who do watch a lot of rugby are switching over to watch an exciting game," Ms Taurua says.

The Rotorua based former Silver Fern has some off-court dramas as well - she is due to give birth to her 5th child.

An expert on Maori games says it's easier to get interest overseas than in Aotearoa.

Harko Brown gave a presentation on indigenous sports to the Physical Education New Zealand conference in Christchurch yesterday.

He says curriculum directors in the United States have seized on the pre-European rugby game ki o rahi as a way to get their students active.

"They found out about the game in January 2003. By the end of the year it was in 31,000 of their schools. And also the game mu torere is all over the world, especially in universities. Mu torere is a Maori board game and they use that at St Joseph's University in Philadelphia in their PhD programme," he says.

Harko Brown's new book, Nga Taonga Takaro, includes directs on playing more than 20 Maori sports and games.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Line-up for Te Tai Tonga race

The three nominees vying to represent the Maori Party in Te Tai Tonga have just three days to convince members they can win the country's largest electorate.

The job is open because of the death of candidate Monte Ohia last month.

Rahui Katene from Ngati Koata, Ngati Toa, Ngati Kuia and Kai Tahu has put her name forward again.

The Wellington-based lawyer is up against  Gina Haremate-Crawford, who has East Coast and Tainui connections and stood for the party in Invercargill last election, and Hector Matthews from Te Rarawa and Te Aupouri, a manager at Canterbury District health Board.

Glenys Papuni, the electorate co-chair, says whoever is picked by members this weekend has a head start against Labour incumbent Mahara Okeroa.

"I do believe we were on the way to victory with Monte and he had laid a very solid foundation throughout the Te Tai Tonga electorate. He's really done all the groundwork so whoever takes his place has a good platform," Ms Papuni says.

Voting will be done at hui in 10 locations from Wellington to Invercargill.

South Auckland Maori wardens are inviting the city's Asian community to join them in crime reduction efforts.

George Ngatai, the wardens' regional coordinator, says it's a proven model.

He says warden patrols are more effective than alternatives, which can descend into vigilantism or protection rackets, and they generate good community feeling.

"Maori respond well to Maori wardens. Pacific work well and respond well to their own patrols. Asians will certainly do the same, so what we'd like to do is just offer the opportunity for either Asian or Pacific to get involved with the Maori wardens structure, and work at reducing the crime in our community," Mr Ngatai says.

The Maori Community Development Act gives wardens some capabilities that even the police don't have.

The author of a new book on traditional Maori games wants support from mainstream institutions.

Harko Brown's Nga Taonga Takaro - Maori Sports and Games features more than 20 ancient pastimes including poi, stick games, kites, ball games, board and memory games.

He drew on oral histories and material in archives and museums for his research.

Mr Brown says the games would be more well known if schools recognised their potential and their importance in Maori culture.

"It's been 168 years since we signed the treaty and the partnership's just not there with traditional Maori sports and mainstream sports. I'd think after 168 years that some of these big institutes should really start doing things about forming relationships with Maori in this regard and doing a good job about it," he says.

Harko Brown has a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal about the suppression of nga taonga takaro Maori and its effect on health.


Otago University is to recognise one of its most distinguished Maori students.

Mason Durie, the head of Maori studies at Massey University, will get an honorary law doctorate at next month's graduation.

David Skegg, the university's vice-chancellor, says Professor Durie has made significant contributions to the understanding of mental health, Maori health and Maori development.

"He's taken a very broad view of health, as Maori people have traditionally done. He's not just confined himself to physical and mental health but he has become very much involved in Maori development and social policy, and of course that's impinged on the whole development of New Zealand, so we're very proud to have him as one of out graduates and we look forward to welcoming him back next month," Professor Skegg says.

Otago has a proud history of Maori graduates, starting with the first Maori doctor, Te Rangi Hiroa or Peter Buck, in 1904.

The Green's Maori spokesperson says National's broadcasting policy will lead to cuts in Maori programming.

National wants to turn Television New Zealand's $15 million in charter funding into a contestible fund open to all programme makers.

Metiria Turei says shows like Marae and Te Karere would be put at risk because of National's track record of using public money to support private enterprise.

"And that's what the change in broadcasting policy does. It takes the money out of the hands of public interest broadcasting and gives it to private businesses for the purpose of making programmes that will make money. It can only mean a reduction in the amount of public broadcasting and particularly Maori broadcasting on the main stations," Ms Turei says.

Despite the emergence of Maori Television, most people still get their news and current affairs from mainstream free to air broadcasters.

There could be more support for Maori whanau coping with members with autism and aspergers syndrome.

Margaret Mikaere from Autism New Zealand says the organisation has joined with Auckland-based Oho Mairangi Trust to encourage Maori whanau to come forward.

The trust runs an 0800 support line.

Ms Mikaere says there has been a minimal response from Maori families to a new programme on teaching children with the conditions,  which affect the brain and makes communicating and interacting with other people difficult.

She says the organisation felt it needed new ways to get the message out, such as going out to hui and kapa haka festivals, and setting up an online family forum for people to seek support.

About 40,000 New Zealanders are thought to be affected by autism



CNI collective threat to iwi identity

A lawyer involved in central North Island treaty claims says iwi risk losing their individual identities within a regional collective.

Annette Sykes of Ngati Pikiao is working for Ngati Makino, which stayed outside the Central North Island Collective which has signed up to the Treelord forestry settlement.

She says the iwi in the collective substituted the Crown's previous policy of large natural groupings for one of regionalisation ... and in the process may have compromised their own tino rangatiratanga.

“They've embraced the concept, they’ve adapted it, and the danger in adaptation is that they get caught in the wake of what the policy was designed to do which was to assimilate Maori into groups rather than to allow them to assert their own mana in accordance to the whakapapa groups that they have always belonged to like hapu and iwi,” Ms Sykes says.

She says the Central North Island forestry settlement bill is full of terms like tikanga and mana whenua which don't include clear definitions, or any indication how the interests of smaller iwi and hapu will be protected.


National's Maori Affairs spokesperson says unshackling Television New Zealand from its charter will deliver better results for Maori viewers.

Georgina Te Heuheu says the charter failed to make the state broadcaster run it Maori programmes in prime time slots, and most of its line-up, such as Te Karere and Waka Huia, was funded by Te Mangai Paho.

She says putting the $15 million in charter money into a contestable fund administered by New Zealand On Air should enhance Maori programming.

“And we see that an organisation which its clear focus is to fund quality local content, that is a better option for Maori and all other broadcasters and producers than what we had with TVNZ being hidebound with a charter and returning a commercial dividend,” Mrs Te Heuheu says.

Labour MP Shane Jones says the policy is just softening up the public broadcaster for privatisation.


A leading Maori rugby league club is trying to tackle problem drinking.

Turangawaewae has joined forces with Waikato health provider Nga Miro and the Alcohol Advisory Council to make its clubroom a safe drinking environment.

Wynae Tukere says the committee has noticed a shift in drinking culture around the club.

“They just bring booze to the fields and pull up a deck chair and watch football in the sun with a glass of wine and committee members decided they don’t want to do this, we don’t want this culture to start spilling over to our up and coming generation so we’re trying to stop it,” Ms Tukere says.

The Turangawaewae club is closely associated with the marae and it's not unusual for the ringawera to head to the rooms after a long day taking care of manuhiri.


The Prime Minister is warning Maori workers are likely to be disproportionately affected by National's plan for a 90-day probation period for new employees.

In businesses with fewer than 20 workers, employers will be able to sack staff in the first three months without risking an unjustified dismissal claim.

Helen Clark says the existing law allows for probation periods, without stripping workers of all their rights.

She says it's daft to discriminate against people working for small employers.

“If you've got a good job, and a small employer says ‘I’ll offer you a better one,’ well, if you go down the road to him and it doesn’t work out, you can get fired with no notice, no rights at all, so why would you do that? It actually inhibits the thing the Pational Party claims it is for, which is labour market flexibility, the ease of people to move between jobs,” Ms Clark says.

The Council of Trade Unions said the policy could affect up to 200,000 workers a year.


Rising prices and sick shellfish are causing concern in Te Tai Tokerau.

Jonathan Jarman, the Northland medical officer of health, says as whanau incomes come under pressure from increased food and fuel costs, they are increasingly turning to tangaroa to put food on the table.

But only three of the 17 sites regularly tested by Northland councils are safe for collecting kai moana.

Dr Jarman says food poisoning is under-reported, and research suggests there are 200 unreported cases for every one reported.


One of the East Coast's oldest kapa haka groups is on its way to the Te Matatini finals.

Te Hokowhitu Atu from Tokomaru Bay took out the regional title in Gisborne, and was also voted crowd favourite.

Current national champion Whangara Mai Tawhiti, Waihirere and Tu Te Manawa Maurea also booked their tickets to the nationals in Tauranga in February.

Kapa haka fan Willie Te Aho says a record 14 teams performed on the day, but the 78-year old Te Hokowhitu Atu was outstanding with a lot of heart in its performance.

The male leader title was shared by Tauira Takurua from Te Hokowhitu Atu and Whangara mai Tawhiti's Derek Lardelli, while Te Aroha Papa from Whangara was judged best female leader.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Wardens better than triads in south

The Prime Minister says Asian communities should look to the example of the Maori Wardens rather than consider using vigilante Triad gangs for protection.

Helen Clark says she understands the concerns raised during Saturday's 10,000 strong anti-crime march in Botany Downs, but some of the ideas which have come up since, such as bringing in the triads, are too outrageous for words.

She says the Maori Wardens have a long and proud tradition.

They are now getting increased government funding, training by police, and support to work in places like Manurewa,

“Parallel to that we’re trialing Pasifika patrols because we think that will help. Now, what I say to our Asian communities is work alongside our police, work on your neighbourhood support, work to see if there’s some kind of parallel of the community patrol, but the key is we have to work with our police, not work against them,” Ms Clark says.


National's Maori spokesperson says the future of Maori Television is safe under a National-led government.

The party's broadcasting policy promises continued support to the channel, but Television New Zealand will lose its charter and the $15 million that goes with it.

Georgina Te Heuheu says that money will go to New Zealand On Air for a contestable fund open to all free-to-air broadcasters and independent producers.

She says it's a straightforward policy.

“It means exactly what it says. We support Maori TV. We will continue current levels of funding and look forward to engaging with Maori TV and grow their influence, because it’s pretty broad now isn't it,” Mrs Te Heuheu says.


But a Labour Maori MP predicts Maori interests will be sidelined under National.

Shane Jones says National has no record of commitment to public and Maori broadcasting.

He says the policy clears the way for privatisation of TVNZ - whatever denials National makes about whether the state broadcaster will go on the sale block.

“They have promised massive tax cuts. They want to reengineer the state and their proven track record is they do it through shrinking budgets and selling assets. Quite frankly, that will be a disastrous outcome for te ao Maori and the community in broader terms because without the involvement of the state, without the putea of the government, a lot of these community-based broadcasting services will not survive,” Mr Jones says.


Plunket is reporting a 48 percent increase in the number of Maori mothers and babies it is seeing compared with five years ago.

Hemi Toia, Plunket's acting manager Maori health, says the organisation is developing multiple access channels, so it has more ways officers can use to make contact with babies and mothers.

He says other policy changes affect Maori.

“Mothers and babies who are in areas of deprivation receive a greater number of support visits, so it will also to some extent reflect the fact that significant numbers of Maori babies and mothers live in high deprivation areas,” Mr Toia says,

Plunket offers support and training to iwi providers, and it is looking to expand the ways it interacts with Maori.


The police are preparing for their first National Responsiveness to Maori conference since last October's anti-terror raids.

Huri Dennis, the Maori strategic advisor, says the big questions will be around the amount of discretion officers have in their decision-making.

He says new thinking is needed.

“We're asking our guys, our managers to have a little bit more courage, to make some bold decisions and sort of step outside the square. We’ve got rules and regulations for quite a few things, laws etc that we have to abide by and they are very important. But in the areas of discretion and other things, we are saying well does an arrest need to be the way to go, what are the other options, what other service providers of Maori options are there,” Mr Dennis says.

Maori initiatives, such as iwi liaison officers, can be translated into relationships with other ethnic groups.


The oral histories of three of Maoridom's top artists were lodged at the Alexander Turnbull Library today.

Journalist Carol Archie interviewed Diggeress Te Kanawa, Pakariki Harrison and Arnold Manaaki Wilson for the Arts Foundation of New Zealand's Icon project.

Simon Bowden, the foundation's executive director, says the stories of artists like master carver Harrison are of great significance to the history of New Zealand.

“Paki of course had the most huge., valuable and precious knowledge of carving throughout New Zealand. The man can read a carving and tell you the history, the people that created it, the stories it tells. He can tell you if the person who carved it was born in that community or stolen from that community, quite remarkable insights,” Mr Bowden says.

The Icon series also includes oral histories of Margaret Mahy, Ans Westra and Maurice Gee.

Whaling hui smells fishy

A Maori fisheries commissioner says he's smelling a whiff of hypocrisy from the International Whaling Commission.

Ngahiwi Tomoana has just got back from the commission's meeting in Santiago, Chile, where Te Ohu Kaimoana had observer status.

He says the former colonisers who hunted the whales to the brink of extinction now tell indigenous people how they should interact with their environment.

In Aotearoa, Maori see stranded whales as gifts from Tangaroa which they have a right to use every part of.

“That's not the position of the New Zealand government, who under the Marine Mammals Protection Act say that whales should be turned around and sent out to sea, which is like picking a koha up on the marae and throwing it back, and we’re still, the ones that do arrive here, they bury. Once the buried whale breaks down, it pollutes the environment around it, so it's a double kino,” Mr Tomoana says.

He says while Japanese whalers are pushing the limits, they are condemned while the whaling practices of other countries such as Norway are ignored by the IWC.


An advocate for Maori wards says the Rotorua District Council's consultation on establishing separate electorates was shallow and superficial.

The council's finance committee voted unanimously against establishing Maori wards, after its Te Arawa standing committee voted 4-3 vote against the idea.

Hawea Vercoe says the issue highlighted the problems faced by the Maori minority.

He says many on the Te Arawa standing committee have to answer to mainstream voters, rather than Maori.

Mr Vercoe says a referendum would only prove Maori are a minority in the area, and the decision should be given over to those registered on the Maori roll.


An expert in gang culture says south Auckland's Asian communities should look closer to home if they want to tackle crime.

Denis O'Reilly says a weekend anti-crime march in Botany Downs would have people think that the region is awash with Maori and Polynesian gangs out hunting Asian shopkeepers.

But he says much if the violent crime is driven by methamphetamine use and distribution.

“Look if we could stop the stuff from coming across our border, which is where it mainly seems to be coming from, it mainly seems to be coming from Asia, and so if there’s one mission the Asian anti-crime group could have is let’s stop meth, and then from that you’ll see, one would presume, a reduction in crime against all New Zealanders, including Asian New Zealanders,” Mr O'Reilly says.

He says suggestions Triad gangs could be employed to protect Asian communities ignores the role of the triads in New Zealand's P epidemic.


The deputy chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana says indigenous people round the Pacific should join together to defend their rights to beached whales.

Ngahiwi Tomoana says the issue came up at the 60th International Whaling Committee meeting in Chile, to which the Maori fisheries settlement trust had observer status.

He was able to share the Maori experience with representatives of other Pacific nations, including those on the Chilean territory of Rapanui or Easter Island.

“The Rapanui people have a beached whale culture too, but the Chilean government has stopped them taking whales, and if this is consistent throughout the Pacific, we need to take a Pacific wide view to it and try to buy wider support outside the country, but with our whanunga,” Mr Tomoana says.

Te Ohu Kaimoana will organise a national whaling wananga to talk about the International Whaling Commission hui.


Maori boys are being steered away from computer studies because of the way it's taught in secondary schools.

That's one of the findings of an investigation by Chris McCarthy from the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology into the low levels of Maori studying information and communications technologies, presented to a conference of computer educators in Auckland at the weekend.

He says factors include the low socioeconomic status of many Maori, the lack of computers in homes, and the shortage of capable teachers.

But the tendency of many schools to treat computer studies as "typing in drag" puts boys off.

“Because the computer suite is used for typing, it’s seen as a girls’ subject, and a Maori boy worth his salt wouldn’t be seen anywhere near a computing suite, because if he ever was seen walking out of a computing suite, his mates would say ‘you’ve been doing girls stuff,’” Mr McCarthy says.

Some schools and tertiary institutions have had success by including computer skills within a total te reo Maori immersion setting.


If a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet... what ingoa could you use?

The National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research is consulting with iwi on ways to name new species.

Tom Roa, the chair of Tainui's Te Kauhanganui parliament and a lecturer at Waikato University's School of Maori and Pacific Development, says Maori have a process which should be able to work alongside the western scientific tradition usually employed by NIWA.

“For example, does it have to do with the colour, the texture, what it looks like, what it smells like? Does it have to do with the genealogy of the particular species, to which grouping it should be properly linked?” Mr Roa says.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Message for the triads

An anti-P campaigner says the best way to reduce violent crime in Auckland is to stamp out the distribution of methamphetamine.

Dennis O'Reilly says Saturday's 10,000 strong march through Botany Downs shows the depth of feeling among the city's Asian communities to a spate of robberies which have resulted in three homicides.

But he says subsequent comments by rally organiser Peter Low about using Triad gangs for protection reveal a misunderstanding about what is driving the attacks.

“It's good to know there are 10,000 Asians who are up in arms against crime and that they’re in contact with the triads, because if that’s the case, how about putting the effort into stopping the triads and other Asian criminals both in New Zealand and abroad, stopping the flow of methamphetamine into our country,” Mr O'Reilly says.

Too many Maori have become addicted to methamphetamine and are caught up in the distribution network behind a lot of the crime in South Auckland.


Bad weather is not deterring the group of 30 occupying the site of a proposed marina at Whangamata.

Hauraki Maori and community members says changes to the plan, and the discovery of a colony of rare moko skinks, means the whole project should be reviewed.

Pauline Clarkin of Ngati Hako says the ope's morale is high despite the cold wet conditions, and support is growing.

“I think that people are finding out their own information and starting to consider what’s being portrayed by the marina society isn't all kosher,” Ms Clarkin says.

The occupation is being reassessed on a daily basis, and a lot will depend on the response to requests made to the Minister for Conservation.


More Maori are needed for clinical trials.

Papaarangi Reid from the University of Auckland medical school says greater participation in such trials could improve outcomes for Maori women with breast cancer.

The Australian New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials group annual meeting in Wellington last week credited better breast cancer survival rates on the understanding of breast cancer biology gained through such trials.

Professor Reid says the trials don't include enough Maori women, so their perspectives aren't heard.

“Different things are important to us and we’ve got different concerns from research that has happened to us in the past and so we need to have our fears allayed round issues of genetics, tissues, storage and use of information and tissue in future and other things like that,” she says.

Paparangi Reid says Maori women are willing and able to take part in trials, if their concerns are met.


The whanau of a Waitara man fatally shot by police is welcoming an independent inquiry.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority is resuming its investigation into the shooting of Steven Wallace in the Taranaki town in 2000, after a coroner's inquest identified matters that needed further investigation.

Raewyn Wallace, Steven's mother, says fighting for the truth for eight years has taken financial and emotional toll on the whanau.

She says claims by Police Association president Greg O'Connor that her son was shot for trying to injure a police officer is the kind of slur the family has to face.

“From day one the police went out and did exactly what Greg O'Connor’s doing now, to damn the family, the make the policemen look good, and Greg O'Connor’s doing it again,” Mrs Wallace says.

She says the Police should never have been allowed to investigate their own.


A leading treaty lawyer says the Government has made progress on treaty settlements because it started listening to the Waitangi Tribunal again.

Paul Majurey from Marutuahu says last month’s central North Island forestry settlement only happened because the Crown, and Te Arawa claimants, were willing to set aside a proposed Te Arawa settlement on the advice of the tribunal.

Coming on top of strong criticism of a similar settlement to Auckland lands, it broke the stranglehold the Office of Treaty Settlements had on the process.

“The whole Crown policy and approach of over a decade was scrutinized and found severely wanting and the Red Book as it’s known by those in the settlement process, the Crown’s policy document was basically trashed because it did not reflect and did not allow whanaungatanga to occur. It did pit hapu against hapu, iwi against iwi,” Mr Majurey says.

He says the central North Island settlement is a tribute to the rangatira involved, and Tamaki Makaurau need to show similar leadership and whanaungatanga to get their settlement moving again.


The wheels on the bus may NOT go round and round much longer

The principal of a Rotorua kura says increases in the Road User Charge aren't just hitting truckies.

Hawea Vercoe from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Rotoiti, says many Maori supported last Friday's truck protest out of self-interest.

He says the kura runs two buses and vans on diesel, and a lot of the whanau drive seven and eight seater diesel vans which are also facing an increase.

The school holidays will give the whanau a chance to think about the best way to handle all the price increases they're facing.

New uni good for Manukau

The director of a south Auckland private training establishment is welcoming the establishment of a university in the rohe.

The government is backing AUT University's plan to convert the former Carter Holt Harvey headquarters in Manukau City into a campus.

Frank Solomon, whose Solomon Group runs literacy, foundation and English as a second language courses, says it’s good university-level courses will be available in the city, as long as there is not duplication of those already on offer at Manukau Institute of Technology.


Maori public health workers are concerned at continuing high levels of smoking among pregnant Maori women.

A decline in the overall rate of Maori smoking was one of the positive signs recorded at last week's Public Health Association.

But Irene Walker, Auahi Kore Manager for Te Hotu Manawa Maori, says half of Maori women still smoke, and 80 percent of those keep on puffing through their pregnancies.

That increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, asthma, burns and fire deaths, childhood cancer, pneumonia, and developmental delay.

“Although we've had a good rate of decline in smoking among Maori, from 51 to 47 percent, which is absolutely fantastic, the rate still tends to be high, particularly among Maori women around the childbearing area,” Ms Walker says,

A revival of traditional Maori birthing practices may be one solution, because it includes high levels of support for the mother and puts the interests of the child at the centre of the whanau.


The woman behind some of Maoridom's top songs has a new biography.

The late Ngoingoi Pewhairangi composed E I Po, a gold record for Prince Tui Teka, and Patea Maori Club's Poi E, the first and only record in te reo Maori to reach number one.

She also developed the Ataarangi method of teaching te reo with Katerina Mataira, helped set up the National Weaver's Association, and worked in kohanga reo and adult education.

Biographer Tania Ka'ai says being raised by grandparents helped Pewhairangi become a bridge between Maori and Pakeha and between generations of Maori.

“The transmission of knowledge between grandparents and their mokopuna means they have access to another two, three generations of knowledge. She really was on the cusp of te ao kohatu and te ao hurihuri and she took that knowledge or reo and tikanga and she applied it to the modern world,” Dr Ka'ai says,

Ngoingoi Pewhairangi: a remarkable life was launched this Sunday at Waiparapara Marae in Tokomaru Bay.


A leading Taranaki elder says iwi need to put a lot more thought into how the benefits of treaty settlements should be shared.

Sir Paul Reeves is one of the negotiators of Taranaki Whanui's Port Nicholson Block claim for land around Wellington.

A deed of settlement was initialed last month, a day after another major settlement with central North Island forestry claimants was signed off.

The former governor general says the settlements represent a dramatic increase in the Maori economic base.

“And or course it was Matiu Rata who said some years ago, it’s one thing to catch the fish. It’s another thing to cut it up. So the whole question of Maori now sharing together in the benefits of the settlement is something that will have to really concern us as we negotiate amongst ourselves in the future,” Sir Paul says.

Postal and Internet voting on ratification of the Port Nicholson Block claim settlement starts today and runs until the end of the month.


An expert in traditional Maori plant medicines says it's something that needs to be learned locally.

Rob McGowan will be running wananga for Waikato University's continuing education department later in the year, drawing on lore he was first exposed to by Whanganui river elders in the 1970s.

The Conservation Department worker says plants have different medicinal qualities in different parts of the country, so it's important to teach people how to go back and learn from their own elders.

He says there's a right way and a wrong way to collect and use plants.

“Now you can write a book on tikanga, but it’s better to take people into the bush and explain to them how you do things and why and what is behind it, the whole wairua side of it. Wairua in a very practical sense, as opposed to the spooky sense some people think about whenever you say wairua. The mauri side of it is all part of that learning, and it’s easy to learn that when you’re sitting there with all the trees standing around you, but very hard to learn that in a classroom,” Mr McGowan says.

People will need good tramping boots to do his course.


Two Rotorua schools have been celebrating a little understood part of the country's heritage.

A cast of 70 students from Rotorua Boys' and Girls' high schools has just finished a season of Showband Aotearoa, a musical by musician Rim D Paul and playwright John Broughton.

Mr Paul says showbands were mainly an export phenomenon, so few people here really experienced their mix of rock and roll, show tunes, kapa haka and comedy.

He says the musical marks a personal milestone.

“It's the fiftieth year that I started my showbusiness career in my father’s band at Tamatekapua, and this is the fiftieth anniversary of Maori showbands when Tui Teka started the Maori Troubadours and started that Maori showband era. Because after the Maori Troubadours came the Hi Fives and then a group called the Hi Quins, which I was in, in 1960,” Mr Paul says,

The musical grew out of 2004 exhibition on showbands at Te Papa.