Waatea News Update

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Same lists in every electorate

The Electoral Commission has clarified that voters do not need to be on the Maori roll to cast their party vote for the Maori party.

Chief Executive Helena Catt was responding to concerns expressed by Maori party co-leader Pita Sharples that some voters casting an advance vote were told that they could not vote for the Maori Party unless they are on the Maori roll.

“Every voter, whatever electorate you are in has the same choice of parties in the party vote,” Dr Catt says.

Dr Catt says the matter has not previously emerged as a concern in the commission's research or on its web site.


New Zealand First is predicting that MP Ron Mark will win the electorate seat of Rimutaka.

Fellow New Zealand First Maori MP Pita Paraone says this could be critical because winning an electorate seat would mean all of New Zealand First's party vote would be counted even if the party does not pass the 5 percent threshold which he predicts will happen anyway.

“If you consider there seems to be a backlash against Labour and any incumbent government the internal polling shows it is a neck and neck race between Ron and the National candidate with the Labour candidate coming a distant third,” Mr Paraone says.

New Zealand First will be disappointed if it does not get at least 8 MPs in the next parliament.


The Minister of Maori Affairs has paid tribute to the work of master carver Paki Harrison who features in the book Tohunga Whakairo: Paki Harrison launched last night in Tane-nui-arangi, the house he carved 20 years ago for Auckland University's Waipapa marae.

Parekura Horomia says the book by Auckland University emeritus professor Ranginui Walker is a fitting tribute to someone who has been consistent in carrying on a dying art.

“There are people who are consistent. I think Paki, Hector Busby, they have been unflinching in carrying ion a dying art, and making sure it is carried on,” Mr Horomia says.


The Maori Party MP for Te Tai Tokerau is frustrated by media commentators telling people a party vote for the Maori Party is a wasted vote.

Hone Harawira says such analysis ignores the key reason people on both the general and the Maori rolls vote for the Maori Party.

“Yeah I think there's a terrible bias among Pakeha political analysts in that they simply don’t understand how Maori vote. Maori vote for the Maori Party because they believe it’s an opportunity for change. In the same way the Republicans voted for Barak Obama because they wanted change, we want every Maori to have the opportunity to change themselves, the change the vote, to change the world and vote Maori Party,” Mr Harawira says.


Meanwhile New Zealand First is predicting it could receive solid support from Maori as a result of the way leader Winston Peters has been treated by the media.

New Zealand First MP Pita Paraone says many Maori have been upset at seeing a Maori treated as Winston Peters has been and this could see them directing their party vote to New Zealand First.

“We anticipate that they will certainly support us given that like all fair minded New Zealanders the attack our leader has had to suffer over the last 18 months or so, they feel it is an attack on them as well,” Mr Paraone says.

He is predicting that New Zealand First MP Ron Mark will win the electorate seat of Rimutaka meaning all party votes for New Zealand First will count even if the party does not reach the 5 percent threshold.


The Ratana vote will be based on prophecy rather than policy in this election according to a long time member of the church.

The faith is celebrating two significant anniversaries this weekend.

Its 90 years since founder Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana recieved the spirit and 70 years since Piriwiritua Paraire Karaka Paikea's entered Parliament as the representative for Northern Maori.

Kelly Pene, an Apotoro with the church says its a time for reflection on Ratana's political alliances with these two significant events falling on election day.

“The Ratana vote swung there towards New Zealand First for a little while. The last election there was a heavy swing towards the Maori Party and this election the Maori Party is a favourite for many Ratanas but there is a major push back to Labour due to prophesy more than policy at this stage,” Mr Pene says.

A special hui will be held by Ratana leaders to mark tomorrow's election date.

Key confident going to polls

It's been a steep learning curve, but John Key feels he's now got a handle on the complexity of Maori issues ahead of this Saturday's election.

The leader of the National Party admits he wasn't overly familiar with te ao Maori before he took on the role... but he believes Maori appreciate that he's been making an effort.

“Some of the aspects have been quite new to me but it’s been a great opportunity to learn and to be part of it an in my experience Maori people are very gracious and they forgive you if you make mistakes and they enjoy a good laugh,” Mr Key says.

He believes there is a mood for change in New Zealand.


However the Maori Affairs Minister believes Maori in particular should be wary of change which could affect Kiwisaver.

Parekura Horomia says Kiwisaver will be extremely important for Maori into the future.

Labour is also guaranteeing that superannuation will not fall below the 66 percent of the average income.

National has said it will keep Kiwisaver if elected but in an amended form.


A Maori business leader says that Maori skill levels need to be raised as a step towards building Maori business capacity.

Federation of Maori Authorities chief executive Paul Morgan will be making a call for skills raising at the start of FOMA's 21st annual general meeting and economic conference in Rotorua today.

“We're talking the skills of the people, their capability and their capacity and that starts right down from our focus on education with young people coming through into tertiary education and vocational training. How they’re getting opportunities to work in various industries. A lot of our members are now significant employers.

Mr Morgan says around 350 members of the federation are scheduled to attend a last supper-type dinner of Maori politicians and FOMA members tomorrow evening before Saturday's elections.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says the party's focus is on the Hauraki Waikato and Tai Tonga electorates during the campaign wind up.

Dr Sharples says the party is pouring support behind Hauraki Waikato candidate Angeline Greensill and Te Tai Tonga hopeful Rahui Katene in its bid for a clean sweep of all 7 Maori seats.

“Hone's down in Christchurch now with Rahui. I join Rahui tomorrow when Hone comes back up to Hamilton to be with Angeline. We’ve concentrated our last two weeks, Hone and I, on those two electorates, giving our time to support those candidates,” Dr Sharples says.

The Maori Party is looking to strengthen Maori capacity in Government and is looking at every issue seriously.

Maori Television's Kowhiri 08' poll shows the Hauraki Waikato region Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta polling at 56 per cent ahead of Angeline Greensill on 43 per cent.


National leader John Key has acknowledged the special place of Maori as tangata whenua in New Zealand in the run up to the election.

He says some aspects of Maoridom have been quite new to him but he has thoroughly enjoyed learning things Maori in his role as leader of the opposition.

His experience Maori people are very gracious and forgiving of mistakes and he has appreciated this.


The head of the Federation of Maori Authorities is urging Maori to think creatively about developing business and becoming independent.

Paul Morgan says building sustainable organisations is the theme of FOMA's annual general meeting and economic conference being attended by 350 members over the weekend in Rotorua.

“There is a very big need for treaty settlement bodies and traditional bodes, that is trusts and incorporations, to actually develop organisations with internal capacity and that can be anything from finance and administration, the annual reporting, audit. There’s a lot of function organisations need that require an enormous amount of duplications and we are saying to members there has got to be a smarter way to do it,” Mr Morgan says.

Presentations include Developing Human Potential by Maori business leader Dr Ngatata Love and a Global and Domestic Economic Overview by Dr Ganesh Nana from the New Zealand Institute for Economic Development.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Paki Harrison biography launched

One of Maoridom's premier carvers will be honoured by the publication today of a full length biography.

Tohunga Whakairo: Paki Harrison is being launched this evening in Tanenuiarangi, the house Dr Harrison carved 20 years ago for Auckland University's Waipapa marae.

Biographer Ranginui Walker says Dr Harrison combined deep self-directed study of Maori arts with a drive to master the technical aspects of carving and find new ways to make it accessible and affordable for modern Maori communities.

He learned the basics of whakairo at Te Aute College from the legendary Pine Taiapa.

“Pine followed him up when he was a student at Massey, and Pine stayed with him for several weeks in his room at night, reciting karakia, telling him mythological stories, talking about whakapapa and the building of houses and it was the old style of tohunga wananga type teaching. Paki used to put the blanket over to shut the noise out, and only years later did he realise he was being subjected to the wananga style pedagogy,” Professor Walker says.

Paki Harrison's legacy will not only be the houses he carved but the many students he trained to follow on.


Former Mana Motuhake leader Sandra Lee says the Maori Party may have lost votes by encouraging uncertainty about its post-election plans.

The latest New Zealand Press Association rolling poll is picking Labour to keep the three Maori seats it still holds.

Ms Lee says minor parties must always weigh up whether they should align closely with one of the majors and see votes siphoned off, or cop flak for sitting on the fence.

“So the Maori Party has chose not to declare and I’m not completely sure it hasn’t cost them votes. It might have cost them the votes of some people who are quite supportive of a Maori Party-Labour coalition,” Ms Lee says.


One of New Zealand's longest serving councillors is using his skills in a newly created tourism position.

Rotorua deputy mayor Trevor Maxwell is the new kaupapa Maori director at Tourism New Zealand.

The former Ngati Rangiwewehi tutor has a long involvement in international tourism events, most recently with the Maori Arts Meets America event in San Francisco in 2005 and the opening of the America’s Cup in Valencia in 2007.

He'll be drawing on that experience in his new role.

“Living in Rotorua and just growing up with tourism all or lives is just a comfortable zone to be in. It’s not a kaumatua role. I’m just offering advice as I have for years anyway, whether it’s been for our council or here in Rotorua,” Mr Maxwell says.

His 32 years as a Rotorua District Councilor comes down to his ability to win the support of the whole community.


A Maori with a long family association with the American civil rights movement says Barack Obama is an inspiration to indigenous people around the world.

Willie Jackson who has visited the US many times and met with civil rights leaders says Obama's election is being celebrated across Maoridom.

He says it could be an insiration fo other indegenus leadership to come through round the world.

Mr Jackson says President elect Obama has tempered his association with radical elements and Maori leaders in New Zealand have had to act similarly.

However while the turnout of young voters in the United States is being credited with helping Barack Obama become president back in New Zealand Maori youth are being seen as among those most likely NOT to vote.

The Minister of Youth Affairs Nanaia Mahuta says adults... parents, teachers and the like... have a responsibility to talk to young people about the political process... and the importance of taking part.

And rangatahi need to know that their votes count.

“By 2025 there will be a browning of the New Zealand population. We will be the mainstream. The message I’m putting out to rangatahi is we can only demonstrate that by participating in democracy and placing our vote. Otherwise our silence lets other people have a say on where this country is going, and we can’t accept that,” Ms Mahuta says.


The first print of a book about the 28th Maori Battalion C Company has sold out in a matter of week.

Nga Tama Toa by Monty Soutar was released late last month in Gisborne at Te Poho o Rawiri Marae.

Popular Gisborne book shop Muir's, which hosted a signing with the author and contributor Sir Henare Ngata, originally ordered 200 copies followed by two more orders of 100 copies.

Owner Kim Pittar says with only 30 copies left, the book is particularly popular on the East Coast.

“If there's a Maori book out that’s applicable to the East Coast, this store is just inundated,” Ms Pittar says.

Publisher David Bateman expects to release second edition before Christmas.

Option deadline catches out tardy switcher

The national manager of the Electoral Enrolment Centre, Murray Wicks, is denying any attempt to stop voters switching to the Maori roll.

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira claims one of his constituents, Kaitaia woman Margaret Sullivan, tried to switch from the general to the Maori roll in the 2006 Maori electoral option, but the change wasn't registered.

He says her most basic democratic right isn't registered.

But Mr Wicks says Ms Sullivan's form was handed in to the Kaitaia postshop too late to reach the register of electors in Whangarei in time for the August 2 deadline.

He says the option process gives people four months to make the change.

“On April 3 when it started she was send a Maori electoral option form. She does not deny getting it. Halfway through the option period she was sent a reminder postcard. Again she does not deny receiving it. She left it until the last minute and missed the cut off date,” Mr Wicks says.

There are 20,000 more Maori on the Maori roll than there were before the 2005 election.


The Green's Maori Affairs spokesperson is welcoming the Prime Minister's indication there could be changes to the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Helen Clark told Maori Television this week there was room for dialogue on the issue, even though Ngati Porou has already settled its takutai moana claims within the framework of the Act.

Metiria Turei says the Green Party and the Maori Party both want to see the Act dumped.

“I would be very keen to have that dialogue with the Prime Minister about how that would work. I don’t buy the argument that because we have one iwi and potentially another one in the process who’ve negotiated agreements with government about there foreshore and seabed, then that means the legislations should not be repealed,” Ms Turei says.

She says iwi and hapu can still negotiate direct with the Crown, but they should get back the option of being able to also pursue claims through the courts.


The biographer of Paki Harrison says the master carver's greatest legacy may not be the houses he built but the students he trained.

Ranginui Walker says after carving the house Tane-nui-arangi at Auckland University's Waipapa marae, Dr Harrison joined the teaching staff and passed on his deep knowledge of the Maori arts as well as the revolutionary advances in carving he had developed.

He then developed a short-lived degree course at Te Wananga o Aotearoa which produced 25 graduates before it was curtailed by the Government's takeover of that institution.

“That's advancing carving from the mere technical process to a deep esoteric spiritual tapu academic process that it was in the old days where it embodied your world view, where it epitomised Maori epistemology, so that was the contribution,” Professor Walker says.

Tohunga Whakairo: Paki Harrison will be launched tonight in Tane-nui-arangi

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Santa Claus policy boosts party momentum

It may be an Aussie idea, but the Maori Party likes it.

Hauraki-Waikato candidate Angeline Greensill says Kevin Rudd's idea of a Christmas bonus payment is worth trying here.

The Maori Party wants the incoming government to make a one-off payment of $500 to low income families with children and superannuitants.

Ms Greensill says the major parties are ignoring poverty and whanau ora as campaign issues.

“I know the communities that suffer the most think it’s a brilliant idea. It’s bringing a little hope to them that somebody really cares enough to even talk about the issue during the campaign, because we’re not hearing it,” she says.

Ms Greensill says the $500 payment would cost around $136 million dollars, compared with the $150 billion the Government is offering to support the banking sector.


The Green's Maori spokesperson says the Christmas bonus is short term thinking.

Metiria Turei says it would be more useful to look at ways to increase family income throughout the year.

“Having a universal child benefit, which is what we want to see, so that every week families are getting money specifically charged for the care of their children and they get it for each child. That would be a much more sustainable long term advantage to families, particularly to our whanau. That would be better,” Ms Turei says.

It's also better to raise the minimum wages and benefits as an economic stimulus.


Meanwhile, the author of a major study of Maori in Australia says they are living in a political no mans land.

A new report by Paul Hamer, a senior associate at Victoria University's Institute of Policy Studies, says 60 thousand of the Maori in Australia are potentially eligible to vote ... but only 600 did so last election.

They tend not to vote in Australian elections either, which means they get overlooked in policymaking.

“If they don't exist as a group with electoral influence then in the eyes of the politicians they don’t really exist and they can’t influence policies to help them at all or they have much lesser influence,” Mr Hamer says.

The Maori vote coming out of Australia doubled from 2002 to 2005, probably because of the emergence of the Maori party.


Men have been the focus of a community day at Manurewa Marae today.

Organiser Lorraine Beyers says while mana wahine days are now relatively common, there is not enough focus on mana tane.

Activities include free health checks and workshops, a session on combating methamphetamine abuse, and demonstrations of taiaha.

“It's about being able to run an event which is promoting our tane. We have a lot of mana wahine days out there and we thought it’s time to focus on our men as they’re so important within the family,” Ms Beyers says.


The final chapter in Michael Cullen's extraordinary year as treaty negotiations minister has been written.

Dr Cullen yesterday signed a deed marking the belated entry of Ngati Rangitihi into the Central North Island Forests Land Collective.

The Te Arawa iwi had stayed out of the main signing because of a representation dispute.

They will now take part in a consortium which will hold almost $200 million in forest land and $220 million in accumulated rents.

The Crown still holds 13 percent of forests in the region to use in settlements with iwi outside the collective.

A spokesperson for Dr Cullen says there will be no more settlements before the election.


Winston Peters wants Maori to remember New Zealand First's contributions to their welfare when they cast their party vote.

Mr Peters says unlike the Maori Party, he can point to tangible achievements rather than high flying rhetoric.

He says it was New Zealand First that won extra funding for the Maori Women's Welfare League and the Maori Wardens, and got changes in tax treatment to the advantage of Maori kiwifruit growers.

“The critical thing also for Maori is the fact we did secure the minimum wage of $12 an hour in April when it was $9 just three years ago it was $9. These are important achievements that speak of a party that is not words but action,” Mr Peters says.

New Zealand First has also been thanked by central North island tribes for the work it did behind the scenes to help bring about the Treelord forestry settlement.


A Maori political scientist says the rise of the Maori Party may encourage Maori in Australia to vote.

A report by researcher Paul Hamer say only one percent of a potential 60,000 Maori voters across the Tasman cast a ballot in the last election.

Kaapua Smith says most Maori who move to Australia probably feel that actions by governments back in New Zealand no longer affect them.
The Maori Party may change that.

“Before the Maori Party, the New Zealand Government focused on laws for New Zealanders in New Zealand. The Maori Party has a kaupapa of looking after Maori in New Zealand or overseas,” Dr Smith says.


One of the country's newest artistic laureates says the $50,000 prize gives him a lot of confidence for the future.

Painter Shane Cotton from Ngapuhi was one of five people honoured for their achievements at the ninth Arts Foundation Laureate Awards.

The 44-year old says while his work has attracted attention because of handling of Maori themes, he's aiming for the broader picture.

“I don't try to make a Maori image. I just try to make an image that is in keeping with the thematic concern at the time, and if it comes out looking as slightly less Maori or it’s perception is less Maori, I don’t really have a problem with that. I sort of go with it. I love Maori artforms, traditional and customary forms which have been a big influence for me and sometimes I bring those things into my work but sometimes I feel the work doesn’t need to have those things to make some kind of statement,”
Cotton says.

He's humbled to receive the award at this stage in his career.

Question ducking costing votes

A political commentator says Tariana Turia is costing her party votes by not being clear on what it intends to do after the election.

Chris Trotter says the Maori Party should be ahead in the Maori electorates it doesn't hold, but in fact there is a close fight in all three.

A Marae Digipoll put Labour's Parekura Horomia five points ahead of Derek Fox in Ikaroa Rawhiti, Mahara Okeroa was ahead of Rahui Katene in Te Tai Tonga, and Nanaia Mahuta is neck and neck with Angeline Greensil in Hauraki-Waikato.

Mr Trotter says Mrs Turia is ducking questions that voters ... and potential coalition partners ... expect answers to.

“The questions that have been put to here are really important questions like ‘are you going to be seeking full control of the finance?’ in a way that could be, how shall we put this politely, constitutionally innovative. She won’t respond to questions about the concept of a Maori house, which Professor Winiata expounded about on Agenda just a week ago,” Mr Trotter says.

Maori voters want to know which way the party will jump after the election.


A Waikato River hapu is pushing for government to recognise its mana whenua status.

Ngati Koroki Kahukura says it holds the mana from Te Tiki-o-Te-Ihingarangi and Te Taurapa-o-Te-Ihingarangi near Karapiro to the top of Lake Arapuni.

That's within the area covered by co-management agreements signed with Ngati Raukawa and Te Arawa two months ago.

Spokesperson Rahui Papa says the Minister of Treaty Negotiaitons is being unreasonable.

“Dr Cullen has said in a formal letter that he will not recognise Ngati Koroki Kahukura and yet in a gathering of the (Waitangi) Tribunal with six iwi, Waikato, Raukawa, Tuwharetoa, Maniapoto and Te Arawa sitting in the same room, all collectively agreed the Government should by right talk directly to Ngati Koroki Kahukura,” Mr Papa says.

Ngati Koroki Kahukura has gone back to the Waitangi Tribunal seeking clarification around the issue.


One house opens, another closes.

Marae round Banks Peninsula are undergoing a round of rejuvenation.

Ngai Tahu's Wairewa Runanga opened a new whare at Little River on the weekend, the fourth house called Mako to stand on the site since 1855.

Whanau spokesperson Iaean Cranwell says all houses have a life cycle.

“Rapaki if going about replacing their whare Te Wheke at the moment. It’s just being pulled down in the next couple of days. They say as one dies, the other one comes through. So now Maoko’s up and opening, Te Wheke’s closing, so there’s still three on the peninsula,” Mr Cranwell says.

The opening of Mako drew back hundreds of whanau from around Aotearoa and Australia.


The Co- chair of a new health leadership group to service the south Auckland suburb of Mangere says communities know better than bureaucrats what best suits their needs.

Representatives of marae in the region met at Pukaki Marae last night to hear what the Mangere Integrated Community Health leadership group can do to improve health services to the region.

Joe Wilson says health services needs to be driven by the people who live in a community.

He says the leadership group can help ensure existing health services are working well, and that new initiatives meet the needs of the predominantly Maori and Polynesian people who call Mangere home.

“We can work with those services and make sure they appropriate and our people are engaging with them. That currently isn't the case,” Mr Wilson says.

The initiative is to encourage the Mangere community to take control of its own wellness.


Northland Maori hope changes in their local authority will give them a greater say in decisionmaking.

The Far North District council hopes to form a unitary authority, effectively giving them regional council status.

Iwi liaison officer Ted Wihongi says iwi authorities in the region aren't happy with the current level of engagement, given that Maori make up 44 percent of the population in the council's area.

He says that needs to be taken into account in any reforms, with Maori possibly due three seats at the council table.

A district-wide poll will be conducted no later than April 21, 2009 on the how constituents feel about Maori representation.


Controversial author Barry Brailsford says his research is uncovering previously untold history of Polynesian navigation.

He is currently traveling the country giving talks on the material he is gathering for his next book.

His Songs of Waitaha, published over a decade ago, drew fire from Ngai Tahu scholars who challenged the veracity of much of the material.

But Mr Brailsford says that's because he was given access to material previously kept secret, some of which will also be going in to his next book.

“What I'm doing now isn’t contentious at all. It’s using the old lore but placing alongside it the very latest scientific evidence and got material from the Haida indians and the Tumash Indians of California that’s starting to answer some of the questions that scientists have been concerned about but just haven’t been able to find answers to,” he says.

Mr Brailsford will be speaking at Havelock North tonight and Masterton tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Wait and see on cabinet seats

Labour leader Helen Clark says the question of cabinet seats will have to wait for after the election.

National has offered ACT and United Future cabinet spots if it wins, but it has not made a similar commitment to the Maori Party.

Ms Clark says Labour has more experience of working with other parties - five over the last nine years.

That includes working with the Maori Party on an issue by issue basis for the past three.

“We know we can work with all these parties. What we try to do is put together an arrangement which meets everybody’s needs, and it already seems to me that if a party is prepared to put its support in behind you then in a sense the ball is in their court as to whether they want to come into a cabinet, because not everybody does,” Ms Clark says.

She's not concerned National may make in-roads into the Pacific island vote, because Labour is part of the Pacific island community, rather than going as a tourist to visit retired rugby players.


Waitemata Maori wardens say their deal with the Waitakere City Council could be used as a model for other cities.

Under the $100 thousand agreement, Maori wardens will patrol suburban shopping centres five days a week for the next year.

Wardens' chairperson Jack Taumaunu says it's a bold step for the council.

He says the Waitakere council has acknowledged the new skills wardens have picked up over the past year through an extensive training programme.


A former rugby league international hopes his new game will inspire rangatahi to get off the couch.

Taranaki raised Tony Kemp, the only Polynesian to have coached in the NRL, teamed up with Massey University industrial design student Charles Nicolson to produce a suit which sets off sensors when other players come near.

He says the new 10-person game, which has the working title of Rush Rugby, should get more young people involved in exercise by appealing to their interest in technology.

“It's been in my head for a number of years now. I came up with a concept to bring a game which is 100 years old into the future. Technology has taken over our youth, and you see that with Playstation, Xbox and the Wi game,” Mr Kemp says.

Prototypes of the Rush Rugby suit will be on display at a Massey University design expo at Auckland's Viaduct marine Village next week.


Ngai Tahu's Wairewa Runanga has rekindled the fires in a new whare at Little River at the gateway to Banks Peninsula.

Whanau member Iaean Cranwell says about 500 descendants from around the motu and Australia were on hand for a dawn ceremony on Saturday.

It's named after Mako, who claimed the area when Ngai Tahu arrived in the region, and it's the fourth house with that name to stand on the land since 1855.

Mr Cranwell says the previous house lasted 90 years, but it was barely holding together by the end.

“We'd stay there at night. If we had manuhiri with us, we’d have to reposition them in the whare so they didn’t get wet, because the roof used to leak. We tried to repair the roof, but when we took the tin off, it was all borer or rotten,” Mr Cranwell says.

The whare is uncarved, apart from the tekoteko depicting Mako's father, Puraho.


Marae in Mangere are teaming up to improve health services to their people.

Joe Wilson from the Mangere Integrated Community Healthcare leadership group says a hui at Pukaki marae this evening is part of a consultation drive to determine what services the community most needs.

He says the leadership group says has been established on a two-house model, so the Maori and non-Maori caucuses are working in a treaty relationship.

He says communities know better than bureaucrats what suits their needs.


A veteran Maori actor says a top arts honour means he may be able to relax a bit.

George Henare of Ngati Porou was one of five people honoured for their achievements at the ninth Arts Foundation Laureate Awards.

It comes on top to the Te Tohu Toi Ke award he received in September from Te Waka Toi, recognising the impact he has made to the development and retention of Maori arts and culture.

Mr Henare says the $50,000 check will come in handy to take the pressure away from always thinking about the next job.

He won't be able to relax too much ... he's rehearsing for a three month season of 'La Cage aux Folles' at Christchurch's Court Theatre which opens on November 22.

A laureate award also went to painter Shane Cotton of Ngapuhi.

Maori voters not getting credit due

A former Labour Cabinet minister says the party doesn't give its Maori voters the credit they deserve.

John Tamihere says the battle for the Maori vote is critical this election.
He says the Maori Party's two tick campaign in the Maori seats is a real threat for Labour.

“The Labour Party often told people the Pacific Island south Auckland vote won them the last election. It did not. The election for Labour is always won and lost with the Maori vote and in fact if you look at 1999 when the Maori vote went back holus bolus to Labour, it tipped Labour back into office,” Mr Tamihere says.

To be a long term player the Maori Party needs to build up its share of the party vote, so it's right to run a two tick campaign.


Former Green MP Nandor Tancos says youth representation in Parliament will only be improved by a larger turnout of rangatahi voters.

He says the major political parties don't give priority to youth affairs because there is little pay-off at the ballot box.

That means there is often little connection between young people and the politicians charged with representing their interests.


A long time advocate for Te Ataarangi says it's increasingly popular with Maori men across the Tasman who want to learn te reo Maori.

Liz Hunken says while women make up the majority of students learning te reo via the rakau method in Aotearoa, a recent Ataarangi hui in Sydney attracted more than 100 men looking to become more proficient in their native tongue.

“They don't want anybody at home here to know they don‘t know the reo, but when you go over to Australia, ‘that’s good, I’m not at home, and I think that if I become stronger to actually learn the reo,’” Ms Hunken says.

Because of the interest in Australia, next year's Te Ataarangi conference will be held across the Tasman.


Organisers of the Rugby League World Cup are starting to appreciate the input from indigenous teams at the tournament in Australia.

Commentator Ken Laban says strong performances by the Australian Aboriginal squad and New Zealand Maori in a curtain raiser, and subsequent showings by Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, highlight the strength of indigenous teams.

He says while Australia remains favourite to take the title, they are adding a distinctive flavour to the tournament.


Funding from the Tertiary Education Commission is enabling a consortium of universities, wananga, polytechs and community education groups to develop and release innovative Maori language learning resources.

The groups are gathered together this week at the Kia Mau ki te Aka Matua Maori Language Symposium at AUT University.

Co organiser Tania Ka'ai says the participants got an update on the activities of Te Ipukarea National Maori Language Institute, as well as hearing from international experts in language revitalisation.

She says the $1.5 million TEC grant is allowing Te Ipukarea to develop digital resources.

“Some of the material like Te Whanake programme, already that material is online, available to anyone in the world at no cost. Some of the material we are developing the website to Te Ipukarea, the projects like He Papa Huia where we have got lectures and a series of repositories being recorded and videoed, will be streamed for free online to the world,” Professor Ka'ai says.

One of the highlights of today's programme will be an address by Katerina Mataira, one of the pioneers of Maori language revitalisation and the co-developer of Te Ataarangi language method.


Former Labour MP John Tamihere says the Maori party is strategically right to run a two tick campaign.

Labour and the Greens are trying to attract the list vote in the Maori seats, even if the electorate vote goes to the Maori Party candidates.
But Mr Tamihere says the Maori Party needs to take a long term view.

“The Maori support base has to congeal and hang together and only then this election and building to the next election and the election after will it really start to be not just a minority that’s needed but a very strong minority that is locked and loaded and regardless of who is governing, whether it be National of Labour, the Maori Party needs to be dealt with, an that’s the position it needs to get into,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says the Maori vote if far more important to Labour Party electoral success than the south Auckland Pacific Island vote.


A Whangarei sports tutor has run her way into contention for a Maori sports award with her Auckland marathon defence.

Ady Ngawati sliced two minutes off last year's winning time to retain her title in the race.

Awards organiser Dick Garrett from Ngai Tuhoe says it could be tough for the judges to pick between her and Taranaki runner Lisa Tamati, who completed the Death Valley ultramarathon earlier this year.

The national Maori sports awards are being held in Rotorua on the 13th of December.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Call for probe of prosecutor

Leading criminal lawyer Peter Williams is calling for a public prosecution service in the wake of fresh charges being laid against some of those arrested in last year's terrorism raids.

Crown prosecutor Ross Burns from Auckland firm Meredith Connell intends charging Tame Iti and four companions of participating in a criminal group.

They are part of a group of 17 who were committed to trial on arms charges in connections with camps run last year in te Urewera.

Mr Williams says there is no fresh evidence being offered, and the charges indicate a lack of control in how the Operation 8 case is being run.

“I really feel it’s time there was some kind of audit on these people who bring these charges, whether it be the so called Crown or the police or a combination, they have to be some type of control because it’s really getting right out of hand. I would say it’s vicious. It’s like a dog on a chain that’s had no proper care. It’s just vicious,” Mr Williams says.

He says there is little scrutiny of the Crown prosecutor's fees or how the money is being spent, and it's time the system was reformed.


Former Green MP Nandor Tanczos is commending the Maori Party for its focus on support from young voters.

He says the major political parties have erred by ignoring the youth vote in their policies or their party lineups.

Mr Tancos, who is now running treaty workshops, says that encourages political apathy among rangatahi.

“My firm belief is there’s only two parties that take this stuff seriously, and that’s the Maori Party and the Green Party. For the Maori Party the demographics are very clear. You’ve got a rising young population and so it’s crucial for the Maori Party to be engaging with those young people, talking to them and representing them,” he says.

Mr Tanczos says voting is a good step towards effecting social change.


Thirtynine young Maori scholars from the South Island had an extra spring in their step today as recipients of Mana Pounamu young achievers awards.

They received pounamu and certificates at a ceremony in Dunedin on Friday night.

Pearl Barron manages the Maori centre at Otago University, which sponsors the awards along with Ngai Tahu Development Incorporation and three local runanga.

She says it's a way to acknowledge the extra effort made by Maori students in the region, and it recognises the contribution made to education by Ngai Tahu elder Alva Kapa, who died seven years ago.

Award winners were nominated by their schools.


The Maori Party's Ikaroa-Rawhiti candidate says there's no proof Maori would be better off under Labour than National.

In a debate on iwi radio this morning with Labour incumbent Parekura Horomia, Derek Fox said Labour is ignoring the poor in favour of benefits for the middle class.

He says Maori can see no benefit from their historic ties to Labour.

“We've just had 10 years of the best economic times we’ve had in this country. Our people are still three times as unemployed as Pakeha. The gap between what a Maori worker gets had increased under Labour. It’s gone from $119 a week, the gap, to $270,” Mr Fox said.

“But we’ve lifted the minimum wage eight times and we’ve got rid of the youth minimum wage, that’s what we did Derek,” said Mr Horomia.


Meanwhile, National's Maori affairs spokesperson says kura kaupapa will benefit from a half billion dollar boost in school buildings.

The money would come out of the $8 billion spend on infrastructure the party is promising over the next three years to stimulate the economy.

Tau Henare says the funding would naturally include the needs of total immersion schools.


The organiser of the Maori Sports Awards wants to know why the political parties are ignoring the power of sport.

Dick Garret says it's a way to invest in youth at a time when they are most vulnerable ... but despite the positive spin offs for society, there are no policies on offer.

He says there is too much concentration on elite athletes, rather than supporting grass roots sporting activities which lead to healthy lifestyles and behaviours.


One of the principal advocates for Te Ataarangi in Tairawhiti says the rakau method remains one of the best ways to teach te reo Maori.

Te Ataarangi's annual hui at Mangatu Marae near Gisborne this week was also the first Indigenous Language Revitalisation and Teaching Conference, attracting a bevy of international manuhiri.

Liz Hunken says the method of using rods to stimulate conversation remains popular because of the way it draws in a wide range of experiences.

She says students often become connected for life.

Next year's Te Ataarangi hui will be held in Australia, where the method has considerable support.

Tuhoe again victims of police action

A prominent lawyer says the further charges laid against five of the Urewera 17 is a further attack on the Tuhoe people.

The Crown intends to charge Tuhoe activist Tame Iti and four others with participating in an organised criminal group, on top of the arms charges they face in connection with camps held in Te Urewera last year.

Queens Counsel Peter Williams has been working with Ruatoki residents on a civil action over the way the police lock-down the Eastern Bay of Plenty settlement to arrest one of the 17.

He says the case has affected more than those arrested.

“The real victims of this have been the Tuhoe people, the people of the Urewera and I find the actions by the military and the police involved completely disgraceful and the obsession that the prosecution have with trying to make the charges as serious as possible totally inexcusable,” Mr Williams says.

He says the latest charges seem like a desperate attempt to justify the huge cost of the exercise so far, and the actions of the Crown prosecutor need to come under scrutiny.


The Maori Party will make an all-out effort this week in the three Maori seats held by Labour.

Co-leader Pita Sharples says the party is on tract to win Ikaroa-Rawhiti, Hauraki-Waikato and Te Tai Tonga, giving it a clean sweep.

He says despite challenging sitting MPs... including two cabinet ministers... its candidates are polling well.

“The only one that’s slightly behind is Hauraki-Waikato and that’s only 0.6 percent and I’ve got a good ground feeling about Hauraki-Waikato in terms of the Maori Party so that one’s certainly within reach and the others are polling very well, so I’m pretty optimistic we're on the right track,” Dr Sharples says.


The developer refurbishing the historic Britomart precinct in downtown Auckland has been chosen to receive this year's Outstanding Maori Business Leader award from the University of Auckland Business School.

Manuka Henare, the school's associate dean of Maori and Pacific development, says Peter Cooper has links to Ngati Kuri, Te Aupouri and Te Rarawa.

He grew up in Kaitaia and Te Hapua before getting a law degree from Auckland University.

He worked as a lawyer and as chief executive of LD Nathan before its merger with Lion Breweries.

Since 1989 Mr Cooper has been based in the United States, specialising in urban redevelopment projects which combine commercial, retail and residential use.

Dr Henare says he stands out because of his interest in ecology, the environment and heritage, as he is demonstrating in projects in Tai Tokerau.

“He's funded archaeological digs around Taitokerau, especially where his companies are working, on pa sites, early missionary sites around the Kerikeri area and been quite diligent in ensuring that as land gets developed, anything of historical importance doesn't get lost,” Dr Henare says.

The Mira Szászy Maori Business Leaders Awards will be presented at a gala dinner at Auckland University on November 19,


Ngati Porou is looking forward to having a greater say in administering coastal resources and fisheries on the East Coast.

The iwi on Friday signed an agreement in principle with the Crown to recognise its customary rights to foreshore and seabed.

Legislation will be introduced in the next Parliament setting out those rights and requiring local authorities and government departments to work with the iwi its 48 hapu when setting rules and policies.

Runanga chairperson Api Mahuika says it restores to the iwi the mana which had been shadowed by the passing of the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

“It gives us in terms of permission rights the right to say yes or no to any plans brought about under the Resource Management Act in terms of our foreshore and seabed. In terms of how the mana operates, it allows our people to determine particular bylaws in terms of fishing which is appropriate to their respective takutai moana,” Mr Mahuika says.

He says the agreement in principle recognises that iwi are the treaty partner, rather than pan-Maori organisations or the Maori Party.


A Tuhoe treaty negotiator says further charges laid against Tame Iti highlight the importance of resolving the iwi's claims.

Iti and four others of the 17 people still facing arms charges stemming from last year's so call terror raids are to be charged with being members of a criminal group, a charge which is usually associated with commercial fraud.

Tamati Kruger says the charges could also affect the claim negotiations, which are about the Bay of Plenty iwi's relationship with the Crown.

“Over the last 170 years, that relationship has been the worst of all associations by the Crown with any iwi and it continues to be bad so the negotiations become a lot more urgent and relevant because you’re no longer talking about history, are you. It's current,” Mr Kruger says.

He says the fresh charges have undermined efforts by Tuhoe to build a relationship with police after last year's raids.


The Greens says want more of the health budget to go towards prevention.

MP Metiria Turei says $3 billion a year is spent treating preventable illnesses.

She says it's better to treating people before they get into serious trouble, and the Greens want at least 10 percent of the health budget going to programmes like free annual health checks which can pick up health issues like mate huka or diabetes.

“And this is especially important for Maori, because many of these issues are poverty-related health issues, poor diet, lack of warm secure housing, those sorts of issues, and we can resolve those health problems if we put in preventative health measures early rather than waiting for people to become seriously sick,” Ms Turei says.

The Greens would also like to see a free annual dental check.