Waatea News Update

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Friday, December 12, 2008

PM invited to Pukawa stronghold

Iwi leaders are expected to be out in force on Sunday at Pukawa on the shores of Lake Taupo for a meeting with John Key.

The new Prime Minister was invited to the forum by Tuwharetoa leader Tumu te Heuheu within days of taking office, as the iwi leaders sought to maintain the momentum of treaty settlements set over the past year by Labour.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says he will also be at the hui, which is one of a series over the past two years at the historic site.

“Tumu has prepared a statement that he’d like to read to the Prime Minister and I believe the Prime Minister is going to respond. I wouldn’t have a clue what happens after that,” Dr Sharples says.


The MP for Waikato Hauraki says the National-Maori Party-Act Government's new tax regime is a double blow for Maori.

Nanaia Mahuta says the majority of Maori workers earn too little to get meaningful tax cuts.

And she says they will have good reason to feel agrieved when they see their taxes going to boost the incomes of higher earners.

“It clearly delivers to those on higher incomes. The great majority of Maori are not on those types of incomes that are going to see a significant benefit from the tax cuts. What we will see is that lower income people will be paying taxes that will deliver the benefits to higher income people, and there is no equity in that,” Ms Mahuta says.


Judges of the Maori sports awards will review their cut-off dates after strong end of season performances by some leading athletes.

More than 1000 people are expected at tomorrow night's awards dinner in Rotorua.

Organiser Dick Garrett says there have been questions about why members of the Kiwis and All Blacks were not nominated, despite wins in the Rugby League World Cup and the Rugby grand slam tour of Great Britain in November.

“Our close off is October so we are going to look at that next year because those performances of players like Benji Marshall and Peri Weepu should be in consideration, but they’ll definitely be in consideration for next year's awards,” Mr Garrett says.

Former Warriors prop Reuben Wiki, Hawkes Bay hooker Hikawera Elliot and double sculler Storm Uru are the finalists in the senior men's category.


The Judge has reserved his decision on whether to grant an injunction stopping the restructure of Tainui's commercial and social arms.

The High Court at Hamilton was packed for today's showdown between Tom Roa, the chair of the tribal parliament Te Kauhanganui, and the executive, Te Arataura.

The lawyer for Mr Roa submitted that in April the parliament agreed to Te Arataura developing an new organisation structure, but expected to get final approval on its implementation.

Justice Paul Heath will make his ruling early next week.

He said even if he doesn't grant an injunction, he will offer his thoughts on interpreting some confusing clauses in Tainui's constitution.


Meanwhile, the Minister of Maori Affairs is glad he's not the one in the middle of Tainui's raruraru.

The law covering Maori trust boards gives the minister a prominent role ... but that role is now considered paternalistic, and post-settlement organisations like Tainui have insisted they can stand on their own feet.

Pita Sharples says the tribe should be well able to resolve its current dispute over the best structure for the future.

“Tainui's going through what it went through a while ago and I think it will learn to handle it better this time. Inevitably when they get into a large putea like they have in Tainui now, it attracts more interest soi I think it was inevitable there would be a contest, but Tainui for Tainui, they’ve got to sort that out themselves of course,” Dr Sharples says.


Former Taitokerau MP Dover Samuels has some advice for the current holder of the seat ... don't let Trevor Mallard get under your skin.

Hone Harawira has said he'd like to kill the Labour hard man, who has been taunting the Maori Party over its support for National's tax changes.

Mr Samuels says he's nearly had punch-ups with Mr Mallard himself over issues of policy.

“He's not an easy bugger to get on with. I think he’s got to be very careful, watching his mouth because Hone is of the same ilk and he doesn’t really care about the rules of the Parliament. But at the same Hone Harawira was clearly outside the rules. He should apologise to the parliament, to his own party, and he should apologise to the Speaker,” Mr Samuels says.


But Hone Harawira is unrepentant over his attack on Trevor Mallard.

The Taitokerau MP says he's unhappy with National's tax changes, but the Maori Party was bound by its confidence and supply agreement to vote with the Government.

Mr Harawira says the benefits of the agreement for Maori will outweigh such short term hiccups.

But he's not about to apologise any time soon.

“I'm happy for it to be a debate between Maori on Maori issues but I’m not about to be accountable to dickheads like Trevor Mallard and those rednecks. I don’t answer to them for anything,” Mr Harawira says.

Otakou Runaka angling for harbour management

The Otakau Runanga is seeking a mataitai or Maori controlled fishery covering almost all of Otago Harbour.

Chairperson Tahu Potiki says the harbour has been a food basket for 1000 years, and it still contains the largest cockle beds in the southern hemisphere.

He says the hapu has consulted with other stakeholders, who support the plan.

Mr Potiki says it won't affect commercial fisheries, which were excluded from the harbour in the 1980s because of water quality issues.

“Nowadays after 25 years of hard work from community stakeholders and probably as a result of things like the Resource Management Act and community initiatives the harbour’s cleaned up, which has seen a significant restoration of wildlife and of some of the fisheries, so recreational fishermen, customary fishermen are reluctant to see that reversed,” Mr Potiki says.

The tangata tiaki will invite recreation fishers and other harbour users onto the management committee.


A leading economist who studies social equity says the National-led government's new tax schemes are based on an outmoded view of the labour market, particularly as it applies to Maori workers.

Under its confidence and supply agreement, the Maori Party voted for the changes, which give big tax cuts to high income earners while some low income earners will end up paying more.

Susan St John from Auckland University's economics department says a new $10 a week rebate for some workers earning between $24,000 and $50,000 seems extremely clumsy, and many part time and casual workers are likely to miss out on it.

“It seems to have been modeled around that view of secure, stable, 40 hour a week minimum wage jobs being available whereas we know the labour market doesn’t look like that,” Dr St John says.

The Maori Party will need to explain to its supporters how it justifies the trade-offs and compromises in the total package.


A Government back-down on building more state houses in south Auckland has been welcomed by an agency which works with low income Maori and Pacific Island families.

New Housing Minister Phil Heatley says a cap on state house numbers won't apply in Manukau because of the extreme need in the region, which has more than 2000 families on the waiting list.

Darryl Evans from the Mangere Budget Service says many extended families are unable to find suitable and affordable homes to rent.

“Need is absolutely at an all time high. Families are struggling,” Mr Evans says.

He says the economic downturn is putting already struggling families under more pressure.


The MP for Waikato-Hauraki says Tainui leaders should have used internal procedures to sort out their differences before rushing off to court.

The High Court at Hamilton will this morning hear an application by Tom Roa, the chair of Tainui's parliament, for an injunction against the restructuring plan put up by the tribal executive.

Nanaia Mahuta says Mr Roa has explained on the marae that his objections are to the process being used, rather than to the plan itself, which is to merge the management of the tribe's commercial and social arms.

She says if that's the case, it's disappointing he didn't invoke the dispute resolution mechanisms in Tainui's constitution.

“First and foremost let’s use out own processes. The court process is the absolute last resort and I think dangerous territory is when issues to do with any tribal restructuring matter is argued out in the media rather than in front of the people first and foremost,” Ms Mahuta.

The hearing starts at 11.45.


One of Labour's newest MPs says there's no need to push through a bill requiring more testing in schools.

The Education Standards Bill has been included in a raft of bills set down under urgency to be passed before Christmas.

Kelvin Davis, who left his job as principal of Kaitaia Intermediate to stand for Parliament, says that means there is no chance for the bill to go to select committee where MPs can hear from experts in the sector.

He says schools already use a myriad of tests and report to parents how well their children are doing.

“Schools are already using this best practice and I think the legislate, I thought National was the party that was trying to get away from all this regulation and it seems they’re trying to regulate something that’s already done,” Mr Davis says.

He says National is just trying to get runs on the board, but schools will suffer from rushed lawmaking.


An album showcasing Maori traditional instruments will be launched in Waitakere this afternoon.

Ancient Sounds of the Maori is the first album for Te Aratoi - a duo of Rewi Spraggon and Riki Bennett.

They're joined by contemporary musicians to put a unique flavour to taonga puoro like flutes, conch shells trumpets and gourds.

The well-travelled Mr Spraggon says feedback from gigs and taonga puoro workshops over the past 12 tears the duo has been together indicated a demand for the disc.

Rewi Spraggon and and Riki Bennett are taking over the chambers of the Waitakere City council for the launch of Ancient Maori Sounds

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tax change support a Maori tragedy

Labour's Maori Affairs spokesperson says the Maori Party's support of the Government's tax changes is a sad day for Maoridom.

The National-led Government is pushing through the changes under urgency, including cuts to Kiwisaver contributions, a new independent-earner allowance of $10 a week for workers without children earning between $24,000 and $44,000 a year, and tax cuts for people earning over $45,000.

Parekura Horomia says it was a betrayal of those who voted for the Maori Party.

“The group that's most affected is Maori because we’re under that wage bracket of $40,000, over 73 percent of our people, and they get nothing out of the tax cut.
Mr Horomia says.

Maori workers will also be one of the groups worst affected by letting employers fire workers at will during the first 90 days on the job.


A Manukau grandmother who graduated with a certificate in community nursing today has found her studies have turned her into a lifesaver.

Melissa Mills took the Manukau Institute of Technology course after observing the absence of Maori staff at the birth of her mokopuna.

Two weeks ago she administered first aid to a teenager who had a seizure in a store, and later the same day had to move quickly to stop her eight-month old daughter choking on a piece of chicken.

Ms Mills says before her study she would have panicked and been of little help but her training kicked at the right time.

“I reckon everyone should give it a go, it doesn’t matter how old you are. It’s the best thing I’ve done. I wish I had done it years ago because I wold have a diploma or a degree by now so I’m now working. I took that extra step to actually see if I could do it and it’s such good support from my family, it helped out a lot too,” Ms Mills says.

She is heading back to school next year to do a diploma in health promotion.


A feature film shot on a microbudget with a cast of mainly first time actors is getting a short public run in Auckland.

Taking the Waewae Express grew out of a teaching exercise by Wellington filmmakers Andrea Bosshard and Shane Loader.

Veteran actor Rangimoana Taylor, who plays the father, says it was supposed to be a 10-minute short, but the story developed by the actors of the after-effects of a fatal car accident, proved strong enough to sustain feature length.

He says the device invented by one of the characters, of inviting a new friend to the tangi, was an effective way to showcase Maori culture.

“The family get a bit shocked with it but it makes absolute sense, because during this time he tells her what to expect, and she asks questions and so when she’s asking questions about it, for those people who‘ve never been to a tangi, if they’re watching the film, then they say ‘aah, this is what happens’, and it’s done in a very light way,” Mr Taylor says.

Taking the Waewae Express is showing at the Academy cinema in Auckland during afternoons until next Wednesday.


Tainui's Te Arataura executive has succeeded in getting an early hearing on an injunction appplication against its restructuring plans.

The application by Tom Roa, the chair of the tribal parliament, Te Kauhanganui, will now be heard in the High Court at Hamilton tomorrow morning, instead of next week.

Mr Roa has told Te Kauhanganui members the executive, led by former MP Tukoroirangi Morgan, has overstepped its mandate.

Mr Morgan refused to comment before the hearing, but he's expected to argue that Te Arataura has the authority to make the changes, which include creating a new chief executive position to oversee both the tribe's commercial and social arms.

This would force the departure of the long-serving head of the Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust, Hemi Rau, and many of his staff.

The new positions have already been advertised.


The head of a south Auckland budget service is calling for financial literacy programmed in schools to address intergenerational poverty.

Darryl Evans from the Mangere Budget Service says without an understanding of the financial sector and how it works, young New Zealanders will repeat the mistakes of their parents.

He says it's vital work started by the last government continue.

“The Labour-led government ensured that every school across the country would have financial literacy and budgeting workshops and that’s what it’s about. It’s about educating our babies and our mokopuna at a younger age so they break the cycle of living in debt because in my view, living in debt is absolutely a learned behaviour. If your parents lived in debt, you’re far more likely to replicate that,” Mr Evans says.

Huge financial pressure is coming on all families, irrespective of household incomes.


New Labour MP Kelvin Davis says it was hard to keep his cool as he presented his maiden speech to parliament yesterday.

The former Kaitaia intermediate school principal entered Parliament on the list after unsuccessfully challenging Hone Harawira for the Taitokerau seat.

He says there was a good turnout of whanau in the gallery to hear his first speech in the House, including a very proud dad.

“It’s an emotional moment and you’re not just there on your own, you’re there because your people have put you there, and it is indeed an honour,” Mr Davis say.

He'll be keeping a keen eye on National's education policies, an in particular any attempt to impose unnecessary testing regimes on schools.

New look for Ohinemutu

The iconic Ngati Whakaue village of Ohinemutu is to have a makeover.

Mauriora Kingi, Rotorua District Council's kaupapa Maori director, says a meeting next Monday will gauge public opinion on the plan.

He says the village on the shores of Lake Rotorua attracts thousands of visitors a year.

“Council is currently replacing all its utilities so there are some major works happening now in terms of replacing all the old water pipes, water mains, sewage pipes and the like. The hui is to look at traffic management and also look at enhancing the entrance ways into Ohinemutu,” Mr Kingi says.


A Maori cancer survivor is thanking those who kept up the pressure to fund breast cancer drug Herceptin.

The Government says it will fund the drug for up to a year, rather than the nine-week course previously available.

Ngaire Te Hira, who has had a double mastectomy, says the $100,000 cost of private treatment was out of the range of most Maori women.

She says without the lobbying, more Maori women would die without being given the chance of survival the treatment offers.

“Maori women, their whanau, their hapu, their supporters and those who represented them did come out and speak out loudly of having Herceptin available for them. It was always down to the dollar, and we were in the category that didn’t have a lot of money,” Ms Te Hira says.

She says most women with breast cancer are too sick to join lobby groups, so the onus fell on their families to convince the government to fund Herceptin.


An expert in development says indigenous people around the world are looking at Maori to take a lead in the fight for intellectual property rights.

Shaleni Bhutani from India works with Grain, an international organisation promoting food security for indigenous communities.
She's in New Zealand to look at the Wai 262 claim to the Waitangi Tribunal, known as the flora and fauna claim.

Ms Bhutani says many communities around the world are threatened by the way multinational companies seek to exploit their traditional knowledge and culture, but they don't have the opportunities Maori have to voice those concerns.

“It is indeed quite unique but in different counties people have tried to use whatever fora they might have had within their national settings, because also the problem with the intellectual property rights system is there is no one forum where people from all parts of the world can raise these issues,” Ms Bhutani says.


Hawkes Bay hapu Ngati Tu and Ngati Hineuru will today start putting their case against a windfarm above the Napier-Taupo Road.

Lines company Unison has applied to put 34 turbines on Te Waka Range, after being knocked back on an almost identical proposal for a 37-turbine farm.

Tania Hopmans from Ngati Tu says the hapu are upset at being dragged for a second time to the Environment Court to protect one of their most sacred sites.

“When our orators stand on the marae and they mihi to manuhiri, they bring that maunga with them. They refer to the tihitapu of that maunga, and that has not changed since mai ra no. When our tamariki at kohanga, one of the first things they learn is their pepeha for both Hineuru and Ngati Tu, we refer to that maunga,” Ms Hopmans says.

The Environment Court hearing, which is being held in Napier's Kennedy Park Motor Camp, is expected to last until the end of next week.


A Maori academic says Tainui's restructuring plan will create an extremely powerful chief executive.

The tribe's executive, Te Arataura, is facing a legal challenge from the chair of its parliament, Te Kauhanganui, over the plan to create a group chief executive covering both the tribe's commercial and social arms.

Rawiri Taonui from Canterbury University's school of Maori and ethnic studies says it could be seen as a threat to the existing order.

“The proposal to restructure their business will create pretty much what we will call a super CEO in charge of both cultural and economic affairs. The new super CEO would look to have more power than the Kauhanganui, the tribal parliament, and also much more power than the king,” Mr Taonui says.

He says Te Kauhanganui chairman Tom Roa is widely regarded as a patient and tolerant person, so the court case cannot be seen as a maverick action.

Mr Roa's application for an injunction is set down for December 18, but Te Arataura is seeking to bring to bring the case forward.


A poutakamanawa carved more than 40 years ago will take centre stage when the Rotorua District Council opens its refurbished entrance next week.

Mauriora Kingi, the council's kaupapa Maori advisor, says the new reception area should be more user friendly and encourage more Maori to take their issues of concern to the council.

The floor to ceiling carving by renowned tohunga whakairo Kima Hakaraia in 1963 features a combination known as Nga Pumanawa e Waru o te Arawa - the Eight Beating Hearts of Te Arawa.

“He actually was commissioned to carve it for the Bank of New Zealand in Rotorua but when the bank did a refurbishment they decided they didn’t want the poutokomanawa which is actually one big long carved pole depicting the eight children of Rangitihi so there are eight main figures,” Mr Kingi says.

As well as the external refurbishments, council representatives need to be better educated in how to deal with Maori kanohi ki te kanohi...face to face ... if they are to will encourage more Maori into the offices.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

RMA reform could put Maori offside

A planned overhaul of the Resource Management Act could create tension between the Maori Party and National.

Environment Minister Nick Smith intends to introduce a bill in February to streamline consent processes, and another one later to deal with water allocation and other more complex issues.

Rawiri Taonui, the head of Maori and ethnic studies at Canterbury University, says Maori feel the RMA has for the first time given them effective tools to defend waahi tapu and other areas of concern.

He says if the Maori Party were to back the reforms, it could alienate its supporters.

“Most Maori support the partnership between the Maori Party and National but there’s that tension in that relationship between the right wing economics and making Maori progress so it’s going to be interesting to see what they do with that,” Mr Taonui says.

He says the Resource Management Act reform could be an even bigger turn off the Maori Party supporters than the 90 day fire at will Act.


The Green's Foreign Affairs spokesperson says New Zealand should be embarrassed to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

Keith Locke says the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a logical extension of the original document ... but New Zealand is one of only two countries which has refused to sign it.

He says it shouldn't be such a major issue for the government because of progress already made on treaty issues.

“The nature of all of these treaties is to lay down your fundamental principles and one of the principles is the right of people who’ve been done an injustice, who’ve been tricked or whatever to full compensation and then, on that basis, you work out what’s a practical response which is exactly what the treaty settlement process is all about,” Mr Locke says.


The chair of Ngati Kahungunu has his sights set on the Pacific in his quest to unite people around the idea of Hawaiiki, the legendary Polynesian homeland.

The iwi last month hosted a gathering in Hastings of descendants of the Takitimu waka, which features in the traditional stories of many of the islands in Polynesia.

Ngahiwi Tomoana says as a result of that people are discussing a pan-Pacific Hawaiiki brand which can be used to promote ventures selling fish, fruit, fuels and other commodities from the region.

He's also been offered land on Rarotonga to set up a research centre, Te Kura o Hawaiiki.

“That talks about the oral traditions of Hawaiki, that will pull these traditions in from all the other islands in order to regurgitate and refine and develop these concepts and ideas into the modern framework,” Mr Tomoana says.

He'd like to see a fleet of double-hulled voyaging waka sailing round the world, completing the journey started by the ancestors.


Like a nightmare that won't go away, two Ngati Kahungunu hapu are in the Environment Court fighting a line company's plans for a wind farm on their maunga.

Unison Networks wants to put turbines on Te Waka Range near Te Pohue, on the Napier-Taupo Road.

Tania Hopmans from Ngati Tu says the maunga is sacred to her hapu and Ngati Hineuru.

She says the company is resubmitting a plan which has already been knocked back because of the area's outstanding natural and cultural features.

“Changes in the project which is the reduction from 37 to 34 turbines are pretty much a joke. From all other respects the project is pretty much the same. Previously we had argued against this wind farm in the environment court, and subsequently in the High Court and we were successful in both of those cases,” Ms Hopmans says.

The hapu will start presenting its witnesses tomorrow, and the court has shifted to a conference room in Napier's Kennedy Park Motor Camp to cope with the expected number of supporters.


A Maori breast cancer survivor says while it's pleasing to see the new government honour its promise to fund Herceptin, one year of treatment may not be enough for some women.

The government today said it would bypass drug-funding agency Pharmac and pay drug company Roche directly for the drug, which is effective in combating certain kinds of breast cancer.

Ngaire Te Hira, who had a double mastectomy and chemo therapy to tackle her cancer, says for both Maori and non Maori battling breast cancer, today’s announcement couldn't have come at a better time.

“Very very good news but unfortunately I heard that it was only to be for 12 months and we were hoping there would be something more long term and something more sustainable for other women,” Ms Te Hira says.

She says thanks must go to the whanau of women with breast cancer who fought for the change.


Whale Rider star Rawiri Paretene is in South Africa shooting a mini-series about whales for German television ... set in New Zealand.

Secrets of Whales tells the story of a German family who move to New Zealand to distance their teenage daughter from negative influences.

The Hokianga-based actor plays head of a mythical village Te Koura, where the German father studies whales under threat from natural gas exploration.

Also in the cast is Grant Roa, who played his son in Whalerider, and German actor Chris Lambert, who starred in science fiction movie The Highlander.

Mr Paratene says despite setting the film in New Zealander, the scriptwriters haven't asked for any Maori input into the script, and he misses some of the Maori spiritual elements that made Whale Rider an international success.

Maori Party urged to spurn 90 day bill

Eyes will be on the Maori party to see how they respond to government moves to rush through parliament under urgency law changes which will allow employers to get rid of workers during their first 90 days of employment without warning or reason.

The government announced it wanted to have the measure made law before Christmas when outline its legislative programme when parliament opened.

A prominent Maori trade union organiser Helen Te Hira says the bill will be the first test for the Maori Party and its relationship with the new government.

“The last time this bill was raised they made a strong decision to stand on the side of workers and workers rights and defeated it, so if they were silent on this I’d want to know why and I’d want to know what changed form then to now that meant they no longer had that view. I don’t think they would be in support of the 90-day bill,” Ms Te Hira says.

Maori party representatives were not available for comment.


Labour leader Phil Goff is hoping the political flavour of Waitangi Day will not be lost if the idea of Waitangi marae chairman Kingi Taurua to make the event less political is adopted.

Mr Tauroa says he would like to see less politics at next year's event on February 6 with things such as a talent quest to make it more of a festive occasion.

Phil Goff says politics should not be taken out of Waitangi Day but he is also keen to see the event as an occasion for celebration.

“Let’s celebrate the day, let’s have the discussion. Let’s have the discussion though where both sides to the discussion can treat the other side with respect. Because I don’t think it does anything for our national day to have the degenerate into personal abuse. Let’s debate the issues, debate them hard but let’s not forget what the day is to celebrate and let’s not forget our need, even when we have disagreements with people, to treat people with mutual respect,” Mr Goff says.


Taonga puoro musician and tutor Rewi Spraggon says he is constantly amazed at the interest in traditional Maori instruments.

He says 50 people turned up at a hui in Otipoti, over the weekend, and serves as a reminder of how many people, both Maori and non Maori, are keen to make and play their own instruments.

He says the workshop, co-hosted by long time musical friend Riki Bennet, is modeled on the successful formula used by the late Hirini Melbourne and Richard Nunns, who are credited with having sparked the revival in taonga puoro.

“Really explaining not only the sounds but the genealogy of these instruments and I think that makes it more personal and for them to actually go away and make a taonga and then play a taonga, they enjoy it, so it’s a real buzz,” Mr Spraggon says.

Many at the taonga puoro workshop over the weekend were pakeke or adult students,


The power of police to take DNA from offenders at the time of their arrest... before they've been convicted of, anything... is being questioned by Metiria Turei.

The National government has signaled the move in the speech from the throne.

The Greens spokesperson on law and order says her party vehemently objects to any plans to take DNA from people just because they've been arrested.

Ms Turei says such a move is a breach of human rights.

“For Maori this is especially critical, one because of the tikanga issues around taking bodily samples, but also because Maori are more likely to be stopped by the police, more likely to be searched and sometimes harassed by the police and more likely to be arrested by the police, so a policy like this will affect Maori more than it will affect other populations in the community and had a disproportionate and discriminatory effect on them,” Ms Turei says.


A survey on adolescent health has found over-crowding is a major factor behind young Maori being far more likely to commit suicide and have binge drinking problems than their pakeha counterparts.

Health researcher Ruth Herd who was part of a comprehensive survey on the health of young people says over-crowding was a reason Maori were twice as likely to commit suicide and three times more likely to binge drink.

“And we define overcrowding as more than two people per bedroom so if you have got you standard state house with three bedrooms in it and you’ve got two or three people in each room and then flowing over to the garage, well we know Maori and Pacific families have bigger families and that they often live with expended families so they have grandparents in the home, cousins, uncles, long term visitors, so the standard state house doesn’t cut it for Maori or Pacific,” Ms Herd says.


Labour leader Phil Goff says despite considerable efforts the causes of why Maori are over represented in the prison population have not been adequately addressed.

He says he has an open mind to proposals by Maori for an alternative justice system to address this provided they maintain the fundamental principles of fairness and justice.

“There’s a huge cause for concern that Maori people are making up 16 percent of the population making up 50 percent of the jail population and I don’t think we’ve got anywhere near yet addressing the causes of why that should be the case in a way that can see us move forward to reduce our prison population and our indigenous component in the prison pop by actually addressing the causes of offending and I think that’s what we have got to do,” Mr Goff says.

Following a recent hui on justice Maori groups around the country will be presented with proposals for an alternative justice system along traditional Maori lines.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Study finds teen health gap

A comprehensive study of adolescent health in New Zealand has found sizable disparities between Maori and non-Maori continue to exist despite a small improvement in the past six years.

Health researcher Ruth Herd says the findings of the Health and Welfare survey of New Zealand adolescents last year compared to six years earlier were not surprising.

“The disparities are still showing up. We’re still twice as likely to attempt suicide, three times as likely to use substances and binge drinking and also accessing health services is a concern for young Maori. They’re having more difficulty getting services when they need them,” Ms Herd says.

Maori families are more likely to experience hardship such as not having enough money to buy food and over crowding and this is impacting on young people.


Labour leader Phil Goff has confirmned that he will be attending Waitangi Day celebrations on February 6.

However he hopes that the political flavour of Waitangi Day will not be lost if the idea of Waitangi marae chairman Kingi Taurua to give a new perspective to the event with less emphasis on politics is taken up.

Phil Goff says Waitangi Day is an important occasion celebrating New Zealand's founding as a nation based on agreement between the crown and the Maori tribes that signed up to the treaty.

“I don’t think you can or necessarily should take any politics out of Waitangi Day. I think it is an opportunity to have robust debate What I hope is we can also celebrate this as a day that symbolizes New Zealand’s nationhood, our bicultural as well as our multicultural community, and I’d like to see a much stronger celebration of what we are, who we are, what we’re doing in the world, and what we have actually to celebrate being New Zealanders from Maori, Pakeha and any other group,” Mr Goff says.


New MPs have begun introducing themselves to the debating chamber with their maiden speeches. The whaikorero is around 15 minutes long and sets out what the MP hopes to achieve while in Wellington.

It's one of the few times parliament's tikanga demands silence from the floor... with no interjections or heckling from the other side of the House.

Kelvin Davis... the new Labour list MP who comes from Karetu in the Bay of Islands will be speaking on Wednesday and his speech will draw links between his past... and the country's future.

“My tipuna Pomare signed the Treaty of Waitangi andf I guess qwhen he signed it he had all the hope and aspirations that life was going to be better for him and his whanau and hapu and try and draw comparisons to the fact me being here in Parliament I hope to be able to aspire for a better life for my family, hapu and generations to come as well,” Mr Davis says.

Once the formalities are over he's looking forward to getting to work.


Workers group Unite is promising civil disobedience if the National government introduces a 90-day probation period for new workers.

John Key has confirmed that his government plans to pass legislation before Christmas giving businesses with fewer than 20 employees the right to instantly sack new staff in their first 90 days on the job.

Maori union organiser Matt McCarten, who heads Unite, says if the legislation passes Unite will picket any employer who uses it.

“I want to put this government on very clear warning. Our union Unite has decided if this goes through, there’s no moral mandate on this whatsoever. This is a sneaky little trick and we will ignore the law, we will picket, we will take the fight to employer who uses this to sack vulnerable workers,” Mr McCarten says.

He says at any one time 100,000 people are in their first three months of work.


Labour leader Phil Goff says he has an open mind to Maori setting up an alternative Justice system.

Following a recent hui on Justice Maori human rights lawyer Moana Jackson has called for a complementary justice system for Maori which incorporates traditional means of justice which existed prior to European arrival in New Zealand.

Phil Goff says he is not opposed to exploring the idea.

“I've got an open mind on that. Providing you maintain the fundamental principles of fairness and justice, and that means fairness to the victim and holding people to account for their offending,” Mr Goff says.

He says the causes of why Maori make up 16 percent of the population but 50 percent of prisoners does need to be addressed.


One of the researchers behind a comprehensive study of adolescent health says there is a stigma about being young which isn't necessarily healthy.

Ruth Herd, who was puwananga Maori research fellow for the survey which compared youth today with those six years ago, says the country needs to change the way it thinks about young people.

“There is still some stigmas attached to being young and a lot of the behaviours attributed to being young without looking at the environment and the context. Those behaviours didn’t start with the young peolle. They started with the older people so we need to be real careful about how we comment on youth and their behaviours because really we’re looking at ourselves,” Ms Herd says.

The study found considerable disparities still exist between Maori and non-Maori youth such as Maori being twice as likely to commit suicide and three times more likely to use substances and binge drink.

Ms Herd says these are related to over crowding and families not having enough money for living expenses.

Tainui power play heads to court

A power struggle appears to be going on within Tainui over restructuring of the tribe’s governing bodies.

Tom Roa, the chair of the tribal parliament Te Kauhanganui has sought an injunction in the High Court at Hamilton to stop restructuring plans announced last week by Tainui executive chair Tukoroirangi Morgan.

Mr Roa, one of Tainui's most respected leaders, has written to the 200 Te Kauhanganui members he was locked out of meetings, the board had overstepped its authority, and it has treated the parliament with distain.

Neither Mr Morgan nor Mr Roa are available for comment.


Maori indigenous rights lawyer Moana Jackson says New Zealand is one of two countries out on a limb by their refusal to sign up to the declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.

The deposed Labour Government ignored pressure to be part of the international convention aimed at safeguarding the rights of indigenous communities, that has been 20 years in the making.

Mr Jackson says the rash of treaty settlements prior to the election were seen by Maori as a desperate attempt to win Maori favour by a party on the wane.

He says by refusing to acknowledge the international protocols New Zealand is gaining publicity, but for the wrong reasons.

“The incoming president of the United States, Barack Obama, has said he will sign up to it, so that just leaves New Zealand and Canada as the last two governments in the world opposing that international standard of indigenous human rights,” Mr Jackson says.


A big Maori with a big voice has been singled out as the best by one of New Zealand’s most celebrated Maori entertainers.

Sir Howard Morrison is back in the spotlight following the first of a threepart series on Maori television that looks at his life, growing up in Ruatahuna, the success of the quartet that bore his name, and his works for charity both before and after his knighthood.

The Rotorua based entertainer who is now in his seventies says New Zealand has produced some wonderful balladeers over the years.

He says Toni Williams, Frankie Stevens, John Rowles and Eddie Lowe are all super talents, but there was none better than Ricky May ,who forged a huge career across the Tasman in the 60's and 70's and went on the be regarded as the best jazz singer in Australia.

“Ricky May was the best this country has produced, the best vocalist, the best stylist, the best purveyor of music, almost like Sammy Davis Junior,” Sir Morrison says.


One of the country's leading kidney specialists says Maori are much more likely to donate kidneys during life than having family donate them once they are dead.

Kidney Health New Zealand medical director Kelvin Lynn says while he is cautious about attributing this to spiritual values it is clear that Maori are more comfortable about donating kidney while alive.

“The benefits I’ve seen for transplantation are such that one would have to have a very strong counter argument to say this wasn’t a good thing to do, and I think most people do accept that the benefits of transplantation are excellent.

“If becoming a donor means you come in conflict with some of your other values, that’s a really good thing to talk about with people you trust and understand your viewpoint. I think that’s the way to progress, by open discussions within communities without any prejudice,” Dr Lynn says.

There is a close link between diabetes and kidney disease and with Maori having a high incidence of diabetes it is important Maori talk about what can be done to help people who need kidney transplants.


A conversation on Radio Waatea was the unexpected catalyst for a prominent Maori sportsman of yesteryear to be inducted into the Maori sports hall of fame this weekend.

Dick Garret, the organiser of the 18th annual Maori sports awards in Rotorua on Saturday night, says the korero about 1930's sportsman, John Hoani McDonald was heard on the internet by his nephew in London.

He made contact soon after and sent a raft of information on his uncle’s career, which will be acknowledged at the awards, a highlight of the Maori sports calendar.

“This inductee represented New Zealand in the rowing at the Empire Games, winning a gold and silver, in 1932 at the LA Olympics, and was also the flag bearer for New Zealand. He played Maori All Blacks. He then went with Gerge Nepia and Harrison and Smith to play professional League in England, was a top box, a top billiards player and the list goes on,” Mr Garret says.


Two Maori entertainers who have made a name for themselves by putting a Maori twist on old classsics are celebrating the launch of their 4th album.

Paretito Ruha and Jamie Toko are Kotuku, whose first three albums have sold over 10 thousand copies.

Jamie Toko says their new collection, Unforgettable, which includes classics like Baby blue, Someday we'll be together and Spanish eyes , was made as a result of pressure from audience members who want a recording of the covers the duo sing at gigs.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Utu has role in abuse strategy

A former Department of Social Welfare officer is calling for old tribal methods to fight child abuse among Maori.

Hohepa Mutu who has a life time of experience as a social worker says the type of programmes Maori had before the advent of colonialism are needed today.

“These traditions, some of them would look like utu for example, some would think that’s callous because it’s revenge but what they fail to realise is the whole concept of utu and muru taua which is exactly the same but it’s like a confiscation, and in actual fact concepts of emotions. They include love, they include care, but they also include the prospect of retribution,” Mr Mutu says.

He says the Crown has been dominated by Pakeha people who say they know better than Maori people for Maori and Maori are starting to believe this is true.


The chairman of the Waitangi Marae wants less focus on Wellington at next years Waitangi day celebrations.

Kingi Taurua says it is time for a change, and he wants less talk about politics.

February the 6th activities in the small northern settlement have often been used as a PR opportunity for politicians and for Maori keen to show their displeasure at the Crowns ongoing breaches of the treaty signed in 1840.

Mr Taurua says next year’s Waitangi Day should be less about protests and politics, and more about people.

“I want to move away from politics. I want to look at talent quests and that kind of thing, making it a more joyful kind of day where we can commemorate and celebrate Waitangi in a different way where previously it’s always been politics, politic, politics. I want to move away from that,” Mr Taurua says.

Meanwhile Prime Minister John key has conmfirmed he will arrive at Waitangi on February the 5th.


There will be plenty of Maori touch players nursing tender limbs today after two days of intense competition at the annual Maori touch nationals which wrapped up at Hopuhopu yesterday.

Richard Anderson, the tournament coordinator, says it was a chance for players with their eyes places in teams for the World Indigenous Touch Tournament being held in Aotearoa early in 2010.

“The percentage of Maori representation in the New Zealand national teams is very high. It’s just a sport that Maori can express themselves and it just seems to be a natural sport for them and it’s great to see,” Mr Anderson says.

The open men’s title was won by Te Aupouri, Rutaia took out the womens’ section, with Tainui winning both the men’s and women’s under 21 titles.


Next year Waitangi Day on February 6 will have a new perspective if the chairman of Waitangi marae has his way.

In the recent years celebrations at Waitangi have been politically orientated providing an opportunity for protest.

However Kingi Tauroa says he'd like to see things done differently this year.

“Up home it’s always been a political kind of area. People are interested in politics. I think Maori, Ngapuhi, is very interested in politics. At Waitangi Day previously, always something to do with politics. And so I thought this year, I’ve not said anything yet, but it’s my thought that I am going to try to bring a new perspective to Waitangi Day rather than politics. I want to enjoy the day, have something like a talent quest, singing, that kind of thing,” Mr Taurua says.


A longtime Maori social worker is calling for a return to pre-European ways such as utu to overcome crimes of child abuse among Maori.

Hohepa Mutu who spent many years as a Department of Social Welfare social worker, including working with the late John Rangihau on Puao Te Ata Tu to combat racism in the DSW, says while some may look at utu as simply callous revenge it involves far more than this including love, fear, retribution and reciprocity.

“And the only way our people used to do was use the traditions they had but they are precluded from doing this because the law thinks otherwise. And if you look at what has always happens, and this was one of the things that was highlighted for me as an administrator when trying to promote and advance Puao Te Ata Tu, the Crown, which was dominated by Pakeha people, said they knew better than what Maori did for Maori,” Mr Mutu says.

He says it is unfortunate Maori are starting to believe this is true rather than looking at the beautiful traditions they have been left.


Legendary Maori entertainer Sir Howard Morrison says egotism reeks in Maoridom with Maori who find themselves in the limelight are often subjected to harsh criticism from their own.

Speaking following positive reviews of a programme on his life on Maori Televison last night Sir Howard says when he first started his career with the Howard Morrison Quartet the only important thing was the music.

However he says he came in for a lot of criticism from other Maori who labeled him as whakahehe or egotistical.

“Egotism reeks in Maoridom. They don’t accept they have it. Some of the oratorical people who get up at hui, they just love the sound of their voice, they can’t stop. And then there’s the people who have an opinion on everything, and they’ve done nothing,” Sir Howard says.

WIPC:E attracts big team

A large contingent of Maori educators is in Melbourne this week for the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education, or WIPC:E.

The last conference three years ago was hosted in Hamilton by Te Wananga o Aotearoa, and more than 30 staff of from that wananga will be giving presentations over the next four days.

There will also be a keynote speech by Graham Smith, the head of Whakatane-based Te Wananga o Aotearoa and one of the drivers of a scheme to increase the number of Maori with doctorates.

The conference is being held on the traditional lands of the Kulin Nation in Melbourne.

Themes include finding ways indigenous peoples can maintain their traditions through education, how they can change educational institutions, and how they can shape their own futures.


The judge who has moved his youth court sessions onto a marae says it's not an easy option for rangatahi.

Judge Hemi Taumaunu runs the court at Te Poho o Rawiri marae in Gisborne every second Friday.

He says new ways of thinking are needed to tackle the high number of rangatahi getting into trouble with the law.

“We needed to try and address the disproportionate number of Maori in the criminal justice system and this was an idea really designed to try and achieve that purpose and at the same time still hold the young people accountable and responsible for the crimes that they've committed,” Judge Taumaunu says.

The court worked with the hapu at Te Poho o Rawiri to develop an appropriate tikanga... and each session includes a powhiri, karakia, mihi and kapu ti.


The Ngai Tahu hapu at Little River is nervously watching water and temperature levels in its lake on southwestern coast of Banks Peninsula.

Iaean Cranwell from the Wairewa Runanga says years of deforestation and fertiliser run-off means the shallow Lake Wairewa experiences periodic blooms of toxic cyanobacteria which can kill dogs, farm stock and even humans.

The runanga has a resource consent to open an experimental channel to the sea, but Mr Cranwell says it has to be done at the right time, probably during a high tide in March, so the water level in the lake doesn't drop too low and spark a bloom.

“If we open the lake the baby eels, because that’s what we want, recruitment to come through, if we open the lake now we’ll get a recruitment back into the lake of eels so in 30 years time there will be another lot of eels to catch but if we do that the lake will slowly get worse and worse,” Mr Cranwell says.

Jurisdiction over Lake Wairewa is shared between the Department of Conservation, Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City Council and the Ministry of Fisheries, so it has been a struggle to get anyone to take responsibility.


Associate education minister Pita Sharples has been given responsibilty for expanding a programme aimed at changing the way Maori secondary school pupils are treated in class.

The minister, Anne Tolley, last month told a conference of teachers and researchers invoved in Te Kotahitangi that the new Government is determined to see a larger roll-out.

Current funding only allows 33 schools next year to be part of the programme, which the most recent data shows is lifting the number of Maori children passing NCEA level one from a third to a half.

Pita Sharples says it can make a real difference.

“It's a programme where teachers learn about Maori and Maori students and their expectations and are taught to aim higher with Maori students and set their sights and know about how Maori students think and the culture so that’s really exciting and that will move a lot of Maori in particular out of the area of dysfunction and allow them to succeed,” Dr Sharples says.

He says schools need to become places Maori children and their parents want to be involved in.


The organiser of workshops addressing child abuse says whanau under stress need to know where they can go to get help.

Anton Blank says the first two hui run by advocacy group Te Kahui Mana Ririki have shown that people want to move on from smacking as a parenting tool.

He says cases such as the killing of Nia Glassie have made people realise they can't stay back when they suspect abuse is happening.

Mr Blank says the workshops are discussing discussions when and how whanau can call for help.

“Up to what point can whanau take control for themselves and at what point do we need to bring in outside agencies and that’s a tricky one. We would encourage families in the first instance to do as much as they could but also be aware that there will be a point at which the issue is much more than they can deal with and they need professional help and intervention,” Mr Blank says.

More workshops are planned for the new year, but Te Kahui Mana Ririki also believes it needs to reach Maori families through television campaigns.


A scheme to get more Maori stories on to the big screen is bearing fruit.
Te Paepae Ataata now has four scripts under development.

Film Commission member Tainui Stephens says the initiative, which is a joint initiative with Maori industry body Nga Aho Whakaari, tackles the critical issue in getting films made.

“Everything revolves around the script. If you’ve got a good script, there’s a direct line between that good script and funders, production teams, distributors and so on. Everyone gauges their interest in the value of a film project by the quality of the script,” Mr Stephens says.

Many of the young broadcasters who developed skills in Maori Television are now turning their attention to film.