Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Te Aho steps aside from mud pool battle

The negotiator for Tuhourangi-Ngati Wahiao is stepping aside with the warning a settlement over the Wharewararewa thermal valley is at risk because of the actions of Maori Party MPs.

Willy Te Aho spoke out against the decision by associate Treaty Negotiations Minister Pita Sharples to ask Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell to mediate issues within the hapu raised at a Parliamentary select committee last month.

He says that put him in conflict with elders, and while they asked him to stay on, his aim all through has been the return of the land and the Te Puia Maori arts and crafts institute.

“I'm of the view that looking at the actions of the Minister for Maori Affairs, Dr Pita Sharples, that that is no longer going to happen and that is the reason why I personally don’t want to expend any further energy on this issue because I have no faith whatsoever in Dr Pita Sharples and to a certain extent the Maori Party to be able to find pragmatic solutions in very tough times,” Mr Te Aho says.

He says without the economies which would come through a merger with Te Puia, the tourism ventures in the Whakarewarewa Village will struggle to survive in the current economic downturn.


Maori health researchers have gathered in Tamaki Makaurau to share their findings and discuss how best to work with Maori communities.

Facilitator Clive Aspin, the former chair of the Health Research Council's Maori health committee, says the council has made a considerable investment in finding kaupapa Maori solutions.

He says Maori communities are more aware of the importance of health research and are keen to be involved from beginning to end.

“If you involve communities you are much more sure of identifying problems that affect those communities, the solutions that are acceptable to those communities and then the uptake of those solutions is likely to be much greater if the communities are involved from the very beginning and they feel part of the process. If they feel ownership they are more likely to take onboard what the research comes up with,” Dr Aspin says.


A South Auckland Maori health provider has offered Waitakere City advice on reducing the harm caused to Maori by gambling.

Rangi McLean from Hapai Te Hauora Tapui joined Problem Gambling Waitakere to present 6000 submissions to the council.

He says Manukau identified the proliferation of pokies as a major factor in the increase in gambling and adopted a sinking lid policy where if a gambling venue closes, the machines can’t be replaced elsewhere.

Mr Mclean says the number of submissions highlights the community's desire to reduce problem gambling.


The Maori Party is playing down talk of a rift over Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira's support for two men charged with assaulting the Prime Minister on Waitangi Day.

Co-leader Tariana Turia has been fielding media calls all week over rumours Mr Harawira is on the verge of breaking away.

She says that's unlikely, and expects the outspoken MP to be part of the caucus for a lot longer.

“Everybody knows he’s a wild card, he revels in being a wild card, and we accept that, that this is his nature, these are the things he will say or do. At this age, I hardly thing someone like Hone would want to be micro-managed and in fact he would 
resist it hugely,” Mrs Turia says.

She says Hone Harawira knew when he got into politics that the environment could prove frustrating.


The Prime Minister has promised Maori Television is safe under his watch.
The service last night celebrated its 5th birthday with a party in Parliament's great hall.

John Key says while he was skeptical when Maori Television started, its professional approach and creative approach has brought a fresh perspective on events.

He says it has drawn an audience outside its Maori base.

“Yeah we're committed to continue to fund it and that’s a result of its success and the fact its done well, plays and important role. Preservation of the language is a treaty right and that’s important as well so Maori Television and Maori broadcasting in general helps the Crown fulfill its responsibility in that regard,” Mr Key says.

He says the advent of digital television creates challenges for television companies.


The city without a museum is sending its artefacts to schools to give students a hands on approach to history.

Dean Flavell from the Tauranga Heritage Collection says among the 30 thousand items in the collection are 200 in a separate education collection which can be touched.

He says combined with a new website, handsontauranga.co.nz it gives teachers a way to illustrate their lessons with physical objects.

The collection includes a number of Maori artefacts like patu and toki or adzes.


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