Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, May 15, 2009

Key considers indigenous declaration

Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand could eventually endorse the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Rights, with some reservations.

Mr Key is working on the issue with Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples.

It's too late to vote for the non-binding declaration, which was passed in 2007 by the UN General Assembly, with only New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States voting against.

But Mr Key says New Zealand could follow the Rudd Government in Australia in belatedly accepting the guidelines for dealing with indigenous populations.

“Australia's sort of caveated its position. If New Zealand was to move, there would certainly be some caveats there. We’re working our way through it, and if we can get to a position where we can sign it I think that would be a good thing. It’s another step forward. It’s on the world stage. We’d be viewed in a slightly better way event though the ridiculous thing is we should be viewed a lot better than many of the countries who have signed it because we are actually walking the walk in this country when it comes to the rights of indigenous people,” Mr Key says.

The Treaty of Waitangi gives New Zealand a unique platform to maintain indigenous rights.


A former high profile toll operator says putting directory services in the mouths of Philippine operators will lead to mistakes and delay.

The Yellow Group's American-owned contractor, TeleTech, is shifting its 018 directory and 0174 directory services to Manila within three weeks.

It has a training programme tailored for New Zealand accents, conversation and geography.

But Naida Glavish, whose use of the greeting kia ora got her into strife with Post Office tolls bosses back in 1984, says it's unrealistic to expect the new staff to cope with Maori pronunciation and place names.

“Are they saying to us they’ve got a comprehensive training programme to teach a duck how to sing like a tui? That’s not going to happen,” Ms Glavish says.

She says it's not good for Yellow Group to cut 144 Palmerston North call centre jobs in a recession.


Waitakere City is holding a painting workshop tomorrow so residents joining this month's Super City hikoi have the most colourful flags and banners.

Project manager Mei Hill wants whanau to express themselves in a creative way about the denial of Maori representation on the proposed Auckland Super City council.

Ms Hill, of Ngati Whatua, says there's been a positive response so far, with people of all artistic levels welcome.

The workshops will be held at the Corbans Estate Arts Centre from 11 to three tomorrow.


Bail conditions have been relaxed for the people charged over the so called Ruatoki terror raids in October 2007.

The 17, including Tuhoe treaty campaigner Tame Iti, made a brief appearance in the High Court in Auckland today.

The Tuhoe 17 as they're known, even though only a few are from the eastern bay of Plenty iwi, all pleaded not guilty to firearms charges, allegedly handled at camps in the Urewera ranges in 2007.

The prosecution also laid new charges of belonging to a criminal organisation against five of the defendants, including Tame Iti.

But Justice Lang scapped orders that the defendants not associate with each other, and a ban on them visiting Ruatoki.

He also said they only had to report to police every four months, instead of weekly.

Lawyer Charl Hirshfeld, who appeared for Iti, says the defendants don't have to be back in court until December.

But the lawyers will gather in August and September for two weeks of pre-trial hearings, which could include challenges to the search warrants used by police to collect evidence against the group.


Associate Social Development Minister Tariana Turia says former Christine Rankin is arrogant, egotistical and not someone the majority of New Zealanders want to see on the Families Commission.

The Maori Party co-leader says the big-spending former Work and Income chief's response to criticism of her appointment shows she has not softened the views which enraged large numbers of Maori.

“Instead of talking about criminal behaviour, she applies the notion of Maori to it and then also implies that Maori people have to clean it up.

“I could throw the same argument back to her. Our people had all of their resources stolen, probably by people who would be her ancestors if not the same origins. Now why isn’t she prepared to take responsibility to clean that up,” Mrs Turia says.


A lifetime of dedication to the preservation of Waikato-Tainui tikanga and reo is being acknowledged at tonight's Arts Waikato Awards.

Kirimaaku Kihi from Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga stalwart is receiving an outstanding services to the arts award for her commitment to kaupapa Maori.

Waimihi Hotere from Arts Waikato says Mrs Kihi has nurtured generations of culturally strong Waikato children.

“Whaea Kirimaaku has always been a opou in our creative landscape in Tainui. She’s an unsung hero,” Ms Hotere says.

Maori arts scholarships are going to Betty Brown and Ngahuia Murphy.


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