Waatea News Update

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Friday, March 20, 2009

ACT bill threatens anti-violence action

The chair of a trust trying to reduce child abuse among Maori says a fresh attempt to roll back the anti-smacking law threatens progress already made.

Act MP John Boscawen says his private member's bill will allow parents to use a light smack to correct their children.

But Hone Kaa from Te Kahui Mana Ririki says the vagueness of the term light smack opens the door for serious abuse.

He says removing reasonable force as a defence for assaulting children hasn't created the sort of problems Mr Boscowen is alleging.

“There have been relatively few taken to task by the forces of the law for their disciplining of children, but what is important is that children’s rights, children’s safety, their security and positive development is what is paramount and smacking them does nothing to enhance that,” Dr Kaa says.

Te Kahui Mana Ririki is starting to see a shift among Maori away from the use of physical discipline with children.


The Ngapuhi Runanga is going on the road to confirm its mandate to lead the treaty settlements in the north.

Chairperson Sonnny Tau says any settlement must be between the Crown and the collective of hapu which make up the country's largest iwi, rather than with the runanga itself, but the runanga is the one body with the resources to sustain any negotiations.

He says while there has been discussion with individual claimants about the evidence to go before the Waitangi Tribunal, many in the tribe still don't know what's happening.

“There just hasn't been enough consultation around and people don’t really understand the claims process at any rate and this is an opportunity to give them and update and give them some idea about what the process involves,” Mr Tau says.

He says the important thing is to stick together, because the experience of other iwi is that fragmenting claims is a recipe for indecision and delay.


One of the most successful Maori sportsmen makes his long awaited return to the field this week.

League legend Stacey Jones, from Maniapoto and Ngapuhi, comes out of retirement to play his 239th game for the Warriors against Manly at Brookvale on Sunday.

Former Kiwi captain Ritchie Barnett says at 33, the little general has a lot to offer the game.

“What you find with older players is their vision of the game, they see it a lot sooner than younger players. You notice that when he plays, he’s got a lot of time with the ball and makes it look so easy. Certainly his creativity and knowledge around the play the balls and set plays will be instrumental in the side,” Mr Barnett says.

Stacey Jones made his NRL debut against Parramatta in Sydney in 1995, the Warriors' first season in the competition.


Ngai Tahu chair Mark Solomon has fronted up to tribe members to counter a campaign against him.

Shareholder Richard Patata, who maintains a blog on the South island tribe's activities, says this afternoon's hui at Rehua Marae in Christchurch attracted about 150 people.

He says Mr Solomon gave further examples of the conflicts which led to the sacking of Wally Stone as chair of Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation, the tribe's commercial arm, and put paid to allegations that a decision has already been made to build a $54 million dollar head office and cultural centre in Christchurch.

Mr Parata says the attacks on the kaiwhakahaere are coming from the same small group of disaffected board members and papatipu runanga heads who tried to unseat Mr Solomon two years ago.

“The people there were just ashamed that all this stuff that these malcontents are putting in the newspaper about Ngai Tahu. They’re just ashamed, and they want it stopped,” Mr Parata says.

He says Ngai Tahu's representation problems are likely to continue until it adopts a consistent and transparent voting system.


Education sector union Te Riu Roa is welcoming the new Maori language curriculum for mainstream schools launched yesterday in Rotorua.

Laures Park, the NZEI's matua takawaenga, says the new guidelines give teachers much needed support and raise the status of te reo Maori language in schools.

They also offer practical advice on how to teach te reo me ona tikanga.

“I see some very good resources that have been developed and can be used by kaiako in schools that enhance what they are doing but also give them new huarahi that they can use while they are working with the students, so that’s the exciting part,” Ms Park says.

Despite the new curriculum, there is still a shortage of suitably qualified Maori teachers in mainstream schools.


The Race Relations Commissioner says International Race Relations Day tomorrow is a chance to celebrate the changing face of Aotearoa.

Joris de Bres says the country is now more diverse than it was a generation ago, and many Maori have offspring who can whakapapa to several cultures.

He says that cultural diversity adds to the uniqueness of Maori culture.

“This is a time to celebrate the diversity of people in New Zealand, to assure everybody they are respected for who they are and valued for who they are and also to emphasise our own New Zealandness,” Mr de Bres says.

Overseas land threat bigger than foreshore crisis

Labour's Maori affairs spokesman says National's review of the Overseas Investment Act is a bigger threat to Maori interests than the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Parekura Horomia says it's clear Finance Minister Bill English has protections on sensitive land in his sights.

He says unlike Labour's Foreshore Act which provides a mechanism for Maori to pursue their customary interests in the takutaimoana, National's changes are likely to deny Maori a chance to protect their waahi tapu.

“This is another issue like sensitive land and I’ll rest my political life on the foreshore and seabed legislation, Maori need instruments to protect themselves from this sort of intrusion and this is a huge intrusion, not just on Maori rights and whenua but on New Zealanders as a whole,” Mr Horomia says.

Rather than opening the doors to rich foreigners and big business, the government should be looking at how New Zealanders can invest in their own development.


But Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says the Maori Party is watching the Government's plans closely.

He intends to talk with the Finance Minister about how sensitive land will be treated in the review.

“The last thing we want is wholesale assets and resourcing moving out of our country with whether it’s in the form of land ownership or whatever so on the other hand encouraging overseas investment has got to be good for the economy so it’s finding the balance and putting the brakes on possible moves to alienate Maori from their land,” Dr Sharples says.


After years of development, mainstream schools now have a Maori language curriculum to refer to.

Education Minister Ann Tolley told the launch at Taurua marae by Lake Rotoiti the curriculum will help schools meet their obligation under the Education Act to provide te reo Maori me ona tikanga to students when parents ask for it.

Former school principal Te Ururoa Flavell, the MP for Waiariki and Maori party education spokesperson, says it was fitting the document was launched at the same marae where the idea was conceived more than twenty five years ago.

“It's a result of about 20 to 25 years’ work started by Himiona Hunia at Taurua and that curriculum launched in Rotorua so that was a great occasion for Te Arawa and language teachers throughout the motu. It’s been a long time coming,” Mr Flavell says.


Waikato schools have gathered at Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia for the 106th annual regatta.

Organiser Rangimarie Morgan says up to 10,000 people are expected today and tomorrow to watch the teams race.

She says it's a great celebration to Tainui's relationship with its ancestral awa of the Tainui people, with kapa haka and other entertainment.

Secondary schools race today with the adult divisions tomorrow


The lawyer for Tuhoe activist Tame Iti says a new tactical response group to address threats of domestic terrorism is unnecessary.

The government intends to recruit former SAS soldiers for the unit, ostensibly to monitor international threats in the lead-up to and during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Annette Sykes says despite the ongoing prosecution of Iti and others arrested in the so called 2006 terror raids in Ruatoki, says domestic terrorism is virtually unheard of in this country.

“We have an existing threat assessment unit. We have existing forces within the police to deal with these kinds of threats, an a just and free and democratic society we are in Aotearoa has to ask is this really necessary, have we had these kinds of threats in our history, in our modern history. Are we likely to? We’re a country that prides itself on its civil rights and we’ve really got to start thinking about these matters,” Ms Sykes says.


Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell is defending his role mediating between factions contesting ownership of the Whakarewarewa thermal valley.

Associate treaty negotiations minister Pita Sharples has asked his Maori Party colleague to resolve some of the issues which arose during last month's select committee hearing in Rotorua of the Whakarewarewa settlement bill.

Willie Te Aho, the negotiator for Tuhourangi-Ngati Wahiao, says Mr Flavell is the wrong person for the job because of his advocacy on behalf of a Ngati Wahiao faction opposing the settlement terms.

But the MP says he's just doing the job he was elected to do.

“Everyone I know of wants a settlement but the fact is some of those issues have been raised and he’s asked me as a local MP if I can move towards the facilitation of a process that deals with some of those issues, in particular around mana whenua issues. He’s asked me to do a job and therefore I hope shows a faith in the abilities I have. I’m going to give it my best shot,” Mr Flavell says.

The select committee is due to report the bill back in June.


A sport that has its origins in the whaling ships holds its national individual championships in Rotorua tomorrow.

Power pulling is the kiwi version of tug of war, and it's becoming increasingly popular with tangata whenua.

David Peehikura from the National Powerpulling Association says contestants are graded according to weight to do battle in a best of three series.

It's been a formal sport here for 40 years but its origins go back much further.

“Like tug of war is a standing up style that comes from overseas. Power pulling is lying down on board and cleats. It started on the old whaling ships before rugby and cricket were started in New Zealand,” Mr Peehikura says.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Doubts over $4.5m ministerial taskforce

Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson Parekura Horomia says a $4.5 million ministerial taskforce on the Maori economy is going over old ground.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says the group of seven iwi and business leaders will advise how Maori can avoid the worst impacts of the recession and strengthen the Maori economy in the longer term.

They include embattled Ngai Tahu chair Mark Solomon, Ngahiwi Tomoana from Ngati Kahungunu, Bentham Ohia from Te Wananga o Aotearoa and Daphne Luke from Te Wananga o Raukawa, former Labour MP John Tamihere, banker June McCabe and Business Roundtable head Rob McLeod.

Mr Horomia says the previous Labour Government did a lot of work on Maori economic development through Te Puni Kokiri and the Hui Taumata taskforce, which Ms MCabe and Mr McLeod were members of.

“There's a fair bit of this stuff already happened and what I wopuldn’t like to see is another repeat just of another commission to go round and find what a lot of us already know,” Mr Horomia says.

He says it's highly unusual to run such a taskforce directly out of a minister's office.


But taskforce member Bentham Ohia has high hopes for the new group.

The chief executive of Te Wananga o Aotearoa says a priority will be exploring further the recommendations which came out of last month's Prime Minister's jobs summit.

He says new thinking is needed to address some long standing problems.

“The opportunity here it to feed back through to the minister directly ideas, potential issues or barriers that may be blocking any new initiatives that we as Maori may be looking to implement,” Mr Ohia says.

He will be concentrating on education, information and communications technology and trade training.


King Tuheitia and other Tainui leaders gathered at Turangawaewae yesterday to celebrate the 80th year since the opening of Mahinaarangi.

The meeting house was built by Princess Te Puea as a hospital, but was converted into a welcoming room for distinguished guests of the Kingitanga after it failed to meet health specifications.

Waatea correspondent Mania Clarke says a highlight of the celebration was a rare opportunity to see inside the whare.

The celebrations also include an exhibition until Saturday of photographs taken by Ans Westra at Turangawaewae in the early 1960s.


The Minister of Maori Affairs says a tribal leader's political battles had no bearing on his appointment to a new ministerial taskforce.

Mark Solomon from Ngai Tahu is one of seven members on a new taskforce which will advise Dr Sharples on how to implement the recommendations of last month's job summit and set the stage for future Maori economic growth.

Tomorrow Mr Solomon will front up to tribe members at Rehua Marae in Christchurch in an attempt to counter yet another challenge to his leadership by influential elements in the tribe.

Dr Sharples says he will be a valuable member of the team.

“Mark's business acumen is unquestionable in where he’s been able to lead Ngai Tahu at this time and his own private situation was not even a consideration and we’re lucky to have him in the group. In fact people have been handpicked for their acumen or their leadership in particular areas, and that’s why the groups is so strong,” Dr Sharples says.

Other taskforce members include Business Roundtable head Rob McLeod from Ngati Porou, Ngati Kahungunu chair Ngahiwi Tomoana, Bentham Ohia from Te Wananga o Aotearoa, Waipareira trust head John Tamihere, banker June McCabe and Daphne Luke from an Otaki-based Maori Economic Development Agency.


Hauraki Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta says the Maori Party can't stand by and watch land being sold off to foreigners.

Finance Minister Bill English has announced an overhaul of the Overseas Investment Act to streamline approval processes for foreign investors.

Ms Mahuta says Maori would be concerned if that means what are already minimal protections for whenua are removed.

“It's okay to have foreign investment but foreign ownership, I think we have to be very vigilant about, that we don’t see more of our land going to offshore owners. I would hope the Maori Party tries to exercise some restraint on the Government in this area because I know it’s a really important issue for Maori,” Ms Mahuta says.


A leading researcher into respiratory disease says dry and healthy homes are more important to Maori families than building roads.

The Government this week announced a $1 billion transport funding stimulus - the same figure the previous Labour Government had targeted for home insulation.

Phillipa Howden Chapman, the programme director of He Kainga Oranga, has been presenting her research on insulation to a Maori asthma conference at Orakei Marae.

She says the higher rate of respiratory illness among Maori is primarily attributable to the number living in uninsulated rental accommodation.

“I would hope that over the next while we really do see some money poured into this area because I think that for whanau, I think this is moiré important than building roads,” Professor Howden Chapman says.

Her research found the health of asthmatic children improves markedly when their homes are insulated.

Harakeke centre to attract tourists

A central North Island incorporation is bucking the recession by opening a new tourism centre.

Maraeroa C's Pa Harakeke Eco Cultural Centre at Pureora will celebrate the ecological and cultural benefits of flax.

It includes a processing plant, a showroom selling flax products, a nursery and a plantation with 2,000 varieties of harakeke.

Chief executive Glen Katu says elders from Rereahu and Maniapoto are contributing their stories on local events and history to the centre.

He says it has unique features which should allow it to weather hard times.

“Whilst the major centres in tourism might have a drop off in their activities, we’re a new and unique product that’s not out there at the moment and something that we can grow into over the next few months when the uplift in tourism number to New Zealand happens. It will happen, because things go in cycles,” Mr Katu says.

The operating costs of Pa Harakeke Eco Cultural Centre have been kept deliberately low for the start up phase.


Health professionals are today looking at how Maori children can get better treatment for asthma at primary care level.

Researcher Matire Harwood, the clinical director at Tamaki Healthcare, says the hui at Oarakei Marae in Auckland called by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation will highlight the best in research and community based solutions for the problem.

She says while the incidence of asthma is the same as non-Maori, tamariki Maori are harder hit by respiratory conditions.

“Maori and Pacific kids are more likely to have to see their doctor more often to have their asthma treated, they’re more likely to be admitted to hospital with it and more likely to have time off school. The issue is what is happening in primary care to manage this illness for these kids so they’ve got a good quality of life,” Dr Harwood says.

Addressing the problem will require changes in the way general practitioners respond to Maori patients.


A group trying to revive an ancient Maori ball game is trying to make it attractive to both wahine and tane.

Coach Harko Brown says networks are springing up around the country to play Ki o rahi, which uses a circular field.

He says players are keen to set the right kaupapa, with women players getting the same opportunities as men.

Harko Brown says players are working towards the world's first ki-o-rahi international between New Zealand and France in Paris next year.


The negotiator for Rotorua's Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao iwi says the Maori Party is playing local politics with its settlement.

Willie te Aho, who chairs the Whakarewarewa Village Charitable Trust, says associate treaty negotiations minister Pita Sharples has asked fellow Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell to mediate between groups with a stake in the Whakarewara thermal valley lands.

He says that's inappropriate, because Mr Flavell has already used his position to advocate on behalf of the Ngati wahiao faction opposing the terms of the current bill.

Mr Te Aho says if mediation was needed, Dr Sharples should do it himself or use his associate minister.

“The minister of Maori Affairs could have used someone like Georgine te Heuheu to be involved in this kaupapa. She’s well regarded, background in Waitangi Tribunal issues and we would have supported that but he didn’t. He went back to his Maori Party,” Mr Te Aho says.

There are mechanisms in the bill to sort out the appropriate shares in the land after the Whakarewarewa valley and Roto a Tamaheke are returned to the collective of iwi.


A west Auckland Maori public health organisation is trying to address the number of Maori men in the city dying before they make 60.

Lance Norman, the business manager for Waiora, says the PHO's Maori health plan was put to the community yesterday at a men's health hui at Hoani Waititi marae.

Its research shows that Maori men in the city are most likely to die between the ages of 45 and 55.

Mr Norman says few of the men access primary health services.

“They're quite staunch about going to the doctor. They’re too invincible so they don’t really care for that medicine. It’s also quite cost prohibitive. They’re not on high incomes so health and things like that are not important for them, paying for food etc is probably the most important thing they bring home the bread for,” Mr Norman says.

He says solutions raised at yesterday's hui include increasing the Maori health workforce, so tane Maori feel more comfortable about going for check-ups, and the encouragement of whanau champions who will encourage the rest of their family to eat well and stay healthy.


A show at Lower Hutt's New Dowse museum is looking at the way contemporary Maori artists are using plastics and other synthetics to interpret customary forms.

Curator Rueben Friend says he wants to open a dialogue about cultural authenticity.

He says artists like Rangi Kipa, Inez Crawford, Hemi MacGregor, Robert Jahnke and Wayne Youle are part of a tradition of innovation with their plastic tiki, kowhaiwhai lightboxes, tukutuku puzzle cubes and resin jewelry.

“This is the world we are living in. These are the materials and technologies that are of now. If we look through our history, Maori have always been really quick to attain new materials and use those and become experts in using those materials so we can look at stone chisels and the invention of the greenstone tuki and later on steel chisels,” Mr Friend says.

Plastic Maori runs at the New Dowse in Lower Hutt until August.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Overseas Investment loosening threat to Maori

The Greens' Maori spokesperson says National's plans to overhaul the Overseas Investment Act threatens the interests of Maori landowners.

Maori have already felt the impact of sales of coastal land to foreigners through increased land values which affect their rates.

Meteria Turei says there are also cases where Maori have lost access to waahi tapu or food gathering areas on land bought by foreigner owners.

“Maori have a particular interest in protecting land and keeping it in the hands of New Zealanders wherever possible, so it’s especially dangerous opening up the Overseas Investment Act and allowing greater levels of investment in land as opposed to in the economy,” Ms Turei says.

She says National is showing its true colours, and the review is likely to mean less scrutiny of the environmental and social impact of developments like golf courses, hotels and private mansions.


Maori health professionals and community workers are currently being welcomed onto Orakei Marae in Auckland for a major conference on asthma and respiratory disease.

Matire Harwood, the clinical director for Tamaki Healthcare, says while the rate of asthma is the same among Maori and non-Maori children, Maori children are more severely affected by the disease.

She says researchers have identified not only economic and social barriers to treatment but some disturbing attitudes among GPs and practice nurses, who are less likely to prescribe drugs or offer asthma management plans to Maori tamariki.

“Part of our issue now is to focus on improving thaqt quality of care within primary care so that Maori and Pacific kids can benefit from good asthma management,” Dr Harwood says.

The conference runs until Friday.


Healthy food has been put on the menu for this week's Auckland secondary schools Maori and Polynecian culture festival.

Mason Ngawhika, a nutritionist with the Auckland regional public health services, was asked by Polyfest organisers to advise the 53 stallholders on healthy choices for the 80 thousand people expected at the Manukau Sports Bowl over the next three days.

He's trying to get the healthy kai message across to the whole whanau.

“It's always a parent’s responsibility but they don’t always know how so we need to develop strategies to assist and support parents,” Mr Ngawhika


Hip hop crews from around the country are polishing their moves for next months' national competition in Auckland.

Newtown crew Legacy showed experience counted as it took out the first Wellington regional hip hop dance competition at the weekend.

Manager Liston Peilua from the Pacific Performing Arts Trust says the style appeals to Maori and Pacific rangatahi, and there is some cross over of kapa haka moves, especially in the rhythmic movements.

He says hip hop's lack of formal rules also appeals to young Maori.


Whakarewarewa Maori are telling their local MP to butt out of their treaty settlement.

Willie Te Aho, the chair of the Whakarewarewa Village Charitable Trust and negotiator for Tuhourangi-Ngati Wahiao, says his group is keen for the Government to get on with passing the settlement returning the Whakarewarewa thermal valley and Te Puea Maori arts and crafts centre to his iwi and Ngati Whakaue.

The bill includes a two year process to resolve who holds the mana whenua.

But Mr Te Aho says associate treaty negotiations minister Pita Sharples has bowed to pressure from a faction within Ngati Wahio who want the ownership issue settled before the bill is passed.

The Minister has asked Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell to mediate.

“I'm certainly saying that’s inappropriate. He represented a minority view of Ngati Wahiao that opposed both our settlement and also the current bill so I certainly don’t support Te Ururoa being involved,” Mr Te Aho says.

He has also written to the Speaker asking for a correction to be put on the parliamentary record of statements Mr Flavell made during the introduction of the bill.


Whanau have been identified as a key element in tackling disruptive behaviour in the classroom.

Ian Leckie, the vice president of primary teachers union the New Zealand Education Institute, says a summit on the issue heard there are more than 40,000 disruptive children in the system, including a disproportionate number of Maori.

He says solutions will require improved collaboration between whanau, communities, government agencies and schools.

“I think it's a challenge for families to work closely with their schools. It’s a challenge for schools to build those links as well and when those links are really strong and everyone agrees we need to have some changes in and around children’s behaviour, we know that we are well along the track to success when families and schools can work so closely together,” Mr Leckie says.

He says teachers and parents need to learn how to manage disruptive behaviour, because they are not skills that come automatically.


The ancient ball game of ki-o-rahi is to get its first international test.
Coach Harko Brown says the New Zealand team will play France in Paris next year.

He says the invitation arose out of an exhibition game when he took Kerikeri High School students to an international kite festival in Dieppe in 2006.

“When we got to Dieppe and spoke to their tangata whenua, they said they learned the game during the SDecond World War, some of their soldiers learned it from Maori Battalion members, so they’d kept the game alive out of reverence for Maori Battalion members who taught them and also sacrificed their lives to help free the French and also free Europe,” Mr Brown says.

Ki-o-rahi, which is played on a circular field, involves imaginative handling and swift passing of the ki or ball.

Private prisons unpalatable for Parekura

Labour is not supporting the idea of Maori running privatised prisons.

Maori affairs spokesperson Parekura Horomia says Associate Minister of Corrections Pita Sharples’ support for Maori running prisons could result in a real debacle.

“I am quite sceptical about the notion our tikanga and all those overviews can placate a lot of the trouble we have got and I thought the Minister of Maori Affairs would be a lot more worried about those issues that are relevant to keeping our people out of prison rather than focusing on what happens in prison and that our people run them,” Mr Horomia says.

The Government has tabled legislation in parliament paving the way for contracting out the management of prisons to the private sector.


Maori party co leader Tariana Turia says Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira is unwise to suggest the Prime Minister meet with two men charged with assaulting him at Waitangi.

Mr Harawira told Waatea News he would try to arrange the meeting for next week.

Mrs Turia says while the Maori Party stands by the right of its MPs to support their whanau, it can get complicated because members of Parliament are not meant to interfere with the judicial process or to comment on it.

“The fact of it is that John Key was not the one who made the complaint to the police. The police took this action based on what happened up at Waitangi. So to draw the Prime Minister into the debate I think was unwise,” Mrs Turia says.


The director of this year’s ASB Polyfest says its heartening to see young Maori and Pacific Islanders embracing their cultures.

The four-day festival is in its 34th year, and starts at the Manukau Sportsbowl today with 59 Auckland Secondary Schools taking part, performing in 182 cultural groups.

Tania Karauria says the festival offered a chance for Maori and Pacific Islanders to showcase more than just their singing and dancing.

“It’s also about the total development of our young people and other skills that they bring on board like the self discipline, like the commitment and loyalty and the learning that goes behind each song, each waiata. It’s a winning event for our young people to be able to display themselves at their best,” Ms Karauria says.

More than 8500 students from Auckland secondary schools will take part.


National and its partner in Government the Maori Party are at odds over immigration.

Co-leader Tariana Turia us expressing concern about a plan to allow more foreigners into the country.

Yesterday Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman said New Zealand will not follow Australia's lead in cutting immigration, but instead make it easier for business and investor migrants to come here.

He says English language requirements will be lowered and minimum investments would be brought to "more realistic levels".

Mrs Turia says such a move does not fit with Maori party policy.

“We think the numbers coming in are too great and while the Government says they are looking for a particular type of skill in migrants coming in, it would seem in a recession that there would still be concern about the kind of migrants we do let into the country,” she says.

Mrs Turia says it is not appropriate at this time to invite more and more people to come to New Zealand and particularly on the basis that they have money.


Labour leader Phil Goff has launched a stinging attack on the Maori Party for standing by silently while the government takes away worker and Maori rights with ACC reforms.

Phil Goff says the Maori Party did not speak up about the removal of former ACC chairman Ross Wilson, who he says stood between the Government and privatising ACC.

He says Government is also planning to cut the eligibility of 400,000 seasonal workers to ACC.

“A very large percentage of those seasonal workers, including freezing workers, are Maori workers. Where is the Maori Party in protesting what is happening to ACC, what happened to Ross Wilson, what is happening to the rights of workers. I hope the Maori Party reconsiders their position. They know that the people the represent are the same people that Labour represents. They know those rights are important. They can’t stand by silent while those rights are undermined and taken away,” Mr Goff says.


A group of Papakura High School students are learning the hunting and gathering ways of their Maori ancestors as part of a marae catering course.

Gaynor Matthews, the head of hospitality, says 20 students in the pilot course are looking at the skills, knowledge and tikanga required to cook traditional food in a wharekai, including kai preservation, harvesting routines and food safety.

“We took all our students eeling and a lot had never done that kind of thing before and then we showed them how to gut them and fillet them and smoke them and eat them, create dishes with the eel along with watercress we gathered at the river as well so these were thing the students had never done or experienced,” Ms Matthews says.

The students are preparing for the National Junior Hospitality Competition next month, using the Maori kai recipes and methods they have learnt.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Paul wants prisoners for profit

The New Zealand Maori Council has joined the call for Maori to run privatised prisons.

Spokesperson Maanu Paul says the council has a long history of supporting privatisation of prisons.

He says in 1994 when Auckland remand prison was privatised the Maori Council supported that and when the Labour government put it back under state control the council opposed the move.

“The experience at the Auckland Remand Centre was quite clearly it was it had a Maori CEO, it had Maori staff, and their performance was far superior to the state system. The amount of recidivism in there dropped dramatically,” Mr Paul says.

He says the private prison also had incentives for prisoners to behave that worked well.


As the Labour party returns to its roots with a caucus on the West Coast where the party was formed, leader Phil Goff has drawn attention to historical connections between the party and Maori.

He says Maori through the Ratana movement headed by prophet TW Ratana played a fundamental role in the first Labour government's coming to power in 1935 with Michael Joseph Savage as Prime Minister.

Mr Goff says the Ratana movement and Labour stood for the same people.

“Those that were disadvantaged in life, those that had to struggle to make their way in life, and that was an enduring relationship between Maori and Labour and enduring right through to today because Labour got more of the party vote in the Maori seats than all of the other parties put together,” he says.

Mr Goff says the same values which brought the two together are still important today saying every child is important every family needs a secure roof over their heads and a job.


The largest Maori and Pacific Island cultural festival in the world starts tomorrow in Manukau.

Fiftynine schools are lined up for ASB Polyfest, with more than 8000 students performing on five stages.

Tania Karauria, event director, says the festival to still popular after 34 years, and is one of the few events through which young Maori and Pacific Islanders can celebrate their culture through dance and song.

“Obviously we are in competition with things like sport outside the classroom, and dance is becoming a huge thing in itself with the movement of hip hop etc but the thing I am blown away by is the fact so many of our young people are still holding on to their traditions and they are happy to learn about where they come from and who they are,” Ms Karauria says.

The four-day festival is being hosted by Wesley College.


The New Zealand Maori Council is working with the Crown on the privatisation and management of prisons.

Spokesperson Maanu Paul says the Associate Minister of Corrections, Dr Pita Sharples, has directed it to deal with government officials to develop.

The Government last week tabled legislation in parliament paving the way for contracting out the management of prisons to the private sector.

“The Maori Council as a statutory authority should be the leading treaty partner in negotiations with the Crown in the process of privatisation and mangement of prisons,” Mr Paul says.

He says the council role leaves room for every regional iwi authority to exercise their rangitiratanga for their area with the council having an over riding responsibility to ensure implementation and performance meet Maori and Department of Corrections standards.


And Maori taiaha expert Mita Mohi is backing calls by Associate Corrections Minister Pita Sharples for Maori run prisons.

Mr Mohi has run Maori-focused programmes in prisons nationwide for over 20 years.

He says recidivism rates show the current system doesn't work, but he has seen a turnaround in the lives of many inmates in Maori focused units, and supports the concept of Maori run prisons promoting tikanga Maori.

Mr Mohi says while there will be calls that gang members won't adhere to tikanga Maori, he's seen otherwise.

“I've had Black Power, Mongrel Mob, they’ve been on Mokoia Island together. I’ve actually witnessed a Mongrel Mob guy on Mokoia burning his patch on the island. Once they know where they’re from, their whakapapa, their marae, their whanau, tgheir tupuna, their waka, you notice a big change in our boys,” Mr Mohi says.

He says Dr Sharples helped set up the prison mau taiaha course more than 20 years ago.


Celebrated photographer Ans Westera says her ability to blend in was behind the intimate images of Maori life at Turangawaewae in the early 1960's.

An exhibition of her photographs opened at the Ngaruawahia pa today, as part of celebrations for the 80th anniversary of the opening of the ancestral whare, Mahinarangi.

She says the images gathered from koroneihana hui for King Koroki in the 1960s give a glimpse of family life behind the scenes.

“I was just captivated by the life around me, by the families, little groups of people that formed themselves so beautifully and naturally and I just really wanted to photograph people and seemed to have an ability as well. I somehow blend and people aren’t really aware I am photographing them,” Ms Westra says.

The collection will remain at Turangawaewae after the exhibition closes as an historical record of pa life.

Maori baby death rate double Pakeha

A report on deaths during the first month has found that the rate among Maori is double that of the general population.

And Dr Pat Tuohy who is chief advisor on child and youth health for the Ministry of Health says the finding by the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee can be put down to Maori smoking during pregnancy.

“And I know a lot of mums 
won’t want to hear this but that’s particularly bad for babies, both before they are born and after they are born. There’s a lot of help out there for mums who want to stop smoking, One of the biggest things that can happen is for the whanau to spend time either smoking away from the mum or giving up at the same time as the mum and giving some support,” Dr Tuohy says.

Poor diet is also a factor in the higher incidence among Maori.

The committee found that while the still birth rate among Maori of 6.7 per thousand was not greatly highly than the European rate of 5.5 per thousand, the rate for death during the first month of 5.5 per thousand was more than double the European rate of 2.7 per thousand.


Maori Party MP Hone Harawira wants the Prime Minister to meet with the two brothers who attacked him on Waitangi Day.

Hone Harawira says he supports the two because they are whanau.

He attended a hearing in the Kaitaia Court last week when John Popata, 33, and Wikatana Popata, 19, pleaded not guilty to assaulting John Key.

“They are young fellows
 and they’re coming down (to Wellington next week) to do some research for their iwi and one of the other whanau asked me what’s the chance of setting up a meeting with John Key. I said ‘I’m down there at Parliament next week. I’ll talk to him and see what happens. He can only say no.’ If he says no, that still might not be the end of it. I may still go in and ask again,” Mr Harawira says.

He says it should be remembered the action took place at Waitangi which is a traditional place of protest.


A concert to celebrate the life of Maori opera singer and master carver Inia Te Wiata has been welcomed by his daughter, singer, comedian and actress Rima te Wiata.

She says it was fantastic Sunday’s concert brought together some of New Zealand's top Maori artists as part of Auckland Festival 09.

“It was discussed as a possibility two years ago when mum brought out a compilation of music dad made called Just Call Me Happy. It was going to happen two years ago but didn’t because of funding issues and the usual things that slow things down, and finally it’s happening, so that’s great,” Ms Te Wiata says.

Inia Te Wiata died in 1971.


The Ministry of Health is calling on Maori to stop smoking during pregnancy.

The chief advisor on child and youth health, Dr Pat Tuohy, says a new report shows Maori children are twice as likely as others to die during the first month.

The rate of death during the first month was 5.5 per thousand for Maori compared with 2.7 for the general population.

“Tobacco smoke
 contains a whole range of toxic substances, so those toxic substances affect the baby. They go through the mum’s lungs and into her blood and that’s the same blood that’s nourishing the baby. So there are all sorts of bad things in the tobacco smoke that are going through the baby’s body as it is being made,” Dr Touhy says.

There are a lot of programmes to help people to stop smoking but with the latest findings perhaps more is needed to target young Maori women.


A media and Internet campaign to build support for the Ngati Porou Treaty of Waitangi settlement claims has met with phenomenal success.

The man behind the "I'm a Ngati" campaign, Te Rau Kupenga, says even he has been astounded by its success.

For February we ended up with about 50,000 hits from all over the world, the majority from America and Australia,” he says,

The hits translated into about 2500 thousand registrations with the iwi.


The man who helped kick start the way Maori education is organised today is being honoured by Massey University with an honorary Doctor of Literature Degree.

On May 13 Turoa Royal will receive an Honorary Doctor of Literature degree at a graduation ceremony in Palmerston North, in recognition of his sustained contribution to education.

Assistant vice-chancellor Maori, Professor Mason Durie says Turoa Royal was pivotal in introducing whanau-based learning and was an early advocate for recognising cultural identity as important for educational achievement.

“In 1956 there was just a handful of Maori university students who met at the University of Auckland and decided the curriculum for people training to be teachers did not recognize Maori and that Maori outcomes would be much better if it did. And really that was the beginning of a whole series of transformations that have led us to where we are now,” Professor Durie says.

In his time, Mr Royal has headed the Whitireia Community Polytechnic, and Te Wänanga ö Raukawa in Otaki, Te Tähuhu ö Ngä Wänanga - the Association of Wänanga and the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium and was a lecturer in education at Victoria University and Maori studies at Massey. 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Speaking with fists wrong approach to bullies

Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro says Maori need to stop teaching their kids to speak with their fists when dealing with bullying at school.

Dr Kiro says whanau often tell their kids to physically stand up for themselves, which can make matters worse.

“Most children who bully have been the recipients of bullying themselves. Now if they’re not taught how to behave and how to resolve differences and conflict at this point, what are they going to do for the rest of their lives? How will they resolve future problems? And if the answer to that is ‘I’m going to beat you up so you don’t get a hold of me again,’ what is the lesson they are learning? It is basically that the only resolution is at the end of a fist. That is the wrong message. That’s not the message we want out there,” Dr Kiro says.

Whanau need to encourage rangatahi to speak up for themselves via their teachers and peers.

A report released at a school violence summit in Wellington today, showed bullying was a growing problem in all schools.

Dr Kiro says schools in Aotearoa are self managed which makes regulating a consistent process for bullying difficult but hoped this may be addressed at the summit.


Despite it being the leading cause of preventable deaths in New Zealand, Maori parents are underestimating the risks smoking pose for their children’s health, according to the director of Auckland’s Tobacco Control and Research Centre.

Marewa Glover says the results from the Keeping Kids Safe intervention being trialed in South Auckland to reduce the number of parents and children smoking, showed Maori, Pacific and Pakeha parents rated smoking fifth on a list of eight public health concerns, behind methamphetamine, bullying and violence, marijuana and alcohol.

She says parents did not realise tobacco's role as a starter drug.

“I wouldn't be surprised if it’s across the board; the general public, politicians, lots of people don’t rank tobacco smoking as serious as other issues and it makes it hard when you are trying to put a programme in place to stop children taking up smoking, if people don’t see it as serious,” Ms Glover says.

She presented her findings at the 14th World Conference on Tobacco and Health in Mumbai, India last week.


Koiwi tangata unearthed from a sewage-treatment plant undergoing an upgrade, has prompted a review of a North Canterbury Council's protocols.

A skeleton has been found at the site, near Amberly, a year after a skull was uncovered during earthworks for the wastewater treatment plant.

Te Marino Lenihan, Ngai Tuahuriri cultural advisor, says discussions on the councils alleged non-compliance with correct protocols when finding human remains would take place at a meeting on Wednesday.

He says iwi want to clarify protocols around the discoveries of koiwi tangata and other archaeological remains.

“When the cranium was found last year, the council had to get an archaeological authority from the Historic Places Trust, and that contained a number of conditions in it which does provide for a conversation with tangata whenua with our people. While we’ve had that sporadically, after the fact and Wednesday’s meeting with the council is really to sort to process out so we don’t have to keep revisiting this in the future,” Mr Lenihan says.

Iwi hope the council incorporates better protocols in its resource consents process.


The director of Auckland's Tobacco Control and Research Centre says the developing world could benefit from New Zealand's Maori tobacco control programmes.

Marewa Glover returned on Saturday from speaking at the 14th World Conference on Tobacco and Health in Mumbai, India where she says New Zealand was a leader in tobacco control.

She says developing nations could learn a lot from programmes like Aukati Kai Paipa, Quitline ads for Maori by Maori and the Its About Whanau campaign.

“If they go and take all their guidance from the white west like the Americans and the British, I think they need a wider range especially of how to deliver to diverse populations and in New Zealand we certainly have some examples of how to deliver effectively to Maori, and others can learn from that,” Dr Glover says.

She says taking part in world conferences was important for keeping abreast of what’s going on in tobacco control globally.


Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro says unless whanau encourage rangatahi to seek peaceful resolutions when dealing with bullying at school, they face the prospect of an increase in school ground violence.

A report released at a school violence summit in Wellington today, highlights bullying as a growing problem in all schools.

Dr Kiro says in her experience if bullying is not addressed it can lead to incidents of violence.

She says whanau often tell their kids to stand up for themselves, indicating using their fists to talk, a practice she does not recommend.

“People do tend to have this attitude of ‘you just got to stand up for yourself, fight back’ which is actually bad advice because what we’ve found is that when children do attempt to do that, they are more likely to end up with serious injuries so I’m just surmising here that that might be a more common view among Maori whanau and we find it’s actually a dangerous thing to advise your child to do. What you need to do is tell them to be prepared to tell you and tell the school if it is going on,” Dr Kiro says.

She says because schools are self-managed, regulating a consistent process for bullying can be difficult and she hopes this may be addressed at the summit.


Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira says reinstating knighthoods does nothing to recognise Maori public service.

Mr Harawira says Maori need to create their own honours list and design their own criteria for recipients.

He says the Kawariki Awards presented by a ginger group of far north Maori sovereignty activists recognised Maori service in a kaupapa Maori context, something the knighthoods fail to address.

“The Kawariki Awards was acknowledging people like Saana Murray, Sid Jackson, Tame Iti, Ranginui Walker, those sorts of people. People we thought had achieved something for the betterment of Maori, not because the Crown says so or anyone else says so,” Mr Harawira says.

The Kawariki Awards stopped in the 1990s and Maori need to start up something similar to recognise Maori by Maori.

Maori hit by recession

The Maori vice president of the Council of Trade Unions says employers are trying to load all the costs of the recession on their workers.

Sharon Clair says every day unions are being informed of more workers, many of them Maori, being laid off.

She says there is little evidence of the shared sacrifices and partnership being talked about at the Prime Minister's jobs summit.

“Our attempts to encourage employers to find alternative ways to encourage their staff are not really being committed to. There’s still companies looking at their bottom line profit margins and how they can ensure their shareholders get a return rather than asking their shareholders to come on board and take a hit along with all of us in this time of trial,” Ms Clair says.

She says the Government's nine day fortnight proposal fails the test of leaving no worker left behind, and isn't what the unions were seeking.


Maori legal services are celebrating a financial lifeline for community law centres.

The government is topping up a $7 million shortfall in the operating budgets of the country's 27 centres, which was caused by a slowdown in the housing market.

Community law centres are funded by interest on money in lawyers' trust accounts, which mostly comes from conveyancing.

Justice Minister Simon Power says the government will cover the cost until a more secure funding source is found.

Samantha Tamanui from Wellington-based Maori legal service Te Ratonga Ture says the centres had been facing cuts of up to 50 percent.

“It's fantastic news for us and our ability to help our people for at least another year, but it gives us a reprieve and it gives us some time to do some planning,” she says.

Te Ratonga Ture helps at least 100 clients a month, mostly on treaty claims and employment issues.


Te Waka Toi is looking beyond tertiary institutions for artists eligible for scholarships.
The Maori arts funding body has two Nga Karahipi a Te Waka Toi career development grants available for up and coming or established artists.
Maori advisor Haniko Te Kurapa says the 4-thousand dollar scholarships can cover the whole range of artforms, including music and dance, and are not confined to students in formal tertiary settings.
“Say if you have a tohunga teaching whakairo on the marae and they are being mentored on the marae, kei te pai to ra, so it is about supporting up and coming generations within the arts,” Mr Te Kurupa says.

Applications for Nga Karahipi a te Waka Toi close at the end of the month.


The Council of Trade Unions is taking the Maori Party to task for supporting the National Government's attacks on ACC.

Maori vice president Sharon Clair, who last year was tipped as a potential Maori party candidate, says many Maori workers voted for the party because they believed it would work in a principled manner.

But she says the attacks on the Accident Compensation Corporation and its former chair Ross Wilson are deliberately misleading and dishonest.

“The Maori Party should not be supporting National’s attacks on ACC because it’s been misled by National’s misinformation. What’s come out from many accountants is the National Party’s got the maths wrong so their justification for his dismissal is ideological,” Ms Clair says.

As ACC chair, Ross Wilson established a Maori advisory board to identify ways the corporation can better serve Maori.


Teacher turned politician Kelvin Davis says Unitec's new whare will be a valuable teaching resource for generations to come.

The $4 million dollar house was opened last week.

The Labour list MP and former Kaitaia Intermediate principal says it's vital Maori children get access to such whare.

“The fact that those carvings relate stories in our history, it’s important that that becomes a normal part of life for everyone to understand and know what those stories in those carvings hold so that it’s not just knowledge held by a select few, it’s knowledge for everybody,” Mr Davis says.


A group representing Maori in film and television is looking to iwi to extend high speed broadband out beyond the main centres.

Pita Turei, the executive officer for Nga Aho Whakari, says Tuhoe and Ngati Wai are already experimenting with connecting up rural communities, and other iwi may follow.

He says iwi have different drivers to the main telecommunications companies.

“They're interested in the big populations, the big cities, and under iwi management we’ll get that broadband reach right out through the motu. The we sort of increase our ability to work from home and to work globally and to market our television, our radio, our film and such in a different way,” Mr Turei says.

He says digital technologies can allow Maori artists and broadcasters to remain productive against the tide of the recession.


A simple plastic knife could boost paua stocks.

Maori make up a large percentage of recreational and commercial paua divers, and the new knife is part of a strategy to make divers more aware of the need to protect juvenile fish.

Ten thousand of the knives will be distributed by fisheries officers nationwide.

Andrew Coleman, the Fisheries Ministry's national compliance manager of compliance, says paua are haemophiliacs.

That means they keep bleeding if their flesh is cut by a steel knife or screwdriver, so undersize paua put back in the water are unlikely to survive.

“The paua knives are designed to lift them up carefully, make a decision about whether you are going to keep them, which is why the knife has a measurement on it, and if there is an issue with it, pop it back in and it has a good chance of survival,” Mr Coleman says.