Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, May 08, 2009

Sharples clarifies reason for Fiji outreach

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says a proposed trip to Fiji won't be a purely Maori Party exercise.

Dr Sharples says he accepts that neither he nor fellow minister Tariana Turia can go to the troubled island state, because they would be considered official representatives of the New Zealand Government.

But he says work continues on organising a delegation led by Maori Party president Whatarangi Winiata and MP Tau Henare, with possible involvement by other leaders like King Tuheitia and Tuwharetoa chief Tumu te Heuheu.

“He whanaunga tatou. Whether we like it or not, we are the same people and we are children of the Pacific, these are our cousins, and he raruraru he reira, they’ve got difficulties, it’s only right we should go over and show support for them, not necessarily to take sides at all politically but just to be there and if we can be an ear and if there’s an avenue we can help the situation, then that's good,” Dr Sharples says.

He expects to be back in his home village of Takapau in the Hawkes Bay this weekend, where the community is mourning the death of police senior constable Len Snee, who was shot in Napier yesterday.


The retirement commissioner is urging Maori who have lost their jobs or face redundancy need to seek help from community and government agencies.

Diana Crossan says Maori are often to whakamaa or shy to ask for what they are entitled to.

She says with Maori unemployment now close to 12 percent, whanau need all the help that's available.

Dianna Crossan says if they don't seek proper advice, Maori may miss out on Work and Income's special redundancy help or redundancy tax credits, and they also need to make sure their mortgage, credit card or hire purchase debts don't get out of control.


New Zealand super-cook Peter Gordon will put down his first hangi for the Maori King this weekend.

The gourmet steam-up at Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia will be part of Tainui's celebrations of Matariki, the Maori new year.
The Ngati Kahungunu chef says as well as traditional fare like whole baby lamb, pork loin and chicken, he'll be adding some fusion flavourings.

“What I love is when you open the pit and get that lovely earthy aroma. What I thought would be interesting is to introduce things like Thai red curry paste, and lots of herbs, rosemary and thyme and kawakawa and horopito so what I want is when it’s unearthed. There’s this lovely aroma that bursts out of the ground, and that’s probably going to be the highlight of a few many years actually,” Mr Gordon says.

The event will raise money for Hinewehi Mohi's Auckland-based Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre, with Mohi, Hollie Smith and Dave Dobbyn performing for the expected 700 diners.


Ngati Porou is in mourning for Hiria Te Kiekie Reedy, the mother of National list MP Hekia Parata, who died in Gisborne on Wednesday at the age of 75.

Relative Willy Te Aho says the kuia brought together the bloodlines of two distinguished East Coast whanau, Ngarimu and Reedy, and many of her 10 children have also had distinguished careers in public service.

They include Te Matatini chairperson Selwyn Parata, senior Educaiton Ministry official Apryl Parata, television producer Maraki Parata and Tolaga Bay Area School principal Nori Parata.

Hiria Reedy is lying in state at Hiruharama Marae in Ruatorea, with the funeral service at 11 tomorrow at Te Horo Marae in Waiomatatini.
patch – workman


A former head of the Corrections Service says Wanganui's gang patch ban is likely to boost gang recruitment.

Kim Workman, who now heads lobby group Rethinking Crime and Punishment, says if the new law could make gang life attractive to disaffected young Maori by driving it further underground.

“It's not going to do anything at all to decrease the number of gangs in our community, In fact what it might do increase it because often when you start legislating against people in that way, they see that as a challenge against the authorities,” Mr Workman says.


Meanwhile, Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira says gangs need jobs, not bans.

He says the law barring gang insignia from the city centre won't eliminate anti social behaviour, and it won't change the people inside the patches.

“It doesn't change the poverty, the educational underachievement, the lack of work. You don’t change by taking something of someone’s back. You do it by putting something in their belly,” Mr Harawira says.


The manager of the New Zealand Rugby League squad says Benji Marshall is the right man for the job.

The talented Tuhoe playmaker leads the Kiwis in their annual Anzac test match in Brisbane tonight.

Gordon Gibbons, who has managed the team for the best part of a decade, says the West Tigers halfback and former New Zealand touch rep has grown into a complete footballer able to lead from the front.

A win tonight will be the first time the Kiwis have scored back to back wins over the Aussies in more than 50 years.

Workplace leaders sought in Taitokerau

With Maori unemployment now close to 12 percent, Maori in Tai Tokerau are being urged to up their skills to stay in the job market.

A three day hui starts this morning at Te Kakaporowini Marae in Whangarei on employment and training issues.

Covenor Helen Te Hira says it's part of the Learning Reps Programme, which identifies workers want extra training in some aspect of their work.
Ms Te Hira says Maori often have workplace skills but not the certification needed for promotion.

“We're finding that people won’t put their hands up. They say ‘We’d love to do a qualification but I can’t read or I don’t know how to use a computer and I don’t want my boss to know but I do want to do something about it.’ My job is to train up workplace leaders that workers listen to and the employer will recognise and get them to promote learning opportunities,” Ms Te Hira says.

The hui is also a chance to circulate some to the ideas coming out of the Government's Maori employment taskforce.

The Household Labour Force March quarter survey released yesterday found Maori unemployment jumped 1.7 percent to 11.9 percent, compared with 3.8 percent of Pakeha being jobless.


A new scholarship programme aims to increase the number of Maori fighting South Auckland's diabetes epidemic.

The Let's Beat Diabetes Nutrition course at Massey University's Albany campus has attracted 10 Maori students.

Programme director Chad Paraone says a Maori workforce skilled in nutrition and physical activity is needed to fight the high Maori obesity rate, which is a major factor in developing diabetes.

“This is about increasing the Maori workforce in the area of nutrition, making them available to Maori communities and helping whanau get access to that critical information and expert advice, hopefully from our own people, from Maori,” Mr Paraone says.

The Nutrition Scholarship programme is a partnership between Massey University's College of Sciences, Counties Manukau District Health Board and the Ministry of Health.


A leading ta moko artist says the European fascination with Maori imagery shows no sign of abating.

Gordon Toi Hadfield is off to Amsterdam tomorrow for what's become an three month working session.

He says Europeans can't get enough of ta moko, and the hype about Maori round the world means people want to connect.

In the past he traveled the European tattoo festival circuit for work, but now clients come to him.


A leading Maori unionist is predicting Maori unemployment will hit 30 percent before the recession is over.

The March quarter Household Labour Force Survey released yesterday found Maori unemployment was 11.9 percent, compared with 3.8 percent for Pakeha and 5 percent overall.

Matt McCarten from Unite says Maori are always hit first in a downturn because of their concentration in industries like construction, forestry and farming.

“While things continue on with the Government not doing any intervention at all, because it doesn’t believe in it, it believes the market is going to fix it, not only will it get to 20 percent, I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets to 30 percent. It’s been there before,” Mr McCarten says.

He says the much-hyped employment summits failed to generate any usable ideas, and the Government hasn't given itself any tools to generate jobs.

A Black Power spokesman says the antics of Wanganui mayor Michael Laws has made the river city a magnet for gang members.

Parliament this week narrowly passed a bill banning the wearing of gang insignia in the city, after three ACT MPs voted in favour.

Dennis O'Reilly, a Hawkes Bay community organiser, says the law is unlikely to make much difference to gang behaviour.

But the focus on gangs in the two years since the death of toddler Jhia Te Tua in a drive by shooting has had some unexpected repercussions for the city.

“There are gang members in Whanganui than there ever were before and more gangs than there ever were before, since that focus has come upon them,” Mr O’Reilly says.

He says the Wanganui community has a right to feel outraged Jiah Te Tua's death, but the gang patch bill was the wrong response.


The so called terror raids on Ruatoki 18 months ago will again be in the spotlight tonight at the premiere of a documentary about the community response to the raids.

Rise Up will screen at Wellington's Newton Community Centre as part of an event addressing state surveillance,

It also includes speakers Michael Bott from the New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties, and Green Party MP Keith Locke.

Mr Locke, who has been spied on by the SIS for most of his adult life, says the October 2007 raids should never be repeated.

“I think it was a very significant event in New Zealand’s history that a community could be treated so shockingly by the police. What happened in Ruatoki and other places was way over the top and it’s great the community has responded,” Mr Locke says.


Wellington Maori theatre company Taki Rua is looking for talent for its new te reo Maori season.

The 26-year-old company is casting Matiu Te Huki's play Te Kumara Reka for a three month tour through New Zealand's heartland.

Spokesperson Keryn Jones says this month's auditions in Auckland and Wellington will seek rangatahi fluent in te reo, as many of the performances will be in Maori language settings.

Three actors will be sought.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Pacific concerns in Fiji trip veto

The Prime Minister says his veto on Maori Party ministers going to Fiji was in the interests of wider Pacific diplomacy.

John Key has made it clear Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia can't join a possible Maori delegation to meet coup leader Frank Bainimarama, after earlier suggesting he could not stop them going as private citizens.

He says it doesn't mean the Maori Party can't pursue its own policies or actions under its support agreement with National.

“Now in some instances they will be able to do therm. The Government simply won’t agree with them. Now in this instance I have to sign off is a minister goes overseas. I can’t do that for Tariana or Pita simply because if I do I will be sending Bainmarama a message we are effectively endorsing the trip, and that’s a problem for the other Pacific leaders where we have an agreement with the Pacific Forum,” Mr Key says.

The discussion on Fiji only took up 10 minutes of this week's monthly meeting between the parties.


A long time gang negotiator suggests a wait and see approach to Whanganui's gang patch ban.

Wanganui MP Chester Borrows' bill barring wearing of gang insignia in the city centre passed narrowly last night with the support of three ACT MPs.

Dennis O Reilly, a Hawkes Bay-based community organiser and Black Power spokesman, says the issue should be about behaviour rather than wardrobe.

He says gang members are often asked to take off their patches, but they don't like being forced to do so.

“If you're going on to marae or whatever and the kawa of that place, the tikanga is there is not patches, and it is just not a problem. But when people are told to take their patches off, forced to take them off, hmm, let’s just see what happens,” Mr O'Reilly says.

He says Wanganui now has more gangs members than before because of the attention given to them by the city.


A familiar face around Parliament has taken on the role of the institution's kaumatua.

Rose White-Tahuparae from Whanganui is the widow of the former kaumatua, Rangitihi Tahuparae, who died last year.

Kura Moeahu, the kaiwhakarite for the parliamentary service, says while it is unusual for a wahine to take the role of kaumatua, iwi from around the motu endorsed Mrs White for the role.

The tane role in parliamentary ceremonies will be taken on by Gerard Albert or Turama Hawera, who were trained by the late Mr Tahuparae.


Waikato Hauraki MP Nanaia Mahuta says the aquaculture settlement signed yesterday by Prime Minister John and fisheries minister Phil Heatley, will significantly boost to development in her region.

The Hauraki confederation will share $20 million, with $70 million going to top of the South island iwi and $5 million to Ngai Tahu.

Ms Mahuta says the settlement, negotiated with the previous stake by the iwi with the largest potential stake in the industry, allows Maori to get on with marine farming rather than having to wait another five years.

She says 1.8 hectares of new marine farming space has been created in Tikapa Moana, the Firth of Thames, which will create more jobs in the region.

An amendment to the 2005 Maori Aquaculture Settlement Act will be tabled in Parliament next week.


An Auckland City Councillor says government under-spending will sentence Tamaki Maori to generations of slum living.

The Government this week announced $46 million to build 150 houses and renovate another 120 in Glen Innes and Panmure.

Another $6 million will go into boosting other government services in the area.

Councilor Leila Boyle says it's not enough, and the Tamaki transformation project is light on details, and there are no guarantees the benefits of the spend-up will go to current residents.

Glen Innes in particular has a significant Maori population, many in Housing New Zealand properties.

Leila Boyle says a similar amount of money put into the area over the past eight years resulted in 200 new houses.


A landmark television series on Maori traditions and way of life is now available online.

Tangata Whenua - the people of the land, was written by the late Michael King, directed by Barry Barclay and produced by John O'Shea.
When it was screened in the early 1970's, it was hailed as a major advance in helping Pakeha understand Maori.

Irene Gardiner, the content director of NZ ON SCREEN, says it was groundbreaking as the first time Maori people and culture were shown to a mainstream audience.

Irene Gardiner says Michael King saw the series as breaking the ground for later Maori-produced programmes like Koha and Marae.

Cultural diversity to benefit Maori.

The man in charge of the Office of Ethnic Affairs says a more inclusive and tolerant approach to cultural diversity could have positive spin offs for the Maori workforce.

The Office is holding workshops in major centres next week on the benefits of diversity.

Mervin Singham says Maori, Pacific and ethnic population now make up about 30 percent of the total population, rising to 40 percent by 2021.

He says investment in the ethnic workforce would lead to more innovation and productivity, as well as strengthened trade relationships which would benefit the whole economy.

“In an ethnically diverse workforce, there have to be policies and an environment in which people from different cultures can feel included, that their new ideas and different ways of looking at things are valued, that employers actually invite their contribution, so you need those sorts of conditions to tap into these benefits,” Mr Singham says.

Increasing intermarriage between Maori and New Zealand's other ethnic communities means a growing generation of tamariki with mixed heritages.


Tairawhiti District Health Board is trying to work out why Maori in the region die younger than Maori elsewhere.

Maori health manager Maaka Tibble says research commissioned from health consultancy Mauri Ora Associates has identified some of the causal factors such as smoking, heart disease and diabetes.

It's now trying to find what Maori think of the health services they receive, and what barriers put them off seeking help.

“The research has taken things further and identified some of the issues we need to think about and that is around better access by Maori to services,” Mr Tibble says.

Mauri Ora Associates has found a significant number of Maori are unhappy with the way they received health care.


Maori business networkers are extending their links across the Tasman.

Phil Broughton from Te Kupeka Umaka Maori ki Araiteuru - the Otago Southland Maori business network - says there is considerable interest in Maori business circles in the Yulkuum-Jerrang Second Indigenous Economic Development Conference in Melbourne later this month.

The hui brings together indigenous entrepreneurs and business people with government agencies, academics, community based organisations and the corporate sector.

Mr Broughton says many Maori businesses are developing successful models which could be replicated, and they are keen to see what they can learn from Aboriginal networks.

He says the 12 regional Maori business networks are looking at creating an national support body.


Auckland-based National list MP Tau Henare won't be joining a hikoi demanding Maori representation on an Auckland super city.

He's firmly against one of the aims of the hikoi, for appointed mana whenua representatives, because such appointments don't fit well with democratic structures.

Mr Henare says the hardcore issues for Maori in the current environment are jobs and shelter, and he fears the hikoi hype is creating unreasonable expectations.

“I mean I would question why Maoris have to go through it all the time. Whenever there’s an issue, we will down tools and go on a walk. There are certain people who are making this hikoi out to be as important and as big as the foreshore abnd seabed. There is a danger people will get carried away with it, and what if there is only 200 people on the hikoi,” Mr Henare says.

He says the question of Auckland representation is still not settled, and Maori can make submissions to the government through the Minister for Maori Affairs.


A hui on the possible swine flu pandemic has called for whanau to not panic.

Maori health managers from Auckland's three district health boards met to discuss how to create greater awareness among Maori of ways to prevent flu spreading.

Amiria Reriti, the Auckland regional public health service's Maori development manager, says relatively simple practices like regular hand washing can reduce a lot of the risk.

She says while the international focus is on swine flu, there are many other strains of influenza about Maori need to be aware of, so they are not thrown into a panic by the threat.

Amiria Reriti says in the past Maori have been more vulnerable to pandemics than other groups.


Tuwharetoa marae are going back to the roots.

A new project is encouraging the growing of permaculture gardens with vegetables and fruit and nuts trees.

Project leader Lisa Isherwood says permaculture, which involves organic principles, is a good solution for whanau wanting to make the most of the whenua surrounding their marae.

She says the garden being planted at her own Papakai Marae is producing more than kai, with the five acre block behind the pa revealing previous cultivations and dwelling sites.

The group is looking at developing a training centre to help spread the scheme.

$97 million aquaculture settlement signed

Top of the South Island tribes are celebrating today's signing of an aquaculture settlement which gives them more than $70 million dollars to go marine farming.

It replaces an earlier legislated settlement which promised iwi the equivalent of 20 per cent of current waterspace and 20 per cent of future allocations.

Because the law was proving impossible to implement, iwi with the biggest potential stake in the industry negotiated an up front cash payment, rather than waiting until 2014 as the law envisaged.

Hauraki tribes will get about $20 million of the $97 million putea, and Ngai Tahu over $5 million.

Fred Te Miha from Ngati Tama says his Nelson iwi tried to enter the aquaculture business in the 1990s, but was stymied by obstruction from local government.

“We had to sit on the beach and watch everyone else go marine farming. The Government of the day were too slow in reacting. Now it’s come to pass that we can go and do our developments in aquaculture,” Mr Te Miha says.

Ngati Tama has several marine farming projects ready to go.


The hongi and the hand shake may need to be rethought if the H1-N1 swine flu turns into a fully fledged pandemic.

Auckland Maori health workers met yesterday to discuss how to discuss how to keep whanau safe from the flu.

Amiria Reriti, the Auckland regional public health service's Maori development manager, says there was discussion about how it could affect marae and hui protocols.

Amiria Reriti says the health service will meet Maori community leaders to discuss the issues further.


The director of the Office of Ethnic Affairs says increased ethnic mixing could bring economic benefits for Maori.

Mervin Singham says more intermarriages between Maori and other ethnic minorities such as Indian and Chinese, mean the number of children with mixed heritage is increasing.

He says personal relationships and trade relationships often go hand in hand.

“Maori are getting involved in tourism, fishing and so on, and these sorts of enterprises, success depends on connections in offshore markets so connecting with domestic diaspora ethnic communities is one way of tapping into those markets overseas,” he says.

The Office of Ethnic Affairs is holding events in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch next week on how New Zealand can benefit from its ethnic diversity.


Vote for an Aussie and get another Maori in Parliament.

That's the opportunity Green Maori spokesperson Metiria Turei says voters of Mt Albert have in next month's by-election to fill the seat vacated by former Labour prime minister Helen Clark.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman is running against Labour candidate David Shearer, National list MP Melissa Lee and ACT's John Boscowan.

Ms Turei says a victory for Dr Norman would give the Greens another list MP, Dave Clendon.

“Dave Clendon is Ngapuhi. He’s been the co-convenor of the party, like the party president, and he will be a significant addition to our caucus,. So if Russel gets Mr Albert we also get Dave Clendon our second Maori MP and that will be fantastic to have. Then we’ll have 10 MPs and we‘ll be a stronger Green caucus and stronger on Maori issues. So politics is a strange wiggly business,” Ms Turei says.

She says the Greens are starting to claw back Maori supporters as voters become disillusioned by the Maori Party's relationship with National.


The Asthma Society hopes a new mobile clinic will help it find solutions to chronic rates of respiratory disease among Northland Maori.

Northland manager Geoff Phillips says tamariki in Tai Tokerau are three times more likely to have asthma than non-Maori children.
He says the clinic will help with early detection and prevention work in remote communities.

A range of factors contribute to the problem.

“The cost of medication is one problem. Getting to being tested is another problem. There’s a whole series of problems but I think it’s fair to say that the reason we are doing this mobile respiratory testing clinic is to be able to isolate that and come up with some definite answers,” he says.

The mobile clinic will visit 10 towns over the next two weeks.


There's a call to bring together the 12 regional Maori business networks into a national body.

Phil Broughton from Otago Southland network Te Kupeka Umaka Maori ki Araiteuru says Maori businesses have a different value system than mainstream businesses, drawing on tikanga, whakawhanaungatanga and kaitiakitanga

He says many of those values can benefit the mainstream sector and the wider economy.

“The togetherness and the guardianship so those old historical Maori values my come to the forefront and maybe we can share them with other folk, how we look after each other and guard each other and so those traditional marae based values, perhaps there’s a space for them in the mainstream New Zealand business arena,” Mr Broughton says.

Many of the networks will participate in an Indigenous Economic Development Forum in Melbourne later this month.