Waatea News Update

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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.

Ethnic data helps Maori education strategy

Schools will be taught how to use the information they collect to boost the achievement of Maori children.

Liz McKinley, the director of Auckland University's Starpath research project, says closing the achievement gap between Maori and non-Maori will mean identifying the potential in young Maori and keeping track of those children through their school life to ensure they reach that potential.

The latest secondary school results, broken down for the first time by ethnicity, show only 52 percent of Maori students passed their NCEA level one last year compared with almost 80 percent of Pakeha students.

Dr McKinley says schools can do better, and Starpath is looking for ways to help them.

“Schools collect huge amounts of data but they don’t do much with it, so we’re trying to teach them that there is only some data that they particularly need and these are the sorts of things you can do with this data, this is the sort of stuff it is telling you,” Professor McKinley says.

Many talented Maori students are short changed by the NCEA system because they're pushed towards unit standards rather than achievement standards, which are needed for entry to tertiary study.


Whanau are being reminded to check their smoke alarms and test heaters as the winter weather sets in.

Northland iwi fire safety officer, Wayne Martin, says whanau can take simple steps to protect themselves and their tamariki.

Mr Martin, of Te Rarawa, says the incident in Kaikoura this week where a father threw his daughter out of the window of a burning house is an example of how important fire safety and alarms are.

Wayne Martin says whanau should check all heating appliances and keep tamariki a metre away from gas heaters and open fires.


Maori broadcast funding agency Te Mangai Paho is broadening its funding for music, in line with its approach to television,

Radio manager Carl Goldsmith says instead of insisting on 100 percent te reo, there will now be three levels of Maori music production.

Songs for receptive audiences can have less than 30 percent te reo Maori, second language learners can expect songs with 30 to 70 percent Maori, and there's a fluent stream of funding for songs with more than 70 percent reo.

Mr Goldsmith says the new formula for music mirrors its attitude to bilingual television progammes.

“Te Karere has got sub-titling. A lot of the language programmes have subtitling. It’s just a move over to another medium, being radio,” Mr Goldsmith says.

Each year TMP distributes over $450,000 to musicians and production houses.

Applications close on Monday.


Ngati Kahungunu buried one son on Wednesday. It buries another today.

Jan Molenaar, who killed himself last Friday after fatally shooting police officer Len Snee and wounding three others, is lying at Ruahapia Marae.

Ngati Kahungunu chairperson Ngahiwi Tomoana says while senior constable Snee was from Ngati Maru and Ngati Kiki o te rangi, while Mr Molenaar is a mokopuna of Ngati Hawea.

“Kikioterangi, Len’s tipuna, and Jan’s tipuna were brothers. So we have hapu about 20 miles apart mourning the death of our sons, we have Kahungunu mourning the death of our sons. We have Napier and the police department mourning the death of our son.

“To us, they both come from the same rootstock, and in any other environment like the Maori Battalion, these two would have been fighting side by side but here we are, one’s hero, the other one zero but they’re still our sons. We still accord them the protocols, the kawa and tikanga we accord everyone else. They are the sons of Kahungunu,” Mr Tomoana says.


Maori suffering from common cold and flu symptoms are being warned to check with their GP as they may have bronchiectasis.

Dr Ramon Pink, Canterbury District Health Board's medical officer of health, says the disease does permanent damage to the lungs and creates constant coughing.

He says the Thoracic Society annual conference in Darwin last month heard evidence indigenous people like Maori, Australian Aboriginal and Alaskan Inuit seem to contract bronchiectasis more than non indigenous.

Dr Pink, from Te Aupouri and Te Rarawa, is looking into what Maori can do to prevent the spread of the disease.


Manos Nathan has delved into family history for his new show at Porirua's Pataka Museum.

The Dargaville based ceramic artist is paying tribute to the soldiers who fell in the Battle of Crete in 1941.

It was after that battle that Nathan's dad Ned met a local girl, married her and brought her home to south Hokianga after the war.

Nathan says his current work celebrates that dual heritage and includes references to Crete's ancient Minoan civilization such as the horns of consecration, recognizing the earth goddess.

Manos Nathan is looking forward to the publication in October of Patricia Grace's new book about his parent's relationship.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

PM surprised at Rankin backlash

The Prime Minister says Maori opposition to the appointment of Christine Rankine to the Families Commission caught him by surprise.

Anti-child abuse campaigner Hone Kaa and former Maori Women's Welfare League president Druis Barrett have spoken out against the decision because of statements Ms Rankin has made which were seen as blaming Maori for high levels of violence against children.

Ms Rankin also campaigned against the anti-smacking bill.

But John Key defended the appointment, saying the outspoken former Work and Income head will be only one of seven commissioners.

“Yes she's probably come from the more conservative right, but there’s equally people representing the more liberal left on the commission. Actually that will allow them to make a range of different comments and engender a bit of community debate. We’ve always said we are a Government that’s not afraid of a bit of debate,” Mr Key says.

He says Ms Rankin is a strong advocate for children.


The Northland District Health Board will include a whare in its acute mental health unit as part of a $25 million hospital rebuild.

Sue Wyeth, general manager of mental health and district hospitals, says 48 per cent of patients in the unit are Maori.

She says a culturally friendly environment will help patients and whanau.

Sue Wyeth says the new 25-bed unit is due to be completed in 12 months.


A new publication aims to put a Maori face on Maori science.

A monograph of papers, Te Ara Putaiao - Maori Insights in Science, was launched last night at Auckland University by the Maori Centre for Research Excellence, Nga Pae o te Maramatanga.

Centre co-director Michael Walker, one of the contributors, says many Maori scientists are exploring new ways of working with their communities, and they often have barriers to overcome.

“Science may be seen as associated with the colonial power and certainly the government and therefore opposed to Maori interests so scientists can be questioned critically by people in Maori communities as to who they are serving. On the other hand scientists also take a critical view of the work and want to see it meets orthodox scientific standards as well,” Professor Walker says.

While performing at the highest levels, Maori scientists are also keen to show their commitment to the community that bred them and supported them into careers.


Te Mangai Paho, the Maori broadcast funding agency, has relaxed its rules for music funding.

Radio funding manager Carl Goldsmith says rather than only funding music in te reo, the agency will now consider bi-lingual proposals.

It's splitting applications into fluent songs with over 70 percent reo content, songs for second language learners with between 30 and 70 percent Maori, and song for a receptive audience where Maori language content is less than 30 percent.

Mr Goldsmith says the new formula should create more opportunities for Maori music to be played on mainstream stations.

“There are a lot of artists out there who aren’t fluent in the language and we have given them a pathway for them to get funding from is to produce music in both languages. It gives opportunities for out artists and production houses to showcase their works on mainstream as well,” he says.

Applications for the current funding round close on Monday.


Former Labour Youth Affairs minister Nanaia Mahuta says new Families Commissioner Christine Rankin is a publicity seeker with a track record of attacking Maori.

Ms Mahuta paid tribute to former Maori Women's Welfare League president Druis Barrett, who quit as an advisor to the commission because of the former Work and Income head's appointment.

She says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett's defence of the decision at yesterday's question time wasn't convincing.

“Paula's response was ‘Christine’s going to make a fine response, she’s one of seven commissioners, why worry.’ We’ll just have to hold her accountable for what Christine does to that portfolio. The predictions aren’t very good,” Ms Mahuta says.


A leading researcher on Maori education says the release of ethnic breakdowns for NCEA passes will help identify ways to improve Maori achievement levels.

Dr Liz McKinley from Auckland University's faculty of education says data showing only 52 percent of Maori students got NCEA level one at year 11, compared with almost 80 percent of Pakeha, shows how persistent the gap is between Maori and Pakeha students.

It's the first time the New Zealand Qualifications Authority has released data in that form.

Dr McKinley says several research teams, including her own Starpath project, are looking at ways to close that gap by lifting Maori results, but it's been hard to measure their effectiveness.

“Our team has been doing something quite recently where we could not do that analysis of ethic groups, we could not tell if the school was effective in narrowing the gap between the groups because we just did not have that data available to us,” she says.

Starpath tries to show schools how they can use data to identify and encourage young Maori with the potential to succeed academically.

Colonisation still harming tamariki health

A multi-country study has confirmed colonisation continues to have a negative effect on the health of indigenous children.

Co-author Sue Crengle from Auckland University's department of population health says the study looked at the health of indigenous children in New Zealand, Australia, the United States and Canada.

In all four countries, indigenous children experienced higher rates of infant mortality, sudden infant death syndrome, child injury, accidental death and suicide.

There was also more ear infection, respiratory illness, dental problems, and exposure to environmental contaminants including tobacco.

Dr Crengle says there is no medical reason such genetically diverse populations would have such common problems, but there is a common thread.

“Regardless of where we live, indigenous children face many challenges. The commonality all our children have is they live in colonized countries and that colonisation is the major determinant of the health status of our children,” Dr Crengle says.

She presented her report at the 12th World Congress on Public Health in Istanbul, Turkey last week.


A Far North iwi is enjoying a better relationship with the Department of Conservation as a result of its treaty claim.

Te Rarawa hopes to finalise a Whenua Ngahere agreement with the department by the end of the year, giving it a formal say in the management of about 30,000 hectares of forest.

Chairperson Haami Piripi says the increased contact is already bringing benefits, as Te Rarawa works out how its kaitiaki role can work alongside DoC's statutory responsibilities.

“Most of our resources are cultural resources – the knowledge of various hapu and whanau about different aspects of the ngahere and the moana, of the waahi tapu and the previous occupation history of these areas, and the department is making sure we’re included in the design of all their policy and planning processes,” Mr Piripi says.

A third of the Te Rarawa rohe is Conservation Land, so a good relationship with DoC is vital for the long term success of a settlement.


A Tuwharetoa researcher is heading for Adelaide to rekindle a relationship that started in the 19th century.

Eleazar Manutai Bramley is digitising the South Australian Museum's collection of paintings and drawings by artist George French Angas, who visited Taupo in 1844 to record Maori and their way of life.

She feels a spiritual connection to the work through her awareness ANgas relied on the hospitality of the great chief for his work.

Eleazar Manutai Bramley says once the collection is digitised, it may become accessable by descendants of the tupuna who Angas painted.


A former Maori Women's Welfare league president has quit her advisory role to the Families Commission in protest at the appointment of former Work and Income head Christine Rankin as a commissioner.

Druis Barrett says she is giving up her spot on the commission's whanau reference group because she can't see any point working with someone who has damned Maori Whanau time and again in the past.

In an email informing the commission of her decision, Mrs Barrett said Ms Rankin is racist towards Maori and is unlikely to change.

Before the controversial appointment, Mrs Barrett had been considering resigning for positive reasons, including what she saw as a good Maori strategy and the appointment of Kim Workman from Ngati Kuhungunu as a commissioner.


Nga Pae o te Maramatanga, the Maori Centre for Research Excellence, has launched a publication highlighting the work of Maori scientists.

Joint director Michael Walker says the papers in Te Ara Putaiao show how far Maori have come in developing capability at the top level.

It includes contributions from Shane Wright, whose work on understanding evolution in warmer climates was published by the US National Academy of Sciences, Elizabeth McKinley, who is studying how Maori learn maths and science, and enviromental researcher James Ataria.

Professor Walker says Dr Ataria's work on Napier's Ahuriri estuary was an example of how Maori ways of doing things can improve the research process.

Dr Ataria won the support not only of Maori but of local authorities and the school system, getting them to buy into a plan to improve water quality and therefore the quality and availability of kaimoana in the Ahuriri Estuary.

Professor Michael Walker says Maori are now represented across the range of sciences, from astrophysics to zoology.


A conference in Christchurch this week is looking at the ways Maori are using geographic information systems to improve tribal operations.

David O'Connell, the general manager of tribal interest for Te Runanga O Ngai Tahu, says the iwi is using GIS to map its cultural heritage, to record artefacts and waahi tapu, and to manage its customary and commercial fisheries.

He says new technologies can capture valuable information which in the past would only be transmitted orally.

David O'Connell says Maori shouldn't be fear computerising their matauranga could lead to the information getting into the wrong hands, because proper security can be built into systems.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rankin appointment rankles Greens

The Greens’ Maori spokesperson says newly appointed families commissioner Christine Rankin has a long record of attacking families.

Meteria Turei says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has made a huge mistake in putting the former Work and Income boss on the commission.

She says Ms Rankin developed a culture of executive excess in WINZ, while at the same time riding roughshod over the rights of beneficiaries and pushing many families into poverty.

“At the heart of this is families and particularly Maori families who are the ones who are going to suffer the most from government policy and we can’t expect Christine Rankin to, after her experience and her reputation in WINZ, to have the concern of Maori families firmly in her mind when she is doing her work,” Ms Turei says.

Christine Rankin is demanding change at the Families Commission despite admitting she does not know what the organisation does.


Researchers are seeking support from traditional healers to develop guidelines to measure Maori wellness.

Maui Hudson from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research has a $70,000 grant from the health Research Council for the Nga Tohu o te Ora project.

He says an initial hui at Waipahihi Marae in Taupo last night drew a positive response, with healers keen to become involved in coming up with a framework of outcomes.

Maui Hudson says Nga Tohu o te Ora could help with the integration of traditional rongoa practice into mainstream healthcare.


The newest member of the American National Academy of Sciences says much of her education came from her Maori mentors.

Auckland University Anthropology Professor Dame Anne Salmond has been made a foreign associate of the academy, one of the highest international honours for academics, in recognition of the excellence of her scientific research.

Dame Anne says in her first years at university she was fortunate to meet Dr Merimeri Penfold from Ngati Kuri and the late Eruera and Amiria Stirling from Te Whanau-a-Apanui, who became her teachers and whanau.

“I had a parallel education outside the university when Eruera Stirling in particular decided to start teaching me partly the reo but also he talked to me about tribal histories and after a while we began to go to marae together and spent two years at one point just going from one marae to another attending hui and that was my other university and a really important one for me,” Professor Salmond says.


Maori leaders are seeking a direct voice in any rewrite of the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Iwi and land incorporations have made strong submissions to the select committee reviewing the ETS.

Roger Pikia, the chair of the Maori Reference Group which has been working with officials, says Maori are particularly vulnerable to the scheme's downside because most of their forests were planted before 1990.

“For a mature pinus radiata forest the liability is around $15,000 a hectare so that potentially locks you into a specific land use in perpetuity. The point we’re making to the Crown is we don’t want to be disproportionately impacted. Yes, happy about making out contribution along with the rest of the nation, but not wanting to be disproportionately prejudiced,” Mr Pikia says.

Maori leaders met with ministers today to emphasise their concerns and seek further resources to inform Maori of any amendments.


Northland iwi health providers are celebrating their involvement in a prize winning anti-violence programme.

In March the Amokura Family Violence Prevention Initiative, a collaboration by seven Tai Tokerau iwi, was given the human rights prize awarded each year by the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice, part of New York's Fordham Law School.

Executive director Di Grennell, who was flown to New York to accept the award, says this morning's ceremony at the Ngati Hine Health Trust recognised the commitment of providers, community and iwi to the kaupapa.

“The beauty of it is we are able to focus on what we have in common and what we have in common is care for our whanau and wanting better lives for our mokopuna so as long as we stay focused there there’s no disagreements and we can get on with the job of doing good things in our communities,” Ms Grenell says.

The New York trip allowed her and Amokura advocacy head Ani Pitman to share learnings with indigenous and other groups involved in tackling domestic violence.


Kawhia residents want to restore their dilapidated Methodist church in time for its 75th anniversary in November.

Hinga Ormsby, who got married in the church in 1972, says it was built by Pikohaua Hikuroa, Inia Te Wiata and Maharaia Winiata.

Its foundation stone was laid by King Koroki, and it was opened by Princess Te Puea Heranga.

Mrs Ormsby says the church needs new pews, flooring, rewiring and a general overhaul.

She says outsiders have tried to buy the café to turn into a restaurant or residence, but this was rejected by the community.

Once the reburbishments are complete, including a new hall, with a kitchen and toilets built by Te Taha Maori Division of the Methodist Church, a minister will be arranged to visit once a month for services.

Maori at risk from recession

Figures from the US showing unemployment leads to an increase of depression, cardivascular disease and suicide aren't any surprise to a New Zealand health expert who is predicting the recession will be particularly harsh on Maori health.

Tony Blakely, director of the Health Inequalities Research Programme at Otago University says his own research shows that during the 1990's recession, Maori mental and physical health was adversely affected.

And he is expecting similar things to happen during these hard economic times.

“We know from for economic recessions throughout time and across countries they tend to impact hardest on lower socioeconomic groups and often on indigenous populations so we would expect a bigger briunt borne by Maori,” Dr Blakely says.

His analysis of data collected between 1991 and 1994 found unemployed people were three times more likely to kill themselves.


A frontline officer says Maori police throughout the country will be paying their respects to Maori constable Len Slee who was shot dead during the shot out in Napier at the weekend.

Glen Mackay says while like many other Maori police he will not be able to attend the funeral in Napier today his thoughts will be with Len Slee, his family and the other officers shot in the execution of their duty.

New Zealand police will be joined by representatives from the prison and fire services as well as police officers from across the Tasman.


Massey University will honour one of Maori educations stalwarts, Turoa Royal today with an honorary doctorate of Literature.

Mr Royal of Ngati Raukawa ki Te Tonga, Ngati Wharara, Ngati Hine and Nga Puhi, has spent more than fifty years sparking the interest of rangatahi and encouraging more Maori into tertiary education.

He piloted the introduction of whanau-based learning and was an advocate for recognising cultural identity as an important factor of educational achievement for Maori.
Mr Royal says he's honoured to receive the doctorate however he believes Maori still have a long way to go.

“I'm still looking for more and more. We have a catch up and we have a system that is not responding in an equable way still, and I still have a dream it will come to pass,” Mr Royal says.


A frontline Maori police officer has spoken out in favour of greater availability to police of Tasers following the Napier shoot out in which Constable Len Snee was shot dead and two other officers critically wounded.

Glen Mackay says he doesn't know whether Tasers would have helped during the latest incident but he says they would give officers patrolling the streets today increased confidence.

Glen MacKay says the incident could put greater pressure for police to be armed but personally he thinks greater availability of Tasers is preferable.


Maori Television is taking recommendations that it improve the quality of Te Reo spoken positively rather than focusing on them as a criticism.

Chief executive Jim Mather says MTV is already working on the recommendations in a report into the effectiveness of the Maori Television Servicers Act by broadcasters Tainui Stevens and former TVNZ executive Hone Edwards.

He says this is essentially a matter of fine tuning Te Reo to improve quality.

“For us quality does mean fit for audience or fit for purpose and ultimately the audience or viewers will decide if something is of high quality or otherwise,” Mr Mather says.

He says the style of language used should fit the type of programme being broadcast.


The dangers of bedsharing are not getting through to the families of infants who are most at risk, says the former head of the Maori cot death prevention programme.

David Tipene-Leach says years of campaigning against bedsharing were falling on deaf ears by those who needed the message most,

“We in this country have been saying that for five or six years now and it has made no difference to cot death and all the cot deaths you see are in unsafe sleeping places in there with mothers who smoke and they’re mostly Maori. So the conclusion you have to reach if you have half an ounce of common sense is we’re not going anywhere with this present message,” Dr Tipene-Leach says.

He says more funding towards schemes like Wahakura - where woven flax bassinettes are used in the bed to provide a safe sleeping environment, should be encouraged as should wider education programmes.

A Wellington coroner has called for stronger warnings on the dangers of bedsharing after the deaths of seven babies all from Maori and Pacific families where the babies were either sharing a bed with an adult or put to bed in an unsafe sleeping environment.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Unemployment effect on health confirmed

A new research study out of the US shows unemployment is bad for your health and a New Zealand Maori health expert says Maori may be worst affected.

Tony Blakely, director of the Health Inequalities Research Programme at Otago University, says the American findings are a timely warning for Maori.

He says with Maori unemployment rate over 10 per cent there is likely to be a increase of stress related illness like depression and cardiovascular disease.

“The biggest learning experience we have here is what happened in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s with large unemployment that hit Maori and Pacific people particularly hard and we have reasonably good evidence that stalling of improvements in life expectancy for Maori was in part if not largely due to those high unemployment rates, because it wasn’t just affecting individual Maori, it was affecting communities when you had freezing works closing and whole communities going under,” Mr Blakely says.

He says the long- term impacts of the current recession on Maori will depend on the health system's response.


And Labour leader Phil Goff says he is picking up major dissatisfaction with the performance of the Maori party as he moves around the country.

Mr Goff says he is not suprised by this, as the government which the Maori party is in partnership with, has turned its back on issues which affect Maori deeply.

“People know they haven’t been treated fairly with respect to the tax cuts and they know that jobs are going and despite all the hype and all the rhetoric of the job summit, almost nothing has happened to help save jobs and businesses when the government did have alternatives, when they could have done things to keep people in work,” he says.

Mr Goff says in the past week Maori unemployment jumped to more than 10 percent with 24,000 jobs being lost in the first three months of the year while the tax cuts did nothing for most Maori families.

He says instead of concentrating on Fijian politics he would have been expecting the Maori party to have been speaking up for Maori people in Aotearoa.


A key Maori player in the chiefs rugby team believes that Super 14 is providing an excellent opportunity of Maori players to show and develop their talents.

Openside flanker Tanerau Latimer says when the Maori rugby tour of South Africa was cancelled there was great disappointment among Maori players but with many Maori in both the two leading Super 14 teams, the Chiefs and the Hurricanes, the competition is proving to be an excellent testing ground for them.

Tanerau Latimer, of Te Arawa, says Maori players know the trans-Tasman competition is the way to get All Black selectors attention.


New technology will be on the table for Ngai Tahu this week as they host a conference in Christchurch looking at a geographic information system to help revolutionise the way iwi manage their assets.

David O Connell, the general manager of tribal interests for Te Runanga O Ngai Tahu, says the iwi have been collaborating with Eagle Technologies for about five years in using a GIS system which captures, stores, analyses, manages, and presents data that is linked to location.

He says Maori have unique needs for technology and systems like GIS, from monitoring the environment to whakapapa registrations and being able to map where people are and where initiatives should be located.

Te Runanga O Ngai Tahu uses GIS for cultural heritage mapping, recording waahi tapu sites, customary fishing records and whakapapa history.

The Maori GIS Conference is in Christchurch until Friday.


And Labour leader Phil Goff has praised Maori for their efforts in another area of technology.

He has welcomed news that a third mobile phone company backed by Maori finance will be entering the market.

Phil Goff says mobile charges in New Zealand are way above many other countries and like a lot of consumers he hopes competition by 2 Degrees which has a 20 percent Maori shareholding will lead to lower prices.

Phil Goff says he is also concerned at the amount of time lines are down and he hopes 2 Degrees will also lead to improvement in this area when it launches in August.


The National Council of Maori Nurses says the nursing profession is providing an excellent example of how Maori are caring for their own people.

It is International Nurses Day and Hineroa Hakiaha, the president of Te Kaunihera O Nga Neehi Maori O Aotearoa says the past decades have seen a balance being struck in the sector between mainstream models of caring and Maori models.

She says nurses want well being for their people, and the profession is one where people can exert their tino rangatiratanga.

Fiji trip not supportive

Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia says her party's planned co-ordination of a trip by Maori chiefs to Fiji should not be seen as lending support to the government of leader Commander Frank Bainimarama.

Tariana Turia says she accepts that Commander Bainimarama has not always been a supporter of indigenous Fijian rights and the idea is to hear all sides of the argument and see the effects of isolation on the people.

“Most importantly we’ve never said that we support Bainimarama. What we did say is we were gong to go over there to have a look at the issues to see if a resolution could be found,” Mrs Turia says.


A third mobile phone service is likely to have a distinctly Maori offering.

Two Degrees, formerly New Zealand Communications, announced it would be opening its nationwide network to subscribers in August.

Chairman Bill Osborne says because of the involvement of the Maori spectrum trust, Te Huarahi Tika, Maori have a 20 percent stake in the company.

He says as a small but nimble company, Two Degrees can target niche markets which major players Vodafone and Telecom overlook.

“There’s also the opportunity to target products and services specifically for Maori groups if that’s what they want. Because we have a shareholding, we have the power of influence in the organization,” Mr Osborne says.

Her says the launch is vindication of the nine-year effort Te Huarahi Tika Trust has put into commercialising the spectrum reserved for Maori in a 2000 treaty settlement.


One of New Zealand’s most remote Maori regions is being put on the tourists map.

Te Urewera Rainforest Route has been named an official touring route, and has been given $50,000 by the Ministry of Tourism towards signage and interpretation material for the SH38 stretch between Rainbow Mountain and Wairoa.

Jo Doherty, from Te Urewera Rainforest Route, says the area is steeped in Maori history and going into the region is a learning experience, as it is a predominantly Maori area where the reo is still spoken in daily life.

Jo Doherty says the touring route would help the many Maori boutique tourism operators in the region become more sustainable by increasing the number of visitors.


The Race relations commissioner Joris de bres says it's important for the maturity of Aotearoa that we act on recommendations from the United Nations regarding Maori.

In response to a report from the New Zealand government outlining its commitment to equal rights the UN Human Rights Council last night made 37 recommendations many critical of New Zealand's performance on such things as implementing the Treaty, the Foreshore and Seabed Act and reducing disproportionate imprisonment of Maori.

Mr de Bres says although many of the recommendations highlight disparities for Maori, the opportunity to be assessed internationally is worthwhile.

“It does us no harm to put ourselves out there, for people to have a look at what we say and for people to pick out those things I think are positive and to identify those things that need work,” Mr de Bres says.


Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia says the media misquoted her when it reported that she had likened New Zealand gangs to the Jews.

Tariana Turia says what she said about the law she opposed, outlawing gang patches in her home city of Whanganui, was that we should learn from the experiences of the Jews when the Nazi's stamped them, and not categorise people in this way.

“Now all I said is we should learn from all of these experiences, shouldn’t carry them into today. I didn’t say they were like the Jews, not at all,” Mrs Turia says.

She opposed banning gang patches and insignia because it will not work and all people whose misbehaviour should be targeted.


The co captain of the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, Jolene Henry, believes Maori have the x factor when it comes to athleticism.

Ms Henry, of Wanganui, says Maori netballers are providing rangatahi with positive role models.

The Magic beat Wellingtons Central Pulse on the weekend 59 - 36 goals.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Two Degrees and four months from mobile launch

A Maori backed mobile phone company will go live in August, ending a nine-year battle to commercialise spectrum reserved for Maori in a treaty settlement.

New Zealand Communications announced today it has changed its name to Two Degrees, a reference to whakapapa and the notion everyone in New Zealand is connected by only two degrees of separation.

Chairman Bill Osborne says 20 percent of the company is held on behalf of Maori, and Maori will play a significant part in its marketing plans.

He says it’s been a major achievement getting this far.

“We’ve already spent $250 million, we’ve committed a lot more than that, and we’re just building up now, launching the brand 2° today, and will be launching its services in August,” Mr Osborne says.

Unlike Telecom and Vodafone, Two Degrees doesn’t have to be all things to all people, and it can tailor its offerings for specific groups such as Maori.


A Mangere hapu is up in arms it was not told the skeletal remains of 85 tupuna, believed to be more than 600 years old, had been unearthed during construction of a second runway for Auckland Airport.

Makaurau marae spokesperson Saul Roberts says a condition of approval for the work was that they be consulted throughout the process but this did not happen.

“Unfortunately the airport company have been speaking to another marae and that marae hasn’t been speaking to us so we’re a little bit perple4ed by it all and a little bit annoyed about it all, found out about this information by third party rather than either the Airport Company or the Historic Places Trust makes it a little bit more annyed about how the airport is communicating with us ... or not,” Mr Roberts says.

The hapu is trying to plan a reinternment process for the bones which have been sitting in a container for up to 12 months.

He says planning change hearings to allow rezoning of rural land for commercial development at the airport conclude today and if this is allowed a further 1000 burials could be at risk at historic pa sites in the area.


The Rotorua Museum has honoured the late John Bevan Ford with an exhibition called Amokura, a lifetime of his work.

Mr Bevan Ford of Ngati Raukawa ki Kapiti, died in 2005 and is regarded by many as the renaissance man of Maori art.

Ann Somerville, from the museum says his work crosses generations and incorporates raranga, kowhaiwhai and other traditional arts into his drawings.

The John Bevan Ford exhibition will run until June 7.


Maori actor Temuera Morrison, famous for his role as Jake Heke in the "Once Were Warriors" movie, has launched a stinging attack on gangs in New Zealand.

Morrison says one of the reasons for writing a book on his life story, tentatively titled "How the Haka Got Me To Hollywood", is to inspire rangitahi to look towards their culture and away from gang land role models.

“The Black Power was originated by black people from America. They had no time for us brown people. Mongrel Mob was instigated by a Pakeha judge calling two Maori boys mongrels, dogs, and now our young people are saying sieg heil, using words from a culture our tupuna, their uncles fought against that whole thing,” Mr Morrison says.

He doesn't have all the answers but he hopes the lessons from his own life where Maori culture was a foundation will help young people set a positive direction in their lives.

He hopes the book, being co-written with Willie Apiata biographer Paul Little, will be out for Christmas.


Spectrum reserved for Maori under a treaty settlement is finally coming off the shelf.

Mobile phone company New Zealand Communications, which is 20 percent owned by Maori, announced today it is changing its name to Two Degrees and entering the market in August.

Two Degrees chairman Bill Osborne says the successful completion of a national mobile network after nine often-frustrating years vindicates the efforts of Te Huarahi Tika Maori spectrum trust to make the settlement work commercially.

“I think Maori were left behind and were shortchanged initially and I don’t think this is a substitute for continuing to fight for Maori rights to this but I was in a position way back in 2000 where if Maori didn’t get hold of something at that time they were going to be left with nothing so my fight over the last nine years has been to commercialise something that is a bit uniquely aligned with Maori in general,” Mr Osborne says.

Maori groups will get further opportunities to invest in Two Degrees if more capital is needed.


New Zealand will come under fire for its treatment of Maori when the United Nations Human Rights Council releases its full 37 recommendations to the government tonight.

That's the word from race relations and human rights commissioner, Joris de Bres who has seen some of the recommendations made in response to a New Zealand government report outlining its commitment to equal rights for all New Zealanders presented last week.

“There was a significant number of recommendations on the situation of Maori, on the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People, the foreshore and seabed, the need to fully understand the causes of the inequality faced by Maori, the treaty settlement process, these issues were all raised and the government will need to respond to when it goes back to the United Nations in September,” Mr de Bres says.

He says the UN recommendations are simply guidelines for the government to respond to.

Super city hikoi seeking non-Maori support

Organisers of a hikoi opposing the Government’s plans for Auckland hopes non-Maori will march in support of tangata whenua.

Helen Te Hira, who is co-ordinating West Auckland marchers, says non-Maori including many recent immigrants recognise the need for Maori representation on an Auckland super city council.

She says some West Auckland community groups have asked for hikoi information to be translated into their own languages.

She says minotiry communities understand being marginalized. And realized in Maori won’t have a say in the super city, they won’t either.

Helen Te Hira says the hikoi date of May 25 also marks 21 years since the end of the Bastion Point occupation.


Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira says the record of New Zealand’s major political parties on indigenous issues means they have nothing to offer in resolving Fiji’s political crisis.

The former protest leader still hopes to be part of a Maori delegation to the island state being organized by the Maori Party.

He says such a delegation could show support for ordinary Fijians and perhaps be a circuit breaker in a way Nation and Labour cannot be.

“It doesn't really matter what National says and it doesn’t matter what Labour says quite frankly. Because both of them are failed regimes when it comes to negotiation with indigenous peoples. They’ve both failed here and they will both fail in Fiji, simply because they have got no idea,” Mr Harawira says.

The Prime Minister has barred Maori Party ministers Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia from traveling to Fiji.


A Northland legend is finally going national.

Hokianga four-piece Big Belly Women is celebrating its teenage years by going on its first national tour, 13 years after it was formed to celebrate Maori music and a commitment to change.

Koauau player Mahina Kaui, says while the band’s mix of reggae, jazz, and rhythm and blues has wide appeal, its use of traditional instruments gives it an extra dimension.

Big Belly Women is playing Moeraki tonight as the band works its way up the islands back to Hokianga.


A Maori-backed mobile telephone company will today reveal its new name and launch date.

Twenty percent of New Zealand Communications’ shares are reserved for Maori, with the Maori spectrum trust Te Huarahi Tika and two central North Island land incorporations holding stakes, alongside British and Hong Kong shareholders.

The company stayed in the background rolling out its network while Vodafone and Telecom scrapped in court about whether Telecom’s new XT Network was interfering with Vodafone’s existing 3G network.

But this morning it will unveil when customers will be able to sign up for numbers in the 022 number range.

While it has the technical aspects of the network in hand, the company still doesn’t know how much it will cost to make calls.

That’s because the Commerce Commission still hasn’t made a recommendation on how mobile telephone companies can charge each other for calls terminating on their networks.


An environment and treaty lawyer is warning proposed changes to the Resource Management Act will leave Maori fewer tools to protect their interests.

A select committee is hearing submissions on the first part of the reform, which the government says is to address excessive bureaucracy, costs and delays in the current system.

But Tom Bennion, the editor of the Maori Law Review, says the RMA is working well, with councils, developers and objectors able to get their issues before the Environment Court relatively quickly.

He says the various interested parties have learned how the process can be used to improve decision-making.

“That encourages councils and say Maori appellants to sit down and try ands work the plan out, because both sides know both could be in court about the issue and no party is going to be able to get costs against the other, it’s going to be time and expense for everybody, so the are more inclined to sit in a room with a mediator and sort it out,” Mr Bennion says.

He says by handing more power to councils, the government will encourage consent authorities to behave in a heavy-handed manner towards objectors.


The body responsible for Te Arawa’s land claim settlement is trying to work out how it can gets benefits to its constituent hapu as quickly and efficiently as possible.

In July Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa is set to receive the confederation’s share of the half billion dollar central North Island forestry settlement.

Negotiator Willie Te Aho says tension is inevitable in such a large group, and Te Pumautanga is keen to make a clear distinction between the tribe’s commercial arm and those charged with overseeing social obligations.

“We want to make sure that the central body or the commercial body doesn’t disempower the hapu, so what we want to do is not make any allocation for scholarships etc but pass the resource down to those hapu, those marae, so they can determine how to use that fund,” Mr Te Aho says.