Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, May 29, 2009

Budget cash hard fought for

After years of criticising Labour's Parekura Horomia for not winning new money in the Budget, Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is finding himself in the same position.

The Maori Affairs Minister says he's managed to keep Te Puni Kokiri's allocation at last year's level, despite pressure across the public sector to make cuts.

Money for his Maori economic taskforce and a new network of whanau advocates will come out of the existing TPK budget.

But Dr Sharples is pointing to gains in his associate portfolios, treaty settlements and education, where there is some new money for trade training and for the te reo education provider Ataarangi.

“Unless you're speaking Maori in the home the language is going to die so Atarangi’s got this good project where they move into the homes and teach families instead of just individuals. There’s money for that. There’s money to keep Maori radio alive, a bit for their running costs. In most areas there's something,” Dr Sharples says.

There's also a trade training academy in Auckland and a programme to prepare more Maori secondary schoolers for tertiary study.


Meanwhile, a south Auckland budgeting advisor says yesterday's budget has done nothing to relieve the stress on families or on his organisation.

Daryl Evans says the Mangere Budgeting and Family Support Services is funded to work with about 300 whanau a year, but it is now helping well over a thousand.

Mr Evans says there has been a big increase in working whanau using the service, and a 37 percent increase in the number of families needing food parcels.

Daryl Evans says a Labour-style family tax credit would have immediately put extra money in the pockets of whanau.


Maori public health professionals are keen to develop a more collective approach to lowering Maori smoking rates.

Today's Maori Tobacco Intelligence Summit in Wellington focused on improving existing health promotions and services.

Organiser Riripeti Hareuku says since the last strategic hui more than a decade ago, the rate that young Maori take up smoking has dropped.
But she says more central leadership and active partnership with government was needed.

Tobacco kills between 600 and 800 Maori a year.


The director of an education research project given almost $20 million in yesterday's budget is delighted the government has recognised its importance.

Russell Bishop from Waikato University says the funding means more schools can sign on to Te Kotahitanga, a professional development programme which aims to change the way teachers in mainstream schools interact with Maori pupils.

He says the programme's success lies in its focus on the philosopy of Tino rangatiratanga.

“It's based upon supporting self-determination of schools, of families, of particularly students and teachers to determine the best way forward in partnership with each other and us, and it seems to strike a chord with everybody,” Dr Bishop says.

He says the quality of New Zealand's schools is recognised internationally, but in the past Maori students have missed out on the benefits of the system.


Heart heath health group Te Hotu Manawa Maori has developed advice for Maori living in areas where it is difficult to find healthy food.

Its nutrition and physical activity manager, Leonie Matoe, says the second Food Security Among Maori in Aotearoa booklet aims to give whanau ideas about what they can do to improve their food resources.

It includes projects which whanau have successfully put into action, such as a kura planting feijoa trees as a windbreak, and a marae buying fruit wholesale and selling it on to whanau at cost.

Leone Matoe says obesity and food insecurity are linked, as foods that are high in fat and sugar are usually the cheaper option.


As people gear up to celebrate the Maori New Year, a traditional navigation expert says they're going to be a little late.

Official celebrations start when the constellation Matariki or Pliedes rises above the horizon after the next new moon on June 24.

But Jack Thatcher, who steers by the stars on the waka Te Aurere, says his whanau celebrated Matariki on this week's new moon.

Jack Thatcher believes the conditions for Matariki falling in May happen every three to five years.

Green concession spun as boost for Maori

The Prime Minister says the budget announcement that $323 million will be allocated to insulate houses will be of great benefit to Maori families.

John Key says badly insulated and poorly heated homes are forcing old people to go to bed in the afternoon wrapped in blankets, youngsters are getting sick unnecessarily and others are missing work.

“There will be a lot of Maori New Zealanders whose homes will be heated on the back of this plan and I think that’s a really good thing. It will deliver much better health and social outcomes and over time will make a significant difference,” Mr Key says.

The poor insulation of homes was one of the issues raised by his department when he came into office and he sees improving the heating of homes as a personal priority.

He says a grant up to $1800 for homeowners, which is not subject to income testing will help Maori and non-Maori families alike.

Measures in the budget particularly targeted at Maori amount to $120 million over the next four years specifically for Maori specific programmes, particularly in the areas of housing, education, social development and Treaty negotiations.


One of the aims at next months National Maori Men's Health conference will be to form a men's coalition, similar to the Maori Women's Welfare League.

Joe Puketapu, Chair of the conference, says one of the keynote speakers is former president of the Maori Women's Welfare League, Aroha Reriti-Crofts.

Mr Puketapu says the league does a great job advocating the interests of wahine Maori, something he would like to replicate for tane.

“I think we've got a lot we can learn from the Maori Women’s Welfare League model. I think they’ve done some exceptional things in their time and continue to do some exceptional things for our people,” Mr Puketapu says.

Next month’s conference will also include international speakers Dr Kekuni Blaisdell from Hawaii and Dr Mark Wenitong from Australia.


The Minister of Corrections Judith Collins says New Zealand's Maori focus units have supporters across the ditch.

Ms Collins visited four prisons in Australia last week examining that countrys prison management tendering system.

She says prison managers there were impressed with this country's Maori Focus Units and the lower recividism rates for inmates when they came out of jail.

“Our numbers on recidivism and the success we can have with some prisoners was greeted with quite a lot of interest generally so there are opportunities there cross border, and I think in New Zealand we tend to thin we have to get ideas from overseas but we have some really great ideas and great people working here.
Ms Collins says.

A rising Maori population in Australia jails also led to discussions on opportunities for Maori businesses.


Whanganui iwi are closer to having a larger role in the management of their national park.

The Whanganui National Park management plan has been under review for the last 20 years, during which time iwi have consistently sought greater recognition, and more involvement in the parks management.

Wanganui conservator Damian Coutts says steps are being made to achieve this collaborative approach to run the 74,000 hectare park.

“The proposal is not so much a formal change. The idea is the area will still be managed as a national park under the National Parks Act but would be managed in a way top recognize this desire for a greater Maori flavour to it, greater protection of sites of significance to Maori and better information to visitors about the sensitivity of sites,” Mr Coutts says.


The Child Action Poverty Group says the budget has done little to ease the financial burden for whanau.

Spokesperson, Donna Wynd, says she is disappointed it failed to take the needs of whanau and tamariki into consideration.

Ms Wynd says many whanau are already struggling to make ends meet and the government does not appear to be addressing the issue.

“A lot of Maori children were in dire need before the recession set in and I don’t expect that’s improved and with an unemployment rate of 12 percent it’s probably got much worse. We know in places like Whangarei and Eastern Bay of Plenty and Rotorua it’s just appalling so we really need to start addressing the needs of those children now,” Ms Wynd says.


The Prime Minister says he would have gone to this week's Auckland hikoi if he had been able to.

However John Key says he had other priorities.

“I would have gone but it was Cabinet day and you can’t really leave the Cabinet, especially the one right before the Budget, so I couldn’t go, but I heard it was good natured,” Mr Key says.

He says discussions are currently taking place with iwi as to the best form of Maori representation in Auckland and the hikoi was arguably a little ahead of itself coming before the select committee hearings.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Budget boosts police, prisons, pennies for whanau

Maori have not been left out of Finance Minister Bill English's austere budget.

The Government is pointing to general health and welfare measures as benefiting Maori, including the safeguarding of entitlements to income support, Working for Families, pensions and student loans.

It has also been quick to claim that and extra $244 million for the insulation of homes will be attractive to Maori, with grants of up to $1800 available to homeowners without being income tested.

There are a number of measures targeted at Maori. The Maori Economic Task Force will get $10 million over the next four years, while whanau social assistance services will get $32 million over the same period.

This will allow a network of whanau advocates to be set up to liaise with community groups and Maori Wardens, and to work with families experiencing hardship to ensure they are getting all the assistance available to them.

However, there is little evidence of the much talked about $1 billion fund associate minister Tariana Turia was proposing for Maori health and welfare providers, and the announced health and welfare measures are dwarfed by the $900 million going to justice measures over the next four years for such things as building more prisons and the $183 to provide 600 more police by 2011, with half of them going to the Counties Manukau region.


A community welfare advocate has labeled the government's move to stop people being bailed or paroled to a state house, as racist.

Ken Laban says a new clause added into new state house tenancy contracts will disadvantage those in the lower socio economic bracket, ultimately, Maori and Pacific people.

Mr Laban says people on bail are innocent until proven guilty.

“People are going to make the assumption there is a racist element to the decision and if you look at it solely from a Maori or Pacific Islander in terms of what the dominant groups are affected, clearly it might not be intended but it’s certainly got a racial consequence,” Mr Laban says.

He is working with four mothers and 16 children who will lose their Lower Hutt homes as a consequence of having Mongrel Mob connections.


A Samoan who has grown up in New Zealand says special quota places in universities should be retained for Maori and Pacific Island children.

Journalist Tapu Misa says for example at Auckland University Law faculty with 25 places set aside for Maori and 13 for Pacific out of 300 there is a lot of resentment from Pakeha however this is not justified.

“The ones who are very close to making it might not have made it for reasons that are, they could have gone to schools where they haven’t had quite the same kinds of support you can get say at private school where they just lay everything on,” she says.

Ms Misa says once the students get through the door they do as well or better than anyone else but she says they also have a commitment to give back to their communities.


The Prime Minister says Maori shouldn't be disappointed with the budget.

John Key says the budget contains a number of particular measures aimed specifically at Maori.

“There’s some stuff that runs across some of the big spending portfolios which has a real target towards Maori and I think the Maori Party are happy with what they’ve seen their end,” Mr Key says.

Entitlements to such things as working for families, pensions and student loans which all affect Maori are maintained in the budget.


A problem gambling co ordinator is predicting Maori gambling will get worse under Auckland's Super City Council.

Zoe Martin, from Hapai Te Hau Ora, says Maunkau Citys sinking lid policy on pokies protects the interests of its community as when a venue closes, a new owner cannot continue to have those pokie machines operating.

Ms Martin says she is concerned the policy will disappear under the new super city regime.

“Manukau City is our biggest concern and we’re looking at trying to make sure Manukau keeps its sinking lid policy in place and with the super city we are concerned maybe it will be a harder task,” Ms Martin says.

Manukau City has one pokie machine for every 139 people, the highest ratio in the country.


Palmerston North Hospital has sacked the only Maori member of its Chaplain Service due to funding cuts.

Reverend Ellen Marsh lost her eight-hours-a-week job, despite one fulltime, two part-time chaplains and a volunteer visitor keeping their jobs.

Richard Orzecki, chair of the hospital board's iwi partner, Manawhenua Hauora, says it's unfortunate for Rev Marsh however a consequence of tough financial times.

“The hospital actually funds the positions out of its budget and it’s facing severe deficits at the moment which it needs to address,” Mr Orzecki says.

Manawhenua Hau Ora is putting a counter-proposal to the board's funding division for the recruitment of a 15 hour a week chaplain position. The outcome expected at the end of this week.

Damp promise in Budget

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation says many Maori could miss out on today's budget boost for home insulation.

The Government plans to spend $300 million over the next four years subsidising the insulation of older homes.

Jane Patterson, the foundation's executive director, says because Maori are more likely to be in rental housing, it's important the package also covers those homes.

“If you own a house and have the ability to pay back a loan over time, maybe through your power bill or some arrangement like that, that’s great and you will get a benefit in terms of your health and the warmth of your home, but if you’re renting, you don’t know if your house is insulated when you move in, and it’s important landlords have incentives to upgrade accommodation,” Ms Patterson says.

Damp and cold rental housing is one of the reasons Maori have higher rates of respiratory illness.


A new study of male on male rape among Maori has found victims are unlikely to report the attacks because of the lack of support systems.

Researcher Clive Aspin says the work raises significant long term health concerns, particularly because a majority of interviewees reported the non-consensual activity involved unprotected anal sex.

Dr Aspin says men find it hard to talk about sexual activity, particularly when it involves other men, but people should look to their whanau when such incidents occur.

“Nearly all the men told us they had nowhere to go after the act had taken place and that they felt bereft, isolated, and they had to live with that for some years before coming to terms with the fact this had occurred in the past and there were some who said they turned to members of their whanau who provided them with the support they needed, and they found that really therapeutic and healing,” Dr Aspin says.

There have been similar findings in parallel research involving non-Maori men.


A one-day sculpture by a leading Maori artist may bemuse and perplex Wellingtonians today.

Yes We Are by Michael Parekowhai consists of a four metre high neon sign spelling OPEN, which is being taken around the city all day on a truck.

David Cross from Massey University's Litmus Research Initiative, which has been running the one-day public sculpture series, says it left the inter-island ferry terminal at 5am, and will end up on the Mount Victoria lookout at nine tonight.

It's a bit different from the giant inflatable rabbit Parekowhai showed in the capital last year, and Mr Cross says the artist is leaving the meaning open.

“I mean the sign itself is like a pointing arrow and it points upwards into the sky. The idea is an OPEN sign in terms of, I don’t know, drive in theatres or companies that have signs saying Open, Open for business. It’s got a commercial connotation but it’s also got a much broader poetic connotation and Mike really wanted it to be sitting between those two things, so it looks like a commercial sign but it has its own integrity as an object,” Mr Cross says.

Parekowhai's project marks the end of the one-day sculpture series.


Auckland Regional Council chair Mike Lee wants to restore the name Umupuia to a south Auckland Regional Park before his council is wound up.

The land was bought by the council in 1995 for a then-record price from the Duder family, who had farmed it since 1866.

Mr Lee says he visited Ngai Tai matriarch Ngeuneu Zister, who was then more than 100 years old, for advice on the name.

“Ngeungeu had been Princess Te Puea’s social secretary, and she was a person of great mana and even though she was really old, she was crystal clear in her mind. When I asked her what we should call this land, she said I want it called Umupuia,” Mr Lee says.

When a right-wing majority won the local body election at the end of that year, the name given by tangata whenua was dropped in favour of the settler name Duder Park, which has been a source of continuing grievance to Ngai Tai.


Tauranga-moana iwi have settled on a name for the city's first Maori immersion school.

Iria Whiu, the chair of the board of trustees, says Te Wharekura o Mauao is now taking enrolments, and will open next February.

She says finding a name has taken months of consultation, and commemorates what has been the most important thing to happen in the rohe in recent years, the return of the maunga Mauao in Mt Maunganui to iwi.


Emerging Maori women artists are being celebrated in a Matariki show opening today at the Mangere Arts Centre in Manukau City.

Curator Gabrielle Belz says Puanga Kai Rau brings together work from more than 20 artists.

She says the newcomers will show alongside wahine toa like Robyn Kahukiwa, Collen Urlich and Dianne Prince.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Otaraua hapu strikes protest camp

A Taranaki hapu is claiming success from a two-month occupation of an oil exploration site near Waitara.

David Doorbar from Otaraua says the hapu is striking its tents after Greymouth Petroleum chief executive Mark Dunphy promised the company won't run a pipeline across the site of Tikorangi Pa.

Mr Doorbar says the company had to overcome suspicion from hapu members.

“Because we’d had the word from so many different people over the years it didn’t really stick to us so well, but once he’d given his word to the council and the council came to us and said they were happy with his word, we were a little bit more confident we wouldn’t have our waahi tapu disturbed,” he says.

The New Plymouth District Council has called for an independent review of Tikorangi Pa, with the intention of declaring the site a protected waahi tapu if it meets the criteria.


The Minister of Corrections says a growing population of Maori in Australian prisons could provide opportunities for Maori businesses.

Judith Collins visited one state-managed and three private prisons in Victoria and Queensland last week.

She says Australian prison managers were interested in the effectiveness of the Maori focused units in New Zealand prisons, and saw the value in iwi providers connecting Maori inmates with tikanga principles.

“There was certainly no disagreement this was something that could be looked at in future by Australia and I thought it was an opportunity for Maori providers to consider whether or not there would be an option for them to provide any rehabilitation services, but I think it’s something we could be looking at,” Ms Collins


Long term under-development of Maori land could prove an asset for whanau who want to go into organic farming.

Wade Wereta-Osborn from Te Waka Kai Ora says the national Maori organic growers' group is building a database of Maori plantings on ancestral lands, which should help with networking and market development.

He says many Maori growers have a natural advantage as their lands are chemical free.

“There's a big opportunity there for Maori to interact in a sustainable way as there becomes a higher demand for organic food. We’ve got to be spray free these days, and Maori are a step ahead with their ancestral lands because a lot of them are untouched,” Mr Wereta-Osborn says.

The recession is forcing many Maori to make more use of their mahinga kai or traditional food collecting areas.


Water Safety New Zealand says cuts in school funding are leading to more Maori children drowning.

General manager Matt Claridge says Maori are over-represented in annual statistics because they are missing out on the basic swimming and water safety skills that used to be taught in every school.

But changes to the school curriculum, reduced funding and higher maintenance costs for ageing school pools means many traditional school-based learn to swim programmes are no longer available.

Maori are also less likely to send their children to private swimming lessons, most of which have long waiting lists.

“There is a very small percentage of Maori children involved in private swim schools. It just brings us back to what we believe is the most important delivery mechanism for children learning to swim, and that is through the school based education system where it is equitable,” Mr Claridge says.

Water is such a major part of the New Zealand lifestyle, it's important all children have the swimming skills to get themselves out of trouble.


Waikato Tainui has joined its marae around the northern Manukau harbour in voicing opposition to Watercare's plans to dump treated sewage on Puketutu Island.

Chairperson Tukoroirangi Morgan says the island, also known as Motu Ohiaroa, is the largest in the harbour and of particular significance to Waikato-Tainui.

He says Watercare is acting as if it was only option for Auckland's waste, rather than working on alternate proposals.

“Watercare's intention is a breach of our mana, is a degradation of our tupuna, not onley te Motu Ohiaroa but the wide expanse of the Manukau Harbour. We reminded the commissioners yesterday that Ohiaroa and the rest of the Manukau Harbour is subject of a claim by Waikato-Tainui,” Mr Morgan says.

He says Tainui strongly rejects the advice of Watercare consultant Wira Gardiner, a former Te Puni Kokiri chief executive, that the island is no longer tapu because of it past uses.


Maori men are being challenged to take more responsibility for their overall well being.

Joe Puketapu, the chair of next month's National Maori Men's Health Conference in Blenheim, says Maori men often neglect their health.

He says by doing so, tane put the health of their whole whanau at risk.

“It's about time Maori men took some responsibility for looking at and improving and making changes in their own health issues and their own social issues and I think for far too long we’ve either not done anything about it or we’ve had an expectation our Maori women would deal with those things for us,” Mr Puketapu says.

The conference, which starts on June 17, may be time to start looking at a national Maori men's health advocacy organisation, building on the work done by the Maori Women's Welfare League.

Hospital care leaves whanau in cold

A new study of the care of children in hospital found Maori whanau feel powerless and left out of decisions affecting their injured tamariki.

The study, by researchers from Auckland University's Te Kupenga Hauora Maori in the school of population health, identified concerns with inadequate information, cultural miscommunication and a feeling by many Maori and Pacific Island families that they were not entitled to high-quality information or services.

Maori Health Review editor Matire Harwood says the study showed the problem lay with the system rather than individual doctors or nurses.

“Maori whanau don't blame the individual, the one doctor or nurse with whom they may have had a bad experience. They recognise there are wider contextual or system factors that impact on their ability to go into a hosp services and feel comfortable in that service and know they are getting the best quality treatment for their child,” Dr Harwood says.

Health providers need to be more aware of the ways different ethnic groups respond to their services, and whanau could also benefit from having a patient charter or checklist indicating what their rights are.


A lot of south Auckland's Maori economy is going south ... though the city's hundred of gambling machines.

Zoe Martin, a problem gambling co ordinator from Ha Pai Te Hau Oram says $17 million went through the pokies in Manukau during the first quarter of the year, with Maori some of the biggest contributors.

She says whanau who can least afford it, fall prey to the trappings of gambling.

The effects ripple through the whanau, contributing to a spiral of poverty.

There is one pokie machine for every 139 people in Manukau, the highest ratio in the country.


A new website tool should help visually impaired Maori access the Internet.

Support group Ngati Kapo o Aotearoa has redesigned its site to allows users to enlarge font size, change the colour of the background and turn the entire website into text-only format which can be used with synthesised speech programs.

Chief executive Christine Cowan of Ngati Kahungunu says the redesign idea came from kapo Maori who want to read about what's going on in the runanga for themselves.

She hopes government agencies and businesses adopt the website tool to enable kapo Maori access to more sites.


A Hawkes Bay student has been selected to give a Maori perspective to a national group which speaks up for the rights of rangatahi.

Ben Carpenter from Ngati Kahungunu and Ngai Tahu will join the Young People's Reference Group, which advices the Childrens Commissioner.

He says rangatahi face many obvious struggles with drugs and alcohol, however there are other challenges too, such as Maori who dio not know their own whakapapa.


Manukau City Library is offering prizes of iPods, DVDs and cell phones to rangatahi to read more books.

Its annual Manix3 teen reading challenge starting next week encourages teenagers to read as many books as they can in five weeks, with points given for each book read.

Jody Gayton, the library's learning and literacy coordinator, says it's important to encourage rangatahi to use libraries.
Maori and Pacific Island children are under-represented in library usage.

A taonga of the Anglican church is retiring after decades of work with Maori.

George Connor stands down as Bishop of Dunedin in November on the 44th anniversary of his ordination.

Bishop Connor spent the early decades of his ministry in the Bay of Plenty serving the people of Te Arawa, Tairawhiti and Tauranga Moana in Maori pastorates and mission districts.

The fluent reo speaker says he learned to inhabit two worlds, while never forgetting that he is Pakeha, even if in a Maori context.

Bishop Connor says his engagement with Maori led him to explore his Irish side so he could understand his own tupuna.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Aussie Maori units would need official support to work

A prison reform advocate says Maori units in Australian prisons are unlikely to work, and the Australians should focus on their own indigenous people.

The interest in New Zealand's Maori-focused units was reported by Corrections Minister Judith Collins, who spent last week across the Tasman.

Kim Workman from Rethinking Crime and Punishment says such programmes depends on the ability of the community to participate, and the willingness of the prison system to allow outsiders to help with rehabilitation.

“The Australians haven’t even got as far as their own indigenous people, I can’t see how they would be bending over backwards to accommodate Maori within the system. And the difficulty for Maori is, if you don’t have that relationship and you don’t have that engagement and commitment on the part of the department, then it’s extremely difficult work,” Mr Workman says.

He says while there are a lot of Maori in Australia, there might not be enough interested volunteers to make a Maori unit work.


A new study has found Maori whanau feel left out of the care of their injured children because of cultural miscommunication and inadequate information.

The study by Auckland University's school of population health's Te Kupenga Hauora Maori unit looked at the experiences of eight Maori, eight Pacific Island and seven Pakeha children admitted to hospital.

Matire Harwood, the editor of the Maori Health Review, says it's more evidence that Maori aren't offered the same services as other users of the health system.

“It's often because we don’t know what we’re eligible for and so it’s training the service providers to recognize we don’t know the system, we don’t know how the system works, we don’t know our rights in terms of what we can access, and it’s up to them to provide that information, education to us,” Dr Harwood says

While many whanau praised the dedication of staff, they reported problems in their dealings with hospitals and health services.


An exchange of gifts between a Ngapuhi rangatira and an English king was remembered at a ceremony in Taitokerau last weekend.

Bruce Gillies, a volunteer at the Kaikohe Pioneer Village, says it was inspired by his discovery in the museum archives of an 1835 letter thanking the chief Titore for his gift to King William the Fourth of a mere pounamu and two cloaks.

King William's gift to Titore was a suit of armour.

“He actually tried it on, put a musket bullet through it, lost interest in it, and gave it to Te Wherowhero (who later became Maori king), but it had considerable mana coming from the British king. Te Wherowheo gained mana by giving it to te Heuheu Tukino of Ngati Tuwharetoa, and then it was lost track of until 1909,” Mr Gillies says.

In 1909 politician and scholar Maui Pomare tracked the armour to an abandoned pa near Jerusalem on the Whanganui River, and presented it to the Dominion Museum, now Te Papa.

Sunday's ceremony was attended by descendants of Titore and by Labour MP Kelvin Davis, whose ancestor Whetoi Pomare slew Titore in a fight at Kororareka in 1837.


Labour leader Phil Goff says the Maori Party's starring role in yesterday's Auckland super city hikoi was in marked contrast to its performance on the issue in Parliament.

Vans bearing Maori Party insignia led the march up Queen St, and Pita Sharples spoke at the rally at the end.

But Mr Goff says when the bill setting up the super city transitional authority was forced through under urgency, the Maori Party failed to put up any amendments, and Dr Sharples' co-leader Tariana Turia attacked Labour for suggesting hundreds of changes.

“I would have expected the Maori Party to be brace and strong in the House and not simply to be out on the road when they’re in front of the hikoi. They should have been consistent. They should have strongly opposed what heir coalition partner, the National Party and the Act Party were doing to Auckland and to the concept of Maori seats,” Mr Goff says.

He says the powerful transition team chosen by ACT leader and Local Government Minister Rodney Hide is stacked with business people with no understanding of the cultural and social issues involved in managing a city.


A problem gambling co-ordinator says Maori living in Manukau City are more likely to become gamblers because the city has the highest ratio of pokie machines in the country.

Zoe Martin, from Hapai Te Hau Ora, says there is one pokie machine for every 139 people in Manukau, compared with a national average of one to every 188 people.

She says almost a third of the city's population is Maori, and the gambling epidemic is having a significant effect on whanau, especially on the children.

She says child neglect is common, either with children left at home or in cars outside gambling venues.

Ms Martin says there is a prevalence of pokie machines in lower socio economic areas.


Rotorua Intermediate has introduced boys-only classes as a way to reaching at risk rangatahi.

Teacher Witakerei Poinga says the class was inspired by an Education Review Office report which found boys learned better in structured lessons and were motivated by praise.

He uses tikanga Maori and mau rakau to teach self discipline and respect, as well as a talking circle to get the boys to open up.

Witakerei Poinga say the Tama Toa class was modeled on a similar project at Tauranga Intermediate.

Electoral college considered for Tamaki

An electoral college system similar to that used to chose representatives on the Fisheries Commission is being considered for Auckland Super City.

Prime Minister John Key recently meet with manu whenua tribal leaders to discuss a Maori Party proposal whereby those on the Maori roll in Auckland would elect people to sit on an electoral college which would in turn select people to represent Maori interests in Auckland.

Te Rununga o Ngati Whatua chairperson Naida Glavish says Maori have gone back to the government with their response which includes the electoral college choosing representatives for both the super city council and a Maori advisory board.

She says yesterday's hikoi gave those fighting for Maori representation great support.

“We’re not asking them for a handout. We know how we could apply our right, our treaty right in a democratic way but it’s either their way or the highway and why is that? Because they insist on holding unfair power,” Ms Glavish says.

A response from the government is expected within the week.


One of the kaupapa for Youth Week is for whanau to spend more time with rangatahi.

Sarah Helm from Aotearoa Adolescent Health and Development says the Make Time for Youth campaign comes from a study of ten thousand secondary students where rangatahi revealed they are happy with their lives but want more time with their whanau.

“The young people also said in this survey that half of them felt they didn’t get enough time with their parents. Having a quality time intensive relation ship with a parent is a really good indicator for young people with their health and well being,” Ms Helm says.

The study was conducted by the Auckland University Adolscent Health Research Group.
Youth week will run until May 31.


Final drafts have been drawn up for the refurbishment of Otakau Marae in Dunedin.

Hoani Langsbury, from the marae committe says the last time restorative work was done was in 1990, and plans are for construction of a new dining hall to compliment the Wharetupuna Tamatea.

He says the project will cost a couple of million dollars.

The whare, built in the 1940's will remains the centrepiece of the upgraded marae complex.


A long term study into the way New Zealand children learn has found social and economic circumstances explain lower Maori educational success rates.

The study, called Competent Children, Competent Learners has followed the progress of 500 New Zealanders through the education system since 1993.

Principal researcher Cathy Wylie says the reasons behind lower Maori achievement became quite obvious.

“Some of the differences for Maori student achievement are due to parents having lower education success and lower incomes so those are the things that may be behind some of the difference that attract headlines in Maori lower student achievement,” Dr Wylie says.

Supporting kids interests, limiting television, and more books in homes are key to keeping kids in schools.


A Maori industrial lawyer based in Australia returned home to join the thousands at yesterday's hikoi in Auckland.

Tipene Keenan, of Te Atiawa, Te Whanau a Apanui, and Ngati Porou, who has lived in Sydney for 22 years, says he knew he had to be part of the hikoi to fully tautoko this kaupapa.

Mr Keenan believes no Maori representation on a super city council is a prelude to what may happen for Maori in the future.

“When we're not represented there, where does it leave us in terms of making decisions. John Key’s taken a band aid approach to Maori in terms of giving a portfolio to but he’s also handicapped it in terms of not having that portfolio inside Cabnet. That’s painting a picture that Maori contribution towards politics and decisions about themselves is going to be minimized,” Mr Keenan says.

He hopes Maori unite under this issue as it affects Maori around the motu, not just in Tamaki Makaurau.


A painting of one of Rotorua's important tupuna has joined the ranks of valuable artwork held by Rotorua's Heritage Collection.

The Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust has purchased a painting by Charles F Goldie, of Te Arawa/Ngati Whakaue leader Mita Taupopoki, from Dunbar Sloane Galleries in Wellington for $170,000.

Trust chairman Grahame Hall says the portrait will join the collection's four other Goldie paintings of famous Rotorua legends, Guide Sophia, Hinemoa, Maramena Uiari, and Pipi Haerehuka.

“Mita Taupopoki was a very important player, particularly for Tuhourangi of Te Arawa and Ngati Tunohopu hapu of Ngati Whakaue. And of course times are pretty tough, the world and global economic conditions aren’t that easy at the moment, but we decided it was really important to bring this painting home,” Mr Hall says.

A homecoming celebration will be held in July.

The Heritage Collection, which contains more than 120 works of art, is maintained on behalf of the trust by the Rotorua Museum of Art and History _ Te Whare Taonga O Te Arawa and is valued at more than $2 million.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Solid turnout for super city hikoi

The Auckland Super City hikoi has brought Maori and pakeha together in a show of strength to push for Maori representation in Auckland governance.

Grey skies and occasional drizzle did not put off the 5000 Maori and Pakeha who came together to march up Queen St in support of Maori representation in Auckland governance.

Ngati Whatua led the hikoi, with other tribal groups, unionists, mayors, Labour and Maori Party MPs and a party of Pakeha treaty workers bringing up the rear.

The placard Grand Theft Auckland summed up the mood of many in the hikoi, concerned that handing control of he Queen City to a small cabal of business people would rip out its heart, soul and assets.

There were calls for Prime Minister John Key to front, but much of the ire was directed towards Locval Government Minister Rodney Hide – ubiquitous on Auckland’s streets duioring the election campain in his yellow jacket, but, as one speaker put it, too yellow to show today.


Ngati Whatua leader Grant Hawke says plans for the city are a giant insult to tangata whenua.

He says his ancestors gave almost 4000 hectares to Pakeha so they could build their city, but their descendants are told they aren't entitled to a place at the decision making table for the city.

“This is something Maori. This is something we want to do. We want to show them that irrespective, we are still mana whenua, show the strength. Along with that, show the manuhiri, they support us, they are residents and Ngati Whatua play the part to the manuhiriand we’re there to tautoko and manaaki those things,” Mr Hawkes says.

The day also marked the 31st anniversary of the end of the Bastion Point occupation spearheaded b the Hawke whanau.


Lawyer Annette Sykes from Te Arawa, who was a leader of the Foreshore and Seabed Hikoi five years ago, was out again showing that the issue goes far wider than just representation on the Auckland Super City council.

“I think we should not underestimate what is happening. The Government is moving away from collaborative strategies of participation with tangata whenua to a pick and choose strategy of who they believe they will take advice from so it doesn’t surprise me they prefer advisory groups as a mechanism for input from Maori rather than us being t the table, contributing to the way decisions are made and ensuring the perspectives we bring, which are valid and have been here for thousands of years, actually are the foundation for the way decisions are made in Auckland,” Ms Sykes says.

She says the fact that lots of pakeha and pacific islanders attended the hikoi is a sign of the maturity of New Zealand as a nation, and that they respect and understand that the future of New Zealand, has to be won from the base of Maori.


Following the super city representation hikoi which brought 5000 Maori and pakeha out onto the streets of Auckland today, Ngati Whatua chairman Grant Hawke has given an indication of where talks between the Government and Maori are at.

Prime Minister John Key meet with Ngati Whatua and Tainui leaders recently and Grant Hawke says a Maori election process model based on an electoral college is being is being looked at.

“And then Maori would be able to vote for Maori, using the Maori roll and those things in Tamaki. Once we get the seats in there, the councilors, whoever is elected by that process, would call for advisors to the Maori part of that council, so they’re looking at that now," Mr Hawke says.

Ngati Whatua and Tainui which are mana whenua tribes in Auckland expect a reply from the government in the next week to their ideas for an electoral college.

He says in spite of the talks today's hikoi was an appropriate way for Maori to demonstrate the strength and status of manu whenua.


Maori have, and will be disproportionately targeted by the police using taser weapons, says a leading human rights advocate.

Lawyer Moana Jackson says the recent budget announcement of $10 million towards providing all police districts with the 50,000 volt stun guns in the next three years was a cause for concern.

He says history showed its Maori who become subject to the use of excessive force by the police.

“What is the reason the state fells it needs these weapons. I don’t think the reasons they have given so far are justifiable. I think the risk outweigh any arguments they have used. And I think any attempt by the state and in terms of Maori, any attempts by the Crown to take excessive power and then use it against our people should be a cause of concern,” Mr Jackson says.

He says the Maori law commission will research the impact introducing tasers will have on Maori.


A study of ten thousand secondary students has revealed 90 per cent of rangatahi are happy with the relationships they have with whanau and caregivers.

Sarah Helm from Aotearoa Adolescent Health and Development says the findings are great news as it promotes positive perceptions of whanau.

“Rangatahi Maori said their parents actually care about them a lot. In fact 90 percent of young people said they felt their parents or caregivers cared about them a lot. And that is a really great statisit because it breaks a lot of stereotypes about Maori parents and Maori young people, that in actual fact the relationships are actually really good,” Ms Helm says.

The study was conducted by the Auckland University Adolescent Health Research Group and was used to devise the main kaupapa for Youth Week, Make Time for Youth.

Hikoi for urban Mori too

Marchers are starting to gather round Auckland for the super-city hikoi that’s being branded as being about more than just the mana whenua.

Willie Jackson, the chair of the National Urban Maori Authorities, says it concerns the rights of all Maori in Auckland, not just those from the region’s iwi.

The Manukau Urban Maori Authority chief executive says he and Waipareira head John Tamihere made the case for wider representation to the Royal Commission Inquiry into Auckland Governance, whose recommendations have been set aside by the Government.

“Although we absolutely tautoko the Ngati Whatua and Tainui status too, when we put the tono in for these seats, Tamihere and I put in a proposal for urban Maori to be represented too, and so I think we have to remember that on Monday, this is a fight for all Maori in Auckland, not just those of Ngati Whatua or Tainui status,” Mr Jackson says.

Marchers are gathering at Orakei Marae, the Manukau City Council headquarters, Awataha Marae in Northcote and Te Piringatahi o Te Maungarongo Marae in West Harbour, and will convene on Queen Street at noon.


Whanganui Maori have received the first fruit of their land claim process.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson on Saturday handed back a 35 hectare block beside the river to Te Poho a Matapihi Trust, which represents hapu interests in the lower reaches.

The history of the block was raised at the first Waitangi Tribunal hearing in the region, and tribunal Judge Carrie Wainwright suggested the Crown act immediately rather than waiting for the rest of the claims to be heard and reported on.

Trustee Hone Tamehana says the land was taken a century ago under the Public Works Act, and it was used until recently as a rifle range.

“The land is in need of attention. There may be some soil contamination. There are certain requirements we have to abide by, but we’re just glad to receive the land back,” Mr Tamehana says.


The organiser of January’s successful Tribal Pride concert at Hopuhopu is taking the idea to the big smoke.

Biggs Taurarewa says the drug and alcohol event struck a chord with Maori music lovers who turned up in their thousands to hear bands like Kora, Katchafire, Ardijah and Scribe.

He’s hoping for a similar response this Friday at Tribal Roots at the Auckland Town Hall with a reggae line-up including House of Shem, Three Houses Down, Sweet ‘n’ Irie and Unity Pacific.

Biggs Taurarewa says proceeds from Tribal Roots will be used to run community music workshops and seminars.


This morning’s hikoi to protest the Auckland super city is attracting marchers from well beyond Tamaki Makaurau.

An ope from Rotorua is among those who want to tell the Government to heed a royal commission recommendation to build Maori representation into the new governance structure.

Rotorua lawyer Annette Sykes says she and her whanaunga are joining in because Maori need to fight moves by government to pick and choose its Maori advisors, rather than allowing elected Maori a seat at the table where decisions are made.

She says it’s not just an issue for Maori.

“ Lots of my Pakeha friends and lots of my Pacific Island friends are coming as well and I think that’s a sign of the maturity of us as a nation, I don’t know if the protest will be quite of the height it was during the foreshore and seabed but the sentiment is just as serious and the need for all of us to come out n the streets and make a stand is just as important,” Ms Sykes says.

Marchers are gathering in north, south, east and west Auckland, and will converge on lower Queen St at noon for a march to Aotea Square


Maori Television has asked the authors of a hard hitting report on its language standards to stick around and help improve matters.

Veteran broadcasters Hone Edwards and Tainui Stephens conducted the formal five-year review of the Maori Television Service Act.

They found while some language experts had concerns about the standards of on-air reo, the Act did not define what it meant by requiring the channel to offer a high quality service.

Chief executive Jim Mather says the channel is taking the criticisms on board, especially their concerns about what it is delivering to youth audiences.

He says both men have been asked to continue monitoring language quality.

“We’ve very pleased the discussion around language quality is a positive one. We’ve moved away from issues about quantity and numbers of programmes and hours of and so forth and very pleased the discussion is focused now on quality,” Mr Mather says.


Te Runanga o Otakau wants the new fisheries minister to push ahead with approving its mataitai or locally managed non-commercial marine reserve for the Otago harbour.

The runanga made an application to the previous minister, Jim Anderton, last year, and it has since conducted extensive consultation with residents around the harbour.

Spokesperson Hoani Langsbury says the proposal is unlikely to affect commercial fishers based at the port.

“There's been no commercial fishing in the Otago Harbour for over 30 years and we as a community, which includes recreational fishers, have been watching that recovery and all w are trying to do with the mataitai application is maintain the status quo and hopefully protect and enhance it in the future,” Mr Langsbury says.