Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, June 12, 2009

Maori Party celebrates fifth birthday

The Maori Party is inviting supporters to Otaki tomorrow morning to celebrate its fifth birthday.

After a powhiri at Raukawa Marae, it will hold an open function at the war memorial hall before a meeting of the party executive.

Political commentator Colin James says the party can celebrate establishing itself as the first truly independent Maori voice in Parliament for many decades.

He says party has conducted itself competently in the house and started to mark out a position which is recognised by other parties, although tensions still remain with Labour, which still feels proprietorial over the Maori seats, and with National, despite its confidence and supply agreement.

“There is a tension between the Maori Party and the National Party and we’ve seen that on several occasions, most notably over the seats on the Auckland super council, and I think National has not grasped that is essentially an issue of mana and not just one of influence or position,” Mr James says.

He says over the next five years the Maori Party needs to shore up its grass roots membership base to ensure it has a long term future as a parliamentary party.


Kapa haka roopu from throughout the motu travelled to Rotorua this week to pay their last respects to Taini Morrison, who is credited with changing the role woman can play in the Maori performing arts.

Ms Morrison, who died this week of a heart condition at the age of 51, has been buried after an emotional tangi at her home marae, Tamatekapua in Ohinemutu.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples was at the tangi with his west Auckland Te Roopu Manutake.

He says through her leadership of Te Matarae-I-Orehu, Ms Morrison became an icon to the art.

There were also fulsome tributes paid to Ms Morrison by the iwi leaders gathered in Wellington this week for the Government's treaty hui.


Meanwhile, bids to host the next Festival of Traditional Maori Performing Arts have just closed.

Te Matatini draws thousand of supporters to see the country's best kapa haka roopu battle it out for supremacy.

Willie Te Aho, who is coordinating Tairawhiti's bid to host the event in Gisborne in 2011, says there is strong competition for the honour from Waitaha from the Christchurch region, Te Taihauauru for a Taranaki venue, and Te Arawa.

The decision will be announced next Wednesday.


Maori working in film and television meet at Orakei Marae are meeting in Auckland for the sixth annual Nga Aho Whakaari hui.

Mainstream and Maori broadcasters as well as representatives from funder New Zealand on Air will debate the changing environment Maori producers work in.

Executive director Pita Turei up to 10 percent of the population now watch programmes on media other than television, such as computers and cellphones.

He says Maori must keep pace with those trends.

“We can watch them when we want to watch them, we can watch them where we want to watch them and we can watch them how we want to watch them. We can use them in a classroom situation, a seminar, we can watch them on our won in our own time when we’re away from everybody else. There are choices that come up and new ways to respond to those choices,” Mr Turei says.

Some isolated Maori communities are making their own investments in the information age, bringing broadband services to their rohe.


A Labour member of the select committee considering changes to the Resource Management Act says the Government has a chance to do something positive about making houses affordable for Maori, if it is prepared to take the necessary steps.

Shane Jones says the latest two-yearly report on how the Resource Management Act is administered shows many of the problems are with regional and local government rather than the act itself.

The report found only four of the country's 84 councils are consistently processing resource consents on time, with councils around the Auckland region particularly prone to delay.

Mr Jones says he's seen the problems that causes in Tai Tokerau, where he has worked extensively on hosuing low income Maori.

“The danger is delay leads to costs. Anyone who is on a fixed income, they want to shave the cost as much as possible and when consents are held up at the council the cost only goes one way, up,” Mr Jones says.

Rather than taking a broad axe to the Resource Management Act, Environment Minister Nick Smith should put up legislation penalising councils who fail to process consents in a reasonable time.


A ceremony will be held at the Buried Village by Lake Tarawera on Sunday morning to remember the hundreds of Tuhourangi people who died in the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera.

The disaster drove the iwi from the land, with many moving to Hauraki or to live around Te Ngae and Whakarewarewa.

Kaumatua Aneru Rangiheua, who started the annual services when he moved back to the ancestral land 13 years ago, says the memory of the disaster is still an important memory for the iwi, and one he is reminded of every day, as some of those people are buried on his land at Tokoniho.

Waiheke workforce for the scrap heap

The mainly Maori workforce at Waiheke's recycling plant is headed for the scrap heap after an Auckland City Council committee voted to give the island's rubbish contract to an Australian multinational.

The Citizens and Ratepayers majority on the City Development Committee disqualified a tender from incumbent recycler Clean Stream because it allegedly lobbyied councillors.

Clean Stream managing executive John Stansfield says he was merely challenging false statements by council officials about the effectiveness of the VISY plant at Onehunga, where Transpacific Industries will process Waiheke's waste along with glass, paper and plastics from the rest of the city.

He says the decision ignores the wishes of island residents and will cost Waiheke dearly.

“We're a community-owned enterprise and we pride ourselves in investing heavily ion our people. There are so many ways the community will miss out. We’ve been big contributors to the renaissance of community gardens, big gardens at the marae, we’ve put in a lot of compost and mulch and building materials into all of those things. All of those opportunities will be lost to our community,” Mr Stansfield says,

Clean Stream will shut up shop at the end of the month, but there might only be jobs for a third of the staff under the new recycler.


Maori blind support group Ngati Kapo O Aotearoa has won a $500,000 Health Research Council grant to improve children's access to ophthalmology services.

Chief executive, Chrissie Cowan, says some of the money will be used to create a data base so whanau can quickly find what help is available in their area.

She says there are simple interventions which can improve the quality of life for kapo or vision-impaired tamariki, but the information comes at a cost.

She says being able to make contact with members wasn’t previously seen as a priority by funders.


Former All Black first five and centre Arthur Stone will finally get his cap today.

Over the next year the New Zealand Rugby Union intends to cap more than 400 players whose tenure in the A-Bs was between the end of the second world war and 1997, when the tradition of capping was reintroduced.

Mr Stone, from Ngati Pukeko, Tuhoe and Te Arawa, played nine tests between 1981 and 1986 as well as 30 games for the Maori All Blacks.

He is looking forward to today's ceremony in Dunedin.


The Minister of Treaty Negotiators is putting his faith in a team of high-powered Crown negotiators to take treaty settlements forward.

Chris Finlayson this week hosted a hui to review the settlement process, where he announced extra support for claimant groups who don't qualify for funds from the Crown Forestry Rental Trust.

He also wants to formalise the group he is using to lead negotiations.

“Paul Swain’s fantastic. Pat Sneddon, who was working for the previous government, is very good indeed, and John Wood, twice former ambassador in Washington, Tim Groser tells me he was one of the best negotiators he ever dealt with, I’m getting him involved in the Whanganui claims. What I’m hoping to do is bring together a small group of these negotiators, make them a team so they’re meeting with me regularly, and meeting with one another regularly, and I think it’s going to work out extremely well,” Mr Finlayson says.

There was also $22.4 million in the Budget for the Office of Treaty Settlements to speed up the settlement process.


Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia wants to see anti-smoking campaigns targeted at young people to capitalise on a drop off of tobacco take-up among rangatahi.

The latest biennial survey by Action on Smoking and Health has found only three and a half thousand to the 24,000 fourth formers interviewed admitted to being smokers - and the number of Maori girls taking up the habit at that age dropped 8 points to 21 percent.

Mrs Turia says too many of the 5 thousand deaths in New Zealand each year directly attributable to smoking are Maori, and every effort must be made to discourage people from trying tobacco in the first place.
“It has a huge impact on the tinana and we know how addictive it is and how hard it is to give up so preventing young people getting engaged with it should be the first step,” Mrs Turia says.


Kiwi Rugby League selector Tony Kemp says starting Lance Hohaia at half back for the Warriors may be just what the team needs to get back on track.

The Auckland-based team is on the back foot at the half way point of the season, with a four win, eight loss record.

Mr Kemp says Hohaia, from Waikato, has the skill and experience to make a difference, being the Warriors’ best and most consistent player over the past 24 months.

He says Hohaia alongside Stacey Jones may be the combination to get the Warriors from 12th on the table to a top eight spot.

The Warriors play Newcastle tonight at home in Mt Smart.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Crown capacity for treaty talk near limit

The Minister of Treaty Negotiations is reassuring treaty claimants who are still waiting to enter negotiations that they won't miss out.

Chris Finlayson spelled out his views on the treaty settlement process to a hui of iwi leaders in Wellington yesterday, and announced more funding for claimants who don't qualify for assistance from the Crown Forestry Rental Trust.

He says there is little capacity for taking on new work until some of the major settlements in the system are completed.

“Government is very busy at the moment. There is quite a lot of work in the system. In fairness to everyone, that work has to be concluded first. There’s no point asking the Office of Treaty Settlements to try and do too much at any one time, otherwise mistakes will be,” Mr Finlayson says.

While the National Government has set a target of 2014 for resolving historical claims, that doesn't mean groups should push for talks before they are ready.


The number of teenage Maori girls taking up smoking is dropping.

Tha annual Action on Smoking and Health survey of 30,000 year ten students found the number of 14 and 15 year old Maori girls lighting up is down from 29 to 21 percent.

ASH health promoter Janine Tamati-Ellife, of Ngai Tahu and Te Atiawa, would like to see whanau and iwi need to help the trend by supporting a non smoking lifestyle.

She says further restrictions to the sale and advertising of tobacco would also help bring down the number of rangatahi smoking.


If Gisborne historian Monty Soutar wins the first book section the New Zealand Book Awards next month, publisher David Bateman may have to print up another edition.

Dr Souttar says his history of the Maori Battalion's C Company ... Nga Tama Toa, The Price of Citizenship ... has drawn a fantastic response, not just from the East Coast where C Company was drawn from but throughout the motu.

It's sold around 10,000 copies already, with the third edition now on bookshop shelves.

He says by focusing not just on the campaigns but also on the home front and the aftermath of the war, he was able to ask how the war affected the position of Maori in New Zealand society.

“The big question remains at the end of the book as to how much it changed post war as a result of the Maori contribution to Word War 2. It really is, outside the story of the Maori Battalion, the story of the battle for equality in this country,” Dr Soutar says.

The 15 years of research that went into Nga Tama Toa helped him get to know hundreds of East Coast whanau, which is proving invaluable in his new job as chief executive of te Runanga o Ngati Porou.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the time is right for a Maori bank.

The idea was floated by fellow MP Rahui Katene on Parliament's finance and expenditure committee, in response to what she sees as Australian-owned trading banks using New Zealanders as a cash cow to line the pockets of their Australian shareholders.

Mrs Turia says Maori have created their own financial institutions in the past, and such a bank would have a ready made customer base.

“Given the amount of resources coming into Maori hands and the fact we have so many health and social service providers who get considerable funds from the state, it would be really good if we were able to establish a bank that has the interests of our people at heart,” Mrs Turia says.


Manukau Police have partnered with the Papakura Maori Wardens to form a new Youth Action Team in the town.

Team head Noel Atkinson says the aim is to prevent crime before it reaches the levels of neighbouring areas like Manukau City and Otara.

He says the Maori wardens were a natural choice who will bring invaluable skills and life experience to the programme, as well as a strong cultural base.

As well as the wardens and five police officers, the team includes a full time Child, Youth and Family social worker.


A Maori sumo wrestler says New Zealand wresters have the brawn but need to refine their technique.

Anaru Perenara from Ngati Rangitihi has just picked up two golds and a silver at the Oceania tournament, where he was part of a six member New Zealand squad.

The 179 kg champion was introduced to the Japanese sport six years ago by Wellington-based martial arts expert Martin Stirling.

He says there is a lot of potential here, as New Zealand has some of the hardest hitters in the sport, but they need to stay in the ring long enough to wear the opponent down.

Perenara is currently training for the Sumo World champs in Taiwan next month.

Rangatahi helped by traditional culture

A new study has found rangatahi Maori who do traditional arts are more positive about themselves and their whanau.

Dr Paul Jose, from Victoria University’s Roy McKenzie Centre for the Study of Families, says the study looking at artistic activities of North Island Maori and Pasifika rangatahi was part of the a longitudinal Youth Connectedness Project.

He says rangatahi who did any cultural activity, including music, dance or visual art, were better off psychologically than those who did none.

Those involved in kapa haka had the highest sense of identity.

“Maori and Pacific youth who engage in traditional arts tend to have higher pride in their cultural background and they also report higher levels of well being and being connected to the important institutions and people in their lives,” Dr Jose says.


The Porirua Budgeting Service is warning whanau against using finance companies to make ends meet.

Robert Antonio says 80 per cent of his clients are Maori and Pacific Island, and he's detecting a big increase in high cost loans to pay for short term needs like overdue power and phone bills.

He says many whanau see loan sharks as their only option.

Porirua Budgeting Service tried to help whanau find options into manage their debts, rather than getting more high interest finance company loans.


A former kura kaupapa and polytech teacher is using old Maori concepts to add a fresh spin to the motivational speaking circuit.

Ngahihi o Te Ra Bidois quit his job at Waiariki Polytech three years ago to make a living from his korero.

This month he is launching his first book, Ancient Wisdom Modern Solution, in Rotorua.

Mr Bidois, who has a facial moko, says his journey from focusing solely on business to discovering his Maori identity taught him lessons which may help other people.

“I've changed my career to having my own business, having the ability to walk comfortably on any boardroom as I am on any marae so the book is a journey of discovery and also a book about leadership,” he says.

Mr Bidois was last year named inspirational speaker of the year by the National Speakers' Association.


Ngapuhi and Waikato have completed coastline agreements with neighbouring iwi, clearing the way for the transfer of what remains of their fisheries settlement assets.

Te Ohu Kaimoana chief executive Peter Douglas says Ngapuhi, which was the first iwi to form a mandated iwi organisation in 2005, got its final $2.5 million in quota and cash last week, while Waikato received $1.78 million in assets.

Waikato borders Ngati Whatua and Maniapoto on the west coast, while Ngapuhi had to agree on boundaries with Ngati Whatua and Te Rarawa on the west and Whangaroa and Ngati Wai on the east coast.

He says such agreements are more significant than they look on the surface.

“There are all sorts of things you need to take into account in terms of what traditions are, but the most important thing, and I think that’s what’s been central to all these discussions, is the need for ongoing relationships, and that’s really why they have been as successful as they have been,” Mr Douglas says.

Now 27 of the country’s 57 iwi now had full or partial coastline agreements, and Bay of Plenty iwi Ngati Whare had recently become the 49th iwi to form a mandated iwi organisation.


The project manager of a marae youth court says the experiment proves culture can help rangatahi regain the straight and narrow.

Richard Brooking says the one-year-old Gisborne pilot is being assessed to see if it can be extended to other youth courts where there are Maori judges on the bench.

He says involving whanau helps young Maori see the effects of their behaviour.

“In the standard youth court process they were pretty antagonistic to the courthouse itself, they were pretty antagonistic to the judge, the police and to the social workers, but in the marae youth court, because of that engagement and the way it was done though a powhiri process and people feeling good about the process, the young people were engaged and the response was pretty positive,” Mr Brooking says.

The programme uses whanau and tikanga to explore the causes of the offending behaviour before seeking solutions.

New Ministry of Justice figures show Maori teenagers are three times more likely to be apprehended by police than their non-Maori counterparts, and Maori children five times more likely.


A west Auckland Maori immersion school has finally found a permanent home.

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Kotuku has had four sites over the past 16 years, most recently at Rutherford College.

Board advisor Hohepa Campbell says the kura has now met all the thresholds for government funding and found land at one of the best sites in the city.

“The kotuku bird will finally find a nest and will be perched on top of Windy Hill in Ranui and will have spectacular views over the whole of Auckland,” Mr Campbell says.

The kura will move early next year into its new premises, which will include five classrooms, an administration block, a hall, a sports field and two netball courts.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kirikiriroa Runanga plans Waitangi claim

The Government's refusal to include Maori representatives on the proposed Auckland super city council has spurred a Hamilton urban Maori authority to mount a Waitangi Tribunal claim against the local government system.

Matiu Dickson from Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa says a delegation from the runanga met with new local government Minister Rodney Hide after the election to voice concerns about Maori representation.

But it held off lodging a claim while it waited for the response to the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance.

He says taking Maori seats off the table in Auckland sent the wrong signal to councils like Hamilton, which have resisted giving Maori a say in decisions.

“Although it was the original reason for setting up the runanga, the relationship has been very hot and cold and not very rewarding for ourselves as Maori people and also for the council because all this time the council has missed out on having Maori representation,” Mr Dickson says.


A researcher studying sleeping patterns in pregnant women says more data is needed from Maori population.

Massey University's Sleep Wake Research Centre has received almost $1 million in the latest Health Research Council funding round for a three year study on the relationship between sleep and birthing delivery methods, which will include data from 500 Maori women in the late stages of pregnancy.

Researcher Bronwyn Sweeney, says there could be a link between sleep quantity and quality and how babies are treated.

“If a mother’s mood changes and she gets post natal depression, that affects how she feels about herself and her parenting skills. It can affect how she reacts to her baby and how she attaches to her baby, so that’s a really important relationship to get right and then it can affect her relationships with other people, so her family, her whanau, her extended community,” Ms Sweeney says.

Another researcher, Sarah Jane Paine, got a grant for a one-year feasibility study aimed at developing clinical sleep services for Maori.


It's the 123rd anniversary of the Tarawera Eruption, but the memory of the event still lives on the hearts and minds of Tuhourangi.

Kaumatua Aneru Rangiheua says a small memorial service will be held on Sunday morning at the Buried Village on the shores of Lake Tarawera.

He says hundreds of Tuhourangi died when the maunga exploded, spewing ash over the countryside.

The survivors moved to land at Thames, and later back to Te Ngae and Whakarewarewa, but Mr Rangiheua says until he moved back 13 years ago the ancestral land around the lake remained unoccupied by tangata whenua.

“It's got a marvelous area. Historically we look around at all the little areas I can imagine where my people would have been rowing around fishing and hunting and creating amusement for themselves, doing battle4s, they had a lot of those here, a lot of skirmishes here, that kept them going. It’s got a strong history, a great history,” he says.

Mr Rangiheua says the creation of a walking track around Lake Tarawera might create employment opportunities for Tuhourangi descendants who want to move back onto their mana whenua.


The High Court has reserved its decision on a challenge to the way Ngai Tuhoe manages its share of the Treelord forestry settlement.

The case is the last throw for hapu collective Te Umutaoroa, after the Waitangi Tribunal last week refused to hear its challenge to Te Kotahi a Tuhoe's mandate to represent the tribe.

Te Umutaoroa, which includes long serving Tuhoe Maori Trust Board secretary Tama Nikora and a group of younger leaders is challenging the Tuhoe Establishment Trust and Te Kotahi a Tuhoe, who took part in the negotiations which secured the return of central North Island forests to a pan-tribal management company.

Te Umutaoroa is concerned the corporate structure could put contol of the tribe's multi-million dollar assets in the hands of as few as three trustees.

Its lawyers argued that the governance structure was developed by Treasury and CNI officials, with no Maori input.

They are arguing for the court to intervene, as it did when the Tainui executive tried to impose a new governance structure on that iwi.

A decision is expected by the end of the week.


The Western Bay of Plenty public health organisation is urging Maori in its region not to take gout for granted.

Philippa Jones, a workforce development coordinator, says up to 14 percent of Maori males are afflicted with the painful condition, compared to about 2 percent of Pakeha.

She says gout is too often normalised in Maori communities, rather than being seen as a treatable illness.

“Gout's not normal. You shouldn’t expect it will happen to you. If you do have gout, by avoiding beer and avoiding seafood, this can reduce the risk of having an attack, and by taking the right drugs you might never ever get another attack of gout. Just don’t take it for granted that all this is something you have to live with,” Ms Jones says.

The Western Bay of Plenty PHO is circulating treatment guidelines for its health practices and hauora, based on best practice developed by Middlemore hospital in south Auckland.


They have a Maori name, a roots reggae sound, and a quest to unite people through their music.

Wellington band Hikoikoi got its name from a pa site at Petone beside the Heretaunga River.

Keyboardist James Coyle says with Irish, English, Scottish and Samoan ancestry, the six members of the band are trying to acknowledge the cultural mix of Aotearoa through their music.

“We sort of feel like being no Maori but with a Maori name we’ve give ourselves a challenge to cross over a bridge there, because there’s a lot of healing needed in this country and we feel like music is a good path to explore that kind of thing,” Mr Coyle says.

Hikoikoi is touring the country this month to promote its self-titled debut album.

$2.3 million for Maori in health research funds

Maori are among the biggest winners in the latest round of health research funding.

The chief executive of the government funded Health Research Council Dr Robin Olds says the specific needs of Maori have been recognised with over $2.3 million dedicated to Maori health research.

“The council recognised the particular challenges facing Maori in relation to health and we’re very happy this year as in previous years to be able to support some very high quality research proposals led by some well known Maori health researchers,” Dr Olds says.

Projects to receive funding include continuing research into vision impairment where an earlier study found 42 percent of Maori children with kapo had not had the cause of their sight problems diagnosed, a study into the poor health of Maori babies, and various studies around cancer care for Maori..


The Labour candidate in the Mt Albert bi-election David Shearer says Maori will be particularly affected by secret government plans to stop local councils having any social or environmental role.

David Shearer says a cabinet paper shows facilities like recreation and community centres, which Maori are high users of, are under threat from Local Government Minister Rodney Hide.

“It’s a real backward step because he’s trying to limit the local government functions, just transport, water services, public health and safety and completely ignores the cultural dynamics, the environmental dynamics and the social things going on in councils as well which are an integral part of a council's functions,” Mr Shearer says.

The proposed measures will also take away Maori involvement in environmental issues.


Ngati Whatua o Orakei has received an environmental award for walking the talk on environmental issues.

The Auckland hapu won the Ministry of Environment’s Green Ribbon Award for its commitment to zero waste management in the events it runs and in the management of its marae.

Ngarimu Blair says the iwi have made a commitment to back up the korero spoken in wharenui around the rohe.

“We are just trying to be as consistent as we can with the talk we have in our meeting house around Papatuanuku, Ranginui, Tangaroa, and whanaungatanga, looking after each other in the environment, how can we put it in practice so how could we celebrate Waitangi Day, our culture, of we are destroying it by creating a huge amount of rubbish and waste which pollutes the whenua,” Mr Blair says.

As well as hosting a zero waste Waitangi Day concert at Okahu Bay every year, the iwi runs a tree nursery and a tree planting project which every year plants 20,000 native trees.


Mt Albert bi-election Labour candidate David Shearer says there will be less Maori voice in environmental decision making under proposals in a secret cabinet paper to limit council's role to core functions rather than social, cultural and environmental activities.

David Shearer, who did his masters degree in association with Tainui on how Maori values are brought into environmental decision making before going overseas to work with indigenous populations, says the moves being promoted by Local Government minister Rodney Hide are alarming.

“What’s going to happen is we’re going to have less Maori voice in environmental decision making and I think that‘s a backward step and it goes back to the 1980s where Maori values were not being incorporated as they should have been,” Mr Shearer says.

The moves, which come on top of excluding Maori from the decision making table in Auckland super city, will mean a lot of people will not have a say in the way the city's resources are used.


The importance of addressing Maori health issues has been recognised in the latest round of health research funding.

The chief executive of the government funded Health Research Council Dr Robin Olds says $2.3 million has been dedicated to funding research into Maori health issues.

“In particular we’ve funded a number of projects, one of which is looking at blindness and its effects among Maori and how they can access care. We’re also better able to support projects addressing some needs arising out of communities being able to better access health care,” Dr Olds says.

A number of research projects into cancer among Maori will also be funded.


Meanwhile Tainui health leaders say they have picked up a few tips on a trip to the UK which they believe will be useful in providing health services to Maori.

Raukura Hauora O Tainui chief executive Wayne Mclean says Coventry's University Hospital and The St Cross Hospital in Rugby in particular mirrored aspects of the ethnicity population of South Auckland, and the rohe of Tainui.

“There are numerous examples we can take away in terms of some of our aspirations for improving Maori health; things like children’s centres, certainly the concept of a drop in centre having an integrated super clinic,” Mr McLean says.

Raukura Hauora is looking at how to apply some of the initiatives gleaned from the trip.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Whanau approach needed to tackle youth offending

Tauranga district court judge Paul Geoghaegan says a whanau based treatment approach to curbing criminal behaviour among ragantahi is needed.

Judge Geoghaegan says it's pointless putting rangatahi on programmes then sending them back to a contaminated environment.

“ Often it's the family dynamics that are contributing to the courses of this young person’s offending. If we don’t treat the whole family, we often just miss the point.

“Because we can send young people away to programmes for three months and they can come back with the best intentions, but if they’re back in a situation with bad dynamics and pro-offending behaviour, then what 15 or 16 year old is going to be able to resist that. They can’t and it’s unrealistic for us to expect they can,” Judge Geoghaegan says.

There are many good programmes out there for rangatahi offenders and he would like to see more which include and are designed from a whanau perspective.


The leader of the Labour Party says its candidate in the Mt Albert by-election will serve Maori well as he has empathy for indigenous people.

Phil Goff says David Shearer's experience as an international aid worker is a reflection of the compassion and commitment he has to help indigenous people.

Mr Shearer also worked with Tainui on environmental planning.

“He has the ability to reach out to all sections of the community but having done that work for Tainui a few years ago I think he has a particular connection in that area and a good understanding through his work in United Nations about issues that affect indigenous peoples right across the world, but a particular knowledge of Maori in New Zealand,” Mr Goff says.

Although Labour had a 2500 vote majority in the Mt Albert electorate in last year’s election, he expects this weekend’s byelection could be very close.


Hawkes Bay Eastern Institute of Technology put on an afternoon of Matariki celebrations today with kai, waiata and a fashion show using only traditional materials.

Waipa Te Rito, the Maori liaison officer, says it's the first year they have put so much effort into Matariki.

Ms Te Rito, of Ngati Kahungunu and Rangitane says the institute’s design students created a Flax Arts Fashion Showcase which was well received by the mainly Pakeha audience.

The polytech will conclude Matariki celebrations tomorrow with a hangi.


A family court judge says changing the lives of rangatahi who have been raised in violent homes will be a long battle.

Paul Geoghaegen spoke at the Presbyterian Social Service’s Preventing Family Violence conference on an Upper Hutt marae last week.

He says there are many good treatment programmes, but in many cases the pyschological damage of growing up in a violent home has already been done.

“I see 15 and 16 years olds in the Youth Court who have been brought up within violent families and it is so much more difficult to turn those kids around. All the statistics show that Maori are over-represented so we have a particular need to address that issue also,” Judge Geoghaegen says.

The hui resolved to look at improving communication within social services to allow for early identification of rangatahi and whanau in crisis.


Controversial historian Paul Moon says the true origins of Matariki must be remembered so as not to commercialise the event in a similar way to Christmas.

Mr Moon says each iwi have their own particular meanings behind Matariki and for some it is believed to be a special time because many chiefs would die from winter ailments.

He says losing those stories in favour of the contemporary theme of celebration may turn Matariki into a day like Valentines day or Christmas day.

“There's a risk of that happening and the risk is you lose awareness of those layers of meaning. It just becomes something you wear on a T-shirt of something you have a party for and that’s it/ I think it would be unfortunate if we just left it at that because this is a concept that goes back well before people were in New Zealand. It’s what the first arrivals here brought with them from Polynesia so it’s very ancient,” Professor Moon says.

He says it's great the interest in Matariki increases each year, but people need to remember that there are many meanings to the event.


Junior All Black Hooker Hikawera Elliot says the naming of Tamati Ellison as captain of the team was greeted with delight, particularly by the Maori players.

Mr Elliot, of Ngati Awa, says it’s a well deserved honour for the winger.

He says his friend has long history of leadership, captaining the Wellington and Maori teams, and it's great to see a Maori at the helm

Asthma afflicting one in three Maori children

An international survey has found nearly a third of Maori children have asthma.

Dr Lis Ellison-Loschmann from Massey University's Centre for Public Health Research, studied the health of 13,000 children between six and 14.

She says the overall number of asthma sufferers has not changed much in 10 years.

However, the number of Pakeha children with symptoms has decreased while the number of Maori with asthma has increased.

“It's a chronic condition and if you’re getting it as a child you’re going to need help obviously with managing your symptoms and all that. That’s where a whole whanau approach is required,” Dr Ellison-Loschman says.

Her research was part of an international survey of about a million children in more than 100 countries.


Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa has launched its commercial arm to help raise the number of Maori who own their own homes.

The trust's new Rezlab Steel Structures factory will make steel housing frames, alongside a gym to focus on family health, with the profits from each to go back to the community.

Iharaea Henare, a kaimahi at the runanga, says the vision was to create affordable housing for Maori.

“By providing affordable housing and by encouraging people to purchase their own housing, they can use the equity on that housing to purchase more housing or just to be self sufficient in terms of heir finances because with the recession prices at the moment, housing prices are quite up there and it’s always been a dream to see Maori in their own homes,” Mr Henare says.

The factory was opened last week by King Tuheitia.

The chief executive of the business arm, Mere Balzer, was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen's Birthday honours.


A decision to take environmental matters into their own hands has earned a Far North group recognition from the Ministry of Environment.

Rueben Porter, on behalf of Nga Hapu o Ahipara received a Green Ribbon Award last week for its mahi caring for the environment in the Kaitaia rohe.

He says his group addressed the environmental issues in Ahipara and Te Oneroa A Tohe, 90 Mile Beach that had piled up over a decade.

“We were seeing a lot of things happening round here that were supposed to be the work of the Department of Conservation and Ministry of Fish and Police, but we didn’t feel they were targeting them properly, especially with regards to mana whenua and the respect of our culture, our history, our whakapapa to this rohe through our waka Tinana and our tupuna Te Moana,” Mr Porter says.

The Green Ribbon Awards are presented by the Minister for the Environment to recognise the outstanding contributions of individuals, organisations and businesses to sustaining, protecting and enhancing New Zealand’s environment.


The recession is threatening rescue plans for a far north Maori incorporation attempting to sell sections at the picturesque Matauri Bay.

An application to the Maori Land Court by the interim administrator of Matauri X incorporation, Kevin Gillespie to allow leases offered to the public to be doubled to 104 years in a bid to stave off bankruptcy, has been adjourned for a month so interested parties could make submissions.

Mr Gillespie, who was appointed by the court, says sales are slow.

“I mean the only way we are
OUT: ....keep trying.
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Mr Gillespie says.

Strong opposition to the plan from some of the incorporation's 430 shareholders resulted in a police presence at the court.

The incorporation got into financial difficulties in 2001 when it borrowed money from finance company Bridgecorp to invest in a water bottling venture which failed.

The debt was refinanced before Bridgecorp collapsed, but new lender Strategic Finance is now wanting out because it too has its back against the wall.

Mr Gillespie says only 26 of the 81 sections in the first stage of the Matauri Bay subdivision had sold.

All the first stage sections need to be sold to break even, with any profits coming from the 58 stage two sections.


Kahungunu whanau are applauding a new scheme to rid one of their main waterways of algae and pollution.

The 8-million dollar scheme will see effluent presently flowing into the Tukituki river from oxidation ponds at Waipukurau and Waipawa in central Hawke's Bay piped to forests to be developed by Hawke's Bay Regional Council in the next few years.

Tamataea Taiwhenua chairman Johnny Nepe-Apitu says the river and its tributaries are invaluable to the iwi, and have been particularly vulnerable to pollution over the last ten years.

“The shift has been from fat lamb rearing in our marae area to cattle and cows and it’s been a huge impact on our waterways in the last 10 years so we’re focusing on making sure we’re still able to get our watercress, our tuna, our koura and our kakahi from those dsame waterways without any damage to their life style Mr Nepe-Apitu says.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Warden independence wanted

The New Zealand Maori Council which is in-charge of the country's Maori Wardens says Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples should back up his call for the wardens to show more independence by freeing them from the clutches of Te Puni Kokori.

Spokesman Maanu Paul says the last Labour government made a huge mistake in putting the Wardens under the management of the Ministry of Maori Development.

“The wardens didn’t want management by TPK, they wanted management themselves, so the minister’s words are correct in a sense, but he needs more than word. He needs to instruct TPK because they’re his department. He should say to them take your hands off the money that should be going to the wardens, stop trying to manage them, they can manage themselves,” Mr Paul says.

He says the Labour government tried to circumvent the New Zealand Maori Council which is responsible for the Maori wardens under the 1962 Community Development Act.


New Children’s Commissioner, John Angus, says the perception that domestic violence is a predominantly Maori problem is incorrect.

Mr Angus says the commission's Deaths and Serious Injury from Assault report, shows domestic violence occurs in many cultures, not just Maori.

He says the report has also shown the contributing factors which create violence in Maori homes.

“The number of Maori children who die or a physically injured really reflect the families who have this range of problems that seem to be associated with physical abuse. Poverty, young parenthood, often alienated and unsupported, alcohol and drug problems, and other violence in the family. If you take those into account, ethnicity isn’t such a big factor at all,” Mr Angus says.

He says the government is committed to creating more programmes like the "It's not OK" campaign to help curb domestic violence.


Plunket are calling for more Maori volunteers at the front line to help lift flagging numbers.

The organisation is holding its 59th national conference in Rotorua this week, involving staff and volunteers taking part in professional development , networking and looking to the future.

Daniel Hauraki, Plunket's Maori cultural advisor says recruiting and retaining Maori volunteers is crucial to running community programmes and helping connect whanau to relevant services.

“It’s about teaching people how to connect with their hearts and their minds and their souls and if you look at the needs of Maori, most Maori needs are holistic. Plunket, over the years, we have seen how they cater for the physical so the challenge is to make our work apply to the heart and the mind too,” Mr Hauraki says.


One of the great leaders of the kapa haka renaissance Taini Morrison of Te Arawa passed away this morning.

He cousin Monty Morrison says that along with her aunt Atareta Maxwell, who died two and a half years ago, Ms Morrison reshaped kapa haka right across the motu.

“Her contribution to kapa haka was huge. She will be missed by many. Latterly with the group Te Matarae i Orehu. She has change the whole dynamic around female leadership of kapa haka, just by the sheer way she performed with such passion.

Ms Morrison says there is a whole family history of performers behind her behind including her brother Tem Morrison and uncle Sir Howard Morrison.

Taini will lie in state at Te Arawa's paramount marae at Ohinemutu with a burial services being planned for Thursday.


Interim children’s commissioner, John Angus, says Maori as individuals and whanau need to take responsibility for getting rid of violence in the home.

He says government programmes like the "It's not OK" campaign are a start.

However the entrenched patterns of violent behaviour which have fatal consequences for tamariki needs to be addressed by everyone.

“We as individuals need to take some responsibility to. It’s an adult problem we visit on the children so I think as adults, as members of families and whanau, as people in marae, we should be thinking about the circumstances of the families that are part of the marae, we need to think about how our young children are being brought up, think about the circumstances that might put them at risk,” Mr Angus says.

The veteran social worker and policy strategist joined the Children’s Commission last month alongside the widely criticised appointment of former Work and Income head Christine Rankin.


A Canadian educator visiting the country says there is potential for her programme to have success for Maori.

Mary Gordon is the founder of Roots of Empathy, a classroom programme to reduce the levels of aggression among school children by raising social and emotional competence and increasing empathy.

She says indigenous people around the world commonly find a synergy with the programme, in its third year in New Zealand, because it centres around the whanau.

“The head of Maori education when I was here two years ago said this approach, the philosophy completely embraced a Maori approach to education, one of respect and pride and building from the family out and including the ancestors as a way to understand the present and build ahead,” Ms Gordon says.

She is the founder of Canada's largest school based Parenting and Family Literacy Centre and she is speaking at Plunket's national conference in Rotorua this week.

Sharples confusing personality with politics

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is giving his party’s relationship with the National-led Government top marks, despite not seeing eye to eye on issues like the foreshore and seabed legislation, Maori seats on an Auckland super city council or New Zealand’s continued failure to endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

He says after 6 months things couldn't be better.

“Oh I'd give it 100 percent because we’ve both been able to weather the storms that have come out of issues where we haven’t agreed and that’s the judge of a relationship, whether it’s durable or not and I think we’ve been able to keep our own paths but without giving away deep structure and causes why we’re there. I think we’ve managed very well,” Dr Sharples says.


But former Alliance president Matt McCarten says the Maori Party co-leader is confusing personal chemistry with political advancement.

The Unite union leader says Pita Sharples clearly has affinity with Prime Minister John Key, but the success of the relationship will be measured by what his party can gain for its supporters.

“They haven’t really gained anything you can point to. It’s more about the process and the relationship and the security of it, and that’s because it’s in John Key’s interest as well not to make the Maori Party look bad unless it comes down to things the Nats or ACT care about and the Maori Party get relegated down to a distant third, and so that’s why it’s six out of 10,” Mr McCarten says.


Maori organic growers are looking at establishing a brand for their produce consistent with international organic standards.

Their association, Te Waka Kai Ora, met at Roma Marae in Ahipara over the weekend to share growing tips and explore options for collective distribution and marketing.

Coordinator Pounamu Skelton says the Hua Parakore brand is being developed in response to a growing market for foods and medicines which are culturally and environmentally responsible.

Pounamu Skelton says Te Waka Kai Ora is reaching out to other indigenous organisations to see whether it can promote export opportunities.


Ngai Tahu is fighting to protect an historic waterway from hydro electric development.

Its Otago runanga is supporting a Fish and Game proposal to include the Nevis River in the water conservation order that covers the Kawerau River, which runs from Lake Wakatipu down to Lake Dunston.

That would stymie Pioneer Generation's long term plans to dam the river.

Edward Ellison from the runaka's resource management arm - Kai Tahu Ki Otago Ltd - says the Nevis and its tributaries were an important route for tupuna travelling from Southland into Central Otago and the Queenstown area.

“There are likely to be archaeological sites, even though they are below the surface of the ground where they obviously camped as they would of had to as they traversed that valley. There’s no way they could have covered it in a day. So there will be camps that will be flooded if a reservoir is put there for hydroelectric purposes,” Mr Ellison says.

Long term, the runanga would also like to see work done to rebuild the river's eel population and other native fisheries.


A Wellington paediatrician is raising the alarm at the number of Maori and Pacific Island children who are getting serious skin infections.

Nikki Blair says over the past decade the number of Maori children being admitted to Wellington region hospitals with skin infections almost doubled, and the situation is even worse in the northern North Island.

She says the infections are linked to overcrowding and poverty which meant families can not afford after-hours medical care or hot water.

Dr Blair says simple interventions by schools and primary healthcare providers can be effective at reducing the problem.

“We do believe there are some interventions, no matter which socioeconomic part of the community you come from, which can be done to improve the skincare of children particularly after any graze or cut, it’s very important these areas are cleaned and dressed appropriately with antiseptic so there is no portal for infection,” Dr Blair says.

Public health nurses could be used to educate parents and schools about cleaning and properly dressing children's cuts and grazes.

The chair of the Maori Tourism Council says Maori operators need to look for innovative ways to benefit from the proposed nationwide cycleway.

The government put money in the budget to start the $50 million cycle route through some of the country's most picturesque areas.

John Barrett says the sort of tourists interested in using the cycleway want a taste of the real New Zealand, and Maori are well placed to offer a unique enviro-cultural experience.

“Tourists and visitors like those who like to cycle definitely want to interact with local people,” Mr Barrett says.

His own business is unlikely to benefit from the cycleway - he runs tours to Kapiti Island.