Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, September 11, 2009

Maori voters need to see another side to Labour

Labour MP Shane Jones says the party needs to present a better face to Maori voters to win them back.

The party's Maori caucus and council met in Rotorua today in advance of Labour's annual conference in the sulphur city this weekend.

Mr Jones says while the loss of Maori votes didn't in itself put Labour out of office, it was a factor.

“Of course we lost support in some quarters of Maoridom and it’s disappointing that our party has had to suffer that/ It’s not going to come back unless we can put a more superior face in front of our Maori voters than what they associated us with in the past, that’s a fact,” Mr Jones says.

He agrees with leader Phil Goff that Labour lost because it allowed itself to be branded by issues that weren't central to the lives of the majority of voters.


Organisers of a hui in Auckland tomorrow to prepare Nga Puhi treaty claims are providing interpreters for claimants who can't speak te reo.

Mere Mangu says much of the discussion at the hui, one of six which are planned for the next few weeks, will be in Maori because the concepts to be discussed can't be accurately translated into English.

Mere Mangu says once elders decide what Nga Puhi stories are needed for the claims, they will needed to be interpreted by lawyers into briefs for next year's Waitangi Tribunal hearings.

Tomorrow's hui is at Tatai Te Hono Marae in Khyber pass from 10am


The landlords of a new youth justice residential facility near Rotorua will tomorrow bury a mauri stone on the site.

Parekaarangi Trust chair James Warbrick says the foundations for the 30-bed unit have been laid.

He says the ceremony, conducted by Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao elders, shows respect for the land and the significance of its new purpose.

“We put a mauri to connect our spiritual world to our physical world and it’s part of what we do that evolves the mana of the place,” Mr Warbrick says.

The Parekaarangi Trust is keep to assist in vocational and rehabilitation programmes when the unit is completed in October next year.


The new chief judge of the Maori Land Court has been sworn in at his home
marae in Tokomaru Bay.

About 300 people were at Pakirikiri Marae to see Chief Justice Sian Elias swear in Wilson Isaac from Te Whanau o Rautaupare, Ngati Porou, Tuhoe and Kahungunu as the 16th chief judge of the court.

Tracey Tangaere, the court's new national director, says it was familiar territory to the judge, who worked as a barrister and solicitor in Gisborne until his appointment to the court in 1994.

The marae had a double cause for celebration - Tracey Tangaere is also from Tokomaru Bay.


Labour president Andrew Little says the party must claw back the Maori vote if it is get back into government.

Speaking from Rotorua where Labour is holding its first national conference since the election, Mr Little says that means acknowledging it was wrong to deny Maori the right to go pursue their claims to the foreshore and seabed through the courts.

He says that became a big issue in the minds of Maori voters.

“Many Maori feel aggrieved that claimants who were at the centre of that issue down in Marlborough didn’t have the opportunity to test their claims in court or run through the full court process and that’s been a basic principle for Labour and any government for decades and it was cut short and I think we need to come to grips with that and make some acknowledgement of that,” Mr Little says.

He says while protest over the foreshore and seabed led to the formation of the Maori Party, the two parties are natural allies and bridges need to be built between them.


The administrator of a Maori tribal database expects more iwi to follow the lead of Te Runanga O Ngati Porou and partner with his organisation.

Dan Te Kanawa says by getting people to sign up with Tuhono when they register as voters, he's able to share data with other government agencies like New Zealand Post and Births Deaths and Marriages.

He says iwi can use the technology to keep their own beneficary rolls accurate, cutting the costs of keeping in touch with their people.

“These capabilities ensure that the smallest iwi in the land has the same capability and the largest and most resourced iwi,“ Mr Te Kanawa says.

Ngati Porou, with 28 thousand members on its books, is the first mandated
iwi organisation to align itself to Tuhono.

Iwi forum seeks consensus on water talks

Tainui leader Tukoroirangi Morgan wants all iwi singing from the same songsheet on water ownership, management and allocation.

An iwi water forum is holding regional hui to get feedback for its next round of discussions with the crown.

Mr Morgan says water allocation is handled at local government level, which means that too often Maori interests miss out to the demands from power generators and farmers.

“The crown says no one owns the water. It’s not in any law but managers of the water. We have said from the outset we own the water and we never surrendered our rights or interests,” Mr Morgan says.

He says while the Iwi Forum hasn't sought a mandate from Maori to negotiate from the Crown, it is working principles which are widely accepted by iwi around the country.


Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia expects a positive response to new Maori health innovation fund.

Te Ao Auahatanga Hauora Maori fund will put $20 million over four years into projects which identify, grow, and share new ways of delivering healthcare.

Mrs Turia says while it's not a lot of money, it gives Maori providers the chance they have been asking for to do things differently.

“As we move towards this whole whanau ora practice it will give providers a chance to have a part of their business doing what they think will be important for keeping their family well,” Mrs Turia says.

Tariana Turia says the fund will compliment the government's efforts to move whanau ora, seeing Maori health delivery in terms of the total wellbeing and development of families.


Te Runanga O Ngati Porou has signed with Maori database administrator Tuhono to help manage its beneficiary roll.

The East Coast iwi has 28,000 registered members, but any mail-out will get as many as 10 percent of returns to sender.

Tuhono works with the Electoral Enrolment Centre to collection the tribal affiliations of Maori voters and make that available to mandated iwi organisations.

Chief executive Dan Te Kanawa says Tuhono's technology will allow Ngati Porou to keep its roll up to date.

“They're drawing on capabilities in government agencies for updating like the electoral Enrolment Centre, New Zealand Post, Births, Deaths and Marriages and the links that are provided through Tuhono so it’s a whole lot of organisations that commit to networking with one anther to achieve the outcomes on their end,” Mr Te Kanawa says.

He expects other iwi to follow Ngati Porou's lead once they see the benefits of aligning with Tuhono.


Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta says the Maori Party could have won changes in the streamlined Resource Management Act if it had worked with the Government before the bill was tabled, rather than trying to amend it at the committee stage.

The Maori Party voted against the bill because it could not get the beefed up treaty provisions it was seeking which would have required councils consult with tangata whenua before approving developments likely to affect them

Ms Mahuta says the Maori Party should learn to play its cards better during the next phase of the RMA reform process.

“The substantial changes to the RMA are going to be in part 2. We’ve said to the Maori Party, negotiate now at the front end so we can get stronger protections around the interests of Maori in particular when it comes to the RMA rather than them coming into the house and trying to cobble together support from the Opposition parties to get their ideas through,” Ms Mahuta says.


The developer of an innovative teacher development programme says there are no excuses for not getting Maori students engaged in learning.

Russell Bishop from Waikato University will speak today at a Council for Education Research conference in Auckland on engaging Maori and other students in learning.

He says Te Kotahitanga, which is now used in 30 schools, allows teacher to show Maori students they care for them.

“I mean all teachers care for their students. It’s just often Maori students can’t see it because of the cultural differences, so we support teachers to demonstrate how they do care for Maori students. The next thing that teachers need to demonstrate is they have high expectations of Maori students. The vast majority have high expectations. Again, it’s just because of cultural differences Maori students quite often don’t see that,” Professor Bishop says.

He says teachers need to observe the performance of their Maori students so they can change things that aren't working in the classroom.


Upper Whanganui River iwi Ngati Rangi has signed on to the Government's Community Max scheme to give its unemployed rangatahi work experience.

Project manager Debbie Te Riaki says eight young people started this week building a vegetable garden to supply Ohakune's Maungarongo Marae.

Over the next six months they will do a range of jobs at the region's 10 marae, including carving restoration, painting and gardening,

She says there are limited job opportunities in the region, so it's important to show the rangatahi how they can use their tribal networks.

“We really want them to be connected with their rohe, understand their tribal area, understand their connections to it and the opportunities that lie within there with their local runanga. If they are connected with us as the runanga, what opportunities have we got planned for the next five years, just giving them a full scope of what resources are actually around them as tangata whenua of Ngati Rangi,” Ms Te Riaki says.

Community Max requires the iwi to partly fund the project out of its own resources.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

RMA reform passed over Maori Party objections

The Maori Party is calling on hapu and iwi to take on councils to protect the environment, after its failure to win any changes in the revised Resource Management Act passed by Parliament last night.

The Maori Party and the Greens voted against the Act, while Labour voted with the Government after an unsuccessful attempt to restore tree protection.

Co-leader Tariana Turia says her party wanted to beef up the Treaty clause to make sure councils talk to tangata whenua before approving major developments.

“Maybe we are in a new era where hapu and iwi will step up to the plate and take on the councils. Where we thought there should have been an opportunity for them to go to the high court, if they hadn’t been listened to, but no, that didn’t get through either,” Mrs Turia says.

She says in its focus on the needs of developers, the government has seriously compromised environmental protections.


The head of the National Committee for Addiction Treatment says prison is being used as a dumping ground for Maori with untreated addiction problems.

Chris Kalin from Odyssey House says alcohol abuse costs society more than $5 billion a year, and Maori are over-represented in the abuse statistics.

She says despite the scale of the problem, there is only $100 million a year available for treatment, and many addicts end up in prison.

“It just makes no sense because prison costs around three times as much as treatment. We need to increase the range of treatment available for Maori and other people at risk and make addiction treatment the business of everybody,” Ms Kalin says.

A fact sheet released by the National Committee for Addiction Treatment at today's national addiction conference at Te Papa calls for a 50 percent funding increase for treatment programmes over the next three years, including increased funding for Maori-specific services.


Veterans of Te Maori want to do it all over again.

People associated with the ground-breaking exhibition of taonga which toured the United States and New Zealand 25 years ago gathered at Waiwhetu Marae in Lower Hutt this morning to reflect on their achievement.

Co-curator Hirini Moko Mead says the idea of another touring show is never far from their minds.

He says Te Maori changed the way museums deal with indigenous people and their artifacts, and much of the credit lies with the head of the Department of Maori Affairs at the time, Kara Puketapu, whose home marae is Waiwhetu.

“He insisted the people be consulted about their taonga and they would have to agree to their taonga leaving Aotearoa. To explain why this was necessary, he came up with the notion of cultural ownership versus legal ownership, so as cultural owners they needed to be consulted,” Professor Mead says.

Mr Puketapu also insisted the exhibition reflect living Maori culture, rather than just be another collection of objects.


Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta says changes to the Resource Management Act will be good for Maori.

She says Maori are both protectors of the environment and developers of their own resources, so they'll welcome new limits on the time councils have to process consent applications.

That was one of the reasons Labour voted with National and ACT last night to pass the RMA Simplification Bill.

“Some of the aspects will work for both Maori and developers who frankly have waited too long for some of their consents to be processed. This is the problem with Maori interests. On the one hand we are strong advocates to protect the environment and on the other hand many Maori interests are as developers as well,” Ms Mahuta says.

When Labour is next in government it will revisit some parts of the Act including consent notification procedures, excluding the Minister of Conservation from the planning process and taking away tree protection.


A lecturer in human development is encouraging Marlborough Maori parents to attend talks he's giving on how children are affected by violence.

Nathan Mikaere-Wallis, who teaches at the Christchurch College of Education, is in the region to work with the Marlborough Violence Intervention Project and a related group, Strategies with Kids, Information for Parents, or SKIP.

He says there is a huge amount of research available on what child-rearing practices are effective, but it needs to be presented in ways parents can use and relate to.

Even witnessing violence affects the way young children’s brains form.


Motown fans heading to the Hawkes Bay for this summer's Mission Estate concert can get a double dose of soul with the announcement of a Maori Motown concert the night before to raise funds to rebuild Waiohiki marae.

Community organiser Dennis O'Reilly says the bilingual, alcohol free event at the Otatara Pa Reserve near Taradale will put a Maori twist on the famous Detroit hits.

The line-up for Mission concert in early February includes The Temptations, the Four Tops and Martha and the Vandellas.

Mr O'Reilly says the Maori Motown concert gives those who can't afford the winery gig a chance to hear their favourite Motown tunes, many of them translated into Maori by Kahungunu reo expert Ihaia Hutana.

Patrol car police station a threat

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says Maori will be the big losers if police are allowed to issue summary judgments for minor offences.

A police strategy document, Fit for the future, calls for patrol cars to be equipped with mobile fingerprinting devices and digital recording equipment which would enable officers to process and punish people on the spot for crimes such as disorderly behaviour and vandalism.

Ms Turei says given the way police have treated Maori in the past, the court in a car concept is not on.

“Difficult enough dealing with some police who discriminate against Maori, particularly young Maori boys It’s a real and serious problem. We already have discrimination all through the policing and the legal system. The more discretion that is given to a police officer to act as the judiciary, the more likely that discrimination will impact on us,” Ms Turei says.

She says the police should be looking for more effective ways to engage with communities to make them safer, rather than lobbying for more power for individual officers.


Maori farmers face massive cost increases as councils around the country start rating them based on valuations done at the peak of the property boom.

A Federated Farmers survey has found Maori coastal land is being particularly hard, with two Maori farms now having to pay over $100,000 in rates.

Rangi Mitchelson, the manager of a Kaipara dairy farm on Te Pouto Topu A Trust land, says the farm's rates have doubled.

He says the valuation was influenced by other properties in the region which have been subdivided, which is not an option for the trust's 476 shareholders.

“Our trust order does not allow the land to be sold. Maori land cannot be sold. This is formed into a trust and that’s how it stays. It’s there for the owners and the revenue we get out of that is farming," Mr Mitchelson says.

The farm is already struggling in the current economic climate.


A Maori historian is exploring Maori links to Norfolk Island.

Manuka Henare, the dean of Maori and Pacific Studies at Auckland University's Business School has just returned from Australian territory between New Zealand and New Caledonia.

He says adzes and waka unearthed by archaeologists indicate the island was settled at some time by Eastern Polynesians, including some who came via Aotearoa.

Dr Henare says that early history is of interest to Norfolk kaumatua, who have whakapapa connections to Tahiti via Pitcairn Island.

“The settlements weren't the English or the English living in New South Wales, Australia, so there’s a lot of interest about the first settlement period so I’m hoping now we might get a focus from some of the archaeologists and anthropologists and historians here in New Zealand,” he says.

Maori have a significant role in Norfolk's history, because northern chiefs Tukutahua and Huru, were taken there by force from the Cavelli Islands in 1793 to teach convicts to dress flax.


People have gathered at Waiwhetu Marae in Lower Hutt this morning to remember the exhibition that changed forever the way museums relate to indigenous artifacts.

Co-curator Hirini Moko Mead says when Te Maori opened at Chicago's Field Museum 25 years ago, it had already rewritten the rulebook.

Kara Puketapu, the head of the Department of Maori Affairs, had insisted iwi give their approval for their taonga to travel overseas, and introducted the notion of cultural ownership running alongside legal ownership.

Professor Mead says the show was the first to insist that taonga needed to be kept warm through human contact.

“The idea that elders should accompany Te Maori overseas, that we should have proper tohunga officiating at every opening ceremony overseas, I mean these were entirely new ideas as far as the American museums were concerned. They had never heard of that sort of thing,” Professor Mead says.

Te Maori gave hundreds of Maori kai arahi a crash course in their own culture, and it opened the doors of museums worldwide to indigenous people.


Maori suicide rates are on the agenda at a symposium in Wellington today and tomorrow.

Merryn Stratham, the director of the Suicide Prevention Foundation, says more than 250 health professionals, community workers and academics are expected at Pipitea Marae to discuss Culture and Suicide Prevention in Aotearoa.

She says suicide is viewed differently across cultures, and clinicians need to understand when cultural interventions could be useful.

“Across the two days there is going to be a very strong focus on what it is that helps Maori to be healthy and strong and what are those principles that contribute to whanau ora and what we need to be taking more attention of in our communities and whanau to ensure the risk of suicide is diminished,” Ms Stratham says.

It's important to build up knowledge about what works for Maori.


An Opotiki man is making his 20th korowai, which he will gift to the organisation that taught him te reo Maori.

Ruka Hudson started making cloaks more than a decade ago after setting up a community class to teach both men and women to work with harakeke.

Mr Hudson, who lost his legs as a result of stepping on a landmine during the Vietnam War, used to paint but now prefers making korowai for his whanau and people who help him, including Te Atarangi.

He says korowai take him 12 to 18 months to make.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Maori money used for blood test pressure

An Auckland public health organisation is using money intended to reduce health inequalities for Maori and Pacific people to take the pressure off Auckland's new laboratory testing provider.

Last month Labtests started a $70 million annual contract with Auckland region's three district health boards to do community laboratory testing, but complaints are already coming in from GPs about service levels.

Now Procare Network North, which has 100,000 patients on its books, is using its Services to Improve Access grant to pay its GP clinics $5 for each blood sample they take.

Arthur Morris, the chief executive of Diagnostic Medlab, says when his company had the testing contract the support went the other way to marae and Maori health programmes.

“Giving all the stuff you need, syringes, needles, education stuff so they could get all the blood samples and then we would pick them up and transport them in so there was quite a bit of support for Maori and Pacific people in collecting blood, particularly in high needs areas of Auckland,” Dr Morris says.

He says it's clear the business case Labtests used to take the contract from Diagnostic Medlab doesn't work.


The Alcohol Advisory Council is concerned large numbers of women are unaware of the risks of drinking while pregnant.

It’s International Fetal Alcohol Disorder Awareness Day, and Sue Paton, ALAC's early intervention manager, says more than half of women surveyed believe low amounts of alcohol won't harm their baby.

She says there is in fact there is no known safe level of consumption of alcohol for pregnant women.

Ms Paton says young Maori women are particularly vulnerable, because of high levels of binge drinking,

She wants to see medical professionals giving more consistent messages to young women about abstaining from alcohol while pregnant, as alcohol can cause malformation, slow growth and nervous system problems in foetuses.


Local government bodies in the Waikato have been working with tangata whenua on how growth should be managed over the next 50 years.

The Future Proof strategy was launched in Hamilton today by Prime Minister John Key and King Tuheitia.

Project Manager Bill Wasley says population in the region is expected to double to 440,000 by the year 2060.

He says Tainui have been involved at governance, management and technical levels since the process started 18 months, and it has made its priorities clear.

“One is the protection of natural and physical resources in the sub-region, protecting those things tangaa whenua regard of importance so it provides a high degree of certainty in terms of where future growth is going to,” Mr Wasley says.

The Future Proof strategy includes increasing housing density in existing residential areas to prevent urban sprawl and protect farm land, and seeking opportunities to promote Ngaruawahia as the Waikato's cultural capital.


Former Labour MP Dover Samuels wants an inquiry into the Maori Land Court's handling of his tribal land at picturesque Matauri Bay.

Court-appointed administrator Kevin Gillespie is developing leasehold sections to pay off debt from a failed water-bottling venture entered into by previous Matauri X managers, but slow sales means he's now gone back to the court seeking to double the leases to 104 years.

Mr Samuels, who owns about 3 percent of the shares in the Incorporation, says the struggling project was approved by the court over a rescue plan involving neighbouring US billionaire Julian Robertson, put together by experienced Maori business people.

“They saw this as the best deal that could be achieved in terms of this debt we knew nothing about and wouldn’t have put our land at risk, and when you look back at it now in retrospect, you see you would never get that deal again. I’d say now that debt would probably equate to the value of the whole property. There are people who are responsible for this and they should be accountable and in my view there should be an inquiry,” Mr Samuels says.

The subdivision project means the debt has grown from $2.5 million to $16 million.


The new chair of Ngai Tahu's commercial arm says profits for the year will be down, but still positive given the difficult economic conditions.

Ngai Tahu Group Holdings, which manages $600 million in treaty settlement assets for the South Island tribe, is due to report in November.

The other major post-settlement iwi, Tainui, has already reported operating profits down 20 percent and a paper loss of $26 million because of property revaluations.

Trevor Burt says returns from Ngai Tahu's core investment property portfolio will show year on year growth, but revenue from property development is well down.

He says its tourism operations have performed to plan, as a drop in tourists from the United States and Europe has been partially offset by more Australians crossing the ditch.

“That mix change has not impacted us as strongly as other tourist operators because of the tourist products we’ve got to offer, are more catered toward that adventure tourist market that was represented by the Australians coming in. For example our Shotover Jet business in Queenstown still did very well for the year,” Mr Burt says.

Ngai Tahu is selling or has sold its Pacifc Catch fish retail shops, and in future it will focus its fishing business on quota leasing and direct processing of paua, lobster and Bluff oysters.


A Maori injury prevention consultant says Maori do-it-yourselfers and kitchen hands are high risk groups.

Hineamaru Ropati says this year 61 Maori have died from avoidable accidents, compared with 18 Pacific Islanders and 12 from Asian communities.

She says the ACC's national safety week is a time to discuss why Maori accident rates in the home are so high.

“Maori are rating high, not just injuries but serious injuries and fatalities. The majority of our injuries are happening in the kitchen, through slips, trips and falls takes a big cut of that,” Mrs Ropati says.

Financial literacy lacking among Maori

The dean of Maori and Pacific studies at Auckland University's business school says finance is the new literacy problem for Maori.

Manuka Henare says a survey done by the Young Enterprise Trust showing secondary school students don't understand basic financial concepts such as credit, interest rates and investment should be a wake up call.

He says generations of Maori have missed out on learning about the financial sector, creating ongoing problems.

“Why aren't Maori involved in Kiwisaver? Why aren’t we banking? Why aren’t we buying shares and why aren’t we budgeting better and prioritisng our financial resources better, in whanau,hapu, iwi and right across the board, so we’ve got ourselves a major challenge and it’s also very urgent,” Dr Henare says.

With the Maori economy tipped to top 30 billion dollars over the next decade, the need for financial literacy has never been greater.


A science exhibit presented in te reo Maori has set a high benchmark for students.

Meremaihi Jackson and Mereana Makea from Otari School in Wilton made a project for the NIWA Science and Technology Fair at Victoria University about the science of hot air balloons, posing questions in Maori.

Judge Ocean Mercier, a lecturer at Victoria's School of Maori studies with a PhD in Physics, says it was the first ever te reo Maori entry in the annual competition.

She says it wasn’t just good Maori, it was gret physics which set a high benchmark for future exhibits.

Dr Mercier says the physics lexicon in te Reo had only been developed over the past decade


Renowned British botanist David Bellamy has praised the contribution of a central North Island iwi to a world class environmental success story.

The 76 year old is in New Zealand to revisit Wirininaki, the forest he brought to world attention 25 years ago by describing its podocarps as the tree equivalent of dinosaurs.

He says the decision to reject even selective logging in favour of total restoration was an environmental victory of international significance by mana whenua iwi Ngati Whare and its supporters.

“It is really good news for the whole world and the whole world now knows that Whirinaki is in the hands of the local marae and DoC and some very good greenies and it’s going to be stitched back into working order,” Dr Bellamy says.

He says traditional Maori understanding of the environment, such as that shown by the Ngati Whare at Whirinaki, sets New Zealand apart.


Ngai Tahu is quitting its nationwide fish retail chain.

Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation's new chairperson, Trevor Burt, says its Pacific Catch store in Christchurch has closed, its Auckland waterfront store has sold, and the sale of its Wellington operation is pending.

He says the company will concentrate on ownership and management of quota and direct operations in areas where it has the experience to add value, such as paua, lobster and Bluff oysters.

“It's not a competence that we had running retail fish businesses and as part of our strategy of let’s focus in on species where we do have a competence, where we do believe we can add value, where we can leverage and focus on a core operation, it made sense to exit that wetfish business,” Mr Burt says.

For the first time a separate board has been appointed for Ngai Tahu Seafoods, chaired by former Sealord chief executive Brian Rhoades, Robert Pooley and Colin Topi have been appointed as Directors on Ngai Tahu Seafoods Ltd, with Dr Rhoades appointed as Chair.

Trevor Burt says while Ngati Tahu's seafood operations were affected by currency movements, good performance in its property and tourism businesses mean the 2009 results will show a profit despite the tough economic conditions.


The chair of the Auckland Regional Authority says the return of kokako to the Waitakere ranges is the realisation of a long-held dream.

Two of the endangered wattlebirds were released to the Cascades section of the regional park yesterday by Conservation Department kokako specialist Hazel Speed.

On hand were iwi from the Pureora Forest, where the birds were caught, and Waitakere mana whenua Kawerau a Maki.

Mike Lee says the Authority took the lead in saving the Hunua kokako population 15 years ago, but the bird's distinctive call has not been heard in the city's western forest for half a century.

“The Waitakere forests are vast, relatively speaking, but they’ve always been very quie. A lot of us have thought why can’t we have birds back in the Waitakeres. Why the birds disappeared from our forests and from the Waitakeres is because of the exotic pests, especially ship rats, stoats, cats and so on, and by removing them and suppressing them we’ve recreated a safe habitat,” Mr Lee says.

The kokako release would have been impossible without the work of volunteers from the Ark in the Park project, who spent thousands of hours trapping predators.


A Maori stroke survivor says brooding is pointless, and stroke victims need to get into rehabilitation early.

When Ricky Te Whare from Maniapoto had a stroke eight years ago that paralysed his left side, he was a healthy 41 year old unaware he had high blood pressure.

He told the guests at the launch of National Stroke Awareness week he was initially angry, but with the support of his whanau, he began the long road to recovery.

Ricky Te Whare says stroke awareness week is a reminder for all Maori to have their blood pressure checked regularly.

About 800 Maori are admitted to hospital each year with a stroke, and 140 die from the condition.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Kokako released into Waitakere ranges

For the first time in 50 years, the sound of kokako has been heard again in the Waitakere ranges.

Two of the rare wattlebirds were released into the forest at dawn, witnessed by tangata whenua, Auckland Regional Council and Conservation Department officials and Forest and Bird volunteers, who have turned part the regional park into a living ark by trapping predators.

The birds were accompanied from Pureora Forest in the central North Island by members of Ngati Rereahu, Maniapoto and Tuwharetoa.

Eru Thompson from Te Kawerau a Maki says it was a scene he was glad his grandchildren were able to witness.

“Over 50 years we’ve not seen and heard the kakapo and the melody of the kokako as it stretches out across the Waitakere. Today is an historic moment and ecstatic about being a part of what's happened today,” Mr Thompson says.

DOC intends to release 20 kokako into the Cascades area over the next few weeks, joining the whiteheads, stichbirds and North Island robin which are also re-establishing themselves in the Waitakere Ranges.


The head of one of the country's largest Maori social service providers says the Government's new child abuse package is a band aid covering a wound.

The package includes the Never shake a baby media campaign, visits to Auckland families with children under 2 when domestic violence is reported, and five more hospital social workers.

Denal Meihana from Waipareira Social Services says only physical issues are being addressed when psychological, emotional and sexual abuse of children are rampant.

“They're really only focusing on the children in hospital. Well, it’s a bit late then. So we’ve got to get back to the root cause, working n the two year old that’s been beaten isn’t going to stop the cycle,” Mr Meihana says.


After months of uncertainty, Ngai Tahu has a new team heading its commercial arm.

Former Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation chair Wally Stone was sacked earlier this year after an escalating row with the head of the tribe's runanga, Mark Solomon.

Now Trevor Burt, a former executive with multinational gas giant BOC Group, has taken over the top governance role, and Greg Campbell, the head of waste firm Transpacific Industries Australasia, has been hired as chief executive.

Mr Burt, who also serves on the boards of the Lyttelton port company, Silver Fern Farms and Canterbury lines company Mainpower, says with $600 million of assets under its control, Ngai Tahu Holdings is a large and complex organisation that needs people with extensive commercial experience.

“Ngai Tahu's only 10 years old so in an organisation sense it’s still very young. It’s gone through a lot of growth and given its relative age it’s poised to go forward in an intergenerational aspect very well and I think myself and Greg with our commercial experience can add a lot of value to that,” Mr Burt says.

Mr Campbell starts in November.


The release today of a pair of kokako into the Waitakere ranges has been a thrill for the birds' former neighbours as well as their new guardians.

The rare wattlebirds were the first of 30 going in to re-establish a breeding population in an area of the Auckland regional part that have been cleared of predators by for the Ark in the Park project.

John Paki from Ngati Rereatu, who accompanied the kokako from the Waipapa Ecological Area of the Pureora Forest west of Lake Taupo, says it's a significant step towards restoring the forest ecosystem.

As the birds were being released, the dawn chorus included the rare toutouwai or North Island robin and hihi or stitchbird, which have been released to the Waitakere Ranges in the past couple of seasons.


Labour leader Phil Goff says Wanganui mayor Michael Laws's response to letters from Otaki kura pupils about the city's name smacked of arrogance.

Mr Goff says the letters made a legitimate case Whanganui should be spelt with and H.

Mr Laws replied by saying there were so many deficiencies of fact and logic in the letters, their teacher should be sacked.

“Look you don't have to agree with someone’s opinion but you should be respectful of it and he arrogantly dismissed the views of those kids. Everybody knows Michael Laws has a different point of view but all he had to do was give and explanation not put the kids down, demean them and say they’d been put up to do this,” Mr Goff says.

He wants to encourage the girls to continue participating politically.


A Maniapoto man who suffered a stroke eight years ago says it's imperative Maori men get regular blood pressure checks.

Dunedin-based Rick Te Whare is sharing his story about now at the launch in parliament of Stroke Awareness week.

Like many Maori men he avoided doctor's visits, which would have identified his soaring blood pressure, the precursor to the stroke he had at age 41.

Mr Te Whare has a simple message for tane.

“Go out there. Don’t be whakaama and get your blood pressure taken. Save the whanau and yourself a lot of grief,” he says.

About 800 Maori suffer strokes each year, with the mean age of their first stroke at 60 years, compared with 75 years among Europeans.

Mayoral tantrum a teachable moment

A relative of one of the Otaki students under fire from Michael Laws for writing him letters about the spelling of Whanganui says the controversy has been a great lesson.

The Wanganui mayor told the kura kaupapa students he'd take them seriously when they addressed what he called the real issues facing Maori ... child abuse and child murder.

Maraea Hunia, the aunt of student Amokura Rangiheuea, says Mr Law's attitude seems to be people don't matter until they are old enough to vote.
She says while the school has tried to shield the children from some of the nasty things said about them on Internet blog sites, there are upsides.

“It's become a great opportunity for them to explore a whole lot of media, politicisation, language issues, it's great,” Ms Hunia says.

She says Mr Laws’ invitation for the seven female students to come to Wanganui for afternoon tea was totally inappropriate, and he should front up to the whole school and apologise.


A collaborative approach to Maori health is paying dividends in Taitokerau.

Lynnette Stewart, the chair of the Northland District Health Board, says the DBH is providing better service by working closely with Maori public health organisations and the two MAPOs or Maori Co-Purchasing Organisations, which determine where some of the region's health budget is spent.

“All Maori providers in Taitokerau will tell you that prior to 1996 they never had a look in to heath but it has been 13 years of going hard to get the kind of outcome that Maori need for good healthcare,” Mrs Stewart says.

Maori-led primary nursing teams have been effective in reaching people in isolated rural communities.

Meanwhile, the government has allocated $20 million over the next four years to fund Maori groups with innovative ideas to improve Maori health.


A Maori accountant wants says young Maori get locked into poverty because they're not taught about money.

A new survey released by the Institute of Financial Advisers shows low levels of financial literacy among young people.

Leon Wijohn, from Maori accountants' society Nga Kaitatau o Aotearoa, says Maori in particular aren't taught to take the long term view when piling on debt.

He says a student loan may pay off in higher future earnings, but a car loan can mean spending thousands more than necessary on a car.

He says financial illiteracy makes a lot of money for people on the other side of the transaction.


The Waitangi Tribunal has rejected two thirds of the claims submitted to meet last year's deadline on lodging historical treaty claims.

Tribunal director Darrin Sykes says 620 of the pre-deadline claims were registered, bring the total number of claims registered since 1976 to 2125.

He says most of the 1341 claims still pending don't meet the requirements for registration.

Historical claims must relate to an act or omission of the Crown that occurred before September 21, 1992.

To date the Tribunal has completed reports on 15 of 37 districts, covering almost 80 percent of New Zealand’s national territory.

Hearings have finished in another five areas with reports due soon, and the tribunal is gearing up for inquiries in 10 further districts in Northland, East Coast, King Country and from Taihape to Kapiti, which will take in the majority of the outstanding claims.


Researchers wanting to create a smoke free New Zealand says there is a public appetite for radical moves to beat the killer devastating Maori communities.

Richard Edwards, a Senior Lecturer in epidemiology at Otago University's Wellington school of medicine, says a survey of Maori and non-Maori found smokers and no-smokers alike would accept a sinking lid on the amount of tobacco allowed into the country.

They also gave the thumbs up to tobacco sales being done through a public body.

He says something needs to be done to get to the hard-core of smokers, which includes many Maori.

Dr Edwards smoking kills more than 5000 people a year.


Reaction to a national tour of Massive Theatre Company's current production has been so positive, it's considering another season.

The company is back home in Auckland this week with two final shows in Papakura of Whero's New Net, an adaptation by Albert Belz of author Witi Ihimaera's early short story collection, The New Net Goes Fishing.

Artistic Director Sam Scott says while the play is about contemporary Maori issues, it has received a fantastic reception from a wide range of people.

Sam Scott says after Papakura the cast will take a five-week break before performing the play at the Nelson Festival, and then they'll see whether another tour is possible.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Radical proposal to make NZ smoke free

A leading public health specialist says targeting Maori smokers could be the start of a radical strategy to make New Zealand tobacco free.

Richard Edwards, a Senior Lecturer in epidemiology at Otago University's Wellington school of medicine, says smoking kills about 5000 New Zealanders a year and costs over a billion dollars.

He says surveys have found there would be support among smokers and non-smokers and Maori and non- Maori for reducing the amount of tobacco allowed into the country each year and creating a public body to control its distribution, marketing and sale.

Dr Edwards the ideas may sound radical, but so did a ban on smoking in pubs when it was first mooted.


A Maori accountant wants parents to talk to their tamariki about money matters.

A survey released today by the Institute of Financial Advisers shows New Zealand children have very little financial literacy, with only eight of the 40 questions in the survey being answered correctly by more than half the respondents.

Leon Wijohn from Nga Kaitatau o Aotearoa, the national network of Maori accountants, says financial illiteracy is a national problem, and Maori parents need to ensure their kids know how to manage their money.

He says students need to learn how to interpret and use financial information their long-term benefit.


Whangara Mai Tawhiti confirmed its status as one of the country's top culture groups with a convincing win at the Tamararo festival held at the Gisborne Showgrounds over the weekend.

It beat out another two roopu with distinguished pedigree, Waihirere and Te Hokowhitu a Tu.

Organiser Willie Te Aho says country's longest running kapa haka competition allows Tairawhiti teams to keep their national highfliers honest.

Next on the kapa haka calender is the National Primary Schools competition - a three day festival at rugby park in Gisborne which kicks off on November the first.


The co-leader of the Green Party warns that ditching MMP will have dire consequences for Maori.

Cabinet is considering whether the binding referendum on the future of the mixed member proportional system, as promised in National's election policy, should be held before, or at the same time, as the next general election.

Metiria Turei says a review needs to be held before any referendum to identify what's working... what's not... and what other options are available.

She says MMP has delivered voices to the Parliament that were missing under First-Past-The-Post

“We've increased the number of Maori in the MMP parliament, of women, of ethnic and religious minorities and a much broader range of political views and that make for collaborative governance, it holds the executive to account and means that everyone is represented in the parliament,” Ms Turei says.

She says without MMP Maori are likely to lose their voice in central government.


Maori in rural schools are looking at how they can work together to better serve their students.

The first Maori Rural Education symposium at Morero marae in Taumarunui attracted more than 250 teachers and supporters to hear from Maori education specialists including Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Ngapare Hopa, Wally Penetito and Rose Pere.

Organising committee member Te Huinga Jackson-Greenland says rural schools are too small to stand alone, and they need to talk to other kura in their area, including mainstream schools.

A further gathering is likely, with the Tuhoe settlement of Ruatahuna offering to host it.


Maori fashion designer Amiria Skipwith walked away with the top prize in the Parent and Child section at the Westfield Style Pasifika Awards.

The awards, now in their 15th year, are recognised as showcasing Aotearoa's own indigenous style and launching some of the country's finest design talent.

The Manurewa woman, who trades under the Tiki Villa label, used swandri material and recycled blankets to make a hooded jacket for the mother, matching knickerbockers, set off by a bag with a design drawn from a Crown Lynn swan vase.

Amiria Skipwith says the Pasifika award is a great way to get her name out in the market.

Ngapuhi claim hearings delayed

The Waitangi Tribunal has delayed hearings for Ngapuhi's historic claims until at least March 2010.

The hearings were supposed to start on October 28, the anniversary of the signing of the 1835 Declaration of Independence by northern chiefs.

Peter Tipene, the chair of Te Aho Claims Alliance representing inland Bay of Islands hapu, says it was clear at a judicial conference last month that many of the claimants weren't ready to present their evidence.

He says it's important to get the community behind the claims, which go deeper than the land the tribe lost.

“I would hazard a guess that 98 percent of the people in New Zealand don’t even know what He Whakaputanga is, the Declaration of Independence is, what is relationship is to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and how that could roll out in terms of constitutional change,” Mr Tipene says.

The claimants will tell the tribunal what their ancestors believed they were signing for in the Treaty of Waitangi.


Tariana Turia says Maori health providers must position themselves to take advantage of changes to the sector.

The Goverment is holding four hui this month to spell out the proposed changes to government's plans to rapidly introduce new models of care on a large scale.

At the first hui in Taupo on Friday, the associate Minister of Health challenged health providers to get involved in the change process so Maori concerns are factored in, and to seek the new contracts.

“Some of those primary health services that have normally been provided by the District Health Boards moving in to the primary sector, our people need to be alert and to be putting in for those services and not let them all go to the major PHOs,” Mrs Turia says.

Further hui for Maori providers will be held in Wellington on Thursday, Auckland next week and Christchurch on September 21.


Maori singer/songwriter Hinewehi Mohi has moved her Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre to a larger space to meet growing demand.

Mohi says the children who need the therapy have high needs which the Grey Lynn building is able to accommodate.

The centre is modeled on the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Centre in London, which Mohi and husband George found wile seeking treatment for their daughter Hineraukatauri, who has severe cerebral palsy.

She says Raukatauri is strongly supported by the music industry as well as the wider community.

Hinewehi Mohi says music is an activity special needs children can participate in and learn to use as a means to communicate.


A Maori village on the Whanganui River is waiting for funds to upgrade its water supply before it can go ahead with a much needed papakainga housing project.

Kaiwhaiki is one of 71 mainly Maori rural communities whose funding applications are on hold while Health Minister Tony Ryall reviews the Drinking Water Assistance Programme brought in by the Labour Government.

Kaumatua Morvin Simon says the community has been working for more than a decade on a plan to build 30 new houses.

The final step is a back up water supply, so the integrity of the spring which has served the pa for centuries is not put at risk by the increased demand.

“The actual puna has been our life over many years. It has never been contaminated or never got dirty or anything like that,” Mr Simon says.


The head of Canterbury University's school of Maori and indigenous studies is off to Europe to present his research that child abuse among Maori was uncommon in pre-European times.

Rawiri Taonui will deliver papers to a conference in Italy this week hosted by Australia's Macquarie University and one in Wales for social workers specialising in indigenous child abuse.

He says material he's been collecting over the past decade indicates Maori child rearing practices at the time the first European settlers arrived in New Zealand were significantly different to today.

“Slapping, smacking or whatever you want to call it was really a kind of last option and was the exception rather than the rule. Through colonisation and corporal punishment at schools we have sort of inculcated a whole different regime over time which mixed in with poverty and marginalisation became distorted in our communities and we’ve ended up in the situation we're in,” Mr Taonui says.

OECD figures show violence towards Maori children is trending down as the Maori renaissance continues, but abuse rates of Pakeha children have increased sharply.


The Public Health Association is looking to maintain the momentum in the Maori health sector.

Its senior analyst for Maori public health, Keriata Stuart, says a highlight of this year's conference was the way young Maori and Maori men contributed to the debate on directions for public health.

She says traditionally the sector has been dominated by non-Maori, and by women.

“It was at an Otago conference 14 years ago when we first started having a Maori caucus. We had a first meeting where we decided we needed a permanent group and a permanent voice inside PHA and there were so few Maori presenting then. Now there are not only Maori keynote speakers but people working all over the place doing the most amazing innovative community projects,” Ms Stuart says.

Priorities coming out of last week's conference in Dunedin were more support for Maori workforce development, getting a Maori perspective in the ethics of public health, and taking research findings out to the community.