Waatea News Update

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Parihaka Peace festival opens ticket office

Pacific reggae pioneers Herbs and Moana and the Tribe are among the first acts confirmed for the fifth Parihaka International Peace Festival in the historic Taranaki settlement from January 7 to 11.

Festival director Te Miringa Hohaia says more than 30 acts are being lined up for the festival, including some of the top names in New Zealand music.

He says there will again be speakers and workshops drawing on the legacy of non-violence developed at Parihaka during the land protests of the 1870s.
“Part of our goal is to create responsible communities, helping people feel empowered and get to the point of being self funding so in a sense we’re holding out in front of us the same aims Te Whiti and Tohu did in the 19th century,” Mr Hohaia says.

The Parihaka international Peace Festival hopes to attract more than 6000 attendees.


Also striving for world peace is a group of marchers who set off this morning from the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Wellington to walk around the globe in 92 days.

There will be supporting marches in 300 cities around the world today, which is Gandhi's birthday.

The march was preceded by a blessing ceremony earlier this week at Kopinga Marae in Rekohu - Chatham Islands - to acknowledge the tradition of non-violence developed by Moriori during their 500 years of isolation from the rest of Maori society.

Moriori spokesperson Maui Solomon says the march instigator, Spaniard Rafael de la Rubia, was presented with a tokotoko carved from whalebone to help him on his journey around the world.

The international marchers were also given a Moriori flag.

“That will be taken with them as well and signed in each country they are going to and then we hope to get the flag back in the Andes in Argentina. We also hope one or two of us can go there and participate in the final leg of the journey, just to close the circle,” Mr Solomon


An Auckland iwi is upset none of the finalists to redevelop Queens Wharf have a Maori or Polynesian perspective.

Eight finalists have been selected from 237 entries to build what's been called party central for the 2011 Rugby World Cup on Auckland's waterfront.

Ngati Whatua environment manager Ngarimu Blair says there were no Maori on the judging panel, and the omission is telling.

“I can't see any place that distinguishes that place as being in the South Pacific with a rich mix of Maori, Pakeha, Polynesian, Pacific Island people,” Mr Blair says.

Ngati Whatu declined a place on the judging panel because it was presenting its own plans for a Maori and Pacific cultural heritage centre on the wharf.


The hopes of Maori boxing lie with Shane Cameron when he takes on David Tua in at Mystery Creek in Hamilton tomorrow night.

The 31-year-old Rongomaiwahine heavyweight is ranked seventh in the world by the World Boxing Organisation and has lost just one of his 24 professional bouts.

David Tua is six years older with a record is 49 wins ... 42 by knockout... three losses and a draw.

Former boxer Lance Revill, who will be reffing bouts on the undercard... says the fight is too close to call.

“Shane Cameron's done well to start boxing late in life, I think he was 20 when he put his first pair of gloves on. He’s done very well and he’s got a huge ticker, he’ll never back down, and neither will David Tua, so it’s going to be a classic fight,” Revell says.


The coach of a traditional Maori ball game with no set rules says many players are taking up Ki-o-rahi because it's better organised than rugby.
Ki-o-rahi can be played by teams of anything from three to 50 players, on fields of varying size, and with no set time intervals.

Harko Brown is putting together a national team for a tour next year to Europe, where the game was taken by the Maori Battalion over 60 years ago.

He says under the traditional process of Tatu the teams sit down before the game and decide on the rules.

“You know the shambles with rugby, no one knows what’s happening, the rules change every year. This is a more open way of getting people to acknowledge their knowledge for their own rohe so it’s not about rule changes, it’s about allowing the different tribes to have their own tikanga when they play in their own areas,” Mr Brown says.

New Zealand captain Matt White is in Europe talking to officials about the rules for the tour, as the game has developed in different forms since the second world war.


A Native Canadian master carver has arrived in Aotearoa to help carve a pou pou ... or perhaps that should be a totem pole.

Tamahou Temara from arts' promoter Toi Maori says Dempsy Bobb is coming for next weeks annual Maori art market at the Te Rauparaha Centre in Porirua.

He says Maori art has become international by nurturing such relationships with other first nations artists over the past three decades.

“The premise for us was the Te Maori exhibition which opened up the way but in order to do that there needed to be interaction with first nations people and our artists have been carrying on that interaction with indigenous people for the past 30 years or so.” Mr Temara says.

work by more than 200 artists will be on show in Porirua next week.

Electoral agencies merger "largely administrative"

Acting Prime Minister Bill English is promising to listen to the Maori voice on electoral reform.

The proposed amalgamation of the electoral commission and the electoral office has come under fire from lawyer Moana Jackson, who says it could affect the outreach to Maori voters.

He says the merger should be included in the constitutional review promised by National in its agreement with the Maori Party.

Bill English says Maori were consulted on the move.

“It's largely an administrative change and it would be stretching it a bit to call it a constitutional change. But I think to the credit of the electoral agencies they’ve gone to a great deal more trouble in the last 10 or 15 years to get Maori enrolment up and I think that has had a big impact on the political system,” Mr English says.

He says the proposed electoral agency merger is still open for consultation.


A Maori health researcher says next year's inquiry into the tobacco industry should also call successive governments to account for their failure to address Maori smoking rates.

Marewa Glover, the director of the Auckland Tobacco control research centre, says the Maori affairs select committee should boost prevention efforts.

She says others besides the tobacco industry should be made to account for their inactivity in the face of a public health disaster.

“What has been done so far to reduce Maori smoking. That’s what we need an inquiry into. Why have the interventions to date been too slow and at too low a level to stop Maori smoking sooner and in greater numbers,” Dr Glover says.


New artists exhibiting at next week's Maori Art market in Porirua are getting help to ensure their prices are realistic.

Tamahou Temara, the operations manager for organiser Toi Maori, says Maori art now has an international market.

That's why it helps to have a panel of experienced artists and curators vetting the work.

“Based on the experience of people like Darcy Nicholas, Coleen Urlich, Manos Nathan, artists who have exhibited internationally over a period of 30 years or so, they will look at the pricing and see if it fits the range of the artwork that is for sale,” Mr Temara says.

More than 200 Maori artists have signed up to show their wares at the Te Rauparaha Events Centre.


Iwi are looking ahead to a good year in the fishing business.

The season started yesterday, and most iwi asset holding companies will be leasing out their quota over the next couple of weeks.

Tony Magner from Hamilton-based brokers Tahi Marine says the sector has settled down now iwi own quota rather than leasing it year by year from Te Ohu Kaimoana.

He says they will also be bouyed by a 22 percent boost in the total allowable catch for hoki, the largest commercial species.

“It'll improve returns. You’ve got a bigger volume of fish to work with. Five, six years ago it was 250,000 tonne. Various biological things has meant it was reduced down to 90,000 tonne but the fish stock was proven to be quite buoyant now so they’ve increased it to 110,000 tonne this season,” Mr Magner says.

Up to 40 percent of iwi fisheries earnings could come from pan-Maori seafood company Aotearoa Fisheries, which is required to pay a dividend for the first time this financial year.


Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson says many Maori aren't getting good advice from legal aid lawyers when they end up in court.

Former social welfare director general Dame Margaret Bazley is conducting an inquiry into the legal aid system.

Pakekura Horomia many young Maori are pleading guilty and ending up with criminal records because lawyers won't look for mitigating circumstances or push for alternate sentences.

“A lot of advice given to our people who are up on charges isn’t of top quality and I know of some court areas where people are just getting them to plead guilty or whatever and I don’t believe a lot of our people are getting decent service,” Mr Horomia says.


Auckland's Ngati Whatua iwi is upset its Queens Wharf redevelopment proposal has been ignored.

The iwi wasn't one of eight finalists chosen to tart up the wharf for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Environment manager Ngarimu Blair says Ngati Whatua wants a Maori and Pacific Island cultural centre built on the site.

He says none of the finalists reflect the Maori and Polynesian heritage of Tamaki Makaurau.

“So we were unsuccessful with our idea and I guess we’re hoping for an Auckland one day that will be open to embracing their Maori and Pacific Island brothers more so than just writing it down on a strategic planning document stuck away in a council office somewhere,” Mr Blair says.

Ngati Whatua's vision was for a place where visitors and cruise ships would get a welcoming powhiri from the city's best performers.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Legal aid lawyers stirring iwi conflict

Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson is accusing lawyers on legal aid of fuelling Treaty disputes within Maoridom.

Former Minister Parekura Horomia says the four biggest recipients of legal aid are big law firms doing treaty settlement work.

He says it's an unhealthy situation.

“Tensions are running high between groups of people in settlements, like part of the new business in settlements is people who are getting legal aid and then all sorts of unnecessary setting to between each other and iwi and hapu,” Mr Horomia says

He supports a review of the legal aid system being headed by former social welfare director general and Waitangi Tribunal member Dame Margaret Bazley.


Acting Prime Minister Bill English says the roll out of broadband throughout the country will have huge benefits for Maori in rural areas.

He says a factor in the $1.5 billion commitment to high speed broadband wan an acceptance that commercial telephone companies would not make the investment needed to give rural areas the most up to date communications infrastructure.

Mr English says the response from Maori has been extremely positive because they realise a commercial telephone company would not have made such a commitment to people living in rural areas.

“I've been pretty impressed in the discussions I have been having with different iwi around the country how quickly they have got a sense of the opportunity and some of them have got themselves pretty organised to see if they can participate in the roll out,” Mr English says.

The government is pleased at the positive response to the roll out announcement.


It will be be another three years before Venus passes between the earth and the sun... but a tono is already going out from the people of Uawa to commemorate New Zealand's part in an earlier transit.

A 30-strong group from Te Aitanga a Hauiti is headed for Europe to visit sites significant to East Coast whanau, such as the trenches and tunnels of the world wars.

Tolaga Bay school principal Nori Parata says the group will also visit Whitby, where James Cook trained as a sailor, and the Natural History Museum in London.

“Because in 2012 the next transit ov Venus will be visible and that’s the reason James Cook came out here and so we’re hoping to host the national focus for the transit of Venus here in Uawa,” Ms Parata says.


It's the first day of the new fishing season, and the phones are going overtime as iwi asset holding companies work out who is going to fish their annual catch entitlement.

Iwi now own quota outright, rather than lease it year by year from fisheries settlement trust Te Ohu Kaimoana.

Broker and consultant Tony Magner from Hamilton-based Tahi Marine says there's a sense of maturity in the sector, after years of fighting about how the settlement would be allocated.

“Most people have prepared or organised themselves into direct relationships or gathered themselves together into groups or consortia and have established arrangements with existing players or established their own operations,” Mr Magner says.

This season iwi can look forward to a boost on the balance sheet from a 22 percent increase in the hoki total allowable catch and the first dividend from pan-Maori company Aotearoa Fisheries.


An iwi environmental manager fears the Environmental Protection Agency launched today will work against Maori best interests.

Ngarimu Blair from Ngati Whatua says the government's record on resource and representation issues so far is not good.

He says the fact the EPA has been set up to streamline resource consent processes rings warning bells with the Auckland iwi.

“We're already streamlined out of resource management consultation processes under existing legislation so if there is further streamlining through the EPA all I can imagine is we are even further away from having any real impact on major projects and resource management issues that affect our harbours, rivers and communities,” Mr Blair says.

Ngati Whatua wants to see some form of Maori decision-making power at a similar level to the Environmental Protection Agency.


The South Auckland Health Foundation and Counties Manukau District Health Board are on the hunt for Maori who want a career in health.

Scholarship project coordinator Nicki Winn says the aim is to get a workforce that reflects the community.

She says more than 60 scholarships are on offer each year to Manukau residents, with Maori typically taking up about a third.

The scholarships can be for nursing of full medical degrees to shorter courses like nutrition.

Nicki Winn says scholarship recipients will be encouraged to seek work in Manukau after their training.

Wellington settlement trust weighs up options

The new Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust will soon be considering whether it should take up its option to buy the Wellington Railway Station.

Elections for five open spots on the 11-member trust have finished, with chair Sir Ngatata Love polling top of the 18-strong field.

He says as well as considering development plans for some of the surplus school properties that came back last month as part of the multi-iwi settlement, the trust has a two year window when it can buy more than a dozen significant Crown properties around the capital.

One of the most appealing is the railway station.

“Morning and night it‘s packed with people. It’s an exciting precinct and a lot could be done with it. It has appeal. There are great tenants. Half of it is occupied by Victoria University on a long term basis and you’ve got Kiwirail there,” Sir Ngatata says.


The Maori Party's inquiry into tobacco is winning support from those working with addiction.

Professor Doug Sellman from Otago University's National Addiction Centre says he'd like to see a similar investigation into the activities of booze barons.

He says the liquor industry targets young and vulnerable people, and the scale of the problem requires a government response to take on the global companies.

Public attitudes change over time, as can be seen with the smoking debate.


A carving from an 18th century meeting house is drawing travellers from the East Coast to Germany.

A group of 30 from Uawa has headed for Europe to visit the battlefields of world war one and two.

Nori Parata from Tologa Bay Area School says the Te Aitanga a Hauiti ope will also visit the Tubingen University museum in western Germany to see a pou taken from the area by Captain Jemes Cook in 1769.

It’s the only known piece from Hinemateoro’s whare.

It's the second year a Te Aitanga a Hauti group has visited Tubingen, and many individual members are also structuring their travel plans around the pou.


Labour MP Kelvin Davis says Education Minister Anne Tolley is trying to block a select committee inquiry into Maori educational under-achievement.

Mr Davis says that makes her calls to education sector union conferences this week to improve outcomes for Maori and Pasifika students ring hollow.

He says National is putting pressure on Maori Party members to vote against an inquiry.

“With Anne Tolley saying the sector needs to cooperate and work smarter and more together, I think it’s a bit rich that she can say that one week when the previous week she has prevented National, Labour and the Maori Party working together on Maori under-achievement,” Mr Davis says.

A vote on an inquiry will be made at the next meeting of the Maori affairs committee.


Retiring Green MP Sue Bradford will continue to fight for Maori representation in the new super city when she leaves parliament.

As a member of select committee considering the Auckland governance legislation, Ms Bradford was disappointed the Government refused to allow Maori seats.

She says that doesn't mean the right wing agenda of asset privatization will be successful, and it's important to organise.

“We're going to need to mount a really strong local government campaign next year and I hope we can find friends and allies and work across old lines and between Maori and tauiwi to try and stop that worst case scenario happening because we are at real risk in our region,” she says.

Sue Bradford leaves parliament at the end of the month.


A world march for peace and non-violence has been blessed at one of the remotest places in the world, Kopinga Marae on Rekohu ... Chatham Islands.

Maui Solomon from the Hokotehi Moriori Trust says the ceremony acknowledges the tradition of non-violence established on the island during their 500 years of isolation from the rest of Maori society.

He says Moriori were honoured the World Peace March international team accepted their invitation to come to their marae.

“To hear the voices from the different peace traditions around the world sharing their stories and their words and their peace gifts that they left with our traditions of peace was really fantastic and they were extremely moved by the whole occasion and we were too, so it is a dream come true.
Mr Solomon says.

Rafael de la Rubia, the Spaniard who instigated the march, was given a carved whalebone tokotoko to take with him around the world.

The New Zealand leg of the march starts at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in
Wellington on Friday morning, and the march will finish in the Andes on
January the second.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Aotearoa Fisheries catches Wellington shops

Pan-Maori company Aotearoa Fisheries is buying Ngai Tahu's Wellington-based Pacific Catch retail and fish processing operation.

Ngai Tahu has already sold its Auckland and Christchurch Pacific Catch stores to concentrate its fishing activities on quota leasing, paua, lobster and Bluff oysters.

AFL chief executive Jeremy Fleming says the purchase includes outlets in the Porirua and Wellington city Moore Wilson stores, as well as a roadside stall at Paekakariki.

He says AFL already runs retail outlets in Auckland and Napier.

“It does give us a starting point in the Wellington market, both retail and food service but potentially also wholesale. It increases our outlet for our own quota and also it provides us with the means of growing our business basically,” Mr Fleming says.

Aotearoa Fisheries, which runs the former Moana Pacific inshore fisheries business as well as managing the Maori stake in Sealord Group, is looking forward to a steady year despite the high exchange rate.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei warns electoral reform could disenfranchised Maori.

She says Maori need to get involved in the debate on political party funding, especially on planned changes which could allow those with big wallets to fund parallel organisations which give their preferred party more advertising clout.

Ms Turei says National is even talking of allowing other organisations to secure television and radio time for election purposes.

“Maori don't have huge resources, only have limited political engagement and don’t have the issues heard when it comes to the political campaigns and any system that will reduce access by those with fewer resources is gong to be one that disenfranchises Maori from electoral campaigning,” Ms Turei says.

She says the system is being designed with no consideration of the needs or concerns of Maori.


Rugby commentator Ken Laban says Maori All Black Issac Ross is being made the scapegoat for the All Blacks' poor lineout during the Tri Nations Cup.

The 118 kg lock has been left out of the All Blacks' end of year tour, with selectors indicating they want him to develop upper body strength.

Mr Laban says while more weight may improve the Crusader's ability in the air and in getting to breakdowns, the story is a smokescreen.

“You can dress it up any way, you like, the spin coming out of the New Zealand Rugby Union, but he’s been dropped. He was young coming into the All Black environment, he was responsible for the lineouts, they didn’t go good, they made a change, they weren’t great and they dropped him. End of story,” Mr Laban says.


Sir Ngatata Love has been overwhelmingly re-elected to the Port Nicholson
Block Settlement Trust, which administers a multi-iwi settlement for land around Wellington Harbour.

18 candidates stood for the five open positions on the 11-member trust, and Sir Ngatata received more than 700 votes than the next highest candidate.

Former Te Tai Tonga MP Mahara Okeroa also won a seat on the trust.

Sir Ngatata says the trust has some major decisions to make about developing settlement properties and taking up options to buy other Crown properties.

“Some of the areas like the schools can provide the opportunity to go into the housing area for our people, community development, and because in Wellington the lands are very valuable you already have your 20 plus percent you need to be able to develop these for them to be able to pay their way, so we’re looking at all options,” Sir Ngatata says.

The Port Nicholson Trust may enter joint ventures to develop the larger properties.


The Maori tertiary students association is concerned Maori views and needs have been overlooked in the development of the new tertiary education strategy.

Tumanako president Jacqualene Poutu says the five year document released yesterday by Education Minister Anne Tolley shows a clear bias towards students coming straight from school to university.

She says Maori are more likely to enter tertiary study as mature students, and the strategy will mean resources won't be made available for their needs.

“They assume that rangatahi should be doing something at a particular age and putting provisions in place for it when it might not be the rangatahi’s reality. It’s a reality for older Maori students to come back and upskill when they’re a bit older, they’ve had their children. That is what the research is showing. I’m not sure why it’s not reflected in the strategy,” Ms Poutu says.

She says the strategy doesn't provide for the development systems needed to support Maori students through to degree stage.


Retiring Green MP Sue Bradford says more needs to be done to make Pakeha more aware of the true history of New Zealand.

She says too many people are ignorant of not just what is in the Treaty of Waitangi but also how colonisation affected Maori.

“We all need to keep working on turning that round. It is part I’m sure of why so many young Maori do ‘fail’ inside the Pakeha education system is because others are getting such a crook and really no idea of what the true history of this country is,” Ms Bradford says.

She says ignorance of history leads to continuing injustice against Maori.

Education strategy ignoring older Maori needs

Maori student groups are concerned the government's draft tertiary strategy for the next five years ignores the needs of older Maori students.

The draft released yesterday for consultation by Education Minister Anne Tolley focuses on getting more under 25s completing degree-level qualifications.

It notes that Maori aged 18 to 19 are enrolled in degree level study at less than half the rate for all students, and completion rates for Maori at bachelor level study are also lower.

Victor Manawatu from the Victoria University Maori Students Association says the government needs to accept Maori tend to come to tertiary study after a spell in the workforce, and work with that fact rather than fight it.

They also need to reconsider support services for first and second year students.

“Our Maori participation is pretty good. It’s the completion rate that’s the problem, especially with our first and second year student. If they fail 50 percent of the papers in the first semester, they don’t come back. If they fail 50 percent of the papers in the second semester, we’ve lost them again,” Mr Manawatu says.


A police Maori responsiveness advisor wants to see measures to curb binge drinking among young people.

Glen McKay says earlier closing hours and more responsible management of bars would be a start.

He says Maori are particularly hard hit by pubs and clubs being open 24 hours.

Glen McKay says the Australian practice of refusing entry to new customers after 2 am should be adopted on this side of the Tasman.


Ngawha Prison's new manager is looking to blend international and Maori thinking to reintegrate prisoners back into the community.

Jon Howe has experience working in prisons around the world as well as serving on an international penal study group.

He says that's why he's gone out to the Northland Maori community seeking local help in prisoner training and the development of life skills in areas such as parenting.

“We've got a high percentage of Maori which is why I’m saying yes we have a good response already but some of the answers for the future will lie within the Maori community,” Mr Howe says.

Most of the prisoners in the Northland Regional Prison have family links to the north.


There's a big boost to the Maori fisheries sector with the increase in the commercial hoki catch by 20,000 tonnes.

Fisheries minister Phil Heatley the increase will boost export earnings by more than $29 million.

Te Ohu Kaimoana Peter Douglas says hoki is the biggest single earning species, and provides the foundation for the deepwater fishery.

He says Maori hold substantial amounts of quota though their own iwi holdings and through their ownership of Aotearoa Fisheries, which has a half share in New Zealand's largest fishing company, Sealord.

He says they backed the reduction in quota from its high of 250,000 tonnes to 90,000 tonnes.

“Te Ohu Kaimoana, Sealord and AFL have supported the reductions when they’ve made them over the last few years and we did that because we hoped it would give the stocks a chance to recover and that’s been successful enough he has been able to make an adjustment by 20,000 tonnes which is substantial,” Mr Douglas says.

He says other minor quota changes for the new season starting tomorrow show the quota management system is working well managing New Zealand's fisheries resource.


Students on the East Coast are being taught how protecting their intellectual property can create job opportunities.

Tolaga Bay Area School principal Nori Parata says the government's $300 million commitment to upgrade rural broadband services should spur Maori to encourage their tamariki to take advantage of opportunities in the I.T sector.

She says students on the coast are already using digital technology to produce stories for the annual Nati Awards, and those stories could prove valuable one day.

“We are mixing the integration of ICT with other industries like the arts because there are no big industries other than forestry and farming on the East Coast so what we want to do is build the kids own capacity top built their won future and if that means using their own intellectual capacity along with new technologies then we’re certainly supporting that,” Ms Parata says.

The Government aims to get 100 megabit per second broadband to 93 percent of rural schools within six years.


A chance encounter with a young Maori mum hitchiking to Tauranga for her baby's second birthday was the catalyst for a new fundraising CD.

Daniel Hauraki, the cultural advisor for New Zealand Plunket, says the woman was picked up by Monique Rhodes, who was touring with Shona Laing.

Her tale inspired a waiata, Forever strong, which Rhodes dedicated to Plunket.

The idea was picked up by other artists including Annie Crummer, House Of Shem, Op Shop and Whirimako Black, who contributed songs for the compilation Merry Christmas Baby.

Daniel Hauraki says the first baby delivered by Plunket 102 years ago at Karitane was Maori.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ngawha boss looking for community help for rehab

The Northland Regional Prison is trying to get more Maori involved in prisoner education and rehabilitation.

It's asked for qualified individuals or groups to teach employment and life skills to inmates.

Manager Jon Howe says his first eight months at Ngawha has been spent improving internal systems, and now it's time to look outward.

He says the key to judging success is how prisoners are able to reintegrate with society, which was the subject of a hui at Ngawha marae last week.

“Once I'm sure the public is safe, my next priority is to stop any offenders I have with me reoffending when they get released. It’s not one size fits all, which is why I’m asking for volunteer and asking the Maori community in particular for any suggestions they think would be really effective,” Mr Howe says.

The prison is planning further hui at marae around the north.


The MP behind a Maori affairs select committee investigation into the tobacco industry is pleased with the response he's getting.

The inquiry starts early in the new year.

Hone Harawira says people can't wait for the industry to be put under the spotlight for the damage it has done to Maori and others.

He says clearance for the select committee inquiry came after National deputy leader Bill English supported it against Treasury advice.


Sir Howard Morrison's family says it was fitting his tangi was a place of celebration as well as sorrow.

Last night a concert on Te Papaiouru marae at Ohinemutu brought together many of New Zealand's top artists including Frankie Stevens, Eddie Lowe, Tony Williams, the Yandall Sisters and Ardijah.

Whanau spokesperson Temuera Morrison says it was a fitting way to remember his uncle's life.

Sir Howard Morrison was buried this afternoon at Kauae cemetery on Ngongataha mountain after a five day tangi.


Maori lawyer Moana Jackson says an overhaul of the electoral agencies should include improving the way they connect with Maori voters.

Justice Minister Simon Power intends to amalgamate the Electoral Commission and the Chief Electoral Office before the 2011 elections, and bring the Chief Registrar into the commission after the election.

Mr Jackson says low turnout rates by Maori proves the staus quo is not working.

He wants the government to explain the reasons for the merger and how it will affect Maori.

“I should imagine it’s cost and efficiency and the usual things they trot out and that’s often code for ‘we don’t need to talk to Maori’, but more importantly if there is a proposal to review constitutional issues then it seems to me the electoral process is a fundamental part of that and perhaps this idea should be delayed until that review runs its course,” Mr Jackson says.

He says the proposed merger seems to pre-empt the government's commitment to the Maori Party to hold a constitutional review.


Labour leader Phil Goff has defended the previous government's record in the face of criticism from a UN body.

After submissions from the government and non-government organisations in May, the Human Rights Council made 64 recommendations on areas requiring further attention, such as the status of the Treaty of Waitangi in domestic legislation, and the over-representation of Maori in the criminal justice system.

There was also comment on Labour's foreshore and seabed law.

Mr Goff says such criticism should be put in context, with the Labour-led government taking practical steps to improve people's lives.

“Things like Working for Families were great. It lifted 130,000 children out of poverty. The fact we got the lowest unemployment in 27 years was hugely important. The fact we got more people into apprenticeships in skill and training and better access to healthcare, all important,” Mr Goff says.

He says New Zealand is still one of the top countries in terms of respect for human rights.


An East Coast principal says improved broadband services to rural communities will give her students real time connections with other schools.

Nori Parata from Tologa Bay Area School helps organise the annual Nati Awards, which encourage East Coast children to use Information and computer technology to tell stories of their home area.

She says government plans to spend $300 million dollars over the next six years boosting rural Internet access can't come soon enough.

“Some of the schools have videoconferencing but unless you have a broadband width that is sufficient to run it then it’s sort of like a delayed telecast which is not appealing and certainly not if you’re a kid trying to send your stuff from one end of the rohe to another for someone to comment on. Having good broadband will help those issues,” Ms Parata says.

Whole communities should benefit from improved connectedness.

Far North mayor who bridged races dies

A former Far North mayor is being praised for his ability to bridge the races.

Former Tai Tokerau MP Dover Samuels says Miljenko "Millie" Srhoj, who died on Sunday, was dedicated to the region.

Mr Srhoj, the son of a Dalmatian gumdigger, began his career in local body politics with the Mangonui County Council.

Mr Samuels served two terms as deputy to Mr Srhoj on its successor, the Far North District Council.

“He was an outstanding mayor and an outstanding leader for the north. He transcended all racial divides, and even though he was a tarara, a Dalmatian, he was a very well liked kaumatua," Mr Samuels says.

Mr Srhoj's achievements included convincing Juken Nissho to buy the Kaitaia triboard mill after the 1990 collapse of Northern Pulp, saving the jobs of the largely Maori workforce.

Millie Srhoj's funeral will be in Kaitaia on Wednesday.


Maori human rights lawyer Moana Jackson says the Government cannot continue to ignore calls by the United Nations to address human rights violations in New Zealand.

The UN's Human Rights Council flagged concerns about social disparities between Maori and non-Maori, high rates of Maori imprisonment and New Zealand's commitment to indigenous rights.

Mr Jackson says New Zealand didn't come through the process well, and the council has echoed criticisms of the foreshore and seabed legislation which came out of the U.N Committee on the elimination of racial discrimination.

“This is not a new criticism of a New Zealand government but it is perhaps a more direct one than had been made in the past and I think that the Crown would be unwise to just let it slip or try to ignore it as it has done in the past,” Mr Jackson says.

The Human Rights Council will review progress on its 64 recommendations in four years.


Shearing contractor Koro Mullins predicts a bright future for an 18-year-old Gisborne woolhandler who beat a former world champion over the weekend.

The win means Joel Henare retains the Waitaki Merino Shears open woolhandling title and cements his reputation for identifying and grading wool.

Mr Mullins, who has just been appointed the manager of New Zealand team for next year's world shearing championships in Wales, says if the young sportsman has a good chance of making the trip if he keeps up his form during the rest of the competitive shearing season.

“Well he's probably one of these young fellows who was born in a woolshed, he’s got grease running through his veins and he is a phenomenal young athlete, youngest member of the New Zealand team woolhandler ever and he’s a darn good hard worker too,” Mr Mullins says.

Joel Henare has another Otago title in his sights at the fine wool championships in Alexandra this weekend.


As thousands of people gather at Te Papaiouru Marae in Rotorua for the funeral this morning of Sir Howard Morrison, stories continue to flow from the thousands of people the entertainer encouraged and supported.

A concert at the Ohinemutu marae last night included many who had shared a stage with the legend, including Tina Cross, Bety and Ryan Monga, Frankie Stevens, Suzanne Donaldson ... and Howard Morrison junior.

John Rowles says he was inspired to become as singer after seeing the Howard Morrison Quartet in his home town Kawerau when he was 10.

“Seeing his mannerisms on stage and his confidence, his big smile, influenced me a lot because I was a shy boy, I remember watching him and looking at him in awe of his confidence and that big flashy smile so that would have rubbed off on me a lot,” Rowles says.

More than 2000 people are expected at Ohinemutu for this morning's funeral service, after which Sir Howard will be taken to St Faith's church for family prayers before being taken to Kauae Cemetery at Ngongotaha.


The country's eight universities have set up a taskforce to deal with an expected shortage of Maori academics over the next 10 years.

Chairperson Kevin Seales says as Maori academics retire, it's proving hard to find suitable replacements.

He says New Zealand's universities face competition across the board for academic staff from overseas institutions who pay more, but they have unique problems with the shortage of Maori teaching staff.

“There's a desire to increase participation rates for Maori into the tertiary education system and as part of that we also need to increase the number of academics staff we have who are Maori and better reflect the populations in which we are sitting,” Mr Seales says.

While the three wananga are not involved in the study, they could become a source of academic staff for the universities.


A collection of Ralph Hotere art works pulled from auction last week could be worth more than $500,000.

Auckland auction house Art and Object cancelled the sale after Hotere disputed the claims to ownership by Annie Ferguson, who claimed he had gifted the 58 paintings, prints and drawings to her more than 40 years ago when she lived with the young artist.

Auctioneer Ben Plumbly of Art and Object says Hotere is New Zealand's leading living artist and the items represented the largest private collection of his work.

The dispute is likely to go to court.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Human rights record has blemish

The Race Relations Commissioner says New Zealand is now under notice from the United Nations to improve aspects of its human rights record.

After the first of what will be a four-yearly review process, the UN's Human Rights Council has told the Government it's concerned about social disparities between Maori and non-Maori, the over-representation of Maori in the criminal justice system, and the status of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Joris de Bres says New Zealand came through the review process well, but it can't underestimate the threat to the country's reputation is it doesn't make the required changes.

“New Zealand has broadly a good record and deservedly a good record on human rights in general compared to many other countries. What a process like this underlines is hat does not mean there aren’t serious challenges, that there are reputational issues in terms of New Zealand being a champion of human rights and liberties internationally and it has to ensure it is delivering on those at home in all areas,” Mr de Bres says.

The next Human Rights Council review will be conducted about the same time New Zealand asks other countries to vote it on to a term on the Security Council.


A row over ownership of works by Ralph Hotere withdrawn from auction last week is likely to end up in court.

Auctioneer Ben Plumbley from Art and Object says the reclusive artist have disputed the right of his former partner Annie Ferguson to sell the 58 paintings, prints and drawings she claims were gifted to her 42 years ago.

He says viewers were excited by the rare collection.

“I don't understand a great deal yet except that on the eve of us holding the auction the artist or the artist’s legal advisors asserted ownership of some/all of the collection and when they did that we were faced with no choice but to pull the auction,” Mr Plumbley says.

He says the collection could have fetched in excess of $500,000.


Fellow entertainer and balladier John Rowles says one of Sir Howard Morrison's great talents was his huge heart.

Music industry friends and colleagues have been out in force today at Sir Howard's tangi in Ohinemutu, farewelling the man who set many off on their careers.

John Rowles says Sir Howard's quick wit meant you always had to be on your toes when performing alongside him, and while he may have gone off key occasionally, he had the spirit to carry him through.

“He definitely had that heart which is important for a singer. You must sing from the heart. It’s like a Joe Cocker. If that voice goes off occasionally, the heart is still there with the deliverance of the songs, and Howard had that magic,” he says.

There will be a concert at Ohinemutu tonight to honour Sir Howard, who will be buried tomorrow after a public service on the marae and a private period of family prayer at St Faith's Church.


The Maori cultural renaissance is being studied by other indigenous peoples seeking ways to tackle child abuse in their communities.

Rawiri Taonui, the head of Maori and indigenous studies at Canterbury University, says the revival of te reo Maori and other cultural taonga was of great interest to people at two international conferences on indigenous child abuse he attended in Europe over the past month.

He says while his research indicates socio economic conditions rather than ethnicity are behind a high rate of child abuse in Maori families, there is also a correlation with culture.

That's because a decrease in the number of Maori children dying or being abused coincided with the development of kohanga reo, kura and wananga.

“They're going down twice as fast as the non- Maori. That shows us things like our renaissance, strengthening of our culture and so on are making a difference The rebuilding of culture is integral to processes of correcting those sorts of issues,” Mr Taonui says.


A South Island Maori language advocate says hosting next year's Manu Korero secondary school speech competitions in Otipoti ... Dunedin ... will give a welcome boost of pride and kaha to Maori in the south.

Hana O'Regan says she was impressed with the way Te Arawa hosted this year's event in Rotorua, and the way it brings the Maori community together to see the next generation of Maori leaders.

She says Ngai Tahu has few fluent speakers, and even fewer who speak the Ngai Tahu dialect, so is expecting cross tribal support for the event.

“In terms of that cultural identity, the support of the reo, that’s awesome and that’s like a big injection of Maori pride that goes into it and we need that down here,” Ms O'Regan says.


A first time Aboriginal writer and director expects Maori to recognise the storytelling tradition behind his film which opens in Auckland this week.

Warwick Thornton says Samson and Delilah pulls no punches, and while some people may find the story about petrol sniffing teenagers who fall in love in a remote central Australian community disturbing, it depicts harsh realities of Aboriginal life.

The film's been screening for the 20 weeks in Australia, and it's striking a chord in Aboriginal communities.

“For 40,000 years my mob have been telling stories and obviously also with Maori mob, we own storytelling, it’s part of our culture, oral history. We’ve embraced this new medium but we’re still embracing the power of our grandmothers and grandfathers to help us tell these stories, but using film rather than the spoken word,” Thornton says.

Samson and Delilah opens at Auckland's Rialto Cinema later this week.

Another Maori to join Green caucus

Greens co-leader Metira Turei is looking forward to having another Maori MP in the Greens' caucus.

David Clendon from Te Roroa, a resource management lecturer turned sustainable business consultant, enters Parliament at the end of next month when Sue Bradford steps down.

Ms Turei, who beat Ms Bradford for the leader's slot in May, says Mr Clendon has been with the Greens since the party formed and his broad experience will be invaluable.

“It's going to be great having another Maori in the Green Party caucus who can take on some of the issues se we can do more of that work. He and Catherine Delahunty and I have all been working on Maori issues in various forms so having three of us, two Maori and a Pakeha focusing on these issues, will be really good,” Ms Turei says.

She says Sue Bradford has made a wonderful contribution to the party.


A Maori academic says what he's learned at two international conferences on indigenous child abuse has confirmed his belief economics and not ethnicity is behind high rates of Maori child abuse and murder.

Rawiri Taonui, Canterbury University's head of Maori and ethnic studies, spoke at conference workshops in Italy and Wales.

He says a sharp rise in the number of Maori children killed coincided with the Rogernomics economic reforms of the 1980s, when many Maori lost their jobs, but the rate is trending down.

“Although the Maori rate is still very high there’s a link between our socioeconomic status and levels of child homicide as opposed to the idea there’s something wrong with our culture and we’re just angry savages,” Mr Taonui says.

Indigenous people overseas want to know more about how the Maori cultural renaissance has contributed to a decline in child abuse.


It will be all go at Ruatoki for the first week of the school holidays as the community tries to recover from a fire that destroyed four classrooms at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori a Rohe o Ruatoki.

Spokesperson Tamati Kruger says Friday's fire appears to have been caused by an electrical fault, and after being fueled by chemicals in the science block was carried by the wind over to a hall used by the community.

A second block of classrooms was unscathed.

He says there won't be much of a holiday for teachers and parents, as they’ll be clearing the site before the board negotiates with the Education Ministry about getting relocatable buildings on site before the fourth term starts.

The school is likely to wait until the end of the year before it starts negotiations with the ministry on new permanent buildings.


The Race Relations Commissioner, Joris de Bres, says the Government will be held to account now the United Nations Human Rights Council has signed off its review of New Zealand.

New Zealand presented a report on its progress on human rights commitments in May, and the council says it has concerns about social disparities between Maori and non-Maori, the status of the Treaty of Waitangi, the over-representation of Maori in the criminal justice system and other issues.

Justice Minister Simon Power told the council the Government’s is committed to respecting and strengthening human rights nationally and internationally.

Mr de Bres says the review creates moral pressure to address issues such as the high rate of Maori imprisonment.

“The answer to that is not to imprison people at the rate they are being imprisoned. There have to be more alternatives to prison and there have to be as the minister has in fact indicated, there have to be more an examination into the drivers of crime and that includes the social and economic conditions,” Mr de Bres says.

New Zealand will be back before the committee in four years.


The new Maori face in Parliament wants to pave the way for a new generation of Maori entrepreneurs.

David Clendon from Te Roroa will join the nine-member Green caucus at the end of next month, replacing Sue Bradford who's stepping down after 10 years in Parliament.

Mr Clendon, who has a masters degree in resource management from Lincoln University, says he's built strong links with Maori business networks through his work as a consultant on sustainable business.

“As a people Maori are always looking for opportunity and have an amazing amount of energy so that’s something I would like to see develop and expand, the opportunity for young Maori and not so young Maori to come into business in their own right and to create their own futures,” Mr Clendon says.


Thousands of people have been through Te Papaiouru marae in Rotorua over the weekend to pay tribute to Sir Howard Morrison, who died last Thursday aged 74.

One of them was steel guitarist Ben Tawhiti, who worked with Sir Howard both on stage and in pioneering the Tu Tangata community development model.

He says his friend was always a class act, in whatever situation he found himself in.

“One gift that he always had was the ability to phrase the lyrics of any song. He had a marvelous voice. Whenever he stood on that stage, he was immaculate. I hope that’s a lesson to many of our entertainers coming up,” Mr Tawhiti says.

Sir Howard's funeral will be held tomorrow, after which he will be buried at Kauae cemetery near Ngongotaha.