Waatea News Update

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Time to turn back the tide

Maori Affairs minister Pita Sharples will take a bill repealing the Foreshore and Seabed Act to Cabinet on Monday.

Dr Sharples told an Anglican church hui in Auckland this afternoon the Maori Party struggled with some aspects of being in coalition, such as having to vote for tax cuts for the wealthy when it campaigned on lower taxes for poor people.

But he says that's outweighed by the opportunities it offers the party to deliver what it promised supporters.

“On Monday I’m taking to Parliament with the attorney general the bill to repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act. It will be repealed shortly. It will get the go ahead at Cabinet on Monday. It’s just the way it is. You do what you can when you can,” Dr Sharples says.


Meanwhile, Maori Anglicans will this weekend consider the future of the church's Maori boarding schools.

John Gray, the Bishop of Te Waipounamu, says the biannual Runanganui at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre will hear reports on the prospects for reopening the two Auckland schools, Queen Victoria and St Stephens, which closed at the start of the decade.

They will also consider the future of Te Aute and Hukarere in the Hawkes Bay, which have been financially crippled by Glasgow leases imposed by the Crown which mean lands supposed to endow the schools has been leased out in perpetuity for peppercorn rents.

“They're looking for the vision to develop the school to 2035. There’s been a number of people engaged in looking at curriculum and how best this will serve not only Te Aute but also Hukarere into the future so it’s really future aspirations, future planning and what is the best way they can utilize the colleges to bring leadership out of them within Maoridom,” Bishop Gray says.

The Runanganui this morning was unable to reach a decision on whether same-sex orientation should be a barrier to ordination, with Bishop Grey telling the hui that while Destiny Church was declaring its leader Brian Tamaki a king, the Anglicans were arguing about keeping out queens.


Kapa haka is changing hearts in minds in Murihiku, where Maori are relatively scarce.

Yesterday more than 600 children from 11 primary schools took part in Southland's largest Maori festival, Nga Putangitangi, while their parents clapped, cheered and stamped their feet in support.

Event organiser Rosina Shandley says children from many ethnic backgrounds are experiencing bi-culturalism first hand and their parents are gaining cultural understanding in the process.


Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says a new advocacy service is aimed to break the dependency many Maori families have on government agencies.

The Kaitoko Whanau programme launched yesterday will fund 50 Maori service providers to hire workers who will help families in trouble interact with government agencies to find a coordinated solution to their problems.

Dr Sharples says the philosophy of empowement underpinning the scheme hark back to his own days as a Maori Affairs community officer.

“This is the old Tu Tangata programme, by Maori and for Maori, and that’s the whole beauty of it. It’s not unlike the old community officer except the officer belonged to a department, and while Te Puni Kokiri might have a role in administering the funds to them, these workers are entirely working with their whanau and their community organisations,” Dr Sharples says.

Kaitoko Whanau is a precursor to the wider whanau ora community development framework the Maori Party is trying to get the Government to adopt.


A good eye, and a steady hand will be needed by the 140 Maori who are set to take part in the fifth Maori Darts champs in Porirua this weekend.

Kapi-Mana Darts Association secretary Paula Mascoe says darts are really popular with Maori.

She says the New Zealand scene is not as competitive or professional as the scene in the United Kingdom, where people make a living out of playing darts.


Te Tai Rawhiti hosts the primary school national kapa haka championships this weekend, giving it practice for running Te Matatini in 2011.

The 25 teams and supporters expected in Gisborne for the bi-annual event include King Tuheitia, whose daughter is part of the Rakaumangamanga team from Huntly.

Tairawhiti kapa haka identity Willie Te Aho says Poverty Bay's failure to make the NPC semi-finals meant organisers had more time to set up at Rugby Park.

Housing costs driving up Maori child poverty

The high cost of housing is being blamed for a rise in child poverty, especially among Maori.

Susan St John from the Child Poverty Action Group says the Ministry of Social Development's report for the last year shows one in five children was living in a household under significant financial stress, with housing costs a major factor.

She says the trend is getting worse as the recession bites.

“Maori children are disproportionately represented in low income households and in particular household that are supported by a benefit We can conclude from that Maori children are falling under the poverty line to a greater extent than they were and we could be looking for further deterioration,” Dr St John says.

The government could mitigate the problem by including beneficiaries in the Working For Families scheme,


Labour Maori affairs spokesperson Parekura Horomia says Maori concerns about the tapu of body samples is outweighed by the need to give the police the tools they need to fight crime.

Labour joined with National and ACT in voting for a new law which will allow police to take DNA samples from suspects without a court order.

Mr Horomia says while many Maori will be concerned at the change, they also have an interest in seeing criminals caught.

“There's some realities about hard crime and incessant crime in our communities and that stuff needs to be sorted. This has been tried overseas and it’s tested reasonably well and I’m sure there are minuses and pluses to it but for my part I’m getting hoha about all the hard stuff people are getting away with,” Mr Horomia says.

The DNA sampling to be introduced over the next two years will revolutionise law enforcement.


Gay priests are on the agenda for Maori Anglicans gathered in Auckland for their biannual runanganui.

The Bishop of Te Waipounamu, John Gray, says Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa's Commission on Human Sexuality will report back on whether Maori consider same-sex orientation a barrier to ordination.

He says it's important Maori develop their own views on the issue which has divided the church.

“For tikanga Maori we’ve said we have to look at these issues and we’d like to approach these issues quite differently from how Pakeha diocese are doing it, so we work among our people and fund out exactly their response to this whole area of sexuality,” Bishop Gray says.

The runanganui will also consider the future of the Maori boarding schools affiliated to the church.


New Maori family advocates are being urged to learn from the tu tangata era of Maori community development.

The Kaitoko Whanau programme launched yesterday by Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples will fund Maori service providers around the country to take on whanau advocates who will act as bridges between families under stress and government agencies.

Bill Kaua from Wellington-based Te Roopu Awhina, says it's similar to the sorts of community-led programmes which were developed in the Department of Maori Affairs in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

He says a special sort of person is needed to make it work.

“They've got to be people of mana. The thing is we ensured that kaumatua kuia were also involved. If we’re talking whanau concept then those who are the advocates, if that was me, I’d be making sure I set up a fairly good whanau around myself, kaumatua, kuia, people with particular expertise, and I think the koroua kuia aspect is very important,” Mr Kaua says.

He says the Kaitoko Whanau can change the way government agencies interact with Maori.


Greater Wellington Regional Council has a message for its northern counterpart - get Maori involved early.

Mayor Fran Wilde says rather than wait for central government to tell it what to do, the council has appointed representatives of the seven mana whenua iwi to a new committee which will set natural resource strategies for the next five years.

She says it didn't seek the permission of Local Government Minister Rodney Hide.

“We didn't need to. We’re able to make committees as we wish. We’ve had legal opinions on what we can and can’t do. We’ve followed hem. We have chosen to do it in our region because we think it’s the best model for our region,” Ms Wilde says.

She says the new plan is a cost effective way of replacing the existing suite of regional plans with a single, integrated plan for natural resources.


Maori are being called to join a protest in Auckland tonight in support of raising the minimum wage to $15.

Sue Bradford, who retired as a Green MP this week, says Maori are over-represented among those getting the minimum wage, which is currently $12.50 an hour.

She says it's in their interest to turn out in force at the march, which leaves Aotea Square at 7pm.

“There's a whole campaign run by the Unite union to get enough signatures on a petition to push the kaupapa, push the take, of busting the minimum wage because so many people are earning such low wages still,” Ms Bradford says.

She says the minimum wage is forcing hundreds of thousands of people to live in poverty.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Race complaint by Pakeha down

Complaints by Pakeha that Maori get special treatment have gone down.

Race relations commissioner Joris de Bres says that's a positive feature of the 2009 Human Rights Commission report tabled in parliament this week.

Race accounted for about 40 percent of the 3489 complaints received by the commission, with the balance involving broader human rights issues, such as the rights of seasonal workers and the right to education for children.

Mr de Bres says the complaints can be a good social barometer.

Maori continue to complain about discrimination in housing and employment, but the bulk of complaints to his office now come from Asia migrants reporting harassment.


A Maori business leader says Housing New Zealand has let Maori down by not building more homes.

Paul Morgan, the chair of Nelson-based Whakatu Incorporation and a director of investment firm Fomona Capital, says over the past five years a large number of Maori moved into the construction industry.

He says the downturn in the sector was worse than it needed to be because
Housing New Zealand failed to act.

“There's quite a few Maori have lost their jobs in the construction sector because of the downturn in work. That’s where our view came with Housing Corp stock, that they should have been ready to do new starts in the past 12 months, two years, and the way they are managing it it hasn’t happened, so very disappointing,” Mr Morgan says.

New house starts have dropped from 24,000 a year to just 12,000 in the past year.


Retiring Green MP Sue Bradford says the Maori Party has made a major strategic blunder backing the introduction of the Government's Accident Compensation reform bill.

Ms Bradford says there's nothing the Maori Party can do now to change National and ACT's privatisation agenda.

She says Maori will be hurt by rises in levies and cuts to entitlements, cuts in assistance to the victims of sexual violence and to the families of suicides.

She says ACC should go back to being a pay as you go system of social assistance.


The chair of Ngati Whatua o Orakei says other iwi with claims to Auckland need to strengthen up their mandates if claims over the city are to be resolved by Christmas.

That's the target set by Office of Treaty Settlements negotiator Michael Dreaver, who is trying to work out where Tainui, hauraki and other mana whenua groups fit into the picture.

Grant Hawke says Ngati Whatua took six years to negotiate the agreement in principle which was set aside after protests by the other iwi.

He says going through that process has given the hapu an insight into what the other iwi need to come up with to justify their presence at the table.

“I'm a little skeptical about it because the non-compliance of other groups in not having developed their core messages. We know we belong under the treaty or the process of the treaty. How do we belong,” Mr Hawke says.


The Human Rights commission has renewed its call for the Government to ratify the United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous people.

Race relations commissioner Joris de Bres says despite the previous Government joining Australia, the United States and Canada in voting against the declaration, it is proving valuable to people working on rights issues.

“It is a good document. Yes, It is the subject of compromise and so on, but we are certainly using it in looking at indigenous issues in New Zealand and we’re using it as an important part of the basis for a new discussion paper we are putting out on the treaty and human rights in New Zealand next year,” Mr de Bres says.

The government has told the United Nations it is reconsidering New Zealand's view on the declaration.

Other recommendations in the Human Rights Commission's 2009 report include a review of constitutional arrangements to give greater effect to the Treaty of Waitangi, reducing the disproportionate number of Maori in prison, and developing a national plan to combat poverty.


The chair of Nelson's Whatatu Incorporation says subsidies for home insulation are unlikely to help Maori.

The Maori Party made insulation subsidies a condition for its support of the Government's changes to the emissions trading scheme.

But Paul Morgan says the money on offer isn't enough to help low income Maori make their homes warm and dry.

“It will be very interesting to see the uptake into Maori homes of these insulation programmes. I’m not sure if they will be keeping statistics. My gut feeling is once again we won’t get the uptake of the rest of the community. Probably those with median incomes or higher getting the subsidies and not the low income people, so it’s defeating its purpose in many ways,” he says.

Mr Morgan says some of the subsidy pool should have been earmarked specifically for Maori.

DNA law will be used responsibly claims English

Acting prime minister Bill English is playing down the fears of Maori Party MP Rahui Katene that new DNA sampling laws will bring young Maori into conflict with the police.

The Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Amendment Act was passed under urgency yesterday with only the Maori Party and the Greens voting against it.

Mr English says DNA sampling is a potent weapon in the fight against crime and the police are keen to expand its use.

“Comments that Rahui's made means there are many people going to be keeping a very close eye on it because you’ve always got to be careful the police use the discretion they’ve got carefully, that they don’t overstep the mark and I think it’s the same with any police power. It will be accepted by the community if it’s used wisely and well and it will be the same with DNA,” Mr English says.

The law fulfils a National 2008 election campaign promise.


And Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson says DNA sampling will protect Maori from lazy lawyering and wrong court decisions.

Parekura Horomia says many young Maori get poor service from legal aid lawyers and end up pleading guilty to crimes they have not committed.

“There are some lazy lawyers who use it as an excuse to clock up our people who are getting done over or locked up or charged unnecessarily. We have a lot of decisions made in this country that are unproven or people saying ‘well I never did it,’” Mr Horomia says.


A former member of Rotorua District Council's Te Arawa standing committee says Maori in the region need to use the ballot box to effect change.

Hawea Vercoe quit this month because he says the committee is a toothless taniwha where iwi representatives are outnumbered two to one by council members or appointees.

He says that imbalance contributes to the Rotorua council's opposition to Maori wards, meaning Maori face huge obstacles getting a meaningful voice on council.

“The key for Maoridom is somehow addressing the level of apathy we’ve still got when it comes to voting. Rotorua’s got 36 percent Maori population yet we still struggle to get Maori representatives voted on,” Mr Vercoe says.

He follows the resignation of Piki Thomas last month, so the Te Arawa committee now includes only one iwi representative.


A veteran of the Department of Maori Affairs says a new whanau advocacy programme harks back to the Tu Tangata era of the 1970s and 80s.

Maori Affairs minister Pita Sharples launched the kaitoko whanau scheme at Waiwhetu Marae in Lower Hutt this morning.

Te Puni Kokiri will fund iwi and runanga around the country to hire 50 advocates to work in communities to ensure families under stress are getting the services they are entitled to.

Bill Kaua, a former Maori Affairs regional manager, says community involvement is a hallmark of the tu tangata philosophy.

“Tu tangata was a kaupapa which has been handed down generation to generation by our people. The kaitoko programme is very much a tu tangata type programme where the actual job is being managed and monitored by the people. It’s very similar to some of the programmes we ran in the departmental days,” Mr Kaua says.

As a Maori Affairs community officer in the 1980s, Pita Sharples had hands on experience with tu tangata.


The government wants to hear from iwi interested in buying state houses.

Yesterday Whakatu Incorporation chairman Paul Morgan said it is the right time for Housing New Zealand to sell its 70-thousand homes to low income families and use the proceeds to build new houses.

Acting prime minister Bill English says National government policy is to allow sales to tenants, but it's unlikely to be taken up on a large scale because few tenants can afford to buy them.

He says the government is aptly described as the nation's largest slum landlord.

“The actual quality of the houses has been running down because the money that was meant to be spent maintaining it, Labour spent on buying new houses so they could say they were building and buying new houses so we are actually keen to hear from iwi who have ideas about participating in running the government’s housing stock or as Paul has mentioned where some of these houses can be sold to their occupants,” Mr English says.


Getting the Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement may seem a sign of acceptance by the establishment, but academic and writer Ranginui Walker is still firing the salvos that had him branded radical in the 1970s and 80s.

The 77-year-old from Te Whakatohea says he was just pointing out to Pakeha that grievances needed to be set right or New Zealand would end up with riots such as those which happened in America.

He says the Waitangi Tribunal, which he served on in recent years, had been a way the country addressed those grievances.

“It was George Bernard Shaw who said the real history of mankind is deplorable but there’s hope in bits of it and we are seeing the hope in bits of it now in our own time as our two people intermarry and forge our future together,” Professor Walker says.

He feels honoured to be measured alongside past recipients of the award like Dame Anne Salmond and the late Michael King.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Race still source of complaint

Race discrimination remains the most common form of complaint to the Human Rights Commission.

The commission's 2009 report tables in parliament yesterday shows 40 percent of complaints and enquiries to the commission in the past year related to race.

Race relations commissioner Joris de Bres says that could be a sign of the tensions that arise as New Zealand attempts to build a multi-cultural society.

“We value the fact there’s more than one culture. That may lead to a bit of rubbing here and there. But overall now we are a country that not only has two founding cultures, at least for modern New Zealand, but now also has a variety of other cultures. That always has the potential to lead to tension, but it also has the potential to enrich society here,” Mr de Bres says.

Tensions between Maori and non-Maori are no longer a major source of complaints, and international students are the groups who most complain they are harrassed.


Maori spectrum claimants will be arguing for a larger share of any frequencies which become available because of the shift to digital television.

Piripi Walker from Nga Kaiwhakapumau i te Reo Maori, which with the Maori Council led the broadcasting and spectrum claims, says the imminent reassignment of large blocks of spectrum raises a large set of treaty issues.

He says the Crown may need to be reminded of the strong findings the Waitangi Tribunal made back in 1990 in its Radio Frequencies Allocation report.

“When there is any question mark over a resource or its alienation or matters of scarcity, the tribunal said that iwi have a prior interest over all other users by virtue of the treaty. It’s a pretty powerful perception of access and rights to use and development and rights to opportunity,” Mr Walker says.

Maori groups with interests in the spectrum issue have been called to a two day hui in Wellington next week.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei is warning a free trade agreement with Malaysia holds dangers for Maori.

She says while the agreement signed in Kuala Lumpur on Monday will be good for exporters, it could devastate the manufacturing sector where many Maori are employed.

“The agreements always raise issue for us because they risk New Zealand jobs. In a recession, particularly for Maori who suffer the effects of the recession more because of the nature of our employment, that’s the key issue for Maori to be aware that these agreements can damage our economy in terms of employment,” Ms Turei says.

She says Malaysia's record on human rights and environmental abuse isn't good, and the agreement may be done on the backs of poorly paid indigenous workers.


A Maori business leader is calling on the government to sell its housing stock to low income families and use the proceeds to build new houses.

Paul Morgan, the chair of Nelson's Whakatu Incorporation, says Housing New Zealand owns 70 thousand homes.

He says it's the right time for a targeted programme to turn those houses over.

“From those transactions use the capital to reinvest in building new housing stock because clearly in the past 12 months we’ve had a drop in home starts and dwellings being built and I would imagine in the next 12 to 24 months we will see a shortage emerge again because we have had a net growth in population,” Mr Morgan says.

He says Housing New Zealand has been failing in its social obligation to build new housing, so it has been of little use to the construction industry where many Maori were employed before the recession.


A Maori academic says the privatisation of accident compensation create opportunity for Maori providers.

Rawiri Taonui, the head of Maori and ethnic studies at Canterbury Univeristy, says ACC system is not serving Maori well.

He says the corporation's own figures show Maori are 40 percent more likely than Pakeha to suffer injury from an accidents, yet they are the last to get treated and the most likely to have treatment terminated early.

He says opening the system to competition may be a good thing.

“There might be opportunity to discuss how this might work for the Maori people. I mean we only have to look at the reforms in the health system and also the education system to see that where Maori providers came in, it turned things round in a way that’s significant enough to say we should look at this one,” Mr Taonui says.

Maori providers would be well suited to working in injury prevention.


The All Whites aren't so all white these days.

Almost half the Young All Whites football team competing at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup competition in Nigeria are of Maori or Pacific Island descent.

New Zealand Football communications manager Jamie Scott says young Maori are being attracted away from rugby and league to a sport which offers international opportunities.

He says top level players can make a good living in the United States or Europe, and there are scholarships and academy places available for talented youngsters.

Maori players who shone in the team's 1-all draw with Costa Rica on Monday included midfielder Zane Sole, goalkeeper Coey Turipa and flanker Thomas Spragg.

At 4am tomorrow New Zealand time the team runs plays Burkina Faso.

Vercoe quits “toothless taniwha” committee

A former member of Rotorua District Council's Te Arawa standing committee says his experience doesn't augur well for Maori representation on the Auckland super city.

Hawea Vercoe says he quit the committee because it was toothless taniwha.

He says it contrasts with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, where he was elected to one of the three Maori wards.

“Just the fact we have a vote means we are listened to, we are consulted fully right to the back room lobbying that goes on. There’s none of that respect of acknowledgement to members of an advisory committee because they don’t have to have their vote of support,” Mr Vercoe says.

Because only three of the nine members on the Te Arawa standing committee are elected by iwi with the rest chosen from or by council, it is not a true voice for the iwi.


A new Maori construction company hopes to provide jobs for young Maori entering the workforce.

Aotearoa Construction is headed by former rugby league players with whanau connections to the industry ... Tawera Nikau's in demolition, and Ritchie Barnett's in marae development.

Mr Nikau says they're talking with iwi about possible projects, and with two of the wananga about skills training.

He says it's the rangatahi who stand to benefit most.

“They go to kohanga reo. They didn’t go to kura kaupapa. Then they go to wananga but after that there’s no entry point into the workplace. There’s been a lot of initiatives over the part 12 to 18 months in terms of training people up but you can train people as much as you want but if they don’t have a job to go to, you’re setting them up for failure,” Mr Nikau says.

He says Aotearoa Construction would be the natural partner for iwi wanting to invest in infrastructure projects.


A trust is being set up to promote the legacy of the late Hone Tuwhare.

Son Rob Tuwhare says the trust's first project is to buy the Catlins crib where the Ngapuhi poet spent the last 15 years of life and turn it into a residence for young writers.

He says the idea is drawing support from the people of the south who embraced his father when he left his job as a boilermaker to take up a Burns fellowship at Otago University.

Rob Tuwhare says the poems brought together Maori and Pakeha.

“People who haven't read poetry and didn’t think they would like poetry, dad’s style is really easy to understand and a lot of it’s humorous, a lot of it is serious and political, a lot of it is relationships and this sort of work is easy to understand and I think for an introduction to poetry, Hone’s a good place to start really,” Mr Tuwhare says.

The trust want to translate Hone Tuwhare's work into Te Reo and make it more widely available to schools.


Maori spectrum claimants are shaping up for a showdown over the allocation or sale of frequencies freed up by the shift to digital television over the next few years.

The Maori Council and Nga Kaiwhakapumau i te Reo Maori is calling together iwi and interested Maori groups for a two-day hui at Kokiri Marae in Petone next week.

Nga Kaiwhakapumau treasurer Piripi Walker says the formal consultation over the frequencies hasn't started yet, but the Crown needs reminding of the Waitangi Tribunal and High Court findings which led to the allocation of spectrum for iwi radio, Maori television and cell phone networks.

“The Crown has never accepted there could be an article two right where Maori should be regarded as the proprietors of an unsold resource. The Crown believes it came in the modern world into the right of proprietorship over these frequencies as modernisation occurs. It has the right to auction them off and sell them without recourse to Maori. Maori don't hold that view,” Mr Walker says.


The Race Relations Commissioner says young people need to be encouraged to speak their minds, even if upsets politicians.

Joris de Bres has drawn fire from Michael Laws for giving certificates to students from an Otaki kura who wote to the Wanganui mayor criticising his opposition to spelling Wanganui with an H.

He says as commissioner he issues commendations every month to individuals or groups who contribute to positive race relations.

Mr de Bres says democracy means Mr Laws has a right to express his views, and so do children.


A new publication aims to highlight the best in Maori in business and education.

He Kupu Wakataki, The Journal of Best Practice in Applied Maori Indigenous Vocational Education, is a collaboration between Tairawhiti Polytechnic, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi, Northland Polytechnic and Waiariki Institute of Technology.

Project manager Mereheeni Hooker says it's timely, given the current economic climate and the growing economic strength of Maori.

The annual journal will also cover the experiences of other indigenous peoples.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Conciliator impervious to mayoral bullying

The Race Relations Commissioner is shrugging off a campaign by Michael Laws to have him sacked.

The Wanganui mayor is upset at Joris de Bres's support for students at an Otaki kura who questioned his opposition to restoring the H in the spelling of the city's name.

Mr Laws responded by telling the children he would only take their views seriously when they start addressing the real issues of Maoridom such as rates of child abuse and child murder.

Mr de Bres says part of his job is highlighting contributions to positive race relations and that's why he presented the girls with certificates last Friday.

“This is just a way of saying to them ‘Look, good on you for writing, you should have the courage of your convictions and you shouldn’t fell intimidated by the mayor of Wanganui.’ So it was a message saying to keep feeling confident to speak your minds and don't be intimidated,” Mr de Bres says.

Other groups who got a certificate or letter this month included the Christchurch Russian Cultural Centre and the organisers of a festival in Gisborne marking the landing of Captain Cook.


League stars Tawera Nikau and Richie Barnet have set up a construction company to target iwi development projects.

Mr Nikau laid out his plans for Aotearoa Construction to the Federation of Maori Authorities conference over the weekend.

He says with talk around of major infrastructure development by iwi, it's important Maori be more than passive investors.

“A lot of the iwi, the likes of Tainui and Ngai Tahu, are already talking to the Government around those projects at the moment in terms of those public private partnerships so the bigger picture is long term investment for Maori, employment, training and the upskilling of our people. If Maori don’t look after their people, nobody else will,” Mr Nikau says.

He says a large number of Maori work at the lower ends of the construction industry, but the time is right for them to move into decision-making and profit-sharing roles.


The family of the late Hone Tuwhare is setting up a retreat for writers at the Catlins crib where the poet spent the last 15 years of his life.

Son Rob Tuwhare says a trust is being formed to buy and restore the Kaka Point property.

He says a year after his father's death interest continues to grow in the work of the Ngapuhi poet, who has just been included in an Australian anthology for secondary schools of writing from around the world.

“The first stop is Aotearoa and the first poem is dad’s poem Rain and then they travel to South America and look at a poem by Pablo Neruda and when you see dad on par with those international writers like Dylan Thomas, you think ‘He’s up there with world poets,’” Mr Tuwhare says.

Fund raising for the Kaka Point residency will start early in the new year.


The Race Relations Commissioner says young people need to be encouraged to
speak their minds, even if upset politicians.

Joris de Bres has drawn fire from Michael Laws for giving certificates to
students from an Otaki kura who wote to the Wanganui mayor criticising his
opposition to spelling Wanganui with an H.

He says as commissioner he issues commendations every month to individuals
or groups who contribute to positive race relations.

Mr de Bres says democracy means Mr Laws has a right to express his views,
and so do children.

“We should encourage children to express their views and we shouldn’t intimidte them. We should take them seriously whether or not we agree with them and so in this case, this was a group of young Maori children who I was very impressed by when I went to meet them, very proud of their culture, performed a wonderful kapa haka sequence at the concert, and I thought these children need encouragement, not dismissal,” Mr de Bres


There was a special welcome for widows at a reunion of New Zealand troops who fought in Malaya and Borneo in the 1950s and 60s.

Hundreds of veterans gathered at the Manurewa RSA over Labour Weekend to catch up with old comrades, enjoy performances by members of the Maori Volcanics showband and attend a church service featuring the first reading of a specially commissioned collect for Malayan veterans.

Organising committee member Jim Perry says a special place was made for widows, with the ritual of kawe mate providing a link to the many fallen comrades.

“Our widows are very important to us and for the first time ever widows have been invited to a reunion. Hey brought their husbands’ photos on and we got them blessed,” Mr Perry says.

Guests at the reunion included the Governor General and King Tuheitia... who was a territorial with 161 Battery.


A chance to hang out with whanau was as much a draw as the titles on offer when Taranaki hosted the Maori surfing champs over the weekend.

Bachelor Tipene from Ngati Ruanui picked up the open men's title and Jessica Santorik of Ngati Raparapa beat defending champion Jayda Martin-Fitzharris of Ngati Porou in the open women's division.

Waretini Wano continued the Taranaki dominance, with the Te Atiawa 13-year-old winning the under 18 title.

His father Te Kauhoe Wano says Maori surfers are always keen to take part in the Aotearoa championship because it offers something extra.

“There's another element to the Maori surf nationals and it’s the tikanga side and the reo side and more importantly the whanaugatanga side because surfing can be an individual sport. It’s all about doing things as a whanau and it brings the best out in our Maori surfers,” Mr Wano says.


Whanaungatanga was also to the fore at the Nga Hau E Wha squash tournament, which drew 180 players to Hastings and Havelock North over the weekend.

Michael Pittams of Wellington took the men's open title, and combined with Tamsyn Leevey to beat Auckland couple Trevor Walker and Tania Tatana in the open doubles.

Commonwealth Games silver medalist Leevey, from Ngati Tuwharetoa, also retained her women's open title, which she has held five times in 10 appearances at the tourney.

“It's an awesome tournament which is why I go back, for the atmosphere. It’s well run and everyone feels like family. It’s great to be part of the whole event,” she says.

Tamsyn Leevey is looking forward to defending her title at next year's tournament at Wellington's Island Bay club, nine days after the end of the New Delhi Commonwealth Games.

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ACC privatisation back to bad old days

A Maori lawyer says privatisation of accident compensation will leave many Maori without cover.

Moana Jackson says the Government’s review of whether the ACC’s workers’ account should be opened up to competition is just the latest in a long line of attempts to whittle down the world-leading system.

He says before ACC most Maori couldn’t afford accident insurance and did not have the resources to sue if they were injured at work.

“A large majority of Maori people who were injured in those days were nor covered, got no compensation, spent their lives really ill afterwards because they couldn’t get proper care and so on. Do we want to go back to a situation where a great majority of our people do not get coverage,” Mr Jackson says.


Paraninihi ki Waitotara is having a good year.

The giant incorporation, which manages 18,000 hectares of Taranaki land and produces two million kilograms of milk solids a year, suffered setbacks in recent years from property investments across the Tasman.

But general manager Ranald Gordon says the farming operation is going well, despite the recession and the high kiwi dollar.

He says last year was testing with the drop in payout, but the incorporation is now well ahead of budgets, it has its costs under control and it is just waiting for the weather to improve.

Ranald Gordon says dairy farmers see demand for their products lifting across Asia, increasing hope of an increased pay out.


There's new hope for the one in seven Maori men who suffer from gout.
Otago University researchers say the painful form of arthritis can be beaten once and for all by upping the dose of allopurinol, the main medicine used to treat it.

Rheumatologist Lisa Stamp says by taking allopurinol above the levels recommended by United States regulators, 86 percent of gout sufferers had less uric acid in their blood.

In many cases it led to a complete cure.

She says gout tends to run in families, but there is still a stigma surrounding gout meaning people don’t seek treatment.

Lisa Stamp says while alcohol and fatty food does bring on gout, seafood is also full of uric acid so Maori from whanau who are genetically predisposed to the disease need to be careful about the amount they eat.


Groups involved in spectrum claims plan to meet next month to discuss how Maori can share in the digital dividend coming as frequencies used for analogue television are freed up by the shift to digital transmission.

Mavis Mullins from Te Huarahi Tika Trust says the Maori spectrum trust’s involvement in the establishment of mobile phone company Two Degrees through its Hautaki subsidiary shows how involvement in the area can have benefits for Maori and the country as a whole.

She says there’s still a lot of opposition to the notion that radio spectrum is covered by the treaty, so a united front is needed.

“Even though Te Huarahi Tika and Hautaki came from a tribunal claim, it’s not actually a settlement of, so it has left perhaps the door open for those original claimants. This is about more than Te Huarahi Tika Trust. This is also about all spectrum and there’s a lot happening in this space right now,” Ms Mullins says.

The hui at Kokiri Marae in Petone on November 5 and 6 has been called by the Maori Council and Nga Kaiwhakapumau o Te Reo Maori, which successfully led the Maori language and broadcasting claims and then negotiated a resolution to the spectrum claim.


A Creative New Zealand board member says the $320,000 a year previously spent maintaining the Toi Iho Maori made mark will go to other Maori artistic activities.

Erima Henare says seven years after it was launched only 230 Maori artists had registered for to use the guarantee of authenticity.

He says Creative New Zealand’s Maori arm, Te Waka Toi is looking for a suitable kaitiaki to maintain the mark, if that’s what the artists want.

But it can’t justify any further spending.

“The $320,000 that had previously been spent on it will go to Te Waka Toi to prioritise into some of the other funding cateories they have, so it will stay iin the Maori arts community,” Mr Henare says.

He says any marae will know how hard it is to raise $320,000 and how far it can be stretched.


Local knowledge gave Taranaki surfers the edge at the Auhi Kore Aotearoa Maori championships over the weekend,

They took home four trophies including the hotly contested open men’s title, which went to Bachelor Tipene of Ngati Ruanui.

Te Kauhoe Wano, the host of Maori Television’s surfing show, says Tipene has come close in past years, and this year has show consistent competition form.

In the women's division, Jessica Santorik of Ngati Raparapa beat defending champion Jayda Martin-Fitzharris of Ngati Porou.

Daniel Procter from Uepohatu took out the longboard division, and 13-year-old Waretini Wano from Te Atiawa picked up the Under 18 title.