Waatea News Update

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Heat goes on Harawira

There are signs of a split in the Maori Party leadership over maverick MP Hone Harawira.

Mr Harawira is under fire for skipping a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels to go sightseeing in Paris with his wife Hilda co-leader.

The Tai Tokerau MP has compounded the crisis by accusing a Maori critic of believing the "white man bullshit".

Tariana Turia told Radio Waatea she'd been led to understand Mr Harawira missed the Brussels' meeting because of illness, and his actions raise doubts about whether the Maori Party's word can be trusted.

But her co-leader Pita Sharples says Mr Harawira is known as an entrepreneur who breaks the odd rule here or there.

“New Zealand has to weigh up the value of his intellect and his perception of issues as opposed to his odd rule breaking and that’s how it is and so does the Maori Party. We’re a team and we’ve got to work these things out among ourselves, how we go,” Dr Sharples says.

He says it's up to the speaker to investigate whether Mr Harawira's actions breached parliament's rules.


A former fisheries minister says his recipe for kick starting the aquaculture industry will be of huge benefit to Maori.

Sir Douglas Kidd chaired a technical working group which recommended a raft of changes, including allowing new marine farms outside the existing aquaculture management areas.

Fisheries minister Phil Heatley has welcomed the recommendations and called a fresh round of consultation.

Sir Douglas says it's important to maintain the integrity of the Maori commercial aquaculture settlement, which has so far been a complete failure in terms of giving Maori marine farming space.

“We would preserve the essence of that settlement and find ways to enable Maori to be at the forefront of the newly relaunched aquaculture. We make a very hard stance that 20 percent of the space at least has got to be for Maori,” Sir Douglas says.

There needs to be a special aquaculture division in the Fisheries Ministry as well as are stringent rules to protect the environment.


The selection of Zac Guildford on the wing for the All Blacks' test against Wales this weekend is being seen as proof hard work pays dividends.

Sky Rugby commentator Karl Te Nana says with Corey Jane starting on the other wing, that makes two wingers with Kahungunu whakapapa.

Guildford was just 18 when he first played for Hawkes Bay in the Air New Zealand Cup, and he's notched 13 tries for his province this season.


The Maori Party is considering disciplinary action against Hone Harawira.

A member of the party's ruling council, retired Maori Land Court judge Heta Hingston, says the Tai Tokerau MP's unauthorised side trip to Paris during an official visit to the European parliament in Brussels, and his subsequent expletive-laden emailed response to criticism of his action, doesn't match up to the high standards of integrity the party sets for itself.

“We expect our members, and especially our MPs as leaders and role models, to demonstrate manaakitanga, rangatiratanga, kaitiakitanga and wairuatanga in all that they do. What has happened is a serious breach of the kaupapa and the tikanga of the party,” Judge Hingston says.

Any complaint needs to be discussed with Mr Harawira and his electorate committee, and if there is an unsatisfactory response it will go to a disciplinary committee of senior members.


Ngai Tahu has welcomed one of its own back for a show at Christchurch Art Gallery of the way museums store taonga.

The Vault by Neil Pardington from Kati Mamoe, Kai tahu, Kati Waewae and pakeha consists of 35 large-scale photographic works taken in storage spaces that are normally closed to the public.

Mr Pardington says working in museums over the past 20 years has opened his eyes to how culture is defined by what is collected and stored there.

“There's so much different material in the museum; contemporary art work, taonga Maori, natural history collections, or even cupboards full of props and mannequins. One challenge is honouring those objects and their histories and another is taking compelling photographs that people want to look at and appreciate,” Mr Pardington says.

BBecause many of the works were taken behind the scenes at the Rotorua Museum, last night's opening included a special welcome for Te Arawa members who travelled south with their taonga.


The full house signs are out for tomorrow night for the ninth Kahungunu Sports Awards in Waipukerau.

Event manager Teresa O Brien says more than 350 guests are expected to honour the top Maori athletes with links to the Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa.

The Kahungunu Sports Awards will acknowledge six world champions from rugby, rugby league, pistol shooting and shearing.

Aquaculture ban lifted in billion dollar push

Maori are welcoming the lifting of the ban on new marine farms.
Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley announced the end of the moratorium at the aquaculture industry conference in Nelson yesterday.

He said allowing marine farming outside the current aquaculture management areas can help marine farming become a billion dollar industry within a decade.

Coromandel mussel farmer Harry Mikaere says the ban has stalled the industry for the past decade.

He says the minister's promise to adopt the recommendations of a technical advisory group headed by former Fisheries Minister Sir Douglas Kidd was music to the ears of the delegates.

“It's going to make it a lot easier, it gives us confidence, I think the durability we were looking for in terms of this allows our industry to be more confident about that and we applaud the government for taking this particular review on,” Mr Mikaere says.

The Kidd report upholds the principle that at least a fifth of marine farm area should be for Maori while containing strong measures to protect the environment from the over-expansion.


New figures show Maori are suffering the brunt of job losses caused by the recession.

The Household Labour Force survey shows in the past year Maori unemployment has rocketed from 9.6 percent to 14.2 percent.

That’s an increase of almost 10 thousand out of work.

Pakeha unemployment has only gone from 3.1 to 4.5 percent.

Council of Trade Unions secretary Peter Conway says the recession has hit hard in the construction and manufacturing sectors, which employed large numbers of Maori.

“Maori are also a younger population on average and youth unemployment is now above 25 percent so part of it is that and there also may be still some discrimination in the labour market. I’m not saying it’s there but others say it’s there and hitting Maori hard,” Mr Conway says.

The CTU says the government needs to take specific action to fight Maori unemployment or the social consequences will be around for generations.


He may be remembered as a comedian, but the late Billy Taitoko James started his entertainment career as a musician in Maori showbands.

Biographer Matt Elliott says Billy T's comic success before his early death almost 20 years ago have overshadowed his musical prowess.

But he says for the boy from the small Waikato town of Leamington, that early experience playing and singing in bands like the Maori Volcanics paved the way for that later success.

“New Zealand performers are always talking about cracking it overseas. Well the showbands were doing that. They were playing the top venues in the UK and the states and Germany and Bermuda, they were packing houses out, and Billy really did learn how to work an audience and the stage with the showbands,” Mr Elliot says.

He says part of Billy T's comic genius was his ability to find humour in racial stereotypes without favour to Maori or Pakeha.
"The Life and Times of Billy T James", is published this week.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says Hone Harawira's Paris holiday was a breach of trust from his party and the New Zealand public.

The Tai Tokerau MP skipped meetings with European Parliament MPs in Brussell to take wife Hilda to the French capital 300 kilometres to the south.

Mrs Turia says Hone Harawira was the leader of the parliamentary delegation, and his actions bring the credibility of the Maori Party into question.

“All of us have to be really conscious as to the perception that’s created as to how we use public funds. The public doesn’t actually fund us to go on holiday and have a look around and that's the reality,” Mrs Turia says.

She says she understood Hone Harawira was too sick to make the meetings, until he revealed the side trip in a newspaper column.


The anniversary of the last military action of the land wars has brought a call for New Zealand to rethink its involvement in the Afghanistan conflict.
It's 128 years since 1500 armed constabulary and militia invaded the coastal Taranaki settlement of Parihaka to end a campaign of passive resistance to land confiscation.

Te Miringa Hohaia, the director of the Parihaka International Peace Festival, says that gives the community a unique perspective on the National Government's decision to escalate its involvement in the conflict from peacekeeping to combat.

“We're there as an occupation army. Parihaka was occupied so I’m not at all happy with the fact the New Zealand government can continue to corrupt the psyche of the nation in the same way that occurred in 1881 without there being a robust referendum with the ability of the nation to decide are we going to war or are we not,” Mr Hohaia says

He says Parihaka leaders Tohu Kakahi and te Whiti o Rongomai were called dangerous fanatics, the same language that is employed against Afghanistan's former Taliban government.


A leading Maori artist says Maori are sick of being an afterthought when public buildings are planned.

Judging of a design competition for the redevelopment of Queens Wharf has been deferred because city leaders were unhappy with the entrants.

That could open the door for Ngati Whatua ki Orakei, which criticised the process because it did not specify Maori or Pacific involvement.

Derek Lardelli, whose work in the new Gisborne Maori Land Court helped architects Nicholl Blackburne win a regional architecture award, says getting involved early makes a difference to the quality of the final product.

“We're so strong at giving the afterthought that people wake up to it, so now we’re starting to say you need to get Maori involved at the beginning, not the end, because they’ve had enough of being an afterthought. They need to be heard in the beginning because they are the point of identity. When you travel internationally, it’s the indigineity of our culture that stands out,” says Mr Lardelli, from Ngati Porou and Rongowhakaata.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Afghan invasion echoes through history for Parihaka

The director of the Parihaka International Peace Festival says New Zealand's involvement in the Afghanistan conflict shows the country has learned little from its own colonial history.

Today is the 128th anniversary of the invasion of the coastal Taranaki settlement by 1500 armed constabulary and militia, led by two Members of Parliament keen to end the passive resistance to land confiscation promoted by the Parihaka leaders Tohu Kakahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai.

Te Miringa Hohaia says it's a time to ask why New Zealand is involved in another occupation and war against a group which was the legitimately elected government of its nation.

“Te Whiti and Tohu were described as fanatics. The people in Afghanistan are being described in a similar way. Invariably it requires a lot of Maori soldiers being sent to these conflicts. These are important decisions made without input of the nation. I don’t think our political leaders were very wise in the 19th century. It raises strong doubts about their wisdom today,” Mr Hohaia says.

The community will mark the attack on Saturday, because the Lutheran calendar used by Taranaki Maori of the time recorded the day as the seventh.


Auckland hapu Ngati Whatua ki Orakei is welcoming a delay in redeveloping Auckland's Queens Wharf.

Auckland Mayor John Banks and the Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee today decided to pick a winner in the design competition for what was pitched as Rugby World Cup party central.

Ngati Whatua spokesperson Ngarimu Blair says the process was flawed, with no Maori or Pacific input to the design or the judging panel.

He says it's not enough to tack on a pou or put a shark's tooth paving pattern underfoot.

He says what’s needed is activities by Maori artists and performers so they can put a mauri into the area every day.


The biographer of comedian Billy T says the country could do with a good dose of his humour today.

Matt Elliott's book "The Life and Times of Billy T James" is on bookshelves this week.

He says Billy T, who died nearly 20 years ago, was able to poke fun at racial attitudes without favour to Maori or Pakeha.
Mr Elliott, a comedian himself, says he made New Zealanders laugh at themselves.

“He wasn’t making characters up. Comedy’s not fiction. He was taking things he’d seen and putting a nice exaggeration to it so you get those comic characters and we need that. Comedy is a reflection of society and holding the mirror up to ourselves,” Mr Elliott says.

He says if Billy T was around today he would find no shortage of material.


Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia says Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira threw a sickie to get a day of fun in Paris.

Mr Harawira revealed in a newspaper column he skipped an official engagement at the European Parliament in Brussels to go sightseeing in the French capital with his wife Hilda.

Mrs Turia says all MPs need to be conscious of how their use of public funds is perceived.

She says Mr Harawira wasn't straight with her at the time.

“I'm very concerned. My understanding was he was ill over in Brussels, but it would appear he’s gone public and said that in fact he went off to Paris for a trip, that it was quite a deliberate thing that he did.

“I mean the worry for me was that Hone was the leader of that delegation and I guess what we’re going to be questioned about in future in terms of any trips overseas is that can we give a guarantee that this won’t happen again, it happened in Australia, and with hand over heart I don’t think we can give that guarantee,” Mrs Turia says.


The iwi Leaders Forum has called a series of hui to develop a Maori alternative to the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

The Government has told the Maori Party it might the repeal the act, but it wants to be clear on a replacement which will recognise Maori customary interests while pretecting public access to the beaches.

The iwi forum, which includes Ngai Tahu, Ngati Toa, Whanganui, Kahungunu, Whanau Apanui, Tainui and Ngapuhi, has called a national hui in Rotorua next Tuesday afternoon, following on from a morning hui on the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Ngai Tahu chairperson Mark Solomon says there will then be regional hui up until Christmas to allow smaller iwi and hapu to have their say.

“What we have here is an opportunity to present the issue from a Maori perspective to the Crown to the nation, and come up with a resolution for all. But I totally accept that the mana of the hapu, the iwi has to be recognised,” Mr Solomon


A leading Maori scholar says a decision by the Cook's cabinet to that new permanent residents must be able to speak conversational Maori is a sign of the renaissance of the language in the island nation.

Former Maori language commission Patu Hohepa spent part of last year in the Cook Islands studying the state of the language.

He says people throughout the Pacific realise they need to work to retain their languages.

“The fear has always been that we will be losing our languages, losing culture, losing our own attitudes and many of them are now finding that key to holding on to who you are is to have your language as your mother tongue and then for anyone else coming into your country to also speak the language,” Dr Hohepa says.

Along with greater use of language there is more Cook Islands culture taught in the schools.

Maori PHO in box seat to drive reform

The chief executive of a national consortium of Maori health providers says getting on the list of nine super-PHOs to implement the Government's primary health care changes puts it in a strong position to drive the development of whanau ora.

Simon Royal says the government's agenda of better, sooner, more convenient healthcare relies on the PHOs to develop Integrated Family Health Centres, use nurse practitioners instead of doctors where appropriate, develop multi-disciplinary teams and cooperate more with hospitals.

He says the National Maori PHO will push a parallel vision of integrating health and social services under the whanau ora banner.

“We just presume that when these discussions occur and engagements with district health boards, and the ministry, there will need to be some high level discussions and we’re not unfamiliar with developing our own briefing papers and influencing discussions with ministers and we look forward to that continuing,” Mr Royal says.

The National Maori PHO must complete its business plans for how it will deliver services by next February.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says the government's welfare reforms will turn young Maori solo parents into a new class of working poor cleaning the houses of the rich.

Ms Turei says after removing training incentives for solo parents who want to upskill themselves, the government now intends to force them out to work when their youngest child is six.

She says without skills Maori will be forced into unsuitable and low paid work.

“That's what National will force, particularly our Maori mothers and fathers who are on the DPB, into. Because they’ll have no way out of that ands they will have very small children, six is not very old, these babies need care as well and they need parents around them so our people and our babies will be particularly serious. I’m horrified Paula Bennett would even entertain the idea,” Ms Turei says.

She says employment data shows job growth is not increasing as the recession supposedly recedes, so it's the wrong time to introduce policies which demand people find work.


A Bay of Islands artist says his exhibition the Art of Race Relations in the upmarket Auckland suburb of Remuera aims to challenge racial stereotypes.

Lester Hall's paintings include a portrait of the late Sir Edmund Hilary with the word tangatawhenua tattooed across his face.

The Pakeha artist says he wants to spark debate.

“Is Hillary tangata whenua or is he simply a visitor. Some Maori might think he’s not. Are they offended by me suggesting he is? But also, what about the people on the northern slopes of Remuera? Are they offended by me suggesting that he might be tangata whenua?” Hall says.


Green co-leader Metiria Turei says the Maori Party should read the fine print on its agreement with the Government over the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples went into this week's Cabinet claiming the contentious law would be scrapped, but what came out of the meeting was less definitive.

Ms Turei says if a repeal has been secured the Maori Party is to be congratulated ... but it shouldn't buy into promises which won't be delivered on, as happened over Maori seats on the Auckland super city.

“What does worry about the next step is National in their record on Maori issues in the past six months have been appalling. They make these sly kind of promises so I’m worries about any promises National may have made to the Maori Party about what will happen next,” Ms Turei says.

She says any replacement of the Foreshore and Seabed Acts needs to give small iwi and hapu the same change of securing their customary rights as large iwi.


A Maori broadcaster and commentator says it's probably too late for New Zealand to match a new Cook Islands law making conversational Maori a requirement for new permanent residents.

Derek Fox says many Pakeha New Zealanders living in the Cook Islands may find it hard to meet the language requirement.

He says the only way such a rule could work here would be if it had been introduced in 1840.

“If we did that we’d have to throw out about 85 percent of the population. How would you do that? People would say it only applies to people coming in now, and if I’m in that’s it. Really I can’t see it being applied here,” says Mr Fox, who is a regular visitor to Rarotonga.

He says there are at least four distinct brands of Cook Island Maori.


There's praise for the tutors behind the 27 school teams who competed in this week's national primary school kapa haka championships.

Rakaumangamanga from Tainui took out top honours, Manutuke from Rongowhakaata came second and West Auckland's urban Maori group Hoani Waititi was third.

Derek Lardelli, who helped organise the Gisborne event, says while the place getters confirmed their sizeable reputations, all other rohe have raised their game... and he was particularly impressed with the tamariki from Rangitane.

“It's a credit to their tutors that are going back into the historical cupboards of their own tribal areas and brining out that type of knowledge we possibly haven’t seen because they’re not seen as a kapa people and yet they are a kapa people and they’re coming forward saying that loudly,” Mr Lardelli says.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Greens fear for hapu rights in seashore deal

The Green Party is warning a national settlement over the foreshore and seabed could allow large iwi to override the interests of smaller iwi, hapu and whanua groups.

Co-leader Meteria Turei says the Maori Party is to be congratulated for getting the Government to seriously consider repealing the controversial law which led to its formation.

But as an alternative is developed over the next few months, she is not confident the Maori Party can protect small who can't afford to pursue their interests through the courts.

“I am a bit worried about the idea of a nationwide settlement because there’s talk about it being like a fisheries settlement. The fisheries settlement was a disaster for the very small iwi. It benefited the few but not the majority. We don’t want to see anything like that happen again because that’s taking the mana the rangatiratanga out of the hands of the hapu,” Ms Turei says.

She says smaller groups often turn up at select committee hearings to beg the politicians to protect their rights.


Meanwhile, associate Maori Affairs Minister Georgina te Heuheu says while good progress is being made on replacing the Foreshore and Seabed Act, National won't be rushing any legislation.

She says under the leadership of Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson a lot of work has been done with the Maori Party, the iwi leadership group, and other interested parties.

“I think everybody will be working hard to be sure there’s not even a hint of the repetition of what happened previously and finally when something is agreed upon it has the maximum buy in, not just from iwi Maori but from the public as well,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

She says a key issues is ensuring public access to beaches.


A Maori-tinged designed Ngata Memorial College's new senior school has won the attention of fellow architects.

The project which involved merging two Ruatoria schools earned Gisborne firm Nicoll-Blackburne a regional architecture award, with judges commenting on its use of the building language of the marae.

Architect James Blackburne says he tried to reflect the Ngati Porou heartland, with the roof pushing up sharply in the centre out of low sloping sides, to reflect Mt Hikurangi behind.

“From the school looking at it, it represents the maunga in that way, but looking sideways, the corridor we put in there was trying to be representative of the river, the Waiapu, and the other concept too was like an educational waka so the kids were using that, it’s their last point, and from there they’re heading out into the community,” he says.

Nicoll-Blackburne won another prize for its design for the new Gisborne Maori Land Court offices and courtroom.


A consortium of Maori providers has been selected as one of nine super-PHOs to implement the Government's primary health care reforms.

National Maori PHO chief executive Simon Royal says the next stage will be preparing a business case for meeting the government's policy of better, sooner, more convenient healthcare.

The government wants the PHOs to develop Integrated Family Health Centres, greater use of nurse practitioners, the development of more multi-disciplinary teams and greater cooperation with hospitals.

Mr Royal says the Maori sector will develop the whanau ora kaupapa of integrating health and other social services.

“I guess their expectation for us is certainly around commissioning for improved health and social outcomes, developing whanau ora centres and developing a whanau ora business model that works inside the industry along with all the other industry players,” Mr Royal says.

Maori providers hope the changes will reduce bureaucracy and increase their effectiveness.


Organisers of a weight loss competition in South Auckland believe they've hit on the ideal way to help Maori slim down.

Tahuna Minhinnick from iwi consortium Mana Whenua ki Tamaki Makaurau says they've adapted the 12 week weight loss challenge concept to involve the whole whanau, rather than having individuals competing against each.

He says more than 500 Maori in 41 whanau teams are trying to see how much weight they can collectively shed.

“Maori like kappa haka, they like touch, they like netball, they like team things and the whole idea of losing weight as a team will probably appeal to a lot of the people in this challenge,” Mr Minhinnick says.

The average weight in most teams is over 100 kilograms, with the heaviest teams averaging 130 kilos.


While the winner's names may be familiar, organisers of the national primary school kapa kaka finals say there were consistently high performances from all competitors.

Huntly's Rakaumangamanga took out top honours at the event which ended in Gisborne today.

Locals Manutuke came second and West Auckland's Hoani Waititi was third.

Maui Tangohau, the chair of the organising committee, says the future of kapa haka is in good hands, and based on the performances of the tamariki there should be some exciting kapa haka coming through over the next five to 10 years.

He says the Rakaumangamanga performance was precise, flowing and very clear.

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Foreshore rhetoric showing damaging naivete

A Labour Maori MP says trumpeting of victory over the foreshore and seabed is premature.

Cabinet this week received a paper from Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples and Attorney general Chris Finlayson on a response to a ministerial review of the controversial law, and opted to have more consultation on a possible replacement.

Shane Jones says the Maori Party, which formed in response to Labour removing the right of Maori to pursue claims for customary rights through the courts, has been raising unrealistic expectations among supporters about what is possible.

“There are these absurd calls coming from Hone Harawira and others that somehow you can eradicate everything and then invite the Queen of England to come and try and prove her title to the seabed and foreshore. It’s that level of naivety which does do damage on the marae.

“The reality is there will have to be a legal machinery in place to deal with seabed and foreshore. If it is not the Labour model or a version of the Labour model, then we wait with a great deal of interest as to what is their model’” Mr Jones says.

He says Ngati Porou has shown a negotiated approach to coastal rights under the existing Act is possible.


Kiwi singers heading overseas are being encouraged to add waiata Maori to their repertoire.

Monty Morrison, who organised the Maori section of this year's New Zealand Aria competition held in Rotorua over the weekend, says it's not just singers with Maori whakapapa who are taking up the challenge.

Piripi Christie won the Wairiki Maori Song Contest with his original composition, Ranginui ... while Maria Kapa won the regional section of the Aria competition with "O mio babbino caro" from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi.


The country's tertiary institutions are failing the task of salvage education for young Maori men.

Paul Callister, the deputy director of Victoria University's Institute of Policy Studies, says New Zealand has a real problem with the number of young Maori men who fail to gain even basic skills like reading and writing.

The institute looked at whether tertiary institutions, including wananga, were attracting them for a second chance ... and the findings were not good.

“The wananga as a group are not getting young Maori men, unskilled Maori men, through their doors. In fact no tertiary education provider is doing particularly well at getting those young Maori men a second chance education but of all the institutions, the polytechs and the private providers are the most successful,” Mr Callister says.

He says it is surprising the wananga have neglected a potential market as they have been extremely successful in attracting older Maori women back into the classroom.


East Coast iwi Ngati Porou is taking a wait and see attitude to the government's indication it might repeal Labour's Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Negotiator Matanuku Mahuika says the Government has confirmed its commitment to abide by the settlement the iwi negotiated under the existing Act.

The iwi wants to see what replaces the Act, so it's in no hurry to get the agreement ratified by the High Court.

He says its concern is to protect the existing relationship Ngati Porou hapu have with the coastal space.

“They have exercised I think a higher degree of influence over what happens to the foreshore and seabed in the Ngati Porou rohe as a matter of fact, even if it hasn’t been endorsed by the law and legal process, and what we didn’t want is for this issue to erode or to take away that influence,” Mr Mahuika says.

The government had promised a comprehensive response to a ministerial review of the Act by August, but indications now is the process will be dragged out well into next year.


The union representing wananga staff is crying foul at big pay increases for chief executives.

State Service Commission figures show the salary of Wananga o Aotearoa chief executive Bentham Ohia went up by 10 percent to more than $250,000, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuirangi's Graham Smith increased his pay from under $120,000 to over $180,000, and Te Wananga o Raukawa boosted its boss's pay from under $100,000 to over $160,000.

Tom Ryan, the president of the Tertiary Education Union, says if the top salaries are being brought in line with other tertiary institutions, staff lower down the food chain should also expect a benefit.

“They are at market rates now certainly at the top, so maybe they should be spreading that around a bit to their other employees as well,” Mr Ryan says.

At the same time the State Services Commission was approving the increases it was ordering pay rises for lecturers be held between 0 and 2 percent.


The organiser of a weight loss competition for Maori in south Auckland expect between five and ten thousand pounds of fat will be shed before the end of the month.

Tahuna Minhinnick from Mana Whenua ki Tamaki Makaurau says he launched the 12-week challenge thinking he would be lucky to get 60 people taking part.

But with the backing of Maori health providers, more than 500 Maori are signed on with not a single person dropping out.

“I know it won’t be less than 5000 kilos because of the number doing it. That’s a great health gain,” Mr Minhinnick says.

The secret to the challenge's success is it's organised along whanua lines with family groups competing against each other for up to $5000 in prizes.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Claimants face up to deferred maintenance

Years of neglect by the Office of Treaty Settlements could threaten the continued use of former schools which formed part of the Port Nicholson Claim.

Settlement trust chair Sir Ngatata Love says buildings in the former Wainuiomata and Lower Hutt schools have been let out to community groups.

He says since the assets came over in September the trust has been assessing what needs to be done to tidy up the buildings, and it's concerned many are in a dangerous condition.

“When a school closes I think they just let it deteriorate and people use it and when you get down to it like we have found they’re not compliant with the regulations both of the local government and of fire standards and so we are not prepared to let that keep going. It’s got to be fixed or the people have to be out,” Sir Ngatata says.

The Port Nicholson Trust doesn't want to put anyone's safety at risk.


Ngai Tahu is optimistic about the future despite a poor financial performance this year.

In the year to the end of June the South Island iwi's commercial activities reported an after tax profit of $13.3 million compared to $58.2 million in 2008.

However Ngai Tahu Holdings chair Trevor Burt says earnings were affected by foreign exchange loses, a drop in tourist numbers and a slump in property operations.

He says the year ahead looks much better.

“We're sort of cautiously optimistic. I don’t think anyone wants to say things are completely turned around but we’ve certainly done some things to rectify our exposure round foreign currency and we’ve reviewed our total treasury policy. Our trading operations in seafood actually look pretty positive,” Mr Burt says.

Ngai Tahu has budgeted for similar levels of tourism as last year, but property is picking up with a number of residential properties sold since June.


Hard times in the job market are helping to the police Maori recruitment strategy.

Auckland district Maori responsiveness adviser Glenn Mckay says an introduction programme run by Te Wananga o Aotearoa coming off the back of the police roadshow Te Haerenga earlier in the year, has flushed out many Maori wanting to join the force.

He says a lot of work has gone into improving the students' maths, abstract numerical reasoning and physical fitness in preparation for police entry exams.

“We're at week 15 of 18 and there’s been some huge success stories of people on the course. They tested on Saturday, not too sure of the results yet, won’t find out for another week, but I’m hoping for big things for them all,” Senior Sergeant McKay says.


An iwi leader and Maori fisheries commissioner is rejecting advice from Forest & Bird that people shouldn't eat snapper and other popular species.

The Best Fish Guide release this afternoon rates snapper, scallops, skate, bluenose and yellowfin tuna among the worst choices for seafood consumers.

It says people should eat anchovies, pilchards and sprats, with karehu or cockles and kina also ranking high.

Ngapuhi chair Sonny Tau says the organisation should stick to saving forests and birds rather than getting itself in deep water with unscientific lists.

“Telling people not to eat snapper is like telling you and I not to eat vegetables. That is ingrained in the Kiwi diet and snapper is one fish that is available all over the place, and I think in terms of our fishing operations, we’ve complied with the laws, we’ve complied with the fisheries quota management system, I don’t see what more we can do,” Mr Tau says.


Wananga are missing out on providing second chance opportunities to Maori men.

Victoria University's Institute of Policy Studies has looked at what tertiary institutes have been doing to help the large number of young Maori men who leave school without basic skills such as reading and writing.

Deputy director Paul Callister says polytechs are doing the best at the task, but perceptions that wananga are doing well in the provision of second chance education were proved wrong.

“Here is a market that wananga should be tapping. It’s unclear why they are not attracting young Maori men and now it’s up to the wananga themselves to look at the data and think is this a target group we are interested in and if we are how do we attract them," Mr Callister says.

Wananga have been very successful in getting older Maori women back to school.


Waiata Maori may be a crucial point of difference when young singers head from Aotearoa into the crowded overseas opera market.

Monty Morrison, who organised the Waiariki Maori Song Contest within last weekend's New Zealand Aria competition, says it attracts not just budding opera singers but also kapa haka performers who want to test their vocal skills.

They also relish the chance to sing with a full orchestra... the Auckland Philharmonia was in Rotorua for the weekend.

While many competitors stuck to classics like E Rere and Pokarekare Ana, some branched out.

“Still the traditional songs being sung but a lot of the Maori entrants a writing their own songs and singing them as part of the competition,” Mr Morrison says.

Piripi Christie won the Waiariki contest with his own composition ... Ranginui... a homage to the sky father.

President to guide through political shoals

Maori party president Whatarangi Winiata says a key role for his successor will keeping MPs true to the party's kaupapa.

Professor Winiata agreed to stay on for another year after delegates to the party’s annual conference failed to agree on a successor.

He says putting together a succession plan is now his highest priority, and the ideal would be younger person who can remind members inside and outside Parliament of the party’s core values.

“The members in the house are under a great deal of stress a lot of the time and it’s very easy for them and their thinking to be shaped, framed by those with whom they are in contact every day and those are the other 117 members who do not think about kaupapa Maori,” Professor Winiata says.

He says the Maori party needs to holds the balance of power so every piece of legislation needs its support to get passed.


Besieged Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki says a passion to turn around Maori lives drives him rather than desire for personal wealth.

The Tainui descendant attracted fresh scrutiny after demanding an oath of allegiance from 700 male followers, including a suggestion he and wife Hannah be the recipient of spontaneous gifts.

Bishop Tamaki denies he is getting half a million dollars a year on top of his salary.

He says critics are jealous the church has turned around thousands of lives including drug addicts, gamblers, gang members and abusers of women and children.

“The first passion has always been Jesus Christ, that Jesus is he answer to all the problems of society, I honestly believe that. That’s the only permanent way people will change from the inside and have lasting results from their families and I think also Hannah and I have discovered over time that our call is related to our people, to Maori,” Mr Tamaki says.


Mixing marae styles with modern architecture won Gisborne firm Nicoll Blackburne two gongs at the Gisborne-Hawkes' Bay regional architecture awards.

The Maori Land Court’s new Gisborne offices and courtroom was a winner in the pubic architecture category, as was a sew senior school for Ngata Memorial College in Ruatoria.

James Blackburne, who worked on both designs, says the aim was to use suitable elements such as amo and raparapa.

The courthouse incorporated work by Tairawhiti artist Derek Lardelli,

“We suggested to Derek that it would be really good to use the windows, to put the artwork into those, where other buildings you might just commission the artist to create pieces of art that get hung on the walls or put on the ceiling, I wanted the artwork to become part of the building,” Mr Blackburne says.


Foreign exchange losses, a lack of tourists and the property market downturn are behind South Island tribe Ngai Tahu having a shocking financial year.

Ngai Tahu Holdings chair Trevor Burt says a fall in the iwi's operating surplus from $31 million to $18-point-five million in the past year is not a good look.

He says the reasons are similar to those experienced by many other businesses.

“We really got caught as a number of exporters did on currency movements so we had quite a significant exchange loss there, tourism numbers were down considerably as most tourism operators would have known and I suppose the third key contributor was in our property portfolio we basically did less property development, particularly in residential, than we had done in previous years,” Mr Burt says.

Ngai Tahu is optimistic about the current year after overhauling its foreign exchange hedging and with new property developments coming onto the market later in the year


Maori Anglican leader Whatarangi Winiata says some of the criticisms of Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki echo attacks on Ratana Church founder Tahupotiki Ratana … but there the comparison ends.

Bishop Tamaki is under fire for demanding a personal oath of allegiance from church members, and there’s accusations he’s living a lavish lifestyle on the donations of followers.

Professor Winiata says the sight of high profile Maori in religious settings has often caused discomfort in sections of Pakeha society, but there’s no evidence he’s the next Maori prophet.

“I haven’t heard any of his predictions abut the future, the kind of thing that Ratana did, and he’s a long way from having the kind of numbers that Ratana attracted and his style is very different, I wouldn’t say it was poverty that he presents to the country,” Professor Winiata says.

Ratana’s message of hope for dispossessed and impoverished Maori has stood the test of time, with the church still going strong almost a century after it was founded.


The first Maori showband to leave Aotearoa will this week be honoured with a star on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Maori High Fives started in Wellington in 1959, and took their brand of rock and roll, show tunes and musical comedy to Sydney the next year.

Musical director Kawana Pohe says it's a wonderful tribute from the town the band made its base when it arrived in the mid-60s.

Mr Pohe, who still lives in Nevada, says it was a time when the Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Junior were at their zenith, as well as the band's biggest hero, Louis Prima.

“We call Louis Prima the godfather of Maori showbands because everybody copied him but when we got here and played with the Sahara, both with Louis Prima and with Keely Smith, what do you do when you’re on the same bill with him and do Louis Prima stuff so you eventually develop your own style,” Mr Pohe says.

The unveiling of the star outside the New York casino hotel on Thursday will be followed by a concert tribute to the showbands, featuring the reunited High Fives, the Maori Volcanics, Rim D Paul from the Maori High Quins and others.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Coastline access key to foreshore review

Labour MP Shane Jones says there may be less to the proposed repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed than meets the eye.

Maori Party co-leader and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples and Attorney General Chris Finlayson took a paper to today's Cabinet setting a work plan for repealing and replacing the controversial Act, brought in by the previous Labour Government after the Court of Appeal opened the door for iwi and hapu to establish customary rights through the courts.

Shane Jones says any debate will come down to two principles.

“New Zealanders enjoy treating as their birthright access, recreation and enjoying the coast. Secondly, there ahs to be a legal process to test the nature to which Maori rights still subsist in the seabed and foreshore environment but realpolitik would dictate that public access is non-negotiable,” Mr Jones says.

He says the process developed by Labour was starting to work, with Ngati Porou and Whanau a Apanui negotiating their claims to foreshore and seabed along the East Coast.


Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki says his critics are attacking him because they are embarrassed about their own waste of government funds.

The televison evangelist says suggestions he personally gets half a million dollars a year in donations over and above a similar salary are way off the mark.

He says in its 111 years Destiny has turned around thousands of lives for the better, many of them Maori.

“That’s what's outstanding about this ministry and why I think a lot of government agencies and media people and different organisations are jumping up and down because they’re heavily funded with millions of dollars, don’t see much outcome or fruits or work for what they do and yet here we are operating on the smell of an oily rag and what they cal poor people who are giving money and we are getting results,” Mr Tamaki says.

He says any donations are totally voluntary.


Ngai Tahu will be on reduced rations this year, with the financial crisis and the property slowdown hitting South Island tribe's earnings.

Revenue from trading activities dropped $13 million to $164 million.
A $30 million hit from property revaluations wiping out last year's $25 million rise, and a $7 loss on foreign exchange hedging in the fishing business helped drag the net surplus to 19 million, compared with $64 million in 2008.

Tribal development grants and distributions to runanga dropped by 20 percent over the year to $12.9 million, but the cost of running the tribe's runanga went up by a similar percentage to $10.4 million.

Total assets now stand at $657 million, up $13 million.

Kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon says Ngai Tahu is well positioned to weather the current economic storm because of its intergenerational policies and conservative approach to financial investment.


The Minister of Maori Affairs is planning more pilot schemes to make the case for a massive shift of resources from mainstream to Maori providers.

Pita Sharples last week launched the Kaitoko Whanau scheme, under which 50 iwi and Maori providers will take on advocates to help families under stress interface with government agencies.

Next up will be the Oranga Whanau, which will use kuia to work with new mothers and young families and get them the help and support they need.

Dr Sharples says the pilots funded from his Te Puni Kokiri budget are a taster for the Maori Party's Whanau Ora policy, which aims to shift up to $1 billion from the health budget.

“It's not the whole of the Whanau Ora project that we’re going to launch next year, that Tariana Turia’s pushing through the health portfolio, where we really intend to empower our people with some of the money that’s sort of being misspent if you like or being spent on our behalf on things that aren’t getting any results at all,” Dr Sharples says.

He says Maori know the solutions to their own problems, but they need the money to do the job.


Economist Susan St John from the Child Poverty Action Group says changing the rules for Working For Families could help cushion thousands of Maori children from the recession.

Dr St John says the Ministry of Social Development’s 2009 report indicates child poverty is up 6 percent, a figure which includes a disproportionate number of Maori.

She says making beneficiaries eligible for Working for Families would mitigate the economic downturn.

“The part of the package that doesn’t go to children in homes supported by a benefit is worth $60 or more a week to such a family so it’s a significant amount of money and the government could overnight say right, all families will have this payment on the same basis,” Dr St John says.

The Social Development report indicates major work needs to be done in housing and health to address some of the causes of poverty.


Maori Party president and Maori Anglican leader Whatarangi Winiata says Destiny Church founder Brian Tamaki is making a positive contribution to many Maori.

The self-styled bishop is under fire for getting 700 male followers to swear an oath of allegiance, and the ceremony brought renewed claims he lives a lavish lifestyle on the donations of devotees.

But Professor Winiata, who led the drive to create a separate Maori stream within the Anglican church, says Maori have a different view of the Tainui preacher.

“I haven't heard anything from Te Pihopitanga o Aotearoa that has been negative about Brian. I think what we observed has been uplifting for a lot of our people,” Professor Winiata says.

He enjoys watching Bishop Tamaki's televised services, and the Anglican church could do with a bit of his style.

Emissions scheme could push poor into fuel poverty

Public health specialists are warning planned changes to New Zealand's emissions trading scheme will sabotage the economy and siphon money from health services Maori need.

Jamie Hosking, the lead author of an editorial in the latest New Zealand Medical Journal, says the legislation could increase emissions and saddle the taxpayer with huge bills.

Dr Hosking says subsidies will go to big polluters rather than to mitigate the effects of climate change policies on the most vulnerable in society.

“This emissions trading scheme needs to provide funding to avoid more people being pushed into fuel poverty and food insecurity. These are risks for low income families and we think that makes Maori particularly at risk here and that could be bad for Maori health,” he says.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is predicting widespread opposition to a new law allowing police to take DNA samples from people they haven’t arrested.

The Maori Party and the Greens were the only parties to vote against the change, with the disproportionate rate young Maori are stopped and arrested by police being one of the reasons cited.

The Maori Affairs Minister says it conflict with Maori customs and beliefs about taking body parts and organs.

He says a high bar should be set for such intrusions.

“If someone is really charged and there is good evidence against them there may be a case for that but just picking people up and DNAing them which is what will happen, DNA straight away, is over the top and I think there will be widespread opposition to that, and it could well spread beyond Maori,” Dr Sharples says.


A Golden Bay representative of the Tasman District Council says Ngati Tama should have the final word on what happens to an urupa underneath a heavily used coastal road.

About 70 bodies are believed to be in the ancient cemetery, which the Office of Treaty Settlements says should either be removed or a bypass put in.

Councilor Noel Riley says while a solution could cost in more than $400,000, it’s not a question of money, and anyone would be upset if a road was built over their ancestors.

He says it’s important to maintain good relations between Ngati Tama and Golden Bay Pakeha.


Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples is giving a whole new meaning to the term nanny state.

The previous Labour-led government was accused of nanny statism for policies such as stopping junk food being sold in school tuckshops or stopping children being assaulted by their parents.

Now Dr Sharples intends to pilot a project where Maori services providers will literally hire nannas to serve as front line social workers.

“I’m going to put a number of elders into a car, kuia, and let them go round, and where there are people having babies, visit them and look at the difficulties they are having and champion the good things that are happening and really put a safety net around them. In doing so they will obviously come into contact with other needs and this will spread to the community organisations who are supporting them, to come and intervene,” Dr Sharples.

It’s all part of a wider shift to whanau ora policies which address the health of the whole family.


Palmerston North's district health board wants to dispel a widespread belief among Maori that cancer inevitably leads to death.

Clinical cancer director Simon Allen says MidCentral Health’s four new Maori cancer coordinators will try to stop that belief becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy.

He says Maori get cancer at about the same rate as other ethnic groups, but they are almost twice as likely to die from the disease because they don't seek treatment early enough or continue with treatment.

“If we get the relationships right, the flow of people through a system the understanding, the communication and the acceptance of what we do, we will be doing that well, so if we can achieve that for Maori, it will be a huge difference to Maori outcomes when they develop cancer,” Dr Allen says.

Improvements in treatments mean 65 percent of people diagnosed with the five most common cancers will still be alive in five years.


Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell wants councils to get tough on farmers pouring effluent into the Rotorua lakes.

An Environment Bay of Plenty audit found effluent run-off into Rotorua lakes is at its highest level in six years.

Half the farms in the catchment had serious compliance issues.

Mr Flavell, who is also a member of Te Arawa Lakes Trust, says it’s just not good enough.

“If all the efforts that are being put in on one hand are being deteriorated by lack of effort on the part of the farming community at least then we’ve got some serious problems. It means we’ve got to get around the table, start talking, and get pretty serious or else the various councils, the local bodies involved with the need to take a harder line against the farming community if we are actually going move toward getting our lakes back to their pristine condition,” Mr Flavell says.

He says the farmers are a threat to tourism and the Rotorua economy as well as the environment.

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