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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fa'afoi gets down with Ngati Toa

The new MP for Mana says he's putting a meeting with tangata whenua on the top of his agenda.

Labour's Chris Fa'afoi beat National list MP Hekia Parata by 1080 votes on Saturday night.

The New Zealand-born Tokelauan says he has strong empathy for the issues Maori in the electorate are facing, and his first stop as a candidate was with Ngati Toa, and he'll be heading back to Takapuwahia Marae as soon as possible.

He says it was inevitable Labour's margin would drop from the 6155 enjoyed by long-serving MP Winnie Laban, but he's pleased his 47 percent share of the vote bas higher than Labour's share of the party vote in the electorate last election.


Greens Co-leader Meteria Turei says a new law changing the rules for water companies could expose the Crown to future treaty claims.

The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill, passed last week under urgency, allows councils to contract private companies to supply water services for up to 35 years.

Ms Turei says that amounts to privatisation in all but name, and raises the same sort of questions as when the Lange Labour government set up state owned enterprises.

“If there is legislation which is going to allow for the sale or effectively the privatisation of water management and resources before tikanga and customary title issues are dealt with, there could well be claims about that in the future,” Ms Turei says.

She says the government is committed delivering benefits to favoured industries, and it does not take Maori concerns about water ownership and management seriously.


A Kaikohe-raised boxer who has just become the International Boxing Federation's welterweight world women's champion wants a rematch in New Zealand against her beaten opponent.

38-year old Danielle Smith won a unanimous points decision over 25 year-old German Jenifer Retzke in Berlin last week to pick up the vacant belt and give her a 10 win, one loss professional record.

The mother of two turned to boxing 12 years ago as a way to keep fit for basketball, and says it's given her a chance to meet some of her heroes, such as Sugar Ray Leonard.

Her coach Monty Betham is working on staging a fight in New Zealand, but has also been fielding calls with offers of overseas bouts.


Ngati Apa and other Te tau Ihu iwi are mourning for Kathleen Hemi, who led treaty claims in the top of the South island.

Mrs Hemi died at her Blenheim home early this morning aged 85 after a long illness.

The mother of 10 was awarded a Queen's Service Medal in 1986 for her contribution to the community, which included chairing Omaka Marae, setting up a Maori Women's Welfare League branch in the area, and being a long serving member of Ngati Apa Trust.

Rahui Katene, the MP for Te Tai Tonga, says Mrs Hemi was the last one of the group that launched the Ngati Apa claim 17 years ago, and also led the foreshore and seabed court case.

Kathleen Hemi is lying in state at Omaka Marae in Blenheim.


Maori Party leader Tariana Turia says Labour was lucky to win the Mana byelection this weekend because it failed to realise the independent nature of the different Pacific Island communities.

She says in picking New Zealand-born Tokelauan Chris Fa'afoi as its candidate to replace former Pacific island minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, Labour displayed the same sort of blindness the mainstream parties show towards Maori tribal differences.

“It will teach Labour a lesson for thinking any Pacific person will do. The majority of Pacific people who live in Porirua are in fact Samoan and it is this notion they are all PIs by some of these mainstream parties and it is not so,” Mrs Turia says.

Mr Fa'afoi beat National's candidate, Hekia Parata from Ngati Porou and Ngai Tahu, by 1080 votes.


Former All Black turned broadcaster Glen Osborne is putting his bilingual skills to the test.

The 19 test veteran has just completed filming the series "Bring Your Boots, Oz" ... which takes a comic look at the national game.

The Whanganui native had to be on his toes as a presenter, because 40 percent of the commentary is in te reo Maori.

Mr Osborne is relieved the shoot is over, because the weekend filming shedules curtailed his ability to enjoy the finer things in life, like pighunting.


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