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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, November 08, 2010

Harawira denies leadership ambitions

Dissident Maori Party MP Hone Harawira says he backs the party’s leaders – even if he doesn’t agree with their decisions.

Mr Harawira says co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tarianana Turia should heed the growing opposition to the Marine and Coastal Area Bill from iwi like Ngai Tahu and Ngati Kahungunu, and reconsider their support from the measure.

But he says he’s resisting calls from supporters that he mounts a leadership challenge over the issue.

“I don’t have leadership ambitions. I’m feeling that pressure as well from people all around the country saying that I’m the only one saying the sorts of things that Maori people want to hear from their Maori Party leaders. Don’t mean that I’m in this game to challenge the leaders of the Maori Party,” Mr Harawira says.

He says his opposition to the bill is true to the party's kaupapa on the foreshore and seabed, and won’t be forced out of the party over the issue.


Meanwhile, the high kiwi dollar rather than the high tide mark was what exercised the minds of more than 400 delegates to the Federation of Maori Authorities’ annual conference at Waitangi over the weekend.

Chief executive Ron Mark says the Prime Minister, John Key, raised the reform of the Foreshore and Seabed Act in his speech.

But delegates were more interested in what he had to say about monetary policy.

“Those who are in business and running economic entities, who export, it is the dollar that is concerning them and it’s their ability to participate in the value chain and not be locked out of it by monopoly, Mr Mark says.

FOMA, whose members are land trusts and incorporations, sees the foreshore as an issue for iwi.


The Stroke Foundation wants Maori to be more on the look out for signs the blood flow to the brain is going awry.

Its chief executive, Mark Vivian, says a third of New Zealanders can't recognise symptoms that mean people need to be rushed to hospital, such as slurred speech or partial paralysis of the side of the face or body,

He says one in every six New Zealanders will suffer from a stroke in their life, but Maori are even more vulnerable.

“Not only are more Maori as a percentage of the populations suffering strokes in New Zealand but it’s happening to them younger, on average about 15 years younger than non-Maori populations,” Mr Vivian says.

Stroke is the third largest killer in New Zealand after heart disease and cancer, and there are as many as 45,000 disabled stroke survivors needing significant daily support.


The new leadership of the Federation of Maori Authorities has come out of its annual conference with confidence it’s on the right track.

The organisation has undergone an upheaval over the past year amid criticism of a government-funded programme for Maori exporters managed by former executives.

Ron Mark, the new chief executive, says even the hui’s featured speaker, Prime Minister John Key, had noticed the change.

“It’s a huge changing of the guard. The Prime Minister acknowledged the changing of the guard, specifically mentioning and giving his best wishes to Traci Houpapa the chair and me as the new chef executive. The membership redoundingly endorsed the new leadership of FOMA, the new direction, the new strategic plan,” Mr Mark says.

Indications from the 400 delegates at Waitangi were that Maori land-based businesses are going from strength to strength.


The organiser of a Hawkes Bay anti-drug campaign says the focus will be providing help to P users wanting to quit.

Denis O'Reilly launches the campaign today with a high profile team including broadcaster Paul Holmes, former Labour Party president Mike Williams and Ngati Kahungunu chairperson Ngahiwi Tomoana.

He says with one in three Maori adults saying they know someone or have seen someone using methamphetamine, it’s important to work against the drug at community level.

“There are two paths to the strategy, one we call report, and that is for people who are prepared to interrupt the market as it were by using 0800 CRIMESTOPPERS but our major effort is around help; giving people help who are on meth and getting help for them and bringing attention to the fact that you can get off methamphetamine if you are prepared to put your hand up and ask for help,” Mr O'Reilly says.

The campaign will hold meetings from Woodville to Wairoa.


One of the co-ordinators of Ngati Porou’s electronic voting systems says more young people need to be involved in tribal decision making.

The East Coast iwi is asking members to ratify a $110 million treaty settlement.

Te Raumatahi Kupenga says because more than 60 percent of Ngati Porou are computer literate, and more than 70 percent have mobile phones, it made sense to offer text and internet voting options.

He says that could attract younger voters.

“Most of our people see this as an old people’s process but the reality is that this is actually something that our young people need to be, on, aware of, but two, they will inherits so it’s important they are made to feel a part of this process,” Mr Kupenga says.


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