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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mandela speech borrowed for Taipa protest

One of the leaders of the Taipa land occupation has drawn on the words of former South African president Nelson Mandela to rally Maori support.

Wi Kaatana Popata led a group onto a privately owned section in the far north beach settlement on Tuesday, a week after police removed him from the adjoining council reserve.

On Radio Waatea talkback last night, Mr Popata said Treaty negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson was a horrible person for telling the protesters to go to hell and refusing to travel to Taipa to meet with the group.

He says it's time for all Maori to make a stand against the Government.

“How long can we wait for our freedom. Now is the time to intensify all struggles on all fronts. It is only through disciplined action that our victory can be assured. That’s the korero I want to give out to te iwi Maori. Stand up on your wnenua and fight for our whenua, fight for the mana of te iwi Maori on your whenua, on our whenua,” Mr Popata says.

His words paraphrase the speech made by Nelson Mandela on his release from Pollsmoor Prison in 1990, when he called on white compatriots to join the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid groups in the shaping of a new South Africa.


Labour leader Phil Goff is counting on Maori votes on Saturday's Mana by-election, despite Labour's Tokelauan candidate being up against two high profile Maori.

The ethnicity of voters on the general roll isn’t recorded, but about half of Maori voters choose to be there.

Mr Goff says Chris Faafoi's their man, rather than National's Hekia Parata or Unite union leader Matt McCarten.


A cafe serving Maori kai is one of the features of a Whanau Ora centre which opened today on Hamilton's Kirikiriroa Marae.

The centre, run by Te Kohao Health, and another run by Taumarunui Community Kokiri Trust, are part of the Toiora PHO Coalition, which provides health services for about 50,000 people in the Waikato region.

Toiroa chief executive Tureiti Moxon says the cafe aims to reclaim Maori kai.

“It's about reclaiming who we are as Maori. A lot of our kai gets a bad rap and what we want to be able to provide Maori kai as part of our healing for whanau, make it accessible to them, so when they get hungry for kiona they will be able to get a punnet of kina, when they get hungry for titi they can have some titi but it’s kai that belongs to us,” Mrs Moxon says.

The whanau ora centres are funded by the Ministry of Health as part of the government's new primary health care programme, rather than by Minister Tariana Turia's whanau ora fund.


Tour bus companies have dropped stops at Taipa from their schedules until further notice after this morning's incident when one of the protesters occupying land at the far north settlement boarded a bus as it entered the Taipa Resort Hotel.

Resort manager Dale Synnott says the tourist buses use the hotel as a meal stop.

She says one of the Popata brothers, who are leading the protest, flagged down a Dune Rider bus and got on board to deliver a lecture on the reasons for the protest.

She says when the other bus company heard of the incident, they cancelled their Taipa stopover.

She has contacted government ministers asking them to end the occupations, which have been running off and on all year at great cost to Taipa businesses.


Wahine who have fought mining in the Coromandel are calling on Maori women from throughout the country to make their iwi leaders accountable.

Denise Messiter from Ngati Maru says they are inviting women to a hui at Matai Whetu Marae in Thames this weekend to discuss what is being done in their name.

She says this month's meeting between the Iwi Leaders Group and senior Government ministers to discuss mining set off alarm bells round the motu.

“It isn't OK any more for self-appointed iwi groups to go and have korero and make deals with government and give people the impression that that’s on behalf of all of us and that their conversations are tika, the decisions they make are tika, and the view they have are. What are the people really saying? Do we really agree with mining on tribal land?” Ms Messiter says.

The hui at Matai Whetu Marae starts tomorrow night


Two groups working with young people have joined forces.

Rod Baxter from the National Youth Workers Network says the merger with New Zealand Aotearoa Adolescent Health to form a new roopu, Ara Taiohi, was driven both by economic pressures and a desire to help people who work with rangathi become more connected, effective and accountable.

He says rangatahi are too often excluded from society.

“What the youth workers around New Zealand are really good at doing is finding ways of including young people in society. That really is connected to our indigenous roots because we think abnout rangatahi from a whanau, hapu, iwi perspective then we see oureves as communities, and that is more the perspective Ara Taiohi wants to uphold,” Mr Baxter says.


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