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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mutu backs Taipa occupations

The chair of Te Runanga o Ngati Kahu says protesters occupying a site at Taipa Point have her full backing.

At lunchtime today a group led by the Popata brothers moved onto a privately-owned section adjacent to the Far North District Council reserve from which there were removed by police last week.

Margaret Mutu, who is the iwi's lead treaty negotiator, says the brothers have been attending Ngati Kahu hui since they were at school.

She says the occupations, which have been off and on all year, were mandated by the tribe in January when it discussed whether to agree in principle to a settlement that returned only 5 percent of the land Ngati Kahu lost.

“The conclusion out of that hui was, this is the best that my generation can do. What we’ve got is a lot better than my father’s generation was able to get. Therefore the negotiators were mandated to sign the agreement in principle on the condition that the next generation would go after the rest of our lands,” Dr Mutu says.

She says Ngati Kahu is unhappy with the Crown's position that it cannot return all the land stolen from the tribe.


Mana by-election hopeful Matt McCarten says many of the Maori voters he's encountering on his campaign won't have a say on Satuday.

The Unite Union head says Maori and working class voters are responding to his message of job creation.

But the Maori support has strings attached.

“See everyone thinks this is a Pasifika stronghold but there are as many Maori in this electorate as here are Pasifika people. Unfortunately for me, half of them are on the Maori roll of course,” Mr McCarten says.

Voters will choose on Saturday between Matt McCarten, Labour's Chris Fa'afoi, National list MP Hekia Parata and several other candidates as to who should replace Winnie Laban, who resigned to take up a job at Victoria University.


Maori Sports Awards organiser Dick Garrett says a record number of sporting codes will be represented in this year's list.

Finalists include rugby players Hosea Gear and Carla Hohepa, Football World Cup goalscorer Winston Reid and netball coach Adrian Morrin, but there are also entrants from sports like sumo wresting, squash and swimming, as well as world champions in woolhandling, woodchopping and waka ama.

The Maori Sports Awards are at Manukau's Telstra Clear Events Centre on December 4.


Urban Maori leader John Tamihere says the new Maori statutory board set up as part of Auckland's new super city structure will hold its meetings in the open.

The board drew fire for excluding the public and media from its first meeting yesterday, after an opening powhiri.

But Mr Tamihere, who is one of two mataawaka members representing Maori from iwi outside Tamaki Makaurau, says that was appropriate for a first meeting of a new entity.

“We had to have a robust discussion about who had the goods, who didn’t, and you don’t belittle or make cutting comments of colleagues in front of others so we had a process like Pakeha people do where we went in committee, we chose our leadership and we came out of committee and we announced it and a lot of our work if not all of our work will be open, no problem,” Mr Tamihere says.

David Taipari from Ngati Maru was elected chair with Patience Te Ao from Waikato and Ngati Wai his deputy.


The chief negotiator for Ngati Kahu doesn't believe the occupation of land at Taipa will affect the agreement in principle signed by tribal representatives earlier this year.

John and Wikatana Popata today led a group onto a section at the far north township adjoining the council reserve they were removed from last week.

It's the latest in a series of occupations that started at the former Taipa Motor Camp in January.

Margaret Mutu, who is also chair of Te Runanga o Ngati Kahu, says the tribe gave the brothers the mandate to work for the return of the 95 percent of former Ngati Kahu land that is not coming back in the proposed settlement.

“The boys have asked me, I was there with them at a hui last Thursday, and they said ‘please whaea, we do not want to threaten the existing agreement in principle because we know that’s what our kaumatua said our generation was to take, but will this threaten it?’ and I said ‘you’ve just got to make it very clear that you do not want to threaten the current agreement in principle but you do want to see justice,’” Dr Mutu says.


Otago University researchers say the rheumatic fever that is killing more than 100 Maori and Pacific islanders every year, and leaving hundreds of others with damaged hearts, is almost totally preventable.

Richard Jaine and Michael Baker looked at all cases of the disease in the 10 years to 2005, and found Maori were 20 times more likely to get it than Europeans, and Pacific islanders 40 times more likely.

Dr Jaine says the risk was increased by over-crowded housing and high fees which put people off going to see a doctor when they first showed signs of strep throat.

“We found a clear association between household crowding and acute rheumatic fever rates. If you have an area with high amounts of overcrowding in households, then you have high levels of rheumatic fever. We’re hypothesizing that the reason for this could be the fact that the strep throat infectious disease is being transmitted among household members when there are overcrowded conditions,” Dr Jaine says.

The only other place in the world with similar rates of infection is in Australian Aboriginal communities.


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