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Monday, November 01, 2010

Pem Bird new Maori Party president

The new Maori Party President, Pem Bird, says the party is in for the long haul, even if at time members have strong differences of opinion.

The kura kaupapa principal from Ngati Awa took over from Whatarangi Winiata at the party's annual conference in Hastings over the weekend.

He says the party has never been more relevant.

“In terms of article three of the treaty, equality of citizenship, we’re nowhere near there. We want to create solutions for ourselves and be responsible for taking charge of our own destinies and to the richness of this country’s heritage, our heritage, our political heritage, and doing a heck of a lot better than we’ve done before,” Mr Bird says.

While the hui was dominated by debate over whether the party should continue to support the Marine and Coastal Area Bill, Pem Bird says the focus needs to be on picking up the remaining two Maori seats a the next election.


Ngai Tahu want to meet social development minister Paula Bennett to find ways it can work better with her ministry to fight domestic violence.

Runanga chairman Mark Solomon told the Jigsaw anti-violence roopu last week that whanau need to make a stand against violence.

He says social services agencies are only the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, and most of the work needs to be done by whanau.

“Too often when there is whanau abuse the extended family turns their back, they didn’t see it. If we send the message to the perpetrators of violence that it is not acceptable within our families, we have more chance of stopping it than if we try to leave it for the social service agencies,” Mr Solomon says.

Ngai Tahu wants social agencies to provide the names of at risk families so it can find ways to help.


Te Hotu Manawa Maori and the Heart Foundation have funded a new documentary which aims to shine a light on whanau affected by tobacco.

A Killer Legacy follows up on a 1990 TVNZ documentary Julys' Legacy, which tracked the last year in the life of Judy Minnell, who died of smoking related lung cancer.

She left an 11-year-old daughter, Hiria, who is now the national tobacco control manager for Te Hotu Manawa.

Moana Tane, the organisation’s chief executive, says it aims to build on the work done by the Maori Affairs' select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry.

“Dozens and dozens of Maori women fronted up at those hearing and talked about the losses they had experienced with their mothers, their aunts, their nanas, and we wanted to give them an opportunity to tell those stories on film to be heard by a wider audience,” Ms Tane says.

The documentary will screen on Maori Television in December.


Retiring Maori Party president Whatarangi Winiata has described controversial MP Hone Harawira is both a benefit and a liability to the party.

Professor Winiata says his main work as party president has been keeping the party together and fostering a sense of unity.

He says it would be unfortunate if Mr Harawira and his supporters were to leave the party.

“I see him for the most part as being of great benefit. What we have to learn and Hone has to learn is how to commit to kotahitanga which means committing to pathways that lead us there,” Professor Winiata says.

He’s confident new president Pem Bird will be able to hold the party together.


Health Minister Tony Ryall is welcoming Whanau Ora as a way to rethink delivery of services across the whole government sector.

Many of the 130 organisations named of Friday as being part of the 25 Whanau Ora provider collectives have existing contracts with the Health Ministry or district health boards, which will be integrated into the new service delivery model.

Mr Ryall says it’s the beginning of a massive change in the way services are delivered to communities.

“We’re going to see I think, especially in the next Parliament, quite an expansion of this philosophy and this thinking because it just makes a lot of sense and there’s a real enthusiasm among the helping organisations to work more effectively and actually to focus more on results rather than ticking the boxes because you are not going to fix any family’s problems if you are just ticking boxes that you are having meetings with them,” Mr Ryall says.

Many of the Whanau Ora providers already have non-Maori clients.


An editor of a new book on urban design says councils and urban planners need to recognise the value of Maori knowledge in making cities sustainable.

Keriata Stewart says the Taone Tupu Ora grew out of a discussion between Maori architect Amanda Yates and Otago University Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman, the director of the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities.

It includes contributions from Maori researchers, Land Trusts, urban planners and architects.

Ms Stewart says many cited the sophisticated land use at Maungakiekie, One Tree Hill in Auckland, which was built in ways that enhanced the community, bringing to gether gardens, community spaces, whanau houses.

“It also concentrated on water sustainability. It was a community that needed to look after itself, and a number of our contributors look at that as a model on how we can be doing things in the present day,” she says.

Taone Tupu Ora is available from the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities.


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