Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Police considering increase in firepower

Iwi leaders are in Wellington today consulting police about arming officers.

Wally Haumaha, the head of Maori and ethnic services, says the weekend machete attack on Taihape senior constable Bruce Mellor has increased calls for officers working alone in rural areas to be armed.

He says such a step needs to be considered carefully, and only taken after wide consultation.

“If we draw a line and we go to the position where people are calling for fully-armed police, well there’s no going back, and then of course you have different sectors of society saying would they want to see police walking into schools or talking to their children with Glocks strapped to their hips,” Superintendent Haumaha says.


The National Urban Maori Authority is welcoming the appointment of British company Serco to run Auckland Central Remand Prison at Mt Eden from next year.

Spokesperson John Tamihere says the authority has been talking to Serco about providing rehabilitation and education services.

He says it will give Maori a real opportunity to tackle recidivism.

“We've never been able to get a relationship with the present Corrections Department. They micromanage things. They make it very difficult. And the incentive is to get reoffending and the continuity of it. We want that breached, so we are only interested in programme delivery in the prisons that will allow us for the very first time to make a real run at dropping reoffending amongst our population,” Mr Tamihere says.

The extent to which NUMA is involved is yet to be fully determined.


A new marae at Te Hana, just north of Wellsford is expected to create up to 250 jobs.

Thomas de Thierry, the chair of Te Hana Te Ao Marama, says the marae will focus on education and tourism, with traditional activities like tangi staying at other Ngatu Whatua marae in the region.

He says more than 600 people turned out at dawn on Saturday to help the Ngati Te Hana hapu of Te Uri o Hau open the meeting house, dining hall and waharoa or gateway.

The complex should be fully open for business next May, once work is completed on a cafe, museum, information pavilion and whare whakairo or carving sheds.

He says the closure of the Irwin Izard blade factory in Wellsford had cost the area hundreds of jobs, so the marae was a beacon of hope.


Waikato-Tainui and Ngati Maniapoto are in mourning for Tione John Haunui, the senior spokesperson for the kingitanga, who dies today at the age of 71.

Mr Haunui, a descendent of Taawhiao, the second Maori King, served three generations of the Maori monarchy.

Former Maori Affairs minister Koro Wetere says it's a huge loss for the Kingitanga.

He asked for Tainui people to put aside the divisions of recent days as a sign of respect to a man who gave his entire life to the King movement.

Mr Haunui is being taken to Waahi Marae in Huntly.


The head of the Howard League for Prison Reform, Peter Williams QC, says people who hope a private manager will improve prospects for Maori prisoners are likely to be disappointed.

Urban Maori authorities have welcomed the selection of British firm Serco to run Auckland Central Remand Prison at Mt Eden, as they hope to get contracts to assist in rehabilitation.

Mr Williams says while it's unlikely Serco could not do much worse than the Department of Corrections, there's little reason to believe it will do much better.

“Private enterprise of course is mainly concerned with making profits for its shareholders and it’s really wrong in principle that our prisons should be owned by private investors but on the other hand if they can do a better job, the end product really is the test,” Mr Williams says.

He says considering the disproportionately high percentage of Maori on the prison musters, Serco may be wise it invest in Maori cultural training for prisoners and staff alike.


Students for a new Maori-focused Masters of Business Admininstration will visit North America to see first hand how indigenous communities develop tribal plans.

Bentham Ohia, the deputy chair of the Waikato Tainiui College for Research and Development, says when he completed his masters at Waikato a decade ago, the students visited China as an example of an emerging market.

He says the tauira studying at the Tainui Endowed College in Hopuhopu are likely to learn a lot from the Chippawa in Michigan, the Seminole in Florida and the Choctaw tribes of Mississippi.

“They've been able to look at the challenges of balancing corporate objectives and cultural objectives, and to be able to go and look and feel and touch it will be a huge advantage for our people,” Mr Ohia says.

The MBA course is being delivered in partnership between the Tainui college and Waikato University's Management School.


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