Waatea News Update

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Tension in coalition over benefit testing

December 24

The year is ending on a sour note between the Maori Party and its coalition partner National.

Co-leader and associate minister of social development and employment Tariana Turia is expressing extreme disappointment at minister Paula Bennett's call to limit the dole.

Ms Bennett has said the Government is considering cancelling unemployment benefits after a year and forcing beneficiaries to reapply.

Mrs Turia is unhappy she wasn't informed before the minister went public with measures which will affect a large number of Maori.

“There's been no discussion with us at all about this matter and what we’re talking about is the most vulnerable community that we have, those on very low incomes, and while I am somebody who support working for any income that we get the fact is the Government did not take up the Maori Party’s offer to reinstitute the programmes such as PEP-type programmes to get people out there working,” Mrs Turia says.

She says it is ironic to be launching such a policy during a recession when most beneficiaries she meets would be keen to work if work was available.


And it may not be only the Maori party and National which are at loggerheads next year.

Labour Maori MP Shane Jones says he's personally going to target the Maori party's MPs.

“It’s gloves off next year. I’ve taken a kind of puppy love approach to my relations in the Maori Party and I felt that the media and the voters weren’t all that keen on hearing from us after the loss of the election etc but next year has got to be the year we make a significant dent,” Mr Jones says.

He's taken on board media criticism that he's been too idle and hasn't exhausted himself as far as his parliamentary responsibilities.


Somewhat uncharacteristically Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira is doing anything but expressing fighting talk.

He says looking back on the year it isn't the controversies that come to mind but the successes.

Mr Harawira says winning National support for a Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the effect of smoking on Maori gave him a real sense of achievement.

He says while such issues are important for him the thing to remember particularly at this time of year is whanau.

“Enjoy them whanau because at the end of the day no one else will be saving you, no one else will be looking after you but whanau so enjoy the whanau, enjoy the holidays, enjoy your children and most importantly look forward to having a positive smoke free pro-Maori new year,” Mr Harawira says.

His family has been a rock especially when times have been a bit stormy.


The Maori party has given National a clear message that it will not be supporting measures requiring beneficiaries to reapply for welfare assistance after a year.

Co-leader Turiana Turia who is also associate minister of social development and employment says she's deeply saddened by Social Development minister Paula Bennett's announcement that the government is considering introducing the harsher requirements for beneficiaries next year.

“I think that's pretty sad actually because we do know how stressful it is for those who are on benefits to have to go in an reapply, it actually costs them money to do that, there is no way that the Maori Party is supportive of the action,” Mrs Turia says

She is disappointed the Maori party has not been consulted on measures which are in-line with talk back views which are wrong particularly when many of those affected will be Maori.

She says the majority of people on the dole would rather work but work is just not available and National has ignored the Maori party's recommendations for work schemes


Maori sportsman of the year, Benji Marshall is being praised for the influence he is having on young Maori.

Gordon Gibbons, the Auckland and New Zealand Kiwis football manager, says the 24 year old from Tuhoe who captained the Kiwi's on their recent tour to Britain and Europe has become a leader both on and off the field.

He says the former Bay of Plenty touch rep who moved to Australia as a 15 year old has not forgotten his Maori roots as he becomes a worthy role model for rangatahi.

He says despite the national side missing out on the final of this year’s Four Nations championship in Europe, the skillful halfback and standoff who plays for West Tigers in the NRL continues to lead by example.


It's going to be a Christmas with the best of both the Maori and Pakeha cuisine for television cooking host Anne Thorp.

The host of ther "Kai Ora" programme on Maori Television and the Sky's Food Channel has a twist on the traditional turkey and Christmas pudding theme, with a menu of oysters, kina, mussels and crayfish planned.

Anne Thorp says she will be progressively cooking throughout the day to look after whanau and friends.

Bradford slams Bennett benefit cuts

December 24

A former politician and unemployed workers union representative Sue Bradford says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is turning her back on her Maori and beneficiary roots in her latest welfare announcements.

Mrs Bennett has announced that the government is considering cutting the unemployment benefit for people who have been on the dole for 12 months if the don't pass a new eligibility test.

Mrs Bradford says as Maori are over-represented among the unemployed they would be disproportionately affected.

“There are not enough jobs to go around and personally I think it’s criminal for any government to simply say to unemployed people that if you haven’t got a job after a year, well we are going to cut you off. What does she really think will happen? If people have nothing to live on there is pretty much nothing left for them except crime or begging or death, and in fact some people die because they are so desperate,” Ms Bradford says.

The former Green MP says the measure would not save the government money as the costs for the health system and the mental health system would outweigh the money needed to keep people on the low rate of the unemployment benefit.


Water Safety New Zealand is issuing a special warning to Maori to be careful in the water this Christmas.

Last year four of the 11 drowning deaths over the holiday period were Maori and the year before three of the 10 people who drowned were Maori.

Water Safety New Zealand's general manager Matt Claridge says the disproportionate number of Maori getting into trouble in the water is affected by the fact that many Maori live and holiday close to rivers and the sea.

“It’s important that children are supervised at all times and for those males heading out diving and gathering kaimoana may need to think about the weather and marine conditions,” Mr Claridge says.

Whanau need to look after each other around the water.


East Coast Iwi Ngati Porou says innovative use of emerging communication technologies has allowed tribal members globally to stay up to speed with tribal affairs.

Te Rau Kupenga the communications manager for Te Haeata says the use of social networking sites has allowed the iwi to better interlink with tribal members.

He says whanau are becoming increasingly media savvy, and with cellphone and Internet communication, it's much easier to stay in regular contact with the tribes 70,000 members through television, web advertising and other means.


Quitline chief executive Paula Snowden says latest figures show that since 2003 daily smoking rates for Maori women have dropped from 49 percent to 40 percent.

And the rate among 14-15 year-old Maori girls has dropped from 34 percent to 22 percent.

She says this is a real cause for celebration going into the holiday period.

“It’s showing the message that smoking’s not our future, it’s not normal, it’s not the thing we need to do as a people, individuals or families is getting through and young Maori girls embracing this message as well as anyone else is the best sign is the best sign of all that we have a smoke free future,” Ms Snowden.

The former smoker from Te Rarawa says nearly one in four new callers to Quitline are Maori.

She says their success in giving up is equal to the population generally which is an excellent result as many live with other smokers.


A Maori political commentator says the Maori party must not stay silent on the latest attacks on the unemployed by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

Matt McCarten says the announcement by Ms Bennett that unless people on the dole pass a special test after 12 months their unemployment benefit will be cut is a sick joke coming the day before Christmas.

He says typically Maori are three times as likely to be unemployed than others because they work in primary production industries which get hit first during hard times and are the last to recover.

“When these sorts of things are being flagged by a minister of the government which the Maori Party is a partner in, saying these things, I think it’s important for the Maori Party to clearly articulate their own position and represent their own constituency and not stay silent on these things,” Mr McCarten says.

He says unemployment has not gone up because people are lazy but due to the fact that the economy is not working, and blaming the victims and kicking the poor will just lead to more beggars in Queen Street.


A new leadership academy is set to open in Whangarei next year.

The programme, which will be run by He Puna Marama Trust, will draw on successful models from the past, including the military, Maori boarding schools, and Maori Trade Training.

Manuka Henare, who was part of the Maori selection panel for the ASB Trust which is supporting the academy says it's targeting tane who have talent but may lack direction.

“It's aimed at young men at secondary school level who have abilities and talents but maybe the abilities and talents haven’t been brought to fruition. It’s a residential programme, customised learning and partnering with the local secondary schools,” Dr Henare says.

The ASB Trust has committed $10 million to Maori and Pasifika education over the next five years.

Welfare tests attack on poor

December 23

Former Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says he is at a loss for words to describe the government's latest announcement on welfare.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has announced the government is looking at cutting the dole next year for anyone who has received an unemployment benefit for 12 months and doesn't pass a new comprehensive work test.

Mr Horomia says this is a sick Christmas present for Maori who are disproportionally represented in the dole queues.

“It doesn’t surprise be because this is the real right (wing) edict, this is the real cost saving exercise and you give it to one end of town and take it from the other end and I’m just so sorry the end you take it from is our people,” Mr Horomia says.

He says young Maori are on the benefit not out of choice but because no jobs are available.

Ms Bennett was unavailable for comment.


However Green's co-leader Meteria Turei says the party will be making the fight for social justice a priority next year.

Speaking before Paula Bennett made her announcement, Ms Turei predicted beneficiaries and Maori would be singled out by the Government next year.

“We need to focus on the social justice aspect because that is where National is going to attack our people most. They’re talking about benefit reform. They’ve introduced those cards to prevent people being able to use benefit money for various types of things. There’s a slow burning attack on beneficiaries and their children, so that will be the big focus for next year,” Ms Turei says.

She is keen to see what impact Tariana Turia's Whanau Ora programme will have on vulnerable families.


A leading Maori academic says there is still structural racial prejudice in New Zealand.

The head of Canterbury University's Maori and Indigenous Studies department, Rawiri Taonui, says only superficial changes have been made in the past year such as reintroducing Whanganui's H or adopting a Maori flag.

“More substantial changes such as Auckland super city representation and Maori seats on polytechnics are more about structural prejudice, which is why Maori lost out,” he says.

Mr Taonui says while Pakeha are letting go of their reservations about working with Maori as seen by the coalition between National and the Maori party there are still prejudices working at a deeper level.


One of the country's major charitable organisations, the ASB Trust, has committed $10 million to Maori and Pasifika education.

Manuka Henare from Auckland University's business school was on the Maori panel which selected seven projects to receive funding over the next five years says the aim was to chose organisations which focus on collective learning.

He says it's important to look at more than just individual learning.

“One of the challenges for New Zealand’s educational programmes is the whole challenge about individual learning and group learning so we need tho think about learning tribes, the notion of the hapu that learns together, benefits and gains together,” Dr Henare says.

The initiative aims to lift Maori educational achievement in Auckland and Northland.


Green's co-leader Metiria Turei is warning that voting rules for Auckland super city will seriously disadvantage Maori.

Legislation setting up the new super city allows people who own a commercial or rental property in any of the 12 wards to vote for that ward...allowing the same person to have multiple votes.

Ms Turei says the cumulative effect is that Maori who rent will have less say in how their community runs than their wealthier counterparts.

“So between the two things of allowing property owners to vote, even if they don’t live in that area, and the boundaries have been set so badly that people in South Auckland get fewer councilors to represent them than they should be entitled to, then those people in those areas have less power on the council,” Ms Turei.


Ngati Porou are gearing up for one of the biggest days on their tribal calander.

Since 1995 the annual Pa Wars have been held on January the third, and next year's inter-marae challenge is being held at Uawa, Tolaga Bay.

Te Rau Kupenga from the defending trivial pursuits champions says when Pa Wars first stated only a few marae-fielded teams, but the whanau day now attracts representatives of over 50 marae throughout the region.

He says Pa Wars has something for everyone.

Turia support Len Brown candidacy

December 23

Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia has come out in support of Auckland super city candidate Len Brown.

Mrs Turia says the issue of dedicated Maori seats on the super city council is not lost after National did not follow the recommendations of the Royal Commission on how the city should be governed.

“They went with the ACT Party on that particular matter which was a huge disappointment for our people and certainly for the party, but however I think that what we should work as hard as we can to get the right mayor and if we do get the right mayor it’s highly likely that Maori will be included,” Mrs Turia says.

She says it is heartening that Mr Brown who is currently Mayor of Manukau has indicated that he's willing to work with Maori if he becomes mayor.


Meanwhile one of the country's most experienced political commentators Colin James has chosen Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia has his politician of the year.

Mr James a columnist with Wellington's Dominion newspaper says Mrs Turia is a gutsy determined grandmother who five years ago earned the fury of Labour's heavy hitters when she left the party and formed the Maori Party.

He says there is no doubt that she is the anchor of the Maori party and the way she handled the errant MP Hone Harawira was commendable.

“She got a deep kindness but also a deep toughness and those are the two qualities I would single out,” Mr James says

If Mrs Turia's whanau ora concept which the government is on the verge of adopting is successful it will show her as a politician who has been able to achieve much not just for Maori but all New Zealanders.


A long time advocate for an independent Maori voice in the news is challenging iwi leaders to build a centralised Maori media service.

Gary Wilson, a former head of the Journalists Training Organisation who set up Mana Media and Magazine 20 years ago says Maori leaders have fought hard for fish farming and whenua, but failed to acknowledge the role the media plays in shaping Maori opinion.

He says the leaders now need to steep up to ensure the Maori voice is strongly heard.

“Some of the Maori leaders can zero in and see if it’s not possible to find the resources to develop a strong independent professional Maori media organisation that can dictate the Maori agenda instead of leaving it to mainstream organisations,” he says.

Mr Wilson, who helped set up the first Maori media course at Waiariki Polytechnic, says there are now many journalists who can tell the story there just needs to be a coordinated avenue for them to tell it.


Labour leader Phil Goff says the party's Maori MPs have made huge contribution to the party's rebuilding over the past year.

Yesterday former Minister of Maori Affairs Parekura Horomia praised the efforts of younger MP's Kelvin Davis, Nanaia Mahuta and Shane Jones saying they had really stepped up to the mark to make the maori voice heard.

Mr Goff says while the younger MP's have certainly distinguished themselves the efforts of people like Mr Horomia himself should not be over looked.

Mr Goff says it has been a year dominated by Maori issues and the Labour Maori MPs have ensured Maori interests have been well represented.


Ken Mair is predicting in a very short time the h will be commonly accepted in the name of the river city.

Mr Mair from Te Runanga o Tupoho says local Maori accept the Government's decision that people can choose either to include the h or not.

However he says including the h is the correct way and with all government agencies and departments beibng directed to include the h it will gain acceptance just as Mt Taranaki has replaced Mt Egmont where similar joint names were acceptable.

“Once crown agencies have been directed to spell our name correctly it will only be a matter of time before everyone will be spelling Whanganui with an H and it will be similar to the Egmont/Taranaki scenario – when you ask our children where Egmont is, they don’t know,” Mr Mair says.


One of the most recognised voices in the country says people who hear him don't generally recognise that he is Maori.

But George Simon who has been calling horse races since the age of 17 says being Maori is very important to him as he has covered racing meetings all around the world.

George Simon says it has given him a special thrill to call races where Maori jockeys such as Noel Harris, Michael Walker and Vinny Colgan have done well.

George Simon's voice will again be heard calling the action at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

Goff makes progress report

December 22

Labour leader Phil Goff says it has been a rough year for Maori.

Mr Goff says there has been some superficial gains for Maori like allowing the tino rangitaratanga flag to fly on the harbour bridge on Waitangi Day but in real terms many Maori will have gone backwards.

He says things like the 90 day rule allowing workers to be sacked without appeal, cutbacks in ACC and pay rates not keeping up with the cost of living will have hit many Maori families particularly hard.

“The real things I think have gone backwards. One or two of the superficial things, yeah, I think some advances but overall not a great year for the Maori community,” Mr Goff says

He says seats on Auckland super city would have been a good way of encouraging Maori participation but instead they got a slap in the face.


However National's Associate Minister of Maori Affairs Georgina Te Heuheu is defending the government's contribution for Maori.

Mrs Te Heuehu says one of her government's biggest successes this year is the way it has worked with the Maori Party to ensure the Maori voice has been heard on all issues.

“I'm very genuine when I say that my colleagues have worked in conjunction with the Maori Party starting with Nick Smith, Simon Power, Gerry Brownlee, all of them. If we want to move New Zealand forward, then the need to work collaboratively and respectfully with the Maori Party and the Maori leadership is critical and that is what we've been doing
Mrs Te Heuheu says.

She says the Maori interest was listened to on the Emission Trading Scheme and Treaty settlements have been progressed, but there is still a lot of work to be done... and she is looking forward to next year's roll out of Whanau Ora.


Maori tennis stars will be keeping their holiday feasting to a minimum... with their national champs starting just two days after Christmas.

Players from around the country will head to the Waikato Tennis Centre for the week long tournament... the 83rd time the competition has been held.

Organiser and super seniors’ champion Dick Garrett says Maori come from all over the country and even overseas for the annual tournament.


The government will this evening be signing agreements in principle with two Auckland based iwi - Ngati Whatua o Kaipara and Ngati Manuhiri.

The $22 million agreement with 6000 member Ngati Whatua o Kaipara covers five marae in the South Kaipara area.

It includes the offer to transfer Woodhill Forest and a 10 acre block at Helensville to the iwi.

The $9 million agreement in principle with 1250 member Ngati Manuhiri which covers an area between Mangawhai to Whangaparaoa includes an offer to transfer South Mangawhai Forest subject to covenants.

Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson says in the case of Ngati Manuhiri the Crown wishes to recognise the cultural and spiritual significance of Little Barrier Island to the iwi which the Crown compulsorarily acquired in 1895 evicting residents.

He says the signings show the government is making real progress in settling all claims within Kaipara, Tamaki Makaurau, and Hauraki.


Ngati Whatua o Kaipara are celebrating the signing of Agreement in Principle with the Crown which will take place this evening.

Naida Glavish, from Ngati Whatua o Kaipara who spoke to Waatea News on the way to the signing is relieved the hard work has paid off.
“It's 20 years in the making. A lot of our people have died waiting and hoping, but we’re here today and our mokopuna will be there tomorrow
Mrs Glavish says.

The iwi still has to negotiate its claim to the Kaipara Harbour.


A waka tiwai discovered sticking out of a dune on the southern end of Muriwai beach this weekend looks set to remain a bit of a mystery.

The 7m craft, which is typically used for fishing or river travel, was made out of a single kauri tree... so it's likely to have come from the North Island.

However, Robert Brassey, an historic heritage specialist with the Auckland Regional Council, says the lack of other archeaological context means there's no way of telling the waka's true age or origin.

The coastline at Muriwai is changing... the sea is eroding the dunes... and relics are being revealed.

“Quite close to where the waka came up was the wreck of a European ship wrecked in 1916. In that same area are graces from the Orpheus disasters, so as time goes all sorts of things can be exposed that haven’t sent the light of day for quite a while,” Mr Brassey says.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Lakes trust teams up with Rotorua council

December 22

A Maori trust responsible for looking after Rotorua lakes has signed an historic protocol with the local Rotorua District Council.

Te Arawa Lakes Trust chairman Dr Toby Curtis says the protocol signed at the weekend will allow the two organisations to work together on a range of issues.

He says the Treaty settlement process is opening up wonderful opportunities for a joint approach.

“There's a great deal we can do together. Whereas at one time because we did not have the funding we now appear to be receiving we can now sit down and work together and develop some wonderful projects,” Mr Curtis says.

In the future they will be looking at geothermal projects, waterfront foreshore development and tourism opportunities.


Maori political strategist Matt McCarten says Winston Peters has only a small chance of getting back into parliament.

The chief executive of the Unite Union and former Alliance president says the maverick New Zealand First leader has had his traditional turf taken.

Mr McCarten says while he might deny it Phil Goff has played the race card in recent weeks steeling ground traditionally occupied by Mr Peters.

“He'll want to get into a bit of Maori Party bashing to get his name up. He’ll have some success but it’s very difficult to come back when you’re out and he can’t do anything positive so he’s got to put the boot in but the problem for him is Key is very popular and the Nats are riding high and so the government of the day is not on the ropes,” he says.

Mr McCarten says Mr Peters will be in his late 60's at the next election and won't have the energy to orchestrate a political comeback for New Zealand First.


Meanwhile the most experienced Maori MP is indicating parliament is a place for younger politicians.

Parekura Horomia, the Labour member for Ikaroa Rawhiti, says he is unfazed by the burgeoning profiles of some of his junior Maori collegues.

He has singled out Kelvin Davis, Nanaia Mahuta as young Maori MP's who have bolstered their reputations with solid performances in the political arena this year while he says Shane Jones could one day lead the Party.

“You know I’m past being threatened. I’ve done everything from being a senior public servant. I’ve run most of our big operations in Maoridom. I’ve been lucky enough to have done all that and I’m knocking on the door of 60 next year, if you’re naïve enough to be threatened at this stage in your life you shouldn’t be doing it,” Mr Horomia says.

He says it’s up to old hands like himself to support the younger ones and he's right in their corner.


A senior Maori parliamentarian is calling on Maori MP's to take a lead from Maori who set aside differences and fought together in war time.

Former Minister of Maori Affairs Parekura Horomia says the recent deaths of two veterans from the 28 Maori battalion serves as a reminder of the need for Maori MPs across all parties to work more effectively together.

He says Hoturangi Tautau was laid to rest on Thursday at Tologa Bay, and with Paora Kruger lying in state at Totara marae in Ruatoki, that leaves less than 50 surviving members of the 28 Maori battalion.


A native plant traditionally used by Maori for weaving and medicine has been voted favourite plant in the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network's annual poll.

Network committee member John Sawyer says thousands of entries were received in the online poll in which pingao... the golden sand sedge topped more than 100 species.

He says it wasn't only its traditional Maori uses which pushed pingao to top in the popularity stakes.

“Pingao is one of the most perfectly adapted species for using in coastal dune protection which is what we’re going to need a lot of if sea levels rise as a result of global warming,” Mr Sawyer says

When used in Maori weaving its yellow fronds are clearly identifiable making it quite unique.

Pingao known as pikao in the deep south won over three species on the verge of extinction - Bartlett's rata (native to the far north), kakabeak (from the East Coast) and the fish guts plant (from Canterbury and Otago).


Buyers are being given an opportunity to buy a unique book of Maori photographs likely to become a collectors’ item at a discounted price.

John Gow a co-author of "Out of Time: Maori and the Photographer 1860- 1940, The Ngawini Cooper Trust Collection" says less than two hundred copies of the book published two years ago have yet to sell.

He says publisher John Leech Gallery, of which he is a director, is offering the book with more than eighty vintage Maori photographs for $90 ...a 10 percent discount on the recommended retail price.

“As soon as we get down to the last 100 copies we will put the price up considerably to $1560, $200 because we don’t want to sell the last of the books really, we want to keep a stock of them," Mr Gow says.

The publication which cost $80,000 to produce will not be reprinted.

He says the aim was not to make money but to produce a record of New Zealand's early history and they will just break even when all of the 1400 copies printed are sold.

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Prison overcrowding raises hard questions

December 21, 2009

A former Corrections head says Maori leaders should challenge why more rangitahi are being sent to prison when community sentences would be far appropriate.

On Friday prison workers union lost an Employment Court case against the Corrections Department clearing the way for double bunking to cope with increasing inmate numbers expected because of tough new government law and order measures.

Kim Workman from Rethinking Crime and Punishment says instead of double bunking, which puts prisoners and guards at risk from rape, murder and suicide, the government should be cutting prison numbers.

He says the measures adopted last week to address the drivers of crime through early intervention are a long term solution when the crisis exists today.

“Sixty percent of people in prison at the moment are there for less than six months. Now, why are they going to prison for property offences and so on. Why aren’t we looking at viable community alternatives that perhaps could be run by iwi authorities in the community. These are the sort of options we need to be looking at,” Mr Workman says.

With 4200 Maori in prison it’s a problem the Maori voice needs to be heard on.


Maori language speakers can expect a little something from Santa.

Maori Television's language immersion channel, Te Reo, will be broadcasting from 7pm to 11pm next year... an extra hour a day, seven days a week.

CEO Jim Mather says when the Maori TV first began broadcasting it focused on attracting as many viewers as possible.

Through Te Reo they can also work on serving fluent Maori speakers.

“It also provides an opportunity for parents to have full immersion reo Maori homes and the Mori Language commission in continually reinforcing that, for the language to strengthen and develop it’s got to be spoken in the homes, and when you’ve got a television channel as we have. On air 7 to 11pm, that provides that opportunity,” Mr Mather says.

The two channels in Maori Television's network complement each other.


Sports broadcaster and community organiser Ken Laban says too much money is going to elite athletes.

Mr Laban is calling for a greater emphasis on keeping rangatahi involved in sport with 52 percent of 14 to 17 year olds leaving sport, never to return.

He says Sport and Recreation New Zealand, SPARC, seems obsessed with spending money on the elite athletes.

“But of course the bigger and stronger the more participants there are at foundation, the more chance for getting champions at the top level. Hence my continuing support for initiatives like Maori sport, pa wars, the rise of waka ama, the increasing participation in sports like touch,” Mr Laban says.

The management of individual sports should reflect the makeup of the people playing the sport, which would see more Maori taking leadership roles in sport.


A Ngati Maniapoto and Ngapuhi man with diversified health sector experience has been chosen to head ALAC, the Alcohol Advisory Council.

Rea Wikaira who grew up in Te Awamutu, chairs an Auckland PHO, has held senior management positions on the Waikato and Counties Manukau District Health Boards and is a former CEO of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust.

He says alcohol misuse continues to create problems in New Zealand communities, that must learn to moderate use.

New board members include psychologist Dr Ian Millar and long time health advocate Barbara Docherty.


The MP for Te Tai Hauauru says opposition to the inclusion of the letter h in the spelling of Whanganui would disappear if the city’s residents dump mayor Michael Laws.

Tariana Turia says she's confident over time, everyone who lives in the River City will get used to using the correct spelling.

Last week, Lands Information Minister Maurice Williamson announced the Geographic Board would accept either spelling, that's with or without the h, although Crown agencies have been ordered to include the h in any new signage.

Mrs Turia says a change at the top in the next local body elections would certainly increase acceptance of the correct spelling.


The head of Maori Television is rejecting claims the broadcaster is curtailing boxer David Tua's career.

Jim Mather says suggestions that Tua's three-fight deal with the Maori channel denies him more lucrative options, are inaccurate.

He says Maori Television offered the Mangere-based fighter a lifeline when his career was in limbo, and took a back seat to allow the pay per view fight against Shane Cameron.

Mr Mather says developments since have all been sanctioned by Team Tua.

Alarm bells sound in Murihiku milk investment

Bulletins December 21

The real estate firm acting for the venders of 28 Southland farms worth an estimated $150 million to Maori interests reportedly backed by Arab money remains confident the buyer is genuine.

When news of the potential sales broke on Friday, Federated Farmers warned its members to be cautious and called in the Serious Fraud Office when it learned that a bankrupt Australian claiming kaumatua status although he is not Maori....Shane Wenzel, aka Tane Rakau was involved.

Mr Wenzel is due to appear in the Manukau District Court on Wednesday on 36 charges brought by the SFO involving nearly $4.7 mortgage fraud.

It is understood real estate agents L J Hooker were uncomfortable dealing with Mr Wenzel however agent John Wright says they remain happy with the local hapu.

“Certainly as far as we are concerned we have cross checked from time tio time and we’ve had checks and balances in the process and we have been more than happy along the way so we were dealing with Wynn Murray, who is a local man, who we have confidence in, he is a genuine member of the hapu, and a local solicitor has been vetting all the agreements as they are being processed,” Mr Wright says.

He says to the best of their judgment the Arab backers are also genuine.

He says the unnamed backers have a record of similar food for mortgage money deals with indigenous people in other countries.


A Maori leader within the Labour Party believes the Maori Party is finally coming around to seeing things in a similar way to Labour.

Parekura Horomia who was Minister of Maori affairs in the last government says at times it’s been a struggle to get the Maori Party MP's to represent Maori interests.

He says the party's decision not to support National, its partner in government, over scrapping dedicated Maori seats on polytechnic councils was a watershed.

“They voted with us so that’s OK but there’s been a half a dozen instances we have had to drive really hard to being them around and it’s good we’ve come together and stood firm on it,” Mr Horomia says.

He claims the Maori party is also starting to understand Labour's position on the Foreshore and Seabed legislation.


A South Auckland organisation has found a new tool to help people with mental health issues ... the waka.

James Papali’i from Blue Dove, the co-ordinator of waka ama activities, has spent the past year getting tangata whaiora out on the water with amazing results.

He says when he started many of those involved had such anxiety that they had difficulty leaving their rooms.

However their confidence has built to such an extent that they have even taken part in waka racing.

“They lifted another notch. I almost fell off the back of the waka. All through the winter we haven’t been racing, just teaching the techniques, but yesterday they jumped another level,” Mr Papali’i says.

He says other groups working with tangata whaiora are looking closely at the projects success.


The Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples say the Maori Party has wide support among senior government ministers for its whanau ora plans expected to be introduced early in the new year.

Dr Sharples says funds will be given to proven Maori groups to find solutions their own way as measures to arrest the high numbers of Maori getting into difficulties have not worked.

“There are health groups, there are iwi groups doing wonderful things for their people. Let’s try this idea. There will be repercussions as people don’t like giving people responsibility as opposed to agencies. Well they are going to have to learn because this is the new way and we are going to have to make sure that it happens,” Dr Sharples says.

He expects Labour will support the measures.


And a predominantly Maori trust which opened facilities in Wellington last week for people on the fringe of society says it is already putting the whanau ora concept into practice.

Consultancy Advocacy and Research Trust chair Denis O'Reilly says the facilities which include a gymnasium, work programmes and health services are for people such as gang members, ex prisoners and those with alcohol and drug issues who are hesitant to use mainstream services.

He says the trust's wrap around approach is similar to the what's being promoted by the Maori Party.

“It's a good example of whanau ora where communities identify for themselves what the issues are that confront them and work out their own solutions and how they are going to overcome it and so in that way it is potentially becoming what will be a more mainstream way of approaching these sorts of,” Mr O’Reilly says.

The CART building near the Basin Reserve was opened by Governor General Sir Anand Satayanand last week on the trust's 20th anniversary.


The chief executive of Maori arts marketer Toi Maori says a new tohu may be needed to authenticate Maori made products.

Creative New Zealand is poised to axe the Toi Iho mark after lower than expected take-up by Maori artists they expected.

Garry Nicholas says despite the slow uptake for the brand, there is consensus among Maori artists that some official mark of authenticity is needed.

“The great artists of our living time, Paki Harrison, Digger Te Kanawa, those are the names that underpinned the mana of what was intended and that’s why for all of us, we support 100 percent the concept of a Maori made mark. The Toi Iho one, I don’t think it will get up again, but I think we need a Maori-made mark and maybe it’s a brand new one,” Mr Nicholas says.

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Whanganui spelling endorsed by iwi

Bulletins December 18

Whanganui Maori say the Government has made the right decision in directing Crown agencies to include h in the spelling of Whanganui.

Ken Mair says Te Runanga o Tupoho, which led the charge for the correct spelling, endorsed the decision at a hui soon after the announcement today by Lands Information Minister Maurice Williamson.

He says the decision has been well received by those who have pushed for change and over time everyone will get used to spelling Whanganui with an h.


Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says early intervention is the key to Government's strategy for beating crime among Maori.

Dr Sharples says the Drivers of Crime hui earlier this year clearly identified Maori as a special needs area and the government has responded.

He says all government departments will now make Maori a focal point as they work together to nip crime in the bud with a range of measures.

“First of all nurturing babies in their early life, correcting behaviour of youth before it gets too far down the line and the effects of over indulgence in alcohol and fourthly, finding alternatives to prison for young offenders,” Dr Sharples says.

He says too many young Maori lives are wasted in jail.


All Black winger Zac Guilford, who was named Maori player of the year last night at the national rugby awards is being seen by commentaors as a key to wresting back the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

Sky Sport rugby host Karl Te Nana says the Ngati Kahungunu 20 year old covered himself in glory on the recent tour of Europe and shows maturity beyond his years.

He says Guilford's success in winning the Tom French Memorial trophy for best Maori player of the year is just reward for hard work including dealing with the loss of his father during the Under 20's World Cup in Japan earlier in the year.


An agreement signed yesterday between Waikato-Tainui tribal leaders and the Crown to set up a single authority to co-manage the Waikato River is being fought by a Karapiro hapu.

Iwi leader Tuku Morgan described his people as being in a state of euphoria following the signing while Tom Roa, from Ngati Maniapoto and Waikato said the joy was only tempered by the knowledge of the work that lay ahead.

But Maori in the Karapiro area have lodged an urgent claim with the Waitangi Tribunal to have the agreement overturned which the Crown must respond to by January 12.

Willie Te Aho, whose wife Linda Papa's people own land by the lake, says they will also be fighting the deed of settlement at the Select Committee stage.

“If all of that fails, when the world comes to Karapiro next October for the rowing championships we will certainly let the world know we have been treated in a dishonorable way by the Crown.
Mr Te Aho says.

He says the previous Deed of Settlement, signed last year but not implemented, protected their rights by having six separate bodies to manage the river, not just a single entity the Waikato River Authority.


A Maori media company has signed a deal with publishing giant Penguin to globally distribute electronic children’s books.

Former Maori Businesswoman of the Year Rhonda Kite of Kiwa Media Group says to date the company has been self-funded with a small shareholding from friends and family but now it's time to take it to the world.

She says the agreement with Penguin Publishers follows the company's successful development of language dubbing software which is now being used in 17 different countries.

She says there are huge opportunities for publishing digital books, so canny investors will be found.

Kiwa Media's first interactive book will be up in the iTunes store in mid-January.


Minister for Lands Information Maurice Williamson announced today that alternative spelling of the city's name with or without the letter h would be acceptable but Crown agencies must include the h in their usage.

Ken Mair says Te Runanga o Tupoho endorsed the decision at a hui soon after the decision was announced.

He says in claiming the status quo is maintained. Wanganui mayor Michael Laws has got it wrong, as the Crown has shifted its position.

He says the Government's use of the name will soon see it universally adopted.

Drivers of crime given priority

December 18

The government has pledged to address the drivers of crime for Maori as a priority of its new approach to crime fighting.

This follows a ministerial hui on the Drivers of Crime in April which found far too many Maori children end up in prison after growing up in households and communities disrupted by crime and punishment.

The new approach based around government agencies working together will support Maori designed, developed and delivered initiatives.

Maori party MP Te Ururoa Flavell says the approach is heading in the right direction.

“You can either say we haven‘t got a problem and do nothing or accept you have got a problem and move around strategies to get there and that’s where we’ve come,” Mr Flavell.


A South Auckland community leader is warning whanau not to overextend themselves this Christmas.

Manukau City Councillor Alf Filipaina who has spent 33 years in the police says big hearted Maori want to do the best by their families at Christmas time.

But he says with the recession hitting many Maori families hard it is important to realise that love is more important than any present.

Alf Filipaina who is of Maori and Samoan decent says when alcohol is followed by domestic violence Christmas is ruined.


There'll be a green theme at next month's Parihaka Peace Festival.

Director Te Miringa Hohaia says the annual gathering is a platform to acknowledge the iconic Taranaki village's tradition of passive resistance.

He says while top line musical acts are a draw card, the festival has discussion forums to talk about issues like as global warming, and how marae can lead by example with sustainable environmental management.

“Marae throughout the motu need to be placing themselves so that they are leaders in their communities. That’s how we’re using this event. We’ve gained that experience and we’re transferring it back into how we run the pa and how our families coming into the pa are responding to these urgent issues facing the whole country and the whole world,” Mr Hohaia says.


An agreement was signed yesterday between Waikato-Tainui tribal leaders and the Crown to set up a single authority to co-manage the Waikato River.

Iwi executive chair Tuku Morgan described his people as being in a state of euphoria.

Tom Roa, the head of the tribal parliament, said the joy was only tempered by the knowledge of the work that lay ahead.

He says there was a clear sense of the history of the moment from those present at the Hopuhopu ceremony.

The new Waikato River Authority, which will have equal iwi and Crown representation will draw from both tikanga Maori and tikanga Pakeha. It will have $210 million to spend on a river clean-up.

“The tikanga is the base and our history is our base. But the future is with our young people, our young scientists, our young lawyers, our young people who can work in those spheres to ensure the vitality of the river,” Mr Roa says.

There is already a substantial amount of work being done with Environment Waikato, local farmers and other iwi to improve water quality and clean up the river.


The Maori Party found itself in a dilemma yesterday when a private members bill to allow shops throughout the country to stay open over Easter came before parliament.

At present shops in some parts of the country can open on Easter Sunday but in others they can’t.

Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell says its a problem for tourist towns like Rotorua.

“Our people are involved in the tourist industry in Rotorua but on the other side of the coin Easter is the time Maori families in particular are generally tied up with unveilings, sports tournaments, church gatherings such as Hui Aranga and so on,” Mr Flavell says.

He says while the Maori Party was prepared to support the bill to a first reading it would have probably withdrawn its backing down the line but didn't have to make this decision when it wasn't supported by other parties.


A member of America's royal family...or almost royal family... the Kennedy's... is sampling some tikanga Maori today

He's Robert Kennedy Jnr who, as the name suggests, is a son of Bobby Kennedy who was assassinated 1968.

This morning he'll be welcomed at Te Roopu Taurima o Manukau, the largest kaupapa Maori provider for Maori with intellectual disabilities.

Waitai Petera, from Te Aupouri and Ngati Kuri, says the Kennedy whanau has a long history of helping people in need.

He says Mr Kennedy's aunt... Eunice Kennedy Shriver... was instrumental in the foundation of the Special Olympics while their support for racial equality... at the height of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s... and more recently... will undoubtedly be mentioned in the whaikorero.

“I think the Kennedy whanau helped indigenous America to be where they are and they wrre also the whanau that endorse Barack Obama, they got in behind him, the late Ted Kennedy. That is something we will as Maori will never forget,” Mr Petera says.

Robert Kennedy Jnr came to New Zealand to speak on environmental issues at a charity dinner.

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Flag baggage sign of fading generation

Bulletins December 17, 2009

A Maori educationalist says pakeha who see the country having two flags as separatist and divisive should get over the baggage they are carrying.

Rawiri Taonui who heads Canterbury University's Maori and ethnic studies department says Pakeha familiar with Maori ways have no problem with the tino rangatiratanga flag.

But he says Pakeha who have not had much to do with Maori can see it as separatist.

“The good thing is that population is declining and the good population in increasing. In 10, 20 years time this will just become two flags on Waitangi Day as a matter of course and our children won’t really be bothered,” Mr Taonui says.


Maori party MP Te Ururoa Flavell agrees with Maori academic Rawiri Taonui that Pakeha who know something about Maori have no problem with the tino rangatiratanga flag.

Mr Flavell says it’s the same with attitudes towards the Maori party.

“There won’t be riots in the street. The tino rangatiratanga flag has been round at Waitangi for yonks. Like the singing of the national anthem in Maori, in 10 years time we will look back and say what the hang was all the fuss about,” Mr Flavell says.

He says Maori and Pakeha have lived well together for generations and they will go on doing so with the tino rangatiratanga flag flying.


There's a sense of euphoria among many Waikato Maori today with the signing of a revised deed of settlement covering the Waikato River.

That's the word from Tukoroirangi Morgan who negotiated the deal with the Crown which sets up a Waikato River Authority to look after the awa.

This single body... with equal iwi and Crown representation... replaces the six statutory boards envisaged when the original deed of settlement was signed last year, but never put into effect.

The authority will have $210 million to spend on a river clean-up.

Mr Morgan says the signing finally looks like righting wrongs done 146 years ago when colonial troops invaded the Waikato taking 1.2 million acres and the Waikato river.

“There's a sense of euphoria, a sense of deep satisfaction that we are a long way down the track now. What remains is the legislative process. The deed of settlement has to be enshrined in law, and that point it will be a momentous opportunity for the people of this tribe,” Mr Morgan says.


Associate social development minister Tariana Turia has accused former health Minister Annette King of using the family violence issue for mischievous political point scoring.

In parliament this week Mrs King questioned whether the “It's not OK” anti-family violence campaign was being replaced by a new campaign aimed at Maori.

She said 33 women had been killed through family violence so far this year, double last year's figures.

Mrs Turia who heads the ministerial committee on family violence says the "its not ok" campaign is not being stopped.

“Its hugely disappointing that we would use family violence as a political point-scoring opportunity as Annette King did in the House because it’s really mischievous to use statistics without sourcing where they’ve come from,” Mrs Turia says.

She says the Aroha in Action campaign is being paid for with unused money set aside for victim advocates, as anti-violence practitioners see targeting communities rather than individuals as better use of the money.


Former New Zealand First MP Pita Paraone is keen to get back to Parliament.

Mr Paraone went back to his former job as a regional manager with Te Puni Kokiri in Tai Tokerau, and he's also been made chair of the Waitangi National Trust.

But he says the party founded by Winston Peters still has some life in it yet.

“Comments that have been made around the country as New Zealand First visits have been very positive and so I’d certainly like to be part of the team that helps to see New Zealand First back in parliament,” Mr Paraone says.


Visitors to next year's annual Kawhia Maori kai festival on Waitangi Day will face a HUGE problem.

That is which hangi to chose... from around 6000 being put down to meet demand for food cooked the traditional way.

The festival sees the population of the West Coast township where the Tainui canoe landed in the 14th century leap from 380 to nearly 10 thousand, as curious foodies lineup for a taste of delicacies such as huhu grubs, dried shark, and mussel chowder.

Organiser Lloyd Whiu says hangi is the undoubted favorite which is why twice as many will be cooked next year.

He says when the festival started six years ago they wanted to celebrate February 6th in a unique way but no one expected it would be so popular.

“Out of that whakaaro the kai festival grew. It’s about bringing people together from different backgrounds and celebrating something everyone likes doing, that’s eating,” Mr Whiu says.

He says hangi are extremely popular with Pakeha many of whom have never tried the earth-cooked kai.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says national education standards won't benefit Maori.

Ms Turei says international research from around the world shows that indigenous people do worse under such assessment regimes.

She says they create winners and losers among schools and students, and the resources end up going to the winners, with the rest left behind.

“For low decile schools and for Maori kids who are often in those lower decile schools, this is going to be a disaster for education and I think the teachers are right to oppose it. The schooling system has gone through a huge amount of reform in the last 10 years, just a ridiculous amount, and this is another huge burden,” Ms Turei says.

She says schools find ways around testing some kids so they don't bring their averages down, and the practice will become widespread if national standards are introduced.

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