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Friday, March 12, 2010

Sharples assured on education changes

Associate education minister Pita Sharples hopes proposed changes to tertiary education won't stop Maori mature students getting to university.

His Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia yesterday warned that suggestions loans will be cut for students who don't pass their exams first time will affect many Maori second chance learners, who can need time to develop study skills.

Dr Sharples says he came away from a meeting with Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce feeling reassured.

“I mentioned I didn’t want entry programmes docked and he thought that wouldn’t be the case, that there’d still be that transition are. I’m hoping that adult Maori can still continue the road into university,” Dr Sharples says

He also gained an assurance the student learning centres which offer support for students would continue.


The opening ceremony for the festival of World Music and Dance or Womad is underway about now at New Plymouth's Bowl of Brooklands.

New Zealand programme director Emere Wano says alongside the international acts, festival goers can catch performances by Te Roopu kapahaka o Te Whanau A Apanui, female vocal trio Pacific Curls, reggae band House of Shem and other Maori musical talent.

Ms Wano says for whanau bands like Kaeo's 1814, it's a chance to rub shoulders with established artists.


It's the fourth Kororareka Festival tomorrow, as Russell remembers the 1845 battle that levelled the Bay of Islands township.

The Kororareka Marae Society is promising a celebration of Maori culture, with kapa haka, Rawhiti band Sweet As, a beauty contest, traditional kai, the Hone Heke Run from Russell township to the flagstaff on Maiki Hill, and firing of a collection of old cannons

Historian Manuka Henare says the festival allows Maori and pakeha to come together with their own views about the sacking.

“Tomorrow there will be the Maori view that Hone Heke and Kawiti and others were protecting Maori rights under the Treaty of Waitangi. But the British soldiers and some of the Pakeha business people felt the British has to stand up to these insurgents and troublemakers. Most of the damage at Kororraka wasn’t actually done by Maori, it was done by the British bombardment.
Dr Henare says.


The Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the impact of smoking on Maori has heard how the tobacco industry deliberately targets Maori.

A submission by Te Kao-based Whakawhiti Ora Pai Community Health included an interview with a kaumatua who had been the Northland sales representative of a major tobacco company.

Director Errol Murray says the kaumatua detailed how free cigarettes and kickbacks were used to get retailers to give brands priority, and how a large proportion of the sales force was Maori ... not because it was an equal opportunity employer, but because Maori were the market.

“That was his job, selling to his relations, and he thought it was a glamorous job. Everybody thought it was a glamorous job. You’ve got a good job mate. He gets a company car. He gets to fly away. He’s getting good money, he’s on a salary. And it was just a fluke we knew him and we had someone talk to him. He knew what it was for. There was no hidden agenda. But he wanted to share it because he’s now a non smoker and he’s seen the effect tobacco use has had on his family, on his own health, so there’s some regrets there now,” Mr Murray says.


A Rotorua kura kaupapa student who features in a Maori Television series about Maori kids in Chile says her hosts were surprised to hear the students conversing in te reo maori.

The six part documentary Kia Ora Hola follows six students from Te Kura o te Kautu during the six weeks they spent at Colegio Pucalan Montessori school in Colina, just north of the capital Santiago.

Tae Amorangi Rikirangi Thomas says her Chilean hosts were keen to pick up on some reo Maori, after they got over their surprise at hearing the children speak it to each other.

All students at Te Kura o te Kautu are taught Spanish.

Kiaora Hola screens tonight at 9-30 on Maori Television


One of the most popular Maori sportspeople of all time has made another crowd-pleasing move.

Stacey Jones, from Ngapuhi and Maniapoto has teamed up with Awen Guttenbiel to coach the Pt Chevalier Pirates, who take on the Hibiscus Coast Raiders tomorrow in the first round of the Phelan Shield.

The former Warriors have called in former teammates like Wairangi Koopu and Monty Betham to help the Pirates work their way out of third division.

Switching codes to play in the team is rugby commentator Karl Te Nana, whose son is set to join the Pirates if his school's first fifteen doesn't need him.

The Pt Chev Pirates and the Hibicus Coast Raiders square off at Stanmore Bay on the Whangaparoa Penninsula at 2-30 tomorrow.

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Systemic discrimination will spell prison rolls

The director of the Rethinking Crime and Punishment says if passed, ACT's three strikes bill will push the percentage of Maori in the prison population well above the current 51 percent.

Kim Workman, who's a former policeman, public servant and prison service head, says prisoners who may have got a short sentence under the current law will end up getting life.

He says in California similar legislation has been used by the police to target blacks, and the same thing could happen here because of systemic racism in both policing and sentencing.

“Maori are disproportionately sent to institutions. Maori are less likely to be bailed on remand and so on. So this will add to that an unfortunately in many of those will be very poor and on the borderline and that will impact even more on their families and whanau,” Mr Workman says.

He has told Parliament's Law and Order select committee there is no doubt the proposed law will disproportionately hurt Maori.


Labour MP Parekura Horomia says Maori are right to be wary of planned changes to tertiary education.

The former Maori affairs minister says a shift to performance-based funding will encourage universities to discriminate against maori.

“You know our people take a lot longer by about a year to 18 months to achieve the degree or diploma and I certainly think we have to be wary about this. We will see less Maori attending these tertiary institutions,” Mr Horomia says.

He says the education cuts are just another part of the government's measures which will hit Maori hard.


The organiser of a Mana Wahine Health Day in South Auckland yesterday says encouraging women to learn together helped make the day a success.

More than 200 people came to Manurewa Marae to learn how they could look after themselves and in turn look after their whanau.

Kim Te Pania says it attracted women and men of all cultures and ages, including many who wanted to find out about less conventional health providers.

There was also the opportunity for wahine to get breast screens and cervical smears, and the women were put into groups to get the checks done together.

A Tamariki Ora day will be run later on in the year, and another for rangatahi.


Maori mental health nurses say Maori with mental health problems need culturally-based treatments.

The New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses wrapped up a two day hui yesterday at Te Puna O Te Matauranga marae in Whangarei.

Its kaiwhakahaere, Hineroa Hakiaha says the 300 nurses looked at how te ao Maori can be blended into Maori nursing practice and how more Maori can be attracted to work in mental health services.

She says culturally focused initiatives work for tangata whaiora.

Hineroa Hakiaha from the Maori Mental Health Nurses hui in Whangarei.


The Council of Social Services' fourth quarter Vulnerability Report shows the recession continues to hit Maori hard.

Executive director Trevor McGlinchy says the report draws on the experiences of Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and Salvation Army social services.

It found Maori over represented in all areas of vulnerability, and their income levels and standard of living is dropping rapidly.

“What we are seeing is that income is not sufficient, particularly in an environment where all of the whanau are unemployed, so there is no one else round who can help. They to go to other agencies to get further support. Is that an expression of tino rangatiratanga? I don’t think it is,” Mr McGlinchy says.

The impact of the recession on whanau can be seen in increased domestic violence and mental anguish, which is putting pressure on all social service agencies who offer counseling support.


Maori muscle will power the engine room when the Warriors line up for their first NRL game against the Gold Coast in Queensland on Sunday.

Football manger Don Mann says injuries to captain Simon Mannering and veteran prop Steve Price have caused a reshuffle of the forward pack, creating opportunities for fringe players to stake their claims for more game time.

It means an all-Maori front row with Sam Rapira, Aaron
Heremaia and Russell Packer.

Mr Mann says confidence is high at the Auckland franchise, despite Aussie tipsters predicting the Warriors will finish well down the table

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sharples’ electorate rejects GST rise

Pita Sharples's Tamaki Makaurau electorate committee has come out against a rise in GST.

Chairperson Eru Thompson says nine of the electorate's 10 branches were represented at the monthly hui.

He says the committee appreciates the party's confidence and supply agreement would require MPs to vote in favour if National goes ahead with its plan to up the tax to 15 percent, but sentiment was strong.

“We wouldn't be entertaining that idea, so a resolution was moved by the Auckland electorate to have dialogue with the rest of the electorates in the country,” Mr Thompson says.

The branches also supported Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira's proposal that the takutai moana issue be resolved by putting all foreshore and seabed under Maori title with full public access.


Former governor general Sir Paul Reeves says Maori need to be concerned not just by moves to increase imprisonment rates but by current prison conditions.

Sir Paul visited New Plymouth prison at the weekend with the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu.

They were shocked to find young prisoners in their cells for 22 hours each day, and remand prisoners who had been locked up for more than a year.

He says iwi leaders must get involved in the debate around measures ACT's three strikes bill, which is likely to mean even more Maori in jail for longer.

“It’s a matter of public debate and I think we should get there and be part of that debate and to say well, the way to treat people who have infringed is not necessarily by locking them up and throwing the key away. There are other ways of dealing with these people to try and produce some form of rehabilitation,” Sir Paul says.


A Far North Maori health group is proposing people be allowed to grow tobacco for their own use, if there are to be restrictions on commercial sales of cigarettes.

Errol Murray from Whakawhiti Ora Pai Community Health Services told the Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry that smoking has reduced the life expectations of generations of Te Aupouri and Ngati Kuri.

He says the ultimate aim is to stop the tobacco companies importing and selling tobacco, but there will still be people who are addicted to the drug.

“We also understand that people are still going to want to smoke so you will probably drive it underground so one of the proposals was they allow them to grow their own, only a certain amount and for personal use only,” Mr Murray says.

Hiss submission included details of industry marketing practices given by a former tobacco salesman, practices which the previous submission from British American Tobacco had denied.


Te Tai Hauauru MP Tariana Turia says blowing up of a two storey rock to make way for a power project was cultural vandalism.

On Monday Clearwater Hydro dynamited Te Rongomai o Te Karaka at Te Anga on the west coast of the King Country after police removed whanau from Marakopa Marae who were protesting the action.

Mrs Turia says the Lines Company subsidiary was aware of the significance of the natural feature to the hapu, and the behaviour of the company and its contractors was despicable.

“To sit there and cheer and celebrate and drink in that sacred spot, I just thought it was outrageous. It was really a display of power, of those who control asserting it and showing those whanau from there that they accounted for nothing,” Mrs Turia says.

Her personal appeal to Cleawater Hydro to hold off was simply ignored.


A national programme to bolster the ranks of Maori in the health sector was launched today at Auckland Airport's Te Manukanuka O Hoturoa marae.

Project manger Tuhakia Kepa says Kia Ora Hauroa aims to recruit another thousand Maori workers into the health and disabilty sector over the next 2 years.

The programme is overseen by Counties Manukau District Health Board, with the Waitemata, Lakes, Capital and Coast and Canterbury DHBs managing regional hubs.

Mr Kepa says a Kia Ora Hauroa website will give students information about the types of courses they need to work in health.

“So try and encourage Maori kids at secondary school to maintain some level of science qualification be it biology, physics or chemistry. With those subjects in their kete when they get to the end of secondary school, they will have an opportunity to look at probably 85 different health roles and health study pathways them might be interested in,” Mr Kepa says.


Former governor general and Anglican Archbishop Sir Paul Reeves says last weekend's dedication of a cathedral in New Plymouth is making people think about how a society heals a divided past.

St Mary's is the first new Anglican cathedral worldwide for more than 80 years.

It was built as a cathedral 150 years ago, but it was not consecrated because of the outbreak of the first Taranaki War, and instead became a church for the British garrison.

“It has the hatchments, the boards with the emblems of the British regiments and they’re hanging on the wall, and I’m sure there are relatives of mine who would say wasn’t St Mary’s the place where they stored the ammunition that subsequently was used to fire on our relatives. That may or may not have been the case but that’s the perception, so there’s a lot of work to be done and we’ve talked a lot about that,” Sir Reeves says.

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Imprisonment rate internationally indefensible

As the Government looks at measures to lock up more people for longer sentences, the Race Relations Commissioner is warning the current imprisonment rate for Maori is putting New Zealand in a bad light internationally.

In his annual report released today, Joris de Bres highlights 50 percent of prison inmates are Maori.

He says it's a long term pattern which was raised at last year's United Nations periodical review and by the Committee on the Elimination of racial Discrimination, and it's likely to feature again this month in another UN review of New Zealand's civil and political rights.

“What this report is recommending that we do have long term targets and set specific targets to reduce that rate of imprisonment. It’s absolutely unsustainable. It’s internationally indefensible and we really do have to come to grips with it. We cannot sustain this,” Mr de Bres says.

The economic recession has increased the disparities between Maori and pacific workers and others, with 30 percent of young Maori now unemployed.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says Government changes to tertiary education will shut the university doors to Maori.

Ms Turei, who gained a law degree as an adult student, says the school system has failed many Maori and university is a way they can recover.

She says the changes will reduce the places for second chance students.

“So those of us like myself who failed at school will not be able to go to university unless we pass other courses first and try to get some sort of university entrance when we are adult students, and I think that is going to shut out hundreds if not thousands of Maori from university,” Ms Turei says.

She says the Government seems to want to keep the poor and Maori in their place at the bottom.


Marakopa Maori who were forced to stand by and watch power company contractors blow up a two-storey sacred stone are vowing to fight for other waahi tapu.

Clearwater Hydro, a subsidiary of Te Kuiti-based The Lines Company, removed Te Rongomai o Te Karaka at Te Anga to clear the way for a small hydro scheme.

Marae spokesperson Natasha Willison-Reardon says it's not the first sacred site destroyed by the developers.

“Blowing up one of our puna, our springs out there which is called Kimiora which was used to bless people. It comes from a waterfall called Tangiwai. They’re diverting those. There’s a whole lot of things we need to be working on now,” Mrs Willison-Reardon says.

The marae committee was contacted by the office of Maori Affairs minister Pita Sharples yesterday, and it hopes the government will step in to stop further desecration.


The Race Relations Commissioner says this year's local government elections will be a big test of how far the nation has come in finding a place for Maori.

In his annual report released today, Joris de Bres identifies political representation at local level, and in particular in the Auckland super city, as priority areas for action.

He says that applies especially to the Auckland super city, where there are still questions over how much of a voice Maori as well as Pacific and ethnic communities will have, and whether the new council will continue the relationships its predecessors have built up with iwi.

“These two issues of voice and of community programmes are vital ingredients in terms of the new super city and they have yet to be addressed adequately,” Mr de Bres says.

Other priorities include doing something to tackle the disproportionate number of Maori in jail, and the high rates of unemployment among Maori youth.

The report is being launched this morning in Henderson by Mr de Bres and Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey.


A Northland anti-smoking campaigner says marae need to be the health centre for Maori people - and that's why they need to be smoke free.

Witi Ashby from the Patu Puauahi group says 19 marae in Tai Tokerau are now Auahi Kore, and the number is slowly rising as marae trustees are encouraged to enforce policies of smoke free environments.

But he says it means overcoming long standing practices and habits, especially from smokers who may be the engine room that drives a marae.

Mr Ashby will make a submission in Auckland today to the Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry, about how the early deaths of smokers has affected the cultural life of Tai Tokerau tribes.


Yesterday's launch of youth court sittings on West Auckland's Hoani Waititi Marae was the realisation of a dream for a champion of marae-based courts.

Former youth court chief judge Mick Brown says when he promoted the idea 20 years ago, it was labeled separatist.

He says it's a sign of times have changed.

“Socially I think we are on the move. I’m pleased at some of the big claims being settled. There’s a new attitude out there and that please me greatly,” Judge Brown says.

Marae-based youth courts are a logical extension to the family group conferences he pioneered as a way to make offenders aware of how the effect their crime had on victims.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sacred rock dynamited despite plea

A last minute plea by Te Tai Hauauru MP Tariana Turia failed to stop the destruction yesterday of a sacred rock at Te Anga on the King Country's west coast.

The Maori Party co-leader asked The Lines Company subsidiary Clearwater Hydro to hold off blowing up the 2 metre high Te Rongomai o Te Karaka.

But Natasha Willison-Reardon from Marakopa Marae says whanau were marched off their ancestral land by police and watched helplessly as the kohutu was dynamited to make way for a power project on the privately-owned farm.

“It felt like someone had died. To do it while we were standing there, after being escorted off the property, it’s just another case of our lore, versus the law which takes no notice,” Mrs Willison-Reardon says.

She says there are a number of other waahi tapu sites in the developer's path, and opposition is likely to intensify.


The Prime Minister says he wants more marae round the country to hold youth court hearings.

John Key launched the third Maori Youth Court at West Auckland's Hone Waititi Marae this morning.

The first tikanga-based court session for young Maori were held last year at Te Poho o Rawhiri marae in Gisborne, with Manurewa Marae also holding hearings.

Mr Key says the hearings engage young people in the justice process.

“It's quite possible for someone who’s before the court system, a young person, to be quite disengaged from the process. Their lawyer or others can speak for them. As I understand, when they get out to the marae, it’s a very different situation. They are called to account,” Mr Key says.


A Kaitaia anti-smoking worker says overcoming family pressure is often the biggest part of quitting for Maori.

Kahu Thompson from Te Hauora of Te Hiku o te Ika's Aukati kai Paipa programme made a submission today to the Maori Afffiars Select Committee inquiry into the tobacco industry.

She says some Maori find it hard not just to overcome the physical addiction but to make the necessary changes in their social life.

“It is a hard thing to quit. A lot of Maori, because it is such a social thing, so many Maori in the whanau smoke and that is a toughy for the whole whanau, so we like to work with the whole whanau, makes it easier,” Mrs Thompson says.

A lot of Maori don't realise help is available, even though many of the smoking cessation programmes have been round for a decade or more.


The head of Whakatane-based Te Wananga o Awanuiarangi says an overhaul of the tertiary sector needs to take into account the historic under-performance of the sector for Maori.

Education minister Steven Joyce has called for at least 25 percent of the 6000 qualifications on offer to be scrapped by the middle of the year, and for performance-based funding for institutions.

Graham Hingangaroa Smith says the wananga sector is doing valuable work finding new ways to engage Maori in education, and he'd be concerned if programmes were scrapped based on unsuitable criteria.

“We still have have a major crisis of underdevelopment in Maori education across the board. While there may be a need to get more value for the money from the government’s point of view, the fact of the matter is while they are doing that they need to keep their eye on the ball that Maori education needs a lot of stimulation,” Professor Smith says.

Many of the courses offered by wananga may look different to other tertiary programmes, but they are vital to reengage Maori students and lead them towards vocational training.


The director of Te Ohu Auahi Kore Smokefree Coalition says more government-backed smoking cessation programmes are needed before it's realistic to talk about banning tobacco sales.

Prudence Strong says she's excited some members of the Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the tobaco industry are buying into the coalition's vision of a smokefree New Zealand by 2020.

But she says many of the 34 members of Te Ohu Auahi Kore provide support services for nicotine addicts, and they know the process can't be rushed.

“That addiction needs to be addressed first. We need to support those smokers to quit successfully. This can take some time so we need to have the funding and all the initiatives supported by government for a good interim phase before we can eliminate sales of tobacco,” Dr Prudence Strong says.

Tomorrow at Alexandra Park, the select committee inquiry will hear from British American Tobacco as well as from Maori and health groups.


The manager of Gisborne's Maori-focused television station fears regional stations may miss out in the switch to digital TV.

Tena Baker from East Coast TV says the free-to-air analogue station holds its own against mainstream channels by re-broadcasting popular Tairawhiti events like kapa haka and sports.

But if it can't win a digital slot, the only remaining option of satellite transmission is too expensive.

She says the government has a responsibility to ensure reo and tikanga are heard through broadcasting and on radio.

Ms Baker says some iwi including Rongowhakaata are talking to East Coast Television about running their own stations.

Maori Party wants trapping over poison

The Maori Party is calling for a moratorium on use of 1080 for poisoning possums.

The Prime Minister says there is no other way to rid some areas of the Australian native.

But the party's conservation spokesman Te Ururoa Flavell disagrees.

He says more research needs to be done on the effect of 1080 on waterways.

Mr Flavell says the government should run a large scale trapping programme using the unemployed.


A tobacco researcher says urgent action is needed to help Maori women of child bearing-age quit smoking.

Marewa Glover will give a submission today to the Maori Affairs Select Committee inquiry into smoking, which is sitting at Auckland's Alexandra Park Raceway.

Dr Glover, who has researched smoking among Maori for almost two decades, says Maori women make up a distinct group.

“Fiftyfive percent of women of childbearing age are smoking, and then they are pregnant and suddenly they have to deal with that addiction on top of all the other changes they’re going through and we haven’t got anything for them. Big holes in our delivery. Plenty of bombarding people with messages but not enough help at the other end,” Dr Glover says.

Smoking by mothers leads to a disproportionate number of Maori babies dying from Sudden Instant Death Syndrome.


Maori are twice as negative about their current economic circumstances as the rest of the population.

A first time nationwide survey of 100 people by the UMR research group found Maori had a negative 36 rating compared with the overall rating of negative 18.
The survey was conducted in the last week of February, with respondents questioned about the national economy, personal finances and whether it was a good time to buy things.

Executive director Tim Grafton says the Maori difference comes down to income, and as more Maori are lower income they feel twice as negative as the total population.

Maori were more optimistic than Americans, who in a similar survey had a rating of negative 49.


A member of the independent advisory panel on national standards says new standards for Maori medium education can work, but parents need to ensure they don't damage what kura are there for.

The government is asking parents and teachers to comment on the draft standards for Maori-medium education programmes.

Tony Trinnick from Auckland University's school of education is part of the team which has created the maths standard.

He says the team looked at criticism of the way standards were implemented in overseas countries, and has tried to use them to enhance the curriculum rather than confuse it.

“We saw the standard as a means to support these teachers in making sure that the mathematics knowledge was much more explicit. That was our primary motivation and if you make that much clearer to teachers, the aim would be to make them more effective teachers in mathematics,” Mr Trinnick says.

He says Maori parents don't want to see the curriculum narrowed to mathematics and literacy.


The first Maori president of the School Trustees Association says Maori should stand in this year's triennial board elections, even if the only skill they take to the table is their common sense.

Lorraine Kerr from Tuwharetoa and Ngati Awa says there has been a slight increase over the past two elections in the number of Maori on school boards.

She says many it's a rewarding job.

“Knowing that you have a say in your own kid’s future, something most of us have never had the opportunity to do so you know that you will have a say in their education, you know the decisions you make will be about all our tamariki, and hopefully for the better,” Ms Kerr says.

She says many Maori parents feel too shy or inexperienced to put themselves forward, but governance is about common sense and having a sense of what's best for one's children.


The organiser of a two-day Taranaki music expo says Maori artists will get a chance to learn from other musician and from visiting international promoters.

Sounds Aotearoa starts today leading up to WOMAD on Friday, and features Whirimako Black, Richard Nunns, Tama Waipara, Maisy Rika, Kora and others.

Emere Wano says Maori musicians wanted a forum to present their work and discuss the challenges of making a living from music.

“We're trying to instill that sense of pride and cultural and identity about what makes us different from the rest of the world. We’re bringing in other indigenous festival directors, buyers, programmers, so they can share their knowledge and expertise with Maori artists,” Ms Wano says.

There is a demand on the international festival circuit for both traditional and contemporary Maori acts.

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Feedback sought on Maori medium standards

One of the team developing Maori medium standards says parents need to ask how they will improve things for their child.

Associate education Minister Pita Sharples is asking teachers, principals and whanau to contribute to new draft national standards for Maori-medium education programmes.

Tony Trinick from Auckland University's school of education, who helped develop the mathematics standard, says there is no evidence from overseas experience that standards improve educational outcomes.

He says parents need to stand up for what they want out of Maori medium education.

“How do they actually know the implementation of this initiative is actually making a difference for their child. How do they know the things they value at school are still being considered, that there is not going to be a narrowing of the curriculum to mathematics and literacy. I would be asking ‘How is this going to be making a difference for my child,’” Mr Trinick says.

He says standards can help focus teachers on what is important in a curriculum.


Labour leader Phil Goff is using this week's tour round Northland to reach out to Maori voters.

Mr Goff has left his anti-GST rise bus behind and taken to his motorbike around the north, with list MPs Kelvin Davis and Shane Jones providing support.

He says the great response Labour's Maori caucus got in the South Island last week has confirmed a deep well of support for the party which it will build on in Taitokerau.

“We'll be looking at meeting with Maor people across Northland. We’ll be looking at forming a Ratana branch. We’ve got very strong Ratana support in the north. It is about getting out there, talking to people, listening to people,” Mr Goff says.

Not a single Maori he has spoken to in favour of a rise as proposed by the government.


A Maori tobacco researcher says the Maori affairs select committee inquiry into smoking needs to ask why successive government have done nothing to help Maori to quit.

Dr Marewa Glover who has been running anti-smoking campaigns and research for almost two decades.

She says governments have sat by and watched Maori die, despite a succession of national hui highlighting the problem.

“We know the harm. We know what it does. We know what it does to marae. We know it’s been killing our elders. The inquiry needs to be asking why the government hasn’t done something more effective to stop the harm.” Dr Glover says.

More campaigns driven by Maori are needed to beat a situation where one in two Maori is still smoking.


The Families' Commission's kaihono for community engagement says a report on the state of grandparenting identifies significant challenges for Maori.

Bob Newson helped collect Maori views for the report, which draws on interviews with more than 1200 grandparents.

He says many Maori raising their mokopuna struggle financially, but they often get help from the wider whanau.

Mr Newson says Maori grandparents face the added expectation they will pass on important cultural knowledge to their mokopuna.


Labour leader Phil Goff says the government isn't doing enough to target smoking among Maori.

Mr Goff says the Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry and the effects of smoking on Maori is an important step in addressing a major public health issue.

He says young Maori women in particular aren't getting the message that smoking is harmful.

“It just breaks my heart when I see young women who are pregnant and smoking. They ought to be aware of the damage that is doing to their unborn child and we’ve got to up that educational campaign through the media as well as through the government agencies.
Mr Goff says.

He says government can't keep criticising the nanny state when it's talking about banning Lemsip from supermarkets which continuing to allow the widespread sale of cigarettes.


The president of the School Trustees Association says Maori parents shouldn't let humility be a barrier to contributing to their children’s education.

Lorraine Kerr wants more Maori parents to stand for school boards in this year's triennial elections.

She says kura kaupapa means there are more Maori trustess than ever before, but parents with children in mainstream schools are often too shy to stand.

“None of us like to be whakahihi. In fact it’s the opposite. We’re too shy to do lots of things. Ando one of them is standing for a board and actually being a decision maker, and that; an important part of the role. I’d love to see more Maori stand. I’d love to see more Maori get in there,” Ms Kerr says.

Voting starts in April

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Fast food promotion cynical and dangerous

A healthy food campaigner has slammed a team-up between Weightwatchers and fast food giant MacDonalds as a cynical commercial ploy which could have disastrous effects for Maori.

Alison White from SAFE says while the salads Weight Watchers is endorsing may be healthy, the dressings which go on them are not.

And while the diet drinks being sold in combos have less sugar, they contain the artificial sweetener aspartame.

“Having diet is extremely unhealthy and it is potentially extremely dangerous for Maori and Pacific Islanders who are more likely to suffer from diabetes,” Ms White says.

She says when MacDonalds used cyclist Sarah Ulmar to promote their salads, it lead to a jump in sales of all their products, including the unhealthy ones.


Civil Defence is putting together plans to use marae around the country if a disaster occurs.

National co-ordinator Ian Wilson says marae are an integral part of communities capable of feeding and looking after people.

He says the tsunami warnings after the Chilean earthquake brought the potential to use marae in an emergency into sharp focus.

“We are actually working with Te Puni Kokiri and the local civil defence and iwis to develop emergency plans for the marae. We’re getting each marae to look at itself and say these are the hazard and risks we face, so we want them to look at those and how they would react, who would be n charge to ensure their people are safe, where they would go and who they would contact and say this is the assistance we need or we can offer assistance to other people,” Mr Wilson says.

Many marae are near water which gives them a strategic position in times of an emergency.


There's a call for New Zealand cricket to take advantage of the changing cultural makeup of the Black Caps.

Sports commentator Ken Laban says in the past the game the past struggled to attract Maori and Pacific island players.

But with Ross Taylor the first player with a Samoan whakapapa to captain the national side, and Maori players Jesse Ryder, Darryl Tuffey and Shane Bond in the squad, that's changed.

The Black Caps play the third of five one-day matches against the touring Australians in Hamilton today.


Three Te Arawa iwi today sign an agreement with the Crown to be part of a $210 million clean-up of the Waikato River.

Iwi spokesperson Roger Pikia says Te Arawa has mana whenua from Huka Falls to Atiamuri.

He says the deal to be signed at Orakei Korako with Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson mirrors one signed last month by Waikato-Tainui and has been a long time coming.

“You’re never completely satisfied with the whole process going forward. There’s always better ways you can deal with this or manage this. But where we’ve got to is a point where we’re able to accept what we currently have given the constraints and take a step forward and enter this thing called co-management,” Mr Pikia says.

The agreement gives Te Arawa a place on the Waikato River Authority alongside Waikato-Tainui, Maniapoto, Tuwharetoa, Crown representatives and Environment Waikato, and will come into force on June 1.


The chair of the Maori Affairs Select Committee says although he still has the occasional cigarette, it wasn't going to stop him from being part of an investigation into the effect of the tobacco industry on Maori.

National list MP Tau Henare says Maori should feel proud their committee is the first government body to call to the industry to account.

The committee opened hearings in Rotorua yesterday.

Mr Henare says despite his ciggie habit, which he's adressing, he's keen to be part of any initiative that reduces smoking harm in Maori communities.

“It is a bit awkward but hell, if I wanted to stand down, I would have. I suppose it gives me hands on experience of what smokers are going through. My non-smoking, my giving up smoking, is always a work in progress,” Mr Henare says.

The select committee sits in Auckland tomorrow and Thursday, and the investigation could take up to six months.


The only Maori to have coached in the National Rugby League says it's time New Zealand Maori had regular matches with the Australian Indigenous squad.

Tony Kemp says Maori made history 2 years ago when they first played the indigenous all stars as part of the opening to the Rugby League World Cup.

He says the Dreamteam's pre-season game against the NRL All stars on the Gold Coast was a huge success, and he's keen to see an annual fixture between Maori and their Australian indigenous counterparts each Waitangi Day.

“It has a significance not only for Maori bt for the Indigenous in Australia if we can get that clash up and going. It’s a pre-season game. We didn’t think we’d get it up in the World Cup and we did it, so we have to keep working in it to see it happen,” Mr Kemp says.

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Select committee tobacco inquiry starts

The Maori Affairs Select Committee kicked off its inquiry into the tobacco industry with a hearing in Rotorua today.

The inquiry is chaired by Nation's Tau Henare, but it came about through pressure from Maori Party MP Hone Harawira.

The Tai Tokerau MP says he has mixed emotions about the inquiry into an industry that leads to the death of more than 600 Maori a year.

“I'd rather have all of our people alive rather than have to go through this exercise but the tobacco giants don’t care that our people die from their products. They just want money. Someone’s got to do it and I’m glad it’s us, the Maori Affairs Select Committee. I’m looking forward to it,” Mr Harawira says.

He sees the inquiry as a step towards banning the sale of tobacco in New Zealand.


A new champion has emerged from the 50th Golden Shears.

26-year-old Cam Ferguson from Waipawa clipped his way to victory at Masterton over two-time winner Johnny Kirkpatrick and 17-time winner David Fagan, with Dion King 4th.

Commentator Koro Mullins says the win capped a great summer for the Te Aute Old Boy and shows he's got what it takes to compete at the highest level of the sport.

“When you're at that level it’s all a mid game and the young man, only 26, to step up in his first Golden Shear final, a lot of these guys have done 10, 12, 20 Golden Shears final, and for this man to step up to the plate and took it out, wonderful,” Mr Mullins says.

The win puts Ferguson into the New Zealand team heading to the world championships in Wales in July.


Ngati Rangiwewehi's first equal placing in the Te Arawa kapa haka regional championships held at Rotorua's Energy Events centre on Saturday gave an extra thrill to the event's co-ordinator.

As tutors, Trevor Maxwell and his late wife Atareta won two national titles with the Rotorua group.

This year the group is coached by his nephew, Dan Vaka, and it came back strongly after failing to make the cut to years ago.

Honours were shared with Te Maataarae i Orehu, whose total was boosted after a recount, with Tuhourangi - Ngati Wahiao, Nga Uri o te Whanoa and Manaia also through to represent the region at Te Matatini in Gisborne next February.

Mr Maxwell says he was touched by the tribute his old team paid to Atareta and him.

The Kahungunu region picks its Matatini contenders at Te Aute College next weekend.


Former ACT deputy leader Muriel Newman says Maori men are the problem ... but the government shouldn't create targeted programmes to address the problem,

Mrs Newman is sticking by her claims to the ACT Party conference that the National Maori party relationship has brought race relations to an all time low, and there's no way the Maori Party's flagship whanau ora policy should just be for Maori.

But she says Maori men have abandoned the whanau.

“If you look back at 1968, 72 percent of children born into Maori families had a mum and dad who were married and by 2008 that had dropped to 22 percent. That is actually a real issue I wish Maori leadership would address. It hasn’t changed like that for any other group in New Zealand,” Mrs Newman says.


The director of Maori anti smoking group Te Reo Marama, Shane Kawentata Bradbrook says today's start of the Maori Affair's Select Committee's investigation into the tobacco industry is a milestone.

The committee heard evidence in Rotorua today, and sits at Alexandra Park Raceway in Auckland on Wednesday and Thursday.

Mr Bradbrook says it will hear from people who lost parents to smoking-related diseases.

“It's an historic moment to not only take on the tobacco industry but also to get some parliamentary inquiry into tobacco and the consequences on Maori which has been devastating since the 1950s when governments around the world knew that there was a link between smoking and cancer,” says Mr Bradbrook, from Ngai Taamanuhiri, Rongowhakaata and Ngati Kahungunu.


There was a strong Maori flavour at Sydney's Parramatta Stadium over the weekend as Kiwi coach Steven Kearny and captain Benji Marshall led a roots camp for young players eligible to play for New Zealand.

Players from the under-20s National Junior, Jersey Flegg and S.G.Ball competitions mixed with established NRL stars Roy Assotasi and Nathan Cayless and legends Tawera Nika and Ruben Wiki.

New Zealand Rugby league football manager Tony Kemp says many of the emerging players were born in Australia to New Zealand parents, and they need to know the door is open for them to wear the Kiwi jersey.

The day was capped off with a hangi put by the Sydney under 16 rangatahi team, who are raising money to attend the national Maori tournament in Rotorua over Labour weekend.

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Monday, March 08, 2010

Customer insight needed for forest investment

The manager of Tuwharetoa's largest forestry businesses says Maori need to understand the needs of the global timber customer so they can know where best to invest.

George Asher says Lake Taupo Forest Trust and Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust have a policy of buying out leases as trees are harvested, so they have total ownership of the next crop.

The policy has also been adopted by the Central North Island forestry coalition, which Ngati Tuwharetoa is part of.

Mr Asher says Maori need to invest in other parts of the industry, and his preference would be to buy into the marketing and distribution end of the chain

“We want to understand what our customers want. Understanding that determines what sort of product creates the best value, what sort of trees are best suited to creating those products and that’s the sort of stuff we need to know before investing in any part of that value chain,” Mr Asher says.


Marae trustees in the Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa will be given a crash course over the next few weeks on how they can do their jobs better.

Roger Arana, the Takitimu regional manager for Te Puni Kokiri, says the Internal Affairs-led marae planning and funding workshops will give trustees a chance to hear what agencies like Inland Revenue, the Fire Service, Historic Places Trust and the Maori Land Court have to offer them.

He says it's protection for kaitiaki.

“A lot of our people do things from their heart, he Maori tena, but there are also responsibilities that come from being a trustee and there’s liabilities for trustees too so you’ve really got to understand what that's all about,” Mr Arana says.


A former curator of Maori taonga at Auckland War Memorial Museum says treating the Oldman Collection as a single unit may help people identify where individual items came from.

The collection of Maori and Pacific Island artefacts was put together by William Oldman in England in the first half of last century.

The New Zealand Government bought it in 1948 and split it between museums in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, who have now agreed to coordinate guardianship.

Paul Tapsell says it's a significant collection with many fine objects, but the specific tribal or geographic origins of most of the pieces are unknown.

“A lot of these things were probably collected by early visitors, be they whalers or missionaries, early settlers, collecting them perhaps for aesthetic, curiosity reasons that had nothing to do with their ancestral connections to landscapes and expressions of mana. That korero is no longer available,” Professor Tapsell says.

There could be clues about some of the items in early writings by missionaries or travelers, or in tribal records, but it will require diligent research to track them back.


One of the architects of Whanau Ora says the new way of delivering services to Maori is consistent with other changes the Government is making in the health sector.

Lorna Dyall from Te Kupenga Hauora Maori in Auckland University's School of Population Health says rather than services being developed to suit health professionals, they are now being designed to give consumers and whanau what they want.

She says whanau ora also includes development, which is important for the wider society which is trying to grapple with the needs of an aging population.

“You can only look after an older population and a young population if you work as a whanau so actually helping skills in the whanau to be able to care for each other both now and plan for the future so it’s actually moving from just focusing on me, what’s important for me, to actually how do I contribute to a whanau because a whanau only exists if you all work together,” Dr Dyall says.

The whanau ora idea has upset some people because of the way Maori people make their culture explicit, but the principles can apply to any group.


It"s Kidney Awareness Week, and Maori are being urged to get a check up which can pick up problems like undiagnosed diabetes.

Kelvin Lynn, the medical director of Kidney Health New Zealand, says the disease can be beaten if detected early through a simple test, but left undiagnosed it can lead to kidney failure and other conditions.

He says Maori are twice as likely to have diabetes than Pakeha, and community-based programes are the best way to detect it and treat it.

Professor Lynn says if people know they have diabetes, they can make the lifestyle changes which are the key to beating both diabetes and kidney failure.


The principal of Titahi Bay North School says a group of year 8 language learners are inspiring younger students by sitting level 1 NCEA Maori before they head to High School.

Stephen Caldwell says Te Whanau o te Kakano reo immersion programme complements the mainstream teaching programmes at the school, which has a 75 percent Maori roll.

He says the teachers believe the second formers can pass level 1 NCEA Maori.

“The kids were needing to be extended. They were very fluent. We’re confident they can handle it. We’ve got four kids sitting it this year and we expect it to continue,” Mr Caldwell says.

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