Waatea News Update

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Ngati Manu takes back Lady Raiha

Lady Raiha Mahuta has been laid to rest among her ancestors at at Karetu Marae in the Bay of Islands.

The Tainui claim negotiator and widow of the late Sir Robert Mahuta was returned to Ngati Manu after initially lying in state at Waahi Marae in Huntly.

Gravedigger and Labour list MP Kelvin Davis says about 400 people attended today's funeral service.

He says Ngati Maanu was proud of the achievements of Lady Raiha, but didn't realise the extent of her work for the Waikato iwi until Tainui brought her back to rest at the foot of her parents.


The first kura kaupapa in the country is celebrating its 25th birthday this weekend.

To mark the event, Te Kura Kaupapa o Hoani Waititi in west Auckland is hosting a wananga with noted Maori educationalists Evelyn Tobin, Tom Roa, Katerina Mataira, Linda Tuhiwai Smith and the kura's co-founder, Pita Sharples.

Dr Sharples, who is now associate education minister, says there was great opposition to it being set up, including hate male and claims of apartheid and divisiveness.

He says the kura was established because of the negative reaction Maori speaking children were getting when they moved from kohanga reo to mainstream primary schools.


One of the oldest Maori culture groups in the land will be a crowd favourite when it takes the stage at the Michael Fowler centre tomorrow.

Sandy Barr, the spokesperson for the Wellington kapa haka regional championships, says the 80-year old Ngati Poneke will vie for a place at next

February's nationals with reigning champion Tu Te Maungaroa, made up of Wellington based Tuhoe, Pukeahu and Taonga Mai Tawhiti.

Three new teams have emerged, which means the region will be able to send two teams to Te Matatini in Gisborne.


The chief executive of the Health Research Council, Robin Olds, says three major Maori research projects could benefit indigenous people worldwide.

Sue Crengle from Auckland University's department of Maori and Pacific health is getting almost $1.5 million over three years to improve how heart disease patients and their families understand the disease and its treatment.

Rhys Jones from the university's school of population health gets $2 million over five years to look at how better training of health professionals can improve the standard of care Maori get, and John Broughton from Otago University's Ngai tahu Maori health research unit gets $2.3 million over five years to tackle chronic dental disease among indigenous children.

Dr Olds says the funding comes under from the International Collaborative indigenous Health Research Partnership, which also involves health research funders in Australia and Canada.


Associate Education Minister Pita Sharples' backtracking on national standards has earned a D minus mark from Labour's Kelvin Davis.

Dr Sharples now says he's happy with the delayed roll out of standards in kura kaupapa, in contrast with his position in January when emails released to Radio New Zealand show him opposed to the overall policy.

Mr Davis, a former intermediate school principal, says while the minister may have improved things for the Maori immersion sector, he ignores the needs to the 95 percent of Maori students who attend mainstream schools.

“He's at sixes and sevens around National Standards. He really needs to front up, show some leadership, stand up for Maoridom and say he’s not prepared as associate minister of education to have these go ahead. But of course it just shows how the Maori Party don’t have any influence when it comes to the big issues,” Mr Davis says.

He says teachers need to be given the skills and conditions to raise student achievement, rather than waste time teaching to tests.


The Problem Gambling foundation is upset at a loophole in Auckland City Council's new gambling venue policy which allows owners to shift venues.

Director Graeme Ramsey says the policy undermines the sinking lid approach taken by other councils in the region.

He says while the council claims the policy will allow gaming machines to be shifted out of vulnerable and over-represented areas of the city, that's not going to happen.

“Machines are not found in Remuera. They’re found in the poorest parts of the community. These machines are a real issue for Maori, particularly Maori women,” Mr Ramsey says.

The policy will create a headache for the new super city council, which will need to harmonise by-laws across the city.

Aquaculture settlement passes hurdle

The passing of the Commercial Aquaculture Settlement Act will allow a new chapter in Maori fisheries.

The $97 million settlement package passed on Wednesday covers Hauraki, Ngai Tahu and top of the South Island iwi.

Harry Mikaere from Hauraki says all that's left to do is signing the cheques.

His iwi already has a large investment in aquaculture, but the settlement will allow it to plan for the future.

“I really don't want our people caught up in the factories any more. We want them in the boardrooms. We want them in the sciences that this opportunity allows, and there is a whole range of other innovations coming through our industry that our people should be involved in,” Mr Mikaere says.

Maori aquaculturalists need to start looking for opportunities offshore, so they can offer customers year round supply of product.


The Waitemata District Health Board is concerned too many Maori with diabetes are missing annual check ups.

The board has identified more than 1500 Maori in Waitakere and North Shore cities with diabetes, but the number seeing their GP regularly is below the Health Ministry's Get Checked programme target.

Public health physician Tom Robinson says Maori are twice as likely than Pakeha to have diabetes, and far more likely to get complications.

“Really strong evidence from international studies that people who have good care and achieve the targets associated with care round sugar control and blood pressure control are much less likely to have complications like heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, and are likely to live a lot longer,” Dr Robinson says.

Waitemata DHB is now chasing up GPs to get them to encourage patients to come in for checks.


It's early in the sporting year, but competition is already heating up for the Maori sports awards.

Organiser Dick Garrett from Ngai Tuhoe says increased media coverage of the awards has encouraged more Maori sports people to identify themselves as worthy of recognition.

Many come from non-traditional sports, such as ocean swimmer Kane Radford, ice speed Olympian Blake Skellerup and soccer player Rory Fallon.

Mr Garrett says there's a big year ahead for Maori athletes, with the centenary of Maori rugby, rowing and soccer world cups to look forward to before the award ceremony in December.


The head of one of the country's largest electricity generators says Maori trusts which own geothermal hot spots are the sleeping giants of the New Zealand economy.

Doug Heffernan says Mighty River Power has been developing Maori geothermal resources for more than a decade.

He says the trusts are increasingly looking to partner with the state owned enterprise, rather than just leasing their land.

“The economic growth that these Maori trusts have had in harnessing the geothermal resource below their land has transformed the interests of the land trust, hundreds of millions dollar business, way beyond what their ancestors would have thought of 50 years ago and in a lot of ways they have been the sleeping giant of success in New Zealand business, not only within Maoridom,” Mr Heffernan says.

Maori trusts are good to work with because they want to develop the resource in a way which is sustainable and benefits their people.


Maori forest owners are being urged to break out of traditional channels and sell direct China.

Hemana Waaka and fellow Maori Rakau Trading director Bin Wang have identified trusts in the Hawkes Bay and the South Island with forests ready to harvest.

Mr Waaka says Maori landowners need to make the shift from leasing their land to forest companies to planting their own trees.

He says by replanting their own trees, their children and grandchildren will benefit not only from the harvest but from jobs along the way.

Mr Waaka says there are Chinese business people who are keen to trade directly with Maori and build up cultural as well as business relationships.


The head of programming for Maori Televison's Te Reo channel is promising more programmes from novice producers as more Maori make programmes that reflect their world.

The total immersion channel marks its second birthday this week.

Eruera Morgan says it's been a challenge to create a catalogue of programmes in te reo Maori, but shows like He Pari Karangaranga o te Motu, where Maori communities produce programmes about themselves, have pointed the way ahead.

The next step is to get kura kaupapa to provide programmes and tell their stories.

Eru Morgan says the audience for Te Reo Channel is growing as more Maori become fluent in te reo.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Turia: Time wrong for benefit reform

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says it's the wrong time in the economic cycle to radically overhaul the benefit system.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett this week unveiled more active management of long-term beneficiaries, rigorous assessment of sickness beneficiaries, and a requirement domestic purposes beneficiaries seek work once their youngest child is six.

Mrs Turia, who is Ms Bennett's associate minister, says it's a dangerous set of changes.

“If we were in a time of high employment and if we had the jobs that we were able to put people in to, I would be really supportive of benefit reform but I am not supportive at this time,” Mrs Turia says.

She says raising children is hard work, and many Maori children will suffer under the reforms.


The author of a report calling for the scrapping of Maori seats says there are better ways to ensure Maori representation.

In Superseding MMP, Luke Malpass from the right wing think tank Centre for Independent Studies proposes a lower house elected by a first past the post system and an upper house or senate chosen by proportional representation.

Mr Malpass says Maori seats are an anachronism in a modern liberal democracy, but there is reason why the number of MPs who are Maori should not continue to increase, as it has under MMP.

“Because we are creating more electorates there is far more scope, especially if I look at the talented Maori Party MPS, I can’t see why they wouldn’t be elected in a general electorate,” Mr Malpass says.

The Maori party could also choose to seek seats in the senate by winning a large enough proportion of the vote.


Meanwhile, Auckland mayor John Banks says he wants to see the Maori Party putting up candidates for the new super city council.

He says the party has people capable of working on the council, and they can ensure Maori have their say.

“I want to encourage them to stand for public office and civic duty because it is their country more than anyone else, their mokopuna’s future, our future together as one united New Zealand, and we’ve got to get this right,” Mr Banks says.


Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira says a bill allowing courts to deal with prisoners via a video link could increase the number of Maori being found guilty.

The Maori Party is supporting the bill going to a select committee.

But Mr Harawira says as someone who has spent time in prisons and courts, he believes it will be easier for judges to find people guilty if they don't have to look them in the eye.

“Because most of our people are before the courts on these sorts of charges, to a large degree it is our people who are going to be those videoed people that get switched off – ‘I don’t want to listen any longer to his person plead for his liberty’ – and that’s what’s going to happen,” Mr Harawira says.

He says having the right to face one's accusers if something he has always admired about the British system of justice.


Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Parekura Horomia says the Maori Party is selling out its constituents by backing the Government's proposed benefit reforms.

Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the middle of a recession isn't the right time to be changing the rules for beneficiaries.

But Mr Horomia says under its support agreement, Mrs Turia and her colleagues have to vote for it.

“I'm hoha that the Maori Party is even voting for it to the select committee. We certainly won’t be and you can’t even think of giving away on ths stuff. This will do a lot of damage to our people, coupled with the gold card, coupled with the 90 day bill, it’s just outrageous," Mr Horomia says.

He's also outraged by social development Minister Paula Bennett's insinuation those on benefits are bludging or having a free ride.


An Otara youth worker says anti-alcohol messages are missing their target audience.

Shardae Khursal from the Otara Youth Collective, who has Ngati Hine and Indian whakapapa, says the south Auckland community is sick of negative press, and is trying to address problems like alcohol abuse.

She says agencies who want to get the anti-alcohol message across need to learn how to engage with youth.

“One of the biggest problems we have with young people today is we are all quite stubborn so it is hard for our parents or anyone older than us to get a message through to us. I think it’s more about trying to understand the right way of talking to us young people and educating us in a way that we are learning together,” Ms Khursal says.

She wants to see more Government-funded youth education programmes.

Barrier mining snub to treaty claimants

Greens leader Meteria Turei says the government is showing its priorities when it is prepared to open land on Great Barrier Island to mining behind the back of the local Maori.

The island's Ngati Rehua hapu has accused the government of being hypocritical in not once talking about its intention to allow mining on 705ha of conservation land on the barrier's Te Ahumata Plateau when they were holding Treaty negotiation in good faith over the land.

Mrs Turei says the government has been hiding its intentions for some time, and now intends to give land under claim bnot to claimants but to the mining industry to use and destroy.

Mrs Turei it should be a warning to other maori with an interest in conservation land.


The Maori Trustee and chair of Maori business development project Tekau Plus, John Paki says an independent financial review has found that $2 million under his stewardship had been fully and accurately accounted for.

Earlier this week the Ministry for Maori Economic Development - Te Puni Kokori - suspended the project designed to develop 10 Maori businesses so each would earn $10 million in overseas funds within 10 years.

Te Puni Kokiri was concerned about a lack of reporting by Tekau Plus.
Mr Paki, who as Maori Trustee makes up the Tekau Plus partnership with the Federation of Maori Authorities and the Poutama Trust says all monies have been accounted for.

“Price Waterhouse Coopers carried out an independent review of the Tekau Plus programme and found that the $2 million under the stewardship of the Maori trustee has been fully and accurately accounted for, because one of the things that led to this was there were allegations of misappropriation,” Mr Paki says.

PriceWaterhouse Coopers and two independent reviewers deputy state services commissioner Tony Hartevelt and Maori businessman Whaimutu Dewes will now undertake a Value for Money Review.


A west Auckland kura is finally getting its own site after 19 years.

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Kotuku Board of Trustees chair Tara Hape says the kura which became a stand alone in 2004 started its life at
Hoani Waititi marae, moved to a Korean church and has been operating from Rutherford High school while its searched for suitable land to build.

She says to finally have new premises is a tribute to those who have been loyal to the kura over the years.

Maori king Tuheitia will open the new school premises on April 15.


The chairman of the Maori Tourism Council is adopting a wait and see approach to the government's plans to mine parts of the Conservation Estate

National has proposed removing 7058 hectares from the protected status of schedule four of the Crown Minerals Act which would allow it to be mined.

The rohe affected include Great Barrier Island, parts of the Coromandel and in Paparoa National Park on the West Coast.

John Barrett, from Ngati Toarangatira, Te Ati Awa and Ngati Raukawa ki te Tonga, says New Zealand is firmly tied to its clean green image and that needs to be protected.


A Maori researcher looking at alternative ways to generate power believes more hapu need to invest in the area.

Dr Maria Bargh from Te Kawa a Maui at Victoria University has been examining indigenous companies involved in the energy sector both here and in Canada.

Dr Bargh, who affiliates to Te Arawa, Ngati Kearoa, Ngati Tuara and Ngati Awa, says hapu need to be getting in on the ground floor of what will be a major industry in the next 50 years.

She says there are examples in Canada of indigenous groups investing in wind power and micro hydro.


While the government introduced legislation into parliament yesterday to make its easier to enforce court judgments both sides of the Tasman a Maori working in Australia says they are more interested in getting things connected with their Maoritanga than summons.

Robert Birch who works in the mines of Western Australia says the children of Maori who crossed the Tasman in the early 80's are keen to stay connected with their taha Maori.

PM mourns Lady Raiha Mahuta

Hundreds of mourners braved cold and rain this morning as they answered the call onto Huntly's Waahi marae to pay their respects to Lady Raiha Mahuta who died yesterday aged 67.

Radio Waatea's Tainui reporter Mania Clarke attending the tangi says Prime Minister John Key who meet with Lady Raiha and Tainui leader Tukoroirangi Morgan only last Friday hit a special chord when he spoke on the paepae.


Maori are being offered scholarships to study for one of the most prestigeous MBA degrees in the world.

Cransfield School of Management in the UK says the two $30,000 scholarships will cover almost half the fees of the year's study.

New Zealand's Alumni Representative David Ryan says the university which has traditional encouraged students from around the world to undertake its Master of Business Administration degrees was highly receptive when he put forward the idea of the Maori scholarships.

He says it could be a way for iwi to train up the next generation of managers of tribal assets.

Applications for next year close in May.


New Zealand on Air is calling on the services of a number of successful Maori broadcasters to review the impact of the mainstream Maori programmes it funds.

Broadcasters Stacey Morrison, Hinewehi Mohi and Scotty Morrison will work with the Tim Thorpe Consulting group to research Maori shows made primarily in English for a general audience.

Ms Morrison says it's important for New Zealand On Air to see what impact their funding decisions have on the audience.

They will report back to NZ on Air mid-year.


The manager of the Maori action plan for the Alcohol Advisory Council says a hui on the relationship between Alcohol and Violence in Wellington yesterday reached the inevitable conclusion that the drinking age and price of booze must go up but the number of liquour outlets down.

Gilbert Taurua says the experts present including addiction expert Doug Sellman, police Commissioner Howard Broad, and the principal Judge of the Youth Court, Andrew Beecroft were firmly of the view that such action is needed to effect real change.

He says Maori are all to quick to buy into the alcohol industry's slick marketing campaigns and work is going on in South Auckland to map the relationship between alcohol abuse and violence.

Gilbert Taurua says the alcohol problem is nationwide not just in South Auckland.


Peter Turei, from Nga Aho Whakaari - Maori working in film, video and television, says the critical praise for Taika Waititi’s new film Boy shows there's an international appetite for well-told Maori stories.

He believes there's no shortage of Maori writers with good ideas.

Mr Turei is hoping there will be a similar gem amongst the scripts put forward to Te Paepae Ataata... a group of senior Maori filmmakers who mentor and fund and oversee Maori films on behalf of the NZ Film Commission.

He says almost 20 scripts have been submitted already, so the aim now is to create an environment some of those films can be made.

The long term aim has got to be a reo Maori film winning the best foreign language movie at some future Oscars.


Two Maori women who raised their children as solo parents are sparring across the parliamentary divide.

Following her introduction of legislation yesterday forcing single parents whose children reach the age of 6 to seek work social development minister Paula Bennett has come in for harsh criticism from Greens co-leader Meteria Turei.

Ms Turei says while she has not forgotten what is was like to be a solo parent on the domestic purposes benefit Paula Bennett obviously has in the way she is now attacking young mothers.

She says Paula Bennett's proposal is suggesting that beneficiaries are dodgy at heart when nothing is further from the truth with there being absolutely no evidence of systemic fraud but plenty that there are not jobs available.

Solo parent job push will shrink labour market

A beneficiaries’ advocate believes government moves announced yesterday will make it even harder for unemployed young Maori to find jobs.

Yesterday Prime Minister John Key and Social Welfare minister Paula Bennett introduced a new plan which will push around 43,000 solo parents with children aged six or more onto the labour market.

Kay Brereton from the Wellington People's Centre says the move to make solo parents seek part time work will mean a double hit for the one in three young Maori currently unemployed.

“This is creating extra competition because now they’re competing against those solo parents who may be perceived by some employers as more stable and reliable than a young person, and I also think it is going to have a negative effect on wages and push wages down because it is increasing competition in that Labour market.” Ms Brereton says.

She says it's unfair to expect beneficiaries to find work when there's clearly none available.


Tributes are pouring in for Waikato - Tainui leader Lady Raiha Mahuta who died early yesterday aged 67 years.

Prime Minister John Key who will attend her tangi at Huntly's waaihi marae today says Lady Raiha made a huge contribution as she continued the work of her late husband Sir Robert Mahuta in fighting for the river to be returned to Maori ownership and management.

Labour leader Phil Goff passed his deepest sympathy to all her whanau particularly her daughter Labour MP Nanaia whose home she died at in the early hours of Tuesday morning after suffering from a rare type of bone cancer for seven years.

Maori party leader Tariana Turia says Maori throughout the country are in awe of her courage and tenacity while Green's leader Meteria Turei says her commitment to the environment was an inspiration to all.

Waikato River settlement co-negotiator Tukoroirangi Morgan who has spent the past five years working on the deed in its final stages through parliament sums up the sense of loss across Maoridom.

Lady Raiha's body was taken to Turangawaewae marae yesterday where she lay in state briefly before being taken to Tainui's endowed college at Hopuhopu where Sir Robert is buried and then on to Waahi Marae where her tangi is being held over the next two days before she is taken to her home marae, Karetu, near Russell on Friday morning for burial.


A ta moko expert says the Maori tattoo are becoming increasingly popular across the ditch.

Mark Kopua has regular work in Australia where one in seven Maori are now estimated to be living.

He says they grasp at any opportunity to embrace their Maoritanga.


An expert on addiction says alcohol should be put under the spotlight in a similar way to the tobacco.

Professor Doug Sellman who has headed the national addiction centre in Christchurch for 25 years says alcohol like tobacco is having a devastating effect on the Maori community.

He told a hui on alcohol and violence in Auckland yesterday that nearly 750,000 New Zealanders are regarded as heavy drinkers with over 70,000 cases of alcohol fueled violence reported annually.

Professor Sellman, who heads Alcohol Healthwatch, says the inquiry being conducted by the Maori affairs select committee should move onto alcohol after its has dealt with the tobacco industry.


Improving Maori health will be a key focus of Massey University's new school of public health being launched in Wellington today.

Associate professor Cindy Kiro of Ngapuhi, Ngati Kahu and Ngati Hine, who will head the school says it will be taking a multi-disciplinary approach bringing together five existing research centres to work both internationally and with local communities.

“We don’t want to keep describing the problem. We want to focus on whjat we can do, particularly those things we can do in conjunction with other disciplines, so it’s not just about medicine but about how all the professions can work together,” Professor Kiro says.

The centre will involve environmental scientists, occupational health specialists, mental health workers, nurses, and Maori health experts.


Young Maori politicians... and emerging academics will be under the spotlight as the Stout research centre hosts a series of discussions the current political landscape and whether there really is a 'new generation' in politics.

Metiria Turei from the Greens and Maria Bargh from Victoria University's Te Kawa a Maui, will kick off the series in Wellington tonight.

Dr Bargh... who affiliates to Te Arawa, Ngati Kearoa, Ngati Tuara, Ngati Awa... says the demographics of the country are changing, and political parties need to recognise that to stay relevant and appealing to younger voters.

“Appointing Metiria Turei as co-leader of the Greens was part of that. Trying to attract the slightly younger vote and obviously a Maori vote there for the Greens, but I’m not sure how successful some of he other parties have been in that regard. You need to put forward younger candidates for young people to see themselves reflected and see their issues reflected and cared about,” Dr Bargh says.

Lady Raiha Mahuta dies

As Waikato-Tainui leader Tukoroirangi Morgan stood by the banks of the river today signing the agreement for joint management of the Waikato River with the Waikato District Council he felt a deep sense of sadness and loss.

His co-negotiator of the agreement between the iwi, Crown and local authorities, Lady Raiha Mahuta had died over-night.

Mr Morgan says he spoke to Lady Raiha yesterday and said he wanted to call the signing off until she was felling better but she said to go ahead because she had read the document and was happy.

“I stood there by myself and that’s a strange experience actually because for the past five years she’s been my constant companion and we’ve fought the fight together and to have her not there is hugely difficult to bear with,” Mr Morgan says.

He meet with Prime Minister John Key and treaty negotiations minister Chris Finlayson on Friday to see if the Waikato River Settlement Bill could be passed through parliament with urgency so that Lady Raiha could see the conclusion of the work she had fought tirelessly for in spite of having incurable cancer.

He says it is a source of great sadness that she will not see the conclusion of her work with the passing of the bill into law expected next month.


School principal turned Labour Party MP Kelvin Davis says more Maori men are needed in the profession.

The Maori caucus of the Resource Teachers Learning & Behaviour Association is holding its Tama Tu Tama Ora hui hui at Wainuiomata this week to discuss the needs of Maori boys.

Mr Davis says Maori teachers are on that list of needs, and young men need to know that education can be the best adventure in town.

“We need to make teaching an attractive occupation, We need more Maori men in teaching. Let’s make sure the right people get the right training and then we will have the people there in the sector who will make a difference for our kids,” Mr Davis says.

Teachers need to be able to work well with boys and their whanau to raise achievement.


Tawera Nikau and Tony Iro have joined Howie Tamati to help select the Kiwi Rugby League team ahead of the Anzac Test in Melbourne in May.

As well as keeping a running tally on whose fit and in form for the Anzac Test and the Four Nations series later in the year they're also looking to the future.

Tawera Nikau was recently in Sydney with fellow Kiwis Ruben Wiki and Benji Marshall to talk to up and coming players.

The former Kiwi captain, who affiliates to Waikato Tainui, says the message was fairly simple, that they want them to play for the Kiwis

Tony Kemp and Darrell Williams have stepped aside as selectors after the completion of their two-year term.


Tainui kuia Lady Raiha Mahuta who died in the early hours of the morning was not a person to leave work undone.

Although suffering from incurable cancer, the wife of the late Tainui leader Sir Robert Mahutu worked tirelessly as a co-negotiator to conclude the Waikato River Settlement with the Crown and local authorities.

With co-negotiator Tukoroirangi Morgan she signed off procedures for settlement with the Crown earlier this month.

Then at 11 o'clock last night she put her signature to the agreement with the Waikato district council moving forward a vision she shared with Sir Robert to have authority over the river returned to Maori.

Tainui trust board member Taitimu Maipi says it was as if Lady Raiha could finally rest knowing her part of the work was done.

Mr Maipi says when the agreement was signed this afternoon with the Waikato district council no one would have been in any doubt of Lady Raiha's contribution.


An expert on the Maori history of East Auckland Pita Turei say the name Te Irirangi is totally appropriate for the area.

A group of residents in the Howick, Pakuranga and Botany area have called a public meeting on Friday night to muster opposition to the name recommended by the local government commission for the local board being set up as part of the Auckland super city.

Mr Turei says that Tara Te Irirangi was an important Ngai Tai rangatira who helped negotiate peace with Governor Grey in the 1850s.

He says those opposing his name are simply showing prejudice against Maori.

“And it's denial from Pakeha people who want to believe there is no Maori history in their area, and they want to believe that because they want to have no involvement with Maori in their areas,” Mr Turei says.

He says those calling the meeting are the same people who have opposed reconstruction of Te Whare o Torere which was torched four years ago.


The head of the Maori rugby board and the Maori representative on the NZRFU Wayne Peters is critical of Maori Affairs minister Pita Sharples for not discussing his call for a Maori team to compete in the 2017 world cup before going public.

At a parliamentary luncheon he hosted last week to celebrate 100 years of Maori rugby Dr Sharples shocked those present by coming out strongly in favour of such a proposal and was critical of the NZRRU for not giving a high enough priority to Maori rugby.

NZRFU chairman Jock Hobbs was quick to rebuke both such suggestions, and Mr Peters says Dr Sharples should have addressed his issues to the NZRFU in advance of the meeting.

Mr Peters says he has been around rugby for too long to be embarrassed by statements such as Dr Sharples.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Style clash means Vitali not so vital

The chair of Auckland Museum's taumata says chief executive Vanda Vitali had outlasted her usefulness to the institution.

Dr Vitali has resigned after a break down in relations with the museum's governing board.

Martin Mariassouce says the taumata, which advises on how taonga Maori should be stored and presented, found the Canadian to be a forthright advocate for her opinion.

He says Dr Vitali was brought in three years ago against a background of the museum's funders wanting to cut spending in the wake of a successful rebuilding programme.

“There needed to be a shift and I guess at that time Vanda was probably the right person to create those shifts. There was a style that was useful for probably a good six months but I don’t think the style changed so personal reflection, I think there was a style clash between the trust board and its chief executive and therein lies the tension,” Mr Mariassouce says.

He hopes the museum's future leader will have an Aotearoa flavour with Maori aspirations, but the choice could be complicated by changes in the museum's governance brought about by the shift to a super city.


Maori Party MP Rahui Katene is demanding Labour's Shane Jones resign for his criticism of Pita Sharples race relations day speech yesterday.

Mr Jones attacked the Maori Party co-leader's suggestion one man one vote was not the best model of democracy for the Auckland super city.

Mrs Katene says as a list MP Mr Jones is the beneficiary of a two vote system.

“If Shane doesn’t like the idea of one person two votes then he should resign. It’s being hypocritical if he doesn't,” she says.

But Shane Jones says he has no intention of resigning.

He says Dr Sharples weakened the case for Maori representation on the super city by pushing for a tribally-based mana whenua model, rather than using the Maori roll ... and he's now whining because he got rolled by ACT's Rodney Hide.

“The democratic system cannot and will not absorb special places in the voting system for people on the basis of the tribe they belong to. All Maori ought to be entitled to be on the Maori seats and vote. And that was the case in the super city model we proposed – two seats based on the Maori roll so you had a very inclusive approach. I don’t like this business that the mana whenua have a special seat,” Mr Jones says.

He says Rahui Katene is making giant leaps of logic backwards.


A lawyer acting for Ruatoki residents says Justice Minister Simon Power used misdirection to avoid proper scrutiny of police actions in the Operation Eight terror raid on Ruatoki in 2007.

Mr Power told the United Nations Human Rights Committee review of New Zealand that the charges involved intent to commit violent actions toward creating a sense of terror among the citizens of New Zealand.

Eighteen people face a variety of weapons charges, but Peter Williams QC says the solicitor general ruled out charges under the Suppression of Terrorism Act because of lack of evidence.

He says the complaint to the UN committee was not about those arrested but about Tuhoe people caught up in the raid.

“The real grievances that I am talking about are the peaceful law abiding people when there was a large contingent of heavily armed police that went through their town, searched premises and unlawfully detained people while those searches were being carried out,” Mr Williams says.

He fears Simon Power will use hysteria over the terror raids to legalise the illegal methods the police used in Operation Eight.


Government plans to open conservation land in the Coromandel to mining could conflict with treaty claims.

Leanne Ngamane, the Hauraki Trust Board's resource manager, says more than 70 percent of the land the iwi is claiming is owned by the Department of Conservation.

“It is ironic that those stewardship by lands that perhaps may be targeted by the government in relation to mining may also be the same lands that may actually be when we come out of negotiations be available for treaty settlements,” Mrs Ngamane says.

While Maori in the area have been opposed to gold mining in the past, some whanau do have mining interests so the board will be have to weigh any proposals carefully.


Resource teachers are meeting in Wainuiomata this week to look at ways to lift the achievement of Maori boys at both kura and mainstream schools.

Organiser Jakie West says the Resource Teachers Learning & Behaviour's Maori caucus Tama Tu Tama Ora hui will give the teachers a chance to share what works in their regions, and take on board the latest research.

She says teachers are tired of the negative statistics.

“Tama tu tama ora means boys standing strong, living well. That’s what we’re doing. We’re calling. He karanga tenei. This is a call not only for RTLB Maori but for Maori education professionals who want to do something about it,” Ms West says.

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Whines not wins in race day speech

Labour MP Shane Jones says Pita Sharples' race relations’ day speech of Orakei Marae was an admission of failure.

The Maori party co-leader said National's rejection of Maori seats on the Auckland super city council and its failure to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples had strained the relationship between the parties.

Mr Jones says Dr Sharples could also have mentioned National raising the GST rate over Maori Party opposition, turning over the conservation estate to Australian miners and its failure to address Maori unemployment.

“If the Maori Party is unable to stop that type of toxic policy being visited again upon our people, then they’ve really got to question all these trophies to do with flags and foreshore and seabed, how important is it if the daily grind Maori families go through forces them to become poorer and poorer as a result of this government’s policies,” Mr Jones says.

He says the Maori Party seems to have just woken up to the vipers they are in bed with.


Tainui Group Holdings says its plans for further development of The Base could by stymied by an 11th hour change to the district plan.

Chief executive Mike Pohio says the company is at the early stage of planning to add a hotel, hospitality and tourism training centre, offices and a health facility to the 76 hectare former air force base at Te Rapa, complementing the existing retail and cinema development.

But the area comes under variation 21, which the Hamilton City Council rammed through on the eve of changes to the Resource Management Act.

Mr Pohio says any development larger than a three bedroom house is now non-compliant.

“Now that's despite the fact we have always advanced the case for The Base as a regional centre, as a mixed use activity, and these have up until September 29 last year been activities we have an entitlement to proceed with,” Mr Pohio says.

Waikato Tainui has sought a judicial review of the council's decision, which will be heard in the High Court at the end of the month.


A Maori primary health organisation named among the worst five in the country believes it has turned the corner.

Te Puna Hauora has more than 10,000 people on its books from Devonport to Wellsford.

General manager Lyvia Marsden says only a small percentage are elderly, which explains its failure to meet some targets, such as flu jabs for the elderly.

The PHO also takes on clients other providers don't want.

“A majority, 67 percent of the 10.500 people on board now are high needs people right across the spectrum of nationalities. They’re not really wanted by general practice. They’re considered too much work and costly,” Ms Marsden says.

Te Puna Hauora has taken on new staff to cope with the demands... and is now on track to meet the Ministry targets.


Coromandel Maori are vowing to fight the area being opened up to mining.

Long time anti-mining campaigner Betty Williams says the government's decision to let the industry in to 7000 hectares of conservation land on the Coromandel Peninsula, Great Barrier Island and Paparoa National park is an insult.

She says while a small number may see jobs or other economic benefits, most Maori on the Coromandel peninsula are totally opposed.

“Gold has no use. Gold has become a very important topic for those who want to exploit it because the price escalated to $2000 an ounce why people want to open up the Coromandel peninsula and it’s not abut serving a community need. It’s about servicing the pockets of the profiteers,” Mrs Williams says.

She has been part of the anti-mining campaign since the mid-1970's and saysthere is no way the peninsula's residents will allow miners onto the land.


The head of Massey University's new School of Public Health believes a combination of science and straight talking can improve Maori health.

Former children's commissioner Cindy Kiro, from Ngapuhi, Ngati Kahu and Ngati Hine, says most people are familiar with the health benefits of good food, exercise and sleep.

She says there is also material coming out of environmental and occupational research that can change people's lives.

“It's understanding the way these things interact and the balance of probability in what we can do to actually keep ourselves healthy. The new school I think will create the opportunity to bring that together and make it more available to people,” Dr Kiro says.

The new School of Public Health brings together five existing research centres ... including Te Ropu Whariki and the Research Centre for Maori Health and Development.


A Ngati Whatua representative on the Auckland War Memorial Museum Board says he'd like to see a New Zealander leading the institution.

Danny Tumahai won't comment on the performance of Canadian Vanda Vitali, whose controversial tenure as chief executive has ended because of a breakdown in relationships with the museum board.

But he says the importance of the museum and its taonga to the people of Auckland and Aotearoa means it needs someone with a sense of New Zealand's cultural mix ... and possibly a suitable Maori candidate might emerge.

“I would hope they would look here before they go offshore. I’m sure there are people round in New Zealand. At least they should look. I think our Maori should have experience across the board but there are Maori that have that,” Mr Tumahai says.

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Whakatu gripe aired at UN

A Nelson-Motueka Maori land trust has taken its bid to negotiate its land claim to the United Nations.

James Wheeler from Whakatu Incorporation says Te Kahui Ngahuru Trust was used as a case study by the Aotearoa Indigenous Rights Trust during the New Zealand Government's four yearly report to the United Nations human Rights Committee.

The trust lodged the first Waitangi Tribunal claim in the South Island, but the Crown insists it will only talk with iwi.

At issue is the 45,000 hectares of reserves Maori owners were supposed to get when they sold land to the New Zealand in 1841.

“The land was dissipated and mismanaged by the Native Trustee and the Maori Trustee over a long period of time and the miniscule amount we got back was 9293 acres that we have managed since 1977 but it’s all still perpetually leased. It’s still breaking our human rights,” Mr Wheeler says.

He's written to the minister for treaty negotiation seeking direct talks on the WAI 56 claims.


Tainui is eying tourism as a future money-spinner.

The Waikato iwi has put together a development group chaired by former tribal executive head Kingi Porima to coordinate development from Port Waikato to Atiamuri.

Member Willie te Aho says the initial focus is developing a brand and getting operators ready to take advantage of the World Rowing championships at Karapiro in October.

“We will have packages for on site tours, off site tours, we will have arts and crafts, we will have living performing arts. We’ve got something in this region that no one else can duplicate and that’s the Kingitanga and that’s taking a leading role in basically looking at how we can brand ourselves going forward and the Kingitanga is central to that,” Mr te Aho says.

Tainui Group Holdings is also looking to build a hotel and a hospitality and tourism training centre at The Base in Hamilton.


The chair of Maori Rugby league is endorsing Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples' call for a Maori team in next year's Rugby World Cup.

Howie Tamati says a similar push in the 13-man code was based on the inclusion in the League world cup of the constituent nations of the United Kingdom.

The Kiwis also get to play an Australian indigenous squad, and both teams are pushing for regular Pacific Cup spots and beyond.

“Quite rightly the indigenous side of Australia should be included in that competition along with us from there, should our performance warrant it. Inclusion in the world cup should then apply,” Mr Tamati says.

NZRFU head Jock Hobbs has dismissed fielding a separate Maori team.


Organisers of the Auckland secondary schools cultural festival are pushing to have the huge event included in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement.

Organiser Tania Karauria says Polyfest is working with key sponsor Massey University to prepare a paper for government on how such a qualification could work.

She says the standard of performance is getting better each year, and the skill level required needs recognition.

“Within the performing arts area you’ve got all sorts of things like filming, choreography, costume design, graphic design, all sorts of things that can just open up so many doors,” Ms Karauria says.

This year's kapa haka first division winner was Western Springs College. Second was Auckland Girls Grammar, which won in 2008 and nine, with Kura Kaupapa o Hoani Waititi third.


Tainui Group Holdings is considering adding a hotel, offices and a health facility to The Base at the northern edge of Hamilton.

Chief executive Mike Pohio says the tribe had always intended the former air force base become a regional centre and town centre with a mix of uses.

A hospitality and tourism training centre was also on the list.

“We’ve also considered that their might be a business case here for some training in hospitality, and given the amount of retail that’s on site, that their might be a complement to that with some training in retail. It might extend to tourism. What we’ve been going through is a conceptual assessment of a wider development for the whole of the 75 hectares that The Base is,” Mr Pohio says.

He says the future of the base depends on the outcome of Tainui’s High Court challenge to Hamilton City Council’s Variation 21, which bars all large developments outside the Hamilton CBD.


Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples' call for Maori to field a national team for the 2015 Rugby World Cup has won support from an expert in treaty and constitutional law.

Dr Sharples says Maori should be treated like Scotland, Wales and England, as nations within nations.

Auckland University law professor David Williams says Maori meet the test for nationhood.

“In so far as they identify distinctively for cultural and ethnic reason and offer each other support and embrace the identity of being Maori and have the usual arguments that one has within one’s national identity they deserve the term nation to apply to them. It’s not necessarily separatist at all but it’s an identity that is recognised in our law in many ways,” Dr Williams says.

NZRU chair Jock Hobbs rejected out of hand the idea of letting a Maori team play in the world cup.

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