Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, August 06, 2010

Hui to discuss mining onslaught

Te Whanau a Apanui has called iwi together for a Taumata Korero in Auckland to discuss the Government's onshore and offshore mining agenda.

The iwi is fighting the government's grant of a licence to Brazilian company Petrobras to explore for oil in the Raukumara Basin off East Cape.

Spokesperson Riki Gage says it's not just an issue for East Coast iwi, as Government seems to be announcing it's opening up more areas for drilling and mining every day.

He says the hui will discuss both domestic and international action.

While the all day hui is set for Te Kotuku Marae at Rutherford High in West Auckland, Mr Gage says a bigger venue could be needed because of the interest.


Labour's early childhood education spokesperson, Sue Moroney, says the $4.2 million announced yesterday in extra spending is pathetic.

The money will be spent on two kohanga reo in Counties Manukau and Hawkes Bay, iwi services in Rotorua and Kawakawa, and a Fijian service on south Auckland, creating or retaining a total of 280 places.

Ms Moroney says Ministry of Education figures indicate 19,000 extra places will be needed by next year just to maintain current levels, so the investment will do little to boost participation.

“What we're facing is, particularly amongst Maori and Pasifika families, a growing number of young children, so the population demographics are such is that the Mari and Pasificka families have lots of young children and in the Pakeha community, we’re creating lots of older folk,” Ms Moroney says.

She says this year's budget cut $400 million from early childhood education.


An exhibition opening in Auckland tonight pushes the limits of the weaving tradition.

Manawa wera - Defiant Chants at Objectspace on Ponsonby Road brings together the work of Ngaahina Hohaia and Karl Rangikawhiti Leonard.

Ms Hohaia says while her work comes out of learning whatu taniko and raranga traditions within her family, it has developed into contemporary sculpture using metals, woolen blankets and other sculptural forms.

She says her work is grounded in the songs and traditions of Taranaki and Parihaka.

“I've looked at poi chants from home, looked at the imagery and the whaiwhaikorero withing this waiata and have translated them into visual forms, in particular those waiata referring to the struggle for the land and the struggle to retain the culture and the people’s autonomy so it’s very much a stance of mana motuhake.
Ms Hohaia says.


Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson says the Government's attacks on worker's rights could lead to a lift in the number of Maori joining trade unions.

Parekura Horomia met with Maori union leaders in Christchurch yesterday to discuss their responses to policies like the proposed extension to all workplaces of the 90 day probation period for new workers.

He says changes will hit Maori communities hard, when people are just looking for a decent job at decent pay.

Mr Horomia says good employers have nothing to fear from trade unions but there are a lot of bad employers who relish the Government's plans.


The education manager of Ngati Whatua o Orakei says a co-operation agreement with Unitec will have benefits for both parties.

Clay Hawke says Ngati Whatua rangatahi will be eligible for scholarships in areas from carpentry and business to early childhood education.

The polytech gets the benefit of greater access to the iwi's traditional knowledge.


Former All Whites' captain Heremaia Ngata says World Cup goal scorer Winston Reid's move to West Ham United will show Maori footballers what's possible with hard work.

The 22-year-old Tainui and Te Rarawa midfielder is reported to have signed a 3-year, $9 million deal with the London-based premier league club.

Mr Ngata says Maori are no strangers to the code, and Reid will join names like Rufer and Fallon as shining examples for younger players.

Apart from his outstanding World Cup performances, Winston Reid is considered on of the best defenders in the Danish league where he has been playing.

Ngati Whatua teams with Unitec for education

Ngati Whatu see great educational opportunities opening up with the signing yesterday of a memorandum of understanding with Auckland's Unitec Institute of technology.

Education manager Clay Hawke says Ngati Whatua o Orakei Trust Board is rapt with the agreement which has been three years in the making.

“It provides good opportunity for our people and our future and will open up a lot of doors for our whanau to become education and qualified and hopefully to find some good jobs,” Mr Hawke says.

The MOU includes scholarships in carpentry which will give young members to be involved with papakainga housing the iwi intends to develop as well as in early child education, health and business.

He says such initiatives are most pertinent at a time when a further jump in the number of Maori unemployed has been announced.


Labour MP Shane Jones is cynical about the government's announcement of childhood education funding on a day when figures showing a sharp jump in Maori unemployment were released.

Yesterday Education minister Anne Tolley and Associate education minister Pita Sharples announced expenditure of $4.2 million for five North Island early childhood centres targeting Maori and pacifika children, including $1.8 million for Kawakawa's Ngati Hine Health Trust.

Mr Jones says the announcement should not hide the fact that figures out yesterday show that while unemployment nationally has jumped from 6 percent to 6.8 percent, the Maori rate has climbed from 14.2 percent to 16.4 percent, meaning 26,400 Maori are now without jobs - an increase of 3600 since the previous quarter.

“Early Childhood Education is without doubt an important area but it cannot mask the reality that many of the families that are going to need that sort of intervention now will have young men and young women who are laving school too early and going on the unemployment scrapheap,” Mr Jones says.

He says Dr Sharples sat-by talking about flags over prisons rather than fighting the tax cuts for the rich instead of jobs for unemployed young Maori


The winner of this year’s Prime Minister's supreme teaching award says he's been proud to have been involved in the establishment of the Maori Printmakers’ Collective.

Marty Vreede founded the print workshop at Whanganui's UCOL Quay School of Arts 20 years ago.

He has hosted dozens of printmaking workshops in the River City over the past two decades, as well as helping set up the Toi Whakataa collective.

“People like Vanessa Edwards and Simon Kahn, Sam Farquhar belong to Toi Whakataa which is a group that has been put together to try and consolidate a core of Maori artists which try to use printmaking to drive their ideas visually,” Mr Vreede says.


Prison reformer Kim Workman says the government's crime policies are putting young Maori prisoners at risk from those serving long lags.

Mr Workman from Rethinking Crime and Punishment says about 3 percent of people in prison are really dangerous predators who are intimidating and violating the 85 percent of prisoners who are serving terms of less than three months.....most of whom are Maori.

“You get this situation where inevitably people will decide to manufacture or find weapons in order to defends themselves and of course then that creates a culture of violence which tends to perpetuate itself,” Mr Workman says.

Policies such as Three Strikes and Your Out mean that an increasing number of prisoners have nothing to lose by initiating violent assaults.

He says over-crowding and double bunking could create a catastrophe and community work should be used to keep minor offenders out of what have become violent concrete jungles where prison officers with the best will in the world can't cope.


The site co-ordinator for Te Wananga O Aotearoa's Auckland campus says their predominantly Asian clientele warm to the culturally focused style of the country's largest tertiary provider.

Gwyn Lewis says most of the more than 2000 students who have taken classes at the campus over the past couple of years have been Asian woman.

She says in spite of some communication difficulties, the Asian students have warmed to the educator’s style.

The campus developed as a partnership between the wananga, and the Unite Union, which wanted to give members the chance to upskill.


Kiwi MC & Hip Hop artist, Maitreya (PRON My Tray Ah) otherwise known as Jamie Greenslade, has been named a finalist in the Apra Silver Scroll Awards Maioha Award - which celebrates contemporary Maori music.

The te reo rhyming Pakeha artist grew up in the South Island and says he ended up in a te reo class purely by accident.

He says it wasn't until he was in the hip hop capital of New York six years ago that he realised how the Maori language helped him stand out from the crowd.

Maitreya's song Sin City is one of three finalists in next month's Silver Scroll music awards.

Maori jobless rate over 16 percent

Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson Parekura Horomia is describing today's unemployment figures as shocking for Maori.

Mr Horomia says while unemployment nationally has jumped from 6 percent to a staggering 6.8 percent, the Maori rate has climbed from 14.2 percent to 16.4 percent.

He says it means that 26,400 Maori are now without jobs ... an increase of 3600 since the previous quarter.

“There are a lot of workers struggling at the moment to pay their bills, to meet their commitments that they had when both in the family were working if they are lucky enough to have an occupation but now there are a lot of single income families, there are a lot of families just struggling with the basic needs,” Mr Horomia says.

The situation is particularly bad in high Maori population areas like Gisborne - Hawkes Bay where the unemployment rate is up from 6.5 to 8.5 percent meaning more than 2000 more people are out of work.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says lifting the age of superannuation would mean a major shifting of wealth from Maori to pakeha.

Former National leader and head of the government's 20-20 taskforce Don Brash has called for the super eligibility age to be lifted from 65 to 67 to avoid a blowout in government debt.

This prompted Waikato University demographer Natalie Jackson to say it would only be fair to exempt Maori because of the Maori populations younger age structure with only one in 20 people over 65 being Maori ... while four in 20 under the age of 24 are Maori.

Ms Turei says it means that not only will young Maori be working to pay for superannuation they will be unlikely to get but for super their parents and grandparents wont get either.

“So it’s this a huge generational shift of wealth from older people and it’s also a shift of wealth from young working Maori communities to predominantly Pakeha communities,” Ms Turei says.

Raising the age would make existing equity issues even worse.


A te reo speaking pakeha hip hop artist and finalist in the contemporary waiata section of next month's Silver Scroll Music Awards says all New Zealanders should learn the Maori language.

Jamie Geeenslade AKA maitreya’s song Sin City is up for a gong alongside Ahorangi Winitana’s Oku Mareikura and Ngatapa Blacks' He Mamai Aroha.

He says as he travels overseas he's constantly reminded how te reo Maori gives him a unique sense of identity as a New Zealander.

“Kaitiakitanga, tino rangatiratanga, concepts like this gave me a better understand of how I wanted to treat the land and people in general. You need to go back to the original teachings of the country you are from in order to understand your country better,” Mr Greenslade says.

maitreya says te reo maori should be a compulsory subject in New Zealand Schools.


Maori list MP Shane Jones says in parts of Northland where he comes from more than 1 in 3 Maori are unemployed.

Latest unemployment figures show while unemployment nationally has jumped from 6 percent to 6.8 percent, the Maori rate has climbed from 14.2 percent to 16.4 percent, meaning 26,400 Maori are now without jobs ....an increase of 3600 since the previous quarter.

Mr Jones says it’s an indictment on the Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples who has been more interested in the Maori flag over prisons than unemployment.

“There's too many of our rangatahi who aren’t being provided with the necessary leadership by our Minister of Maori Affairs. There’s work that can be done. All that’s needed is some creative programmes, some initiative and really some boldness to do something and stand up to John Key and stand up to Bill English who are giving away the money to people who in many cases quite frankly don’t even need a tax cut,” Mr Jones says.


And Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says welfare reforms before parliament today will hit Maori hard.

She says the measures which include work testing for beneficiaries will be very harsh on the most vulnerable families and children in the country.

“Maori already have all of he social dislocation which comes from colonisation. On top of this social welfare case managers will be able to direct a person to do things, take a certain job or whatever,” Ms Turei says.

If those on the dole don’t take the job offered their benefit can be cut while domestic purpose beneficiaries will be required to find 15 hours a week work or face the same fate.

She says latest unemployment figures show the government is expecting Maori to find non-existent jobs.


The organisation which oversees Health Research Council grants for studying things Maori is pleased to see an emphasis on traditional knowledge in the latest grants round.

The chair of the Nga Kanohi Kitea, Kahu Mc Clintock says $1.5 million has been given to 7 community projects ranging from river cleanup methods to ways of building resilience among Taranaki rangatahi exposed to domestic violence.

“We were pleased to see applications like that come in because those were our traditional knowledge and the fund is about supporting not only research capability and capacity but also to return to some of those traditional ways of looking at health that have been part of us since our arrival in Aotearoa,” Mrs McClintock says.

She says developing Maori capability through traditional knowledge is the prime focus of the Nga Kanohi Kitea Maori Knowledge and Development Research grants.

Regulation levels playing field for mobile phone cos

August 5

The chair of 2 Degrees’ Maori shareholder says regulating mobile phone termination rates will level the playing field for the new entrant.

Communications Minister Stephen Joyce has accepted a Commerce Commission recommendation that the amount companies charge their competitors for access to their networks be regulated.

Brian Leighs from Hautaki, which holds about 12 percent of 2Degrees on behalf of Te Huarahi Tika Maori spectrum trust and other Maori investors, says that should remove some expensive distortions from the New Zealand market, such as charging customers more to go on to competitors’ networks.

“It's been taken advantage of by the incumbents to pretty high degrees. The fact that is no longer an advantage to have closed network pricing means that anyone on any network can now pretty much call anyone on the other network and they will be paying pretty much the same price,” Mr Leighs says.

Regulatory certainty should help Hautaki find additional Maori iwi or land trusts willing to invest in the business.


Health professionals from around the country are heading to Auckland today to learn how to tackle acute rheumatic fever

Jonathan Jarman, the medical officer of health for Northland, says the disease is hitting Maori tamariki particularly hard.

Acute Rheumatic Fever can cause heart damage and thereby reduce life expectancy.

Dr Jarman says as the disease develops there are places Maori kids can be pulled out of harms way... however those interventions aren't happening early enough.

“It's a thing of the past in countries like the United States and UK and Europe. If they can do it, so can we, but the we need to engage with communities, we need to have the support of all the agencies that are involved with the consequences of poverty and the message need to get out to parents sore throats matter and if your child is sick, get them to see a doctor,” Dr Jarman says.

Almost all instances of the disease are preventable, with proper treatment of a sore throat reducing the risk by about 80 percent.


The Manukau Library is about to open a rich trove of photos of the region’s history, including many photos of Maori life.

Project manager Bruce Ringer says the 2500 photos in the Footprints collection come from libraries and historical societies around the region.

They will go up on the library website in mid-August.

“There's only a few of 19th century Maori life. Cameras weren’t used much around the settlements in those times. There are a few images but not many. But there are fare more images of the 20th century,” Mr Ringer says.


A leading demographer says policy-makers have for years unfairly treated Maori by failing to take account of the Maori population's lower age structure.

Natalie Jackson from Waikato University's centre of population studies says this was ignored back in the early 1990's when the age for adult unemployment benefits was put up.

She expects it to happen again if the age of entitlement for superannuation is lifted as sought by Don Brash, the head of the Government's 2020 Task Force, to prevent a future blow-out in Government debt.

“In the future you would have as disproportion of young Maori contributing to the tax base which would pay the pensions, from with relatively few young Maori would draw,” Professor Jackson says.

Maori have lower life expectancy with only one in 20 people over 65 being Maori ... while four in 20 under the age of 24 are Maori.

She says positive discrimination exempting Maori from any rise in the entitlement age would be the fair thing to do.

The author of a paper on how trans-Tasman migration is affecting te reo Maori says the ability of Maori to mix easily into their new society is helping to speed up language loss.

Paul Hamer's study, which is part of a larger project on the New Zealand diaspora being done by Victoria University's Institute of Policy Studies, focuses on what skills and knowledge may be lost to New Zealand as Kiwis migrate.

He says Maori migrants have a low language retention rate compared with other ethnic groups who settle in Australia.

“They are dispersed in the population. They don’t live in ethnic enclaves. They intermarry at very high rates. They don’t have the religious or cultural differences from the mainstream that so say from the Horn of Africa or the Middle East. I know Polynesian culture is not the same as white Australian culture, but they are used to that in New Zealand anyway,” Mr Hamer says.

While many of the 100,000 plus Maori in Australia are keen to learn the language, their opportunities are limited.


The taonga Maori curator at New Plymouth’s Puke Ariki Museum says security will be an issue when the jawbone and teeth of a sperm whale are put on display.

The whale washed up north of Waitara a year ago

Glenn Skipper says the bones will be ready for display in a couple of months, but the museum is still considering whether to put the 43 teeth back in the jawbone.

“We're still exploring whether we will put the teeth back in the jawbone or put them in a secure area nearby. These are previous objects and things go missing. The last thing we want to see is someone coming in with a tool to remove them,” Mr Skipper says.

Maori at risk from super age rise

August 4

A leading demographer says if the age of eligibilty for superannuation is put up, Maori need to be exempted.

Don Brash, the head of the Government's 2020 Task Force, has called for the age to jump from 65 to 67 to prevent a future blow-out in Government debt.

Natalie Jackson from Waikato University's centre of population studies says Maori have lower life expectancy, with only one in 20 people over 65 being Maori ... while four in 20 under the age of 24 are Maori.

She says that means increasing numbers of young Maori earners would be paying for a benefit they are unlikely to collect on.

“These disparities get mentioned but I think it’s generally a lip service type of thing. As soon as you start talking about these differences, people start asking ‘should we be having policies that positive discriminate in favour of Maori.’ I would say in this case yes,” Professor Jackson says.

She says such positive discrimination already exist for Aboriginals in Australia, which is also debating increasing the age of eligibility is also being hotly debated.


A sociologist who is studying Maori in Australia believes there are significantly more living there than show up in official statistics.

Paul Hamer from Victoria University's Institute of Policy Studies says Maori are a significant part of the New Zealand diaspora.
He believes one in six now live across the Tasman.

“At the last Australian census the official return was 93,000. I think that’s probably more like 125,000 just due to the way the Australians take their census. It may we be 140,000 by now. It’s basically grown 750 percent or so since the 1970s, it’s quite a staggering rise,” Mr Hamer says.

Maori migrants tend to be blue collar workers looking for higher paying jobs in Australia, but they can find they are trading off material gain against language loss and cultural isolation.


Maori cuisine is taking to the high seas.

Former Kai Time host Anne Thorp from Ngati Awa and Ngai Te Rangi takes charge of the galley during a four-day P & O cruise from Brisbane this week, and says she's putting some Maori kai on the menu for the 1600 people on board.

She's go an eight course degustation menu planned, as well as running cooking demonstrations showcasing the Maori approach.

“It's all fresh and healthy with a Maori twist and served up with aroha and I’m very excited,” Ms Thorp says.


The chair of Hautaki Limited says the government's decision to regulate the amount mobile phone companies can charge competitors to terminate calls could encourage Maori investment in 2 Degrees.

Hautaki is a subsidiary of Te Huarahi Tika Maori spectrum trust, which provided access to the spectrum 2 Degrees is using for its new 3G network, and it owns about 12 percent of the mobile phone company.

Brian Leighs says attempts to bring in more Maori shareholders have had limited success so far, meaning the Maori stake was diluted as other shareholders put in additional capital to build out the network.

“It's a new asset class for a lot of Maori, being high technology essentially, and there was also quite a bit of uncertainty round the regulatory regime but now that that uncertainty is being sorted out I think there will be a lot of parties interested in coming back and having a second look at the opportunity,” Mr Leighs says

He says regulation should bring down prices for consumers, especially when they are ringing across networks.


A Maori health researcher says young people need to develop their own ways to combat and cope with domestic violence.

Dr Janice Wenn from Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa is the lead researcher for Tu Tama Wahine o Taranaki's Tupu Ake project, which has received $250,000 from the Health Research Council to come up with kaupapa Maori solutions to the problem.

She says it's not an area where templated solutions will work.

“Unless we let people actually explore and develop their own mechanisms, their own ways of dealing with things, you’re not going to get anything positive out of it because what you are doing is imposing things on people, and when you impose on people you get some negative feelings,” Dr Wenn says.

She says the objective of Tupu Ake is to help young people know who they are and be themselves.


Engineers Without Borders has taken on an alternate name, Nga Kaihanga Kore Here O Aotearoa.

Spokesperson Kai Lee says the organisation brings together volunteers whether engineering students or qualified professionals, to work on community projects throughout the Pacific.

She says the change, instituted in Maori Language Week, reflects how the kaupapa of the roopu has evolved.

“Working with a lot of Maori communities as well as South Pacific we thought it was important to have a te reo name. It would be a small but tangible expression of our how we value for te reo Maori as the national language of Aotearoa New Zealand. It expresses what our organisation is about as well which is creating things without limitations,” Ms Lee says.

Recent projects have included helping resolve engineering issues at Waitangi Springs near Lake Rotoehu, and the installation of a solar power system at Vava'u High School in Tonga.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Maori nurse training accelerated in Manukau

The head of south Auckland Maori primary health organisation Te Kupenga o Hoturoa, Neil Woodhams, says the region can't wait for existing channels to produce the Maori health workers needed to service its population.

The PHO is behind Pu Ora Matatini, which is training 89 Maori nurses and midwives.

Mr Woodhams told the launch or Counties Manukau District Health Board's Grow Your Own initiative, which also includes health and science academies at three south Auckland high schools, that innovation is the key.

“We were determined that this programme would not repeat what had already been done because it fails for Maori students. The particular difference I think is that we treat our students as a whanau and they go through the various stages of their foundation course and degree course as a whanau,” Mr Woodhams says.

The course, which is taught through AUT University and Manukau Institute of Technology, is structured so students graduate with minimal student loans.


The chair of the Hawkes Bay Regional Council has thanked Ngati Pahauwera and other iwi for their patience while plans for a joint iwi-council planning committee were developed.

Alan Dick says Cabinet's approval for the 50-50 co-management plan for the region's resources means stalled treaty settlements covering the Mohaka and Tukituki rivers can be taken to the next step.

“Ngati Pahauwera is the first of the block and they’ve been waiting really now for 10 months I suppose for this impasse to be resolved. They’ve been very patient about it which is commendable,” Mr Dick says.

He is confident his council will ratify the scheme covering 12 iwi at its September meeting.


An Auckland University media and Maori studies lecturer says the mainstream media continues to chose and present news in ways that discriminate against Maori.

In the 1990s Sue Abel conducted an in-depth study into media coverage of Waitangi Day, and she is now part of an $800,000 Health Research Council study into the effect on Maori health of negative media depictions.

As part of the university's Winter Lecture Series on the ends of journalism, Dr Abel questioned how the media frames Maori perspectives.

“When Maori do get to say ‘we look at it this way,’ it is framed very much as an alternate point of view and there will be a Pakeha view up against it, whereas that never happens the other way round. A Pakeha voice is seen as common sense,” Dr Abel says.


The chief executive of 2 Degrees says the upstart mobile phone company is keen to work with iwi to extend its network.

The company yesterday launched its 3G network, which uses spectrum allocated to Maori a decade ago as a consequence of treaty claims.

Eric Hertz says it will allow customers to get mobile broadband on 2 Degrees own network, which is limited to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

He says the company, which has a Maori shareholding of about 12 percent, has been talking to iwi and other landowners around in other centres.

“We've had a lot of interest in trying to find creative ways if bringing coverage out into areas we not get to right away, particularly where there is a need for towers, so if there’s an interest out there particularly to help us get towers out there, we’re trying to find creative ways to help that happen. So early days in those conversations but if we can find landlords to help us expand faster, then we’re really intrigued by that,” Mr Hertz says.

He says 2Degrees has spent $280 million so far.


A Ngati Awa representative on Whakatane District Council's iwi liaison committeee has welcomed news the Bay of Plenty Regional Council won't be shifting to Tauranga.

Ending a four-year battle, the Court of Appeal upheld a Whakatane District Council appeal against the High Court's decision to allow the regional council to relocate its head office, which employs 100 people.

Joe Mason says it would have had a severe impact on the economy of the eastern bay, where the percentage of the population that is Maori is far higher.


Patricia Grace says she is thankful of the trust placed in her by a whanau who wanted their parents' story told.

Her book Ned and Katina, which tells the story of how 28 Maori Battalion member Ned Nathan returned home from the second world war with a bride from Crete, has won the biography section of the Nga Kupu Ora Maori Book Awards.

The Plimmerton-based writer says the Nathan whanau shared stories and produced their parents' old photos and letters.

“The reading public, people come up to me and say how much they enjoyed the book but it was a wonderful story and I think I was given a gift when the Nathan family asked me to write their parents story, so I’ve very please to see it’s won the biography award,” Mrs Grace says.

Her first non fiction effort is now in reprint, and she's back in more familiar territory working on a novel

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

2Degreees launches 3G network

Telecommunications spectrum set aside for purchase by Maori a decade ago in response to a Treaty of Waitangi claim is finally being used.

2Degrees chief executive Eric Herz says the 3G network launched today uses the block allocated to Te Huarahi Tika Maori spectrum trust and its subsidiary Hautaki, which owns about 12 percent of the mobile phone company.

He says customers will be able to connect to the Internet through their smartphone or USB modem at lower prices than competing network operators Vodafone or Telecom have offered so far.

“This spectrum of 2100 MHz we are using is very usable, in fact it’s the same spectrum as some of the competitors use, it’s used around the world so it’s brought great value to the business and the growth of the business will very much be in that space,” Mr Hertz says.

The 2Degrees network won't suffer the kind of problems experienced by Telecom XT users, because in the event of any outage the handsets will automatically switch back to the company's 2G network.


The Ministry of Health is warning people to prepare for a second wave of swine flu.

Mark Jacobs, the director of public health, says there's been a spike in the number of cases of the pandemic strain in the past couple of weeks, with more than 380 confirmed cases and 183 hospital admissions nationwide.

He says it seems to be hitting people in the 25 to 44 age range, but Maori rates of the illness seem lower than last year.

“Last year just over a quarter of all people being admitted to hospital were Maori. This year so far, although the numbers are still early, the number for Maori and Pacific is under 20 percent so far,” Mr Jacobs says.

He says those Maori hospitalised tend to have other significant health problem, or they are overweight or pregnant.

Those at high risk should try to get immunised this week, and people should also be vigilant about hand washing.


Children's book author Malcolm Patterson believes young readers will be fascinated by the rich history of Auckland's Maungakiekie or One Tree Hill.
Castles in Our backyard, which comes in both Maori and English versions, tell the story of how Tui and his cousin Jennifer are persuaded by their grandmother to set aside their video games and explore the maunga.

Mr Patterson, from Ngati Whatua ki Kaipara, says too many New Zealanders ignore the history under their feet,

“You know we’ve got a rich fascinating history, like my tribe has a fascinating history there, but so do others Various iwi have come and gone over the centuries, and in more recent years other people have come, there’s a rich Pakeha history and also a Chinese market gardening history on Maungakiekie,” he says.


The spokesman for workers poisoned during their mahi at the former Whakatane Board Mills is welcoming an initiative to use natural methods can be used to clean up the site.

The Health Research Council is funding a project led by Te Runanga o ngati Awa to investiigate whether a combination of mushroom planting and tree planting can draw contaminants from the soil.

Joe Harawira from Sawmill Workers Against Poison or SWAP says it's good news for those who have spent 20 years fighting for their plight to be acknowledged.

“We feel in order to get our health issues right, we need to heal papatuanuku first. That’s the matauranga Maori perspective,” Mr Harawira says.

SWAP is independently researching whether other interventions like seaweed and radio waves can be used to break down the molecular structure of poisons in the soil.


A former head of Womens Refuge says the welfare of tamariki Maori needs to be a community responsibility.

Merepeka Raukawa Tait says the death of 6-month old Cezar Taylor last week, which has led to charges against his mother's partner, should be of concern to all whanau.

She says Maori must make it their business to know all they can about those responsible for the care and protection of tamariki, and be prepared to intervene.

She says usually when someone comes to the attention of authorities, there were may opportunities over the years to have intervened.


A pioneer of kaupapa Maori music has decried the Americanisation of many contemporary Maori performers.

Ngahiwi Apanui took waiata Maori to the charts, first with his band Aotearoa in the 1980s and then as a solo performer.

He says while support from Maori broadcast funding agency Te Mangai Paho has made it easier for performers to record songs in te reo Maori and get their work played on iwi radio, the results often seem to miss the point.

“A lot of Maori musicians are preoccupied with the American R ‘n’ B stuff so you get the old acoustic stuff going with the Beyonce wannabe squawking away and for me it’s about saying to these artists, what’s wrong with sounding like a Maori voice, what’s wrong with sounding like you're from here,” Mr Apanui says.

Vetting needed of boyfriends

A former head of Women's Refuge says Maori families should vet those charged with the care and safety of their tamariki and mokopuna.

Merepeka Raukaewa Tait says the death last week of Cezar Taylor, which resulted in charges being laid against his mother's partner, is just the latest of too many such cases.

She says there are often warning signs whanau should watch out for.

“That's where the wider whanau can get very active and just say ‘hey mate, you don’t measure up so you’re down the road, and as much as we love you we can’t afford to have our mokopuna at risk.’ We need to do our homework on them,” Mrs Raukawa-Tait says.


A Hokianga environment group is welcoming a quarter million dollar Health Research Council grant towards its work on improving water quality downstream from Lake Omapere.

Trustee Wendy Henwood from Te Roopu Taiao O Utakura says the Nga Kanohi Kitea Maori knowledge and development research grant will go towards data collection and developing strategies in the Utakura Valley.

She says the 18-month project will allow the roopu to step up its work raising awareness of the problems associated with bad water.

“Utukura River used to be the life blood of the community and over the last few years it hasn’t been able to bused. There’s no kai in the river, you can’t swim, it’s totally changed the way our people have been able to use the river,” Ms Henwood says.

Seven Maori initiatives were in the latest round of Maori and community focused grants


The chief executive of Wakatu Incorporation says moving to full ownership of Tohu Wines is already paying off for the Nelson-based conglomerate.

Keith Palmer says there was no longer any strategic reason for Poverty Bay grape grower Wi Pere Trust to retain its minority stake.

Ngati Rarua Atiawa Iwi Trust, whose beneficiaries are mostly Wakatu shareholders, has also sold its shares.

Mr Palmer says Tohu can now concretrate on producing high quality wine from Marlborough and Nelson, where Wakatu's vineyards are nw coming into production.

“When you bring things into one organisation and get them operating as a team somehow or other people have a different outlook on how to make the whole show work instead of thinking ‘that’s nothing to do with me, I’m not going to help there.’ The biggest gains are just from a mind set, that now we’ve got this beautiful asset to work with and we will work together as a team and make it work, so we are seeing the benefits already,” Mr Palmer says.

Last year was Tohu's best yet, despite the tough times in the industry.


A Ngati Ruapani claimant is welcoming the second part of the Waitangi Tribunal's Urewera report, which details how the tribe lost its land around Lake Waikaremoana.

Vern Winitana says the tribunal has recognised Ruapani as a separate entity, rather than being a hapu of Ngai Tuhoe or Ngati Kahungunu.

He says the report covers one of the most brutal periods of New Zealand history in the 1860s and 70s, after which Ruapani's tribal estate of 350,000 acres were reduced by confiscation and forced sale to just 1000 acres.

“It was acknowledged that the people who were killed by Crown forces, both kupapa and the British soldiers were in fact non-combatants. Some of them were actively defending their papakainga, their land, and there was no justification because they weren’t in rebellion against the Crown,” Mr Winitana says.

The Waitangi tribunal report should give Ngati Ruapani a solid basis to start settlement talks with the Crown.


A Maori health researcher says a generation of child-rearing practises need to be reversed to combat low Maori breastfeeding rates.
Marewa Glover from Auckland University's School of Population Health says only 45 percent of Maori babies are breastfed until 3 months compared to 60 percent of non-Maori.

She says the practices promoted for world breastfeeding week this week ... including exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months and encouraging breastfeeding on demand ... were what Maori used to do before the public health nurses of the 1950s and 60s encouraged more routine bathing, feeding and sleeping.

“Maori breast milk wasn’t seen as clean or sterilized enough. It wasn’t the best for baby. So we began to have artificial baby milk and powder, this new product that was pushed as optimum nutrition for babies and clean, sterile food,” Dr Glover says.


Kaupapa music pioneer Ngahiwi Apanui hopes a new royalty scheme for Maori songwriters will lead to an improvement in professional standards.

Maori broadcast funding agency Te Mangai Paho has reached a deal with Phonographic Performances New Zealand which means songwriters will be paid when their waiata are played on iwi radio.

That means a windfall for Mr Apanui, whose songs like Maranga Ake E and Wharikihia are iwi radio staples.

But he says there is a lot of investment in waiata Maori which is not getting the desired result.

“We have these huge grants available at the moment. Te Mangai Paho has been really generous, and there are $50,000 grants to record an album, and sometimes when I hear the results of that, they don’t sound like $50,000 of album to me. They actually sound considerably less,” Mr Apanui says.

He says too many Maori performers are trying to sound like American R and B artists.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Tamihere tipped for Te Atatu

Former Alliance MP Willie Jackson is touting former Tamaki Makaurau MP John Tamihere as a potential Labour candidate for the Te Atatu electorate.

Sitting MP Chris Carter has gone leave after anonymously circulating a letter attacking leader Phil Goff, and it's likely the safe seat could be opened up for the general election, if not for a by-election.

Mr Jackson says his broadcasting co-host and urban Maori authority associate lives in the electorate and would be an ideal candidate.

“I'd sort of say it's time for Maori and say it’s either JT or Shane Jones actually because they need a bit f a spark to come back in there and if they want to win the Maori vote, Tamihere offers them that opportunity,” he says.

Mr Jackson says John Tamihere would win the seat easily if chosen.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says a review of Maori language spending is a must because the current strategy is clearly not working.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples last week appointed Tamati Reedy of Ngati Porou to head a seven-member panel of language experts to assess whether the $226 million spent each year is meeting iwi and Maori aspirations.

Mrs Turia says when Maori started protesting in the 1970s about the total lack of state support for te reo Maori there were 70,000 native speakers, compared with just 18,000 fluent speakers today.

“So what it's really highlighting is that while the strategies may be introducing some language to our people, it’s not introducing sufficient for them to carry out a conversation with one another,” Mrs Turia says.

There could be a case for tighter integration of language promotion initiatives.


The chair of the national secondary school's kapa haka competition in Rotorua says the quality of reo was decisive in picking a winner.

Gisborne's Lytton High School beat Raukura, a combined team from Rotorua Girls and Boys High Schools, with Palmerston North's Te Piringa third.

Rangitihi Pene says there were outstanding performances from the 40 roopu and it was a close win for the Tairawhiti team.

He was also surprised by top performances from teams which haven't figured in the past, including Kaitaia College and Waitara High School.


Nelson-based Wakatu Incorporation has bought out the minority shareholders in Tohu Wines as it concentrates its wine making activities on the top of the South Island.

Wakatu chief executive Keith Palmer says the Maori vintner has had its best year yet, and the company has an overall valuation of about $20 million.
He says it was a good time to simplify the ownership, taking out Ngati Rarua-Atiawa Iwi Trust, most of whose beneficiaries are also Wakatu shareholders, and Poverty Bay-based Wi Pere Trust.

He says as the firm is replacing its reliance on Gisborne grapes with production from Wakatu’s Nelson Vineyards, there is no longer a strategic reason for Wi Pere to be involved.

Keith Palmer says Wakatu's vineyards are also being transferred into Tohu.


A company which wants to develop a huge ironsand find off the south Taranaki coast is not expecting the level of Maori opposition to its plans that oil explorers off the East Coast and Northland are facing.

Bill Bissett, the chair of Trans Tasman Resources, says there is potential to extract up to 10 million tonnes of ironsand a year for steelmaking, making it one of the country's largest export earners.
He says with a venture of that scale, it's important to win local support, so he has written to and spoken to as may iwi groups as he could in the area.

The initial development could cost up to $1 billion, and there could be opportunities for iwi to invest.


The daughter of one of Maoridom's best-known comedians is heading for the limelight in her own right.

Twelve year old Alex King - daughter of Mike King of Te Mahurehure, has just got home from Hollywood, where she won three bronze medals from the World Championships of Performing Arts for her performances of Broadway musical, R&B and Pop tunes.

Her mother, Rose Nathan-King, says all the members of the New Zealand junior team won medals, despite being up against well prepared opposition from countries like America, South Africa and the Phillippines.

Reedy review needed as revival plateaus

The chair of a team to review the strategy and infrastructure of the Maori Language sector, Tamati Reedy, says a change is needed to reinvigorate revival of the language.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says a more coordinated approach is needed for the $226 million plus spent each year by Government agencies or though community projects.

Dr Reedy, who with wife Tilly wrote the original curriculum for immersion schools, says the government is right to question whether it’s getting value for money.

“We are going to have a fresh look at it and if some drastic measures have to be suggested to government, I hope we will come back, make suggestions that might help to accelerate and improve the statistical data that is currently there because it’s kind of plateaued,” Dr Reedy says.

Dr Reedy is joined on the review panel by Toni Waho, Hana O’Regan, Cathy
Dewes, Pem Bird, Pania Papa and Rahera Shortland


Massey University researchers say a scheme encouraging Maori secondary school students to seek jobs in the health sector is effective.

The Incubator scheme was started four years ago by Hawkes Bay District Health Board, and it's now being extended to other areas.

It brings health professionals into low-decile schools to share with senior students stories about how they built their careers.

Sociologist Paul Spoonley, who headed the evaluation team, says there is a huge need for Maori health workers but many Maori Year 12 and 13 students don't know how to open the door.

“The thing is that if they haven’t had any contact with health careers, this is their first chance to really see what the possibilities are and so you get them really enthusiastic. The next step is to get them through to a tertiary institution and get the funding or keep them in that tertiary institution,” Professor Spoonley says.

He says more schools and district health boards should adopt the scheme nationwide to inspire more school leavers to work in health.


Former Maori All Black Bill Bush says sporting careers could be the way out of disadvantage for many young Maori.

Mr Bush has been critical of what he sees as a lack of support by the New Zealand Rugby Football Union for Maori rugby, and he's backing the creation of a new body to lead Maori sporting endeavours across a number of codes.

He says it's a vision iwi could buy in to with tautoko and cash ... and the depth of talent is there.

“As far as I'm concerned I’d be quite happy to let the Maori All Blacks say with the New Zealand All Black side, take our top players, and we will pick other players who are round the country who are unemployed, in lower socioeconomic areas and pick them up, try to put them in academies in any sport they want to be in,” Mr Bush says.


The company prospecting for ironsands off the south Taranaki - Whanganui coast expects a lot of interest from Maori miners if the resource is exploited.

Bill Bissett, the chair of Trans Tasman Resources, says an offshore mining operation employing 150 people directly and 500 indirectly could be up and running within four years.

The 5 to 10 million tonnes of ironsand produced a year could either be exported or provide raw material for a New Zealand steel mill.

He says it will attract many of those now working at Trans Tasman’s operations in Western Australia.

“We’ve got a lot a lot of New Zealanders and a lot of those guys are Maori and some of the best workers because they’re there for a purpose, they’re away from home, they’re dedicated, they’re there to make their money, often many are sending it home and wanting to get home so we’ve had a lot of unsolicited inquiries as to what potential might exist,” Mr Bissett says.

He says meetings with iwi groups in the region have received a positive response.


Denying Maori designated seats on the Auckland super city has prompted a Maori television programme maker to seek a community board seat.

Claudette Hauiti from Front of the Box Promotions has nominated for the Owairaka seat on the Albert/Eden/Roskill ward.

She says the focus on the main council seats has overshadowed the amount of work that gets done at local level.

“I just want to show Maori that that wasn’t the only way to influence council. Times are changing and people are listening and wanting the Maori perspective and the Maori influence. It’s not all lost for Maori in the new Auckland city,” Ms Hauiti says.

Nominations close on August 20, with 170 positions up for grabs across Tamaki Makaurau.


The agency that collects song royalties wants to hear from Maori composers and musicians who are not yet members.

Kristen Bowman, the managing director of Phonographic Performances New Zealand, say a deal reached last week with Maori broadcast funding agency Te Mangai Paho means musicians will get paid when their songs are played on the 21-station iwi network.

Information collection for royalty payments will also allow a top 10 Maori playlist to be published.