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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Maori Party leaders out of touch says Sykes

Maori lawyer Annette Sykes says the Maori Party seems to have ignored its own disciplinary processes by suspending Hone Harawira from the party's caucus.

A complaint against the Tai Tokerau MP was to be heard by a special committee tomorrow, but yesterday the party's co-leaders suspended him for failing to show the restraint and discipline expected of a caucus member.

Ms Sykes says the leadership is increasingly out of step with the rank and file.

“Most of this weekend they’ve been mixing with the National Party. They haven’t been mixing with the rank and file of the Maori world at Te Tii Marae. They met with the iwi leaders at a flash hotel in Paihia but they very rarely bothered to actually come down and listen to the kinds of cutting edge debates that were brewing promoted in the tent at the bottom of the treaty grounds,” she says.

Ms Sykes says all Maori Party members need to be consulted on what happens with Mr Harawira.


Iwi leaders are hoping to forge trade links with France.

The French ambassador met with the Iwi Leaders Forum at Waitangi over the weekend.

Tukoroirangi Morgan says it's the second such meeting, and iwi leaders are keen to do business with the country the Treaty of Waitangi was designed to keep out of Aotearoa.

“We think there is a fantastic opportunity for Maori consortia, for incorporations, for Maori businesses to think seriously about the kind of possibilities that might exist between the French government and Maori in this country,” he says.

A further meeting is planned for the middle of the year, and a Maori trade mission to France is also being considered.


A Tainui artist is taking her moko-influenced henna skin art to an international henna festival at Providence in Rhode Island in the United States.

Rotorua-based Gina Wright says she's fascinated with the role played in Hindu culture by henna, which is a natural coolant when applied to the skin.

She says what she calls mehndi moko is an attempt to fuse Hindu and Maori whakaro.

“A lot of the symbols carry similar meanings, overall generic meanings also, particularly the koru is very present for the Hindu artform representing new life, growth, healthy development, very similar,” Ms Wright says.

According to Maori legend says moko started as a painted artform like henna, and became an incised form after Mataora went into the underworld to win back his wife Niwareka.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says the door is open for Hone Harawira to return to the fold if he mends his ways.

The party's caucus yesterday suspended the Taitokerau MP because of what it said was his lack of restraint and discipline not just in recent weeks but stretching back over the past five years.

Dr Sharples says the decision was not personal but a reflection of the trust needed to function as a party within a Pakeha institution like Parliament.

“Hone and I actually like each other and work well together. It’s really sad to suddenly become the party co-leader that has to say to your mate ‘You’re outside of caucus at this time Hone, if there can be a change of direction in you, then perhaps we can look at coming together again,” he says.

Dr Sharples says Mr Harawira will need to show he can work in a way that doesn't undermine the party and its leadership.


One of the promoters of an unsuccessful Maori bid for the Government's $300 million rural broadband subsidy says it's important winners Telecom and Vodafone aren't allowed to use the grant to crush potential competitors.

Anthony Royal from the Torotoro Waea Partnership says its technology partners are going ahead with a separate Taitokerau Networks proposal to build a fibre line from Auckland to Whangarei and beyond.

He says the Telecom-Vodafone solution users older technology to meet the Government's limited aims, and it should not be allowed to stop the advance of technology.

“Telecom and Vodafone need to think about how to collaborate with people and make sure they are not overbuilding infrastructure that people have got together and decided to build on their own. Part of the work we need to do is to make sure this is not a licence to effectively create a monopoly for ever more,” Mr Royal says.

He says the Ministry of Economic Development had asked Torotoro Waea to keep the details of its proposal secret during the bidding process, so it was not able to build up public support for its plan.


Kaupapa Maori hip hop crew Dam Native is taking its long awaited second album across the ditch.

Founder Daniel Haimona or Hype the Native says the band is keen to reintroduce its sound to the thousands of Maori who call Australia home.

He says the Aotearoa: Nobody Does it Better album attempts to not only draw attention to Maori political issues but also to offer positive alternatives.

“I mean there's a lot of hiphop coming out in Aotearoa and people getting up here and doing it but I’ve always felt there’s an imbalance, there’s not that much kaupapa stuff out there which is one of the reasons I did another album. There’s a lot of Yankee-driven stuff so I thought there needs to be balance in the galaxy,” Haimona says.

Dam Native will play Auckland's Pacifica Festival on March 12 before heading across the Tasman.


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