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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ririnui reveals discontent at foreshore panic

Retiring Labour list MP Mita Ririnui says he regrets the way party leaders pushed the panic button that led to the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

The backlash and subsequent rise of the Maori Party cost Mr Ririnui his Waiariki seat, but he stayed on as list MP and served as a minister outside cabinet.

He says as associate minister for treaty negotiations, he was caught by surprise by attorney general Margaret Wilson's response to the Court of Appeal ruling that Ngati Apa could go to the Maori Land Court to establish whether it had customary rights to aquaculture space in the Marlborough Sounds.

“And it wasn't the response I would have liked us to be responsible for. Someone pressed the panic button and we had a problem and it was very difficult for us to pull back from that having made the commitment to legislation. We had to manage the best way we could. But there were a number of us, particularly those of us who were in 90 percent coastal electorates, who knew we were going to be in trouble,” Mr Ririnui says.

He says hard work by Labour's Maori caucus and the commitment and support of deputy prime minister Michael Cullen meant he was reasonably comfortable about the final bill ... but the political process could have been much better managed.

As Auckland city waits on court action to see if it can financially muzzle its Maori board, New Pymouth District Council's Maori advisory committee is testing whether it has any muscles to flex.

The committee has asked the council to report back on whether it backs creating a Maori ward or whether it can appoint iwi representatives on to standing committees.

It also wants the council to fly the Maori flag alongside the New Zealand flag, as the South Taranaki District Council is already doing.

Councillor and committee member Howie Tamati says the committee is keen to make a contribution.

“If it creates controversy and disharmony, well, so be it. You find a little bit out about your community I suppose. But if you don’t ask the questions, things will never happen, so I think it’s important to position this committee so its work is beneficial and positive to all the community, so let’s have this discussion,” Mr Tamati says.


The organisers of this year's Te Matatini festival are confident they will smash the world haka record at the weekend.

The attempt will take place on Sunday afternoon, while the crowd at Te Waiohika estate in Gisborne is waiting for the final results.

Darrin Apanui, the festival's executive director, says the record of 3264 set at a Kapa Haka festival in Ngaruawahuia in 2008 is ripe for the taking.

He says the aim ios to0 have 10,000 people doing the haka,.

Mr Apanui says the four day festival is running without a hitch as good weather shines on Gisborne.


The chair of Te Matatini says the biennnial festival of Maori performing arts has become a great way of recharging the Maori spirit.

Selwyn Parata says he's moved by the sacrifices each of the 16-hundred performers has made to represent their ancestors, and the expertise in haka, waiata and reo that is on display.

He says even the showers that have fallen on the Waiohika Estate near Gisborne have lifted rather than dampened the audience spirits.

“All these groups cover every iwi in New Zealand so when you look at them al you are looking at all of Maoridon and its differences and its unity,” Mr Parata says.

Meanwhile, New Zealand Post yesterday released a set of stamps of kapa haka performers, including members of past winners like Te Waka Huia and Te Whanau a Apanui.


The country's first Zumba Jammer is keen to show Zumba's creator the Maori moves he's added to the Latin dance-based exercise programme.

As a jammer, Piripi Thomas-Sam from Tainui has authority to choreograph his own classes.

He says he's looking forward to meeting Beto Perez in Sydney in April, at the Australian health and fitness expo, where there will be a gathering of Zimba jammers.

Piripi Thomas-Sam will hold his first Zumba master class in Hamilton this weekend.


Former Sevens star Karl Te Nana is picking Tokoroa-born Quade Cooper as the standout Maori player to watch in this year's super 15 Rugby competition, which kicks off in Wellington tonight.

The 22-year-old inside back has notched up more than 50 games for the Queensland Reds, as well as 14 appearances with the Wallabies.

Mr Te Nana says he's tough and uncompromising, and he will leave his mark on the expanded competition as well as on the Aussie world cup campaign later in the year.

The Queensland Reds play the Western Reds in Brisbane on Sunday night.


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