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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, February 11, 2011

Taipari waiting for council to fix budget crisis

The head of Auckland's independent Maori statutory board says it's up to the city council to sort out a problem with funding.

Council officials yesterday advised that the strategy and finance committee did not have the authority to approve more than $5 million in funding for the nine-member board and its staff until June next year.

That means Tuesday's decision is void, and the budget needs to go to the full council next Monday.

David Taipare says the Maori advisory board went through a robust process to work out how much it needed to do its job representing Maori in the super city, culminating in a workshop with the finance committee.

“From our point of view when we met with the council at the workshop, we presented the funding agreement and we presented the position we had on the committees and we left them to consider that and to inform us formally once they’d come to their position,” Mr Taipari says.

He says as of late yesterday he still had no formal notification of what the council was doing.


Former police inspector Donovan Clarke has swapped the streets of Auckland for the health beat in Murihiku, but he says the challenges are just as hard.

The Waikato Tainui and Ngati Hine man now manages the Southern District Health board's Maori health unit.

His says the priority is to reduce the health disparities between Maori and non- Maori.

“I will be taking a strategic approach to applying some good leadership principles across Otago and Southland, making sure we’ve got all the dots joined up together and making sure we take a collaborative approach to improving Maori health,” Mr Clarke says.

He is enjoying a return to the area where he was born and raised.


New Zealand Music Commission's education manager says it's about time another te reo Maori song tops the charts.

Stephanie Lee says many of the Maori artists the commission has funded over the years have enjoyed success offshore, but struggle to get the airplay on New Zealand mainstream radio that translates to local sales.

She says with the right exposure, songs by the likes of Hinewehi Mohi, Pacific Curls, Wai and Moana and the Tribe could hit big.

“When you have a song like Poi E after all thee decades topping the hit parade all of last year, we know that Maori language isn’t the problem. People love these songs so certainly it’s something we hope to see,” Ms Lee says.


Former Tai Tokerau MP Dover Samuels says believing the Marine and Coastal Area Bill will resolve disputes over the foreshore and seabed requires a major act of cultural hypnosis.

Mr Samuels says with National and the Maori Party teaming up to ram the bill through Parliament, it's left to rebel MP Hone Harawira to voice the truth that it is not an advance on the existing law.

He says like his National Party predecessor Sir Douglas Graham, attorney general and Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson has come to believe he has all the answers.

“I think what’s happened to him, he’s become born again, he’s actually become culturally hypnotized. I really don’t believe he believes this legislation is going do work. I mean good god, Rodney Hide is not a lawyer and even he’s picked it up,” Mr Samuels says.

He says the row over the bill will only strengthen Hone Harawira's hold on Te Tai Tokerau, whether he remains a member of the Maori Party or not.


Ratana pa near Whanganui has turned its old post office into a community computing centre.

Facilitator Puawai Haggar says the six Apple computers have been in steady use since they were installed in the ICT hub five months ago.

She says residents with computer skills are helping rangatahi with school assignments and graphic design projects, and a roopu of kaumatua is also coming to terms with the computer age, especially so they can archive family photographs.

The centre has been funded through Community Partnership Fund as part of the government's digital strategy to make the internet available to all New Zealanders.


Multi-instrumentalist Tama Waipara says he's amazed at the talent he's finding through participating in a New Zealand Music Commission that gives students tuition from professional musicians.

The graduate of Manhattan School of Music in New York gives up to five sessions to tamariki from rural schools, working through their songs and talking about what they need to pursue a music career.

He says raw talent isn't enough, and it takes nurturing so the kids know what opportunities exist.


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