Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Non-compete clause critical despite row

Former Alliance president Matt McCarten says Hone Harawira needs to abide by the terms of his divorce agreement with the Maori Party and not stand candidates in other Maori seats.

Mr Harawira is consulting widely on whether he should form a new Maori-focused party.

Mr McCarten, who was involved in negotiating the agreement, says the prospect of a three way fight was considered.

“If there was a contest I think Tariana Turia and Hone would be the only ones left standing. I think it would be a tragedy for Maori. The position of an independent voice in Parliament is a very important thing and I think this is a temporary blip along the way,” he says.

Matt McCarten says some Maori Party MPs are taking Hone Harawira's criticisms too personally, and they need to toughen up.


Maori tobacco advocacy group Te Reo Marama has welcomed the Government's response to the Maori Affairs Select Committee inquiry into the tobacco industry.

The Government has committed to making New Zealand smoke free by 2025 and will consider changing the law on promotion, packaging and display of tobacco products.

Te Reo Marama spokesperson Heather Gifford says even Maori smokers are behind the push to get rid of tobacco, with people quitting every day or doing things to make sure their kids don’t start smoking, like making their homes and cars smoke free.

She says the percentage of young Maori smokers is falling because parents are discouraging the habit.


A south Taranaki museum has welcomed back some of the country's most precious taonga into its new house.

Curator Kristelle Plimmer from the Aotea Utanganui museum in Patea says the waka remnants and other wooden items were found in the Waitore swamp in the late 1960s and taken to Auckland University for preservation and study.

She says it was a significant find nationally, as the artifacts date back to the 1400s and came from somewhere in the Pacific, potentially Hawaiki.

The renovated museum will be re-opened next month.


Maori party president Pem Bird says it's time for the party and sacked MP Hone Harawira to declare a truce.

Mr Bird says when Mr Harawira left the party to go independent, he agreed not to stand candidates in seats held by the Maori Party, and he would be unchallenged by the Maori Party in Te Taitokerau.

He wants to rebel MP to honour that deal.

“We gotta put down our taiaha, put it all down. It’s about letting a bit of time pass and getting the head around what are the possibilities here for is to help one another, to whakawhanaunga. I believe, and other people have said to me, this is the way forward with Hone if we can just let that mamae go,” Mr Bird says


The Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres says all local governments need dedicated Maori seats.

That's one of the main recommendations in the commissioner's annual report to parliament on the state of race relations.

He says the seats are needed to tackle the institutional discrimination against Maori that is still rife throughout the country.

“I'm not that confident many of them will because they will either use that stuff, as they have before, about ‘no privilege’, but actually the Maori seats are provided for in legislation, they work really well in the Bay of Plenty Regional Council,” Mr de Bres says.

The creation of Maori seats would also help address the concerns of the United Nations which wants the government to include Maori more in decision-making at all levels.


Another year, another album for Dennis Marsh has released his latest album.

The Maori Waiata Song Book is the Maori country and western singer's 22nd collection of songs.

The 60-year-old says the 18 songs, or at least the tunes, will be familiar to many listeners, and the album is doing well.

Dennis Marsh says he's doing most of his singing now on the cruise ship circuit, and enjoying the pace of life aboard.


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