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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Party decision up to electorate

Independent MP Hone Harawira says the decision on whether he forms a new political party will be made by an electorate meeting of his Te Tai Tokerau electorate committee in Whangarei on Sunday.

The former Maori Party MP says hui around the country have expressed support for a new political vehicle, but his own people have the final say.

“I sincerely hope that the Tai Tokerau says on Sunday yes, go ahead, le’s have the new party but if at the end of the say it says you’re just going to be the MP for Tai Tokerau, that will be that. Far be it for me to walk away from the people who have always supported me so the final decision will not be made by me, it will be made by the people of Tai Tokerau,” Mr Harawira says.


A Ngapuhi health researcher wants to improve the way tamariki sleep.

Dr Geoff Kira from Auckland University's Clinical Trials Research Unit says good sleep is a low priority for many people, even though it's a vital component of health.

He says work patterns, stress and other health problems mean Maori adults have some of worst sleep problems of any ethnic group in New Zealand.

Dr Kira recommends what he calls sleep hygeine to get children to bed, including restricting the hours they can watch television or play video games..


The departure of the fleet making a round-trip voyage to Hawaii has been delayed a fortnight so solar-power systems can be installed in the traditional canoes.

Coordinator says three of the seven waka which were due to leave from Auckland's Viaduct Harbour tomorrow will be fitted so they won't need to burn fossil fuels.

He says what started as a voyage by one waka, Te Mana o te Moana, to highlight the adverse impact man is having on the Pacific Ocean, is now a pan-Pacific effort with canoes from Aotearoa, Samoa, Fiji and the Cook Islands.

A documentary will be made of the voyage.


Independent MP Hone Harawira says support for him to form a new party is coming from Maori Party branches rather than Maori generally.

He's completed hui around the country on the issue, and a decision whether or not to go ahead will be made by a meeting of his Tai Tokerau Electorate Committee in Whangarei on Sunday.

“The calls are actually coming from Maori Party branches, that’ where the great disaffection is. It’s not Maori people generally. It’s actually Maori Party supporters saying ‘we just can’t accept what’s going on,’” Mr Harawira says.

At this stage he is sticking to his separation agreement with the Maori Party not to stand candidates in electorates held by its MPs.


About 300 year 12 and 13 students from Manukau spent today getting healthy messages from the Auckland University of Technology and Youthline.

AUT health promoter Ruth de Souza says the region has one of the youngest populations in the country, and one of the largest Maori populations, many of them in the poorer areas.

She says the Youth Health Council Fono tried to get the students to discuss the health and social issues affecting them, from healthy eating to alcohol and drug harm.

The fono also aimed to get the students thinking about careers in health care.


The Bay of Plenty Regional Council is calling for applications for project funding from He Matapuna Akoranga a Hawea Vercoe - a fund set up in the memory of former councillor Hawea Vercoe.

Brian Trott, the council's corporate services manager, says Kura Kaupapa Maori, Kohanga Reo and bilingual schools can apply for up to $5000 for environmental projects.

He says the fund is a mark of the feelings people still hold for the young Te Arawa leader and educator, who died after being attacked in the street in Whakatane in 2009.

The $20,000 Hawea Vercoe fund is being managed within the council's larger Environmental Enhancement Fund, which is also open for applications for community projects of up to $30,000.


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