Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Goff defends list after Maori advice ignored

Labour leader Phil Goff says the party's list is strong for Maori.

The party's Maori advisory council's choices were brushed aside by the majority on the 36-person list moderating committee.

That meant Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis ranked behind fellow MP Moana Mackey and Mr Goff's staffer Deborah Mahuta-Coyle got a winnable list sport ahead of Northland candidate Lynette Stewart.

Mr Goff says Labour will have at least six Maori MPs in the next parliament.

“We've got people like Parekura and Shane Jones high on the list but we’ve also got new candidates coming in. Deborah Mahuta-Coyle, a Huntly girl, but we’ve also got some interesting people, Lynette Stewart. She’s been chair of the district health board and chief executive up there, well known in the north, well liked, hugely experienced,” he says.

The rankings mean Rino Tirikatene in Te Tai Tonga, Louis Te Kani in Waiariki and Soraya Peke-Mason in Te Tai Hauauru will have to defeat their Maori Party opponents to make it to parliament.


Te Whanau a Apanui spokesperson Rawiri Waititi says the East Coast iwi is angry Prime Minister John Key is considering using the navy to protect a Brazilian company wanting to drill for oil off its shores.

A Greenpeace-led protest has disrupted Petrobras's seismic survey of the Raukumara basin.

Mr Waititi says the company's actions are a threat to the iwi's rohe and its mana.

“We are a proud iwi and we’re a proud people in terms of our country and we’d think that our navy or even our army for that fact would be first of all there to protect us as a nation and as a people before the protection of foreigners on our waters,” he says.

Mr Waititi says the Greenpeace Te Whanau a Apanui fleet is behaving peacefully and won't be deterred by threats.


Waikato University academic Margie Hohepa says standardised testing is being identified as a threat to indigenous education.

Associate professor Hohepa is at the American Educational Research Association Conference in Louisiana, where she is part of a workstream looking at indigenous research.

She says there's a push around the world for standardised tests, but they don't suit groups trying to maintain their own languages and cultural traditions.

“In terms of the Maori medium, we can take heart we are doing our best not to go down the trails set by place like the US,” she says.

Kura kaupapa Maori managed to opt out of Education Minister Anne Tolley's national standards by developing their own set of learning benchmarks.


Maungatautari landowner Rick Muru says his whanau welded shut an access gate to the ecological reserve southeast of Cambridge because they could be held liable if anyone is injured crossing their land.

His Maungatautari 4G4 Trust is in dispute with Ngati Koroki Kahukura, which has driven the plan to create the pest-free island on public and private land around the mountain.

Mr Muru says the hapu has opened the gate, and he wants Waipa District Council to cover any risk to his whanau.

“We're 110 percent behind what they are doing on the maunga, don’t get our whanau wrong. If the liability, the compliance of the bridges, the culverts, the tracks on our block had a certificate, we would be willing to open our gates and let the public access the maunga because I know the easiest way to get on the maunga is through our block,” Mr Muru says.

Visitors can also get to the reserve across Department of Conservation land, but that means a much steeper climb than at his trust's Tari Rd entrance.


Hauora and public health organisations in the eastern Bay of Plenty are picking up campaign that has reduced the risk of rheumatic fever among Opotiki schoolchildren.

Medical officer of health Phil Shoemack says by systematically swabbing school children for strep throat, Te Ao Hou Trust and Whakatohea Iwi health services significantly reduced the risk of sore throats developing into the heart-damaging fever.

He says Eastern Bay Primary Health Alliance is throat swabbing in Kawerau schools, and Te Ika Whenua Hauora starts its programme in Murupara next month.

He says they are three centres with an even higher than normal incidence of the disease.

Dr Shoemack says Maori children are more susceptible to rheumatic fever, and the swabbing campaign is based on a similar scheme in Whangaroa in Northland.


Hastings district councilor Henare O'Keefe wants to stop a new supermarket in Flaxmere being allowed to sell alcohol.

Mr O'Keefe says there are already too many liquor outlets in the largely Maori community.

He will push for a total ban on alcohol sales in the Flaxmere redevelopment plan.

He says easy availability of alcohol is driving increased violence and the upheaval of families.


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