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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, April 15, 2011

New MP bucks party line on Maori seats

Pita Sharples says National would break its agreement with the Maori Party if it heeded a call from its newest MP to do away with the Maori seats.

In a maiden speech last week peppered with references to right wing icons like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Jami-Lee Ross said as a New Zealander of Maori descent he didn't believe Maori require special seats to be elected to Parliament, councils or any other body.

Dr Sharples says the new Botany MP wouldn't have won any favours from his leadership with that part of the speech.

“I mean that’s our agreement tat we don’t look at those seas for some time and that we enjoy the relationship that we have today of both being in government and that’s the undertaking we have been given by National leaders and I would say he should do his homework first before he shoots off,” Dr Sharples says.


A new tissue bank at South Auckland's Middlemore Hospital aims to collect more samples from Maori and Pacific Island people.

Curator Daphne Mason says the samples will be used to test experimental cancer treatments.

She says Maori and Pacific people have been reluctant to agree for a portion of the tissue samples taken for medical diagnosis being held back for research, so the tissue bank is working with kaumatua and the hospital's Maori health team on appropriate protocols.

Daphne Mason says having a collection of pre-cleared samples on hand will speed up research.


An adverse weather forecast means Aucklanders have a few more days so see and say goodbye to the voyaging canoes moored at the Viaduct Basin.

The Pacific Voyagers fleet is bound for Hawaii and the west coast of the United States to raise awareness of the challenges the ocean faces from overfishing, rising sea levels, and pollution.

Liam Ogden, the cook on the Aotearoa waka Te Matau o Maui, says the five crews are keen to get on the water.

He hopes to be drier on the fibreglass Te Matau o Maui than he was in his previous berth on Te Aurere.


Maori Affairs minister Pita Sharples says he's pleased with a report from his ministerial review team on Maori langauge spending.

He says te Paepae Motuhake led by Sir Tamati Reedy had come to grips with where a lot of the $225 million the government spends each year on Maori language revitalisation is going ... and why it isn't more effective.

Dr Sharples says it was helped by the Waitangi Tribunal bringing forward the language chapter of its report on indigenous intellectual property rights, showing use of Maori language had plateaued.

He says it may be tough to get wider government acceptance of recommendations like having a minister for the Maori language or creating a new regional network to control Maori language funding.


Museums Aotearoa has commended Taranaki's Puke Ariki Museum for the way its show marking the 150th anniversary of the Taranaki Wars brought the story right up to date.

Te Ahi Ka Roa, Te Ahi Katoro, Taranaki War 1860 - 2010: Our Legacy, Our Challenge won this year's excellence in exhibition (social history) award.

Puke Ariki manager Bill McNaught says it's a win not just for the museum team but for the many people in the community who shared taonga, knowledge and stories.


Singer Leon Wharekura makes a rare public appearance in Auckland this weekend with a show he says should bring back echoes of the Maori showbands.

Wharekura, who got his break in showbiz as a backing singer for the Billy T James Show Band, has been busy recording an album, teaching a music course for young Maori, and arranging the entertainment for Kingitanga events.

His gig at the Flow bar in Newmarket on Sunday afternoon should include a set from the Paki Quartet, where he's joined by Chris Powley, Mana Farrell, and Thomas Stowers to recreate the sound of bands like the Maori Volcanics and Howard Morrison Quartet.

The Paki Quartet is preparing for an Anzac Day television appearance and a 90 minute special on Maori Television in August.


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