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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Maori group added to broadband project

A member of the Maori rural broadband initiative working group says it will be a chance to ensure Maori are engaged at all levels of the half billion dollar project.

Anthony Royal was part of the Torotoro Waea consortium, one of the unsuccessful tenderers for the $285 million government subsidy to extend fibre and wireless broadband networks in rural New Zealand.

He says the Nga Pu Waea group will meet regularly with RBI winners Telecom and Vodafone to spell out the needs of rural Maori communities.

“Beyond that I think we need to make sure that we continue to represent Maori interests in looking for opportunities to enhance connectivity, to look at being able to provide training and jobs for our people and access to infrastructure and investment opportunities,” Mr Royal says.

Other working group members include Daphne Luke and Mavis Mullins from Te Huarahi tika maori Spectrum Trust, Jeremy Gardiner from Ngati Awa, Haami Piripi from Te Rarawa, Richard Orzecki from Ngati Raukawa and Tuwhakairiora Williams from the Maori Congress.


Northern iwi leader Haami Piripi says Hone Harawira doesn't need to hold a by-election to show he has the support of Maori in Te Tai Tokerau.

Mr Piripi, who chairs Te Runanga o Te Rarawa and also heads the Te Hiku forum negotiating treaty claims for the four northernmost iwi, says his former Te Kawariki colleague already has a mandate.

“There is so little time between now and the next election and it is hard to understand why there would be a need to regain a mandate for Hone as a standing member. He really has a lot of support and popularity in the north and I don’t think it would be too hard for him getting back into parliament,” he says.

Mr Piripi says the unsuccessful approach by Maori Party activists asking him to stand in the seat was unofficial and should not be seen as evidence the party was breaking its agreement not to stand a candidate against Mr Harawira in the general election.


The chair of Toi Maori's Puatatangi music committee wants more musicians to commit themselves to making kaupapa Maori music.

Ngahiwi Apanui will run the composition section of an industry workshop being held in Wellington later this month.

Other veterans like Maaka McGregor, Ria Hall and Kirsten Te Rito will give newcomers tips in production, management, and vocal training.

Mr Apanui says it's vital work to replace musicians to follow the likes of Whirimako Black, Maisie Rika and Brannigan Kaa in making musis in te reo Maori or bilingual with kaupapa Maori themes.


Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira may have left it too late to contest a by-election under the banner of his new Mana movement.

He's also left it too late to get public funding or broadcast time for the November general election.

The chief electoral officer, Robert Peden, says it would take at least six to eight weeks once an application is received to register a party.
He says the Electoral Commission needs to check the party has 500 active financial members who are eligible to vote, and to register its constitution.

“The key benefits of registration is that a registered party is able to contest the party vote at a general election. It is also eligible for allocation of election broadcasting time and money. The deadline for giving notice to the commission of eligibility for an allocation of broadcasting time and money was March 17 and the commission has no discretion to extend that deadline,” Mr Peden says.


New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the new Mana Party won't represent anyone but the Harawira family.

He says despite the presence of a range of high profile Maori, union and social activists at the party's launch on the weekend, the only person party leader Hone Harawira ever listens to is his mother Titewhai.

“I think Hone can win his seat. I don’t think he can win any of the rest. I think they’ll throw a lot of organisation in but I’ve seen all the names of the people involved and I’ll tell you what, it will be a very generous person who thinks they can get on and cooperate for a month, let alone three or four months,” Mr Peters says.

He says at the other end of the political spectrum, Don Brash's hijacking of the ACT Party with the backing of the party's funders is unparalleled anywhere in the democratic world.


Ngai Tahu leader Mark Solomon says the onset of winter is bringing fresh challenges to Maori in Christchurch as they try to pick themselves up after the February earthquake.

He says the Ngai Tahu Runanga is resigned to staying in temporary headquarters at Wigram for the rest of the year, because its central city offices are still off limits.

He says things are worse for ordinary residents, with up to 15,000 houses damage and winter upon people living in cold and cracked houses.

He says Maori unemployment in Christchurch is rising and will probably get worse before it get better.


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