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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Poll shows Maori Party losing repeat voters

The interim chair of Hone Harawira's new movement says the writing is on the wall for the Maori Party.

Matt McCarten says a Horizon Research poll finding that the Mana Party could 15.1 of party votes cast by Maori voters shows the Maori Party risks losing all its remaining seats.

He says it should think again about putting up a candidate against Mr Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau.

“Only 30 percent of people who voted for the Maori Party last election will remain loyal, less than one third. Forty two percent say they will move to Man and the rest will move to Labour. It’s pretty clear what’s going to happen. They Maori Party is going to lose all their seats,” Mr McCarten says.

The Horizon survey used a specialist panel of 517 Maori voters and has a 4.3 percent margin of error.


Maori Party president Pem Bird says the Horizon poll showing support among Maori voters for Hone Harawira's new Mana party is just a snapshot, and there is no indication it's a trend.

He says the Maori Party has a record of achievement.

“We haven't even begun to talk about ourselves. We’re not good at that. We’ve developed some capacity as a party and we will focus on the issues. The Maori Party is a must. It’s essential for the survival of the Maori people. It’s not should we, we must,” Mr Bird says.


Veteran actor Jim Moriarty is taking his play about the Maori Battalion back to his old school.

Mr Moriarty says he's concerned about the number of Maori students leaving mainstream schools without formal qualifications.

The play has been used by his Te Rakau Trust to change behaviour in prisons, remand centres and at-risk communities, and he's now staging a production with students from St Patrick’s and St Catherine’s colleges in Wellington.

“We're using The Battalion as a too to celebrate the history of our tupuna who fought but also as a way of using drama as a communication tool, waiata, haka, the lot, but also to offer an opportunity for Maori and PI children and also all children who are struggling to stay in mainstream and this is a way to strengthen them through theatre, theatre marae,” says Mr Moriarty, who is of Ngati Toa, Ngati Koata and Ngati Kahungunu.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says the new Mana Party is looking a shambles.

Ms Turei says the handling of the threatened by-election in Te Tai Tokerau and the disruptive behaviour of party founder Hone Harawira's mother and sister at a Maori Party hui in Waitangi on the weekend leaves a negative impression.

She says there seems to be no one in charge of the party's political positioning.

“Without that strong management of the political messages that party is sending out to the public in its very first few weeks of existence, it undermines the rhetoric around what that party is standing for and what it is trying to do,” Ms Turei says.


A Ngapuhi leader says the tribe isn't giving up on the Maori Party.

Hone Sadler called the hui at Waitangi on Sunday where party supporters resolved to rebuild branches in the north .... and stand a candidate against their former representative Hone Harawira.

He says despite claims of support for Mr Harawira's new Mana party, only seven of the 4000 Maori Party members in the electorate have formally resigned.

“What we were concerned about was whether or not the party was still alive in the north and whether or not Tai Tokerau wanted to retain its ties with the Maori Party and the numbers tell us people want to remain with the party,” Mr Sadler says.


Following her interest in indigenous rights has won University of Otago law lecturer Jacinta Ruru of Ngati Raukawa and Ngati Maniapoto an award for outstanding research.

The Rowheath Trust Award and Carl Smith Medal recognises early-career staff at the university.

Ms Ruru says her work on indigenous people's rights to own, manage and govern land and water is appreciated more overseas than it is back in Aotearoa.

“A lot of my work has had more of an impact over in Canada with the indigenous peoples so I get a lot of calls from the indigenous peoples, first nations groups over there wanting to use and refer to a lot of my work and really creating a lot of those relationships there so it obviously happens here as well but it tend to happen more so with relationships with academics in North America than here,” Ms Ruru says.

She says the current debate around Maori ownership of water is a rich topic for research.


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