Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Shaples confident of Te Tai Tokerau win

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is picking a win for his party in the Te Tai Tokerau by-election.

The party is scrambling to rebuild the branch structure lost when Hone Harawira left the party in February.

Dr Sharples says some very good people are lining up for the chance to run against Mr Harawira and Labour's Kelvin Davis on June 25.

“The Maori Party will win the seat. We’ve done a little bit of homework and we’ve got quite a following up there. We’ve got the leadership of the north behind us as well, so we’re hoping that in the month or so that’s to go we’ll get the messages out,” Dr Sharples says.

He says the by-election campaign will give the Maori Party a chance to spell out in dollar terms what it has delivered to Maori by being in government.


Maori Wardens are joining police and public health organisations this weekend in a campaign aimed at reducing binge drinking.

Wally Haumaha, the manager of the police’s Maori and ethnic division, says Operation Unite is a transTasman initiative aimed at reducing alcohol-related harm in local communities.

He says the blitz runs from 6pm to 6am on Friday and Saturday nights.

Superintendant Haumaha is particularly concerned at a recent rise in alcohol-fuelled crime by Maori.


Fans of American stoner rock band Kyuss are in for a rare treat this weekend, with the guitarist dubbed the Maori Jimi Hendrix playing support.

Billy TK senior will be joined by Doug Jerebine, who wrote many of the songs on the first two Human Instinct albums.

Billy TK or Te Kahika is now based in Karamea at the top of the West Coast, and he says he's getting busier as he moves into his 60s.

“I've got a house by the beach and I just write and work on movement there. I find I’m being pushed into a lot of genres. I’m seem to playing a lot of psychedelic music, blues, and I’m playing a lot of acoustic gigs as well, so I’m being pushed across the board,” he says.

Billy TK and Doug Jerebine are also playing the Luca Lounge in Newmarket after Saturday's Powerstation gig.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is counting this week's national policy statement on fresh water as a win for Maori.

The guidance statement for local and regional authorities has come under fire from the Maori Council, which says it was developed without proper consultation and leaves Maori with only a token role in decision-making.

But Dr Sharples says he can't understand the criticism.

“We've had a win. We’ve put that treaty clause back in that statement. We’ve got someone appointed in there as well on that actual group that are going to do it so it’s actually a win for Maori,” he says.

Dr Sharples says the Maori Party had to fight to include consultation with Maori in the policy statement.


A Maori AIDs worker says women need to get tested earlier if they think they could have been exposed to HIV.

Marama Pala, the executive director of the Maori, Indigenous and South Pacific HIV/AIDS Foundation, has been picked as one of seven global community representatives to the 19th international AIDS Conference in Washington DC in July.

Ms Pala, who has been living with HIV for 18 years, says she's concerned the rate of HIV among Maori women is at its highest in 20 years.

“Because it's such a low prevalence among wahine they are testing rather late because HIV progresses into the AIDs stage which is the end of the road and a lot of them are getting symptoms at that stage and getting tested very late and some aren’t surviving and some are hospitalised quite quickly so that seems to be the issue for Maori at the moment,” Ms Pala says.

She's still battling the stigma against HIV, which can mean people are wary of getting tested.


A supporter of Hone Harawira's Mana Party says students are looking to create a rangatahi branch of the movement.

Wikatana Popata, who led occupations of land around Taipa in the far north over summer, is now a student in Auckland.

He says last night's speech by Mr Harawira at Auckland University's Waipapa Marae, which replaced a cancelled appearance at the law school, left many of the 70 students asking how they could contribute.

“From here we hope us Maori students at these universities here can strengthen their bond. There’s talk that students from universities throughout the country want to start their own Mana Rangatahi party,” Mr Popata says.

He says rangatahi are more likely to vote if there were candidates they could relate to.


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