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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Waka jumper could get punished

Labour MP Shane Jones says voters in Te Tai Tokerau could be set to punish Hone Harawira for jumping out of the Maori Party waka.

Mr Jones says Labour's Kelvin Davis is starting to pick up momentum, even though Mr Harawira's is clearly the most well-known name in the race.

“I do think quite a few people on the ground, those we have spoken to over the telephone or bumped into n the street, keep reminding us that the north don’t like waka jumpers. They made Tau Henare suffer. They made Matiu Rata suffer. I think that Hone and his supporters are now starting to realise that he could end up copping most of the blame for jumping out of the Maori Party waka,” he says.

Mr Jones says Kelvin Davis's focus on housing, health and education is being welcomed by many voters as a break from the usual incendiary rhetoric coming out of the north.


A young gay Maori who attended the Destiny Church political forum says he was made to feel welcome and his sexuality was not questioned.

Jevan Goulter attended Saturday's forum with Mana leader Hone Harawira.

He says over time the Destiny Church may drop its homophobia, as the Salvation Army has.

“They welcomed me into their house. I ate their food, I drunk their wine. I spoke to them, I interacted with them. And I made vey clear the fact I’m proud of who I am. But the question I would throw back to our community is if Bishop Tamaki were to come into our community, would be treat him the same way,” Mr Goulter says.

He says because the debate was not about sexuality, there was no reason for the politicians to raise the issue ... as academic Leonie Pihama says they should have.


The Ministry for Culture and Heritage's senior oral historian, Alison Parr, says this years Oral History Award recipients will give New Zealanders a broader sense of themselves.

The 14 projects to be funded include a series of interviews with influential Maori and Pasifika men in contemporary New Zealand Dance, a history of taonga puora revivalist Richard Nunns, and a study of the Nga Tama Toa protest movement of the 1970s.

Ms Parr says oral history can go beyond the big movers and shakers and draw out individual stories which cast a different complexion on the past.

“You'll see in the huge diversity of the projects we’ve really covered a very wide range of New Zealand activities. They are aspects of New Zealand history the committee thought could be further explored, the interviews would be a really important legacy,” Mr Parr says.


Labour's Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis says voters should take up the chance to vote before the June 25 by-election.

Early voting opened yesterday, with 16 advance voting places in the main towns in the electorate, as well as at the Electoral Commission in Wellington and the offices of election registrars around the country.

Mr Davis says the remoteness of many settlements and the price of petrol means the earlier people vote the better.

“If people live out in the backblocks of Tai Tokerau and someone is going into town, say Kaitaia or Kaikohe or Kerikeri, they should put a few of their rellies in the back seat and all head in together and cast their vote for Labour,” he says.

Kelvin Davis says because there are no open voting booths outside the electorate on polling day, it's important that people wishing to cast tangata whenua votes do so early.


Meanwhile, Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says the emergence of the Mana Party means her party may struggle to pick up votes in the Maori electorates come November.

Ms Turei says the Greens picked up more than 10 percent of the Maori vote in 2003, but under 4 percent in the two subsequent elections.

She says Maori are understandably keen to vote for Maori based parties, despite the Greens strong support in Parliament for Maori interests.

“That may not flow into votes because there are the Maori parties to vote for and people tend to support that kaupapa but they know we are there for them and to be honest I am okay with that because as long as we are there and supporting we can get some good change for Maori in Parliament,” Ms Turei says.


The man behind the new Waiata Maori Music magazine says it aims to cover a wider range of sounds than the mainstram magazines touch on.

Takitimu Trust director Tama Huata says the free biannual magazine is tied in with the trust's annual Maori music awards.

He says the first issue, which will be distributed through radio stations and music stores over the next couple of weeks, features contemporary stars Taisha and Maisey Rika, industry icons Ardijah and Frankie Stevens, and iconic composer the late Sir Kingi Ihaka.

“It becomes a great marketing tool for all Maori performers, both traditional and contemporary. The real buzz I get is it’s the first time we can start talking about the Maori music industry,” Mr Huata says.

Tama Huata says the next issue of Waiata Maori Music will be published in October, after the Waiata Maori Music Awards and the Takitimu Festival.


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