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Friday, February 04, 2011

Jones shrugs off caucus slight

Labour list MP Shane Jones says he'll be working hard this year to win the Maori vote ... despite the low rankings Labour leader Phil Goff has given Maori MPs in his latest caucus reshuffle.

Mr Jones, who is seeking to stand against Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples in Tamaki Makaurau, was left on the second bench, while former Maori affairs minister Parekura Horomia was demoted five places to number 10.

Mr Jones says there's more important things to worry about this year than caucus rankings.

“This year has got to be a time where both Parekura and I effect a greater outreach to our Maori people and help the parties develop some policies that might bring more and more of our whanau back to Labour. Now of course it would have been great to have been very close to the front but we’ve got a boss, his name is Phil and that’s the decision he has made and it’s one I’ve got to make the best out of, which I intend to do,” Mr Jones says.

He says the shadow transport and infrastructure roles he has been given are particularly important for Auckland, where he will be standing.


Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira says he will welcome the Maori Party leaders to Waitangi if they came up for this weekend's treaty commemorations at Waitangi.

The dissident MP has slammed the way a complaint against him is being held.

But he says he has no intention of using Waitangi as a forum to air his grievances against the party.

“While I am comfortable dealing with this stuff through the media, I recognize that if Pete and Tari come, they will come not just as ministers of the Crown. They’ll also come as co-leaders of the Maori Party and they’re due the respect that they hold with those positions so I wouldn’t have any intention of making an issue of this here at all,” Mr Harawira says.

He says he is totally committed to the Maori Party, its kaupapa, and its leadership.


Meanwhile, a new docu-drama will try to bring the Waitangi story to life for those who can't make it to the Bay of Islands this weekend.
Waitangi: What Really Happened screens on TV1 this Sunday.

Director Peter Meteherangi Tikao Burger, who has Ngai Tahu, Rangitane and Lithuanian whakapapa, says he aimed to be both entertaining and educational.
He says it was a great challenge to tackle such a big story.

He says some top notch consultants helped bring the story to life, including novelist Witi Ihimaera, historian Paul Moon, David Rankin representing the Hone Heke whanau, and language expert and Ngapuhi kuia Meremere Penfold.


Te Rarawa chair Haami Piripi says Tai Tokerau can't wait for the Government to bring broadband north.

Te Rarawa, Te Runanga o Whaigaroa and Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua have teamed up with telecommunicaitons investor Datalight to construct a high speed
broadband network from Orewa north.

Mr Piripi says the iwi are investing half the projected $6 million cost because broadband is vital for the region's economic development and its people's health and education.

“We want to make sure that we don’t miss out on that and that our communities and any future enterprise opportunities among our people aren’t prejudiced by the lack of it so we’ve committed ourselves to ensuring that broadband not only gets to Whangarei but gets to Kaitaia and that will then provide the platform for the next stage of our people's development,” Mr Piripi says.

The Taitokerau Networks consortium is separate to Datalight's bid with other Maori interests for the government's rural broadband subsidy.


Waitangi identity Titewhai Harawira says David Rankin is not the Ngapuhi leader he is being labelled as by mainstream media.

Mr Rankin has slammed Te Tii Marae committee for imposing a $1000 fee on Pakeha media organisations who want to broadcast from on the marae during this Waitangi commemorations.

Mrs Harawira says it won't change the committee's policy.

“David Rankin is a tamariki. He’s not a Ngapuhi kaumatua. He’s not a Ngapuhi leader. He lives in Auckland here. He never comes to Ngapuhi hui. He does not involve himself in any Ngapuhi political struggle but he has a lot to say out of his little space. I’m not directed by tamariki, not ever,” MRS Harawira says.

She's looking forward to escorting Prime Minister John Key onto Te Tii Marae tomorrow, and will offer the same service to Phil Goff ... even though she's angy with him for demoting Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson Parekura Horomia.


Masterton's Te Aratoi Museum is marking Waitangi weekend with a workshop on the ancient art of adze making.

Haami Te Whaiti says artists from Ngati Hinewaka in Palliser Bay will show visitors how their ancestors shaped adzes from argilite, which is considered the best material next to pounamu.

He says the artists gained their skills from building a replica of 16th century Wairarapa sleeping house for Te Papa museum in 1997, with help from Dante Bonica, a lecturer in Maori material culture at Auckland University.

The workshop is part of Te Aratoi's major Wairarapa Moana exhibition.

Goff open to NZ First coalition

Labour leader Phil Goff says he would be open to forming a coalition with New Zealand First after the election.

National's leader, John Key, has ruled out making any political pacts with Winston Peters even if he was able to bring his party back into Parliament.

But Mr Goff says MMP is about working with other parties.

“We'll work out a coalition to govern this country after November of this year and we’ll look at working with anyone that stands up for the same principles that we do and stands up for New Zealanders. That includes Winston. It includes the greens and I haven’t ruled out talking to the Maori Party either,” he says.

Mr Goff says Labour aims to win back the Maori electorates rather than concede them to the Maori Party as a potential coalition partner.


The co-chair of iwi radio umbrella group Whakaruruhau o Nga Reo Irirangi has defended Te Tii Marae's decision to charge mainstream broadcasters who want to cover Waitangi Day events on its grounds.

David Rankin from Ngapuhi's Matarahurahu hapu says charging Pakeha media but not Maori is racist.

But Willie Jackson says iwi stations such as the Northland-based Radio Ngati Hine lose money when they do outside broadcasts, but they are committed to letting Maori know what is going on.

“If anyone should not have to pay it’s Maori radio and that is not going to be the case this weekend so I’m pleased they have decided they’re not gong to charge Ngati Hine because that would be an outrage,” Mr Jackson says.

He says it is absolutely right that broadcasters such as Radio Live, where he hosts an afternoon talk-back show, should pay because they can generate advertising revenue from their coverage.


The organiser of a marae-based horticulture course in Flaxmere says the industry is screaming out for qualified workers.

Henare O Keefe says he was approached by large Hawkes Bay growers who want to hire local people rather than bringing in workers from overseas on seasonal contracts.

That's resulted in 30 trainees on a 42 week course, with any part time work they get in the industry cross credited to their qualification.

“At the end of the 42 weeks there will be genuine jobs waiting for tem but I’ve also said to them think about being managers and supervisors, instead of working in the orchard think about owning the orchard. Those are the sorts of seeds we’re planting, trying to add a few more zeros to their thinking,” Mr O Keefe says.

He says many of the trainees were long term unemployed.


Former cabinet minister and Mana Motuhake leader Sandra Lee says the demotion of Parekura Horomia could cost Labour dearly.

Phil Goff dropped the Ikaroa Rawhiti MP five places in his election year caucus reshuffle, and left Shane Jones in the second row despite the wish of Waikato Hauraki's Nanaia Mahuta that the list MP take the front bench seat she was vacating for family reasons.

Mrs Lee says Mr Horomia has managed to retain his seat against tough competition because of the respect he enjoys in Maori society.

“Unfortunately what I think we’ve seen is an argument given to the Maori Party as a gift because of a lack of strategy by Labour to this is how important they deem the portfolio of Maori affairs, that one of their most experienced minister who has held it in the seat has essentially, whatever way you try and cut it, been demoted,” Ms Lee says.

She says Labour needs to win back Maori seats as well as increase the party vote from the Maori electorates if it is to get the chance to form the next government.


Meanwhile, Waikato - Hauraki MP Nanaia Mahuta is attacking the chair of her Waikato-Tainui iwi for supporting the sale of state assets.

Tukoirangi Morgan and other members of the iwi leaders forum will put their case to Prime Minister John Key at Waitangi this weekend that they be allowed to buy in if National sells shares in the state owned energy companies after the election.

Ms Mahuta says the leaders' plans are causing concern in the tribes.

“While Tuku has said Tainui would be interested, it might be a bit premature. Most of the discussions I’ve had out amongst the electorate or people feeding back to me is that they’re really worried about asset sales so this will be a big election issue,” Ms Mahuta says.

She says power consumers are unlikely to benefit from the sell-off, and Government would lose an important source of revenue.


Maori reggae band Boxjuice release their much anticipated second album at Waiwhetu Marae in the Hutt Valley on Sunday ... marking both Waitangi day and the birthday of the late Jamaican reggae legend, Bob Marley.

Lead singer Ray Bishop says the strong Maori support that bands like Boxjuice,
Katchafire and Kora enjoy has allowed a distinctly New Zealand version of the music to develop over the past 30 years.

Reggae lovers have also made this weekend's international Ragamuffin festival in Rotorua a sell-out.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Caucus reshuffle demeans Maori members

Former cabinet minister and Mana Motuhake leader Sandra Lee says Labour leader Phil Goff is spurning Maori voters with his caucus reshuffle.

Mr Goff demoted Ikaroa Rawhiti MP former Maori affairs minister Parekura Horomia five places to number 10, and only moved Shane Jones to number 13, rather than elevating him to the front bench place vacated for family reasons by Nanaia Mahuta.

Mrs Lee says there is no strategic logic to the reshuffle.

“It's genuinely puzzling me because it’s a stretch but it’s not beyond the realms that if the ACT Party were to go down, if Labour were able to impact the Maori seats and some other ifs, a coalition for Labour could be pulled together, if Winston rises from the ashes, and so on, so why you would put some of your best Maori talent at a distance, I don't know,” she says.

Mrs Lee says Mr Jones should have been a front bench spokesman with an economic responsibility, rather than transport, infrastructure and associate Maori affairs roles.


Te Atihau a Paparangi and musicians throughout the motu are mourning the death of Ike Metekingi, one of the founders of the Maori Hi Five.

Mr Metekingi, who was in his 70th year, is lying at Putiki Marae in Whanganui.

Entertainer Frankie Stevens, who was part of a later version of the Hi Fives, says he was a hugely talented performer, and his band became the template for the Maori showbands of the 1960s.

“They were very slick, they were dressed beautifully, they incorporated modern Maori and modern music of the day into their performances, and they had a pop star image. They could compete and they did with some of the great bands around the world, I mean they opened for the Beatles in Hong Kong. They had some stories to tell and Ike Metekingi was a part of all those stories,” he says.

Ike Metekingi's funeral is on Friday at Putiki.


Waikato - Hauraki MP Nanaia Mahuta says Labour is committed to winning the Maori seats, despite leader Phil Goff demoting his most senior Maori MPs.

In today's Caucus reshuffle, Ms Mahuta came off the front bench at her own request and former Maori affairs minister Parekura Horomia dropped five places to number 10, with list MP Shane Jones left in the second row.

She says this week's Te Karere-Digipoll finding that less than a quarter of Maori voters believe Mr Goff provides good leadership on Maori issues isn't as important as the way its Maori candidates perform.

“The leading Maori issue is who has the Maori mandate which is why the Maori seats are so important. We’re looking forward to Shane (Jones) mounting a good campaign in Tamaki, also in Manurewa, Louisa (Wall) will be the first Maori woman representing Labour in a general seat that is winnable,” Ms Mahuta says.

She says as a backbencher she will be able to put more time into electorate issues.


Maori commentator Rawiri Taonui says the conciliatory tone of this week's meeting between MPs Hone Harawira and Te Ururoa Flavell was good for the Maori Party.

He says it was a positive sign the Taitokerau MP went at short notice to Rotorua for the meeting, after party leaders stayed away from last week's meeting at Whakapara where his electorate committee discussed the complaint laid by Mr Flavell.

He says the Maori Party needs Mr Harawira and Mr Harawira needs the Maori Party.

“Hone represents the underclass of Maori, probably a majority of Maori, those who are still missing out, and for the Maori Party to be effective, they need to hold the two together, and if they split and divide, then they are both going to pay a price for that, Hone by being marginalized, the Maori Party by becominng to be seen of a much smaller grouping of Maoridom,” Mr Taonui says.

He says concessions need to be made on both sides.


A Tohourangi elder says the iwi doesn't want the remains of the famed pink and white terraces brought back above the surface of lake Rotomahana.

Anaru Rangiheuea says you could have heard a pin drop this week at the Whakarewarewa meeting house when GNS scientists revealed how their underwater submersibles had spotted two tiers of the silica formation some 60 metres below the surface of the lake.

The world famous tourist attraction disappeared under the lake in the 1886 Tarawra eruption that also displaced the iwi from its ancestral homeland.

“We will leave them there and we will continue to talk about them. Because it’s our history that lies there in the lakes and under the mountains. Although it’s a sad history for my people. The Rangiheuea family were all buried. My people were all in their houses when tonnes and tonnes of rubble and rock landed upon them and they had nowhere to go,” Mr Rangiheuea says.

Marae chair defends broadcast fees

The chair of Te Tii Marae at Waitangi says the marae has a long standing practice of charging fees to broadcasters who want to come onto the marae to cover the build up to Waitangi.

King Taurua says he was disappointed to see Auckland man David Rankin attacking the fees on national television.

He says Mr Rankin is a self appointed Ngapuhi spokesman who is seen more on television than he is on the marae.

“I'm really sorry for David that he has to go to the media and not talk to me about this thing. We charge $1000. It is nothing new. We have been doing this for a long ling time and what David is doing is just mischief making,” he says.

Mr Taurua says the fees are used to offset some of the costs the marae incurs handling the thousands of manuhiri who come to Waitangi for the three-day event.


Prime Minister John Key is backing race relations commissioner Joris de Bres' assessment that there was significant progress on treaty issues in the past year.

Mr de Bres's annual report drew fire from Maori lawyers, academics and MPs who pointed to a backlash from hapu about how some of the year's settlements were made with corporate iwi leaders.

But Mr Key says it's hard to please everyone.

“There will always be those who think they deserve more, should have got more, are not happy with the deal, not happy with the deal within their own various hapu that make up the iwi and in some cases they will just believe progress is not going fast enough and they’ll often be right. It isn’t going fast enough in certain areas,” Mr Key says.

The government remains committed to completing the settlement process.


Labour leader Phil Goff also backs the race relations commissioner's report.

Mr Goff says while the treaty settlement process is far from perfect, it's clear progress is being made.

“This government has been able to put the finishing touches on a whole lot of work that Mike Cullen got under way. It’s good that we’ve made that progress. We want to resolve those grievances. We want to move on,” Mr Goff says.


A Waipareira Trust health promoter is combining history lessons with fitness training.

Delaine Mackey is taking groups around Auckland's maunga, telling them stories about the sites as they power up the slopes.

He picked up the idea from Otago university sports psychologist Ihirangai Heke, who tried out the system on students at Tolaga bay.

Mr Mackey says it works with whanau, old people and even whole kapa haka groups.

“We've incorporated a lot of the stuff we did at Waipareira, some of the stuff we’re doing at Waka Huia, depending on who the group is and depending on whether we have some old kuia that are there or whether we have a lot of young vibrant people, depending on the crowd we have that day is how we do our exercise really,” Mr Mackey says.

After his walk and talks, he takes the group back to a nearby marae for a healthy breakfast.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says she feels for members of the Maori Party who are being stressed by the party's dirty laundry being hung out in public.

She says the poor way the party is managing its differences with maverick MP Hone Harawira won't be helping the party's election chances.

It's also going to affect how members in his Tai Tokerau electorate feel about the annual hikoi of politicians to Waitangi for this weekend's Treaty of Waitangi commemorations.

“We really want to see the Maori Party as a strong independent Maori political force and watching all this play out in the media, in the public realm, is actually really difficult to see,” Ms Turei says.

She says Tai Tokerau supporters of Mr Harawira will need to be staunch at Waitangi this weekend.


Christchurch-based Maori academic Rawiri Taonui says the Anglican church should not have accepted the resignation of Maurice Gray.

Reverend Gray quit the ministry after he was discharged without conviction in the district court in Christchurch for signing off a marriage he did not attend.

Mr Taonui says the church should have listened to the judge who said there was no malice, dishonesty or financial gain on Mr Gray's part.

He says the church hasn't got a great track record on issues like te reo Maori, acknowledging Maori spirituality or handing back some of the Maori land it acquired during the missionary era.

“Ministers who have committed much graver offences than Maurice Gray have been retained within the flock and one would think that wile admitting a wrong is a Christian thing to do that forgiveness is also a foundation stone of Christianity and it’s a really disappointing outcome,” Mr Taonui says.

He says Maurice Gray is paying a heavy penalty for his lapse.


Te Ohu Kaimoana is looking for a young Maori who wants to work in Japan.
Chief executive Peter Douglas says the international scholarship has been going for about a decade, and many past recipients now work for companies owned by the Maori fisheries trust.

He says the successful applicant will spend the rest of the year learning Japanese, before heading up to Nissan Suisan, which the half-owner of Sealord.

“They get an opportunity to see how a Japanese fishing company operates from the inside so there’s all different components. There’s aquaculture. There’s science. There’s fine chemical development. There’s processing of fish into everyday food in Japan or for around the world. There’s the fresh fish market. There’s all sorts of opportunities for someone who’s got a background in this area or who wants a future in it,” Mr Douglas says.

This year's scholar, Te Puoho Katene from Ngati Whatua and Ngati Toa, left for Japan last week.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Key has shares for “cash rich” iwi

Prime Minister John Key says he's anticipating strong Maori interest in buying into state assets.

Mr Key says the mixed ownership model National is proposing for Air New Zealand, the state power generators and Solid Energy is different than the privatisations of the 1980s and 90s.
He says Maori can participate as individual investors, through their Kiwisaver accounts and through their tribal organisations.

“There are ultimately opportunities potentially for iwi to invest. We know there are some cash-rich iwi that do want to invest,” Mr Key says.

He says because of the different nature of the assets, it's unlikely the sell-down of the Crown stake will lead to the job losses that happened when rail, forests and other departments were privatised.


Waikato Tainui leader Tukoroirangi Morgan says iwi leaders gathering in Waitangi this weekend are looking forward to talking with John Key about asset sales.

Mr Morgan says the Prime Minister and senior ministers are booked in to attend a session of the Iwi Leaders Forum.

They'll be told Maori are better owners of state assets than ordinary mums and dads ... because as well as buying shares, mums and dads also sell.

“And this is about saying to them, we want to line up, we don’t expect any discounted prices but actually we’re a much more dependable investor for and on behalf of this country. We’re in there for the long term,” Mr Morgan says.

He says iwi investment will stop large stakes in New Zealand's core infrastructure falling into overseas hands.


The Problem Gambling Foundation says it's seeing increasing numbers of young Maori asking for help with their addiction.

Tony Milne, the foundation's public health practice leader, says more than 10 percent of new clients last year were under the age of 25, and almost a quarter of those were Maori.

He says they have similar issues to older gamblers.

“We've seen an increase Internet gambling but it’s still quite small in relation to the number of young people seeing help because of pokie addictions. We call pokie machines the crack cocaine of gambling because they're so addictive,” Mr Milne says.


Labour leader Phil Goff says the party is looking to win the Maori seats rather than look towards the Maori Party as a potential coalition partner.

A Te Karere-Digipoll out today found 36.9 percent of Maori voters would vote for Labour, with the Maori Party almost level on 36.2 percent.

Only 25 percent said Mr Goff was the best person to lead the Labour Party, compared with 36 percent a year ago, and only 6.4 percent of Maori wanted him as their Prime Minister.

Mr Goff says the party has always stood up for the rights of Maori workers.

“The Maori electorates will make their decision when they vote and we will accept their decision of the electorate and we’ll work out a coalition to govern this country after November of this year and we’ll look at working with anyone that stands up for the same principles as we do and stands up for New Zealanders,” Mr Goff says.


As the Maori Party struggles to discipline maverick MP Hone Harawira for criticising its continuing support for the National-led government, Prime Minister John Key is praising the party's leaders.

He says Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia have worked hard to advance Maori interests.

“They're great people. They work hard. They’re reliable. They don’t get everything they want. They try really hard to get a lot but I don’t get everything I want and I’m prime minister and that’s just the way it works. Government is ultimately always about compromise but have they made progress? The answer is absolutely on many fronts and I think they’ve done a fine job. They’ve been good ministers,” Mr Key says.

He says it is up to the Maori Party to sort out its internal issues without interference from National.


A Muaupoko man is asking the Waitangi Tribunal Claim to establish who has the right to oversee Lake Horowhenua.

Phillip Taueki says the shallow lake on the western edge of Levin is in a deplorable condition after decades of mismanagement.

He says what was once a major food basket of the Muaupoko people is now unusable.

As well as his tribunal claim, Mr Taueki says he will ask Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples to investigate the status and management of the lake.

“I blame all the parties for the state our lake is in and that includes the lake trustees, the domain board, the local council and Horizons (regional council). There’s been leadership problems within Muaupoko, for whatever reason, the lake is a disgrace and it’s a disgrace on us all,” Mr Taueki says.

Overseas investment office fails Peters

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says most Maori would be opposed to letting German investors buy large tracts of South Island farmland.

The Overseas Investment Office has approved the sale of more than 3000 hectares of dairy and dairy conversion land for more than $100 million to several German and Swiss groups.

Mr Peters says the office is a rubber stamp and needs to be revamped.

“They're no protection at all in terms of New Zealand interests and worse than that they’re headed by a minister and a government that believes in the appropriateness of selling land and key assets to overseas interests. It’s just wrong and I don’t know why you’d allow 3400 hectares of the South Island to get into German hands or American hands of Chinese hands or the hands on anyone who are not New Zealanders. It’s not fair and it’s not right,” he says.

Mr Peters says the Government needs to create an Overseas Investment Office that puts New Zealand interests first.


Ngai Tahu leader Mark Solomon says the tribe's chief executive could be hard to replace.

Anake Goodall submitted his resignation this week after four years in the role, which he took on during a time of turbulence in the South Island tribe's governance.

Mr Solomon says with his experience dating back to helping present the Ngai Tahu claim to the Waitangi Tribunal in the 1980s, Mr Goodall had a wealth of institutional knowledge and experience which helped with the restructuring of its systems to better cope with the post-settlement environment.

Mr Solomon says Ngai Tahu will be looking for a chief executive who understands Maori and understands how to run a $700 million organisation.


The organiser of Rotorua's Opera in the Pa is promising an even bigger spectacle next year.

A capacity audience packed in to Te Puia last Saturday for an evening of Italian arias and Maori culture delivered from the porch of the Rotowhio meeting house.

Trevor Maxwell says the evening was made even more special by the presence of the four remaining Rotorua based members of B Company of the 28 Maori Battalion, to which the evening was dedicated.

He says next year is the 15th Opera in the Pa, and it needs to be special.


Race relations commissioner Joris de Bres says he'd be surprised if there was a resurgence of protest at Waitangi this year.

Organisers are again aiming for a family-friendly programme, while iwi leaders are using the annual gathering in the bay of islands as a chance to discuss progress on issues like water policy, changes to aquaculture and the replacement for the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Mr de Bres says many of the activists of the past have found other ways to advance Maori interests.

“Protest action has its times. I’m not going to predict what’s going to happen on Waitangi Day but I do sense that this is a time when people are grappling with issues and not necessarily by protest but by becoming engaged,” Mr de Bres says.


Maori political commentator John Tamihere says the time isn't right to firm a new left wing party.

Hone Harawira's travails with the Maori Party is fuelling speculation the Tai Tokerau MP could be drawn into a new party with former Green MP Sue Bradford and Unite union lead Matt McCarten.

But Mr Tamihere, a former Labour MP, says election year has already started.

“If you haven’t got a party on the board and you’re not ready to go by now, it’s a dumb idea. This is an idea thought up by others other than a player like a Hone Harawira,” he says.


A thousand-meal hangi is just one of the attractions that may lure people to Kawhia this weekend.

Lloyd Whiu, the organiser of the annnual Kawhia Kai festival, says the coastal Waikato township is hard at work getting ready for an influx of visitors.
He says people should be prepared to sample both innovative and traditional fare.

Saturday's event is expected to draw up to 10,000 people.

Goodall quits Ngai Tahu job

Ngai Tahu is losing its chief executive.

Anake Goodall took on the job running the South Island tribe's runanga in 2007, after a period of internal strife.

Mr Goodall, who has been involved with the iwi for 25 years, says his task has been to consolidate the systems that had grown up in the 10 years since the Ngati Tahu settlement and plan for the future.

“The second leg of that which has interest me is what is the base that we need to set ourselves up for the next 10 years? What does the organisation that is going to do that look like and how do we get on with that job, so that’s been the brioef and I’m at the point now where I think we’ve nailed that, we’ve done that bit, and the next job is different and for someone with different skills I reckon,” Mr Goodall says.

He will stay on for up to six months to allow Ngai Tahu to find a suitable replacement.


New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says iwi leaders shouldn't be giving a cloak of respectability to National's plan to sell state assets.

The Iwi Leaders Group has discussed asset sales in principle with Prime Minister John Key, and some iwi have indicated they want to buy in to the state owned energy companies if they are sold off after the election.

Mr Peters say the assets already belong to all New Zealanders, and it does not make the sales right if a small shareholding is sold to Maori.

“You'd expect from the iwi leaders group something that was sane and sensible and rational based on long term Maori values and betrayal of the people is not one of those values. I don’t know who these so called iwi leaders are who are meeting with John Key. Who appointed them to this position? I don’t know. So it comes down to what we do know, with is that there are political movements out there who are adamantly against asset sales, and the public can decide if they are going to vote for them or not,” Mr Peters says.

He says the iwi leaders are forgetting the sad history of previous sales like the Bank of New Zealand, Air New Zealand and New Zealand Rail.


A group of Victoria University lecturers have developed a new technology-based distance learning system to up the skills of Maori language teachers.

Rawiri Toia from Te Kura Maori says a shortage of suitable relief teachers means teachers in rural schools can't get time off for professional development courses.

With colleagues Tabitha McKenzie and Hiria McRae, he's filling the gap with video podcasts, online support and in-school facilitation.

“This provides a focus point for the teachers and schools to have a look at how they are teaching the language and how they are passing on some of those key elements of our language to their students,” Mr Toia says.

The project, which is part of the Ministry of Education's Whakapiki i te Reo professional development system, is being watched by indigenous educators around the world.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says iwi are making the best they can out of the treaty settlement process in trying circumstances.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson has denied allegations the Crown is putting pressure on iwi to get quick deals ahead of National's 2014 deadine to end the historic settlement process.

Mrs Turia, whose own Ngati Apa people settled last year, says while she could not say settlements are wonderful, iwi have choices to make.

“Our people are choosing to settle because they want to move forward. But let’s not be in any doubt that these settlements are a drop in the ocean to what was taken, and that’s the reason that our people are sitting in abject poverty today watching others grow wealthy off their land and their resources,” Mrs Turia says.

She says settlements are an important acknowlegement by the Crown that its past actions were in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi.


Meanwhile, Race relations commissioner Joris de Bres is welcoming the debate over his annual report of progress in fulfilling the aims of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Maori including lawyer Annette Sykes and politicians Metiria Turei, Pita Sharples and Winston Peters have criticised the report as being shallow and ignoring dissatisfaction with some settlements from hapu who feel excluded unwillingly included.

Mr de Bres says the report aims to spark debate.

“My answer to people who say the commission’s treaty report is once over lightly or doesn’t cover all the issues is simply ‘go and read it, tell me which bits are untrue, by all means tell me which bits have been omitted and share withat with people in general and in the end we wi have a picture of were we are and where we have been and where we are going,” he says.

Mr de Bres says the treaty report will be soon followed by updates on the Maori language and social inequality, which people might find more critical.


Tuhoe league icon Benji Marshall is the face of this year's multi million dollar promotional campaign for the NRL.

The Ruatoki-raised 26-year old was named last year's Golden Boot for the best international player, and he had successful seasons with both the West Tigers and the Kiwis.

Commentator Te Kauhoe Wano says the amiable Marshall has style on and off the field and is at the top of his game.

Benji Marshall has put his winning jersey from the 2008 World Cup up for auction to raise money for the families of the Pike River miners.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Turia sketches gap with National

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says it's not true the party is too close to National.

Mrs Turia endorsed party whip Te Ururoa Flavell's complaint against Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira's newspaper column criticising the support agreement with the government.

She says she endorses policies like state asset sales because they could benefit Maori, not because she has to.

“There are many things that we don’t agree with with National and in fact when our voting record is released which will show how we have truly voted, you’ll find that Labour has voted with National more times than we have, so let’s not get locked into this whole notion that the Maori Party, because we’re in coalition, that we agree with everything that National does. We do not,” Mrs Turia says.

The Maori Party leadership asked Mr Harawira to meet with Mr Flavell in Rotorua today, but the maverick MP has made a counter-offer of a meeting at an Auckland marae on Thursday managed by Tai Tokerau and Waiariki elders.


The organiser of a weekend hui in the Hawkes Bay which brought together previously warring gang members says the government needs to wake up to changes in gang culture if it wants its whanau ora policy to succeed.

Dennis O'Reilly says the wananga at historia Otatara Pa for gang fathers and sons resulted in a peace accord between leaders of the two largest Maori gangs in the region, Black Power and the Mongel Mob.

The accord included an endorsement of whanau ora as a way gang families can address their situation.

“On the one hand you’ve got Judith Collins saying she won’t even speak with gang members. On the other hand you’ve got the Government committing itself to whanau ora and there’s no way you can have whanau ora unless you’re prepared to deal with these below the line families. It just doesn’t make sense otherwise,” Mr O'Reilly says.

He says gangs have increasingly looked for ways to avoid confrontation since Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples brought they national leaders together three years ago after of a sharp rise in street incidents.


Maori are urged to put more slip slop slap into their summer.

Wayde Beckham from SunSmart says while there is a widespread belief that brown people don't burn, it's not true ... and too many Maori are among the 300 New Zealanders die from melanoma each year.

He says on hot days one in five people will get sunburnt.

“The reality is no matter what your skin type is in terms of colour, you can still get burnt. For people with darker skin colour, it can take longer for them to get burnt. We say do what you can to avoid being sunburnt. No matter what your skin type, sunburn can lead to melanoma later on in life,” Mr Beckham says.

Ultraviolet radiation levels can be high even on cloudy or cooler days.


The chief executive of the Federation of Maori Authorities says Maori treaty claimants will be asking for a chunk of any state assets the next National Government may want to sell off.

Ron Mark says the business of the state owned power companies that Prime Minister John Key has indicated are on the block is based on land taken from Maori and water rights that are subject to claims.

He says they are the sorts of assets that would put post-settlement iwi on a solid foundation.

“The dimmest of us know this. When we start playing monopoly, you buy the railyway stations, you buy the electrical company, you buy the waterworks, you buy the infrastructureand if New Zealand has decided it does not need all those asse4ts and it is going to put them on the market, it’s understandable that Maori entities that are in the process of negotiating might put their hands up and say ‘excuse me, but the way, we would like those assets to be considered as part of our treaty settlement,’” Mr Mark says.

He says the Crown has been taking a beads and blanket approach to settlements, but Maori believe they now have a shot at the Crown jewels.


A Middlemore hospital obstetrician says more resources are needed to explain nutrition to pregnant mothers.

Dr Alec Ekeroma says obesity among Maori and Pacifica mothers-to-be is a major health issue in South Auckland, with more than half the women he sees being overweight.

He says despite obesity causing hypertension and diabetes and leading to higher raters of still birth, there's little obstetricians can do.

“We have so many patients in clinic we do not have time to sit down with the mum and explore what she is eating, what can be cooked by the family and all that kind of thing,” Dr Ekeroma says.

The hospital nutritionists are so overwhelmed with work they can only provide advice to those women with complications.


An organiser of this weekend's national Aotearoa Maori Bowls tournament is keen to see a Maori squad in international competition.

Rawiri Evans from the Wainuiomata Bowls Club says more than 400 bowlers from across the motu are registered for the three-day competition.

He says there's growing support to name a Maori rep squad from the top talent who will be displaying their skills on greens throughout the Hutt Valley.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Fatherhood focus brings peace to gangs

A weekend parenting hui has led to a peace accord between all Hawkes Bay chapters of Black Power and the Mongrel Mob.

Hui organiser Dennis O'Reilly says the Fatherhood, Gangs, Drugs and Choices programme brought fathers and sons from the two largest Maori gangs together with New York based facilitator John Wareham.

He says intense discussion led to the leaders signing the Otatara Accord, named after the historic pa where the wananga took place.

“I'll quote from it. The leaders of the Mongrel Mob and Black Power who are resident in the Hawkes Bay collectively declare the following intentions: to improve our parenting skills; to support whanau ora; to strive for understanding of each other’s issues as a step towards peace on the streets and in the jails,” Mr O'Reilly says.


The chief executive of the Federation of Maori Authorities says FOMA members will be lining up alongside iwi for shares in the state owned power companies.

Waikato-Tainui chairperson Tukoroirangi Morgan says his iwi will seek a stake in Mighty River Power and Genesis Energy if National wins the election and goes through with its pledge for a partial sale.

Ron Mark says land trusts and incorporations along the river will also be interested for both investment and strategic reasons, including his own Wairarapa Moana Incorporation which owns the Poaukani block at Mangakino.

“The land that the water sits on in the hydro scheme that is Mighty River Power was land that was taken from us and is the subject of a treaty claim and what sticks in the throat of Kahungunu Wairarapa people and Wairarapa Moana, the one thing they need to develop their land more on the banks of that river is water for irrigation purposes and who blocks that supply. Mighty River do,” he says.

Mr Mark says there is potential for iwi and FOMA members to clash over their responses to the proposed asset sales.


The chair of the Maori Party's Taitokerau electorate says the party is going down the wrong track in dealing with the complaint against its MP.

A five-member disciplinary and disputes committee will consider the complaint by whip Te Ururoa Flavell that a Sunday newspaper article by Hone Harawira was in breach of the constitution and brought the party into disrepute.

Lisa McNabb says last week's electorate meeting at Whakapara Marae found no breach of tikanga or the party's constitution in Mr Harawira's criticism of the support agreement with National.

She says the right thing now would be bring Mr Harawira and Mr Flavell together to settle their differences face to face, rather than escalate the row.

“We do not believe this disciplinary process should be happening. I personally thinki it is totally unfair that this is now the second reproimand that opur MP, it’s a slight on people from Taitokerau who are very much supporters of the Maori Party,” Ms McNabb says.

The disciplinary committee, which is chaired by the party's deputy president, te Orohi Paul, does not include any representative of the tai Tokerau electorate.


Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira has asked for Maori Party whip Te Ururoa Flavell's complaint against him to be dealt with by a hui at Te Mahurehure Marae in Point Chevalier on Thursday.

The Maori Party leadership had summoned the MPs to a hui on a Rotorua marae tomorrow, in a bid to avert the disciplinary hearing against Mr Harawira on February 9.

This followed a meeting last Thursday of the Tai Tokerau electorate committee at Whakapara marae near Whangarei, which said its MP's newspaper column criticising the Maori Party support agreement with National did not warrant censure.

Mr Harawira says kaumatua and kuia from the north want to meet kaumatua from Waiariki, with the MPs present, in a neutral venue.

“It's a good idea. I can live with that. I think it would have been difficult for Te Ururoa and Ken (Mair) to have come up to Whakapara. I think back to 20009 when some of the leadership came up to Kaitaia, it was actually a very stressful hui for them I would have thought because you had them, a small group, and everyone else against them, and it would have been very much the same the other day in Whakapara,” he says.


Meanwhile, Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is supporting the sale of state assets.

Mrs Turia says she can't see a downside for Maori in John Key's plan to sell shares in the state-owned power companies and Air New Zealand after the election.

“If you look at all of the opower companies, power rises, there’s no benefit in actual fact to ordinary New Zealanders for the government to own these assets because we pay through the nose to keep them,” Mrs Turia says.

She would be concerned if the shares ended up in foreign hands, so it would be better for the country if the government sold the shares to iwi.


You've heard of Zumba, which turns South American dance styles into a fitness regime.

Now a pair of recent graduates from the Whitireia Performing Arts School in Porirua want to use Polynesian dance to teach the benefits of staying healthy.

Hamilton-based Nikki King and Kimberley Jones are starting their KIWA lessons at Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa's Fitness Gym in Dinsdale on Wednesday.
Ms King says finding a kaupapa Maori gym was a bonus.

They came up with the KIWA name for their dance-based programme because it encompasses the whole of the Pacific, Te Moana Nui A Kiwa.

Tainui looks to asset sales gold rush

Waikato Tainui leader Tukuroirangi Morgan says state assets are an ideal investment for iwi.

Mr Morgan is supporting Prime Minister John Key’s plan to sell shares in the state-owned energy companies if National is re-elected.

He says Tainui has the option to buy Genesis Energy’s Huntly Power Station if it is ever sold, and it also wants shares in Mighty River Power, which owns the hydro dams on the Waikato River.

“Here's an opportunity for us to secure a slice in some of the most successful SOEs in this country, and who better to buy. If you sell to Maori, we don’t expect the prices to be discounted, we’ll never sell. They’re an investment that we will keep for those that come after us,” he says.

Mr Morgan says Tainui has discussed pooling its resources with Ngai Tahu to invest, and there could be opportunities for smaller iwi to participate.


But a Maori kiwifruit industry leader says past-settlement iwi may be better investing in orchards than using spare cash to buy shares in state assets.

Te Awanui Hukapak chief executive Hemi Rolleston says the return per hectare for an orchard growing the Hort 16A gold kiwifruit can be as high as half a million dollars a year.

“Not only is it a good investment in terms of dollar returns but it’s a labour intensive industry and so not only does it utilise our land but it creates jobs. Work on an orchard is all year round and there is also the post harvest,”

Mr Rolleston says.

The industry has risen to the challenge of last year’s outbreak of the PSA vine killing disease, so that should not be seen as a deterrent to investment.


One of the contributors to an exhibition exploring gay male identity in Maori and Samoan cultures says Polynesian culture traditionally accepted close relationships between men.

Mana Takatapui, Taera Taane, which opened at the weekend at the Wellington City Gallery, features video, sculpture and photography by Maori artists Richard Kereopa, Hoteera Riri and Fear Brampton and Samoans Dan Taulapapa McMullin and Tanu Gago.

Mr Kereopa says curator Reuben Friend was keen to show cross-cultural perspectives.

“Within broader society there is a lot more acceptance that all Polynesian peoples originate from the same kind of waka really. Reuben wanted to get a good cross section of artists who could express how takatapui could be conceptualised from their own cultural backgrounds,” Mr Kereopa says.


Maori kiwifruit industry leader Hemi Rolleston says measures to keep holidaying whanau out of orchards over the summer have worked.

The Te Awanaui Huka Pak chief executive says no Maori kiwifruit orchards were among the 140 which tested positive for the vine killing disease PSA last year.

The owners want to keep it that way, even if it means some shareholders can’t visit familiar spots.

“From a Maori perspective we’ve been diligent in terms of practices. The orchards I’ve been involved in have updated their practices, put up more signage. Of course some of our orchards are on islands and a lot of the whanau return home over that period so we’ve had to put more stringent practices in place,” Mr Rolleston says.

All growers are affected by the PSA outbreak in the Bay of Plenty because of the damage it has done to the ZESPRI brand they have shares in.


Greens co-leader Metiria Turei has expressed skepticism that the Government’s proposed national biodiversity policy statement will go far enough.

The statement, which sets out the Government’s expectations and guidance of how local councils will protect biodiversity on private land, was announced at the weekend’s the Bluegreens Forum in Akaroa.

The statement was sought by the Maori Party as part of its support agreement.

Ms Turei says the Government’s record on the environment so far this term has been poor.

“From a kaitikitanga point of view and from a business point of view a good biodiversity protection system would be great but we can’t trust National to do what is best for Maori or for our economy or for our environment,” Ms Turei says.

Maori, councils, landowners, Maori, environmental groups and other New Zealanders are being encouraged to make submissions on the statement by May.


Entertainer Maisey Rika is on the wagon from tomorrow.

She’s given up alcohol for February as part of the Drug Foundation’s FebFast fundraiser.

She says while drinking is not a big part of her life, she’s aware of how many young people struggle with alcohol and wants to show them there are alternatives.

Money raised will go to youth-oriented programmes in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Information on the challenge is at febfast.org.nz