Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sharples extols extent of Auckland council win

Differences have emerged between the Minister of Maori Affairs and the Minister for Local Government about the powers of the Auckland Council's Maori statutory board.

The full council needs to vote a budget for the board next Monday, after council officials advised that the strategy and finance subcommittee did not have authority to approve the $3.4 million a year price tag.

Rodney Hide insists the nine-member board is only advisory, and the council is free to limit its power ... and its budget.

But Pita Sharples says he fought for an independent statutory board after Mr Hide effectively blackmailed the Government to block the creation of elected Maori seats on the council itself.

“The big argument was making it statutory as opposed to advisory. If it was advisory it was straight away another little subcommittee of council which can be ignored, but a statutory body makes it obligatory for them to be involved, and that’s why I’m so glad that got passed. When we passed it at the time many Aucklanders and iwi thought it was a bad second but now they’re seeing it has real teeth,” Mr Sharples says.

He says Auckland is lucky to have a council where the Maori viewpoint can be heard.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is rejecting criticism of the way the Marine and Coastal Area Bill is being handled.

The Maori affairs select committee this reported the bill back to parliament unchanged, with Labour, Green and ACT members of the committee complaining they were denied a proper chance to consider the legislation, and Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira expected to vote against it.

Dr Sharples says once amendments are made at parliament's committee stage, the bill will be a suitable replacement for the Labour government's Foreshore and Seabed Act.

“We've been negotiating every way right up until last week and we actually won a little clause which lightened one of the tests and right up until last week also iwi were making submissions on it so it’s sort of been the Maori people's bill in a way,” Dr Sharples says.

He says the bill seems to have about 50-50 iwi support, with iwi who are opposed understanding why it was the best that could be achieved at this time.


A west Auckland woman who has creates opportunities for thousands of children to talk through the issues they face has won an individual award at the annual Every Child Counts awards.

Mereana Tautu Buchanan started the Youth Team Trust 12 years ago, running weekend workshops in Auckland and Christchurch where children can talk in a safe environment about issues like physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

She says yesterday's award ceremony in Parliament gave her a chance to meet other people working in their communities with tamariki and rangatahi.

The Youth Team Trust plans to expand to South Auckland this year, and is also considering making the programme available in Whangarei, Palmerston North and the top of the South Island.


The director of a new documentary on the famous haka "Ka Mate" says finding actors is proving a challenge.

The haka was written by Te Rauparaha, and Wiremu Grace says he needs people to play the Ngati Toa rangatira as a baby, rangatahi and adult.

The producers are also scouring kapa haka teams to find long haired, dark skinned people to play wahine and warriors in the scenes from the early 1800s that make up the early part of the film.

“Then we'll be going into the Ngati Toa perspective on things of how that haka came about and the rest of the world really in terms of how the haka has been received and how it is used and the controversies that have surrounded it and where we are at today so there is quite a lot of material for us to get through
Mr Grace says.

Auditions start at 10am tomorrow at Whitirea Polytechnic's Porirua Campus.

The documentary will screen on Maori Television during the Rugby World Cup carnival.

Taipari waiting for council to fix budget crisis

The head of Auckland's independent Maori statutory board says it's up to the city council to sort out a problem with funding.

Council officials yesterday advised that the strategy and finance committee did not have the authority to approve more than $5 million in funding for the nine-member board and its staff until June next year.

That means Tuesday's decision is void, and the budget needs to go to the full council next Monday.

David Taipare says the Maori advisory board went through a robust process to work out how much it needed to do its job representing Maori in the super city, culminating in a workshop with the finance committee.

“From our point of view when we met with the council at the workshop, we presented the funding agreement and we presented the position we had on the committees and we left them to consider that and to inform us formally once they’d come to their position,” Mr Taipari says.

He says as of late yesterday he still had no formal notification of what the council was doing.


Former police inspector Donovan Clarke has swapped the streets of Auckland for the health beat in Murihiku, but he says the challenges are just as hard.

The Waikato Tainui and Ngati Hine man now manages the Southern District Health board's Maori health unit.

His says the priority is to reduce the health disparities between Maori and non- Maori.

“I will be taking a strategic approach to applying some good leadership principles across Otago and Southland, making sure we’ve got all the dots joined up together and making sure we take a collaborative approach to improving Maori health,” Mr Clarke says.

He is enjoying a return to the area where he was born and raised.


New Zealand Music Commission's education manager says it's about time another te reo Maori song tops the charts.

Stephanie Lee says many of the Maori artists the commission has funded over the years have enjoyed success offshore, but struggle to get the airplay on New Zealand mainstream radio that translates to local sales.

She says with the right exposure, songs by the likes of Hinewehi Mohi, Pacific Curls, Wai and Moana and the Tribe could hit big.

“When you have a song like Poi E after all thee decades topping the hit parade all of last year, we know that Maori language isn’t the problem. People love these songs so certainly it’s something we hope to see,” Ms Lee says.


Former Tai Tokerau MP Dover Samuels says believing the Marine and Coastal Area Bill will resolve disputes over the foreshore and seabed requires a major act of cultural hypnosis.

Mr Samuels says with National and the Maori Party teaming up to ram the bill through Parliament, it's left to rebel MP Hone Harawira to voice the truth that it is not an advance on the existing law.

He says like his National Party predecessor Sir Douglas Graham, attorney general and Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson has come to believe he has all the answers.

“I think what’s happened to him, he’s become born again, he’s actually become culturally hypnotized. I really don’t believe he believes this legislation is going do work. I mean good god, Rodney Hide is not a lawyer and even he’s picked it up,” Mr Samuels says.

He says the row over the bill will only strengthen Hone Harawira's hold on Te Tai Tokerau, whether he remains a member of the Maori Party or not.


Ratana pa near Whanganui has turned its old post office into a community computing centre.

Facilitator Puawai Haggar says the six Apple computers have been in steady use since they were installed in the ICT hub five months ago.

She says residents with computer skills are helping rangatahi with school assignments and graphic design projects, and a roopu of kaumatua is also coming to terms with the computer age, especially so they can archive family photographs.

The centre has been funded through Community Partnership Fund as part of the government's digital strategy to make the internet available to all New Zealanders.


Multi-instrumentalist Tama Waipara says he's amazed at the talent he's finding through participating in a New Zealand Music Commission that gives students tuition from professional musicians.

The graduate of Manhattan School of Music in New York gives up to five sessions to tamariki from rural schools, working through their songs and talking about what they need to pursue a music career.

He says raw talent isn't enough, and it takes nurturing so the kids know what opportunities exist.

Expulsion row music to Peters' ears

New Zealand first leader Winston Peters says the attempt to expel Hone Harawira from the Maori Party is exposing how the party has betrayed its supporters over reform of the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

A disciplinary committee meeting yesterday referred the complaint against the Tai Tokerau MP back to his electorate for further consideration.

Mr Peters says the fact the hui happened the same day the Marine and Coastal Area was rushed back into Parliament is telling.

“I'm grateful that Mr Harawira has demonstrated to all of us what this is all about. The Maori Party promised tino rangatiratanga or separate institutions and separate policies. He stuck to it and they are now trying to switch their argument away from what they promised to Maori on marae. They went to countless Rotary clubs around the country and told them one thing and told the Maori at the marae a different thing. This is all coming out now,” he says.

Winston Peters says the Maori Party may eventually expel Hone Harawira, but it will be caught by the inevitable voter backlash.


The convenor of an iwi working group on the constitution says the Government's review won't look beyond how parliament works.

Moana Jackson says the official review led by deputy prime minister Bill English and Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is not what Maori Party members were expecting to come out of the support agreement with National.

It will consider questions like how many MPs there should be and whether MMP is the most suitable system for elections.

“Our independent iwi working group is looking at a broader base of, well, what is a constitution, how would we like to be governed, how can we base a constitution on Te Tiriti o Waitangi,” Mr Jackson says.

The group's initial report got and enthusiastic response from iwi leaders at Waitangi on the weekend.


Kura kaupapa are embracing a programme that allows professional musicians to work with students.

Stephanie Lee, the New Zealand Music Commission's education manager, says musicians like Anna Coddington and multi instrumemtalist Tama Waipara go in to schools to conduct up to five sessions with groups of musically inclined students.

She says the programme is particularly popular with kura in rural areas, which have fewer facilities than city schools.

“A lot of the kura, because they are too small, are not offering students NCEA standards in music and there has been massive syllabus change in music in New Zealand in the last 20 years and when they are writing songs or recording with the musicians, this is really serious, that this is part of their education that they can gain credit for doing this as well,” Ms Lee says.

She says the programme allows students to see what may be needed for a career in music.


Former Tai Tokerau MP Dover Samuels says Hone Harawira will be impossible to dislodge from the electorate this time round.

A Maori Party disciplinary committee yesterday referred a complaint from whip Te Ururoa Flavell against the rebel MP back to the electorate committee for further consideration.

Mr Samels says Mr Harawira enjoys an almost cult following in the north, and the party has put itself in a situation it can't win.

He says with Te Hiku o Te Ika radio, a television station and a school Mr Harawira is able to call out his forces easily.

Dover Samuels says Hone Harawira's support remainst strong because he is seen as genuinely carrying the flag for Maori party policy, especially regarding the reform of the Foreshore and Seabed Act.


Meanwhile, Maori lawyer Moana Jackson says the Maori Party's reasons for Marine and Coastal Areas bill don't stack up.

Mr Jackson, who in the past has been a close advisor to the party, says the way the bill was reported back to parliament unchanged despite thousands of opposing submissions from Maori makes a mockery of the select committee process.

He says the party's claim that the bill fulfils its promise to restore the right of Maori to court on customary rights claims rings hollow.

“That too is a mockery because the prime minister has himself said on several occasions that the test that Maori will have to prove in court is so high most Maori won’t be able to prove it anyway and he’s actually said they set the bar so high so Maori wouldn’t be able to do so,” he says.

Mr Jackson says Crown actions such as raupatu confiscation will make it impossible for most Maori to prove continuous occupation of coastal land.


The head of national anti-smoking organisation the Quit Group says tobacco price increases are starting to be reflected in the number of Maori stopping smoking.

Paula Snowden from Te Rarawa says 12,000 Maori used the service last year.

She says the now-annual price rises are making people reconsider their nicotine addiction.

New research shows the percentage of Maori who stay quit is the same for non-Maori, despite twice as many Maori smoking overall.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Marine bill haste a betrayal

Lawyer and Maori Party stalwart Annette Sykes says the party's leadership has betrayed constituents in its haste to replace the Foreshore and Seabed Act before the election.

The Government yesterday brought the Marine and Coastal Area Bill back to parliament from the select committee unchanged, despite thousands of submissions criticising aspects of the bill.

Ms Sykes says there was no warning of the move, despite Prime Minister John Key discussing possible amendments with the Iwi Leaders Forum in Waitangi on Saturday.

“It's worse than what happened with Labour because at least Labour, to their discredit I should say, were open about what they were doing. Here, we were just at Waitangi. Why did not Pita Sharples in his state of the nation speech tell the Maori world that he had agreed over the weekend to allow this legislation to come back to Parliament on its second day this year? Why did he mislead the Maori world?” Ms Sykes says.

She says it's now clear this week's suspension from caucus of rebel Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira was designed to silence a critic of the move.


The Rail and Maritime Union says government-owned Kiwirail is recruiting loco drivers from overseas rather than training local workers.

Bernie Henare says the imports must undergo the same 12-week training as locals, so there is little sense in the policy.

He says Maori have a long history of working on the railways, and the SOE is missing an ideal opportunity to employ young Maori, who make up a disproportionate number of the unemployed.

“We have enough people here who are seeking work, school leavers who want jobs, even adults who are looking for work and who would probably eminently fit the bill, but oh no, we are going to go to England and other places to recruit. That to us is wrong,” Mr Henare says.

He says Kiwirail seems determined to squash local jobs, with its locomotive manufacturing jobs also going overseas.


Gisborne plunket has set up a support group for teenage mums.

Kaiawahina Tatum Gerrard says many young mothers feel extremely isolated.

The weekly get together will allow the rangatahi wahine and their pepe to meet other mums and discuss parenting skills, child development, and education and employment opportunities.

The group meets each Friday at the Kaiti Playcentre.


Greens' co-leader Metiria Tureia says the Maori party is encouraging a dangerous form of elitism in its treatment of the Maori and Coastal Area Bill.

Ms Turei says Maori Party MPs on the select committee teamed up with National to block proper scrutiny of the replacement for the Foreshore and Seabed Act, which was yesterday reported back to Parliament without amendment.

She says the Government appears to have secretly negotiated some amendments with the Iwi Leaders Group.

“That is a real concern for Maori who disagree with iwi leaders and for Maori who said they oppose the bill and do not want it to proceed and for Maori it means the elite continue to have the ear of minister and of the government, that the Maori Party allows for that elite to have that access and the majority of Maori are shut out from the decisions that most affect them,” Ms Turei says.

The Greens will try to put some amendments at the committee stage.


Prime Minister John Key says he may have to get local government minister Rodney Hide to look into the cost of Auckland city's independent Maori statutory board.

The super city council is setting aside $3.5 million a year to meet the costs of the nine-member board, which has appointed representatives to two thirds of the council's committees.

Mr Key says that seems surprising.

“It sounds like a lot but I have not seen any numbers when it was put together. It may depend on what they’re doing with that, so someone will have to look at that, maybe Rodney Hide,” he says.


He was the first of his Rotoiti whanau to go to university, and now Christian Whata has been appointed a High Court judge.

The 42 year old received a masters of law from Cambridge University in England, and returned to Aotearoa to work for leading firm Russell McVeigh, where he is now a partner.

That gave him the chance to work on some high profile Maori cases, including acting for urban Maori in the fisheries cases and for his iwi, Te Arawa, on fisheries issues as well.

Justice Whata will sit in the High Court in Christchurch.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Coastal select committee process a farce

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says the select committee examination of the Marine and Coastal Area Bill has been turned into a farce.

The bill was reported back to Parliament today unchanged, and the government says it will make changes at the committee stage.

Ms Turei says the National and Maori Party MPs blocked the other select committee members from making any changes or even considering the 500-page departmental report on the bill.

“This is legislation that confiscates Maori rights to their land, to their customary title and prevents them accessing genuine justice in the courts. It is being rushed through not only by the National Party but by the Maori Party itself. This is a terrible process we are going through at the moment,” she says.

Ms Turei says when Labour used a similar process to push through the Foreshore and Seabed Act, it had to come back to Parliament within weeks to amend major flaws that had slipped through unnoticed.


Labour leader Phil Goff says Parekura Horomia indicated his next parliamentary term would probably be his last before last week's caucus reshuffle.

Mr Goff demoted the long serving Ikaroa Rawhiti MP from fifth to tenth in Labour's line-up, but left his with his shadow responsibility for Maori affairs.

He says Mr Horomia is keen to create an orderly succession.

“Parekura is the kaumatua of our party. He is the leader of the Maori caucus in our party, we respect him for that, but what he’s telling us is, okay, he’ll be in his mid-60s in a few years time, he will want to phase out at that time and let’s bring through the new generation,” Mr Goff says.


A member of Auckland City's statutory board is hitting back at critics of the board's $3.5 million annual budget.

The council's strategy and finance committee approved the budget this week, which covers meeting fees for the nine members and any other Maori they appoint to council committees, staff, and special projects.

John Tamihere, who chairs the board’s finance sub-committee, says a newspaper claim the budget had blown out was an example of institutional racism.

“If you look at what the Pakehas spend on themselves, they spend 99.75 percent on themselves. In the seven cities that made up the super city, each one had their Maori response unit. You put those seven city costs together and we are saving them money,” Mr Tamihere says.


Maori lawyer Annette Sykes says the reporting back of the Marine and Coastal Area Bill to Parliament on the same day as Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira faces disciplinary procedures will cost the Maori Party support.

She says 99 percent of submissions to the select committee from both Maori and Pakeha were critical of the bill.

It came back to Parliament today unchanged, with the Government saying it will make amend it in the committee stages.

Ms Sykes says that shows the Maori Party has turned its back on its constituents.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Maori will not forget today and will not forgive them. It will be etched in their minds firstly for what they are going to Hone Harawira but most importantly for fast tracking such a significant piece of legislation. Confiscating as it is 677,000 square kilometres of this country, likely for the exploitation of major oil companies,” she says.

Ms Sykes says Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples misled the Maori nation by failing to mention in his state of the Maori nation speech at Waitangi in Saturday that the Marine and Coastal bill was about to come back to Parliament unamended.


Meanwhile, Maori academic Rawiri Taonui predicts a new Maori party could emerge out of the Hone Harawira fiasco.

The rebel Tai Tokerau MP is faced a disciplinary committee hearing today, after being suspended for the party caucus earlier in the week.

Mr Taonui says he could be expected to hold his electorate, which could give a new party an immediate foundation.

“It could be on the cards that the backlash against the Maori Party is so significant that a number of people might say hey, let’s have a new Maori Party and there are people around the country that might stand up as good candidates, people like Annette Sykes for instance in Waiariki,” Mr Taonui says.

He can't see Mr Harawira joining a new left wing party, as he is not prepared to subsume kaupapa Maori within a wider alliance.


The Prime Minister says the best way to fight child poverty is to get people off benefits and into work.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has slammed New Zealand's lack of action on child poverty in New Zealand, which it says is disproportionately affecting Maori and Pacific island children.

Mr Key says 220,000 New Zealand children are growing up in households dependent on a benefit, so the task won't be easy.

“For a lot of people they can change their life through work. That’s easier said than done. You’ve got a lot of people who maybe don’t have a lot of skills or they’re got to access childcare or they’ve got to have the confidence to get back into a job or they’ve got to be able to find a job, so no one’s arguing about stupid stuff,” Mr Key says.

He says people on the minimum wage get $440 a week compared with $200 on the unemployment benefit.

Peters finds common cause with Harawira

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says Hone Harawira is right to question the value of the Maori Party's close association with National.

The Tai Tokerau MP is set to appear before a Maori Party disciplinary committee today to answer charges that his newspaper column about the relationship had undermined the party and his fellow MPs.

Mr Peters says his fellow Ngapuhi has woken up to how little Maori had got in exchange for his party's support for a John Key government

“The UN declaration has not helped one Maori in this country. The home insulation programme has been trialed in two places, Ngapuhi and Ngati Porou, which happen to be the two warmest places where Maori live. Whanau Ora is $20m over four years ... this is really a failed programme when you look at the financials of it and I don’t think the majority of Maori people are going to be fooled by this,” he says.

Mr Peters says Hone Harawira shouldn't sit by the phone waiting for a call to join New Zealand First.


The head of the Quit Group says Ngati Kahungunu is showing the way by making its Waitangi Day celebrations tobacco free.

Paula Snowden from Te Rarawa says 46 percent of Maori adults smoke compared with 21 percent of non-Maori.

She says it's important iwi make a stand, such as the way the Hawkes Bay iwi is discouraging its pakeke from lighting up in front of tamariki.


The national librarian says the library is assessing Maori material held by the Alexander Turnbull Library so it can decide what should be made available in digital formats.

Sue Sutherland says the library holds material that not only researchers and scholars but whanau are keen to access.

She says the refurbishment of the library building is has created the opportunity to take a strategic look at the collections, and a young Maori person has been taken on to look through the collections and assess what would be of benefit to researchers, both Maori and Pakeha, if it were in digital format.

Dr Sutherland says the digital archives should be ready about the same time the National Library returns to its refurbished building in the middle of 2012.


An expert on child health says the state of child poverty should be a major election issue.

A report by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has called for urgent measures to address the unequal access to health and education of Maori and pacific Island children.

Paediatrician Innes Asher from the Auckland Medical School says the report contains similar findings to an international study on child health she is leading.
She says it's unacceptable 150,000 New Zealand children live in poverty.

“There has been almost nothing done to rectify this huge gap between the two New Zealands, the New Zealand of the well off and New Zealand kids who are in the 10 to 30 percent most disadvantaged that are getting a really rough start to life,” Professor Asher says.

New Zealand's future depends on every child getting good quality of life.


Auckland city's Maori statutory board wants to expand.

The board, which includes seven appointed representatives of mana whenua tribes and two representing all other Maori who live in Tamaki Makaurau, has appointed members to 11 of the council's 18 committees.

Chair David Taipari from Ngati Maru says the board is also considering appointing other Maori onto the committees, if they have the skills the council needs.

“I still believe the board is short. There are 14 plus mana whenua groupings yet there are only seats for seven. My preference is to seek better representation on that board,” he says.

Mr Taipari says the independent Maori statutory board is giving Maori better representation on the council than they would have got if the government had accepted the Royal commission recommendation for two elected Maori councilors and one mana whenua representatives.


Three British tourists whose belongings were stolen while they visited Whangarei Falls last week say they were over-whelmed by the response from Northland's Maori community.

Labour MP Kelvin Davis conducted a whip around of Maori tourism operators in the region to get money for the trio to travel to Wellington to replace their passports at the British high Commission.

Keith Jones says the help didn't stop there and he appreciates everything done.

New Zealand hospitality has been second to none, so he won't be cutting short his holiday because of the theft.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Maori Party leaders out of touch says Sykes

Maori lawyer Annette Sykes says the Maori Party seems to have ignored its own disciplinary processes by suspending Hone Harawira from the party's caucus.

A complaint against the Tai Tokerau MP was to be heard by a special committee tomorrow, but yesterday the party's co-leaders suspended him for failing to show the restraint and discipline expected of a caucus member.

Ms Sykes says the leadership is increasingly out of step with the rank and file.

“Most of this weekend they’ve been mixing with the National Party. They haven’t been mixing with the rank and file of the Maori world at Te Tii Marae. They met with the iwi leaders at a flash hotel in Paihia but they very rarely bothered to actually come down and listen to the kinds of cutting edge debates that were brewing promoted in the tent at the bottom of the treaty grounds,” she says.

Ms Sykes says all Maori Party members need to be consulted on what happens with Mr Harawira.


Iwi leaders are hoping to forge trade links with France.

The French ambassador met with the Iwi Leaders Forum at Waitangi over the weekend.

Tukoroirangi Morgan says it's the second such meeting, and iwi leaders are keen to do business with the country the Treaty of Waitangi was designed to keep out of Aotearoa.

“We think there is a fantastic opportunity for Maori consortia, for incorporations, for Maori businesses to think seriously about the kind of possibilities that might exist between the French government and Maori in this country,” he says.

A further meeting is planned for the middle of the year, and a Maori trade mission to France is also being considered.


A Tainui artist is taking her moko-influenced henna skin art to an international henna festival at Providence in Rhode Island in the United States.

Rotorua-based Gina Wright says she's fascinated with the role played in Hindu culture by henna, which is a natural coolant when applied to the skin.

She says what she calls mehndi moko is an attempt to fuse Hindu and Maori whakaro.

“A lot of the symbols carry similar meanings, overall generic meanings also, particularly the koru is very present for the Hindu artform representing new life, growth, healthy development, very similar,” Ms Wright says.

According to Maori legend says moko started as a painted artform like henna, and became an incised form after Mataora went into the underworld to win back his wife Niwareka.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says the door is open for Hone Harawira to return to the fold if he mends his ways.

The party's caucus yesterday suspended the Taitokerau MP because of what it said was his lack of restraint and discipline not just in recent weeks but stretching back over the past five years.

Dr Sharples says the decision was not personal but a reflection of the trust needed to function as a party within a Pakeha institution like Parliament.

“Hone and I actually like each other and work well together. It’s really sad to suddenly become the party co-leader that has to say to your mate ‘You’re outside of caucus at this time Hone, if there can be a change of direction in you, then perhaps we can look at coming together again,” he says.

Dr Sharples says Mr Harawira will need to show he can work in a way that doesn't undermine the party and its leadership.


One of the promoters of an unsuccessful Maori bid for the Government's $300 million rural broadband subsidy says it's important winners Telecom and Vodafone aren't allowed to use the grant to crush potential competitors.

Anthony Royal from the Torotoro Waea Partnership says its technology partners are going ahead with a separate Taitokerau Networks proposal to build a fibre line from Auckland to Whangarei and beyond.

He says the Telecom-Vodafone solution users older technology to meet the Government's limited aims, and it should not be allowed to stop the advance of technology.

“Telecom and Vodafone need to think about how to collaborate with people and make sure they are not overbuilding infrastructure that people have got together and decided to build on their own. Part of the work we need to do is to make sure this is not a licence to effectively create a monopoly for ever more,” Mr Royal says.

He says the Ministry of Economic Development had asked Torotoro Waea to keep the details of its proposal secret during the bidding process, so it was not able to build up public support for its plan.


Kaupapa Maori hip hop crew Dam Native is taking its long awaited second album across the ditch.

Founder Daniel Haimona or Hype the Native says the band is keen to reintroduce its sound to the thousands of Maori who call Australia home.

He says the Aotearoa: Nobody Does it Better album attempts to not only draw attention to Maori political issues but also to offer positive alternatives.

“I mean there's a lot of hiphop coming out in Aotearoa and people getting up here and doing it but I’ve always felt there’s an imbalance, there’s not that much kaupapa stuff out there which is one of the reasons I did another album. There’s a lot of Yankee-driven stuff so I thought there needs to be balance in the galaxy,” Haimona says.

Dam Native will play Auckland's Pacifica Festival on March 12 before heading across the Tasman.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Day of dread as Harawira suspended

Maori party co-leader Pita Sharples says he has been dreading the day when he would have to suspend rebel MP Hone Harawira.

The Tai Tokerau MP was stood down from Caucus today after he delivered a state of the nation speech at Waitangi in what seemed to be an attempt to upstage Dr Sharples' own speech an hour later.

Dr Sharples says the problems with Mr Harawira go back to the formation of the party five years ago, but they have been exacerbated since the Maori Party has been part of the government.

“We've been dreading this day should it come and it’s come because parliament’s about to begin and Hone has shown no sort of inclination of a change in terms of behavior, in terms of the rules of the caucus and the behavior expected of members, the code of behaviour,” Dr Sharples says.

Mr Harawira remains the Maori Party MP for Te Taitokerau.


The Maori bidder for the rural broadband initiative says the Government's decision to open commercial negotiations with Telecom and Vodafone will disappoint anyone expecting real change.

Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce says he wants contracts signed by the end of March for the $300 million project.

Anthony Royal from the Torotoro Waea Partnership says the proposal Maori had developed with Opto Networks would have brought new fibre-based technology to rural communities.

Instead the government has opted for Telecom's ageing copper network.

“They'll use the existing landlines. They’ll just put out an ADSL broadband which is pretty much what they’ve been doing at the moment. They’ll just do a bit more of it. And the same with Vodafone towers. They’ll build some more towers which will just have existing types off structures put out there. It’s nothing new. It’s pretty unexciting really,” Mr Royal says.

He says the Government may have felt it needed to play safe in election year by going with the incumbents.


The sort of housing many young Maori families find to live in is being blamed for the number of children run over by vehicles.

Ann Weaver from Starship hospital's Safekids child safety service says a review of pedestrian deaths showed the average annual number of children killed dropped from 14 to 8 in the five years to 2006, which hospitalisations fell almost 60 percent.

But she says the percentage of Maori involved in accidents rose during the period ... and accommodation was a factor.

“If you think of the typical house in say South Auckland which has got perhaps a house in the middle of a section with a long driveway with garaging at the back, a typical scenario for a lot of families and unfortunately the driveway is often used as a playground,” Ms Weaver says.

People living in such situations have to be particularly careful.


Labour list MP Shane Jones says while Hone Harawira may hold on to Tai Tokerau is he stood as an independent this year, his long term prospects aren't good.

The dissident MP was suspended from the Maori Party caucus today after delivering a state of the nation speech at Waitangi which party leaders saw as being designed to upstage a similar speech by co-leader Pita Sharples.

Mr Jones, who also comes from the far north, says Maori voters who care about Taitokerau having any national influence may eventually come back to Labour.

“A lot of our people will think deeply in terms of. It’s entertaining and Hone’s a calabash breaker but if we’re looking at a force going over the next six, 12 years, where are we likely to find it? Naturally we are promoting our own credentials and the clock will eventually turn and it will swing in our direction,” he says.

Mr Jones says there is little point in Hone Harawira staying in parliamentary politics if he cannot make gains for Maori by influencing policy or getting legislation passed.


Former All Black and sevens star Glen Osborne says Gordon Tietjens has unearthed another top Maori talent.

20-year-old Declan O'Donnel scored three tries in the 29-14 win over England which gave New Zealand victory in the Wellington Sevens at the weekend.

Mr Osborne says the young flyer has all the attributes to succeed not only sevens but in but provincial and Super 15 rugby and beyond, including speed, the step, skill and enthusiasm, all the qualities to be a star.


Maori Affairs minister Pita Sharples says Pimia Nen Wehi was a giant among kapa haka composers.

Mrs Wehi, who co-founded four time national champion Waka Huia with her husband Ngapo Bub Wehi, died on Saturday at the age of 80.

Dr Sharples, whose group Te Roopu Manutake has competed with Waka Huia for three decades, says she was the mother of waiata

“Nen Wehi was unique. She was what we call a mareikura, really special. She was a giant. She and her husband Ngapo Wehi have led us in New Zealand for decades going way back to the beginning, even before Matatini, in their various culture groups,” Dr Sharples says.

More than 1000 people gathered at Hone Waititi Marae in West Auckland yesterday to farewell Pimia Wehi before she was taken back to her marae at Waihirere near Gisborne, where she will be buried on Wednesday.

Kapa haka giant Pimia "Nen" Wehi dies

The kapahaka world is mourning the death of Pimia, or as she was better known Nen Wehi.

Mrs Wehi, from Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Te Whanau a Apanui, Rongowhakaata, Te Whakatohea, Ngati Ruapani, was 80.

She and husband Ngapo were the driving force behind four time national champion Waka Huia, which they established in the early 1980s when they moved to Auckland from Gisborne, where they had won two national titles with Waihirere.

Trevor Maxwell from Rotorua’s Ngati Rangiwewehi group says she dedicated her life to keeping the traditional Maori performing arts alive.

Nen Wehi has been taken back to her ancestral marae, Waihirere just outside of Gisborne, after spending time at Hoani Waititi Marae in West Auckland.


Te Tii Marae chair Kingi Taurua is angry the National Party group led by Prime Minister John Key broke off its welcome to the lower Waitangi marae on Saturday.

The ope left after Mr Taurua proposed a short question and answer session between the speeches and the hariru, when the two groups hongi.

He says a powhiri is not over until the manuhiri have joined the hosts for a cup of tea … but that didn’t happen either.

“They didn’t even bother abut the protocols sop I got a bit angry about that. I suppose they didn’t want to stay because they didn’t want to answer any adverse questions and so on,” Mr Tauroa says.

He says in the past even when dignitaries have come in for hard questioning they have stayed on for kai.


Labour's tourism spokesperson Kelvin Davis says Northland’s Maori community wants to make amends to three British tourists who were robbed at Whangarei Falls last week.

He says the frequency of thefts and assaults on tourists is a national disgrace.

Northland Maori tourism operators raised $2000 to help the trio travel to Wellington to replace their passports.

“We suspect that thy people who did this were Maori from the area round there and it’s a real reflection on us as a people. One of our tourism values is manaakitanga and we all know as Maori that means we’ve got to look after our visitors, treat them well, and certainly breaking into their car and pinching all their possessions is not displaying maanakitanga,” Mr Davis says.

The operators want to send a signal that Maori in Northland do care.


Waikato Tainui executive chair Tukoroirangi Morgan says iwi leaders won a promise of concessions on the seabed and foreshore legislation when they meet with Prime Minister John Key at Waitangi.

Mr Morgan says the iwi made clear their concern that the tests of customary ownership in the Marine and Coastal Area Bill were too harsh.

He says past Crown breaches of the treaty means many iwi and hapu would find it impossible to prove continuous use and occupation of their coastal zone.

“We’re pleased there is some movement in terms of those hapu and iwi who were subject to raupatu, whose lands were taken that ran alongside the coastline, so there was some movement, some concessions on the part of the government,” Mr Morgan says.

He says the government also promised a further round of negotiation with iwi leaders about the bill.


Northland could get high speed broadband before other rural areas as the result of a consortium between iwi and telecommunications operator Datalight.

The Ngati Whatua, Whaingaroa and Te Rarawa runanga have agreed to cover half of the $6 million cost of rolling out a fibre backbone from Auckland to Kaitaia.

Haami Piriripi from Te Rarawa says the iwi felt they couldn’t wait for the Government funding for rural broadband.

“We’ve learned not to rely on that, which is unfortunate, because we went to the government two years ago with this proposal, and two years ago it was seen as forward thinking and innovative. Now everyone else has caught us up and it’s looking as normal as anyone else’s. But if we did win the amount of funding we are seeking from that fund, it will allow us to recuperate our money three years earlier,” he says

Mr Piripi says the Datalight network model allows connection points every kilometer if required, and if should stimulate economic development in the region.


A Tainui carver hopes the twists and scrolls of bone carving will help keep rangatahi on the straight and narrow.

Rangi Wills ran a workshop at his Raglan studio this weekend in a bid to pass on his passion to young people.

He says he’s already seen how learning a skill can help people change their lives.

Rangi Wills learned carving in the 1980s from Bill Rawhiti, who ran two-year apprenticeships in Auckland for mostly troubled Maori youth.