Waatea News Update

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Ririnui reveals discontent at foreshore panic

Retiring Labour list MP Mita Ririnui says he regrets the way party leaders pushed the panic button that led to the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

The backlash and subsequent rise of the Maori Party cost Mr Ririnui his Waiariki seat, but he stayed on as list MP and served as a minister outside cabinet.

He says as associate minister for treaty negotiations, he was caught by surprise by attorney general Margaret Wilson's response to the Court of Appeal ruling that Ngati Apa could go to the Maori Land Court to establish whether it had customary rights to aquaculture space in the Marlborough Sounds.

“And it wasn't the response I would have liked us to be responsible for. Someone pressed the panic button and we had a problem and it was very difficult for us to pull back from that having made the commitment to legislation. We had to manage the best way we could. But there were a number of us, particularly those of us who were in 90 percent coastal electorates, who knew we were going to be in trouble,” Mr Ririnui says.

He says hard work by Labour's Maori caucus and the commitment and support of deputy prime minister Michael Cullen meant he was reasonably comfortable about the final bill ... but the political process could have been much better managed.

As Auckland city waits on court action to see if it can financially muzzle its Maori board, New Pymouth District Council's Maori advisory committee is testing whether it has any muscles to flex.

The committee has asked the council to report back on whether it backs creating a Maori ward or whether it can appoint iwi representatives on to standing committees.

It also wants the council to fly the Maori flag alongside the New Zealand flag, as the South Taranaki District Council is already doing.

Councillor and committee member Howie Tamati says the committee is keen to make a contribution.

“If it creates controversy and disharmony, well, so be it. You find a little bit out about your community I suppose. But if you don’t ask the questions, things will never happen, so I think it’s important to position this committee so its work is beneficial and positive to all the community, so let’s have this discussion,” Mr Tamati says.


The organisers of this year's Te Matatini festival are confident they will smash the world haka record at the weekend.

The attempt will take place on Sunday afternoon, while the crowd at Te Waiohika estate in Gisborne is waiting for the final results.

Darrin Apanui, the festival's executive director, says the record of 3264 set at a Kapa Haka festival in Ngaruawahuia in 2008 is ripe for the taking.

He says the aim ios to0 have 10,000 people doing the haka,.

Mr Apanui says the four day festival is running without a hitch as good weather shines on Gisborne.


The chair of Te Matatini says the biennnial festival of Maori performing arts has become a great way of recharging the Maori spirit.

Selwyn Parata says he's moved by the sacrifices each of the 16-hundred performers has made to represent their ancestors, and the expertise in haka, waiata and reo that is on display.

He says even the showers that have fallen on the Waiohika Estate near Gisborne have lifted rather than dampened the audience spirits.

“All these groups cover every iwi in New Zealand so when you look at them al you are looking at all of Maoridon and its differences and its unity,” Mr Parata says.

Meanwhile, New Zealand Post yesterday released a set of stamps of kapa haka performers, including members of past winners like Te Waka Huia and Te Whanau a Apanui.


The country's first Zumba Jammer is keen to show Zumba's creator the Maori moves he's added to the Latin dance-based exercise programme.

As a jammer, Piripi Thomas-Sam from Tainui has authority to choreograph his own classes.

He says he's looking forward to meeting Beto Perez in Sydney in April, at the Australian health and fitness expo, where there will be a gathering of Zimba jammers.

Piripi Thomas-Sam will hold his first Zumba master class in Hamilton this weekend.


Former Sevens star Karl Te Nana is picking Tokoroa-born Quade Cooper as the standout Maori player to watch in this year's super 15 Rugby competition, which kicks off in Wellington tonight.

The 22-year-old inside back has notched up more than 50 games for the Queensland Reds, as well as 14 appearances with the Wallabies.

Mr Te Nana says he's tough and uncompromising, and he will leave his mark on the expanded competition as well as on the Aussie world cup campaign later in the year.

The Queensland Reds play the Western Reds in Brisbane on Sunday night.

Crippled court will create dangerous customs

Maori academic Rawiri Taonui says the Marine and Coastal Area Bill could set a dangerous international precedent for indigenous rights.

Mr Taonui says in its rush to replace the Foreshore and Seabed Act, the Maori Party allowed National to impose a narrow view of customary interests.

He says that means while Maori can go back to court, they can't rely on international precedents.

“An indigenous Maori Party should not support this legislation because it not only restricts Maori rights but it also sets a precedent in international law that will restrict the rights of any other indigenous peoples with similar claims,” Mr Taonui says.

He says it would be sensible to put reform of the Foreshore and Seabed Act on hold for a few years rather than pushing through legislation that may be worse.


The head of the National Addiction centre says New Zealand's booze culture is an adult problem rather than a youth or Maori problem.

Doug Sellman says the Automobile Association's call for public education campaigns targeting youth and Maori is misguided.

He says only 10 percent of heavy drinkers are under 20, and most drink driving fatalities involve non-Maori.

“This is an adult problem, not a youth problem. The youth of New Zealand, including Maori, are victims of the adult heavy-drinking culture, not the cause of it,” Professor Sellman says.

Higher alcohol prices and restrictions on advertising would have a greater impact than campaigns which try to scare people.


A south Auckland artist wants her work to encourage Maori and Pasifika women to take their health more seriously.

Leilani Kake's solo exhibition Nga hau e Wha at Fresh Gallery in Otara will be a four channel video about the way Maori and Pacific women's bodies have been perceived historically.

The Nga Puhi, Tainui and Cook Island artist says she is tackling the cultural taboo of nudity because of her anger over the unusually high incidence of preventable cancers in Maori and Pacific women, and

“As a TV viewer I watch those ads targeted and Pacific female audiences and Maori abut cervical cancer and a lot of them are jovial. I understand them trying to sell the pitch through humour but we need to take it seriously,” Ms Kake says.

Nga hau e Wha starts in March as part of the Auckland festival.


New Plymouth District Council's new Komiti Maori has handed over its first wish-list.

Member Howie Tamati says it asked the council to report back on creating a Maori ward and appointing at least two iwi representatives to the council's monitoring and policy committees.

It also wants the council to make decisions on flying the Maori flag, develop an official response to the Waitangi Tribunal report on oil and gas exploration in Taranaki, and report on how the Marine and Coastal Bill is likely to affect the region.

He says the reports will help the committee advise the council.

The reports could take the council six months to put together.


The New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute Te Puia is about to open its long-planned third wananga.

Te Takapu o Rotowhio is a two-year qualification in carving bone, stone and pounamu.

Graeme Osborne, Te Puia's chief executive, says the institute is looking for three Maori applicants in the 18 to 30 age range to study under artist Lewis Gardiner.

He says the institute hopes graduates will go back to their home areas and train others.

Te Takapu o Rotowhio will run alongside te Puia's weaving and carving schools in Rotorua.


The second day of Te Matatini , the national Maori performing arts festival, is about to get underway at Te Waiohika estate in Gisborne.

Waatea correspondent Julian Wilcox says yesterday's highlights came from both established kapa haka roopu like Te Whanau a Apanui and Waihirere as well as newer groups like Tu te Manawa Maurea and Te Iti Kahurangi.

Today there will be pressure on the home groups like Whangara Mai Tawhiti, Tauira Mai Tawhiti from Whanau a Apanui and Te Hokowhitu a Tu.

A group the crowd will be looking forward to is Te Pou o Mangatawhiwri from Tainui who came in the top six at the last Matatini in Tauranga.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

South Taranaki council seeks royalty clip

Maori lawyer Moana Jackson is questioning South Taranaki District Council's attempts to piggy back on Maori claims for oil and gas royalties.

Mayor Ross Dunlop told his iwi liaison committee the council accepted criticism by the Waitangi Tribunal that it had not done enough to protect waahi tapu from the petroleum industry, and it would make more of an effort to get Maori input into the District Plan.

He also suggested if the iwi get royalty payments as the tribunal recommended, the council wants a cut.

Mr Jackson, who worked on the claim, says the tribunal found Nga Hapu o Ruahine have treaty rights to the minerals ... but the council is not a party to the treaty.

“I get suspicious when Pakeha organisations suddenly take an interest in things and use Maori kaupapa to piggyback on in order to access that interest so I am somewhat dubious about this claim let along the motives behind it,” Mr Jackson says.


Labour list MP Shane Jones says Maori are increasingly looking to Australia as the government fails to generate jobs on this side of the Ditch.

Even before Australian prime minister Julia Gillard arrived in New Zealand to revive negotiations on creating a single economic market, job seekers flocked to an Australian jobs expo in Auckland.

Mr Jones says the number of Maori crossing the Tasman is affecting Maori development, as the pool of talented people falls.

“I mean what it points to is a total failure in terms of John Key’s policies for employment and jobs because as a consequence of him doing less than nothing there’s great uncertainty and insecurity among too many of our Maori families so it’s not surprising that if they have got any skills that are viable, they are flying the coop,” he says.


An award-winning kaupapa Maori after-school programme could close is a new venue can't be found.

Te Aka After Kura Activities Programme in Flaxmere was last year judged one of the Out of School Care and Recreation programmes.

But founder Alayna Hokianga says its building has been bought by Age Concern, and Te Aka has until the end of April to find a new home.

“Finances were good. I guess we didn’t have $300,000 in our savings account, so unfortunately we are unable to secure another alternative venue,” she says.

Te Aka will break the news to parents at a hui tonight.


The director of the National Addiction Centre says there is no need for special advertising campaigns targeting Maori drink drivers.

The Automobile Association says general driving safety messages aren't getting through to Maori.

But Doug Sellman, who is also the professor of psychiatry and addiction medicine at Otago University says New Zealand has 700,000 heavy drinkers and it's wrong to point the finger at Maori ... even if they accounted for a quarter of road fatalities in 2009.

“The figures that came out this morning did point to 25 percent Maori but that means 75 percent were non-Maori so I really think if we focus on individuals we are missing the point. We all share in this heavy-drinking culture,” he says.

Professor Sellman says he's rather see higher prices and restrictions on advertising and marketing to stop the alcohol industry pushing the drug to young people.


More than 600 people have applied for the 300 places in a new early childhood education degree.

Nancy Bell, the chief executive of the New Zealand Childcare Association Te Tari Puna Ora, says the bachelor of teaching qualification has a strong bicultural focus.

She says staff teaching in Maori environments helped write up the degree, which replaces a diploma course.

“Students are learning about indigenous thinking around early childhood educations, families, whanau, learning teaching development and they are also learning about western thinking and so they are able to take the best of both. That offers them cultural prosperity,” she says.

Classes start this week at 14 regional teaching bases from Kaitaia to Dunedin.


Superb singing, movement and te reo Maori captivated the crowd of more than 5000 kapa haka fans on the first day of Te Matatini.

Waatea correspondent Jules Wilcox says the standard of competition has been high since the first group, Te Whanau a Apanui, took the stage at Gisbornes Te Waiohika Estate this morning.

He says Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples’ group, Te Roopu Manutake from Auckland, and Tairawhiti's Waihirere and Tu te Manawa Maurea also stood out.

“The main thing about today’s competition has been that the language has been of such a high caliber. The judges also made not of the fact some of the groups that haven’t been thought of in high regard in the past have shown through. Groups like Te Iti Kahurangi will be there or thereabouts,” Mr Wilcox says.

Joint approach best to settle Auckland row

Maori academic Rawiri Taonui says the Auckland council should join the independent Maori statutory board in seeking a High Court review of its budget process.

Mr Taonui says the proposed budget of $3.4 million was recommended by an independent expert, as required by the law governing both the board and the council.

He says the council's decision to slash that putea in half is a challenge the integrity of the process.

“It means either the budget is corrupt in some way or it’s about Pakeha racism and fear of Maori and my feeling is sending it off to the High Court for a judicial review both of the legislation and the budget is in fact the best thing,” Mr Taonui says.

He says the budget row threatens to irrevocably damage the relationship between the Maori and the new council.


Greens co - leader Meteria Turei says a new investment protocol signed by Prime Minister John Key and his Australian counterpart Julia Gillard makes it even more unlikely iwi will get to buy shares in state owned enterprises.

The protocol allows Australian firms to spend up to $477 million on any New Zealand asset before Overseas Investment Office approval is needed.

Ms Turei says National is trying to get Maori support for its plans to sell shares in state energy companies after the election, but yesterday's deal shows where the economic power really lies.

“A lot of Maori are saying privatization of state assets is a god thing because Maori will be able to buy shares in those assets. That is just wrong. There is no guarantee at all that Maori would have a go at those shares and there is no guarantee that New Zealanders would get first dibs,” Ms Turei says.


The thousands of attendees at this week's Te Matatini festival near Gisborne will see not just the best in Maori performing arts but some spectacular sculptures as well.

Organising committee member Willie te Aho says the grounds of the Waiohika Estate in Gisborne have been dressed with pou created by students from Tairawhiti Polytech's school of Maori art and design under the direction of Derek Lardelli.

The 60 pou tipuna incorporate photos of great Tairawhiti leaders of the past, including Sir Apirana Ngata, Te Kani te Ua and Wiremu Kerekere.

Competition will start at 9am with crowd favourites te Whanau a Apanui first on stage.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says he's not accepting an apology from Hone Harawira's mother for calling him a gutless dog.

Titewhai Harawira says she apologised to the MP at a meeting of his Tamaki Makaurau electorate committee.

But Dr Sharples says he didn't understand what Mrs Hawawira was talking about, because he hadn't at that stage read the report in the Sunday newspaper where she let rip at him for allegedly seeking alternative candidates for her son's Tai Tokerau electorate.

Dr Sharples says he has been fielding calls all week from his family, his iwi, and groups he has worked with who were upset and outraged by the comments.


Labour leader Phil Goff says the high cost of servicing Auckland city's independent Maori statutory board comes down to poor lawmaking by local Government Minister Rodney Hide.

The board is off to the High Court to challenge the council's decision to almost halve the $3.4 million annual budget recommended by an independent expert.

Mr Goff says it costs money to come up with independent contestable advice for a Maori board, rather than have councilors who could draw on the council's own resources.

“It's hard to justify how you’d spend $3.4 million on a statutory board when you actually could have directly elected people that would have a democratic mandate and which would have encourages I think a higher turnout of Maori people to participate in local democracy. That’s what should have happened and Rodney Hide is responsible fairly and squarely for this,” he says.

Mr Goff says Mr Hide should resign.


Te Matatini, the biannual national Maori traditional performing arts festival, kicks off in a few minutes, with today's line-up featuring some of the top guns of the kapa haka world.

Around 5000 people attended yesterday's powhiri to welcome the 42 teams and supporters to the four day festival at Te Waiohika Estate in Gisborne.

Crowd favourites Te Whananu a Apanui open the event at 9am.

Waihirere, who perform after lunch, will be the sentimental favourites along with Waka Huia, because of the recent death of Pemia Wehi who had so much to do with both teams.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

East Coast iwi dragged into Porou claim

A lawyer for claimants fighting against their inclusion in the Ngati Porou settlement say his clients feel gutted by the Waitangi Tribunal's refusal to hear their historic claims.

Tribunal presiding officer Judge Craig Coxhead has adjourned the East Coast district inquiry indefinitely because of progress towards settlement.

The Ngati Porou Claims Settlement Bill was introduced into Parliament yesterday.

Darrell Naden says because their existence is being denied, ancestral iwi like Ruawaipu, Uepohatu and Te Aitanga a Hauiti will struggle to maintain their distinct identities.

“With settlement funding iwi are able to operate. Without that, iwi are confined to the back block. It’s just so much more difficult, So being left out af a settlement makes it extremely uphill in terms of the growth and development of these traditional iwi,” he says.

Mr Naden says the tribunal is compounding the initial injustices of the late 19th century, when the small hapu of Ngati Porou flourished at the expense of traditional iwi because of the support its rangatira Rapata Wahawaha gave to the Crown in the civil wars of the 1860s and 70s.


Labour leader Phil Goff is denying Maori were the target of his party's attack on the Community Max job training scheme.

List MP Jacinda Arden held up a pumpkin in Parliament yesterday claiming it was the only product from a $320,000 project for unemployed young Maori in Moerewa.

Mr Goff says Community Max is not the answer to high levels of Maori unemployment.

“Far better in my view to bring back something like Maori trade training so you are giving people real skills that count in the real world rather than make work schemes trying to disguise the level of unemployment temporarily. That’s what we objected to,” Mr Goff says.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says ACT leader Rodney Hide must take responsibility for the debacle surrounding the Auckland City Maori statutory board.

The board intends to ask the High Court to clarify the law around its funding and powers, after the council slashed in half the budget recommended by an independent assessor.

Ms Turei says the problem would not exist if the council had included the Maori seats recommended by the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance.

“Rodney Hide refused to allow for elected representatives to be on the council. That would have eliminated all of these problems. We wouldn’t have to develop these new structures and then fund those new structures if we had a genuine democratic engagement with the Auckland city council,” she says.

Ms Turei says Maori want to see the statutory board given the resources it needs to do the task it was set, which is to make sure the council pays attention to issues of concern to Maori in the super city.


A Tuhoe leader says the late Dame Judith Binney won respect for leaving her academic comfort zone and standing up for justice for the iwi.

The historian died last night in her Auckland home at the age of 70.

Tamati Kruger says Dame Judith first made contact with the tribe while researching her 1979 book on the prophet Rua Kenana, which was followed by Nga Morehu, the Te Kooti biography Redemption Songs, and New Zealand Book Award winner Encircled Lands about the history of te Urewera and the Tuhoe people.

He says her books and public statements struck a chord with Ngai Tuhoe.

“Her comments went further than just the research. She expressed personal views and I think her attitude came through in her writings as well. I think it showed that she always felt that Tuhoe had suffered for too long at the hands of the Crown. She was adored by many people for being human in expressing that but criticised by some of her peers for what they say as having crossed that line,” Mr Kruger says.


Taipa occupation leader Wikaatana Popata says he's on his way to Parliament to protest the Marine and Coastal Area Bill.

Even though he's only 21, the nephew of Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira is a hikoi veteran, having marched in the 2004 foreshore and seabed hikoi.
He says marchers will leave Te Rerenga Wairua or Cape Reinga on Thursday February 24 and pick up support along the way.

He says the hikoi has the support of kaumatua and kuia from Ngati Kahu.

The Auckland District Maori Council has also called for a hikoi against the bill, which has been referred back to Parliament with the support of the Maori Party.


Competing teams for Te Matatini, the national Maori performing arts festival, have been welcomed on to the venue at Te Waiohika Estate near Gisborne.

There was specatacle as well as sadness as people remembered the contribution of Waka Huia founder Pemia Wehi, who died last week.

It was a magnificent spectacle at Waiohika.

Four horsemen opened the powhiri on their wiwi Nati horses.

Tairawhiti, not just Ngati Porou but Aitanga a Mahaaki, Rongowhakaata, all the iwi of the east coast came well prepared with 22 people with taiaha and seven kai karanga.

Wi Wehi, the son of Ngapo and Pemia Wehi, did the main wero to the manuhiri, accepted by Dr Pita Sharples, replicating the last time Te Matatini, or as it was then the Polynesian Cultural Festival came to Taiurawhiti in 1976 when Ngapo Wehi did the wero.

They then performed the haka Maui Potiki composed by Ngapo Wehi and first performed at the 1976 nationals in Gisborne.

Council prejudice blocks good faith budget talk

The chair of Auckland's Maori statutory board says a court review of the council's budget-setting process is necessary to dispel misinformation and prejudice.

David Taipari said the board took professional advice in developing a budget that would allow it to fulfill its statutory function to provide independent oversight on Maori and Treaty of Waitangi issues.

But he says the council's decision to halve that budget showed a willful refusal to adhere to the rules Parliament has set for the new city.

“We just want some clarity and definition around that legislation so parties can move on rather than being bogged down by assumptions and other things but there is certainly some people at the table of the council who remain adamant about the legislation as a whole and unfortunately that has got in the way of good faith discussions around funding agreements,” Mr Taipari says.

As well as preparing a statement of claim for the High Court, the board will write to the council to see if it can work through the issues without going to court.


Greater investment in Maori primary health is paying off with more Maori children getting immunised.

The government says vaccination rates have risen 14 percent over the past two years, with 85 percent of tamariki Maori fully immunised by the time they are two.

Plunket clinical advisor Allison Jamieson says that will have long term benefits ... and it's the result of work by many different groups.

“There are iwi providers who see Maori families, so there are iwi nurses, Plunket nurses, whoever is out there working with those families. Probably the messages are getting out much more loudly and more clearly,” she says.

Ms Jamieson says vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from many childhood diseases that can affect New Zealand families today.


Te Wananga o Aotearoa is trying to get young Maori back onto the land.

The wananga has signed an agreement with Masterton-based Taratahi Training centre and a group of Ngati Pikiao land trusts to design new courses.

Waiariki campus manager Neville King says the average age of shepherds on Ngati Pikiao's farms around Lake Rotoiti is over 50, and rangatahi aren't coming through to replace them.

A lot of the farms are also forced to hire Pakeha managers because of the lack of Maori with suitable credentials.

The courses should be available next year.


New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says Hone Harawira should have expected a tough time when he stood up against his party on a matter of principle.

In a weekend television appearance, the rebel Maori Party MP burst into tears while answering a question about the support he was getting from his wife and his Tai Tokerau electorate.

Mr Peters, who left National after questioning the leadership of then prime minister Jim Bolger, says he knows from personal experience the pressure Mr Harawira must be under from colleagues.

“The treatment that is meted out, the allegations made against you, the viciousness of it all is not based on truth. It’s based on their own survival so those who wish to stand against the tide as they see things to be fair and right have to got to steel themselves up and harden themselves mentally for the battle,” he says.

Mr Peters says Hone Harawira needs to know the battle hasn't even begun yet.


A new foundation has been set up to encourage Maori health leadership.

Kirsty Maxwell Crawford from Te Rau Matatini, the Maori health workforce development organisation, says the Henry Rongomau Bennett Foundation will take over the adminstration of the existing scholarship programme that has helped more than 200 Maori students to graduate in clinical health over the past decade.

Ms Crawford says it's a fitting tribute to the country's first Maori psychiatrist.

“He pioneered areas of Maori mental health that we take for granted today that were non-existent 20, 30 years ago when there were very few Maori who were working in the area of Maori mental health, there was little recognition of seeing things from a Te Ao Maori point of view, from looking at things more holistically rather than just from a medical point of view,” she says.

The foundation will also award health scholarships in the names of Bob Henare and Harry Pitman, and manage the Indigenous International Exchange programme which gives Maori health professionals the chance to work in indigenous health in Australia and Hawaii.


It's got digital reproductions and artefacts rescued from museums, but the Ngai Tahu Rock Art Centre in Timaru knows there is no substitute for the real thing.

The centre plans to offer guided tours of some of the key south Canterbury sites, including the four metre taniwha at Totara Valley and the giant eagle rock drawing at Craigmore.

Project manager Ben Lee says it's part of a push to build public support for preserving a unique taonga.

“You can think of rock art as the first art galley in New Zealand and this is art from 700 years ago and there’s a real obligation on all of us to do our part to preserve and education people about it. We tend to preserve our buildings better than we do our 700 year old artworks,” he says.

The tours of the remote caves and rock shelters will be restricted to groups of 10 people at a time.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Race envy brewer betraying ratepayers

The chair of the iwi forum that appointed Auckland City's independent Maori statutory board says the Auckland Council needs to abide by the law, even if councilors disagree with it.

The board says it is going to court to challenge the council's decision to halve its budget.

Tame Te Rangi from Ngati Whatua says the board is there to ensure good governance when it comes to Maori and Treaty of Waitangi issues, and the law requires the council to properly fund it.

He says Orakei ward representative Cameron Brewer, who has led the charge by centre-right councilors against the budget, isn't representing his ratepayers properly.

“Ngati Whatua o Orakei must rate somewhere near the top if not at the top of rates contributions from his constituency,” Mr Te Rangi says.

If councilors have concerns about the law they should take them up with Parliament rather than lash out at the Maori board.


Labour MP Shane Jones says the threat of a fresh foreshore and seabed hikoi won't change the Government's Marine and Coastal Area Bill.

The Auckland District Maori Council is proposing a march against what it sees as a betrayal of Maori rights by the Maori Party.

Mr Jones, who intends to stand in Tamaki Makaurau against Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples, says there is only one hikoi that counts.

“I think the best hikoi the Auckland Maori Council should plan for is the one in November called the election. Organise the whanau, organize the local neighbourhoods and get them out to vote because the one hikoi that will spell decisiveness is the hikoi to the ballot box at the end of the year,” Mr Jones says.


One of the country's most well-known Maori rock art sites is being opened to the public.

The Ngai Tahu Rock Art Centre is leasing an eight- hectare site in Totara Valley northwest of Timaru to give tour groups access to the shelter containing a four metre drawing of a taniwha… which featured on a postage stamp in the 1960s.

Project manager Ben Lee says the area will be placed under a convenant, to protect both the art and the long-tailed bats that live in the area.
The tours will be restricted to groups of 10 people at a time, and they will also visit a drawing of a giant eagle at Craigmore.


Labour MP Shane Jones says Auckland city's Maori statutory board has no option than to take legal action to defend its budget.

The board announced court action after a full council meeting last night halved the budget provisionally agreed last week by the finance and strategy committee.

Mr Jones says the council has failed its first major test.

“The super city councilors starting right from the mayor have made an absolute hash of the issue and the tragic thing is it’s feeding that prejudice about Maori and money. And I can understand why John Tamihere and the representatives want to go to the court because at least the court as we have seen over the last 30 years will provide and open and impartial hearing as to what is the meaning of the law giving Maori entitlements,” he says.

Mr Jones says it is Prime Minister John Key and Rodney Hide who made Maori representation on the council by appointment rather than election, so they should not now try to say the cost of that decision is too high.


Otago University researchers are trying to work out why Maori women have the highest rates of breast cancer.

Ruth Cunningham from the university's department of public health says the rate of Maori women with the cancer increased by 70 percent between 1981 and 2004, compared with an increase of only 50 percent among Pakeha and other groups.

She says the rise isn't consistent with known risk factors.

“Having children early and having more children protects you against breast cancer. Taking things like hormone replacement therapy increases the risk of breast cancer. We know that Maori women were less likely to take hormone replacement therapy. We know that Maori women were more likely to have children early and have more children so these things would suggest they would have a (lower) rate so it’s a bit of a mystery why Maori women have the higher rate,” Dr Cunningham says.

Early detection is the best way to tackle the disease's mortality rate, so it's important for Maori women to have regular breast screening.


Reggae band House of Shem has gone back to the source to give its second album an authentic vibe.

Island Vibrations was recorded at Auckland’s Roundhead studios, but the Whanganui-based band gave the tapes to renowned reggae producer and engineer Erroll Brown to mix at the late Bob Marley's Tuff Gong studios in Jamaica.

Founder Carl Perkins, a veteran of Herbs and 12 Tribes of Israel, says music is a family affair, with his sons Te Omeka and Isaiah sharing harmonies and songwriting duties.

“It's always been a whanau things drums in the living room, bass guitar in the kitchen, that kind of things, so it was only a matter of time my tamariki would grow up and those that wanted to be musicians have the pleasure of pursuing that,” he says.

House of Shem will play an album launch tour of Mangawhai, Taranaki, Auckland and Wellington.

Maori Party VP hopes Hone geyser cooling

The chair of the Maori Party's disciplinary committee believes relations between the party and MP Hone Harawira's Tai Tokerau electorate are on the mend.

Te Orihi Paul says party leaders learned to tread warily in the north after their efforts in 2009 to discipline the errant MP over his unauthorised trip to Paris and abusive email exchange with a former Waitangi Tribunal head.

She says in that case, the leadership was subjected to a torrent of abuse on the marae.

“Afterwards as a consequence of all of them talking and us being humble enough to listen, they kind of cooled to the point where they came back to whananugatanga. You have to let the explosion occur so it cools down. Like a geyser, it cools down and whananugatang occurs, so we're at that stage,” Mrs Paul says.

The disciplinary committee will reconvene to consider the complaint against Hone Harawira next week, after Te Matatini national kapa haka competition is over.


Greens Co Leader Russel Norman says Maori should be concerned whether the Overseas Investment Office is doing enough to protect New Zealand’s interests.

He says the global economic recession has boosted demand for agricultural land with reliable supplies of water.

That means it’s critical this country is able to identify strategic assets and keep them in New Zealand hands.

“I'd expect the Maori Party to support keeping New Zealand land in New Zealand ownership. It seems to me that’s fundamental. If we are to be sovereign, if we are to get any chance of getting treaty justice, then we need to keep control of our own country,” Dr Norman says.

He says papers released under the Official Information Act show while Natural Dairies was publicly saying its bid for Crafar Farms would be good for New Zealand, privately the Hong Kong firm was threatening the government it would badmouth the country to the international investment community if its application was denied.


The chief executive of the Returned Services Association says a weekend conference has revealed how much there is still to learn about the New Zealand wars.

Steven Clark, who is also a military historian, says the annual hui of the Professional Historians Association attracted more than 120 people.

He says many of them were able to put the wars of the 1860s into a global context, and to draw out ways they affected the country's development.

He says much of the research was done for treaty claims, and if repackaged it would represent a wealth of material for the general public.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the party is prepared to live with any electoral fall-out from its wrangles with rebel Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira.

Political commentator Matt McCarten has suggested Mrs Turia and Mr Harawira may be the only two Maori Party MPs left standing after the election, as the row over whether the party is right to support the National government affects support in the wider Maori population.

Mrs Turia says the comments by the former Alliance president should be read in the context that he has been advising Mr Harawira behind the scenes.

“He has a bias and he is showing it. As far as we’re concerned, and we can only guage it by what the electorates are reporting back to us, it is true we will lose some members and it is also true we will gain some members,” she says.

Mrs Turia says the Maori Party leadership is not letting the complaint against Hone Harawira divert its attention from other important work needing to be done.


The general manager of Census 2011 says more information is needed about rangatahi Maori if government agencies and iwi are to effectively plan for the future.

Carol Slappendel says Statistics New Zealand was concerned Maori participation rates in the last census five years ago were below the national average.

She says many young people aren't aware of the importance of the information collecting exercise, and many move around.

Getting accurate numbers for tribal membership and socioeconomic status is becoming increasing important as iwi develop more targeted services for their people.

Census day is March 8.


The chair of Te Matatini says the Tairawhiti region is able to cope with the crowd of up to 40,000 people expected for this week's national kapa haka competitions.

Selwyn Parata says there is a buzz around the rohe as teams converge for the three day cultural showcase at the Waiohika Estate.

He says the performing roopu have booked out marae, community halls and schools, as far north and Tokomaru Bay and as far south as Wairoa, but there is still plenty of accommodation for spectators who want to come to Gisborne.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Titewhai Harawira apologises for Sharples slur

The mother of embattled Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira has apologised to Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples for calling him spineless and a gutless dog.

Titewhai Harawira says she's not backing down from her view that the party leadership should have come back to the members on whether they should continue to support National's Marine and Coastal Area Bill

But she says her language was over the top, as she told Dr Sharples at the start of a Tamaki Makaurau electorate committee meeting.

“I stood up and apologized to Pita Sharples for what was in the media and I take this opportunity of publicly saying my apology has been tendered to Pita Sharples and it has been accepted and recorded in our minutes. That is where the issue lies,” Mrs Harawira says.

She says the row over Hone Harawira's behaviour is being used as a smoke screen to divert attention away from the way the leadership has moved away from the party's kaupapa on what should be put in place of the Foreshore and Seabed Act.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has some advice for Auckland mayor Len Brown ... accept the budget for the Maori statutory board and move on.

Mr Brown last week buckled to criticism of the board's $3.4 million a year price tag, and indicated the sum put to tonight's full council meeting for ratification will be lower.

Mrs Turia says Mr Brown should remember that many Maori voted for him because they though he would bring a more enlightened approach to dealing with their issues.

“That behaviour is no different than we experience in parliament when you have a majority of tauiwi determining things, These things are not unusual but what Len Brown needs to do is get on with his job of running the council and accepting the important role (of Maori) as he stated before he was elected,” Mrs Turia says.

She says Len Brown said he wanted a strong Maori presence in the council, and now he has got it.


Maori rock funk collective Kora has found playing to Queenslanders battling floods and cyclones a sobering experience.

The band of brothers is back home preparing for a short tour starting with next Saturday’s Sacred Hill Summer Festival in the Hawkes Bay, where they will play alongside Shapeshifter, the Black Seeds and Ladi6.

Guitarist Laughton Kora says it’s sure to be a lot different than the band's week-long tour along the Brisbane coast in the lead up to Waitangi Day.

“When we got there the flood was all finished but fans that come to see us, they hadn’t been working for three weeks and we were like oh wow, and then we jumped on the plane and they got hit again,” Mr Kora says.

Once live commitments are out of the way the band is heading into the recording studio to work on its next album.


Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia says Maori should read the Marine And Coastal Areas (Takutai Moana) Bill before they march against it.

The Auckland District Maori Council is threatening another hikoi to protest the bill, which is expected to have its second reading in the next couple of weeks.

Mrs Turia says the bill the Maori Party has contributed to is significantly different to the 2004 Act which sparked the first hikoi.

“We have to decide why we are marching this time alongside of the ACT Party, the Coastal Coalition and the CAN group from Hawkes Bay. I’m quite confused and sad I think because people haven’t understood the legislation,” she says.

Mrs Turia says while the new Bill doesn't go as far as the Maori Party wanted, it is an improvement on the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson people taking court action under the Maori and Coastal Areas Bill will be able to seek funding from a special fund administered by the Minister of Maori Affairs, rather than being eligible for legal aid.


The chair of the Maori Party's disciplinary committee says it will be next week at the earliest before the committee will be able to deliberate on the complaint against Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira.

Te Orihi Paul, who is also the party's co-vice president, says the national Te Matatina kapa haka competition starting on Thursday must take precedence over whip Te Ururoa Flavell's complaint.

“Matatini is a really important part of our Maori world. It’s international and to have this crashing into Matatini, it does something to the ethos, the wairua of our world, so we have to be careful what happens and our people know that, they understand and appreciate that,” Mrs Paul says.

The committee must refer any recommendations to the full council of the Maori Party.


Statistics New Zealand wants to get a clearer picture of the Maori world on census night, March 8.

More than half a million people or one in seven New Zealanders identified as having Maori ethnicity at the 2006 census, 30 percent up on 2001.

Census manager Carol Slappendal says that trend is expected to continue, which is why the department is mounting a You Count campaign aimed at Maori.

“The census provides the best source of information for and about iwi because it includes everyone in the country. For iwi, it provides accurate population counts and of course that sort of information is very important for being able to set goals and monitor progress.” she says.

Ms Slappendal says the census forms can be filled in on paper on online in English or Te reo Maori.

Maori board budget defended

A member of Auckland city’s independent Maori board says he’s standing by its bid for a $3.4 million annual budget.

The budget will be considered by the full council tonight, with mayor Len Brown saying it’s likely to get pared back.

But John Tamihere says the figure he presented to the council’s strategy and finance committee last week is a fair estimate of what he board needs to fulfill its statutory obligations.

“We are a cheaper alternative to the eight authorities who multiplied their costs by eight. We are an immediate example of the super city working a lot better and a lot smarter,” he says.

Mr Tamihere says it wasn't Maori who created the appointment process for the board, so the politicians now need to accept and fund the structure they created.


Users of a new public access computer hub at Ratana Pa want to see a fibre optic link to the small settlement near Whanganui.

Puawai Haggar, who runs the facility in an old post office, says the government’s rural broadband plan should bring a fibre connection to Ratana Primary School.

Supporters of the ICT hub hope they can get in on the act.

“We are really playing cards at the moment to say how about bringing it through especially to the church office and the community. Information communication technology and fibre optics are going to be the future and if we want to continue and be sustainable we definitely have to look at trying to get this into our community as a whole,” Mrs Haggar says.


The Auckland District Maori council is calling on all New Zealanders to prepare for a hikoi against the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill.

Spokesperson Ngaire Te Hira says the bill reported back to Parliament last week is no advance on Labour’s Foreshore and Seabed Act.

She says a meeting of the council last Friday resolved action was needed to stop Maori rights being further weakened.

“For all Maori and for all people in Aotearoa we are sending out a call to prepare for a hikoi to carry on and continue our opposition of takutai moana,” Ms Te Hira says.

The Auckland District Maori Council also expressed a lack of confidence in Maori Party leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia for their support of National’s Marine and coastal Bill.


Meanwhile, Pita Sharples has his mind on his kapa haka swansong at this weeks' Matatini national competition starting on Thursday in Gisborne.

The Minister of Maori Affairs will again take the stage with his west Auckland group Te Roopu Manutake.

He says he offered to make room one of the younger performers, but group members insisted Papa Pita take his spot at the head of the group he founded more than 40 years ago.

“This is probably my last performance but I just couldn’t resist so I’m looking forward to it and looking forward to seeing 40,000 Maori gathered there to celebrate their culture which is going to be great,” Dr Sharples


Family Planning has developed a new resource has been developed to help kaiako in kura kauapapa teach students about sexuality.

Its Maori development director, Rawhia Tehau Grant, says it’s the first Maori language sexuality education resource released nationally.

She says while many kura have developed their own resources, many don’t have the specialist expertise to ensure rangatahi are aware of issues around sexuality.

“Te Huarahi Hokakatanga is meant to be a resource that teachers can use and it can support them in their teaching of sexuality, which some teachers aren’t very comfortable with teaching, or a lot of the resources that have been made and some kura use are in English, and they don’t have Maori philosophies or they aren’t from a Maori perspective,” Ms Grant says.

The kits are for year 7 and 8 students.