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Friday, April 15, 2011

New MP bucks party line on Maori seats

Pita Sharples says National would break its agreement with the Maori Party if it heeded a call from its newest MP to do away with the Maori seats.

In a maiden speech last week peppered with references to right wing icons like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Jami-Lee Ross said as a New Zealander of Maori descent he didn't believe Maori require special seats to be elected to Parliament, councils or any other body.

Dr Sharples says the new Botany MP wouldn't have won any favours from his leadership with that part of the speech.

“I mean that’s our agreement tat we don’t look at those seas for some time and that we enjoy the relationship that we have today of both being in government and that’s the undertaking we have been given by National leaders and I would say he should do his homework first before he shoots off,” Dr Sharples says.


A new tissue bank at South Auckland's Middlemore Hospital aims to collect more samples from Maori and Pacific Island people.

Curator Daphne Mason says the samples will be used to test experimental cancer treatments.

She says Maori and Pacific people have been reluctant to agree for a portion of the tissue samples taken for medical diagnosis being held back for research, so the tissue bank is working with kaumatua and the hospital's Maori health team on appropriate protocols.

Daphne Mason says having a collection of pre-cleared samples on hand will speed up research.


An adverse weather forecast means Aucklanders have a few more days so see and say goodbye to the voyaging canoes moored at the Viaduct Basin.

The Pacific Voyagers fleet is bound for Hawaii and the west coast of the United States to raise awareness of the challenges the ocean faces from overfishing, rising sea levels, and pollution.

Liam Ogden, the cook on the Aotearoa waka Te Matau o Maui, says the five crews are keen to get on the water.

He hopes to be drier on the fibreglass Te Matau o Maui than he was in his previous berth on Te Aurere.


Maori Affairs minister Pita Sharples says he's pleased with a report from his ministerial review team on Maori langauge spending.

He says te Paepae Motuhake led by Sir Tamati Reedy had come to grips with where a lot of the $225 million the government spends each year on Maori language revitalisation is going ... and why it isn't more effective.

Dr Sharples says it was helped by the Waitangi Tribunal bringing forward the language chapter of its report on indigenous intellectual property rights, showing use of Maori language had plateaued.

He says it may be tough to get wider government acceptance of recommendations like having a minister for the Maori language or creating a new regional network to control Maori language funding.


Museums Aotearoa has commended Taranaki's Puke Ariki Museum for the way its show marking the 150th anniversary of the Taranaki Wars brought the story right up to date.

Te Ahi Ka Roa, Te Ahi Katoro, Taranaki War 1860 - 2010: Our Legacy, Our Challenge won this year's excellence in exhibition (social history) award.

Puke Ariki manager Bill McNaught says it's a win not just for the museum team but for the many people in the community who shared taonga, knowledge and stories.


Singer Leon Wharekura makes a rare public appearance in Auckland this weekend with a show he says should bring back echoes of the Maori showbands.

Wharekura, who got his break in showbiz as a backing singer for the Billy T James Show Band, has been busy recording an album, teaching a music course for young Maori, and arranging the entertainment for Kingitanga events.

His gig at the Flow bar in Newmarket on Sunday afternoon should include a set from the Paki Quartet, where he's joined by Chris Powley, Mana Farrell, and Thomas Stowers to recreate the sound of bands like the Maori Volcanics and Howard Morrison Quartet.

The Paki Quartet is preparing for an Anzac Day television appearance and a 90 minute special on Maori Television in August.

Demand outstripping supply in reo lessons

An Ataarangi teacher says there is a hunger among Maori adults to learn their language, but not enough resources are getting through to the grassroots level.

Winiata Whare of Ngati Ahuru is endorsing a report of a ministerial review of Maori language spending, which calls for devolution of decision making to regional level and a greater role for the private and voluntary sector.

He says the high demand from classes at Ataarangi's centres on the North Shore is driven by concern about the scarcity of kaumatua and kuia required to keep marae running.

He says people want to learn enough to keep the paepae running and look after manuhiri.

Mr Whare says Ataarangi could fill classes 12 hours a day if it could get sufficient funding.


The developer of an ambitious Northland educational township says te reo Maori will be a key part of the curriculum when classes begin in two years.

T-R Developments is building a series of academies or boarding shcools at Ruakaka that will eventually cater for up to 5000 foreign students from the ages of 6 to 26.

Managing director Tony Jelas says the investors from Asia, America and Germany are keen to have Maori involvement and foster a sense of whanau in students.

Local iwi are enthusiastic about the prospect of up to 2000 construction jobs over the next five years.


The hikoi for the Ngai Tahu ... Mo Tatau exhibition is almost over.

The mix of traditional taonga and contemporary artworks closes at Otago Museum on Sunday, after spells at Te Papa, Canterbury and Invercargill museums.

Marketing coordinator says Juliet Pearce says 30,000 people have been through the show in Dunedin alone.


Maori in Oz wants the Australian government to stop discriminating against New Zealanders.

Christel Broederlow from Ngati Maniapoto, who founded the organisation and runs its website, says concerted action by Maori helped win relief payments for New Zealanders affected by the Queensland floods.

She says that was a one-off, and in most cases Kiwi expats are worse off under Australia's welfare and federal funding formulas.

“Their children are not entitled to any benefits here. If they go through schooling they’re not entitled to higher education like through a university. There’s so many areas in education, employment, you can’t even apply for a federal or state job simply because you have New Zealand citizen on your passport,” Ms Broederlow says.

She says while one in six Maori live in Australia, many would come home if wages and conditions in New Zealand were as good.


Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Parekura Horomia says the government hasn't done enough to protect the environment if commercial quantities of oil are found off the East Cape.

Mr Horomia says Te Whanau a Apanui and Ngati Porou were right to complain about the lack of consultation before National issues exploration licenses to Brazilian firm Petrobras.

He says the performance of oil company executives when they finally met with iwi this week didn't inspired confidence.

“I was surprised when the Petrobras manager wouldn’t give a guarantee on spillage and he was quite blasé about it which I found astounding,” Mr Horomia says.

He says the risk of environmental pollution affecting existing livelihoods and traditional lifestyles outweighs the possibility some jobs could be created locally in the oil industry.


Ngati Mutunga hopes to redress the historical balance with a major exhibition at New Plymouth's Puke Ariki Museum at the end of the year.

Trustee Dion Tuuta says the northern Taranaki iwi identified strengthening cultural identity as a priority in its 2005 Treaty of Waitangi settlement.

He says the exhibition will allow it to highlight past leaders, talk about its relationship to the land and sea, and tell its own history.

“Issues like the migrations from Taranaki down to Whanganui a Tara and eventually across to Wharekauri and place those issues in a clear Ngati Mutunga context because I don’t think the Ngati Mutunga side of that korero has been told in New Zealand historiography before,” Mr Tuuta says.

The Ngati Mutunga exhibition will be open at Puke Ariki in early December.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Horomia prepares parachute

Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Parekura Horomia is considering being a list-only candidate at this year's election.

Mr Horomia was ranked sixth on the Labour list, reversing Phil Goff's january demotion of him in Labour's caucus rankings.

The 60-year old says it may be time to think about succession planning.

“I'm not a career politician. This is my fourth election, I will certainly assist the Maori strategy but it is something we will decide as we go through who runs for the Ikaroa Rawhiti seat and I am keen to bring up new blood. I am talking to my people now and we have another three weeks to decide that,” Mr Horomia says.

Fighting the election from the list would allow someone from a new generation of Maori to move into politics


The chair of the Ngati Porou Runanga says he feels deceived by the government over the oil exploration off the East Coast.

Apirana Mahuika met with executives from Brazilian company Petrobras at Hinerupe Marae in Te Awaroa over the weekend to express the tribe's displeasure with activities in the Raukumara basin.

He says the runanga disputes an Energy Ministry chronology that purports to show it was consulted about the licence.

“We have mana mana in our region and we have mana whenua in our region. While we were negotiating our mana moana rights and our mana whenua rights, the permit was granted,” Mr Mahuika says.

The iwi had been waiting for Gerry Brownlee to come up and apologise, but minister stepped aside from the portfolio because of the Christchurch earthquake.


Bay of Plenty Maori kiwifruit executive Hemi Rolleston isn't expecting the Japanese tsunami will affect the industry's premier export market.

The Te Awanui Hukapak chief executive has just returned from launching the kiwifruit sales season in Tokyo.

He says while the country is in a sombre mood as it deals with the aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami and subsequent crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex, there is still a demand for the fruit.

“We're positive because kiwifruit has a whole lot of positive health benefits in it and it’s obviously I guess nuclear free in that context so I came away from Tokyo positive that things were not as bad as perhaps I had thought,” Mr Rolleston says.

He says Maori kiwifruit growers are looking at ways they can help the Japanese, who have been good supporters of New Zealand over many years.


New Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross has raised hackles with his maiden speech call for a referendum on the future of the Maori seats.

The 24-year-old former Manukau and Auckland councilor described himself as a New Zealander of Maori descent who didn't need a special seat to be elected to Parliament.

Veronica Tawhai, a politics and public policy lecturer at Massey university, says Maori seats are important for those who identify as Maori, unlike Mr Ross, as a way of making sure the Maori voice is not swamped.

She had hoped Mr Ross would bring fresh ideas instead of wheeling out tired prejudices.


The head of the ministerial review panel on Maori language funding says spending needs to be redirected to the grass roots.

Sir Tamati Reedy says while 99 percent of the $225 million a year earmarked as being for language revitalisation is spent through the Education Department and other agencies, it's not resulting in more Maori being spoken in the home.

He says that must be the aim, with people round the country pointing to programmes like Te Atarangi which need a financial boost.


The promoter of one of Jamaica's biggest reggae bands is looking forward to a fanatical response from Maori to next month's tour.

Third World plays a number of North Island dates during May with support from 1814 and DJ Poroufessor.

Pato Alazares says there were some financial concerns about the tour, but the band made sure their airfares were paid up-front because they were so keen to play in Aotearoa again, where reggae is like a religion for Maori people.

He’s got the difficult task of deciding which groups will give powhiri in the different towns, as he's had so many offers.

Police flotilla role an abuse of politics

Greens co-leader Meteria Turei is accusing Prime Minister John Key and acting Energy Minister Hekia Parata of abusing state power against iwi who are protesting oil exploration off East Cape.

The government got the navy to take police out over the Raukumara Basin to warn Greenpeace and Te Whanau a Apanui protesters to stay clear of ships doing seismic surveys for Petrobras.

Ms Turei says if the protest was on land it would be seen as a simple picket line.

“These things are lawful protests and for the police to be involved in this way is a disgrace. This is about the exercise of political power by John Key and Hekia Parata and they need to be held responsibility doing this and their abuse of the iwi and what the iwi are trying to do,” she says.

Ms Turei says ACT leader Rodney Hides' description of the protesters as eco-terrorists eco-terrorists was grossly offensive to Maori.


West Auckland's Tu Wahine Trust is urging whanau to speak out about violence.

An amendment to the Crimes Act fast-tracked through Parliament this week means family members or friends can be held accountable if they fail to come forward when they know a child is being abused.

Trust spokesperson Ngaroimata Reid says Tu Wahine is concerned at the pressure this could put on women in violent relationships.

“We're not saying that there is going to be a huge impact but we are concerned about the impact on our wider whanau in those situations. On the wider front we are hoping it encourages our wider whanau hapu iwi to speak out about abuse so it can be healed and it can be dealt with,” Ms Reid says.


Maori Television is looking at bringing in other indigenous broadcasters to help with its Rugby World Cup coverage.

The free-to-air broadcaster is showing all 48 matches, with commentary on its main channel mostly in English and a Maori commentary on the Reo Channel.

Programming manager Haunui Royal says other members of the World Indigenous Broadcast Network are also interested.

He says three partners in the network are coming, including broadcasters from Wales and Ireland.

Maori television will show 16 matches including all the All Black matches live, with the remaining games getting a delayed screening.


The head of Auckland's Maori statutory board says some fancy financial footwork means it can drop its High Court case against the Auckland super city council.

The board agreed to the council's offer of $34,000 extra for the year ending June 30, with next year's budget to be negotiated.

David Taipari says the board will be able to complete this year's work plan for the amount supplied, because it no longer has to carry the whole cost on its own budget.

“We're looking at potential support services, possibly some secondment of staff which will come directly under the board and that the council will help half contribute to some of our research programmes and our audit programme so the funding we’ve got, we’ll put some in and the council will put some in as well,” he says.

Mr Taipari says the row means the board and the council now have a process to work out costs, so they don't need the court to rule on whether the way the council slashed the original $3.4 million budget was lawful.


The director of Massey University's Research Centre for Maori Health and Development says organisations which provide care for the elderly need to consider the changing nature of the Maori population.

Chris Cunningham spoke to Age Concern's national conference yesterday on the sort of services Maori might need.

He says while today's Maori population is younger than the norm, eventually they will make up an increasing percentage of the elderly, and will have a diverse range of needs, from more conservative Maori to those who are marginalized to those who are able to fit into both Maori and Pakeha worlds.

“We need to understand this diversity is in place so there is not going to be a one Maori solution which fits all when it comes to services,” Dr Cunningham says.

Not all older Maori elderly like to be acknowledged as kaumatua as some think it's a functionary role.


Normal classes are off today at Waikato University, as staff and students celebrate Kingitanga Day.

Pou Temara, the Head of the School of Maori Development, says Te Ra o te Kingitanga aims to strengthen the relationship between the university and its landlord.

University staff and students will attend lectures, talks and seminars abut the relationship with the Kingitanga and iwi and about Maori oriented issues.

Guest speakers including Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples, former prime minister Jim Bolger, Matatini chair Selwyn Parata and Wayne Mapp, and students also have a chance to take part in weaving and craft workshops, poi, haka and ta moko demonstrations and entertainment.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Reo minister call from Reedy review

A ministerial review of Maori language spending has called for a Minister of Maori language to be established to oversee all matters pertaining to te reo Maori.

Review head Sir Tamati Reedy says the Maori Language Commission also needs to be replaced by a board comprised of language experts from the seven dialectical regions and two largest cities.

He says revitalisation efforts would benefit from a combination of strong central leadership and more scope for planning programmes at regional level through nine new Runanga a reo.

“Many of these arms and legs that are going out purportedly to support the development of the reo just aren’t coordinated. That’s the thrust of that recommendation to try to bring all that, particularly the regional runanga a reo, to bring some kind of coordination back in the hands of the people at the grass roots action place,” Sir Tamati says.

The priority for revitalising the language needs to be reestablishing it in the home


Prime Minister John Key says East Coast iwi need to consider the potential benefits of an oil find in the Raukumara Basin.

The Government called in the navy to help police warn off Greenpeace and Te Whanau Apanui protesters from further disrupting the seismic survey being done by Brazilian company Petrobras.

Mr Key says risks always have to be weighed against benefits, and drilling offer the chance for jobs and higher incomes.

He says new environmental laws will be in place before there is any drilling in the Raukumara Basin, if Petrobras strikes oil or gas deposits.


Organisers have made changes to this year's Waiata Maori Music Awards in an attempt to reduce friction among musical tribes.

Chairperson Tama Huata says the awards aim to expose new talent and give existing recording artists exposure to a greater audience.

He says this year Roots and Reggae music will be in a separate category to rap and hip hop, after the groups complained about being lumped together.

The panui for submissions has gone out, with entries closing mid-year.


The Labour Party's surprise Maori list pick says she wants to fight for the country's most vulnerable families.

At 26 on the list, Deborah Mahuta-Coyle is assured of a seat in parliament after November 26 barring a total collapse of the Labour vote.

The great-grandaughter of Maori King Mahuta was raised in Huntly by her solo mother before studying Maori and Politics at Victoria University and going on to work for Labour's parliamentary team.

“The struggles that I faces in the ‘90s and that my whanau faced in the ‘90s are the reasons why I got into politics, the reasons why I want to enter into Parliament and they define the things I want to fight for. More support for solo mums, making sure that kids don’t go to school hungry, because I have a personal connection to these kind of struggles because who better to fight for our most vulnerable families than a little girl from Huntly who used to be from one of them,” Mrs Mahuta-Coyle says.

She felt both humbled and excited to hear of her high list placing.


A Northland poverty action group is calling for the re-introduction of the universal child benefit.

Ngaire Rae of Whangarei Child Poverty Action says one in two children in Tai Tokerau are living in poverty, more than twice the national average, with a large proportion of those being Maori,

She says by drawing a distinction between working and non-working parents, as Working for Families does, the current support packaged discriminates against children.

Family hardship is showing up an increase in diseases of the poor, such as the high number of Maori children admitted to Northland hospitals with serious bacterial infections.


Te Uri o Hau Settlement Trust says opposition is growing to Crest Energy's plans to generate power from Kaipara Harbour.

Commercial manager Peter Wilson says the turn-out at public meetings this week in Wellsford and Helensvilles shows it's not just mana whenua who don't want to see 200 tide turbines placed in the moana.

He says there is support for renewable energy, but people aren't convinced Crest is going about things the right way and fear the turines cold damage the health of the harbour.

Mr Wilson says it seems inevitable the first three turbines will be built, but the community may have an opportunity to prevent to project going any further if significant environmental effects are detected.

Goff defends list after Maori advice ignored

Labour leader Phil Goff says the party's list is strong for Maori.

The party's Maori advisory council's choices were brushed aside by the majority on the 36-person list moderating committee.

That meant Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis ranked behind fellow MP Moana Mackey and Mr Goff's staffer Deborah Mahuta-Coyle got a winnable list sport ahead of Northland candidate Lynette Stewart.

Mr Goff says Labour will have at least six Maori MPs in the next parliament.

“We've got people like Parekura and Shane Jones high on the list but we’ve also got new candidates coming in. Deborah Mahuta-Coyle, a Huntly girl, but we’ve also got some interesting people, Lynette Stewart. She’s been chair of the district health board and chief executive up there, well known in the north, well liked, hugely experienced,” he says.

The rankings mean Rino Tirikatene in Te Tai Tonga, Louis Te Kani in Waiariki and Soraya Peke-Mason in Te Tai Hauauru will have to defeat their Maori Party opponents to make it to parliament.


Te Whanau a Apanui spokesperson Rawiri Waititi says the East Coast iwi is angry Prime Minister John Key is considering using the navy to protect a Brazilian company wanting to drill for oil off its shores.

A Greenpeace-led protest has disrupted Petrobras's seismic survey of the Raukumara basin.

Mr Waititi says the company's actions are a threat to the iwi's rohe and its mana.

“We are a proud iwi and we’re a proud people in terms of our country and we’d think that our navy or even our army for that fact would be first of all there to protect us as a nation and as a people before the protection of foreigners on our waters,” he says.

Mr Waititi says the Greenpeace Te Whanau a Apanui fleet is behaving peacefully and won't be deterred by threats.


Waikato University academic Margie Hohepa says standardised testing is being identified as a threat to indigenous education.

Associate professor Hohepa is at the American Educational Research Association Conference in Louisiana, where she is part of a workstream looking at indigenous research.

She says there's a push around the world for standardised tests, but they don't suit groups trying to maintain their own languages and cultural traditions.

“In terms of the Maori medium, we can take heart we are doing our best not to go down the trails set by place like the US,” she says.

Kura kaupapa Maori managed to opt out of Education Minister Anne Tolley's national standards by developing their own set of learning benchmarks.


Maungatautari landowner Rick Muru says his whanau welded shut an access gate to the ecological reserve southeast of Cambridge because they could be held liable if anyone is injured crossing their land.

His Maungatautari 4G4 Trust is in dispute with Ngati Koroki Kahukura, which has driven the plan to create the pest-free island on public and private land around the mountain.

Mr Muru says the hapu has opened the gate, and he wants Waipa District Council to cover any risk to his whanau.

“We're 110 percent behind what they are doing on the maunga, don’t get our whanau wrong. If the liability, the compliance of the bridges, the culverts, the tracks on our block had a certificate, we would be willing to open our gates and let the public access the maunga because I know the easiest way to get on the maunga is through our block,” Mr Muru says.

Visitors can also get to the reserve across Department of Conservation land, but that means a much steeper climb than at his trust's Tari Rd entrance.


Hauora and public health organisations in the eastern Bay of Plenty are picking up campaign that has reduced the risk of rheumatic fever among Opotiki schoolchildren.

Medical officer of health Phil Shoemack says by systematically swabbing school children for strep throat, Te Ao Hou Trust and Whakatohea Iwi health services significantly reduced the risk of sore throats developing into the heart-damaging fever.

He says Eastern Bay Primary Health Alliance is throat swabbing in Kawerau schools, and Te Ika Whenua Hauora starts its programme in Murupara next month.

He says they are three centres with an even higher than normal incidence of the disease.

Dr Shoemack says Maori children are more susceptible to rheumatic fever, and the swabbing campaign is based on a similar scheme in Whangaroa in Northland.


Hastings district councilor Henare O'Keefe wants to stop a new supermarket in Flaxmere being allowed to sell alcohol.

Mr O'Keefe says there are already too many liquor outlets in the largely Maori community.

He will push for a total ban on alcohol sales in the Flaxmere redevelopment plan.

He says easy availability of alcohol is driving increased violence and the upheaval of families.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Labour list puts staffer in spotlight

Labour leader Phil Goff says he is looking forward to having Deborah Mahuta-Coyle in his caucus.

The Huntly native and member of Mr Goff's parliamentary staff was catapulted by union affiliates into the number 26 spot on the party list, leapfrogging the Maori advisory council's preferred list of Lynette Stewart, Rino Tirikatene and Louis Te Kani.

Mr Goff says it was a good call.

“Deborah comes in with some real skills and a heck of a lot of energy and a lot of experience and a lot of hard work through the grass roots of the Labour Party and that also counts for a lot in the organisation, people who have demonstrated how hard they can work, their commitment, and the energy they can bring to it,” Mr Goff says.

The 36-member list committee represents a cross-section of the Labour party.


Wai 262 claimants are preparing for the release of their long-awaited Waitangi Tribunal report on indigenous fauna, flora and intellectual property claims.

Only one of the six who lodged the claim in 1991, Saana Murray of Ngati Kuri, is still alive.

Hori Parata of Ngati Wai says a hui was held at Paaparore Marae in the far north at the weekend to update interested parties and consider what action may be needed when the report becomes public next month.

“After such a long time what next, what do we do now? We don’t expect the report to be all that flash,” Mr Parata says.


Poet and singer Hinemoa Baker says it's an honour to be included on a compilation by a Wairarapa-based label that has always championed the work of Maori and women musicians.

Baker is one of five wahine Maori on the 20-track Jayrem collection She Sings, She Plays" featuring women's music from 1983 to 2010.

She says label owner James Moss has provided a valuable outlet for Maori music, releasing groups like Aotearoa, Big Belly Women and Dread, Beat and Blood.

Hinemoana Baker’S current focus is writing rather than music, and she's just back from a writer's residency in Iowa.


Kaipara-based hapu Te Uri o Hau is buoyed by the support it's getting for its campaign against Crest Energy's plans to generate power from the harbour's tides.

A public meeting is being held tonight at Helensville War Memorial Hall over the imminent placement of turbines near the harbour mouth.

Spokesperson Mikaera Miru says Maori and Pakeha round the harbour are determined to stop the $600 million project proceeding, and they're concerned statutory protections for the environment have been bypassed.

A hui at Wellsford last night considered placing a rahui over the area and mounting water-borne protests against placement of the turbines.


New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says his party is seeing the return of a lot of Maori supporters who had gone over to the Maori Party or the Labour Party.

Former Labour MP Dover Samuels yesterday slammed Labour's list as a turn-off for Maori, including the decision to put less experienced Maori ahead of Northland candidate Lynette Stewart, who is Mr Peters' sister.

Mr Peters agrees the list is not a good look, and it might accelerate a trend.

“There certainly is the return of a lot of Maori voters to New Zealand First for a lot of sound reasons. One is performance, doing something when they say so. A lot of things have been promised to Maori people in the last four years and there has been minimal delivery,” he says.

Mr Peters agrees with Dover Samuels that too many people in Labour fail to understand the concerns of working people.


Time is running out to get entries into this year's Pikihuia Awards.

Maori writers have until Friday to submit novels, short stories and film scripts in either English or te reo.

Co-ordinator Dominika White says sponsor Huia Publishers brought the awards forward because of the Rugby World Cup.

Entries can be done electronically through huia.co.nz.

Winners of all categories but the Secondary School Award will be announced in August.

Council considering Maori board back-down

Members of Auckland's Maori Statutory Board are waiting for the results of a special meeting of the Auckland City Council to see whether they still have to go to court next month.

The council is going behind closed doors today to hear the report from a subcommittee which has been trying to negotiate an out of court settlement of the case about whether the council had the authority to savagely cut back the board's budget.

Maori board chair David Taipari says he's called his own special meeting for tomorrow do the board can consider any offer from the council.

The board has so far maintained its position that the original $3.4 million a year budget bid, submitted after independent advice, reflected the reasonable costs of the board's operations, secretariat and independent advisers.


Hamilton doctor Tangimoana Habib from Ngati Tuwharetoa will be appointed to the Abortion Supervisory Committee despite a late challenge by that threatened to upset the process.

The Maori Party backed Dr Habib for the role, but co-leader Tariana Turia unsuccessfully moved an amendment to replace sitting member Patricia Allan, a Christchurch Methodist minister, with Ata Moala, a Tongan doctor who has chaired anti-abortion events.

Mrs Turi says rather than only happening in exceptional circumstances as the law originally envisaged, it has become far too common.

“I don't mind anybody knowing I am totally opposed to the taking of life whether it be through abortion or in any way whatsoever because of the sanctity of human life and that starts from conception in terms of our tikanga where I come from,” Mrs Turia says.

She is pleased there is Maori representation on the Abortion Supervisory Committee given the huge number of Maori, Pasifika and Asian women who undergo the procedure.


A Ngati Porou man with a long family history in rugby has been appointed chief executive of both the Wellington Rugby Union and the Hurricanes.

James Te Puni, who holds a senior marketing position at New Zealand Post, will be the first Maori to head a super rugby franchise

He says he brings his experience as both player and administrator, starting with his service as tighthead prop for Tawa Rugby Club’s premier grade team.

He says the Wellington union is in a good financial position and he hopes an on-the-field turn around in the Hurricanes' performance is not far away.


Former Labour MP Dover Samuels says the party has failed to come up with a list that will appeal to ordinary New Zealand voters, including the party's dwindling number of Maori supporters.

Mr Samuels is backing West Coast candidate Damien O'Connor, who has come under fire for saying the list was drawn up by a "gaggle of gays and self-serving unionists" and will not be seen as representing all of New Zealand.

He says it's bizarre that parliamentary researcher Deborah Mahuta-Coyle has been catapulted into the 26th spot, while the high-achieving Northland candidate, Lynette Stewart from Ngati Wai, languishes at 39.

“They've got to pull their heads out of their own mana munching egos and start looking outside and that’s one of the reasons we lost the election when I was a member of parliament and a minister, because I never lost touch with the grass roots and the people I represented and I made sure that the caucus and the party heard their concerns but the buggers didn’t listen to me and look what happened, and here we go again, po karekare ana,” Mr Samuels says.

He says Labour is losing a lot of its older Maori supporters to a resurgent New Zealand First Party.


A Taranaki kaumatua wants a traditional ban on collecting paua from the coast near New Plymouth.

Joe Broughton from Ngati te Whiti says kaitiaki are reporting many seafood gatherers are taking well over the 10-paua limit.

He's appealing to other hapu of Te Atiawa to act and place an rahui or risk losing the Ngamotu Reef kaimoana for future generations.

Mr Broughton says there aren't enough fisheries officers to police the area, and at 82 he doesn't have the ability to physically stop the poachers.


A Polynesian fleet hopes to leave Auckland tomorrow to sail to Hawaii and back.

Hoturoa Kerr, the kaihautu for the Aotearoa waka Haunui, says the five canoes will be joined along the route by vaka from the Cook Islands and Tahiti.

He says Te Mana o te Moana voyage aims to raise awareness in communites around the Pacific about rising sea levels, noisy oceans and the damage human activity is causing the environment.

“It's like the living pulse of the earth is tied in to the oceans. Run off from fertilisers and all these other things that go into the ocean, these directly impact our whanaunga from the motu because it affects their fishing grounds, their ability to feed their iwi and all those kind of things,” Mr Kerr says.

The fleet aims to get to Hawai'i by the first week of July in time for the Kava Bowl Ocean Summit.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Harawira scrupulous about agreement

Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira says he has been scrupulous about sticking to his agreement not to stand candidates against the sitting Maori Party MPs.

Mr Harawira says as he has traveled the country gauging support for a new political party, lots of people have put up their hands to stand in Maori Party-held electorates.

He's made it clear that would breach the non-compete deal he made when he left the Maori Party ... but it hasn't stopped attempts to find someone to stand against him.

“Nobody wants to put their hand up so that’s disappointing for the party but it’s also embarrassing for the party that they’re trying to say Hone’s doing this and Hone’s doing that and clearly the Maori Party is chasing candidate to stand against me in Tai Tokerau,” Mr Harawira says.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has slammed critics of the $2 million tupawaka for failing to appreciate its strategic value of the investment beyond the Rugby World Cup.

Labour MP Shane Jones has slammed the grant to Ngati Whatua o Orakei to build a canoe-shaped pavilion as an election year gift for constituents in Pita Sharples Tamaki Makaurau electorate.

But Mrs Turia says it's not a Maori Party venture.

“The really tragic thing is that Shane Jones, a highly intelligent man, has taken the opportunity to have a swipe at this waka, calling it a tapawaka or plastic waka, he’s really clever at all these one liners, but the fact is it does create an opportunity for us to showcase our businesses, our culture the world who will be coming to the Rugby World Cup and why not,” she says.

Mrs Turia says the tupa waka can be used for other events round New Zealand or around the world after the World Cup carnival.


Tuhoe activist Tame Iti has used the NATO intervention in Libya to excuse himself from testing whether United States authorities would let him into their country.

Mr Iti, who is one of 18 people standing trial on arms charges stemming from police surveillance of activities in Te Urewera four years ago, has a role in choreographer Lemi Ponifasio's adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest.

But he says he's withdrawn from the production's latest season, including a show at the Ivy league Dartmouth College, to protest United States backing for the bombing of Libyan strongman Muammar Gadafi's forces.

He has been replaced on the US leg of the tour by Charles Koroneho, a former member of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.


Former Labour MP Dover Samuels says Labour's list moderating committee has handed National the election on a plate by packing the list with poorly-performing unionists and back room hacks.

The former Tai Tokerau MP says hard working Maori MPs like Shane Jones and Kelvin Davis and outstanding candidates like Northland's Lynette Stewart had been shunted down the list by people with no public appeal or vote-winning ability.

He says it's not the same party he and his whanau have a long association with.

“The focus and ethos of the Labour Party has shifted to something different to what our people believed in and were part of, working class people up to the middle New Zealander, just ordinary New Zealanders. I think what’s happening now is that the party has become so factionalised they have lost focus on who they really represent,” Mr Samuels says.

He says the factions than make up the modern Labour Party need to set aside their egos and work for the good of the whole party.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has indicated she wouldn't be unhappy to see a Maori Party candidate take on Hone Harawira in Tai Tokerau.

She says people in the north have approached her to say they believe the now-independent MP is plotting to break his agreement not to stand candidates against his former colleagues if he forms a new party.

Mrs Turia says the electorate has the final say.

“Hone told us, the party and our caucus, that the whole of Tai Tokerau supported him and was behind him when he put the suggestion to us that we don’t stand against him so as far as we’re concerned it is up to Tai Tokerau,” she says.

Hone Harawira denies he plans to break the no-compete deal.


Greenpeace climate change campaigner Steve Abel says the living culture of Maori on the East Coast is something worth fighting for.

Brazilian oil company Petrobras was yesterday forced to suspend its seabed survey of the Raukumara basin off east Cape when Greenpeace protesters swam in front of its ship.

Mr Abel says his team is fired up after being invited to the area by Te Whanau a Apanui and seeing how the east Coast iwi lives the kind of environmental awareness his organisation promotes.

Greenpeace has a long history of opposing deep sea oil drilling around the world.

Maori Party wants forest warning

The Maori Party wants iwi to get first dibs on forests put up for sale.

Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell says Tainui and Ngai Tahu have already put a case to government for a right of first refusal on forestry land.

He says Carter Holt Harvey’s sale in February of 17,300 hectares of forests to foreign investors highlights the scope of the problem.

“Offering Maori incorporations and land trusts first opportunity to consider those opportunities before foreign investment would be a good look and ensure land stays in New Zealand,” Mr Flavell says.

He says the Overseas Investment Office should at least consult iwi when forest land is sold.


Auckland University researchers are trying to ensure there is a large sample of Maori and Pacific Island people in their latest survey.

The Centre for Tobacco Control Research wants to find out whether last year’s tax hike caused people to quit smoking.

Study head Marewa Glover says there is a connection between smoking and poverty that needs to be explored, so the census area unites being studied are mainly in South Auckland.


A Hawkes Bay hapu is seeking help to restore a small 19th century wharenui.

Bayden Barber says the whare was built at Havelock North by Te Teira Tiakitai of Waimarama, 20 kilometres away on the coast, as a place hapu members could stay when they came to town.

He says it’s a building with considerable history, including being used for hui, wananga and Ringatu services.

The Historic Places Trust has advised the building is definitely restorable.


Maori Party president Pem Bird says any sounding out of candidates to run against Hone Harawira is being done without the party’s official sanction.

Te Rarawa chair Haami Piripi says he turned down an approach to stand against the Tai Tokerau MP, but says many iwi leaders in the north are concerned about how the party can maintain a presence there.

Mr Bird says next weekend’s meeting of the party’s national council near Hastings will discuss whether its non-compete agreement with its former MP will hold.

“I've heard that a number of people have been approached including Haami Piripi and that may well be the case but it certainly isn’t the official line coming from the party itself. We have a meeting next Saturday and that sort of business is the business of the council,” he says.

Mr Bird says the immediate priority is to reestablish branches in the north, and many electorate officials followed Mr Harawira out of the party.


Opponents of oil exploration in the Raukumara Basin hope drillers will quit the area after a kanohi ki te kanohi or face to face encounter with tangata whenua.

Representatives of Brazilian oil company Petrobras met about 200 Ngati Porou members at Hinerupe Marae in Te Araroa at the weekend.

Ani Pahuru Huriwai from Ahi Ka Action Group spokesperson says the nine seemed moved by what they heard, and they were not made to feel welcome.

The hui overwhelmingly pledged to continue the fight against exploration and drilling off the East Cape.


A new online journal has been created to allow academics to debate issues in te reo Maori.

The first issue of Te Kotihitihi - Nga Tuhinga Reo Maori will be launched on Thursday at Waikato University’s Kingitanga Day.

Co-editor Korohere Ngapo of Ngati Tamatera and Ngati Porou says the journal was created in response to the difficulties Maori experience trying to publish original research on the language.

The first issue contains papers on language revitalisation, history, tikanga and matauranga Maori, as well as a haka written for Te Matatini.