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Friday, June 24, 2011

Harawira whips resentment for final push

Te Tai Tokerau candidate Hone Harawira says the campaign against him is being driven by fear the underdog will get a champion in Parliament.

Mr Harawira forced tomorrow's by-election to get a mandate for himself and his new Mana Party, which merges his long-standing treaty kaupapa with the left wing rhetoric of Unite union head Matt McCarten and social justice campainger John Minto.

He says it's not what the two mainstream parties want to hear.

“They have stealing blind from the people who work and from the poor people in this country including for generations and no one has been able to highlight that and when I go back in intend to do so,” Mr Harawira says.

It's the loyalty of his support on the ground that will allow him to prevail over the better-funded campaigns against him.


But Labour leader Phil Goff says his party's candidate Kelvin Davis is the true voice of the struggling Maori families in Te Tai Tokerau - which is why he should win tomorrow.

He says in the short campaign for former school principal has won the trust of the voters, and his message of building a future for Maori with jobs and education has resonated in a region where one in five people are out of work.

“People want to work, they want a chance, they want to build their lives and they know that the pathway to that is education and it’s skill training opportunities,” Mr Goff says.

The Electoral Commission says early voting is ahead of the general election, with 1028 votes recorded by Wednesday night, compared with 864 ordinary votes at the same point in 2008.


Te Uri o Hau opens its replica 17th century Maori village at Te Hana tomorrow.

Thomas de Thierry, the chair of Te Hana Community Development Charitable Trust, says building Te Ao Marama village has transformed the small predominantly Maori community just north of Wellsford.

The marae will offer a cultural tourism experience, as well as being available for education groups.

He says the knowledge and skills of kaumatua from the 14 marae around the Kaipara went into the design, and a huge amount of voluntary labour went into the $4 million project.

The dawn opening of Te Ao Marama village starts with the blessing of the waharoa or entrance-way, followed by the opening of the whare tupuna.


Labour leader Phil Goff says he would favour adding the issue of compulsory voting to a constitutional referendum.

Pundits are expecting the turn-out for tomorrow's by-election in Te Tai Tokerau to be low, in line with the Mana and Botany by-elections.

Mr Goff says he's coming to see the merits of the Australian system of compulsory voting.

“People should make the effort to get out and cast their vote. If they don’t like anyone, cross out every name but at least you’ve made the effort and it’s not because you couldn’t get off your bum to do it. That is a decision that should be a decision for all New Zealanders and I would be prepared to consider putting that in a constitutional referendum some time in the future,” he says.

The Electoral Office says by Thursday night it had received 1361 early voters in the Te Tai Tokerau by-election, compared with 1,129 ordinary votes by the same point at the 2008 election.

The Te Tai Tokerau roll total now stands at 32,738.


The co-ordinator of the 28 Maori Battalion website says the site is starting to pick a wider audience than just descendants of whanau.

The site won the Crown-Maori Relationships category in this year's Institute of Public Administration Gen-I awards.

Monty Soutar says many of the 6000 monthly visitors are New Zealanders travelling to Europe and North Africa who want to walk in the steps of the battalion ... and he has been able to help by uploading maps and even photos of the battle sites, such as the foxholes he was shown on Mt Olympus in Greece.

The site has so far been able to source photos of 1100 of the 3600 men who served in the battalion during World war 2.


The co-ordinator of this year's kaumatua kapa haka competition says audiences can't get enough of the old school style of performing.

Fourteen roopu from throughout the country are comining together at Te Papa in Wellington this weekend for the finale of the museum's Matariki celebrations.

Mere Boynton says the soft sweet sound preferred by the kaumatua is a world away from the slick, fierce competition of Te Matatini.

She says despite kaumatua saying they're not competing, they always amaze the crowd with distinctive additions to their kaakahu each year.

Rents leaving Otautahi Maori with few options

Christchurch-based social commentator Rawiri Taonui says a shortage of rental accommodation will force many Maori out of the city.

Mr Taonui says yesterday's government announcements on land purchases will bring certainty to homeowners in the green zone, who can now start to rebuild, and in the red zone, who finally have an exit strategy and can sell their properties to the state.

But he says the many Maori whanau who rent in the red zone suburbs like Bexley and Avonside will have to move.

“People who are renting, thngs still remain uncertain for them in terms of whether they go from her because rental properties are a a bit of a premium now and that in particular affects Maori people and in my view many have left Christchurch and there are probably more that are going to go,” Mr Taonui says.


Labour's Te Tai Tokerau candidate, Kelvin Davis, says regional development needs to be seen as an investment rather than a cost.

Mr Davis is advocating a $100 million development fund for the north, modelled on the trust Labour set up for the West Coast.

He says it's something he will be able to push for harder if he makes the shift from list to electorate MP tomorrow.

“Now if you look at it as a cost, then there is no way you would give that money, but if you look at it, like the Labour Government does, as an investment, then it’s an investment in the people, an investment in future opportunities, and for crying out loud we need it. We can’t be sitting around in 10 years time in the Tai Tokerau and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy,” Mr Davis says.


Greens leader Meteria Turei says Maori dairy farmers are leading the industry in cleaning up their act.

Ms Turei says the emergence of huge corporate farms is causing environmental problems.

But while Maori trusts have big dairying interests,they are becoming increasingly environmentally aware.

“I've seen some incredible changes in farming practice in Maori farms around how they manage waste, how they deal with cleaning up their waterways, the replanting of land back into native bush as opposed to using it for pasture,” Ms Turei says.


It's the last day for campaigning in the Te Tai Tokerau by-election, and Mana candidate Hone Harawira is crying pohara.

Mr Harawira, who gave up his parliamentary salary and travel perks when he resigned to force the by-election, says he feels up against it.

That's because he's counting on support from the young and the poor, who traditionally don't turn out to vote, and because his opponents are throwing resources into the campaign.

“Labour's pouring in tens of thousands of dollars worth of support in terms of flying MPs into the Tai Tokerau, going out and canvassing, mail dropping, a new ad campaign. Both the Labour Party and the Maori Party and now the National Party are pouring in a lot of money to try and stop me getting there,” Mr Harawira says.

He says the other parties seem to fear what will happen if he wins.


But senior Labour Maori MP Parekura Horomia says Hone Harawira's campaign shows no evidence the Mana candidate has lacked resources.

He says while Mr Harawira like to make out he's the underdog, he was the incumbent MP until he chose to force the by-election.

“He certainly had buses roaming around with people and a whole lot of cars in fleet so he’s getting money from somewhere and I think it’s a great ply ot play that he hasn’t got the expenses. He’s got as many billboards as we have up, he’s got people on the street so that’s why I know it’s tough go,” Mr Horomia says.

He says voters need to remember Maori unemployment in Te Tai Tokerau quadrupled under Mr Harawira's reign.


The curator of Auckland City's Te Taumata Matariki exhibition programme says this year's line-up shows the strength and depth of Maori art.

The last show in the series, an installation by Ngaahina Hohaia of Parihaka, opened last night at the Mangere Arts Centre.

Karl Chitham says Hohaia one of a number of younger Maori artists coming through the ranks, and the show works well alongside exhibitions by Maureen Lander, Rona Ngahuia Osbourne and Kura Te Waru Rewiri at other city galleries.

“You never like to forget there’s a lot of senior artists out there still making work and having shows and that’s what Te Taumata is about, celebrating those people alongside more emerging talents as well,” Mr Chitham says.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Education debate draws rant

The pressures of campaigning are starting to show in Te Taitokerau, with Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell accusing Hone Harawira of nutting off over the absence of the Maori Party candidate from a debate in west Auckland.

Mr Flavell says he stood in at last night's education debate because Solomon Tipene was admitted to hospital with a recurring stomach complaint.

That led Mr Harawira to complain he was being ganged up on by two teachers - Mr Flavell and Labour's Kelvin Davis.

“Hone had arrived so when he came in he sort of nutted off abut the fact it was all set up a jack up which was way over the top in the circumstances which was we were just talking about policy lines,” Mr Flavell says.

He says Solomon Tipene should be well enough to complete the campaign.


But Mana candidate Hone Harawira is still claiming Solomon Tipene's absence from the debate was the result of underhand tactics.

Mr Harawira says Prime Minister John Key's statement last week that Kelvin Davis was the likely winner makes him think Mr Tipene is being left in the race to strengthen Labour's chances.

“The Maori Party has been instructed, probably by National, ‘let’s all act together to bury Hone because if he gets in he is going to change politics in Aotearoa and that’s something none of use want,’” Mr Harawira says.

His focus now is getting supporters registered and to the polls on Saturday.


Christchurch Maori academic Rawiri Taonui says today's announcement of rebuilding Christchurch is good news for many homeowners, but the government needs to come up with assistance package for low income renters.

The Government says it will buy insured houses in areas which cannot be rebuilt on, and take over any relationship with insurers and reinsurers.

Mr Taonui says the red-zoned areas like Bexley, Avonside and Darlington include large numbers of low-income Maori who rent homes which may now be set for demolition.

“In and around those areas where people own houses, there are also lots of rental properties and there’s a significant Maori population so they are going to have to move on and there is no specific package for those people so that is one downside. If 100 people in your area own homes and are gong, you probably have to go and where is the assistance for you,” he says.


Labour's Te Tai Tokerau by-election candidate says a jump up from list status to electorate MP on Saturday would give him more authority to advocate for Maori within the party.

Kelvin Davis says Maori voters need to appreciate that the way to make real long term gains for Maori is within a major party.

“If I have the mandate from the people of Tai Tokerau, then my voice can be louder because I can start demanding things and they can’t say ‘Kelvin, you’re getting a bit bolshie, you’re going to be number 400 on the list next time around.’ If I’ve got the mandate from the people of Tai Tokerau I can say I’m here speaking on behalf of the people of Tai Tokerau, this is what has been told to me and this is the view that I'm pushing,” he says.

Mr Davis says there have been many robust discussions in the Labour caucus, but Maori MP's are being increasingly listened to.


Ikaroa Rawiti MP Parekura Horomia says it's time for Maori to let their wahine speak on the paepae.

His own Ngati Porou iwi has a history of women orators, but it's unusual in other areas.

He says some aspects of Maori kawa reflect the colonial era, and they don't relate to the needs and desires of young Maori.

“I think its time for wahine to talk on the paepae. I know some people listening to this will want to knock my ears in but if you have women who have the reo and no one else has, you’ve got to confront what we’ve got now and use it,” Mr Horomia says.

He says for many young Maori, culture means getting a ta moko tattoo or taking part in kapa haka rather than joining in the life of a marae.


Film producer Nicole Hoey says audiences at a lesbian and gay film festival in San Francisco are getting a whole new view of things Maori.

Ms Hoey attended last night's screening of Kawa, an adaptation of Nights in the Gardens of Spain, along with writer Witi ihimaera and director Katie Wolfe.

She says the audience at the Casto Theatre bombarded the trio with questions, especially about the role of a child who speaks both Maori and English in the film, leading to a discussion on bilingual education.

The screening of the film led to talks with distributors and other festivals about getting Kawa to more venues.

Maori exodus from Otautahi under the radar

Christchurch-based social scientist Rawiri Taonui says more people, including more Maori, appear to be leaving Christchurch than is being officially acknowledged.

The Government will today reveal which parts of the city may not be rebuilt.

Mr Taonui says not enough has been done to support the city's Maori population, and the rolls at kura kaupapa have more than halved.

“People who have less money invested in Christchurch have less that they are attached to and where people don’t own their homes and they have whaanau in the north, a lot of them have uprooted and moved on and will continue to do so. The numbers kind of dwindle by the day,” he says.

Mr Taonui says people are questioning how they can invest in a city where it could be up to a decade before things can be expected to return to normal.


The Greens aren't contesting the Te Tai Tokerau by-election, but co-leader Metiria Turei is keen to see Mana's Hone Harawira back in Parliament.

Ms Turei says the only candidates the party endorses are its own.

But she says Mr Harawira has been strong on environmental issues, including his opposition to deep sea oil drilling.

“From a kaupapa point of view I have a lot in common with Hone and his views and his campaigns and the way he goes about his campaigning so having another voice like that in parliament is critical for the kaupapa we are fighting for which is Maori and the environment and taking care of people who need us the most,” she says.

Ms Turei says the political establishment, including some iwi leaders, is frightened of Mr Harawira being an independent Maori voice in parliament.


People are gathering about now in Tokoroa to open a new Maori-themed supermarket.

Countdown operating manager Dave Chambers says the chain likes to reflect the communities it serves ... and in the south Waikato that includes a large Maori content.

He says as well as the store's internal signage being in both Maori and English, local master carver Lionel Matenga has created a 5 metre long carving for the store entrance.

Mr Chambers says the carving has been donated to the community.

Countdown will again mark Maori language week this year with special events and publications.


Former Labour MP John Tamihere says Saturday's Te Tai Tokerau by-election is about one candidate ... Hone Harawira.

He says the by-election has concentrated opposition against the veteran protest leader, with the leaders of National and New Zealand First virtually telling their members to get out and vote against him, and Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia having to apologise for ruling her candidate out.

He says it's unprecedented in New Zealand political history.

“Now does that mean Hones doing things good, or does it mean he’s so polarized people he’s doing things bad. That’s what the electors in Tai Tokerau have to come to terms with. I think it’s an amazing tribute to him that he’s brought this convergence on,” Mr Tamihere says.

He won't be endorsing Hone Harawira or anyone else in the by-election.


A Hutt Valley marae is among nine community providers who will share $730,000 set aside to find new ways to help youth offenders.

Spokesperson Henrietta Gemmell says Koraunui Marae Association has run alternative education, training and wrap-around services since the 1970s, and 90 per cent of the rangatahi it works with are Maori.

She says the Fresh Start Innovation Fund will allow the marae to reach more rangatahi with its tikanga Maori-based approach.

“Once they get a feel and a sense of belonging, because a lot of children come here without whakapapa, our children start to want to learn and they want to move on,” Mrs Gemmell says.

Offenders are getting younger, with some seen by the marae as young as 8 years old.


Te Arawa wahine will be out in force tonight to celebrate their women artists and musicians.

Veteran musicians Ardijah and friends will headline the Matariki concert, while Maisey Rika, Ria Hall, Te Matatini star Miriama Hare will be up for awards.

Organiser Te Ringahuia Hata says the event was driven by the concept of the Matariki star constellation, which to Maori represents a mother and her six daughters.

Te Arawa mothers will present taonga to six Te Arawa daughters excelling in kapa haka, arts and the music industry.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Green warning on establishment fear

Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says the political establishment is frightened of Hone Harawira and his Mana Party becoming an independent Maori voice in Parliament.

Ms Turei says while the Greens aren't endorsing any candidate in Saturday's Te Tai Tokerau by-election, she was interested to hear Prime Minister John Key picking Labour's Kelvin Davis to win.

“There is an issue here around the establishment being frightened of more independent Maori voices in parliament and political parties, independent Maori political parties representing Maori voices in parliament,” Ms Turei says.

She says Hone Harawira's positions on environmental issues and poverty have been close to those of the Greens.


Labour's Te Tai Tokerau candidate is giving Mana Party followers a lesson in what their man Hone Harawira can achieve in Parliament.

The candidates faced off in Kaitaia last night, and former schoolteacher Kelvin Davis told the crowd parliamentary politics is a numbers game.

He says Mr Harawira's talk of a Maori parliament and fixing unemployment is hollow.

“Let's be perfectly blunt. He can’t. Nobody wants to work with him. He can talk all he want about a separate Maori parliament, he can’t even organize and register his own party properly and he wants to talk about a separate Maori parliament. I think people need to get real really,” Mr Davis says.

He says under Labour, the north was starting to get on top of unemployment.


A Ngai Tahu educationalist says a new trade training initiative will gives Maori a greater stake in rebuilding Christchurch.

He Toki ki te Rika will place 200 Maori students into places at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology before the end of the year.

Hana O'Regan, the dean of Christchurch Polytechnic's Maori Faculty, says it's giving people a way to focus on the future.

He Toki ki te Rika is a partnership between the polytechnic, Te Tapuae o Rehua, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, Ngai Tahu Property Company and the building industry training organisations.


Labour leader Phil Goff won't guarantee a future Labour government would provide the $100 million economic development fund sought by Te Tai Tokerau by-election candidate Kelvin Davis.

But he expected to hear a lot more about the idea, which is modeled on the trust Labour set up to boost development on the West Coast.

“Kelvin will be there like a fox terrier snapping on our heels saying this is why my patch needs and good on him, that is exactly what he should be doing for his own patch and we will be listening closely to him but of course financial commitments are something you have to do in the context of a budget round,” Mr Goff says.

He says given Northland has the highest unemployment in the country, there could well be a case for a special assistance package.


Te Tai Tonga MP Rahui Katene is welcoming the exclusion of rongoa Maori from supervision by a new trans-Tasman agency to regulate medicines and medical devices.

The new regime was announced this week by prime ministers John Key and Julia Gillard.

Mrs Katene says traditional Maori medicines and healing practices were included in the WAI 262 fauna and flora claim lodged by her father, the late John Hippolite and others, which will finally be reported on next month.

“Those things are part of our rangatiratanga and it’s something Maori must make the decision in. It’s not something that can be part of government and more importantly it’s not something that can be decided overseas,” she says.

Mrs Katene says rongoa is knowledge held by individual practitioners which comes down from their tupuna.


It still hasn't been inflated, but there's already talk of Ngati Whatua's inflatable waka making its first overseas trip.

Richard Jones of Maori business development agency Poutama Trust is in southern California for a Matariki-themed event at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday to promote New Zealand business and tourism.

He also intends to talk to city authorities about bringing the waka up next year for a larger event with a more Maori focus.

One of the firms to benefit from last year’s LAX Matariki event was Maori energy bar business Manuka Boosta.

Logisitics underpin election logic

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says whoever is best organised should win Saturday's Te Tai Tokerau by-election.

Mr Peters, who stood for National in Northern Maori at the start of his political career, is picking Labour's Kelvin Davis to beat Hone Harawira by up to 1000 votes.

He says campaign rhetoric doesn't count for as much as having enough people on the ground to get supporters to the polls.

“The person who is going to win on Saturday is the person whose team has done the logistics - enrolled people, persuaded them to vote for them, and made sure they got to the polling booth during the week or Saturday,” Mr Peters says.

The vote is likely to turn on special votes, as many eligible voters were not registered before the rolls were printed.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the Maori Women's Welfare League may want to review its rules to defend itself from takeover.

The 60-year-old organisation's ranks have been swelled in the past couple of years by Destiny Church members, and church pastor Hannah Tamaki is standing for president at August's annual conference.

Mrs Turia says the Maori Party wrote its rules to avoid some of the electoral tactics that other organisations struggle with.

“We only allow one vote per branch and in that way we are able to ensure people don’t bus people in or don’t sign a lot of people up to try and take a movement over. I think that’s unfair in many ways to those who have given their lives to the Maori Women's Welfare League,” she says.

Mrs Turia says she has no idea what Hannah Tamaki's credentials are to be the head of the league, which is a position of great mana within Maoridom.


Auckland's Maori Statutory Board is preparing to audit how the super city council measures up to Treaty of Waitangi principles.

Chairperson David Taipari says the board has worked with consulting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers on an audit process, which will be put out to tender soon.

He says getting a qualified third party opinion could be what's needed to make the council heed the board's criticisms that Maori aren't being properly included in planning.

“There are a number of areas I have seen over the past seven months that the council could greatly do with our assistance,” Mr Taipari says.

The Maori Statutory Board has also employed Waitako University to identify areas where assistance for Maori may be needed, such as in housing, education, health and economic development.


Maori political commentator and former Maori Party candidate Derek Fox predicts Saturday's Te Tai Tokerau by-election will come down to the wire between Labour's Kelvin Davis and Mana's Hone Harawira.

Derek Fox says the split between Mr Harawira and the Maori Party, and the subsequent antics of his mother Titewhai and sister Hinewhare, had upset many Maori in the north.

“There will be a lot of people who say ‘well, these people have demonstrated to me that they can’t work together, they’re like a three ring circus and I’m going to go back to the main ring which is where Labour is,’ and I’m quite sad about that too,” he says.

Mr Fox says the Maori Party hasn't helped the cause of its candidate Solomon Tipene.


Meanwhile, Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta says Te Tai Tokerau by-election candidate Kelvin Davis has laid down a wero to his own party with his call for $100 million economic development fund for Northland.

Ms Mahuta says it's not a promise Mr Davis can implement immediately if he wins the seat on Saturday.

But it's modeled on a fund that Labour created when it stopped logging of native timber on the West Coast.

“What he's doing is signaling to Labour that will be the cost of securing this electorate, and if I am the electorate MOP, Labour better get behind on that. I support him on that,” Ms Mahuta says.

She says radical solutions are needed to tackle unemployment among young Maori in the north.


Playwright Albert Belz says judicious use of te reo Maori can give Maori theatre a special edge.

A revival of Belz's eight-year-old play Awhi Tapu opens in Auckland tonight.

He says Taki Rua Productions have done a great job altering and updating the tale of four friends clinging to a dying forestry town ... and he doesn't think it should be pigeon-holed as a Maori play.

“Thanks to some great genes I am Maori and I feel comfortable anyway, despite my reo being a shocker. A lot of people, including myself, have been trying to figure out where it fits. Is it a general audience piece, is it a Maori piece, is it a Pacific piece, I kind of like that. I like not being pigeon-holed too much,” Belz says.

Awhi Tapu starts at Tapac at Western Springs tonight and runs until July 2.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Harawira denies perpetual grievance tag

Mana leader Hone Harawira denies he is pushing a message of grievance in his bid to retain Te Tai Tokerau.

Mr Harawira's by-election rivals have seized on his campaign themes, which include playing up his role in the 2004 foreshore and seabed hikoi and other protests, as well as highlighting the hardship faced by many in the electorate.

But he says Labour's Kelvin Davis isn't giving him the credit for some of his more positive achievements.

“He knows what I was able to do with the Far North Rugby League. He knows of my role as the CEO for the Te Aupouri Maori Trust Board. He knows how I built the kura from nothing to being the biggest in Tai Tokerau. He knows how I built Te Hiku Media from a little radio station to four ration stations and a television station. He knows all of that,” Mr Harawira says.

He says Labour's campaign is turning nasty because it's losing the race.


Meanwhile, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says Hone Harawira may live to regret giving the Labour Party a crack at his seat.

Mr Peters says the right time to force a by-election was March, when he split from the Maori Party, rather than giving his opponents time to drum up support.

“Not in this case the Maori Party because they are going to be the massive losers in this campaign on Saturday but he has given the Labour Party a chance to organize on Saturday and he may well live to regret it,” he says.

Mr Peters says the candidate who will win on Saturday will be the one who is best able to organise to get voters out ... which means Labour candidate Kelvin Davis is in with a great chance.


Playwright Albert Belz expects a few jaws to drop when audiences see the revival of his play Awhi Tapu.

The saga of four friends clinging on to living in a dying forestry town starts a run at Western Springs College's Tapac theatre tomorrow.

Mr Belz says he's excited by what Taki Rua Productions have done to the eight-year-old play.

“Way back in 2003 there were a couple of different elements to it where one of the characters went into a fantasy world. That’s gone. A new cast and director are also handling it differently in terms of, it’s a little bit lighter in places, a little bit heavier in others when it comes to how issues in the play are being dealt with,” Mr Belz says.


The Maori Party Te Tai Tokerau by-election candidate, Solomon Tipene, says he feels no lack of support from the Party's hierarchy.

Co-leader Tariana Turia has apologised for televised comments about Mr Tipene's political inexperience, which were interpreted as a vote of no-confidence in him and an endorsement of Labour's Kelvin Davis.

Mr Tipene says he's grateful for the help he's got from Mrs Turia and other leaders.

“Do I feel the support of the Maori Party? Absolutely. Every one of those MPs has been up with me every day supporting me. That is an indication of their support,” he says.

Mr Tipene says as far as he is concerned, he is also the Maori Party's candidate for the general election.


The head of a South Auckland budgeting service is welcoming the prospect of loan sharks being put under the spotlight.

In the wake of a company offering high interest loans via text message, the Government says a financial summit in August will send a message to the loan industry to be responsible.

Ripeka Taipari says up to 40 percent of Whare Mauriora Budgeting have taken out loans because low wages or benefits and high living costs means they feel they can no longer provide for their families.

“They're more wanting to be able to live the lifestyle they’re used to living which is pretty basic, so they really are on a minimum and scratching to get what they need and so they go to the shark to get the extra things they need for their children, and our staff say ‘I can’t do this anymore,’ because they keep going to the loan sharks and they don’t just have one, they have two or three of them,” Mrs Taipari says,

She wants to see tighter credit lending criteria to keep vulnerable families away from money lenders.


The organiser of the Waiata Maori Music Awards says entries are flooding in as musicians come to appreciate how the annual event can generate good exposure.

Tama Huata says high profile Maori artists like Tiki Taane, Stan Walker and Smashproof are showing other what can be achieved.

He says there's a clear need for a collaborative approach to promote Maori artists not just through the Maori radio stations but to get them mainstream airplay.

Entries close at the end of July.

Compulsory voting to protect vote

Hauraki - Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta says New Zealand should follow Australia's lead and make voting compulsory.

Ms Mahuta has been canvassing in support of her cousin Kelvin Davis, Labour's Te Tai Tokerau by-election candidate.

She says Maori are missing out by not exercising their right to vote.

“Sadly I knocked on a household, spoke to a person who was around about 44, and they said they had never voted, and I couldn’t believe it, and we cannot have that picture going on among Maori, because people will say why do you have Maori seats, you don’t even use your vote,’” Ms Mahuta says.

She says it's looking like a low turnout on Saturday.


But a close observer of politics in the north is predicting a higher than expected turnout for Saturday's by-election.

Mike Kake, the chief executive of Ngati Hine FM, says the race could come down to special votes.

He says the three major candidates ... Hone Harawira, Kelvin Davis and Solomon Tipene ... may be a lot closer than outside observers think.

“There's been a lot of activity around updating registration forms, a lot of activity driven by the campaigns themselves. Labour, Mana and the Maori Party are driving for new members, so there have been new enrolment forms coming though. So they still have an opportunity to get enrolled before Friday and cast a special vote,” Mr Kake says.

The street surveys his station has been conducting haven't come up with a clear winner.

The Electoral Commission says it has received 355 early votes, more than at the same time before the 2008 general election.


The whanau of Manawatu's Te Taumata o te Ra Marae has started the sad task of rebuilding after a devastating fire.

The marae at Halcombe lost its wharekai and kaumatua lounge in a suspected arson three weeks ago.

Awhina Twomey of Ngati Manomano says many in the whanau saw the devastation for the first time this weekend, but after the tears, they got stuck in to the work setting up a temporary kitchen so they can look after manuhiri.

Awhina Twomey says the marae had been trying to raised money for sprinklers before the fire, but even sprinklers my not have been able to save the old totara buildings.


Labour's Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis says the emergence of a company offering small high-interest loans at the push of a text message is an indictment of the Government's refusal to regulate loan sharking.

Budget advisers are warning that many Maori are likely to get driven into financial crisis by the loans, which Ferratum Group is pitching as a way to avoid having your eftpos card declined at the supermarket.

Kelvin Davis says the Government refused to support Labour's attempt to curb predatory lenders.

“They voted down our loan sharks bill last year and things are getting worse. If peole can just text a long and have to pay 50 percent interest over a couple of weeks, they’re just going to get hammered. The vulnerability of people is being taken advantage of and no good can come from it,” Mr Davis says.

He says the idea that people might have to take out loans to buy groceries shows the Government's policies aren't working.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia believes Hone Harawira may learn to regret taking strategic advice from former Alliance president Matt McCarten.

Mrs Turia is incensed by Mr McCarten's weekend newspaper column praising Mr Harawira for seeking a mandate by forcing a by-election in Te Tai Tokerau ... and saying he gave the same advice to Mrs Turia when she walked from Labour.

She says there was no such advice.

“People need to be extremely careful about the information he puts into the public arena because it is not strictly correct and I am totally surprised that Hone has bought into Matt’s advice because calling the by-election and advising Hone to go with it is what we call stunt politics and that actually is Matt's trademark,” Mrs Turia


The call has gone out for more volunteers for Maori Google.

It's almost three years since the Maori version of the internet search engine launched, but online media consultant Karaitiana Taiuru says the translation effort is struggling to keep up with the site's growth.

He says anyone with suitable language skills can pitch in.

“Any individual is able to begin translating on their own. One person was responsible for translating most of it. With community effort, it will be a small job and definitely feasible,” Mr Taiuru says.

Only about a quarter of Google's pages are translated into Maori.

Monday, June 20, 2011

One vote best strategy

Labour's Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis says voters in the by-election have one vote, and they need to give it to the person they want to represent them.

Rivals hone Harawira and Solomon Tipene are arguing a vote for the list MP would be wasted, because he is already in Parliament.

But Mr Davis says he's after the same mandate as Mr Harawira.

“It's about seeking the mandate. It’s about seeking the voice of the people and people need to vote for whom they can trust to represent them the best in Te Tai Tokerau. To use this vote splitting argument is defeatist if Hone is out seeking the mandate. He needs to seek it one on one and not use these side issues about splitting votes,” Mr Davis says,

He says if the people of Te Tai Tokerau still have doubts about Labour, they should still be confident about his own ability to represent them.


Meanwhile, Hone Harawira is defending the endorsement his campaign got from a maverick Ratana minister.

Keremea Pene organised a kar-koi of Mana Party supporters around Te Tai Tokerau over the weekend.

Mr Harawira says his involvement seems to have brought out the worst in Labour's Kelvin Davis.

“Kereama Pene, I didn’t know how high he was in the faith but apparently he’s a senior minister within the Ratana faith and for Kelvin to go calling him nothing but a choirboy is really an insult to the people of Ratana eh,” Mr Harawira says.

Kereama Pene also drew fire from senior Ratana elder Te Whakaotinga Ron Smith of Matamata, who said the south Auckland minister's endorsement of Mr Harawira should not be misconstrued as an official church position.


Treaty claimants on Aotea-Great Barrier are keen to use a $4.6 million settlement package to kick-start economic development.

An agreement in principle signed by Ngati Rehua on the weekend also includes the Crown returning Okiwi Recreation Reserve and part of Hirakimata/Mt Hobson to the Ngati Wai hapu, and the transfer and gift back to the Crown of the Mokohinau Islands Scenic and Nature Reserve.

Spokesperson Rawiri Wharemate says the deal has come together quickly since negotiations started in 2009.

Agreements still need to be reached overt mutton-birding islands and water space before the settlement can be finalised.


The head of the Mangere Budgeting Services is warning Maori are likely to become victims of a new text messaging loan service.

Ferratum Group is offering short-term, unsecured micro-loans via a mobile phone to consumers looking for quick cash, such as when they are standing in a supermarket line without enough money in their eftpos account.

Darryl Evans says Maori are some of the heaviest users of his service, and 95 percent of them get into trouble because they can't service high interest, "easy' loans.

“Any family who’s vulnerable and any family who needs to borrow money to buy food should absolutely not be going to this type of fringe lender and paying ridiculous interest rates. It’s just obscene. If you borrow $200 over 30 days, you’ll be paying them back $312. Just at that level there’s a 56 percent interest rate,” he says.

Mr Evans says credit unions offer a far cheaper and safer option for struggling families needing short-term micro-loans.


Beware of false prophets is the advice Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is giving her former colleague Hone Harawira.

Mrs Turia says she's feeling a sense of deja vu at a claim by south Auckland Ratana minister Kereama Pene that Mr Harawira is the embodoment of a prophesy from church founder T W Ratana.

She says Mr Pene has a record of such stunts in the multitude of political parties he has joined.

“What we've got is an individual who attempts to become the prophet. He interprets prophesies. It’s not supported by the movement at all, It’s one individual who actually when I went with the Maori Party prophesised me too. It’s a load of nonsense. It’s really unfair on the Ratana movement,” Mrs Turia says.

She says as in any church, Ratana followers are free to vote as individuals for any party they want.


Hauraki Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta says Tainui needs to get its house in order.

The tribe's executive fended off a bid to sack it by getting a high court injuntion postponing the half-yearly meeting of the tribal parliament, which was to be held on the weekend.

Ms Mahuta says the squabble with the executive means Te Kauhanganui is failing to take care of the tribe's business.

“Quite frankly, sooner or later people got to put egos aside, look at the business before the tribe, huge decisions need to be made and Te Kauhanganui and the marae must give direction or have to opportunity to give direction on some really critical issues facing us,” Ms Mahuta says.

Wisdom of Solomon on vote split

Maori Party candidate Solomon Tipene is picking a Labour victory in Te Tai Tokerau ... unless he can convince people with his two for the price message.

The self-described draught horse is trailing in the polls behind Kelvin Davis and Mana Party leader Hone Harawira.

He says there's still a chance he can come through the middle on Saturday.

“Kelvin will get in, in the by-election and in the general election, and frankly that is a wasted strategic vote because he will get in anyway, he’s on the list, and it’s a pity our people can’t understand that,” Mr Tipene says.

He says a Maori Party telephone poll late last week showed him at 38 percent support.


Meanwhile, Maori party co-leader Pita Sharples says Hone Harawira is the wrong person to be advocating cross-party collaboration among Maori MPs.

Dr Sharples says the Mana Party leader’s idea of a parliamentary committee where all MPs of Maori origin caucus every three months is impractical.

“A parliament implies you are going to set up a whole set of criteria that binds you together and it will cross-cut the power and the voice of each party so it will never happen and besides I was talking to some of the Labnour guys and they say they don’t trust him, and we don’t because that’s why we split up,” he says.

Dr Sharples says MPs are elected to make laws for all the people.


A member of the national Maori broadband working group is encouraging Maori organisations to enter their websites in this year’s Australia New Zealand Internet Awards.

Richard Orzecki of Ngati Raukawa is judging the New Zealand diversity category.

He says it’s a way of recognising sites that encourage expressions of cultural diversity or identity, or use languages other than English to serve their communities.

He says it’s a great way for Maori groups using the internet to get international coverage.

Entries close on July 1, and the award ceremony is in Melbourne in October.


Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau by-election candidate says the north needs to move beyond the politics of grievance advocated by his rivals.

Kelvin Davis says Mana Party leader Hone Harawira has made a career of victimhood and living in the past … and it’s doing Maori a disservice.

“We have to acknowledge the past. We have to address the past but we have to move into the future. Hone is all about relitigating that and he has made people think it is the major issue, and it is not. We are not the downtrodden descendants of an oppressed people, we are noble descendants of a dignified people,” he says.

Mr Davis says people are getting behind his message of successful Maori futures through education and job creation.

The by-election will be held on Saturday.


Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says there’s nothing but bad news for Maori in the Government’s Auckland convention centre proposal.

Sky City has offered to build a $350 million mid-town centre, if the Government changes gambling laws in its favour.

Dr Sharples says the process is flawed and the Maori Party will oppose it.

“We’ve tried over the years to get the council and business houses interested in a convention, Maori culture combined centre down on the waterfront, no one has taken it up seriously. Now here is a group want to do a trade and put it up themselves, and I just say ‘You can’t do that,’” he says.

Pita Sharples says expanding Sky City’s casino operations isn’t the way to address Maori problem gambling, which is increasing.


The director of Rethinking Crime and Punishment wants to hear the voice of rangatahi in the law and order debate.

The prison reform group is meeting in Wellington this week to discuss the formation of a youth advisory group.

Executive director Kim Workman says too many people assume they know what's good for young people in the youth justice area.

“We think that some young people may have some ideas that may reshape the way we do justice. You know I’m 71 and all my mates are geriatrics,” he says.

Mr Workman says the youth advisory group could be a way for those views to be heard by politicians, policy makers and community leaders.