Rationality needed in Maori wards debate

It seems to me that opponents of Western Bay of Plenty Maori electoral wards have so far not given us any rational arguments that would justify a $70,000 poll to reverse the decision made by the clear majority of regional councillors. Maori wards are not apartheid or separatism because they do not give Maori separate control of anything. They are totally democratic because everybody still gets just one vote each. The Maori community makes up about 20 per cent of voters, and they are not represented on the council under the present electoral system. Any fair-minded person can see that something is wrong. Maori wards are a simple way of correcting this, with non-Maori voters losing nothing. The objections that people are making seem little more than irrational slogans.
Peter Dey Welcome Bay

Treaty grants equality

I question whether anybody as ignorant of the contents of the Treaty of Waitangi as Graham Cameron is fitted to be a member of any local body. Cameron claims (

News

, November 25) that there is a: "special relationship between the Crown and New Zealand's indigenous people set out in the Treaty of Waitangi". This is simply untrue. What the Treaty actually granted to Maori was the same rights as the people of England – in a word, equality. No less, no more. That, and only that, is democracy. Anything else is apartheid.

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Bruce Moon Nelson

Wards foresight applauded

The establishment of Maori wards has the potential to help heal people and places. Maori who are well-connected to their language and tikanga (customs) deeply value people and Aotearoa's fauna and flora. Their wairua flows with nature. They also deeply feel the pain of whanau (fellow Maori) who have lost their way and in their desperation inflict harm.

Given a comparatively small voice on the council in the form of Maori wards would assist the council to create more effective policies to enable Maori to minister to Maori, wairua to wairua. In my experience what works for Maori works for everyone. Congratulations to those council members who have had the foresight and courage to vote for change and the enrichment of our community by seeking to give Maori a turangawaewae (place to stand), albeit in the challenging council corporate type of world that operates out of different tikanga to the Maori way of resolving issues.

Kia kaha e hoa ma!

Avril Manley Katikati

Exceptional talent in Bay

One cannot let the year end without acknowledging the amazing work done by Sport Bay of Plenty. We produce the most amazing talented people, with the supreme winners recognised at the Awards event at Rotorua.

Who would have thought we could produce such extraordinary talent, like Peter Burling and Lisa Carrington, both of whom won the Supreme Awards for male and female athlete? Neither Peter nor Lisa were able to be with us but Peter spoke on video in his usual gentle no-fuss way from the round the world yacht race.

Both mothers accepted the awards on their behalf which was fascinating to hear from them – Mrs Burling told of the freeze-dried food Peter would be eating - it looked like cat food.

The evening was full of awards to recognise the incredible variety of sports our girls and boys play today.

Exceptional again was the huge number of coaches, parents, and volunteers who, without payment, dedicate themselves to the wellbeing of sport for years.

No wonder young people develop their talents. Society flourishes when our children are encouraged to play sport. Thanks again for a great night and a great year.

Margaret Murray-Benge, Bethlehem