An up and down year for Maori

Last updated 05:00 20/12/2013

When I look back at 2013, I can say it's been a year of two halves with highlights and lowlights for Maoridom. This is what stood out for me.

On the national front, gay marriage is now legal - and guess what? The sun came up the next morning despite those who opposed it believing the world was going to end.

I am not a gay rights campaigner but I am a supporter of people making their own informed choices and not having others' views rammed down their throats, so I had no problems supporting this issue.

My mate John Tamihere tested the political waters and dipped his toe into the Labour pool.

However, there are still plenty within the red army who don't like or even want JT back.

But I wouldn't write him off just yet.

Shane Jones redeemed himself with a strong challenge for the Labour Party leadership and made Labour the favourite in terms of capturing the Maori seats next year.

The year has been bad, if not terminal, for the Maori Party who had more in-fighting than a Ngapuhi hui.

The leadership struggle and the parties association with National will certainly cost them at the next election, and Te Ururoa Flavell will be hoping for a big comeback if the party is to survive.

Hone Harawira, who was named Maori politician of the year on Radio Waatea, continues to grow his one-man band, and the Mana Party could play an important role in 2014.

Then again so will my old mate Winston Peters who gets cagier by the year.

Winston is still the master when it comes to politics and could well be the king maker.

He knows it as well.

What I didn't like about Winston was his constant bagging of Whanau Ora. So what JT and I did was throw a Whanau Ora Day.

The whanau turned up in their thousands to support the kaupapa - so take that Winston.

In terms of JT and myself, the seven-year talkback show that we had been presenting on Radio Live came to a somewhat sad and premature end.

I'm not going to talk about the politics of that right now, that may happen at another time.

But I will say that the opportunity to have been able to present a Maori perspective in mainstream media with one of my closest mates is something I will always treasure.

But during the year I lost three other good mates.

Former Maori affairs minister Parekura Horomia, well-respected kaumatua Denis Hansen and former Manu Samoa captain Peter Fatialofa passed away.

To those three I want to acknowledge your friendship and also our loss.

No reira oku rangatira moe mai ra!

- © Fairfax NZ News

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