What do taxpayers give a special person? Why, a $2000 (and more) flax cloak, of course

October 29, 2012

Alf enjoys a good piss-up when taxpayers pick up the tab, but only so long as he is invited.

Sadly, he wasn’t invited to the function to farewell two members of the Maori Language Commission board and celebrate 25 years of the Maori Language Act.

Accordingly (a) he is miffed and (b) he is apt to raise questions about the $12,110 (at least) spent on the function.

Mind you, his dander was raised only momentarily because he forgot the money spent on the occasion included farewell gifts (of more than $2000 each, according to the report here) for Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi and Ruakere Hond.

And those people, it should be noted, are special people by virtue of their being indigenous.

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We could be more understanding by learning te reo, but it’s hard to modify your ethnicity

August 23, 2012

Dunno if Vernon Small has been learning te reo.

But he thinks New Zealanders generally should spend public money preserving it.

His reasoning (on page B5 of the Dom Post but not online) is simple –

It is a taonga guaranteed by the Treaty – perhaps the pre-eminent taonga.

Well bugger, Alf muttered on reading this.

Don’t remember that bit of the deal.

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Sorry, Sharon, but taxpayers would rather not cough up to fly your relatives to Argentina

May 4, 2011

Maybe she would have been more wary if she had been asked to wear this.


Oh dear. The cash-strapped Government – borrowing $250 million a week for each of us to pay back some time – isn’t throwing the stuff around as generously as some people would like.

In particular it won’t come up with the dosh to ensure the “aunty” of an incredibly stupid woman can fly at public expense to Argentina.

The aforementioned incredibly stupid woman is drug-trafficking accused Sharon Armstrong.

Alf, who is a sensitive soul, would not normally belittle people by calling them stupid, let alone incredibly stupid, unless they support the Labour or Green parties.

In this case he makes an exception because he is talking about a self-confessed incredibly stupid person.

She is the 54-year-old former Maori Language Commission deputy chief executive who was arrested on April 13 after Buenos Aires Airport police found (or claim they found) 5kg of cocaine hidden in her suitcase.

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The lesson here is that you will look like an ass if you become an unwitting drug mule

April 21, 2011

A chance to learn Spanish.

Alf is fascinated by the story of Sharon Armstrong, the former deputy chief executive of the Maori Language Commission.

She has been arrested in Buenos Aires airport after 5kg of something was found in her suitcase.

We may suppose this something was not taonga, because the Maori Alf knows are dead keen to bring taonga back to New Zealand and get very shirty if they learn of someone shipping it out.

Nope. It was cocaine. And it was worth a few bucks. According to the NZ Herald –

The Class A drug has a street value in New Zealand of up to $2 million.

But here’s the thing.

Family members warned her not to go overseas to meet a mystery man.

She didn’t listen.

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Let’s ask young Maori in Porirua if they want to be forced to learn Te Reo

October 21, 2010

Is Te Reo destined to become extinct, too?

Hats off to Maori Party leader Pita Sharples, who has spoken wisely and sensibly (in English) on the future of Te Reo.

He has injected a much-needed dose of reality into the proposition that New Zealand should have a bilingual Maori-speaking government.

That proposition comes from the Waitangi Tribunal. Accordingly it will be accorded great respect, not because it deserves respect but because Pakeha who challenge it risk being denounced as racists.

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It was an exemplary performance, captain – but now you’ve got to walk the plank

February 10, 2010

Radio NZ has picked up the curious story of the departing chief executive of the Maori Language Commission but doesn’t take it much further than the Dominion-Post.

It reports her as saying says she’s proud of what she achieved in her three years in the job.

The item was produced by the Waatea News staff, and – alas – they don’t seem to have been much inclined to dig too deeply to find out what’s been going on.

We are told –

Huhana Rokx resigned from Te Taura Whiri following an investigation and mediation process sparked by a letter from staff complaining about her management style.

Mrs Rokx told Waatea News she’s leaving her successor with a strategy mapped out to meet the board’s objectives.

But Alf wanted to hear from the boss’s boss on his role in these goings-on and how much support Ms Rokx was given by her board when the shit hit the fan.

The big question: how come it’s the captain who must walk the plank when the crew become mutinous?

Waatea News tells us only that –

Maori Language Commissioner Erima Henare says Huhana Rokx’s performance was exemplary and her resignation was an honourable response to difficult circumstances faced by the chief executive, the staff and the board.

It’s not much, but it tells us something fascinating.

The captain’s performance was exemplary.

We can only conclude she has gone because her crew’s performance has been more than exemplary.


Staff get their Rokx off at the Maori Language Commission

February 9, 2010

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples is keeping shtum about strange goings-on at the Maori Language Commission, on the not unreasonable grounds he does not comment on employment matters.

Let’s hope this does not mean he is indifferent to those strange goings-on, because it looks suspiciously as if we should be taking a closer look at the board.

A word with the commission chairman, a bloke called Erima Henare, certainly seems to be in order.

Alf gives this advice to Sharples on learning today that –

Maori Language Commission chief executive Huhana Rokx has resigned after an investigation over concerns about her management style.
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Could Rokx be rolled by a fluency fuss?

November 21, 2009

There’s some bemusing stuff about a bit of workplace how’s-your-father at the Maori Language Commission in the The Dom-Post today.

A dispute between the chief executive of the Maori Language Commission and her staff has prompted the board to order an investigation.

The independent inquiry, conducted by Sir Wira Gardiner, was begun after some staff wrote to the board expressing concerns about Huhana Rokx’s management style.

Management style? Alf would be much more concerned about hiring someone with the curious name Rokx for a job in an agency charged with promoting the Maori language.

But what does he know about these things, eh?

Well, he can tell you (based on his reading of the Dom-Post) that –

Commission chairman Erima Henare has been acting chief executive since November 10, when the board appointed Sir Wira.

Both Mr Henare, who earned $58,150 from the board for the year ended June 2008, and Ms Rokx declined to comment personally about the dispute yesterday.

What’s more, Henare has hired Wellington public relations consultant Chris Wikaira to do any talking on the issue and management and staff have been told not to speak to the media. All media inquiries should be made through Wikaira.

But papers obtained by The Dominion Post claim staff members fluent in the Maori language use this ability to “show superiority” over their colleagues.

There have been at least two meetings between management and staff this year aimed at resolving the in-house problems.

One employee noted that, after one of these meetings, staff did not feel trusted and found their work environment suffocating.

Is that it?

Is it all about a pecking order where your position is influenced by your fluency in the language the commission is promoting?

Why should this be a matter of concern?

If you don’t speak Maori, or speak it poorly, you wouldn’t want to work there anyway, surely.

Alf would like to think the buggers who know a cow has four tits on its udder, and that you don’t milk bulls, and that wool comes from sheep could feel superior to those who don’t in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Likewise, knowledge of economics should push you higher up the perch at The Treasury.

Blokes are unlikely to prosper at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

And so on.

Mind you, we run into problems with this line of thinking when we get to the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.

Or do we?

Putting the outfit in the hands of a bunch of kids is unlikely to do much mischief because Alf doesn’t see it serving any useful purpose anyway.


Balancing the supply of te reo with the demand

July 16, 2009

Alf would have thought that if many more Maori wanted to learn te reo, they would be doing so.

The same goes for performing in that language.

Maori leaders – and surprisingly many non-Maori – think otherwise.

They are always looking for ways of forcing the language on the rest of us and of boosting the numbers of Maori language speakers.

Dunno how much time, effort and public money goes into this drive.
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