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Mana Day Out – a day of celebration

22 March 2004

Mana Day Out – a day of celebration

Mana Day Out – a free concert in Aotea Square this Sunday – will be a day to celebrate the positive contribution of Maori to New Zealand, Associate Maori Affairs Minister John Tamihere says.

"We've heard a lot lately about all the things that are supposedly wrong about Maori and race relations in this country. I know we've got a whole lot of good things going for us, and this day is all about celebrating them," Mr Tamihere said.

Acts performing at Mana Day Out include Che Fu, Katchafire, Emma Paki, Moana and Dam Native, as well as some of New Zealand's top kapa haka groups. Prime Minister Helen Clark and educationalist Pita Sharples will also attend.

"Mana Day Out, funded by urban Maori, is an opportunity to celebrate our achievements, and that is something we don't do often enough," Mr Tamihere said.

"Pacific Island communities do a great job of celebrating their people and culture with events like Pasifika. We need to celebrate our many achievements as Maori, too.

"Maori make an enormous contribution to visual arts, music, film, business, culture, sports, tourism, academia and many other fields of excellence in this country, and we should recognise that contribution more often, instead of focusing on the negatives.

"We should be proud of our success stories – people like the Tamaki brothers in tourism, like Oscar-nominated actress Keisha Castle-Hughes in film, like Taylormade Media's Ian Taylor in IT, like leading diabetes researcher Dr Garth Cooper in medicine, and like all of the outstandingly talented musicians performing at Mana Day Out.

"And we should also applaud the efforts of those people right around the country who are perhaps less well-known, but who work tirelessly, day in and day out, for the benefit of their whanau and their communities, often with little reward or acknowledgement," Mr Tamihere said.

He said population projections showed that the Maori population was expected to grow from 586,000 in 2001 to 749,000 by 2021 – an increase of 163,000 or 28 per cent.

Maori as a proportion of the total population will increase from 15 per cent in 2001 to 17 per cent in 2021. With 44.3 per cent of the Maori population aged 0-18, 55.5 per cent aged 0-25, and 70.5 per cent aged 0-35, a large proportion of the Maori population is young.

"Because we are such a young population, and we have such big numbers on their way through, we must ensure that that the huge latent potential of our population is supported and nurtured so it can be brought to reality, for the good of all society," Mr Tamihere said.

"We don't need to hear, yet again, about our failures; nor do we need to hear about why people of ethnic backgrounds should dislike each other. We need to take pride in our many vibrant successes, and build bridges with other communities, so we can all share a positive way forward.

"We need to make sure that our babies being born today progress to their full potential. We want to be building new universities to house our coming generation, not new prisons. To do that, we need to start celebrating our own people and our own success.


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