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No. 42 (March 1963)
– 43 –

Constitutional Changes in Maori Organisations

A new Act called the Maori Welfare Act has been passed by Parliament, and revises and replaces the Maori Social and Economic Advancement Act, 1945. Many of the Provisions of the latter Act have been repeated in the new one.

In outlining the Bill to Parliament, the Minister of Maori Affairs, Mr Hanan, said it effected an important change in the constitution of what have hitherto been called Maori Tribal Committees and Maori Tribal Executives. Mr Hanan said the change was probably the final one in the evolutionary process through which these organisations have passed.

New Names

Under the new Maori Welfare Act, Tribal Committees will become known as Maori Committees and they will comprise seven members. Tribal Executive Committees will become known as Maori Executive Committees.

The District Maori Councils of Tribal Executives become simply District Maori Councils and the New Zealand Maori Council of Tribal Executives becomes the New Zealand Maori Council. Each District Maori Council appoints three members to the New Zealand Maori Council.

Mr Hanan said that one purpose of the Bill was to express in clearly defined terms the constitution, functions and powers of the various official Maori organisations that have been established by the earlier legislation.

The Act provides that the Maori Committees will be elected in February, 1964, and every three years thereafter. Committees in existence at the passing of the Act continue to function until the 1964 elections.

The new Act repeals the Tohunga Suppression Act 1908. Mr Hanan said that special legislation of this nature no longer seemed necessary. He felt that the general law could deal adequately with the situation.

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A memorial to the late Father Augustine, Venning, S.M., veteran of the Catholic Maori Mission, was unveiled at Pakipaki last December.

The new inscription was covered by Father Venning's own korowai cloak until the ceremony. The cloak was removed by Mr T. Putu, Otaki, and a wreath was laid by Mr K. Ransfield, also of Otaki.

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While heart disease is the leading cause of death for both the European and Maori races, influenza, pneumonia, gastro-enteritis and tuberculosis continue to take a heavy toll of Maori life.

This is stated in the annual report on medical statistics of New Zealand for 1960 which has just been published.

In 1951 Tb. disease was second only to heart disease as a cause of death in the Maori, and sixth in the European. In 1960 it was no longer a leading cause in the European and occupied 10th place in the Maori.

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Things seem to be getting to the stage where there are more Maori winners of Queen Carnivals and Festivals around than Pakeha ones. Miss Yvonne Wehipeihana, in the photo above, won first place in the Levin summer festival contest last January, helping to raise a total of £1,600