Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

PM ponders spiritual wording

The Prime Minister says she is confident Tainui's spiritual and cultural concerns over the Waikato River can be addressed in any settlement.

Helen Clark went empty handed to Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia yesterday, because ministers and officials had been unable to reach agreement on the river claim.

Ms Clark says that didn't matter, because the important thing is to get the settlement right, and that will take a lot of time.

She says while many of the elements Maori find important are spiritual and metaphysical concepts, it is possible to acknowledge in legislation the great significance something has for people.

"An approach can be to acknowledge the great significance something has for people. It might not be what, say, Pakeha feel about a river but it may express a deep felt belief among iwi where the river boundary is," Clark said.

Helen Clark says she was pleased to take part in the celebrations of the 40th annivesary of the coronation of the Maori Queen, because it was a chance to reaffirm a long standing relationship.


Rongowhakaata chairman Stan Pardoe says Gisborne Maori are worried they are about to lose their coroner.

The Coroners' Bill currently going through Parliament could allow pathology services for Gisborne and the East Cape to be managed by coroners in Tauranga of Hawkes Bay.

Mr Pardoe says that would add to the stress suffered by bereaved relatives.

Stan Pardoe says Maori want to stay with the body of their relative, wherever it may be.


While there has been a revival in the learning and use of te reo Maori, some of the richness of the language is in danger of being lost.

That's the view of Wiremu Docherty of Tuhoe, head of Maori studies at Manukau Institute of Technology.

Mr Docherty says a lot of what he hears seems one dimensional, compared with the language he grew up with.

"It's losing its rich vibrancy. It's losing the tribal dialects. You can no longer listen to a student and listen to the metaphors and say ah, this is where the student is from," Docherty says.


Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki says people shouldn't read too much into his seating beside the Maori Queen during yesterday's visit to Turangawaewae Marae by the Prime Minister and her Labour colleagues.

Mr Tamaki says he was invited to speak that morning at a prayer breakfast, part of a week of ceremonies in Ngaruawahia marking the 40th anniversary of the coronation of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu.

He says after the breakfast, Dame Te Ata asked him to sit with her in the porch of the house Mahinarangi for the next part of the ceremonies - the arrival of the Government contingent.

Mr Tamaki says Dame Te Ata is not a member of his church.

"We just have a great friendship and I have always enjoyed her company and I guess she does with mine and I really appreciate who she is and what she stands for and her mana, and when she requested I speak at that ruby breakfast, I was honoured to," Tamaki said.

Brian Tamaki says it was not the first time he has spoken at events at Turangawaewae.


Meanwhile at Ngaruawahia today, the Koroneihana Hui reached its climax with a speech by the Maori Queen looking forward to commemoraqtions in 2008, which will mark the 150th anniversary of the formation of the Kingitanga.

Dame Te Atairangikaahu also thanked the tens of thousands of people who attended the ceremonies from around the country and the Pacific.

Waatea News reporter Mania Clark says about 5000 people attended today's ceremonies, which were marked by frequent showers.

While Dame Te Ata did not raise yesterday's visit by the Prime Minister and the failure to secure a deal on the Waikato River claim in time for the hui, it was the subject of a wero or challenge in a sermon delivered in this morning's prayer serviceby former Bishop of Aotearoa Whakahuihui Vercoe.

Bishop Vercoe said the Government should return the river to Tainui, because no one else can look after the taniwha who famously occupy every bend.

The week winds up this evening with a concert featuring veteran showband the Maori Volcanics.

airforce gets own haka


Flight Sergeant George Mana, who is stationed in Wellington, says while there are fewer Maori in the airforce than the army or navy, Air Force brass were keen the service had its special haka.

The haka was written by serving members and cleared by Kuia and Kaumatua with long standing connections to the air force.

Mr Mana says the haka Ko Te Taua-a-rangi asks a series of questions.


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