Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Kaumatua supports taser trial

A Ngati Porou kaumaatua is supporting of the introduction of taser stun guns because they are better than the alternative.

Parekura Kupenga, an Auckland-based health worker, says getting a 50 thousand volt shock from a taser is a better option than a bullet.

He says the killing of Waitara man Steven Wallace in 2000 was a an example of what co go wrong when police rely on guns so subdue people they consider dangerous.

“Had the police used this type of gun at that time, perhaps Steven would still be alive today. I have always advocated in the past that this be the type of weapon the police use,” Kupenga said.

Parekura Kupenga says most police officers carrying guns aren't emotionally equipped to deal with the psychological after effects of killing someone.


Auckland academic David Williams says the WAI 260 flora and fauna claim hearings illustrate the problems Maori have with concepts of ownership rights.

Dr Williams, a senior law lecturer at Auckland University, says modern intellectual property law requires ownership to be established before ideas are used commercially.

He says many Maori feel uncomfortable claiming ownership of thingsm even if they can prove they have a cultural or historical connection.

“And if you come from the sort of cultural perceptions of matauranga Maori, where you say no one owns anything, we’re all a part of everything, that doesn’t give you the right to own things. You’ve got certain responsibilities and duties as kaitiaki and so on, but not ownership,” Williams said.

The Wai 262 hearing will continue at Tokomaru Bay tomorrow, and shift to Waipatu Marae near Hastings next week.


Sloppy pronunciation means there is a potential communication gap between old and young speakers of Maori.

Researchers from Waikato and Canterbury Universities are tracking the way different age groups speak te reo Maori.

Waikato linguistics lecturer Ray Harlow says because younger speakers almost always have English as their first language, they carry the underlying conventions of that language into Maori.

Dr Harlow says it can have a detrimental effect on pronunciation.

“Some people now are mixing up long and short vowels and are saying things like tiikanga instead of tikanga and taatari and taakoto instead of tatari and takoto. We believe it’s because as the long and shorts are coming closer together, people are starting to mix them up,” Harlow said.

Ray Harlow says if the trend continues, the shape of te reo Maori will be permanently affected and some words could be lost.


The head of one of the country's largest primary healthcare organisations says affirmative action is needed to lift the numbers of Maori working in the medical field.

Guy Naden from the Tamaki PHO says Maori initiatives have come under pressure since National Party leader Don Brash's Orewa speech attacked race based funding.

Dr Naden says unless problems are properly addressed, they won't be resolved.

“Affirmative action throughout the world is good for minorities and indigenous people, but the majority population see it as a threat and see it as being unfair. Really to address the inequties in the numbers, this type of action has to happen,” Naden said.

Guy Naden says a programme to increase the number of Maori and Polynesian students studying at Auckland University's Medical School is necessary and should stay.


A senior Maori police officer in Northland says young Maori should be careful when entering relationships with gang members.

Whangarei Police are looking for 31 year old patched gang member Nathan Fenton in connection with the death of 17 year old Mairina Dunn at a house at Otangarei on Sunday.

Taitokerau iwi liaison officer Paddy Whiu says it is a tragic case which illustrates the dangers of the gang lifestyle.

“This is the area for our uyung women, when they get into relationships like ths, like it’s hard for them to get out of, and we’ve seen it on many occasions, and sadly it has occurred to this young lady,” Whiu said.


Veteran songwriters Ngatai Huata and Mahinerangi and Rihitapuwae Tocker and have made the shortlist for the Maioha Award for best waiata section of the APRA Silver Scroll Awards.

They will be joined by newcomer Richard Randell Bennett at the awards ceremony in Auckland on Septermber the 20th.

Ruia Aperahama, the chairperson of award co-sponsor the Maori Music Industry Coalition, says the judges know exactly what thy're looking for.

“It is the excellence, the creativity and the innovation in the use of Maori language in songwriting. Those type of qualities the jusges were looking for. How well does the word and the composition blend together,” Aperahama said.

Ruia Aperahama says Maori language composition gets swamped by the English language music industry, and it needs all the acknowledgement it can get.


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