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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, September 22, 2006

“Papa Joe” Delamere dies

Whanau a Apanui and Waipareira are mourning renowned traditional healer Hohepa Delamere, who died this week at the age of 59.

Mr Delamere trained and worked as an engineer before being drawn into a family tradition of healing.

He was the subject of a 2005 Kiwa Films documentary, No Ordinary Joe.

His life was celebrated by a packed house at Hoani Waititi Marae in west Auckland last night before he was taken back to Whitianga Marae near Te Kaha today.

Hoani Waititi kaumatua Pita Sharples says Mr Delamere was an important part of the Waipareira community, contributing not just his knowledge of healing but teaching language, tikanga and other aspects of matauranga Maori or Maori knowledge.

“He was a great man and a very humble leader. Through the mirimiri with his hands, he could feel things, and was able to heal spiritually as well as physically, plus his knowledge of mamao and other ancient healing traditions and rongoa and so on, he was unique,” Sharples said.

Hohepa Delamere will lie in state at Whitianga marae until his funeral Monday.


Mike Heeney is the regional co-ordinator for the Kelston Deaf Education center, overseeing 40 resource teachers from Kaitaia to Taupo.

He says in centres like Rotorua, Whakatane and Hamilton, over 80 percent of the teachers' clients are Maori.

Mr Heeney says age old problems such as glue ear become a problem when left unchecked.

“Things such as otitis media, glue ear, things like that. There are some things that can be followed up that aren’t always followed up. There is also genetic factors, and I think numbers with hearing impairments using hearing aids would be higher than the general population, but when we look at those with less severe hearing impairment, but with educational impairment, those with glue ear, those stats are higher,” Heeney said.

He said hearing loss can be a huge barrier to learning for tamariki.


The University of Auckland has appointed veteran teacher Jim Peters to the role of Pro-Vice Chancellor Maori.

Mr Peters is also known as a former New Zealand First list MP and a long serving member of Northland Regional Council.

He says is proud to follow some of the well known Maori leaders who have contributed to the education of Maori students at Auckland University.

Mr Peters says he wants to get more Maori through to the higher levels of education.

“I would hope that a mark of my time would be a significant increase in high quality Maori students, Many Maori leave university at bachelors level, more are leaving at masters level, and some are leaving at doctorate level. Really, there’s a potential for them to go on to the very highest levels,” Peters said.

Jim Peters takes up his position as on October 1.


Ngai Te Rangi Chairman Hauata Palmer says fears that a proposed marine reserve around the northern Mr Maunganui will become an exclusive Maori fishing zone are unfounded.

The tribe's chief executive, Brian Dickson, has also tried to quell the fears to prevent a backlash from recreational anglers and the wider community.

If the reserve gets the go ahead Maori will be able to exercise management control, but Mr Palmer says nothing is likely to change for recreational fisherman.

He says that although some restrictions on shellfish will be necessary to preserve the resource, the area will be no different from any other Maori reserve:

“There were people who were saying if the foreshore and seabed were in Maori hands, then nobody else would have access. It’s the same thing here. I think it’s a little bit silly. It’s like any reserve. You look at all of the Maori reserves in existence now, there’s no restriction on access to anybody,” Palmer said.

A resource book in te reo Maori for children with hearing aids has been launched to mark Deaf Awareness Week.

Taonga Whakarongo was put together the Oticon Foundation, a charitable trust which aims to improve the lives of deaf people.

The book explains to children how they should look after their hearing aids and get the best from them.

Michael Heeney, from the Kelston Deaf Education centre, says it's a fantastic resource which will be useful not just by deaf children but by kura.

Michael Heeney says Maori children are more likely to have hearing loss than non-Maori.


The head of a Maori immersion teacher training school is disturbed at the shortage of Maori men wanting to become teachers.

Tawhirimatea Williams of Te Wananga o Takiura in Auckland says there is no easy solution.

Mr Williams says the money on offer may be a factor.

“Possibly one of reasons could be by the time they leave school they want to go out and earn money anyhow, and going into a tertiary institution, they’re going to be jolly poor for the next three years at least. Whereas women are quite prepared to take those consequences on board knowing something good is going to come out at the end of it,” Williams said.


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