Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Latimer returned to Maori Council post

Sir Graham Latimer has been elected to chair the New Zealand Maori Council for the 12th straight time.

The Northland leader was first elected to the post in 1973, and has led it through lows and highs, including a series of historic court battles which led to the Maori fisheries and forestry settlements.

Sir Graham says the issues raised at this week's triannual conference were similar to previous years, with problems facing Maori youth at the top of delegates minds.

He says the Government's plans to change the way the country's water rights are administered will also present a challenge for the council.

“Customary rights are going to loom very high. Maoridom has got four of five areas where the Government has signalled they are going to make changes. We’re going to go through a very hard period over the next six months trying to work our way through without confusing everybody and losing the direction we are going in,” Sir Graham said.

Sir Graham Latimer says despite the battles the council has won in the courts, governments still fail to properly consider the Maori interest when they make changes.


The New Zealand League team has traditionally been dominated by Maori players, but less than half a dozen will don the Kiwi jersey against Australia in Saturday night's test in Auckland.

League chairperson Sel Bennett says that's just part of a cycle, and he's confident Maori will continue to play a major role in the game's development.

Mr Bennett says there are talented Maori players emerging in the domestic competition, as well as some playing across the Tasman and in England.

“I don't think it’s a drop-off. I think it’s just a phase we are going through. Te resurgence will come back again, New Zealand Maori is touring the Cook Islands, they have a three test series over there. The football is great, there’s no doubt about it.” Bennett said.


A Whangarei initiative put forward by a group with a common love for the late Elvis Presley aims to celebrate the bond between fathers and sons.

Ashes of Elvis is a group of 10 Northland health sector workers, who originally came together as a social group.

Member George McGaughey says through their work with local social service groups in the region, they saw the lack of male role models for rangatahi.

Mr McGaughey says Ashes of Elvis is holding a day for fathers, sons, uncles, and nephews next month to highlight the issue.

“We noticed that there was a lack of positive male role models among a lot of our youth, so we have taken it upon ourselves to try to get a recognised day ion New Zealand to celebrate fathers and sons,” McGaughey said.

George McGaughey says Ashes of Elvis is launching its dads and lads day in Whangarei on the 12th of November.


A Rotorua Maori Trust has come to the rescue of Child Youth and Family, which has been struggling to find a suitable site for a youth justice residential facility servicing the Waikato and bay of Plenty.

Parekarangi Trust has offered to lease a 10 hectare dairy block 12 kilometres south of Rotorua for the 40 bed unit.

The ministry is seeking public comment on the proposal.

Parekarangi Trust property manager Clive Carrington says the felt a sense of social responsibility.

“They're just putting it there because they feel they need to help youth and in the future you never know what it might hold, we might be able to do some farm work schemes or whatever,” Carrington said.


The organiser of a professional development course for Maori medium art teachers says Maori need to take control of their own curriculum.

Ihipera Kerr says while most curriculum documents used in kura kaupapa and Maori immersion units may be in Maori, they are usually just translations of the corresponding English documents.

Ms Kerr says the reason her Feel the Magic art course was a hit with Maori teachers was because it drew on a curriculum which was put together by Maori for Maori.

“Most of our other Maori documents are actually translations of the English documents, but the Nga Toi one had a specialness about it from the input of native speakers, and they wanted a document that Maori medium could relate to and know they actually owned and it wasn’t a transliteration of anything else,” Kerr said.

Ihipera Kerr says Maori medium teachers are always looking for authentic ways to teach subjects in a Maori way.


Mangatangi south of Auckland will today host the poukai, one of the ceremonial gatherings which bind together the Maori King Movement.

Kaumatua Toko Pompey of Ngati Tamaoho says poukai are held each year at 28 marae through the Waikato and in other areas with traditional links to the Kingitanga.

Mr Pompey says it was introduced by the second Maori king, Tawhiao, as a celebratory feast and a place to raise issues.

“Tawhiao insisted that all marae support each other on a particular day, and on those days your eels and my mussels and my pigeons, we all gather together and then we have a feast to be together, so consequently on this day we have this dinner and the Maori king joins in and enjoys our companionship,” Pompey said.

Toko Pompey says the new king Tuheitia will attend the hui.


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