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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Linda Smith Waikato pro vice chancellor Maori

The woman who has driven post-graduate education for Maori at Auckland University is taking on a new challenge as Waikato University's top Maori academic.

Linda Tuhiwai Smith will take over from Tamati Reedy in July as the university's Pro Vice Chancellor Maori.

Dr Smith joined the Education Department at Auckland in 1988, and with husband Graham encouraged dozens of Maori to pursue masters and doctoral qualifications.

She is also co-director of Nga Pae Maramatanga, the National Institute of Research Excellence for Maori Development and Advancement.

Dr Smith says the new job has a number of attractions.

“A new challenge for me, taking me outside my current comfort zone, but it’s also a step towards my home where I’m from, which is Ngati Awa Ngati Porou, so to move southwards from Auckland is to take a few little tentative steps back home,” Dr Smith says.


Treaty and women's rights activist Mereana Pitman says Maori are deeply offended by National Party leader John Key's use of a young Maori girl as a public relations prop during his trip to Waitangi this week.

Ms Pitman says she was appalled Mr Key took 12 year old Aroha Ireland from Owairaka to the Bay of Islands on her own.

She says that's not the Maori way.

“If you are traveling into someone else’s ope, someone else’s nation, you need to have people with you who can go with you. It was really obvious to me that the young girl had no whanau with her, no kuia and no koroua, and it was just a kind of meat market PR exercise really,” Ms Pitman says.

She says at the same time Mr Key is using the symbolism of a young Maori girl to score points, he is vowing to take away the Maori voice in Parliament.


Maori land organisations need to work together more closely if they are to achieve positions of leadership in the primary sector.

That's the view of Murray Hemi, manager of Maori strategy at the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, who is one of the organisers of today's Maori Innovation Summit at Te Papa in Wellington.

Mr Hemi says the summit will give Maori organisations a chance to develop the networks, connections and opportunities they need for growth.

He says Maori are significant players in a number of sectors, but it's not reflected in their political power.

“Forestry is a good example, Dairy is another good example. So I think there is aklso some really great opportunities for Maori to position themselves as industry leaders and strong power groups in industries if they work together for some common aims, and those commonalities are often over the way multiply owned land is developed and furthered over time,” Mr Hemi says.

He says the managers of Maori assets need to be working with crown research institutes to improve their productivity.


Waikato University council member Apirana Mahuika has welcomed the appointment of Linda Tuhiwai Smith as Pro Vice Chancellor Maori.

Dr Smith is currently in Auckland University's education department and a co-director of Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga, the national institute of Maori research excellence.

Mr Mahuika says Waikato will benefit hugely from Dr Smith's experience in indigenous research and her commitment to developing other Maori researchers.

“A lot of the emphasis in the university is in the area of research and assisting students, particularly at the post graduate level, and she comes to the university with that vast experience that she had gathered while she was at Auckland University and her involvement also in the special PhD area for Maori post-graduate students,” Mr Mahuika says.

Dr Smith will take over the pro vice chancellor Maori role from Tamati Reedy in July.


Northern elders want answers on the future of their representation on the Waitangi National Trust, which administers the treaty grounds.

The Ministry of Culture and Heritage has been conducting a review of the trust structure in advance of a major project to rebuild the visitors centre, and the Governor General announced this week he will not go on the trust, breaking a long standing tradition.

Kaumatua Nuki Aldridge says Waitangi is special ground for the tribes of the north, and they want some say in what happens there.

“The rumours the people are hearing are the government was going tio take all of the seats take away the tupuna representation, run the trust, presumably from Wellington,” Mr Aldridge says.

The Treaty Grounds were gifted to the nation by former governor general Lord Bledisloe, on the condition that no public funds be used in its upkeep,


A hui in Turangi has helped spark interest in traditional Maori games.

Organiser Kotuku Tibble says last weekend's sports hui grew out of the mid winter Tuwharetoa arts festival, which captured the imagination of iwi members.

He says teacher Harko Brown brought 40 students down from Kerikeri to demonstrate kiorahi, a game that involves the combined skills of soccer, rugby and cricket.

There was also poi throwing, mau rakau and waka ama competitions.

Mr Tibble says sports events with a cultural dimension are not uncommon.

“If the Scottish people can have the Highland games over in Napier-Hastings every Easter, what is wrong with us Maori having an event that is celebrates out indigenous knowledge of thise games and pastimes,those hakinakina and takoro that our tupuna used,” Mr Tibble says.

The Tuwharetoa sports hui may shift to Labour weekend to give more iwi members the chance to participate.


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