Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, April 16, 2007

Don Selwyn remembered

Actor, teacher, filmmaker, and a dedicated member of the Anglican Church.

That's few of the sides of Don Selwyn, whose tangi is being held today at Wharauroa marae in Taumarunui.

Mr Selwyn died last week of kidney failure at the age of 71.

Whakahuihui Vercoe, the former Bishop of Aotearoa, says Mr Selwyn was a long time friend and associate who used his skills to help a wide range of Maori endeavours, including the church.

“He was very much part of the Anglican Church in his faith and in his practice, and he also put on tape a lot of the history of Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa, so he maintained for us a historical sequence of things that happened, and of things to come. I’m sure the whole of Maoridom will be mourning his passing,” Bishop Vercoe says.

Don Selwyn and will be buried tomorrow.


Too many Maori children are dying because they're allowed to play near water unsupervised.

That's the conclusion of research into drowning which has stirred Water Safety New New Zealand and Kohanga Reo National Trust into action.

Maori Water Safety Project manager Mark Haimona says the two organisations are working together to distribute an education kit to every kohanga reo and marae in the country.

Mr Haimona says lack of adult supervision seemed to be a theme of recent statistics, with it being a particular problem for Maori.

“The under fives were a big area that surfaced in drowning statistics, and within that stat there were 44 percent of the total drownings were Maori,” Mr Haimona says.

Water Safety New New Zealand developed its safer play near water kit, Te Takaro Haumaru i te Wai or safer play near water, in association with Tainui kohanga reo teachers and kaumatua.


The Maori language media industry celebrated its own this weekend, handing out awards for those who bring te reo to the airwaves.

The Ta Koha o te Tau award, which recognizes the fledgling industry’s veterans, went to breakfast host Henare Kingi from Wellington station Te Upoko O Te Ika.

Awards convener, Doug Hauraki says Mr Kingi has maintained a lifelong commitment to advancing the Maori language.

“It's the standard of his te reo Maoir and his arrogance in continually promoting the sustainability of our language not only at his age level, but all of those generations that are following,” Mr Hauraki says.

Other winners included Orini Kaipara from Maori Television, who was judged best Maori language presenter, and Auckland urban Maori radio’s Kingi Taurua for radio presenter of the year.


Large numbers are expected at Taumarunui’s Wharauroa Marae today and tomorrow for the tangi of filmmaker Don Selwyn.

And while is widely recognised for his contribution to Maori film and television, broadcaster Tainui Stevens says his impact on other the way other cultures are now telling their stories shouldn't be underestimated.

Mr Stevens says the training schemes Mr Selwyn ran in the produced an extraordinary number Maori and Pacific Island graduates who made their way into the film and television industry as technicians, actors, directors and producers.

He says Don Selwyn was always interested in good stories, irrespective of who was trying to tell them.

“He was so very very Maori, but he was so very very inclusive of all peoples. And his work with the Pacific Island communities, and more recently with the Chinese communities, because he was working on a movie about Rewi Alley, wherever the stories took him, he was keen to use the people of that area,” Mr Stevens says.

Don Selwyn died in Auckland on Friday after a long illness. He will be buried in Taumarunui tomorrow.


A Rotorua Maori health worker says he's like to see more dedicated funding to address the high rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease in the region.

Eugene Berryman-Kamp, the Maori health manager for the Rotorua public health organisation, says a high Maori population means a lot of young people in the city, which is one of the reasons the teen pregnancy rate is twice the national average.

Mr Berryman-Kamp says sexual health accounts for 60 percent of the consultations at a youth health centre part-funded by the PHO, but more could be done with more funding.

“Obviously all of the GP practices also see youth. We have secondary school clinics which have a similar load on them as well but relatively speaking, they’re really not funded to the level I would like to see them funded to get the mahi done,” Mr Berryman-Kamp says.


Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairoa say they're getting the brush off from local government over the likely impact of a new timber drying mill near the northern Hawkes Bay town.

Julie Amato from Takitimu Marae says the nine marae in the area are concerned about traffic, air pollution, and possible chemical discharges into the Wairoa River.

The North Clyde mill was approved by Wairoa District Council and Hawke's Bay Regional Council without going through a public notification process.
Ms Amato says local Maori are getting upset because they're not getting answers.

“We don't need the jargon. We just need information we can relate to. We don’t need to be brushed off because we’re not coming from a scientific level or a technology level. We want to know would that work if you did this?” Ms Amato says.

Construction of the four-kiln dry mill has already begun at the old Tapuae sportsgrounds.


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