Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, April 16, 2007

Gang patch bill good idea but unlikely to succeed

A proposed bill to allow towns to ban gang patches has won support from someone who's tried it in the past.

Whanganui MP Chester Borrows has written the bill, after the Wanganui City Council dropped its plans for a by-law.

Former New Zealand First MP Rana Waitai, who is now a Wanganui-based lawyer, says he banned gang patches in Ruatoria in the early 1990s when he was the police Gisborne district commander.

Mr Waitai says the move worked to curb the activities of the Mongrel Mob in the town, but it ran foul of civil liberties groups.

“I said at that stage, I said ‘mark my words if they keep wearing that gear round here, someone’s going to get killed.’ And six months later someone got their head shot off,” Mr Waitai says.

He says Mr Borrows will probably find his bill runs afoul of civil liberties.


West Auckland urban Maori authority Te Whanau o Waipareira is getting ready to restructure itself as it seeks to rebuild after years of financial misrule.

Chief executive John Tamihere says accounts to be tabled at this month's annual meeting will show the trust has turned itself around, after losing more than $16 million over the past five years.

Mr Tamihere says the trust probably lost three times that sum in opportunity costs, but it was now debt free.

He says the new committee has been consulting extensively as to where it should go, but its survival is not in doubt.

“You just have to rebuild from a zero base again, although thankfully elders like Uncle Jack Wihongi and Auntie Tuini and all those who came before us, they set a very good platform, and it’s pretty hard for any idiot to blow up, the foundation stones that they put in place for us, so we’ve just got to add the flesh again,” Mr Tamihere says.


It will be the only marae in the country where you can see Mt Aoraki.

Te Runanga o Ngati Waewae is building a 1 point 7 million dollar complex on a hill overlooking its pa at Arahura, just north of Hokitika.

Project manager Ben Te Aika says it should be finished in 2009.

Mr Te Aika says the hapu is looking forward to moving its hui out of marquees and school halls.

“We've been accommodating a lot of our tangihanga and powhiri in facilities that aren’t too flash, and really it’s a wionderful time to be starting a project like this because it’s a tohu of our growth I suppose and our return to the landscape in a culture sense, so yeah wonderful,” Mr Te Aika says.

The only other marae on the West Coast is at Bruce Bay in South Westland, which Te Runanga o Makaawhio opened in early 2005.


Tainui chairperson Tukoroirangi Morgan says Maori need a united front in the debate over water rights.

Mr Morgan says the hui called for next month by Tuwharetoa leader, Tumu Te Heu Heu deserves iwi wide support.

He says many Maori believe their tupuna never ceded rights to water when they signed the Treaty of Waitangi, and the issue could be as volatile as the foreshore and seabed debate.

“This issue has to be talked about. It’s got to be done by all Maori. The opportunity that’s been provided by Tumu te Heuheu of Tuwharetoa is an excellent forum for people to come together and have their say around the status of water,” Mr Morgan says.

He says 75 percent of the water used in Auckland comes from the Tainui rohe.


A veteran Maori broadcaster says young speakers deserve support from the older generation rather than criticism.

Te Upoko O Te Ika breakfast host Henare Kingi was honoured at the Maori Media Awards this weekend for his contribution to Maori language broadcasting.

Mr Kingi says people from his own generation often put down younger speakers for using new words.

He says te reo Maori must evolve.

“We have people criticising the different kupu and all that, and I’m saying to the people on Te Upoko o te Ika, hey, give our young people a chance. Let them do it, because it doesn’t matter how much we the old people growl and moan, this is going to be te reo of tomorrow, and we should be right behind them 100 percent, not moaning,” Mr Kingi says.

He says the young people are the ones who have to take the language forward.


The curator of the Ngai Tahu Rock Art Trust says education may be the best way to protect the country's store of irreplacable rock art.

The trust is building an information centre in Timaru.

Amanda Symon says the south Canterbury town was chosen because of the area's high number of rock art sites.

Ms Symon says many of the South Island's 550 Maori rock art sites risk being destroyed by stock or weather.

She says landowners would value the sites more if there was greater public awareness.

“The general public is kind of unaware that rock art exists. They are aware Australian Aboriginals create rock art, and they may be aware that there’s rock art in France or in Europe, but they’re not aware that there’s actually quite a lot of sites within New Zealand,” Ms Symon says.

She believes the Rock Art Trust's education centre will be a world class tourist attraction when it's finished, some time next year.


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