Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Noted weaver, Florrie Berghan, dies

Te Rarawa and Ngapuhi will today farewell kuia Florrie Berghan, who died on Friday age 88.

Mrs Berghan has been lying in state at at Koraukore marae at Ahipara.

Her nephew, Haami Piripi, says Mrs Berghan was a renowned weaver of
cloaks and kete.

She was one of the artists featured in a recent book, He Kete He Korero - every kete has a story.

Mr Piripi says those lucky enough to have one of Mrs Berghan’s pieces received it from her in the age-old way, as she refused to sell any of her work and known as the kuia who swapped kits.

“She was very well known as a person who would be carrying the most beautiful and exquisite kit and would go to a marae and see an old lady from Hokianga perhaps and she would swap her exquisite kit for something that was old and ragged. She practiced the old ethic in relation to nurturing and caring for taonga,” Mr Piripi says.

Florrie Berghan will be laid to rest this morning at the Pukemiro urupa in Ahipara. Haere atu ra e kui.


New Zealand First's Maori spokesperson says Maori have little to gain from the influx of Asian immigrants.

Latest census data shows Asians are the fastest growing ethnic group, increasing from 238 thousand to 354 thousand between 2001 and 2006.

Pita Paraone says as well as soaking up many jobs which might once have gone to Maori, the new migrants are bringing in a different set of religious beliefs

“It'll be just a matter of time when Government will make place for those religions under legislation. We’ll lose the status of being a Christian country, I believe,” Mr Paraone says.

Maori are more comfortable with migration from the Pacific Islands, because the people has a close cultural relationship with Maori and many of the same values and beliefs.


A pioneering Maori publisher says Maori writers are gaining confidence as they see more material with a Maori perspective making it into print.

Robyn Bargh from Huia Publishers says her firm’s biannual Pikihuia writing competition draws in more manuscripts each time, from short stories to novels to screenplays.

She says Maori readers benefit as well.

“Maori are then more interested in reading those books and stories because there are more stories that have characters that we know and stories that we know and places that we know, and it’s good for New Zealand literature because it means out literature then has a lot more Maori perspectives in it,” Ms Bargh says.

Entries for the Pikihuia Awards close on May the 15th.


Taranaki iwi Te Atiawa is trying to set up a new mandating process so it can resume treaty negotiations with the Government.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Mark Burton last week told Te Atiawa Iwi Authority that after seven years of talks he was no longer confident in its ability to deliver a durable settlement.

The Crown has offered about $34 million to compensate the iwi for grievances arising from the confiscation of its land during the wars of the 1860s.

Te Atiawa treaty claim negotiator Grant Knuckey says it's a positive development.

“We're telling people it’s a new beginning so hey, we know we’ve made some mistakes, let’s unload the old baggage and get on, then let’s work for the positives, and if there are some issues we need to work out, let’s sit down and sort them out,” Mr Knuckey says.

The new negotiators need to be elected by the whole iwi, rather than just being hapu representatives like the previous team.


Maori are looking at different ways of expressing their spirituality.

That's the conclusion of Victoria University academic Jim Veitch to the latest census data on religious identity.

Professor Jim Veitch says the number of Pakeha involved in the main denominations is declining, and there is a smaller fall-off in Maori participation.

But he says growing numbers of people who identify with Maori religions like Ratana and Ringatu show Maori are shopping around.

“There's a kind of a question mark about the intellectual credibility of Christianity that’s at this stage of the history of Christianity, is very much to the fore I think. Not that it’s debated much but I think it’s there in people’s lives and in their thinking, so there is an exploration of other ways of expressing one's spirituality,” Professor Veitch says.

At the 2006 census, 11 percent of the people of Maori ethnicity who answered the religious affiliation question said they identified with a Maori Christian religion.


It's Mana Wahine week, when the achievements of Maori women are celebrated.

Sonya Rimene from the Ministry of Women's Affairs says this year's theme is Maori women as leaders creators and innovators.

Ms Rimine says it's not just a week for women.

“Mana wahine is for our Maori men to champion and celebrate that. You know, ma te tane, ma te wahine. Maori women will make decisions in the context of the collective they belong to. They won’t move without Maori men. We’re looking for Maori men to champion and celebrate our Maori women,” Ms Rimene says.

The Women's Affairs Ministry and Te Puni Kokiri are co-hosting an event tonight in Wellington featuring businesswoman Kathy Tait-Jamieson and Caaren Fox, the first woman to be appointed a Maori Land Court judge.


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