Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, April 30, 2007

Tamaki Bros open Christchurch village

Maori tourism gurus the Tamaki brothers opened their new venture in Christchurch over the weekend.

Mike Tamaki says the project has taken over four years to put together, but he is confident the interactive experience will be a hit with overseas and domestic travelers.

After visiting dozens of indigenous tourism ventures worldwide, he decided there was a better way to tell the story of the settlement of Aotearoa by Maori and non-Maori.

Visitors are led through native bush, a pre-European Maori village, a musket war and a post-colonial village where Maori spirituality was forbidden.

Mr Tamaki says with actors, sound and light effects, it is unlike any other Maori tourism experience.

“Big problem is nobody gets to know the true story of the Maori, and many people go along to Rotorua or anywhere else or for that matter Hawaii, where you can also get a Maori cultural experience, and it’s all exactly the same, it’s all based on entertainment on a stage. What we’ve done down here is taken portions of our history out of time, and we’re totally re-enacting them,” Mr Tamaki says.

He says too many other ventures just offer tourists a show and a feed.


Hawkes Bay social workers are concerned at an alarming number of homeless and mentally ill young Maori men in the rohe.

Doug Banks, the manager of mental health service provider Whatever it Takes, says his organisation found between 150 and 200 homeless people, mostly young men.

Mr Banks says there is no emergency accommodation in the region, and people are dossing down in cars, bins and beaches.

He says whanau are unable to cope with the rangatahi.

“A lot of their whanau are struggling as well with the same issues, and a lot of their whanau find it very hard to deal with the kind of problems that these people have and it’s not particularly their fault. They don’t know what to do and they don’t know how to deal with the situation. They don’t have the skills themselves to address the issues,” Mr Banks says.

He says local councils are unwilling to take responsibility for emergency housing needs.


Members of Otaki's Rangiatea Church are celebrating the return of taonga from the National Library.

The 150 taonga were preserved, and where possible restored by the library after they were rescued from the blaze which destroyed the original church 12 years ago.

Vestry committee chairperson Te Hope Hakaraia says the church is discussing how the taonga should be displayed in the new church, which opened in 2003.

Mr Hakaraia says items like a kiwi feather kete used to collect donations have their own whakapapa.

“They have their own mauri, their own history, so each of those taonga have been stored, that has been part of the healing for us, and I think the kete is very much in that mode,” Mr Hakaraia says.

Rangiatea hopes the return of the taonga will be matched by the return of more people to use what was known as the Maori cathedral.


The head of the Prison Fellowship says too many Maori prisoners have no support after their release.

Kim Workman says a national hui next month will discuss how the relationship between prisoners and the communities they will return to can be strengthened.

He says prisoners with support are much less likely to re-offend when they're released, and he's challenging Maori families to maintain contact with their whanaunga on the inside.

“Positive Maori families, kapa haka groups, rugby league groups, marae groups that are prepared to take on people that are essentially morehu, they are remnants, they’re not accepted by the Pakeha and they’re not accepted by Maori,” Mr Workman says.

More than a third of Maori prisoners never have visitors.


Maori tourism operator Mike Tamaki is adamant those who visit the Tamaki Brothers’ new heritage village in Christchurch will go away with a better appreciation of New Zealand’s past.

He says most New Zealanders have received a glazed over view of our pre and post-colonial history.

The Tamaki Heritage Village was officially opened on Saturday, after four years of planning and construction.

Mr Tamaki says new venture gives both domestic and international visitors a chance to better appreciate the sacrifices made and hardships endured by both Maori and non Maori in the settlement of Aotearoa.

He says that includes loss of land, the suppression of Maori spirituality and 30 years of civil war.

“What we're looking at doing is reenacting these things within the tourism industry which is a non threatening, user friendly vehicle that everybody feels comfortable with walking through. You’ve got no idea how many both Maori and Pakeha that we’ve had through in the last three weeks now that have just has absolute appreciation for our past,”
Mr Tamaki says.


The innagural Maori art market held in Wellington over the weekend is set to become a regular event on the Maori arts calendar.

Tamahou Temara, the operations manager for Toi Maori, says response to the korowai fashion show, and to the works on display by over one hundred Maori artists far exceeded expectations.

More than 5000 people visited the three day event.

He says the guidance offered by senior Maori artists like Darcy Nicholas, Sandy Adsett and Colleen Urlich, ensured a high quality exhibition that brought out the best of both Maori artists and galleries.

You could see the competitive edge that the artists were going through with each other but overall they’re just rapt with the response that they’ve had with people coming in to view their artworks on display and also the art galleries that have come in no doubt give more interest to other potential Maori art galleries that may want to come in for the future,” Mr Temara says.


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