Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

New beginning ahead for coast tribes

Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Parekura Horomia is taking a keen interest in settlement talks with the Turanga cluster of tribes around Gisborne.

Mandated groups representing Ngai Tamanuhiri, Rongowhakaata and Te Aitangi a Mahaaki claimants yesterday signed terms for a joint negotiation of their claims.

While the area was affected by the wars of the 1860s, especially the campaigns against Te Kooti, the iwi retained much of their land.

Mr Horomia says bodies like the Mangatu Incorporation and the Wi Pere trusts are already economic powerhouses in the Maori world, but a final settlement should really unleash the potential of the three iwi.

“Where other Maori incorporations hadn’t ventured out, they’d be going for a fair while, so if this settlement can be done sooner than later, I think you’ll see some real valid benefits to the beneficiaries, and I think you’d be seeing a fair bit of that now,” Mr Horomia says.

Talks may start as early as this week.

Labour Maori MPs and Prime Minister Helen Clark in the Tairawhiti region for the next two days visiting businesses, farms, schools runanga and marae.


A researcher of pre-European Maori theology says Maori are an example of how faiths can co-exist together.

Manuka Henare is part of the New Zealand delegation to this week's Asia Pacific Interfaith Dialogue in Waitangi which is looking at ways religious tolerance can counter the sort of extremism that leads to terrorism.

Mr Henare says Maori religion is as old as Bhuddism and Christianity, a religion it sits comfortably with.

“That's the way our ancestors, our tupuna, looked at it when they decided yes, let’s become members of the Anglican Church, the Methodist church, the Presbyterian Church or the Catholic church and so forth, and that membership of one of these new religions didn’t necessarily mean they put aside their traditional religion,” he says.

About 180 political and religious leaders from 15 countries are taking part in the event.


The co-ordinator of Matariki celebrations in Taitokerau says Maori concepts and patterns are being embraced by all of Northland's artists, not just Maori.

Jackie Walters says more than 80 events are planned during June to mark the Maori new year.

She says many of Northland's art galleries are hosting exhibits with Maori themes, some of them done by non-Maori artists.

“Thinking of Thomas Lauterbach whose art is often on display in libraries here, and at the Treaty Grounds in Waitangi. His work is definitely deeply attached to things Maori, quite lovely to see. In some ways Northland is leading the country in that respect,” Ms Walters says.


Veteran activist Titewhai Harawira says she was disgusted at the shoddy treatment of tangata whenua at the opening of the Asia Pacific Interfaith Dialogue in Waitangi yesterday.

Mrs Harawira says Ngapuhi kaumatua weren't invited to be part of the powhiri to welcome the 180 religious and political leaders from 15 countries.

Mrs Harawira she tried to convince kaumatua to go anyway.

“As much as I tried to get them to come, they all decided not to attend, and the kaumatua there – we had tamariki in it like Pita Paraone and Manuka Henare, just lick the stamps boys, Dover Samuels, they aren’t kaumatua and kuia, they don’t represent Ngapuhi. It was a sad day,” she says.

Mrs Harawira says she felt uncomfortable being in a room with Philippine leader Gloria Arrayo, because of that country's human rights record.


The chair of Mangakino's Pouakani marae says it will take time for the whanau to come to terms with the loss of their marae.

The meeting house Tamatea Pokai Whenua was razed in a suspicious early-morning fire yesterday, and the neighbouring wharekai was also badly damaged.

Dave Dick says many tribal treasures of Ngati Kahungunu ki Pouakani were lost.

“All our carvings and our whakairo all gone and our whakawahuuatanga, the – photos, the whole lot o ko ngaro, ko ngaro katoa,” Mr Dick says.


Northland indigenous filmmaking will be on display at the Second Hokianga Film Festival, which starts this Friday at Moria Marae in Whirinaki.

Organiser Margaret Morrow says highlights will include The Waimate Conspiracy, The Last Resort, a selection of archival work by Ngapuhi filmmaker Lloyd Latimer and a documentary about attempts by Ngapuhi owners to restore the health of Lake Omapere.

There will also be a selection of short films, music videos and documentaries shot during school and holiday programmes by the region's rangatahi.

Ms Morrow says because of the region's population mix, the festival has taken on a real Maori flavour.

“Two years ago we had it partly on Moria Marae and partly at Rawene Town Hall. This time we’re focusing it entirely n the marae and we’re inviting lots of elders to come and see what the local students have been doing,” Ms Morrow says.

Organisers hope the festival will inspire more rangatahi to go out and film their own stories.


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