Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, May 14, 2007

Tommy the Clown goes west to foil gang lure

Gangs are no laughing matter for a Maori communities, but West Auckland's Waipareira Trust is using a clown to tackle the problem.

It has brought out Detroit Hip Hop artist Tommy the Clown for a school tour offering rangatahi alternatives to gang life.

Tommy the Clown is credited with bringing the krumping dance style to the world, and he encourages street gangs to battle it out with dance moves rather than guns or fists.

Waipareira chief executive John Tamihere says the message cuts through to rangatahi.

“This bloke's message is all abut anti-crime, anti-drugs, anti-gang. They use a very good medium that connects with our young people and that’s what you got to do, connect with our young people,” Mr Tamihere says.

Tommy the Clown is in west and south Auckland this week and Waikato and Wellington next week.

TOHU SHRUGS OFF FROST HANGOVER

Maori-owned award winning wine company Tohu Wines is looking to maintain its growth despite a frost which wiped out a major new vinyard in Nelson.

Director Keith Palmer says over the past nine years products has risen to 60,000 cases, with most exported to the United States.

Most of the grapes come from its own vineyards in Marlborough and the East Coatst, with additional supplies from contract growers like Gisborne's Wi Pere Trust.

Mr Palmer says it is moving to growing all its own grapes, but it didn't quite work out this harvest.

Unfortunately this year in our major vineyard on November 16 we had a frost which wiped all our grapes out in that new vineyard which was the first full year of production, so we’re very fortunate that we did have some contract growers we’d kept on, and they managed to fulfill the gap in our supply,” Mr Palmer says.

Tohu Wines is trying to encourage more young Maori to join the wine industry.

PUPPETS TAKE TO THE ROAD

A pair of Maori puppeteers are using their skills at the ancient craft to given children a new experience of te reo Maori.

Jeffrey Addison from Ngai Tahu became interested in puppets while working on television satire Public Image.

With his wife Whaitaima Te Whare from Tuwharetoa, he has created more than 80 puppets, including Poura the Koura, Gazza the possum even the demigod Maui.

When they're not working on television puppet shows, the pair travel the country in their house bus giving shows as schools and kohanga reo.

“Knowing that we had to create our own work was the genesis of us forming our own puppet theatre group called Toro Pikopiko, and we had such a positive response from there, because there was just nothing for our tamariki at the kohanga reo in terms of traveling entertainment shows i te reo Maori,” Mr Addison says.

The whanau are working on a third series of Toro Pikopiko E! for Maori Televison.

NGATI TE WHITI STRIKE A GUSHER

New Plymouth's Ngati Te Whiti is celebrating its second oil strike.
The hapu has a six percent stake in Greymouth Petroleum, which has a licence over the country's oldest oil field, Moturoa near Port Taranaki.

One well has been producing about three barrels a day for several years, but a new exploratory well is pumping out almost 200 barrels a day.

Ngati Te Whiti spokesperson Peter Love says while the Crown has ruled out giving Maori any rights to sub-surface minerals, Greymouth Petroleum did the right thing and entered a joint venture the tangata whenua of their licence area.

“There was going to be disturbance of the seabed and foreshore in terms of our kaimoana fishing grounds. There’s nothing you can do about that. Exploration licences of course take precedence over everything,. You can own the land until you’re blue in the face but if the government issues them a licence, well then they're away,” Mr Love says.

The oil and natural gas in the field could be worth more than 100 million dollars over the next 20 years.

YOUNGER GANGS TAKING TO THE STREETS

Maori wardens in West Auckland say it's not the traditional gangs that are causing trouble.

Spokesperson Jack Taumaunu says Black Power and the Mongrel Mob are portrayed as being at the root of gang problems nationwide, in the wake of the shooting death of a Black Power member's daughter in Wanganui last week.

He says the real problems are with cross cultural gangs, or crews as they are called, modeling their behaviour on American street gangs.

“Most of the gangs come from a different era. We are dealing not with the Mongrel Mob, the Black Power like the press explains and everyone else, we’re dealing with another hidden, younger, far worse gang strife, and that is to do with the younger generation,” Mr Taumaunu says,

The Waitemata Wardens are able to develop working relationships with the leaders of youth gangs because they are less intimidating than the police.

TOHU LOOKING AT NEXT GENERATION LEADERSHIP

A director of Tohu Wines says the award winning Maori-owned company is taking a long term approach to bringing Maori into leadership positions.

Keith Palmer says while some Maori land trusts have diversified into viticulture, there is still not a large Maori presence in the industry.

Mr Palmer says Tohu wants to encourage Maori into the workforce, but there are no shortcuts when it comes to making and marketing good wine.

“It's like every industry and wine’s no different, you can’t just leap into it. And when we talk about our young Maori coming in to run our businesses, that’s a generation away, You can’t just go to university, learn, or do an apprenticeship of five or six years and then take over. There’s a long time horizon to building up the capability to run it totally yourself,” Mr Palmer says.

Tohu is now producing about 60,000 cases a year, with most of it exported to the United States.

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