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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, August 31, 2007

Koiwi found under Tolaga school

Tolaga Bay Area School students are having an unexpected history lesson after an urupa was discovered under their playground.

Principal Nori Parata says the cemetery was attached to an Anglican mission founded in the 1840s by Charles Baker.

Many of the bones are of children, who probably died of introduced diseases like smallpox and influenza.

They were found earlier this month during foundation work for a new art block, and archaeologists were immediately called in to excavate the koiwi and the remnants of the church and mission buildings.

“It is an exciting discovery and it’s one that we have ensured our children come on this learning journey with us. It’s one thing to learn about history in theory and it’s another thing to have it being uncovered on your back lawn, so to speak, so the kids have been intensely interested in what has been going on here,” Ms Parata says.

Ngati Kuranui and Te Aitanga a Hauiti are reburying the koiwi at the public cemetery nearby.


Maori kids are choosing Playstation over sports.

That was a concern of some of the country's leading sportspeople on a panel at today's AUT Maori Expo.

Tony Kemp, New Zealand Rugby League's high performance director coach, says he and fellow panelists Dion Hobson and Winton Rufer are looking at the feasibility of an education facility where kids can play sport and learn life skills in a fun environment.

He says there's a real drop off in Maori teenagers on the playing field.

“You look at schools and you’re not allowed to play bulrush at lunchtime. You don’t see kids walking round with a footie in their hands, jumping up in trees and retrieving it, because there’s so many other things they can get their hands to and I think as a society we need to approach this more on an adult scale than a child scale and start pushing them back out there,” Mr Kemp says.


A waka for women and children will tomorrow be taken to her new home.

Hine-moana, Waka Tete Kura, the Maiden of the sea, is being housed alongside the Mataatua waka on Whakatane's Mataatua Reserve.

Tepene Mamaku, the kaumatua for Toi Maori, says he first had the idea for Hine-moana back in 1990, when Maatatua was launched as a waka for men only.

“I'm glad that Hinemoana is now there so that women and children equally take part in learning of the traditions and historical value of the waka… And it also takes them off the streets anyway,” Mr Mamaku says.

The waka is owned by Toi Maori Aotearoa, under its two national committees, He Awhi Tikanga, and Nga Waka Federation.


A man who invaded TVNZ's news studio 15 years ago isn't ruling out a similar response to the state broadcaster's latest overhaul of its Maori programming.

Piripi Haami was part of a group that protested the shifting of Maori language news bulletin, Te Karere, to make way for cricket coverage.

He says TVNZ is still showing its disrespect for te reo Maori by rescheduling Te Karere into a mid afternoon slot.

The original protesters have been discussing their response.

“Could we focus on the direction of going in and sorting it out again. I’d love to. We’d love to,” Mr Haami says.

As well as shifting some programmes around, TVNZ intends to treble its Maori programming, including new Maori focused reality and drama shows.


Whanganui iwi are getting another chance to restrict the amount of water taken out of their river.

The Court of Appeal has granted them leave to appeal against a High Court decision that reinstated Genesis Power's 35-year consent to take water for the Tongariro Power scheme.

Jamie Fergusson, the lawyer for the Whanganui River Maori Trust Board, says the iwi want to go back to an Environment Court ruling that gave Genesis a 10-year water right, to give it the opportunity to reach a long
term agreement with the tribes.

He says there are important questions to be resolved about the Resource Management Act.

“If the key is sustainable management, what does that mean in terms of this application in the Tongariro power development where there’s obviously a recognised need for power generation but on the other hand there’s also been a recognition by the Environment Court that there are significant adverse effects on the cultural and spiritual values and interests of Maori,” Mr Fergusson says.

The appeal is unlikely to be heard before next year.


The daffodil sellers were out in force today raising money for the Cancer Society.

Chief executive Dalton Kelly says the society has been working with Maori around the country to strengthen relationships and develop services.

All the society's pamphlets are now available in te reo.

Mr Dalton says a disproportionate number of Maori are coming down with various forms of cancer.

"One in three New Zealanders are affected by cancer and regrettably one in four New Zealanders will die, and I have to say Maori people are disproportionately high in those figures and particularly in the area of smoking,” Mr Kelly says.

He says 25 percent of cancer deaths can be directly attributed to smoking.


Anonymous atihana said...

The finding of koiwi of children would not be unusual for that period. Where I come from most were buried in sand hills. The arrival of introduced diseases from another continent that had them namely Europe from about 1790 onwards was devastating and sliced through the Maori population. But for that, colonization of Aotearoa would have been a lot harder.

9:12 AM  

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