Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, August 17, 2007

Polynesian leaders mourned

A former Minster of Maori Affairs says the koroneihana hui is bringing home to people how much has changed in Polynesian leadership over the past year.

Thousands of people have been through Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruiawahia to remember their dead, re-emphasise the links between the living, and take part in cultural and sporting activities.

Koro Wetere says after Wednesday's memorial day for the late Maori queen, Te Atairangikaahu, an air of excitement has gripped the celebrations.

Guests expected over the weekend include the King of Tonga and the Samoan head of state.

“For all of those people plus ourselves it’s been a horrendous year, given the passing of Dame Te Ata and then the King of Tonga and then of course the Maleatoa, the head of state for Western Samoa, and then of course Tom Davis, from the Cook Islands, who was formerly a prime minister for that country,” Mr Wetere says.


Meridian Energy has reached out to Maori to try to avoid court action over its North Bank hydro tunnel project.

Ngai Tahu kaumatua Rik Tau says a working party is developing environmental guidelines for the $900 million project.

Meridian wants to take water from Lake Waitaki, run it through a tunnel to a power station before putting it back into the Waitaki River.

Consent hearings started in Timaru on Monday.

Mr Tau says Meridian is the only organisation which has ever taken time to consult with customary owners.

“Local authorities are notorious for never associating with Maori landowners and so rather than have litigations, it is important for us to sit down as landowners who have customary rights, who have court orders for the prior use right of the water that dates back to 1868, and find a way forward,” Mr Tau says.

Policies developed by the working party could be used by other companies or individuals seeking resource consents to use water.


A researcher into how Maori students learn is endorsing the new draft Maori education strategy.

Russell Bishop is the director of Te Kotahitanga, an Education Ministry-funded pilot which gives teachers new ways to interact with Maori in the classroom.

He says the strategy picks up on that, as well as other professional development programmes which are improving literacy and numeracy.

“I'm delighted with that approach. I’m delighted there’s an umbrella statement in this strategy that says we’re going to build upon that which is successful for Maori students. Supporting teachers through providing quality professional development is the way to go. I totally support it,” Professor Bishop says.

He's pleased ministers are waking up that the system needs to be responsive to students, not the other way round.


A member of Auckland's Ngai Tai iwi says a whare in Howick should have the same name as the house it replaces.

An independent commissioner has granted Manukau City Council resource consent to rebuild the house in the Emilia Maud Nixon Garden of Memories, which was burned in an arson three years ago.

During the consent hearing the council said Ngaitai from the eastern Bay of Plenty had withdrawn permission for the house to be called after its ancestor, Torere, because of controversy surrounding the project.

But Pita Turei says that's not a decision they had a right to make.

“You can't just turn up, wave your arms around and magically a name disappears. The name wasn’t even written on the house. The name is written in the hearts and minds of people. It’s in our whaikorero. It’s in our waiata and our songs. That name hasn’t gone anywhere. It's still there,” he says.

Mr Turei says the opposition to the rebuilding was small and petty, compared to the support the whare enjoyed from the tens of thousands of people in east Auckland who used is for educational and cultural activities.


Ngai Tahu are set to re-occupy Kaiapoi Pa.

Hapu spokesperson Paora Tau says mana whenua are swinging in behind Pegasus, a city being developed north of Christchurch.

Even local whanau members who initially opposed the project are now working on the site.

He says some may end up living there... beside the old Kaiapoi Pa.

“Right next to the pa site are sections put aside for our people if they can afford it. It’ll be very expensive but I hope some can and I’ll be looking at it myself actually,” Mr Tau says.


Trustees of Maori assets are being encouraged to learn more about their responsibilities.

Auckland accountant Heta Hudson says most trustees are involved on a part time basis, and often don't understand their duties and liabilities.

Mr Hudson, from Ngati Awa and Tuhoe, is facilitating a wananga for trustees this weekend.

He says there is often little preparation of training from going on trusts.

“You're kind of thrust in these positions to manage whatever whanau assets or ahu whenua assets that the trust may hold, and a lot of the time trustees may not actually understand what that means so looking at their rights as a trustee and also their obligations to the beneficiaries of the trust,” Mr Hudson says.


The country's best kapa haka teams are in Waikato this weekend for a special performance.

Koroneihana spokesperson Moko Templeton says because king Tuheitia has been a keen performer and tutor in culture groups, the groups know they have to put on their best at tomorrow night's Whakamihiria showcase at Turangawaewae.

“Top six Matatini roopu are going to perform for King Tuheitia as well as the ones who come every year like Te Hokowhitu a Tu and Ohau-Ngati Pikiao so we’ll see the young funs in their prime and we’ll also see our nannies and koros,” Ms Templeton says.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You dont have a post comment for the Torere story. Anyway I would like to inform you that it was one whanau from Torere Ngaitai that you are refering to. Not an overall view of the iwi. The fact is the community had no imput to what took place so please kia tupatu when you refer to my iwi. State who you are talking about and do not assume that that is the view of the 99% who do not know whats going on.

10:52 PM  

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