Waatea News Update

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

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Crisis of followers not leaders

Maori face a crisis of who to follow, not of a shortage of leaders.

That's the view of Ella Henry, an expert in Maori development and leadership.

The Marsden Fund is funding research into the sort of leadership and governance structures Maori need for the future.

Ms Henry says traditional rangatira did not see themselves as leading from the front, but as doing a job people behind them put them there to do.

The Ask Your Aunties host says leading is a lot harder than it used to be.

“Our leaders have I think 10 times the difficulties that rangatira prior to the treaty had because they’re trying to deliver to us in a society that’s been systematically created to disempower us. Plus we have the added complication that occasionally the Crown picks our leaders,” she says.

Ms Henry says the key is education, because educated communities make good choices.

HAPU GETS MOU OVER PIPELINE PATH

A Taranaki coastal hapu has reached a deal with the New Plymouth District Council which should help protect its sacred sites.

Ngati Tairi spokesperson Hone Baker says the memorandum of understanding covers construction of a $19 million sewerage pipe from Oakura to New Plymouth's wastewater treatment plant.

The hapu will be given advance notice of any work, and it can put an observer on site.

He says Ngati Tairi pushed for the deal because it was unhappy with the proposed route.

“They were actually going to go straight through one of our waahi tapu in Oakura so hence the MOU, like, ‘we need to talk to each other about where you intend to put the pipes. You let us know where you’re going to put it and tell you what's there,’” Mr Baker says.

KUMARA LOST IN TRANSLATION

What's kumara in French?

That's the sort of question being posed by translators as they struggle with Maori words in books in English by New Zealand writers.

Jean Anderson, the head of French at Victoria University, says retaining Maori words is an important way of acknowledging New Zealand's unique culture.

Dr Anderson, who has translated books by Patricia Grace and Janet Frame, says too many translators translate words like kete and kumara into English, and then into a foreign tongue - totally changing the meaning.

“If you put it into the French equivalent which is pata douce it’s got connotations of the war when people couldn’t get proper potatoes so they ate sweet potatoes instead. It’s got all kinds of French connotations that have got nothing to do with what’s going on in the original text,” she says.

Dr Anderson is facilitating a panel discussion at the National Archives in Wellington tonight on colonisation of the Pacific, to launch a book by Tahitian writer Chantal Spitz.

YOUTH WAGE CAMPAIGN INVIGORATING RANGATAHI

The head of the Unite Union says a campaign to abolish youth rates has reignited Maori industrial activism.

Fast food chain McDonalds has announced it will pay all workers adult scale from next March, falling into line with Wendy's.

Matt McCarten says Restaurant Brands, which owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks, and supermarket owner Progressive Entrerprises have also indicated they may be open to change.

He says many young Maori workers have taken a stand during the two-year campaign ... even when they had their hours cut for taking part.

“Everyone's been bloody passive for a long time and this is the first of the next generation – it’s not fair, it’s not fair. And 100, 120 years ago Maori were aid different rates for the same job and they went on strike. The first two strikes in New Zealand were by Maori who said we get the same as the Pakeha for the same job,” Mr McCarten says.

Today's youth activism should help advancing Maori political aspirations in future.

ORGANISED CRIME AUTHORITY CARRIED RISK

The Greens fear axing the Serious Fraud Office could give white collar criminals a licence to loot.

Justice spokesperson Nandor Tanczos says the proposed new Organised Crime Agency could just be an excuse for the police to put even more effort into Maori-dominated gangs.

He says investigating white collar fraud is a costly and time consuming, but people lost more in the shonky financial dealings of the 1980s than from property crime during that period.

“Corporate crime isn’t always organized crime either, and by focusing on organized crime networks, it doesn’t mean some of that other stuff is going to be of interest at all, and that would be a worry,” Mr Tanczos says.

He says concentration of power within the police, including investigation, prosecution and recovery of criminally derived assets, could increase the risk of vendettas and politically expedient arrests.

MAORI BOOK FESTIVAL STARTS

The international market for Maori writers is growing, but the important battle is still at home.

Robyn Bargh from Huia Publishers says to prosper in the larger international markets, writers need a strong domestic following.

Huia's Festival of Maori Writers kicked off in Wellington today, as part of New Zealand Book Month.

Ms Bargh says the festival, which has been running for 12 years, is a testament to the strength of the Maori creative sector.

“There are more Maori writers. They are also getting better, or we’re finding better ones. More are getting published. And I suppose these festivals give them an opportunity to just meet with each other, talk with each other, for us to just meet them and the public to meet with them,” she says.

Ms Bargh says Huia would like to see more work in te reo Maori, but they are not viable unless they're supported by sales.

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