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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Kahukiwa book wins children’s prize

Artist Robyn Kahukiwa has added children's books to her list of accolades.

Her book Matatuhi, translated into Maori by Kiwa Hammond, won the Te Kura Pounamu at today's Library and Information Association's Childrens Book Awards in Rotorua.

Other finalists included three titles by Sue Corkill translated by Huirangi Waikerepuru, Eriata Nopera, a Graham Metzger and Hana Pomare collaboration, and Gavin Bishop's Whakaeke i ngaa Ngaru translated by Katerina Mataira.

One of the judges, Eddie Neha from the Maori library association Te Ropu Whakahau, says it was a worthy winner.

“Anyone's who's ever seen Robyn Kahukiwa’s work will be absolutely thrilled with this book. Every page is a journey in itself. Kiwa Hammond, as expected, his reo is wonderful. The combination of the reo and the pictures, the story flows just so so wonderfully,” he says.

Mr Neha says the books should be seen more widely, but most of them just get distributed to schools.


The Maori principals association Te Akatea is concerned a nationwide shortage of teachers nationwide is affecting schools' ability to deliver all curriculum areas to their students.

The association is holding its hui in Wellington this week, including discussion on the best ways to teach the 88 percent of Maori children who attend mainstream schools.

Co-president Shane Ngatai from Hamilton's Rhode Street Primary says the workload for Maori teachers is particularly high.

He says schools are struggling to fill vacancies in all areas.

“500 positions available at the moment that haven’t been filled, and with the government’s strategy of reducing our year one classes from 1:23 to 1:18, it’s going to create even more demand for teachers,” Mr Ngatai says.

Te Akatea is concerned that all teachers coming through the system learn how to interact positively with Maori students.


Horomona Horo will be thinking of his tupuna when he blows his pukaea over Flanders fields.

The Rotorua taonga puoro teacher has been invited to Belgium for next month's ceremonies marking the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele.

The trumpet-like pukaea was traditionally used to relay signals in war and for rituals associated with planting of kumara and other crops.

Mr Horo, from Ngati Porou, Nga Puhi and Taranaki, says it's an honour to play for the old soldiers, including some of his ancestors who lie buried there.

“The biggest thing for me is being able to play the traditional Maori instruments at these dawn ceremonies and commemorations, because it will be the first time an indigenous instrument will be used in I suppose any war commemoration done by military, because all you ever hear is the bugle,” Mr Horo says.

He will also play his taonga puoro in Bruges Cathedral in accompaniment to carillion bells.


The Prime Minister says this week's deal with Tuwharetoa protects the public's right to free recreational use of Lake Taupo.

It replaces a 1926 deal which gave Tuwharetoa a share of fishing licence fees and the 1992 settlement which returned the lake bed to the tribe.

Helen Clark says the new arrangement, which gives Tuwharetoa one and a half million dollars a year from the Crown, cleans up dangerously loose wording in the earlier agreements.

“Tuwharetoa as I understand it could have actually been moving in and deciding to charge the recreational user. Now you can imagine the pigeons which would have flown around the coop on that. So the government has in effect bought Tuwharetoa out of some of those loose parts of the National Party's deal,” she says.

Ms Clark says the new deal confirms Tuwharetoa's right to charge commercial lake users a fee.


The first indigenous president of the American Library Association has been impressed by the respect given to Maori in New Zealand.

Loriene Roy is in Rotorua for the annual conference of this country's Library and Information Association.

She's from the Anishinabe or Chippewa people of Minnesota.

She says the visibility of Maori culture in New Zealand is refreshing.

“It's just so stimulating to be in an environment where native language is acknowledged, expected, respected, where that in the beginning of a conference opens with cultural ceremony, with powhiri, and that there are introductions in Maori,” Ms Roy says.

She says most American publishers and librarians still don't understand how important it is to let indigenous peoples tell their own stories.


A painter from Putaruru, a mother of six who works in a chicken smoking factory, a concrete truck driver and a Taneatua schoolboy are among the 19 finalists for Homai Te Pakipaki.

Maori Television's Friday night karaoke series in front of a live audience has been one of the hottest tickets in Auckland.

Co-host Te Hamua Nikora says the reaction from the live and the broadcast audience was unexpected.

“Absolutely none of us knew that it was going to snowball and blow up as well as it did. Personally I was worried. I thought it was going to either make my career or end it for me. I’m so happy Aotearoa’s taken Homai Te Pakipaki into their hearts. I mean it’s nothing but entertainment, manaakitanga and whakawhanaungatanga. To use as a Maori people, easily we were going to jump on that bandwagon. But the rest of Aotearoa loved the kaupapa too,” Mr Nikora says.

This Friday's final will be filmed at the larger Beaumont Centre in Freemans Bay. The winner picks up $10,000.


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