Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, September 24, 2007

MWWL has tentacles everywhere

The Maori Women’s Welfare League has been praised as the most effective organisation for getting through to Maori.

Mana magazine editor Derek Fox says this weekend’s annual conference in the Bay of Islands showed the 56-year-old organization was still in touch with flax roots communities.

The league came under fire last week from Maori Party co-leader Peter Sharples for abandoning its advocacy role on issues like domestic violence.

But Mr Fox says there was no sign this weekend Te Roopu Wahine Maori is slowing down.

“They still have tentacles that go right down into our society, and they have membership all round the place, and I don’t write the league off at all. I think the league is one of the greatest institutions that we have around, with people that are still able to tap down into our society,” Mr Fox says.


Deaf students could be studying Maori through their computers by mid next year.

The Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology has won a $100,000 grant from computer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard to develop technology for teaching te reo Maori to the hearing impaired.

It could also help teach mathematics and software design.

David Weir, the head of the school of computing, says the system will be based on emerging per-to-peer sharing technologies which make it possible for computers to communicate with each other in real time.

“Imagine you've got a small class of maybe a dozen, all hearing-impaired Maori students, and you’ve got a Maori tutor in the classroom, and they’ve all got these PCs. The machines, because they can talk to each other using the inbuilt capabilities, they can communicate using the machines directly,” Mr Weir says.

The system will be a practical project for students doing the Bachelor of Information and Communication Technology.


Entries are rolling in for a sporting contest with a difference - Iwi State of Origin.

Wiremu Mato, a kaiwhakahaere of Maori sport at Sport North Harbour, says the October 13 event will feature touch, netball tug o war and a hikoi.

He says a quarter of all Maori live in Auckland, and the event is a chance for them to re-establish whakapapa connections while and at the same time supporting a healthy kaupapa.

“Maori love to play sport. It’s also about trying to realign yourself with your traditional iwi. Many of us are lucky enough to have Pa wars and see the benefits that it has within our respective regions, so we’re going to start from humble beginnings, but even saying that, I’ve had a heck of a lot of interest already,” Mr Mato says.

Entries for iwi state of origin are available at www.harboursport.co.nz


The head of New Zealand's largest hoki fishing company says recognition the fishery is sustainable is good news for the Maori fisheries settlement.

The Marine Stewardship Council recertified the hoki fishery after looking at the scientific data and the way New Zealand companies harvest and process the deepwater species.

Robin Hapi, the executive chair of Aotearoa Fisheries Limited, says hoki is a major business for Aotearoa and its subsidiary Sealord Group.

“Hoki is important to Sealord, and Sealord is important to Maori, and the fishing industry is important to the New Zealand economy, so from our perspective, to have this sort of pick is quite important,” he says.

Mr Hapi says the industry has done what it can to protect the fishery, including voluntary catch reductions and closing off large parts of New Zealand's exclusive economic zone.


A former colleague believes the public never got to see broadcaster Robin Kora at his best.

The 58-year-old teacher, actor, newsreader and poet died over the weekend.

A former head boy at Te Aute College, Mr Kora was one of the first Maori to be seen fronting television news, presenting Television New Zealand’s Midday News and Eyewitness during the late 1980s.

Derek Fox says he faced the challenges common to many trailblazers.

“I think in a way he was almost miscast in that he was caught up in a time when there were people pressing that there should be Maori presenters, and of course the broadcasting authorities were dramatically resisting that, doing the most minimal thing they could, and I always felt a little sad Robin was being pulled and pushed in certain directions, and he didn’t stay very long in that role, and then he moved off,” Mr Fox says.

Robin Kora is being taken back to his family marae in Levin for burial.


Sir Howard Morrison believes it's a lot harder for artists to get a start today.

The entertainment legend was yesterday presented with Te Tohu Tiketike from Te Waka Toi, the Maori arm of Creative New Zealand, to mark his half century of achievement.

The award was made at his home marae in Rotorua, Te Papaiouru - the same place he was invested with his knighthood.

He says there are higher standards of professionalism demanded of performers today, and it's harder to reach an audience.

“We didn't have the constraints they have these days, but then again, we never had the technology they have these days, so it’s a paradox really. Our success was on the back of the fact that people went out the be entertained. There was no television,” Sir Howard says.

The key to success is being prepared to back yourself.


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