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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tohunga Hohepa Kereopa dies

Ngai Tuhoe is mourning the loss of one of the leading authorities on its traditional knowledge.

Tohunga Hohepa Kereopa died yesterday at his home on Waimana of cancer. He was believed to be about 60.

Tuhoe elder and scholar Timoti Karetu says Mr Kereopa was extraordinarily generous with his knowledge of the natural world, traditional remedies and the Maori universe.

He was also a fine linguist.

“I think the other reason the Maori world will mourn is he was a very fluent speaker of Maori and also spoke English very well, so those sort of true bilinguals are getting fewer by the day. There’s a new generation coming on but there’s a certain je ne sais quoi that that generation had that the new up and coming speakers don’t quite have as yet,” Professor Karetu says.

Hohepa Kereopa's tangi will be at Tanatana Marae in Waimana.


A leading Maori health researcher says more needs to be done to held self-described "hard out" Maori smokers to quit.

Chris Cunningham, the Professor of Maori Health at Massey University and a Quitline trustee, is a featured speaker at this week's Oceania Tobacco Control Conference in Auckland.

He says it's time for the Government to do even more to restrict the availability of tobacco products, whether through pricing, quotas or reducing nicotine levels.

About 270,000 Maori smoke tobacco.

Dr Cunningham says Massey researchers have discovered Maori smokers describe themselves as hard out smokers or hoha smokers, who smoke other people's cigarettes and usually smoke in company or at social events.

“I think what we're seeing is that many of the cessation services that we have, have been very successful at helping the hoha smoker to give up, because actually they don’t need much intervening. What’s been left is this hardened core of people with strong addictions and there needs to be much more overt attention paid to helping that kind of Maori smoker quit,” Dr Cunningham says.

He says hard out Maori smokers are in a race to see if it's cardiovascular disease or cancer that will kill them.


The president of the Maori Party says shifting Te Karere demeans the Maori language.

Whatarangi Winiata led the fight for Maori broadcasting through tribunals and court in the 1980s.

He says Television New Zealand's plan to run its Maori news bulletin at 3.45 in the afternoon and a quarter to six in the morning is a slap in the face for those who've fought to raise the status of te reo Maori since television started.

It puts in context the broadcaster's bid to triple its Maori programming content - if it can capture more funding from Te Mangai Paho and New Zealand on Air.

“It is significant that it’s just on 50 years that they’ve come to the view that they should be doing much more, but there isn’t a total commitment behind it, because what they’re saying is we’ll do this if Maori will share their funding,” Professor Winiata says.

TVNZ should fund any extra programming itself.


A front person for a new anti violence campaign says he accepted the role to support his formerly violent father.

Freestyle BMX rider Haimona Ngata says over time he has come to understand some of what may have been behind the violent outbursts that punctuated his childhood.

His father is no longer like that, so Mr Ngata joined the Families Commission's Campaign against Family Violence to show change is possible.

“He actually appeared on a couple of documentaries talking about what he’d done and his experiences and how violence was rife in his family when he was growing up so just to support him and I thought it would be a good idea to get involves with the campaign and it’s a message you can’t really close your eyes to anything like that,” Mr Ngata says.

Other Maori on the campaign include league player Reuben Wiki and Ask Your Aunties presenter Mabel Wharekawa-Burt.


The Prime Minister has remembered Maori activist Sid Jackson for his soft spoken manner and logically presented arguments.

Helen Clark has sent her sympathies to the whanau of Mr Jackson, who died on Monday at the age of 68.

She first encountered him as a young political science student at Auckland University, about the time of the founding of Maori rights group, Nga Tamatoa.

“In those days there were not many Maori students at the university, and Sid, though he had firm and strong views, always stood out to me as a person who could express those views in a very mild mannered and reasonable way, and that will always be my lasting memory of him,” Ms Clark says.

Sid Jackson is lying in state at Matahiwi marae near Hastings, and will be buried on Friday morning


The Wairoa Maori Film Festival is spreading its wings.

Director Leo Koziol says the third festival will run at Wairoa's Gaiety Theatre next Queen's Birthday weekend.

The focus will broaden to include more indigenous films from around the world.

Mr Koziol says some of the programme will also screen in the major centres.

Mr Koziol says screening in the bigger cities will enable more indigenous feature dramas and short films to be seen by a wider population.

“There's lots of movies that come to Wairoa that didn’t actually get to go anywhere else in the country. Other mainstream film festivals just don’t pick them up. So we’re going to be traveling a portion of our programme to Tamaki Makaurau and to Wellington,” he says.

Mr Koziol says the Wairoa festival is part of a growing network of small specialist film festivals.


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