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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Vogue moko ugly face of fashion

Those French moko aren't meke.

An expert in Maori intellectual property rights says the phony tattoos used by Jean Paul Gaultier to promote his latest fashion collection are ugly and offensive.

Aroha Mead says Gautier is known as an innovative and creative designer, but the moko patterns, and the often immodest poses of the Vogue models wearing them, aren't up to his usual standards.

“They're not nice designs at all. I don’t think he’s done himself any great service because the work he’s come up with is really quite unattractive,” Ms Mead says.

She says the Government should make more effort to make it known to the world that Maori culture is not up for grabs.


A west Auckland mayoral candidate is crying foul over an anti-violence campaign.

John Tamihere says the presence of sitting Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey on council-funded billboards with Outrageous Fortune star Robyn Malcolm and former All Black Va'aiga Tuigamala breaches election rules.

“He's no longer the mayor. He’s a candidate. He’s lining up in the queue like all the rest of us. You can’t use my ratepayer’s funds to fight me. That’s what he’s doing. And what’s worse he’s wrecked a great campaign by politicisng it and abusing it in an election period,” Mr Tamihere says.

He has complained to the returning officer.

Mr Harvey co-chairs the city's anti-violence campaign committee with Tamaki makaurau MP Pita Sharples.


Three Northland marae are going online in a bid to bring Information Technology out into the community.

Addie Smith from the Ngatiwai Trust Board says within four years all 14 marae in the tribe's rohe will be networked through the board.

The marae-based learning centres are equipped with servers, laptops and websites which can be used to get information out to the wider iwi.

She says it's a new way of thinking about marae.

“There does seem to be the image that marae are becoming non-existent, that people are not using them. That’s not so. I think they are. It’s just getting people understnding that their marae can be the hub of their community and this is what's happening,” Ms Smith says.

The project is funded by Te Puni Kokiri, Internal Affairs and an ASB Trust grant of $314,000.


Punches are being thrown at a Waitakere City anti-violence campaign.

The billboard campaign features three famous westies - Outrageous Fortune star Robyn Malcolm, former All Black Va'aiga Tuigamala and mayor Bob Harvey.

Mayoral rival John Tamihere says Mr Harvey is abusing the anti-violence message - and ratepayers' money - for electoral advantage.

And west Auckland based activist Titewhai Harawira the campaign political point scoring ... and it's aimed at the wrong people.

“Two whites and a Samoan. The kaupapa for Christ sakes is about every time there’s any violence it’s those Maoris. All of those Maoris. They should own this and own the other thing. And yet when it comes to getting the message out, where’s the Maori face? Where’s the Maori women? This is in bad taste,” Mrs Harawira says.

She says the Waitakere campaign - and a similar $14 million effort by central government - is a waste of resources which should go into community groups doing anti-violence work.


The Government's decision to vote against a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People's is being called shameful.

The declaration, which has been going through the United Nations process for 20 years, comes up before the General Assembly tomorrow.

Aroha Mead from Victoria University, who has been involved in government and indigenous consultation on the draft, says New Zealand has always prided itself on its human rights record.

She says the declaration aims to send a clear message to governments that discrimination against indigenous people will not to be tolerated.

“So when the Crown is saying that the declaration is incompatible with government policy, one can only draw from that that these basic principles about not discriminating against Maori and having a constructive relationship with us are not part of government's current plan,” she says.

Ms Mead says a no vote would an historic step back for this country.


The first novel published by a Ma' ohi (PRON like Maori with an H) or indigenous person from French Polynesia has finally been translated into English.

Island of Shattered Dreams by Chantal Spitz was launched last night as part of the Festival of Maori Writers.

Many of its themes will be familiar to Maori readers, including the loss of language and land through colonisation.

Ms Spitz says the book caused a scandal when it was first published in 1991, and she got a hard time whenever she went to Papeete from her home on the outlying island of Huahine.

“Now people look at the novel as very avant garde, before its time novel and Tahitians are kind of proud of my work now,” Ms Spitz says.


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