Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Model waka taua discovered

Tohu Wines is looking for the owner of a model waka taua which has languished in the attic of a Hutt Valley factory for 40 years.

James Wheeler, Tohu's chief executive, says the canoe surfaced when some acquaintances were clearing out a storage area at a Naenae plastic moulding firm.

He says the four metre kauri waka was dropped off by two Maori men who asked for a mould to be made - but never came back.

It's carved in the Ngapuhi style, so northern waka expert Hekenukumai Busby has been asked to help restore it, including carving a tau ihu or bow post.

“The carving is just very very high quality. It’s carved onto the barge boards which are now laced into the body, all traditional lacing, a couple of places where it might not be quite right but Hec can fix that,” Mr Wheeler says.

If owners can't be found, Tohu consulting other iwi on where it should go.

GI JOES SMASH DOWN DOOR

An Auckland artist says the police have gone out of their way to crank up the level of threat and intimidation in their investigation into terrorism allegations.

Gordon Hatfield, a moko artist and carver, was questioned over a text exchange a year ago with Tuhoe activist Tame Iti, regarding his possible involvement in a wananga in the Urewera country.

He says the raid on his home left his shocked and shaken - and he feels for the community at Ruatoki, which had to face a similar level of police intrusion.

“These guys came in like GI Joes and one officer in particular was swearing at me and things like that in my own house,. Another officer was saying things like ‘I don’t understand why you’re so upset, we’re just doing our jobs as police officers,’ and I’m thinking to myself “Hey, if I was to come barging into your house, regardless of whether I had a uniform on or whatever, you’d be pretty upset as well,’” Mr Hatfield says.

He says Tame Iti is a man of honour, and he's confident there was no sinister motive for the wananga.

RIVER ACTIVITY INFORMATION SOUGHT

Otago University is asking how Maori people use rivers.

Shane Galloway from the school of physical education says it's a key focus of the online survey on kiwi attitudes to their awa.

That means not just fishing and food gathering, or mahinga kai, but contemporary Maori activities like waka ama.

“My definition of recreation is fairly broad. It’s something that’s freely chosen. It’s something you do as part of who you are. So that would include cultural use of the river. And the same thing could be said of fishing or kayaking, even though it’s different,” Dr Galloway says.

People can pre-register for the survey at www.riversurvey.otago.ac.nz.

INDIGENOUS HEALTH CONFERENCE SUPPORTS ITI

Indigenous access to health service is emerging as a theme of a major hui in Rotorua.

Health workers from Australia, Aotearoa and North America are here for the third biannual Indigenous Health Knowledge and Development Conference.

Jacinta Elston from the Kalkadoon people in North West Queensland says it's a ways to share some of the innovations coming out of community-led health projects.

She says Australia’s 140 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services have had some success, including improving low birth weights for Aboriginal babies, but there is still a lot to be done.

“Like here in New Zealand for Maori, there are still significant issues around access to services, access to pharmaceutical services, even access to hospital care, and the barriers to access are things that still need to be addressed here as well as in our own country,” Professor Elston says

A major benefit of the hui is that academics and health professionals can interact on equal terms with traditional healers and community workers.

A large number of the overseas delegates took time out to gather outside Rotorua District Court in support of Tuhoe health worker Tame Iti, who was seeking bail on firearms charges.

BILINGUAL POEMS GET HEAVYWEIGHT BOOST

Two young mothers have won some heavyweight help for their first book of poems.

Kupu, by Hana O'Regan and Charisma Rangipunga, was initially indended to be only in te reo Maori.

But Ms O'Regan says editor Timoti Karetu, a former Maori Language Commissioner, convinced them to include English translations.

Sir Tipene O'Regan edited the English, and Witi Ihimaera contributed a forward.

“We had intended this to be read by people who can speak Maori and we are quite nervous about how people are going to take it now that it is translated into English and whether or not we even reach the bar in terms of what is expected in the world of English poetry but we felt a little bit more confident after we received the words of Witi Ihimaera, who is one of my long time idols, and also Timoti Karetu and my father,” Ms O'Regan says.

The hundred poems in Kupu include stories of love, heartbreak, motherhood, te reo, world issues, identity and observations on the Maori community.

DEMIGODS IN WARMING GLOBE

Global warming is the theme of a new show by a Maori artist better known for his depictions of demi-gods and ancient beings.

John Walsh from Te Aitanga a Hauiti artist says he's tried for new techniques and a larger scale than previous shows - while also including landscape elements and mythology.

The former Te Papa curator says painting puts him in an alien space where he hopes viewers can join him.

“When you're standing in front of the works I think the colour range that I use and also the technique, the way I paint, I think it lends itself to an airiness or a sort of a twilight zone. It’s good to play in there, and I find themes I can develop them easily,” he says.

John Walsh's show at the John Leech Gallery in central Auckland runs until November 10.

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