Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Funeral plans start on wedding day

Newlyweds should talk about what should happen when they die.

That sobering advice comes from Keri Kaa of Ngati Porou, in the wake of another bitter family dispute over a tupaapaku.

The High Court today put off a hearing on Carterton woman Tina Marshall-McMenamin, whose body was taken by her father from a Lower Hutt funeral home and buried on whanau land on the East Coast.

The judge gave more time for negotiations among the family.

Ms Kaa says conversations about funerals are particularly important for Maori who move to the cities, or who are in cross-cultural relationships.

“When our people move to the cities they have to devise new tikanga and come to different sets of agreements to achieve good results, otherwise we have a private family hui becomes a public spat, resolved by the courts,” Ms Kaa says.

The tradition for Ngati Porou is "ka hoki te whenua ki te whenua" ... that people are buried in the home area where their placenta was ritually buried after their birth.


The Kohanga Reo National Trust fears new licencing rules will hit its whanau hardest.

Its chief excecutive, Titoki Black, says because whanau often modify existing buildings for use as Maori language immersion pre-schools, they may not meet the strict conditions.

She says staff and parents at kohanga already spend a considerable part of their working day on compliance issues - which says a lot about the government's priorities.

“The actual kaupapa of kohanga, te reo me ona tikanga, is not valued. We’re more valued by the government policies around ensuring that we comply, we’re accountable, and we have no issues with accountability, but the costs around compliance to whanau is quite horrific,” Ms Black says.

More than a quarter of Maori children participating in early childhood education were enrolled in kohanga reo.


Ngati Kahungunu rangatahi are using kapa haka to develop an anti-violence message.

The 40 young people have been working with Kahurangi Dance Theatre on Whakamoe Patu - Lay down your arms to rest.

It will be performed at the Hawkes Bay Opera House on Thursday night.

Mereana Pitman, who helped develop the Ngati Kahungunu's violence free iwi strategy, says the rangatahi interviewed their kaumatua about domestic violence and how conflicts could be resolved in other ways.

“From that they drew up a storyline and began work on a production, so we have valued their input greatly. They are a pretty on to it group of rangatahi, very committed to the message as well as to the production,” Ms Pitman says.


It was a big day today for Labour's next candidate for Taitokerau.

Kelvin Davis finished up as principal of Kaitaia Intermediate to take on the Maori Party for the huge seat.

The Ngati Manu 40 year old is expecting a tough fight, with sitting MP Hone Harawira playing up issues like the foreshore and seabed and New Zealand's refusal to endorse the UN Declaration on Indigenous rights.

He says those issues don't affect Maori day to day, and he's inspired by Labour's focus on social democratic policies like Working for Families.

“I just believe that the current direction is right. I know that there are issues that affect Maori in particular that are quite overarching but I’d like to put money in people’s back pockets to make sure their lives and their kids lives are happy, healthy, that they’re well educated, and to me, that’s the real path to Maori improving ourselves,” Mr Davis says.

His campaign proper will probably kick off on February the fifth at his home marae at Karetu in the Bay of Islands.


Tainui's chairperson says Maori still aren't making their presence felt economically.

Tukoroirangi Morgan hosted a hui of iwi and incorporation chairs last week to discuss how they could work together on investment opportunities.

Tainui has improved its financial performance in recent years, growing its post settlement balance sheet to more than $500 million.

He says it's important to put in place a road map so Maori organisations get a sense of where they need to be heading - and how much they can do better by combining their resources.

“Individually we have some successes, but I don’t think this country has seen the might, the economic horsepower of Maori because we haven’t collectively been able to pull it together,” Mr Morgan says.

He says a Maori investment strategy needs to include some overseas investment.


Maori have a new advocate on the body which regulates tertiary education.

Robin Hapi from Ngati Kahungunu has had a long involvement with Maori development and education, serving on the board of Te Wananga o Raukawa and in the Seafood Industry Training Organisation.

He is also the chair of Maori fisheries settlement company Aotearoa Fisheries.

Mr Hapi says he will take a particular interest in the wananga sector because of the different perspectives the three wananga have given to tertiary education, and their success in boosting Maori participation.

“Getting Maori people onto that conveyor belt and getting theme to develop in terms of upskilling themselves, learning new things, being prepared to participate in a whole range of interesting programmes. It’s the kind of thing wananga have been very proficient and very skilled in providing,” Mr Hapi says.


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