Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ratana readies for crowds

Ratana Pa near Wanganui is filling up as thousands of morehu gather for their annual celebration of the birth of church founder Wiremu Ratana.

Ruia Aperahama, a prominent church member, says while numbers attending are down on the 1980s and 90s, it's still a highlight of the Maori year.

It's also a magnet for politicians, with the leaders of all major political parties expected over the next couple of days.

Mr Aperahama says morehu are still divided in their political support between Labour and the Maori Party, with many feeling Labour hasn't looked after its Te Tai Hauauru candidate, Errol Mason, the son of church leader Harry Mason.

“If Labour had been really serIous about Errol they would have given him already a top position, or if not considered him on the list, they should have given him some role in the Labour machinery, but since that time to now, that hasn't been the case,” Mr Aperahama says.

He says it's unlikely Erroll Mason can win Te Tai Hauauru as long as Tariana Turia is the Maori Party candidate.


A Maori business consultant has been shortlisted for an award for excellence in business support.

Philip Broughton from Ngai Tahu and Ngati Kahungunu runs the Maori business facilitation service in the South Island for Te Puni Kokiri.

The Dunedin chartered accountant has worked with more than 300 Maori businesses, and says there are subtle differences from their mainstream counterparts around tikanga and whanaungatanga.

But the key to success is good relationships, which Maori are good at.

“The Maori community have always been good talkers. They’ve always been good traders. If we can give them a framework, then often they can build some wonderful houses,” Mr Broughton says.

The success of Ngai Tahu in business has inspired many individual Maori in the South Island to strike out on their own.


He's left big shoes to fill.

That's Maori publisher Robyn Bargh's tribute to Hone Tuwhare, who is being buried today.

The reknowned poet died in Dunedin last Wednesday at the age of 85.
His funeral service is at one this afternoon at Te Kotahitanga Marae in Kaikohe, his birthplace.

Ms Bargh says Tuwhare inspired many others with his ability to weave Maori and working class stories into his poetry.

“Hone Tuwhare I think what was significant about him was he stood out on his own. He went places other people haven’t gone. And over a long time of course, over 40 years or so, so it’s going to take a long time to recover that and build up some other people in that spirit,” Ms Bargh says.

Since he was first published in the 1960s, Hone Tuwhare set the benchmark for aspiring Maori poets.


An exceptional New Zealander is being laid to rest today.

Hundreds of people passed through Te Kotahitanga Marae in Kaikohe yesterday to pay tribute to poet Hone Tuwhare, who died last week in Dunedin aged 85.

He's to be buried beside his mother at Wharepaepae this afternoon.

Robin Bargh from Huia Publishers says Tuwhare has been inspiring other writers since his first poems were published more than 40 years ago.

And while most publishers shy away from poetry, that first book, No Ordinary Sun, is still in print.

Ms Bargh says that's a sign of his exceptional qualities.

“Hone Tuwhare had a particular talent that is really hard to find and replace. Great thoughts. He was able to use language in a way other people couldn’t. He could use Maori language and English. That’s not easily just found. If someone walked in our door with that sort of skill, we would probably publish them,” Ms Bargh says.

The funeral starts at one this afternoon


The national sprint waka ama championships are done and dusted, but the country's top paddlers aren't putting away their paddles just yet.

Hoturoa Kerr says the focus now is on the world waka ama sprint championships in California in August.

He says the question is whether to send the top club crews to Sacramento or pull together a national team.

“The selection panels will start looking at what the best outcomes are because often pulling someone out of one team and putting them in another doesn’t make it better, it doesn't work,” Mr Kerr says.

East Coast clubs Horouta and Mareikura dominated the regatta on Lake Karapiro which ended on the weekend, with Te Aurere from Roturua also taking home some medals.


Auckland War Memorial museum is trying to let people into the secrets of the meeting house.

The museum held the first in a series of wananga last Saturday at which Maori educator Kepa Rangiheuea showed people how to read a wharenui.

Geraldine Warren, the museum's Maori librarian, says he explained how what appears a dense mass of carving has its own language.

“He looked at the wharenui, the pataka, discussing how they are ancestors and how they are related to each other. He also talked about the tokotoko and about how the carving notches were used as memnonic aids to recall whakapapa,” Ms Warren says.

The next wananga is on February 2.


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