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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tuwhare laid to rest

Ngapuhi has laid to rest its greatest poet.

Hone Tuwhare was buried today at Wharepaepae near Kaikohe, next to his mother.

He died last week in Dunedin aged 85 after a long illness.

Sir Graham Latimer says Tuwhare's words and achievement inspired Maori.

The pair went to Japan together 60 years ago as part of J Force, and the Northland leader says Tuwhare's ambition to be a poet sparked some amusement among his fellow soldiers.

“Yeah he wanted to be a poet, definitely. He would have been what, 24, 25 at that stage. But very timid approach to it all, very quit and humble. You spend all day talking to him and it seems like he’s just been whispering in your ear,” Sir Graham says.

Hone Tuwhare's most famous poem, No Ordinary Sun, first published when he was in his 40s, was inspired by what he saw of the effects of the atom bombing of Hiroshima.


A Victoria University researcher has been given $400,000 dollars to compare ways indigenous people around the world view mental illness.

Lynne Pere says the four year project could influence the way tangata whai ora are treated.

The Health Research Council fellowships will allow her to build on work done for her doctoral thesis, which showed Maori with mental health problems have different ideas on what constitutes an illness.

“If you're not prepared to listen or to take into account those experiences or those understandings or those interpretations, then you’re really not going to have as big an effect in aiding people on a journey towards recovery,” Dr Pere says.

A post-doctoral fellowship also went to Sarah-Jane Paine from Massey University, for her work on sleep disorders.


A warning Maori and Pacific Island students are most likely to be hit by a new policy introduced at Auckland's Westlake High.

The school wants to hold back students in years nine and ten if teacher's don't think they are showing the right attitude to work - even if they pass exams.

John Minto from the Quality Public Education Coalition says it's just the latest twist in a trend by schools to weed out undesirable students.

He says if the policy is picked up by other schools, it will have a devastating effect on students from low income communities.

“Issues like homework, issues like what the school calls attitude are seen as problems by mainstream educationalists, in other words Pakeha educationalists, so I think there is a potential for this to develop into something which is really very serous and that’s why we’re wanting the government to intervene,” Mr Minto says.

He says the government needs to ensure schools have a legitimate reason for holding students back.


Tainui is mourning the loss of one of its leading kaumatua.

Ruben Tupaea, a kaitiaki of Taupiri maunga, died on Sunday at the pokai at Kokohinau Marae in Te Teko.

As well as his contributions to the urupa and the marae, Mr Tupaea was a rugby league stalwart, umpiring for more than 20 years after he finished his playing days with the Taniwharau club.

Pokaia Nepia, the chair of Turangawaewae, says the Tupaea whanau has been associated with marae since the days of Princess Te Puea.

“When she came to Ngaruawahia from Mercer and she brought all these orphans up to help build Turangawaewae Marae and his kaumatua, his tupuna were the ones that came up with Te Puea so the family’s been associated with the marae for years,” Mr Nepia says.

Rueben Tupaea is lying at Turangawaewae marae and will be buried on Thursday.


Also at Ngaruawahia this week, 400 tutors from Te Wananga O Aotearoa are getting a refresher course in the teaching model used by the country's largest Maori tertiary institution.

Phil Lambert, who oversees the delivery of arts programmes at the wananga's 130 sites, says a philosophy of student-centered teaching is behind its success.

“We've got all the tutors from around the country in one place at the one time specifically so that as we move forward through the year, we’re all doing so under the same kaupapa so that’s the key reason we have this hui a kaupapa at the beginning of the year,” Mr Lambert says.

Te Wananga O Aotearoa expects student numbers to remain steady this year at about 40,000.


The author of a report on Maori in Australia says Maori migration across the Tasman is now outpacing other New Zealanders.

More than 27,000 people crossed the ditch to live last year, a 20 year high.

Paul Hamer says despite the negative impact of the reforms of the 1980s on the Maori workforce, they were relatively slow to move offshore.

But as whanau members have established beachheads, they have discovered in recent years that there are real opportunities in the lucky country.

“There are a lot of Maori who are working class people in New Zealand and there is obviously this incredible resources boom in places like Western Australia and Queensland and so for blue collar work, there is really good money to be had so that’s obviously motivating a lot of people to move at the moment as well,” Mr Hamer says.

The shift to Australia can often be a journey of cultural self-discovery for Maori.


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