Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dry spell exposes dry policy

The head of Ngai Tahu says this summer's dry spell in the South Island could show up flaws in the government's emerging water policy.

Lake levels are the lowest they've been since 1992, and little rainfall is expected in the Southern Alps catchment for several months.

Mark Solomon says a lot of the planning for water seems to be based on overly rosy assumptions about supply.

There are also signs the government wants to move towards a tradeable water rights regime, which will precipitate a flood of protest from Maori.

“There has been no decision on whether Maori have rights or not to water. There is an assumption by the Crown that no one owns water which is just there with the Crown having the right to allocate, and if you look at the Ngai Tahu settlement there is a specific clause saying the issue of water has not been addressed,” Mr Solomon

AUT DUMPS TAPES FOR PODCASTS

There's no rewind for the cassette tape - Auckland University of Technology is dumping that language lab technology for podcasts and web-based lessons in te reo.

Hohepa Spooner, a lecturer and multi-media designer at Te Ara Poutama faculty of Maori development, says it should appeal to rangatahi who use technology like Bebo, Facebook and Playstation every day.

He says the original idea came from North Carolina.

“We started with the idea from Duke University in America. They started in 2001 using them in their music classes and their language classes and once I looked at their university web site and what they were doing I was able to get enough ideas to trial it over here in our university,” Mr Spooner says.

The iPod exercises complement a weekly three hour lesson, and students also need to attend two weekend wananga for face to face learning.

HUNDERTWASSER TO GET WHANGAREI MUSEUM

An Austrian artist who incorporated Maori motifs into buildings in Vienna is to get a living memorial in Taitokerau.

Whangarei District Council is to turn a building by the town basin into an international arts centre, working from plans drawn up by the late Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

Kahu Sutherland, Whangarei's deputy mayor, was in Vienna last week discussing the $9.5 million dollar with Hundertwasser Foundation chair Joram Harel.

He says he didn't realise the scope of the work done by the one time Bay of Islands resident until he saw some of his buildings.

“In the design of his buildings where he’s got trees and things coing out of them and grass on the roofs, natural filtering systems and that operating throughout his buildings, that whole thing was an experience of a lifetime and a life changing experience as well,” Mr Sutherland says.

He says the Whangarei centre could become part of a Hundertwasser tour of the north, also taking in the Kawakawa toilets the artist designed.

PM EXPLAINS SETTLEMENT PHILOSOPHY

The Prime Minister says the Crown needs to take the interests of the greatest number into account when making treaty settlements.

The Government has kicked off the year with a surge of negotiations, including an ambitious attempt to use the Kaingaroa Forest to settle historical claims in the central North Island.

It's coming under fire over who it's choosing to talk to, and what it's aiming to do.

But Helen Clark says it can't wait for all claimants to be ready.

“Sometimes the hapu and the iwi don’t get their own act together. Sometimes the decision is made in favour of the greatest number. I well remember going to the signing of the Tainui settlement at Turangawaewae, and Eva Rickard, the late Eva Rickard, was conducting a tangi on the footpath, she was so opposed to it, and we all delicately stepped around Eva. Who would now say that Tainui was wrong? Ms Clark says.

She says the economic and social implications of settlements outweigh the negatives.

POLICE AIM TO DOUBLE BROWN IN BLUE LINE

Hitting the streets will take on a new meaning for the Police.

Ten Maori officers are touring the country next month to entice rangatahi to consider a career in the blue line.

Wally Haumaha, the manager of Maori and ethnic services, hopes the kanohi ki te kanohi approach will lift the number of officers above the current 7 percent.

He says the face of policing needs to change.

“The demographics of the country are going to change over the next 17 years and the percentage of Maori is predicted to grow to almost 17 percent and likewise with the Pacific community and the ethnic community so we need to attract a diverse range of people with those skills to service those specific groups,” Superintendent Haumaha says.

He says the Te Haerenga tour has the support of many Maori leaders.

ROCK ART GETS FASHION TREATMENT

The Ngai Tahu Maori Rock Art Trust will be a beneficiary of a new line of luxury apparel.

Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu is using weaving technology developed by Agresearch to make shawls from a merino wool and possum fur blend.

The first Aho brand shawls feature designs by Ngai Tahu artist Ross Hemara, drawn from ancient rock art designs.

Anake Goodall, the runanga's chief executive, says the Timaru-based trust will get some of the profits.

He says the project raises questions about intellectual property, kaitiakitanga and the tribe's cultural revival.

“How do you support our own artists to reconnect with our own traditional art form and bring life back to that. How can we generate some revenue so we can protect the art itself, support the art and the communities that have got the kaitiaki burden for these taonga, and bundle all those ideas along with some contemporary technology developed by AgResearch, and we’re seeing where we can take these ideas together,” Mr Goodall says.

The Aho brand may be used to commercialise other products made by Ngai Tahu artists and craftspeople.

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