Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, February 01, 2008

Marae still not safe for PM

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is backing the Prime Minister's decision to again stay away from the lower Te Tii Marae at Waitangi.

Mrs Turia says Helen Clark has a right to feel safe in Maori settings, and if that can't be guaranteed don't expect her to attend.

The Prime Minister hasn't been back to the marae since the rowdy reception she got in 2004, the same year Don Brash had mud thrown at him.

“That's not the only incident that happened to her. She was also confronted the year before in the whare which reduced her to tears so she had the courage to go back once but doesn’t feel safe to do it again so I don’t hold that against her,” Mrs Turia says.


If you have ever wanted to taste dried shark, then head for Kawhia this weekend and the Maori Kai Festival.

It's the fifth year the Waikato township has celebrated Maori food from the land and sea including whitebait, mussels, paua and fermented corn prepared in the ancient ways.

Organiser Lloyd Whiu says all 10 marae from round the harbour take part, with whanau coming from as far away as Australia and the South Island to help collect and cook the food.

“Whether it's from the bush, or whether it’s from the moana itself, and there’s a whole range of food we’ve had from the past four years or so that a lot of people are coming back to learn. Some family come back to wananga. Some family just come back to wananga on the kono we use in the hangi, we try to get away from the plastic and the tinfoil,” he says.

Mr Whiu says the festival is leading to long term employment oportunities for Kawhia people.


Bowlers from around the country are heading for Kaipara this weekend for the 34th Aotearoa Maori Bowls Tournament.

Myna Bristow from the Ruawai Bowling Club, says it's the first time Kaipara has hosted the tournament.

It's always been a popular sport among Maori, and the number of younger people playing is on the increase, and need to be supported.


Voluntary community wardens could soon be patrolling the streets of Manurewa to put the lid on tensions in the south Auckland suburb.

More than 400 people turned out for a hui at Manurewa Marae today called by the marae, the Maori Wardens and the Maori Women's Welfare league.

Community worker Tu McLean says there was representation from the Maori, Pacific Island and migrant communities, government and voluntary agencies, Black Power and Mongrel Mob, and Manukau mayor Len Brown.

He says there was a feeling the community needed healing after last month's two homicides, and it needs action.

“There are some things we could action. For example, street wardens. People that could look after their street. There was a strong feeling at this meeting that they didn’t just want to be neighbourhood watch but they wanted to be actually be part and parcel of activities in the streets,” Mr McLean says

There will be another hui next week to develop some of the ideas further.


More Maori ancestors are returning home.

Oxford University is to return four sets of human remains from its Museum of Natural History.

Te Herekiekie Herewini, Te Papa's repatriation manager, says since the national museum started an intensive campaign, many overseas institutions had started reviewing their holdings and questioning why they hold Maori bones.

“There's been a lot of good work happened over the last three years and now the fruits of the mahi are taking place where institutes are agreeing for the repatriations to take place,” he says.

The koiwi were acquired by Oxford during the 19th century and include two Maori skulls, a half pelvis and a female Moriori skull from Chatham Island.


Christchurch has been enjoying an unfamiliar banquet of Polynesian culture this week.

The eighth Waru Pacific Arts Festival has featured work by Maori and Pasifika fibre artists, weavers, photographers, fashion designers, poets, writers and musicians.

It's winding up with a family day at the Christchurch Arts centre tomorrow.

Maria Ifopo, the visual arts coordinator, says it has brought Maori and Pacific Island people into the hub of the city.

“There are festivals that do occur around Christchurch but they’re more in the suburbs around where you’ll find the brown populations living. This one’s right in Christchurch. We quite like it like that, bringing it out. It also allows the Pakeha Christchurch to see this other element that is a little bit underground really in Christchurch,” Ms Ifopo says.

One festival that's not underground is Te Ra o te Raukura at Te Whiti Park in Lower Hutt on Sunday.

It's the 13th year that the community around Waiwhetu Marae has held the celebration, and 20 thousand people are expected to catch legendary dance band Ardijah, sample the traditional kai and check out the traditional arts & crafts on display.


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