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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, February 01, 2008

Youth on Manurewa agenda

Maori in Manurewa meet today to discuss what they can do about the surge of violent youth crime in the sprawling South Auckland suburb.

Dick Waihi, the police iwi liaision officer for the Counties Manukau region, says social trends within the Maori community have a lot to do with the problem.

That's why youth and community programmes, such as one running in Clendon, are the best hope for calming things down ... and they need more resources, staff and community backing.

“There's a lot of single parent families out there and there’s no role models, especially the boys tend to go out and do their own thing, and I think if they put the kids on the programme, brought in some role models, I think those kids will start to turn around,” Mr Waihi says.

He says the increased use of knives in disputes has increased the risk of serious injuries and even fatalities.

WAR IN THE TUNNELS REMEMBERED

Te Tai Tonga MP Mahara Okeroa is off to France this month to mark the contribution of a select group of Maori in the First World War.

The associate minister of culture and heritage will attend the opening of the Tunnelers Museum in Arras, near the Belgian border.

That's where members of the Pioneer Battalion and more than 400 Maori working for the New Zealand Quarrying Company fought an underground battle against German tunnelers, creating a 24 kilometre network of tunnels between the town and the front line.

“What we're doing is opening the part where the New Zealand forces were. It’s called the Wellington Cavern and it could hold 4000 troops in relative comfort underground, with all the facilities like a hospital operating theatre, the whole facilities that are necessary for a reasonable standard of living underground,” Mr Okeroa says.

France has spent more than $7 million creating the memorial to the New Zealand war effort.

EDDIE PAUL SWORN IN AS JUDGE

A Ngati Awa man joins a small but closely knit club today.

Eddie Paul is being sworn in as a judge at Whakatane District Court, followed by a hui at his home marae, Wairaka.

He's worked for 20 years in the law, the last 10 as a public defender, and says he's valued the support of Maori in the sytem, particularly the judges.

I've received a great deal of support from my whanaungas on the bench, form the district court, Maori land court, High Court. We’re well supported, although small in number,” Mr Paul says.

WATERWAYS NEED COMBINED EFFORT TO CLEAN

A Northland iwi hopes a report on the country's environment will help its effort to clean up the region's waterways.

The 450 page document highlights the negative effects of agriculture in many regions, and threats to fish, birds and plants.

Te Tui Shortland from Ngati Wai says none of the northern coastal areas monitored were considered safe for swimming, which means they are probably not safe for gathering kai.

She says iwi within the whole catchment must work together.

“Other iwi and hapu are talking about catchment management planning. Definitely something we’ll be doing. Ngati Wai has the capacity to do freshwater monitoring. That’s part of the reason we are trying to encourage that to happen within the resource consent process. But I think it is something we will need to do with other stakeholders, with the councils, because it will be such a big job to fix up,” Ms Shortland says.

Northland has the highest number of threatened indigenous plants and animal species, so Ngati Wai wants developers to include wetlands and margin planting in any new projects.

CARE NEEDED PUTTING MAORI CONTENT ONLINE

The New Zealand Electronic Text Centre says if it doesn't put Maori content online, someone else will.

The centre has just posted a collection of documents about ta moko, including Horatio Robley's 1896 text Maori Tattooing.

Director Alison Stevenson says after consultation with Maori, illustrations based on moko mokai and other human remains were left out.

She says it's important Maori have a say in how matauranga Maori or knowledge is spread digitally.

“There's a risk that in New Zealand organisations don’t take on these projects and try to understand the issues around them, that global corporations like Google will simply come along and digitise huge swathes of this sort of information and put it all up on line with no restrictions as to access and no sensitivity towards the suppression of some of this content,” Ms Stevenson says.

As a result of the project, the Electronic Text Centre removed pictures of preserved heads already on its site.

RADICAL MIX AT SALMONELLA SYMPHONY

Auckland will play host to a musical menage a trois tonight.

The Feel the Seasons Change concert includes traditional Maori instrumentalists alongside dance musicians and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Richard Nunns, who'll play taonga puoro, says it's an ambitious project.

“The symphony orchestra are playing arrangements of Salmonella Dub pieces and Salmonella Dub are sort of in there as well. It’s called feel the Seasons Change and I think symbolically they think it’s the old and the new world and of course the climate seasons as well. And I have the privilege of being, along with Whirimako Black, we are the voice of the past,” Mr Nunns says.

After Auckland the ensemble heads to Christchurch for a show next Friday.

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