Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Burial disputes vexing iwi cops

The top Maori cop wants procedures put in places to handle disputes over where people are to be buried.

Iwi liaison officers were called in this week when a Taumarunui woman removed the body of her mother from a Hamilton funeral home, but they were unable to stop the tupapaku being taken south.

Wally Haumaha, the manager of Maori, Pacific and Ethnic services, say's it's the third such case this year where officers have been caught in the middle of difficult family situations.

“Something's got to be sorted. I think our people have to come to an agreement or work through the issues. We’ve got enough legal minds out there in the Maori world to be more constructive about what this means for us and how we can avoid these conflict situations arising, which as I say are becoming all too regular,” Mr Haumaha says.


National's leader says getting rid of the Maori seats will improve the way Maori issues are handled in Parliament.

John Key has reiterated his policy that the seats will go once historic claims are settled ... which he now says will be done by 2014.

Mr Key says the seats have not delivered for Maori, which is why he favours the mainstreaming approach which was National's policy towards Maori affairs in the 1990s.

“It's incumbent in my view that every member of Parliament takes and interest and has a position on issues that relate to Maori and it’s my view that the separate Maori seats sort of discourage that general participation, involvement from all MPs. So that’s the driving rationale behind our view,” Mr Key says.

National is also opposed to Maori seats on local bodies.


A veteran photographer's new show is raising discussion about souvenirs and stereotypes.

Toy Land by Ans Westra at Auckland's FHE Gallery features photos of toy dolls in Maori costume, sheep and kiwis found in garage sales and op shops.

She says there are some strange combinations.

“To find a little toy woolly sheep in a Maori costume is such an irony really. To think back, Maori didn’t even know sheep. It’s just trying to roll different elements of the souvenir market into one. It's quite bizarre,” Westra says.

She considers the show just one more chapter in her half century of documenting Maori and their place in New Zealand culture.


The door may be open to Maori appointing members to a new governance body for the Maori Trustee.

The Maori Trustee Amendment Bill now before Parliament will put some of the trustee's assets into a statutory corporation, overseen by a board appointed by the ministers of finance and Maori affairs.

The Maori Affairs Minister says that is because the Crown pays the trustee to perform services, such as managing land and collecting rent on behalf of Maori owners.

But Parekura Horomia says the idea of an electoral college of iwi and national Maori organisations has bee used for appointments to Maori fisheries and broadcasting bodies.

“We're pretty flexible about that. We did that with Maori Television where we gave the majority of the board to Maoridom, and the other issue in here is it is explicit in the legislation that those appointments are to be made in conjunction with the partners and the leaders who are the contributors,” Mr Horomia says.


A snapshot of the tourism industry has highlighted the crucial role of Maori operators.

Nanaia Mahuta, the associate minister of tourism, says Rotorua retains its status as the capital of Maori tourism, but there is increasing demand around the country for authentic Maori product.

She says grassroot whanau tourism ventures can get support from Te Puni Kokiri's Maori business facilitation service, and from groups such as the Maori Tourism Council and its regional affiliates.

“Once they know their product has value and can contribute to a broader network, say in the tourism industry, then it’s a matter of linking up with other operators because you can always gain a lot more knowledge and expertise from the sector itself,” Ms Mahuta says.

She says the New Zealand Tourism Strategy puts a high value on manaakitanga and kaitiakitanga.


A famous haka is proving the framework for a new play about New Zealand soldiers in Vietnam.

Jim Moriarty from Te Rakau o te Wao Tane Productions is working with 15 at-risk rangatahi to develop the play the Tribute 08 event for Vietnam veterans in Wellington at the end of May.

It's written by by Helen Pearce Otene, from Ngapuhi and Ngati Kahungunu.

“Her father was a Vietnam vet, so she’s writing the play and we’re calling it Ka Mate Ka Ora and we all go ‘Whoa, we all know that particular language’ and the metaphor of the haka, going from dark to light, overcoming adversity, doing your best to achieve, so we’re using that as our metaphor which also works for the journey of our rangatihi,” Moriarty says.

He says Tribute 08 should allow the veterans, and his rangatahi, a chance to start a new chapter in their lives.


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