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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, March 28, 2008

Car hire firm Whaka up down

The struggle continues to win respect for Te Reo Maori.

An Auckland car rental company has taken down a billboard making a play on the names Whakatane, Whakamaru, Whakamoa and "any whaka" after a complaint from the Maori language commission.

Te Tuara Whiri chief executive Huhana Rokx says the ad was highly offensive.

She says experimenting with the language is encouraged, but treating it as the butt of a smutty joke is unacceptable.

“The Maori Language commission and I’m sure most Maori language speakers are not averse to people playing around with the language, and I use that expression very carefully too, but what we’re saying is be informed, be advised well, know what it is you are doing when you are wanting to play with the language,” Mrs Rokx says.

She says a majority of New Zealanders appear to respect the language, there was still ignorance by some.


Happy Birthday to Maori Television.

It celebrated its fourth birthday with the launch of a new digital channel, which will broadcast 100 percent te reo content for three hours a night.

The Minister for Maori Affairs, who secured the funds for the new channel, says the service has been able to hold its head high at this week's Indigenous Television Broadcasters Conference in Auckland.

“There are not many countries in the world that have a full indigenus channel, and it’s survived four years, it has good management, it has 170-odd staff and a lot of those are Maori and it is progressive in my mind as anywhere in the world,” Mr Horomia says.


People looking for an alternative to the supermarket can stop in Tolaga Bay tomorrow to buy organic Maori kai.

East Coast Maori organic growers will be selling traditional vegetables like kamokamo, kanga Maori corn and riwai at the first organic festival at Hauiti Marae.

Fraser Taiapa, a Ngati Porou kaumatua and the maker of a kumara wine, says they all try to uphold the tikanga that goes along with maara kai.

“For me I don't like the word organic because it takes away the tuturutanga o nga tipuna, nei. Even though the way we plant, we’ve always planted according to the marmaka, the seasons, and also how we utilize our whenua, and what we put back into it,” Mr Taiapa says.

Scientists from Crop & Food Research will be on hand to demonstrate how Maori growers can improve the health of their crops.


Indigenous television broadcasters from round the world have united into a new network.

Maori Television head Jim Mather says that's the outcome of this weeks World Indigenous Television Broadcasters' Conference in Auckland.

He says previously the nine broadcasters have been working in isolation - and they were surprised how much they have in common.

“Much of the work we are doing is very very similar and there is a lot of benefits to be gained form staff exchanges or sharing particular areas of expertise and a big surprise was that we hadn’t done this before and I suppose Maori Television, we’re only four years old, so we’re one of the newer ones, but we thought we needed to take a leadership role in this area,” Mr Mather says.

The next indigenous broadcasters conference will be in Taiwan in two years time, with Wales and Canada hosting subsequent conferences.


The Sir James Henare Research Centre is back and open for business.

The centre was rededicated at a ceremony at Auckland University's Waipapa Marae today, after going into recess three years ago.

Erima Henare, a son of the late northern leader, says in the interim the university has consulted with communities in Te Taitokerau about how the centre can fulfil its mandate of contributing to the economic and social development of the north.

He says the Henare whanau and Ngati Hine want to see the centre continue Sir James's work, particularly in encouraging education.

“I remember him saying in 1963 in a campaign speech when he first ran against Matiu Rata, he said at the time that any government ignored the situation of Maori education and the plight of Maori in education did so at its peril. A lot of that has come to pass in that we have a large grouping, corpus of unskilled Maori that we need to turn around,” Mr Henare says.

Auckland University vice-chancellor Stuart McCutcheon played a major role getting the centre-reopened and funded.


An East Coast roopu is turning kumara into wine.

Fraser Taiapa says his venture takes less land than growing grapes, and suits small Maori landholdings.

The Ngati Porou kaumatua says it's a special treat.

“You can get drunk on it, but the idea here is that this kumara wine is a dessert wine, it is more of a satisfier rather than something to get haurangi on,” he says.

Fraser Taiapa's Kumara Wine Delight Special is being launched tomorrow at the first East Coast organic festival at Hauiti Marae in Tolaga Bay.


Blogger Adam said...

I thought the billboard encouraged correct pronunciation of te reo Maori. I noticed that the CEO of the MLC didn't bother to use the media coverage to explain the meaning of Whaka or actually promote the language. Isn't that her job?

3:39 PM  

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