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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tamati Paraone of Ngati Hine dies

Ngapuhi is today mourning the loss of one of its leaders for much of the 20th century.

Tamati Paraone died yesterday in Kawakawa Hospital at the age of 92.

He is now lying in state at Otiria Marae.

Mr Paraone represented New Zealand Maori and North Auckland in rugby, served in North Africa and italy during World War 2 and was a past president of the 28 Maori Battalion, and carved out successful businesses in farming, orcharding and commercial property.

His nephew, Erima Henare, says he was one of a handful of Northland kaumatua to survive into their tenth decade, and provided a valuable link to the past.

“These are people who have seen the arrival of the car in Northland to man landing on the moon. In 1932 through to 1940 with the revival of the te reo and culture and tikanga within Ngapuhi to the culture-proud Ngapuhi of today, these were the people that were its vanguard,” Mr Henare says.

Tamati Paraone is survived by six children, including New Zealand First MP Pita Paraone.


A veteran social worker says the law needs to be changed to give Maori more power to look under their own.

An amendment to the Children And Young Persons Act is now before Parliament.

Malcolm Peri says when the Act was first introduced in the wake of the Puao Te Ata Tu report on a Maori perspective for the Department of Social Welfare, there was an expectation Maori would have more room to develop their own solutions.

That didn't happen.

“People talk to us about our responsibility but in fact when you’re not empowered we can’t respond with ability. We tend to respond with disability. While the object of the act was aimed at helping Maori families and Maori systems to respond with ability, the authority for the empowerment didn’t come with that act,” Mr Perry says.

He says the Amendment Bill doesn't properly address Maori concerns.


Tamariki and rangatahi from across the Waikato are in Ngaruawahia today for the first day of the Tainui Regatta.

Organiser Tangihaere Ormsby says the two day event celebrates the river tribe's rich traditions, and is one of the rare occasions when all four of its waka taua are seen on the River.

Taahere tikitiki, Rangatahi, and Tuumanako are housed at Turangawaewae Marae, while Te Winika is usually on display at the Waikato Museum in Hamilton.

It's the 121st regatta.

“Because the regatta is so old it’s a special event where we express our tribal identity, our river culture. It enables our tribe to maintain the special relationship we have to our awa tupuna,” Ms Ormsby says.

Also today is the first meeting of the Guardians of the Waikato River, which includes representatives from Tainui, other river iwi, the Crown and local councils.


The woman challenging the Maori Party's selection for the Ikaroa Rawhiti nomination isn't winning the support of her fellow candidates.

Gisborne lawyer Atareta Poananga says there were conflicts of interests in the process which saw broadcaster Derek Fox emerge as the candidate.

But Mereana Pitman, who was one of the five contenders, says while it was grueling and logistically challenging, the 14 selection hui put all candidates on an equal footing.

She says Ms Poananga should look in the mirror.

“She sowed a fair few seeds of dissent and discontent herself. That’s abut as much as I will say about that during the whole road show, and to a certain extent you reap what you sow. If you sow discontent you will bring discontent and you’ll have discontent come and visit you,” Ms Pitman says.

She won't be supporting Derek Fox's campaign, but she will help Angeline Greensill in Waikato-Hauraki.


More Maori should drop the stresses of daily life, take a deep breath and walk the footsteps of their ancestors.

That's the recommendation of Rawiri Taonui, who just completed a solo hikoi across the South Island.

The head of Maori and Indigenous Studies at Canterbury University spent 16 days walking 450 kilometres along the greenstone trails, taking in nine alpine passes from Wairau to the Arahura River mouth.

He says for Maori who have lost their way, hikoi are an appropriate way to reconnect with cultural roots.

“A lot of our spiritual beliefs and symbols and motifs, moko carving etc, they all come from things in the natural world, and we don’t really spend enough time there. So going out and doing these journeys is really like revisiting the origins of where all our beliefs came from because they were born of a deep seated intimacy with the gods in nature,” Mr Taonui says.

He intends to eventually walk all the 30 alpine passes tupuna used for the greenstone trade.


An expert in traditional Maori kites and games is finding more interest overseas than in Aotearoa.

Harko Brown is taking 18 kite makers and kapa haka performers from Kerikeri High School to Italy next month for the Cervia Kite Festival.

The event attracts up to half a million visitors and kite enthusiasts from 60 countries.

He says He Manu o Aotearoa is constantly on the look-out for advice and designs from local and international sources.

“You link in with local communities and the information comes out if the ahu is right. They’ll let the information come out to you and they’ll let you build on it, so we’re very lucky that people have helped us a lot with different designs. I think there’s about 17 designs in the last tow years that we’ve been able to build or know about, so we’d like to develop some of them,” Mr Brown says.

Once the group gets back from Italy, He Manu o Aotearoa will prepare kites for showing at Te Papa in Wellington during the Matariki Festival in June.


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