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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, May 23, 2008

Maori Party wanting more out of Budget

The Maori Party is giving Finance Minister Michael Cullen a low mark for his ninth budget.

Co-leader Pita Sharples says there was little in it specifically for Maori, despite disproportionate levels of poverty in the Maori population.

He says Maori needs in housing and education were ignored.

“There's no 20 free hours for kohanga reo. There’s no money for kura kaupapa. There’s no money for wananga. There’s no money for all those Maori initiatives, teacher training and so on. Wardens got some, but they would give money to wardens because wardens is about punishing, control, law and order and stuff like this. And some for the health providers, that was okay, but the reality is Maori didn’t get much out of this budget at all,” Dr Sharples says.

He says it's disappointing the new 12.5 percent tax rate stops at $14 thousand, and that the government didn't take the opportunity to make the first income step tax free.

OLD FOES EXPECTED FOR BASTION POINT COMMEMORATION

Ngati Whatua expects a big turnout of protesters and police this Sunday to mark the 30th anniversary of the occupation of Takaparawha, or Bastion Point as it was known then.

Event organiser Alec Hawke says many of the 700 police and 222 arrestees there on the day will want to remember their contribution to the country's history, and perhaps to make some sort of reconciliation.

The land, which was part of the 700 acre Orakei Block taken from Ngati Whatua, was occupied for 506 days to stop an exclusive housing development.

He says while the occupation divided the hapu, it drew back together around the Waitangi Tribunal claims.

“It brought a lot of differences of opinion. What that eventually collated into was one of all one mind. That coming together helped us get what we wanted for that particular take. We got the title back and a little amount of putea to go with it,” Mr Hawke says.

The event starts with a powhiri at Orakei Marae at 10.
There's also a two hour special on the protest on Maori Television on Sunday night.

GALLERY MARKS HALF CENTURY OF CONTEMPORARY MAORI ART

Auckland City Art Gallery is marking 50 years of Maori modernism.

Turuki Turuki! Paneke Paneke!, which will be launched at the New Gallery tonight, includes work from five artists brought together by the late Matiu Te Hau for a show at Auckland University in 1958 - Arnold Manaaki Wilson, Ralph Hotere, Muru Walters, Katerina Mataira and the late Selwyn Wilson.

At the time the five were working as teachers in Northland.

Curator Ngahiraka Mason says the original exhibition captured the mood of the fifties, when Maori were moving to the cities.

“The generosity of the times and the general need to uplift the culture, because you have to remember these people were post-World War Two educated people and not just New Zealand but all countries were wanting to redirect their focus and look at education and what the future would look like, and I think they were leading lights in that respect,” Ms Mason says.

The show is subtitled When Maori Art Became Contemporary.

NEW PRE-SCHOOL TO BLAZE A PATH

The opening of a new bilingual pre-school in Moerewa is being seen as a way to uplift the community still trying to recover from the arson of its kura kaupapa.

Mokopuna o Moerewa Early Childcare Centre opens tomorrow next to the site of Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Taumarere, which is still to be rebuilt after the fire earlier this year.

Kororia Slade, the kaitiaki of the pre-school, says the fire left a hole in the small Northland community.

“What this does do is offer something to the community that will uplift their spirits,” Ms Slade says.

There will be a powhiri at 9am followed by a blessing of the buildings, the opening by MP Shane Jones and a breakfast.

WANANGA TO EXPLORE MENS’ SPIRITUALITY

Men's spirituality and mana is the topic of discusson at a hui at the Hato Petera college marae on Auckland's North Shore.

Coordinator Rangi Davis a similar wananga last year attracted about 50 men to hear from a range of speakers.

Posing the questions tomorrow is Pa Henare Tate, who is writing a thesis on Maori theology and spirituality.

“How is mana activated, operated in the relationships? How is it intrinsic to the tangata potential power, things like that? I think it’s timely, especially with all the concerns of domestic violence, so the men have their own ways of doing things and maybe this is an opportunity for them to really explore it and korero about it,” Ms Davis says.

TANGI DRAWING TO AN END

The final chapter in the story of Mihipeka Edwards will be written at Parawai Marae in Ngongotaha on Sunday.

That's when the performer, writer, teacher and mother will be laid with her Te Arawa ancestors, after spending the majority of her 90 years around Wellington.

Heeni Collins, who edited the third volume of her autobiography, says Auntie Mihi was a generous but firm teacher of Maori language and culture for generations of people around Poneke.

“She's quite a hard taskmaster top learn alongside. She can be quite critical. So that made it quite hard for those of us learning alongside her at times,” she says.

Ms Collins says Mihipeka Edwards’ three books will stand as a valuable record of Maori experience during the urbanisation and upheavals of the 20th century.

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