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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, May 26, 2008

Takaparawha protest marked by friend and foe

Old friends and old enemies joined together yesterday to mark the end of the Bastion Point occupation 30 years ago.

More than 300 people gathered at Orakei marae to acknowledge what is now seen as a major turning point for Ngati Whatua.

Thirty years ago, Aucklanders were woken up to a long convoy of army vehicles rumbling through the city on their way to support 700 police surrounding a group which had occupied Bastion Point for 506 days.

The 222 people arrested that day included not only members of Joe Hawke’s whanau and his supporters in Ngati Whatua but other Maori radicalized by the 1975 Land March, clerics, communists, unionists, feminists, artists, musicians and others opposed to Prime Minister Robert Muldoon’s plan for an exclusive housing subdivision on Ngati Whatua ancestral land.

Many were back on the land yesterday along with the current Prime Minister, the commissioner of police and a slew of clerics.

The reading for the service of remembrance and reconciliation was the story of Naboth’s vineyard, taken with sleight of hand and violence by Jezebel for her husband King Ahab of Samaria.

It was, said Bishop Sir Paul Reeves, probably not a vineyard at all but a piece of valuable real estate with great views.

WESTERN WANANGA BACK ON THE AGENDA

There's a renewed push for a wananga on land next to Hoani Waititi marae in west Auckland.

Pita Sharples, who set up the country’s first kura kaupapa Maori at the marae, says the project stalled two years ago because the government was not keen to see another wananga established.

He has met with Unitech representatives to discuss a partnership to run the wananga on traditional Maori methods.

Dr Sharples says he wants to see control in the hands of cultural experts of the caliber of Koro Dewes, Pat Hohepa and Katarina Mataira.

“They would be the whare and they would determine what is in the curriculum, who teaches it, and how it is examined. It’s really getting back to the old days where the experts defined the curriculum rather than some body who’s external,” he says.

PROSTRATE CANCER STILL THE FORGOTTEN EPIDEMIC

The head of Maori health at the Canterbury District Health Board says Maori men and the government are failing tackle the challenge of prostrate cancer.

Hector Matthews says the government was able to fine $164 million in the budget for a vaccination programme to reduce the risk of cervical cancer.

But a major risk to men’s health was again ignored.

“We all want our mothers and our sisters and our kuia to remain well, but I think there’s an additional challenge there. Similar numbers of men die per annum of prostrate cancer as (women) die of cervical and breast cancer and yet little is done for them and that’s a challenge for our Maori men as well as the government to ensure that balance is given there as well,” Mr Matthews says.

He says the $12 million dollars in the Budget to boost the number of Maori nurses is very welcome.

DAY OF THANKS AND RECONCILIATION AT NGATI WHATUA

Auckland hapu Ngati Whatua has thanked all those who stood by it during its long fight for its ancestral lands.

The hapu held a day of remembrance and reconciliation at Orakei marae yesterday to mark to 30th anniversary of the end of the Bastion Point occupation.

It was attended by many of the 222 people arrested on the day, by Prime Minister Helen Clark and police commissioner Howard Broad.

Occupation leader Joe Hawke told the hui he and his family had gone on the Maori Land March to Wellington with the slogan not one more acre of Maori land should be lost.

That's why in 1977, when work started on an exclusive subdivision on Takaparawha-Bastion Point, he put an action plan to elders.

“And we had a huddle and the kaumatua says, ‘well Hohepa, if you want to go and put your tent up on Bastion Point, don’t you stop until you have finished the job. And that gave me the encouragement. If you start it, don’t stop it until you have completed the mission until you have finished the job,” Mr Hawke says.

By looking back, Ngati Whatua is able to look forward to the better future it has built for its mokopuna.

SOCIAL SPENDING BOOST IN BUDGET WELCOMED

A Maori social worker is welcoming a big boost for social services in this week's Budget.

An extra $446 million is going into the sector over the next four years.

Parekotuku Moore from the National Network of Stopping Violence Services says many Maori whanau feel isolated when they try to deal with with violence in their homes.

She says many don't know where to go for help.

“The greatest need for our whanau is to know what services are out there, who of our people are providing the work, who of Maori are working in the area of intervening and stopping and preventing family violence,” Ms Moore says.

She says some of the new money needs to go into workforce development, because there are not enough skilled people to work with whanau in need.

YOUTH WEEK MEANS GIVE TIME TO RANGATAHI

The Minister of Youth Affairs is urging Maori families to make more time to talk to their rangatahi.

Today is the start of National youth week, which this year is on the theme of relationships.

Nania Mahuta says rangatahi with supportive families and positive relationships at school are better positioned to go on to tertiary study and rewarding careers.

She says adults need to help them develop confidence.

“Talking to young people, being a mentor, at home if you’re a whanau having a sit down kai, asking how the day was, all those sorts of things that reinforce relationships matter and it’s really important too because it’s a type of relationships within a whanau, like our grandparents with our tamariki, they make a difference,” Ms Mahuta says.

A highlight of the week will be Wednesday’s Young New Zealanders Awards in Wellington.

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