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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, May 05, 2008

Tuhoe in a Tempest

Tuhoe activist Tame Iti is flying into another tempest.

Iti, who is awaiting trial for firearms offences laid after last October's so called terror raids in the Bay of Plenty, has won a change in his bail conditions allowing him to travel to Europe for performances of a theatre work based on Shakespeare's The Tempest.

He says the work, a collaboration with Butoh dancer and choreographer Lemi Ponifasio, has changed considerably from the version which played at last year's Auckland Festival.

“The Tempest will be a lot more abstract, without any dialogue, just based on movement, motions and images, and it is like going into art galleries so you have to gather your own thoughts, so you may have 100 people watching the show, with 100 different views to it, so it’s a different approach to what your normal drama is, so it's not a drama,” Iti says.

When he gets back from performances in Belgium, Spain and England, Tame Iti will be taking up a new job as host of an Auckland Maori radio station.


The Electoral Enrolment Centre is concerned Maori may miss out on voting.

It has found just under half of the Maori population don't know it's election year, with younger people more likely to be in the dark.

National manager Murray Wicks says people need to prepare themselves by getting correctly enrolled.

“There's a lot of young Maori people which are now first time voters and they need to enroll. When it comes to enrolment as well, Maori are one of those groups that are less likely to be enrolled than other groups in the population,” Mr Wicks says.

Update packs are going out this week to everyone on the electoral roll so they can check their details.


Concerns over geneology can be a barrier for Maori couples considering using donated eggs or sperm.

That's one of the conclusions of Your child is your whakapapa, a new study by Auckland University's School of Population Health.

Co-author Marewa Glover says for many Maori, the desire for children is closely aligned with the need to pass on their whakapapa.

And while the assisted reproduction technology makes it a current issue, Maori have faced similar issues with adoption.

“It occurs with whangai as well, if you look at membership of iwi, and this is going to be more and more relevant with treaty settlements, who belongs, who is a member of the iwi. Not all iwi recognise whangai who whakapapa externally to that iwi,” Dr Glover says.

She says assisted reproduction is being increasingly sought because the falling birth rate among Maori women means there are fewer babies available to be whangai'd within families, which was a traditional Maori response to infertility.


Tainui MP Nanaia Mahuta says celebrations of 150 years of Kingitanga demonstrate the movement's ability to rejuvenate itself.

The five-day event attracted thousands of people to Turangaewaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia.

Ms Mahuta says it was a chance to look back at why the movement has survived, and to look forward to how it can be used as a focus for Maori unity and cooperation.

“For each generation there’s been a resurgence of its aspirations. Kingitanga’s been relevant for the generation of the time and people are still saying it has relevance and it has a role to play, and significantly at the commemorations over the weekend, a new generation coming through wanting to articulate where the way forward is,” Ms Mahuta says.

There was much talk of how iwi can work with each other in a post-settlement environment.


Gang affiliation is seen as the reason for a disproportionate number of Maori in prison.

The first of what’s to be an annual analysis of the prison muster has found the percentage of the population behind bars has doubled over the past 20 years, from 91 per 100 thousand to 188 per 100 thousand.

More than half of prisoners are over 30, compared with just 20 percent in 1980.

Peter Johnson, the Correction’s Department’s manager of strategy and research, says longer sentences are one reason for the increased average age, but the drug trade and gangs play a part.

“If people are members of gangs then there’s a tendency to remain again stuck in a criminal lifestyle and we have seen that the average age of gang members has increased in the same way that the offender population has increased,” Mr Johnson says.

The Offender Volumes Report identified that last June 3.2 percent of all 23-year-old Maori males were in prison, compared to point 4 percent of Pakeha of the same age.


Cleaning up an awa was the ticket to Wellington for a Whangarei schoolgirl.

15-year-old Erana Walker from Te Wharekura o Te Rawhiti Roa was one of 44 teenagers from around the country brought together for the 2008 Sir Peter Blake Youth Environment Forum.

During the week the rangatahi worked with on projects with staff from the Ministry for the Environment.

Ms Walker says since 2003 her school has tried to keep the Waitoa River on its boundary pollution free.

“We were doing stuff to clear it. We were planting beside the river to help restore it. We were getting hold of our local councils and our regional councils to come in help pull all the dead willows and the rubbish in it because there were things like couches and old washing machines and there was everything,” Ms Walker says.

On June 5 Te Wharekura o Te Rawhiti Roa is marking World Environment Day, Arbour Day and Matariki by planting the banks of the Waitoa.


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