Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, May 12, 2008

Whanganui in H of a fight

Whanganui Maori are making another attempt to put the H back into their city's name.

The issue of spelling was raised during the current claim hearings before the Waitangi Tribunal, and Te Runanga O Tupoho is preparing an application for the Geographic Board.

Ken Mair, a spokesperson for the hapu, says a 2006 referendum which found 82 percent of voters wanted the status quo was a piece of political grandstanding by mayor Michael Laws.

He says the correct pronunciation isn't hard for those who are prepared to open their minds and their ears to the regional dialect.

“They soon pick it up in regard to a gutteral sound for w-anganui or w-anau. You hear people attempting to say it like funganui, but it’s not quite like that. Certainly not wanganui or wonganui. For those who are used to listening to our dialect and the meta of our reo, they soon pick it up and know exactly where we are coming from and where we are from,” Mr Mair says.

He says the change is inevitable, and many organisations or businesses in the region have already added the H.


A new study will compare heart disease risk of North Island rural Maori with populations in Christchurch.

Researcher Suzanne Pitama, from Otago University's Christchurch-based Maori-Indigenous Health Institute, says a random sample of Christchurch people will be offered free heart checks.

The results will be compared with a similar study done last year in Wairoa.

“We'll be able to do a comparison between the rural Maori group with the urban Maori group and we’ll also be able to do a comparison with the non-Maori Christchurch group with the Maori group and hopefully what it will do is give us in New Zealand some evidence around what’s happening in our communities and not just let people talk about what they think is happening,” Ms Pitama says.

The study aims to identify the difference in risks between Maori and non-Maori of the same age, and whether there are differences in their access to medical services and their treatment.


The new organisers of the national Maori performing arts competition are pledging to take the Te Matatini back to basics.

Wharehoka and Emere Wano have a background in event management, with experience on WOMAD and the Parihaka Peace Festival.

Wharehoka Wano says experiments with hip hop performances and art markets haven't improved the bottom line, so they're keen to put the focus on the main stage, where the top kapa haka groups in the country strut their stuff.

“It would be nice to have a little bit in reserve so we could put it back into the art form but certainly at the least just to break even. Those are sorts of little goals and I think they’re achievable goals,” Mr Wano says.

Te Matatini 2009 in Tauranga already has financial support from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage and Te Puni Kokiri, and it's also seeking sponsors.


Two Maori have won top ten spots in the Green Party list.

If the party scrapes over the five percent mark, sitting MP Metiria Turei's number four spot will guarantee her another term.

But it needs to get about 8 percent of the vote for Dave Clendon to get to Parliament.

Ms Turei says the resource management lecturer from Ngapuhi and Te Roroa will be an asset to the caucus.

“He's from the north and he has long experience of working with communities on sustainability questions, environmental issues, that sort of background, and that’s been very valuable to us. He used to be a co-convenor of the party so he’s been involved with the party for a very long time so it’s great he's at number 10,” Ms Turei says.

Dave Clendon will stand against John Key in Helensville.


A Maori mussell grower says iwi need to put more strategic focus on marine farming.

Harry Mikaere from Coromandel says a new bilingual teaching resource on aquaculture aimed at intermediate schools should encourage some tamariki to consider careers in the industry.

Today's year six and seven students will enter the workforce about the same time the iwi are due to get marine space or cash as part of the Maori commercial aquaculture settlement.

He says iwi need to look at the potential there, rather than rely only on their annual catch entitlements (ACE) from fisheries quota.

“If you have a look at the feral stock fisheries in terms of ACE at the moment, there have been enormous rumblings about the sustainability of that and therefore we need to pick up where that particular part of our industry’s at and replacement of that feral stock with the introduction of aquaculture into the finfish,” Mr Mikaere says.

He says aquaculture has the potential to triple in value to become a billion dollar industry in a decade.


Rangatahi should benefit from a sports initiative being launched in Manukau tonight.

Field of Dreams is the initiative of city councillor and Olympic middle distance legend John Walker.

Duane Mann from the Counties Manukau Sports Trust says it aims to encourage the region's young people into active healthy lifestyles, including sport.

The former international league player says sport helps keep rangatahi off the streets.

“Using sport as a vehicle to provide some inspiration, motivation, and get young people busy so it’s about participating. If you start moving, you’ll feel good about yourself. Sport is just one area of a number where there’s a whole lot of people out there just trying to make a difference,” Mr Mann says.


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