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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Artist claims Matariki hijacked

A Maori artist who helped revive the commemoration of Matariki intends to lodge a Waitangi Tribunal claim seeking official recognition of the Maori new year.

Dianne Prince, from Nga Puhi and Ngati Whatua, became interested in indigenous celebrations after spending time with First Nations people in the United States in the early 1990s.

But she believes the celebration has been hijacked, after its revival by a small group of Maori artists.

“When Maori in the community have an initiative they're always taken over by big organisations, and they do it to assure everybody that they're still bi-cultural but it really brasses me off because they actually took it away from the whole community, the impetus from the community, well I mean talk about disempowering our people again,” she says.

Dianne Prince is currently showing her work at Wellington's Bowen Gallery.


Maori-owned Aotearoa Fisheries have taken over paua fishing company Ocean Ranch

Dean Moana, the head of the prepared foods division, says Aotearoa Fisheries has had a joint venture operation with the Palmerston North-based company for the past 12 years.

He says paua quota is fixed and future growth would rely on aquaculture initiatives, which are still in their infancy.

Mr Moana says Aotearoa Fisheries now control 30 percent of the national paua quota, but is hoping for an improvement in international markets.

“The markets are quite tough at the moment. Most of our product goes up into south east Asia and China and they're all suffering from earthquakes and floods and just the worldwide trend of tightening budgets so luxury items such as paua, or abalone as they call it, find it tough in those sort of conditions,” Mr Moana says.


Kapa haka competitions have positive spin-offs in the classroom.

Robin Roa, the the deputy principal of Ngaruawhaia High School, says the discipline and commitment needed for excellence on stage can be also be applied to school work.

She says the competitions don't need to cut into teaching time.

“When you excite the kids, when you engage them in something that is of interest to them, that engagement carries through in other areas. We've actually taken very little time out of our school, we don't timetable kapa haka or anything... they've actually given up all their weekends for the past two months,” Mrs Noa says.

The National secondary school Kapa Haka championships in Wellington finish today.


A leading Maori language broadcaster says Te Mangai Paho needs to take a greater role in improving the quality of te reo on air.

The Maori broadcast funding agency has told the Maori Affairs Select Committee it is increasing funding for programmes for fluent speakers to 40 percent.

Scotty Morrison, the presenter of Te Karere and an adjunct professor in te reo Maori at Unitec, says quality is as important as quantity.

“I fully support Te Mangai Paho in their initiative to increase funding to Maori language programming. However I feel there's a need for a recognised expert in te reo to be employed to monitor the quality of language being spoken in those programmes because some of those Maori language programmes are actually doing more harm than good with regards to language promotion and the quality of language being spoken,” Mr Morrison says.


A dispute between the Greens and the Maori Party over where Maori should put their party vote shouldn't stop them working closely together.

That's according soon to be retiring MP Nandor Tanczos, who has in the past been the Green's Maori affairs spokesperson.

He says both parties share basic values and have a similar world view.

“We can disagree about some things tactically, or on some issues, but strategically we should see that we have interests in common and we should work that way. And to me that means after the election we should be negotiating in a block, because it's very likely that between us we will decide who the next government is,” Mr Tanczos says.


Southland Hospital is trying to find ways to get more people to their outpatient appointments,

Leanne Samuels, the hospital's interim chief operating officer, says Maori make up a high proportion of those classed as DNA, or Did Not Attend.

That could be because of the size of the catchment, the largest in the country, transport issues and lack of phones.

She says the hospital's Te Huinga Tahi Maori health unit has a role to play supporting people when they do come to the clinics.

Ms Samuels says a pilot programme in South Auckland which text reminders to patients could be one to follow.


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