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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Peace focus in Moriori trust

A proposed centre for peace studies could be one beneficary of a new trust to promote Moriori culture.

Te Keke Tura Moriori Identity Trust was launched at Wellington's Te Papa museum last night with a one-off grant of $6 million.

Maui Solomon from the Hokotehi Moriori Trust says interest from the endowment will allow Te Keke Tura to preserve and promote the identity, heritage, culture and the legacy of peace of the Moriori people of the Chatham islands, or Rekohu.

He says only a small number of Moriori descendants are familiar with the culture and tikanga, and the first priority will be to make available some of that heritage which is locked away in archives and libraries.

“You need resources to be able to produce educational material, online courses, to establish teaching facilities and material on Rekohu. We are also working with Otago University to establish a national centre of peace and conflict studies and there are a number of other projects in the pipeline as well,” Mr Solomon says.

The trust will also counter the popular myths about Moriori, which still persist in some quarters.

MAORI MODEL FOR DEALING WITH MADNESS

A mental health commissioner says all New Zealanders could learn something from Maori about dealing with people with mental illness.

Ray Watson from Kai Tahu and Te Atiawa says discrimination is one of the biggest challenges faced by those with mental health issue.

He says many people still want to go back to the days when sufferers were locked out of sight, but he doesn't see that among Maori.

“Traditionally of course Maori communities are very accepting of difference and so it has been my experience in dealing with whanau and at hapu level and at iwi level that Maori communities are very accepting of people who are different in any way,” Mr Watson says.

He says awareness campaigns such as "like minds, like mine" were having a positive impact.

DUBBNG SOFTWARE SPARKS INTERNATIONAL INTEREST

A Maori production company has attracted international interest for a computer program for film audio.

Kiwa Productions developed its Voice Q software to dub Maori onto English language cartoons.

Rhonda Kite, Kiwa's director, says Voice Q provides frame accurate scripts for actors, and it can be adapted to any language.

She's off the Germany next week to oversee its use on a major studio project being done for Fox International.

MORE MAORI LANGUAGE CONTENT FUNDED

Te Mangai Paho is pushing for more Maori language programmes for fluent speakers.

Dave Hereora, the chair of the Maori Affairs Select Committee, says the Maori broadcast funding agency has shared its plans for a shift in focus.

In the current financial year, 40 percent of funding will go to programmes with a more demanding language content, a similar percentage will go to those targeting second language learners, and 20 percent will go for what's called receptive audiences.

Mr Hereora says the committee sees the change as positive.

“The change has been made possible by broadcasters such as Maori Television Service now having access to New Zealand on Air funding as well and for some time now their programming with a lower Maori language content allows Te Mangai Paho to fund more programmes with higher Maori language content, and I think that's all good,” Mr Hereora says.

The select committee is still concerned at the poor time slots mainstream broadcasters are giving Maori language programmes.

SWABBING TEST TARGETS STREP A OUTBREAKS

The mid north town of Kaikohe has been chosen for a trial to reduce cases of rheumatic fever.

Catherine Turner from Tihewa Mauiora public health organisation says tamariki at eight schools will get mouth swabs to test for the percent of the Strep A bacterium.

If untreated, it can develop into rheumatic fever leading in some cases to heart damage.

Ms Turner says Maori community healthy workers are spreading the message in both te reo maori and English.

“The very strong messages that go out is that sore throats matter and need to be taken seriously and that’s going through all the schools and the children are being taught about cough etiquette and hand hygiene as well as the importance of identifying sore throats and having them swabbed and treated,” Ms Turner says.

No new cases have been reported in Whangaroa since the programme was first trialed, and if it's successful in Kaikohe, expect a nationwide rollout.

KAPA HAKA COMPETITION CREATES POSITIVE FEELING

TSB Stadium on the Wellington waterfront has been resounding to the stamp of rangatahi.

It's the national secondary schools kapa haka championships, and 36 schools are out to show they are the best at Maori performing arts.

Trevor Maxwell from Ngati Rangiwewehi is there to support Te Roopu Manaaki from Rotorua's Western Heights High School.

He says it's a great event which makes him feel proud, given the negative stories about Maori which seem to abound in the media.

Te Roopu Manaaki is keen to win again because Rotorua is hosting the next championships in 2010.

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