Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sonny Sewell farewelled by Te Arawa

Te Arawa is mourning the loss of one of its leading kaumatua and one of the few remaining members of 28 Maori Battalion.

Rangi Te Puru Sydney Sewell from Tuhourangi, better known as Sonny Sewell, died on Friday after a long illness.

He was 85.

Mr Sewell was presented with a Queen's Service Medal in 2004 for his long involvement with iwi and community development, which included leading Tuhourangi's Kapenga Maori Trust sheep and beef farm at Tumunui to its Ahuwhenua Trophy win.

Trevor Maxwell, Rotorua's deputy mayor, says Sonny's death leaves a gap in the community.

"Being a proud menber of Tuhourangi, Ngati Wahiao and Te Arawa, Sonny was involved in a lot of the trusts around Rotorua and both he and his sister, the late Bubbles Mihinui, will be sorely missed," Mr Maxwell says.

Sonny Sewell was buried with full military honours at the Rotorua Lawn Cemetery yesterday.

BETTER ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES SOUGHT

A newly-appointed mental health commissioner wants to see Maori and their whanau get better access to integrated mental health services.

Ray Watson, from Kai Tahu and Te Atiawa, says although there are now good Maori health services, many Maori don't know about them or find them hard to get to.

He says the commission wants to see more collaboration across services, which will mean changes in whanau and community attitudes.

"There's difficulty for Maori whanau accessing an integrated service for either an individual in the whanau or for the whole whanau so they get a whanau ora approach or an approach that looks at families being supported to achieve their maximum health and well being," Mr Watson says.

Ray Watson says there is still a major shortfall of Maori mental health practitioners.

MAORI VALUES MEAN SAFER SHEARING

Whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, matauranga and rangatiratanga are the four pillars of success for a top Maori shearing contractor.

Dannevirke-based Paewai-Mullins has become the first rural business to win the Safeguard New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards.

Director Mavis Mullins says the win is an endorsement of the company's commitment to Maori values and principles.

"In the shearing industry health and safety is something people talk about but often not a real feature. What we try to do in our business is use our Maori values to ensure health and safety is more an outcome rather than a process," Mrs Mullins says.

NEW TRUST TO PROMOTE MORIORI CULTURE

oriori culture has just got a $6 million dollar shot in the arm.

That's the endowment fund the government is creating for Te Keke Tura Moriori Identity Trust, which will preserve and promote the identity, heritage, culture and the legacy of peace of the Moriori people of the Chatham Islands.

Moriori spokesperson Maui Solomon says it's a significant step for the iwi, which has fought back from near annihilation after the invasion of the islands by Taranaki tribes in the 1830s.

He says there are a lot of myths to overcome, and material in the archives which needs to be better known among Moriori and non-Moriori.

"The key thing is people can grow up understanding who they are, their Moriori identity. They don't have to hide that from view, when we go to marae we can speak in our own dialect, we can sing our own rongo, our waiata, we can recite our own karaki and our young people can be proud of who they are," Mr Solomon says.

The trust is being launched about now at Te Papa by the Prime Minister, with a video link to Kopinga Marae on Rekohu, Chatham Islands.

RANGATIHI RUNANGA GOES FOR TREELORD REVOTE

The Ngati Rangitihi Runanga is trying to salvage the Bay of Plenty iwi 's place in the Central North Island forestry settlement.

A hui at the weekend voted to back out of the proposed $500 million dollar Treelord deal, which is due to be signed off next week.

Now Henare Pryor, the chair of the runanga, says he doesn't consider the vote is valid, because opponents of the settlement threatened runanga members and hui attendees with violence.

He says the runanga wants to put the issue to the vote again, so it can restore the credibility of the iwi.

Maanu Paul from Nga Moewhare says the Ngati Rangitihi vote, as well as the opposition from three other iwi with traditional ownership of parts of the Kaingaroa forest, means the settlement shouldn't go ahead.

The Government intends to use 90 percent of its central North island forest claims to settle the historic claims of iwi in the region, with other cultural and social redress to be sorted out later.

squeegee bandit doing steady business

Box office earnings are not the only gauge of a film's success.

Producer Rhonda Kite says her Squeegee Bandit, about a south Auckland window car cleaner, is still in demand from international film festivals, two years after its release.

It's also doing well as a rental DVD.

She says the lead character, Starfish, and his philosophy of life resonates with audiences around the world... and gives the film a long life.
Squeegee Bandit's most recent outing was at the Dreamspeakers International Film Festival in Edmonton Canada last week, where it gained good reviews.

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