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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tohourangi remember eruption

Today the Tuhourangi people remember the day they were forced to flee their ancestral home around Lake Tarawera.

The eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886 destroyed not only the famed Pink and White Terraces but the homes and cultivations of the people on the lake's shores.

Kaumatua Anaru Rangiheuea says June the 10th is a reminder of not only how much the iwi lost, but also of the generosity of whanaunga and neighbouring iwi who took the survivors in.

He says the Crown profited from the eruption by taking Tuhourangi land, which the iwi is still trying to get back.

“We lost a lot of our lands around Tarawera, around our lakes here, and they’re now held in the Crown agency of Department of Conservation and I think that’s really sad and wrong of the Crown not to consider returning most of those lands back to us,” Mr Rangiheuea says.

He doubts the Pink and White Terraces are still intact.


The winners of the Maori farm of the year say getting a deep understanding of their business helps lessen the inevitable risks.

Dean and Kristen Nikora entered their Mangatewai Station dairy operation near Takapau into the Ahuwhenua Trophy so they could benchmark it against other successful organisations.

The chief judge, Doug Leeder, says the couple built a thriving business by balancing high-risk investment with disciplined risk analysis.

Mr Nikora, who is from Ngati Tama and Maniapoto, says it never felt risky.

“We understand dairy. We understand if we hit some rough times, what we are going to do about it. We understand the business. We understand the science involved and the risks involved in our minds are not too great. To get ahead you’ve just got to understand the road map very well, understand what to do if things, go wrong, and understand opportunities when you see them and grab them,” Mr Nikora says.

He says one of the strengths of the business is its Maori cultural values, which stress the importance of people.


As sequels go... this one is something special.

Vincent Ward has incorporated footage from his 1981 documentary In Spring One Plants Alone into a feature which fleshes out the story of Puhi, a kuia living in Te Urewera with her schizophrenic son.

Rain of the Children stars Waihoroi Shortland, Rena Owen, Temuera Morrison and a several of Puhi's descendants.

Mr Shortland says the award-winning director interviewed dozens of Puhi's relatives and called on his big-budget experience to recreate moments in her life such as the police invasion of Maungapohatu in 1916.

He says the untold story of New Zealand history got a great reception at its premiere at the Sydney Film Festival this weekend.

Mr Shortland says new technology makes film production more affordable, opening up possibilities of more untold Maori stories making it to the screen.


United Future wants all voters to have a say on the future of the Maori seats.

Labour's policy is the seats should remain until Maori say they don't want them any more.

The Maori Party says it wants them entrenched so they can't be scrapped by a simple majority of Parliament, and National says that's exactly what it will eventually do if it becomes government.

Now United Future leader Peter Dunne is proposing a series of referenda on constitutional issues, including one of the future of the Maori seats.

“The Royal Commission way back in the 1980s recommended they should be done away with once MMP was put in place. I think it’s time to test that proposition, particularly since we now have a viable voice of Maori in Parliament that has been able to gain significant representation. I think it’s time to give everyone the chance to determine what the future shape of our electoral system should look like, including where the Maori seats fit,” Mr Dunne says.

He says the Maori seats are unfair to Maori because they restrict the influence of Maori.


Manuhiri from eight countries have gathered in Auckland to talk about how tikanga can tackle modern problems.

Laiana Wong from the Hawai‘inuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawai’i says the traditional knowledge conference is a chance for indigenous people to look critically at themselves.

It's organised by Nga pae o Te Maramatanga, the Institute for Maori research excellence based at Auckland University.

Dr Wong says academics need to remember the communities they come from.

“We tend to focus on external factors such as foreigners who have come and occupied illegally our place and have imposed their values on us. Sometimes we focus too much on that and less on what our responsibility is to retain our own values and try to live by those values,” Dr Wong says.

He is addressing the conference on the theme: Attend to your fellow humans lest your love be wasted on dogs


One of Maoridom's leading blues guitarists has released his second album.

Billy Tekahika says Presenting Billy TK Jr better reflects his skills as a guitar player.

Those expecting the psychedelic freakouts of the other Billy TK, the legendary Human Instinct axman, better look elsewhere.

Billy TK Jnr says he didn't meet his father until he was 16, and the old man refused to teach him to play because he believed he needed to develop his own path.


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