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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Whitehead, Gardiner top Queen’s honours

A soldier turned bureaucrat and a classical composer were two of the leading Maori honoured in the Queens Birthday list.

Former Te Puni Kokiri chief executive Wira Gardiner, who has been helping the government bring central North Island iwi to settle claims to forestry land, was made a Distinguished Companions of the New Zealand Order of merit.

Also made a distinguished companion was Gillian Karawe Whitehead, who returned to New Zealand a decade ago after carving out a distinguished career as a composer and teacher in Britain, Europe and Australia.

Ms Whitehead says she has no trouble marrying Maori and Pakeha musical traditions together.

“I spent a lot of my life overseas, away from the Maori traditions, and when I came back here, that whole Maori renaissance was happening, and it just seemed the most natural things in the world to bring the elements of the two cultures together,” Ms Whitehead says,

Gillian Whitehead says current projects include working on a piece with poet Glenn Colquhoun, and developing an opera with a large Maori component.


Crown officials and Central North Island iwi collective negotiators today go into the heart of the Kaingaroa Forest to explain the proposed Treelord settlement to those who live there.

Bill Bird from the Ngati Manawa runanga says the consultation hui at Murupara is a chance to clear up misconceptions about the half billion dollar deal.

He says shares in the post-settlement company which is being set up to run the former state forests will be allocated to iwi on a population basis, to settle historic treaty claims.

That doesn’t mean Ngati Manawa is giving up its claim for customary ownership of most of the Kaingaroa number one block.

“ And we’re an iwi who are basically wanting our land back.They can keep their dollars. We want the land back. I riro whenua atu, nei hoki whenua mai. Land was taken, land should be returned. There are iwi around that collective table who only have minor interests in those lands, but they have huge populations,” Mr Bird says.

The forest lands are leased out for another rotation, so there is plenty of time to sort out who owns the mana whenua, as well as resolve other aspects of the redress package such as ownership of waterways.


Old land deeds and letters are being trawled to find words for a Maori law dictionary.

Mamari Stephens from Victoria University’s law faculty has received a $593,000 grant from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology to produce the dictionary, which is designed to help Maori discuss the law in te reo Maori.

She says it’s not an unusual concept when seen in the historical context of where the words are coming from.

“There are thousands of pages of land deeds for example. There are copious amounts of correspondence between the government and petitioners about western legal concepts so a lot of that work has actually been done, a lot of that vocabulary is already there, but we have lost contact with it because that material is archived,” Ms Stephens says.

She says the dictionary is part of the process of normalising the use of te reo Maori in every sphere of New Zealand life.


A leader in the revival of ta moko says his Queens Birthday honour is a mark of mana for the artform.

Derek Arana Te Ahi Lardelli was made an Officer of the Order of New Zealand.

The tattooist, sculptor and kapa haka expert from Ngati Porou, Rongowhakaata, Ngati Kanohi and Ngati Kaipoho says the award recognises the importance of ta moko to all New Zealand.

“It recognises the value of Maori culture to our society and especially Maori art and specifically ta moko. The award can not belong to one person. I am just there to pick the award up on behalf of a lot of people,” Mr Lardelli says.

Two Maori were made Distinguished Companions of the New Zealand Order of merit, the equal of a knight or dame in the old honours system... former Te Puni Kokiri chief executive Wira Gardiner, who has been facilitating the Crown’s attempts to settle central North Island forestry claims, and composer Gillian Karawe Whitehead.

New companions of the order include former Te Arawa Trust Board chair Anaru Rangiheua and soccer player Wynton Rufer.

Awards also went to Bastion Point protest leader Joe Hawke, academic Ngapare Hopa and singer Hinewehi Mohi.


The Ministry of Health's chief advisor on child health is urging Maori parents to get being a new immunisation campaign.

The list of vaccines for babies now includes Prevanar, which builds up immunity against the pneumococcal bacteria which can cause pneumonia, ear and sinus infections and even a form of meningitis.

Pat Tuohy says it’s a bacteria that hits Maori families hardest, with Maori children twice as likely to get the illness, and two to three times more likely to be admitted to hospital than European children.

Dr Tuohy says the Prevanar vaccine is safe, cheap and effective.


If the weekend’s Maori film festival has whetted the appetites of film buffs to find out more about their favourite titles, the New Zealand Film Archive in Wellington has the answer.

It has just opened the Jonathan Dennis Library, which holds extensive collections on the history of the local industry.

Kristen Wineera, who manages the documentation collection, says it includes a huge amount of supporting material which can help researchers to put productions in context, including photographs, unpubblished papers, company archives from production houses and film societies, oral history and posters.

She says the collection goes back to some of New Zealand’s earliest films, including material relating to Rudall Hayward’s Rewi’s Last Stand and The Te Kooti Trail.


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