Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Whakarewarewa Bill could cause eruptions

Another step in the battle to have world famous Whakarewarewa thermal valley returned to Maori was played out in Wellington today when the Whakarewarewa Vesting bill was tabled in parliament.

But Willie Te Aho who has helped negotiate the return of the valley doesn't expect the bill to have a smooth ride ... he's predicting a challenge from opponents of the deal who believe they have a dominant interest in the valley.

“But there were a number of court cases in the 1800s that vested the land now held by the Crown in hapu of Ngati Whakaue and accordingly we’ve established a process by which Ngati Wahiao, along with Tuhourangi and the hapu of Ngati Whakaue can work on a mana whenua process to determine who holds the interests in the valley,” Mr Te Aho says.

Elders from Ngati Whakaue, Tuhourangi and Ngati Wahiao met with Michael Cullen and Parekura Horomia ... as well as Damien O'Connor and Nanaia Mahuta who hold the tourism portfolios ... before the Bill was introduced.


The new head of taonga Maori at the Auckland Museum says relationships with iwi are crucial.

Antoine Coffin of Ngati Ranginui, Ngaiterangi and Ngati Raukawa is the new Kaitakawaenga Pakihi, Maori partnership and development executive.

Mr Coffin is excited at the prospect of telling stories through taonga, but only through maintaining relationships with iwi.

“It's critical in terms of your credibility as an institution that’s communicating stories about our taonga, if you don’t have the iwi on board for that, you’re in big trouble. It’s about giving credibility and also giving meaning to make sure those stories are relevant, are really interesting and are based on the tika,” Mr Coffin says.

Working through the issues following Auckland museums restructuring will be important in moving forward once he formally steps into the position in November.


The kuaka or godwit is back.

Thousands of the amazing migratory birds, which fly 11,000km non stop, have started arriving in the north of New Zealand, two weeks earlier than expected.

Kingi Ihaka from Te Aupouri says the godwits were a source of fascination to Maori because they could never locate their nests, and have even been immortalised in song.

“Of all the many other things that Maori sing about and grieve, and compose extended songs about in their oration, the only bird that is not native to New Zealand is the godwit, the kuaka,” he says.

Mr Ihaka says the bird was a significant food source, especially among Muriwhenua iwi, until it was declared an endangered species in the 1950s.


The first Polynesian navigator to discover the islands of New Zealand may have been part of a larger group.

Rawiri Taonui of the University of Canterbury has studied the oral traditions about Kupe for the past 10 years.

He says while early Pakeha accounts depict Kupe as a sole navigator, many iwi believe they had their own discoverers.

“Kupe is part of the cultural group that probably came from the Leeward Islands of the Tahitian archipelago. The earliest centres for the Kupe traditions are probably Northland and Taranaki. The Kupe traditions had a single ancestor, but within that tradition there are probably accounts of multiple migrations, so the people who originally came from Polynesia to New Zealand settled Northland, Taranaki, and then traditions about people who broke off from those groups and settled other parts of the island,” Mr Taonui says.

Oral traditions pre-dating European contact are important in forming a non-Pakeha perception of Maori creation and migration mythology.


Addressing gout among Maori needs to start at marae.

Maori Rheumatology worker Vicki Harris says the acutely painful metabolic arthritis is rampant within Maori communities.

However she says although gout is manageable, the message isn't reaching Maori and it had to be taken to where they are.

“My mahi is linking people up to their GP. Gout can be managed and controlled. There’s no need for out people to end up in Middlemore Hospital. It’s all about education and awareness, and that’s what my mahi is. It’s amazing the response, they say ‘now I understand.’ It’s just giving them those key simple messages, but at the same instance you’ve got to go where the whanau are, and that’s marae based.
Ms Harris says.

While foods like seafood and beer are blamed for causing gout, other foods are also high in the purines which spark gout attacks.


A Maori fashion designer is taking her work to America.

Thirteen dresses from the Charmaine Love Collection have been picked up by Ambrosia, which has showrooms in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta.

Ms Love says Ambrosia is confident the gamble of her unique designs will pay off.

“Because the Charmaine Love label is so different and focuses on Maori design, it’s certainly going to be interesting to see if the Americans pick up on it and we’ll be stocking that full range in the shops as well, so we’re really trying to get the fashion label out there,” Ms Love says.

Ambrosia will show the collection during October by appointment only to buyers from high end retailers like Sachs and Neiman Marcus.


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