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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, November 24, 2008

Optimism for Kaitahu reo revival

The Ngai Tahu tribe believes that there is such a hunger among young people for te reo that within two generations Ngai Tahu will be known as a native speaker of te reo.

Speaking on the 10th anniversary of the Ngai Tahu treaty settlement Ngai Tahu chairman Mark Solomon says he increasingly goes places where young people are talking nothing but te reo.

"There is such a hunger within our young peiople for the reo that I’m absolutely convinced that within two generations a Ngai Tahu will again be known as a native speaker of te reo. Not going to be my generation, it’s going to be our kids,” Mr Solomon says.

When he retires he will go back to school to learn te reo himself.

NGATI TOA PROUD OF NEW STADIUM

The role of the haka in test matches may be under discussion... with British columnist Frank Keating saying the "charmless eye-rolling, tongue squirming dance" has long passed its sell-by date.

In Porirua however, the composer of the world's best known haka... Ka Mate, Ka Mate... was commemorated this weekend with the opening of a sports arena named after the Ngati Toa chief Te Rauparaha.

Willie Taurima, the recreation manager for the facility says the arena's name will have wide spin offs.

“It's the connection with the haka that gives us some international profile and certainly for Ngati Toa, we are a single iwi city, gives us a connection that is bigger than Porirua City. Why, it’s bigger than the Whittaker’s chocolate bar which comes from here,” Mr Taurima says.

Thousands went through the new facilities when the arena was opened over the weekend.

MORE MATCHES WANTED FOR INDIGENOUS LEAGUE

More matches... more often.... that's goal of rugby league administrators in the wake of this year's World Cup tournament.

Howie Tamati... who chairs New Zealand Maori Rugby League... says teams such as Fiji have shown that when they are allowed access to their Australian-based players they can be competitive.

He says the trick will be to get the NRL administrators to see the value in building up the strength of the international... and the indigenous... game by making the top level players available.

“Already we're talking about Papua New Guinea playing Fiji on a regular basis, Tonga Samoa on a regular basis, and it should be the New Zealand Maori rugby league regularly play the Australian indigenous side on a regular basis. We’ve got a lot of work to do with the Australian Rugby League with regard to their policy of not supporting indigenous rugby league at a senior level with NRL level quality players,” Mr Tamati says.

TURIA TRUSTED BY NATIONAL COLLEAGUES

The new Minister for the Community and Voluntary sector Tariana Turia says she is finding an attitude of trust from National which she did not find during her time as an associate Minister within Labour.

Tariana Turia, who was an associate minister before she resigned in 2004 to set up the Maori Party, says she was unable to make real gains for Maori working under risk-averse Labour ministers.

“Well there is a lot more trust involved here. When I was in Labour I had five associate portfolios, responsible for nothing really other than policy, so didn’t really get any opportunities to make huge changes or have any real significant say in how those portfolios went because I was always subject to a principal minister,” Mrs Turia says.

She is really hoping the different attitude she is finding from National will translate into real gains for Maori.

SAVINGS SCHEME TOP TRIBAL ACHIEVEMENT

The chairman of Ngai Tahu Mark Solomon believes the tribe's greatest success in the ten years since the settlement of treaty grievances has been the establishment of a highly successful savings scheme.

Mark Solomon says the savings scheme is an area of great success because it is changing attitudes towards saving which will stand young people in good stead for the future.

“The one area I’m extremely proud of is the Whai Rawa, the savings scheme. The ultimate purpose was to get our kids involved in savings, 50 percent of those that have joined the scheme are under 16 and they are the most regular savers. It’s awesome,” Mr Solomon says.

The scheme has 14,000 enrolled or 31 percent of the tribal population and aims to have 20,000 enrolled this year.

HUGE CONTRIBUTION TO LEAGUE WIN

Maori league fans are celebrating the Kiwis world Cup winning performance... with a 34-20 victory over Australia in Brisbane on Saturday night.

Howie Tamati, a Kiwi selector, and former test player, says the Maori contribution can't be underestimated... there's coach Stephen Kearney, captain Nathan Cayless, and a large core of Maori talent... including Taranaki's Issac Luke.

“Yeah he's a character that one, a typical cheeky little hooker but he’s just one of some very strong peronalities in there. There’s Benji Marshall who’s a star in his own right, Hemi Rapira, Adam Blair, Bronson Harrison, he was fantastic, he was the 24th player basically and he’s played his way into the World Cup winning side,” Mr Tamati says.

The side is a relatively young one... the average age is 23... so the management and coaches can build on Saturday's success.

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