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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Paki Harrison biography launched

One of Maoridom's premier carvers will be honoured by the publication today of a full length biography.

Tohunga Whakairo: Paki Harrison is being launched this evening in Tanenuiarangi, the house Dr Harrison carved 20 years ago for Auckland University's Waipapa marae.

Biographer Ranginui Walker says Dr Harrison combined deep self-directed study of Maori arts with a drive to master the technical aspects of carving and find new ways to make it accessible and affordable for modern Maori communities.

He learned the basics of whakairo at Te Aute College from the legendary Pine Taiapa.

“Pine followed him up when he was a student at Massey, and Pine stayed with him for several weeks in his room at night, reciting karakia, telling him mythological stories, talking about whakapapa and the building of houses and it was the old style of tohunga wananga type teaching. Paki used to put the blanket over to shut the noise out, and only years later did he realise he was being subjected to the wananga style pedagogy,” Professor Walker says.

Paki Harrison's legacy will not only be the houses he carved but the many students he trained to follow on.

STRATEGY COULD BE COSTING MAORI VOTES

Former Mana Motuhake leader Sandra Lee says the Maori Party may have lost votes by encouraging uncertainty about its post-election plans.

The latest New Zealand Press Association rolling poll is picking Labour to keep the three Maori seats it still holds.

Ms Lee says minor parties must always weigh up whether they should align closely with one of the majors and see votes siphoned off, or cop flak for sitting on the fence.

“So the Maori Party has chose not to declare and I’m not completely sure it hasn’t cost them votes. It might have cost them the votes of some people who are quite supportive of a Maori Party-Labour coalition,” Ms Lee says.

TREVOR MAXWELL GIVEN KAUPAPA TOURISM ROLE

One of New Zealand's longest serving councillors is using his skills in a newly created tourism position.

Rotorua deputy mayor Trevor Maxwell is the new kaupapa Maori director at Tourism New Zealand.

The former Ngati Rangiwewehi tutor has a long involvement in international tourism events, most recently with the Maori Arts Meets America event in San Francisco in 2005 and the opening of the America’s Cup in Valencia in 2007.

He'll be drawing on that experience in his new role.

“Living in Rotorua and just growing up with tourism all or lives is just a comfortable zone to be in. It’s not a kaumatua role. I’m just offering advice as I have for years anyway, whether it’s been for our council or here in Rotorua,” Mr Maxwell says.

His 32 years as a Rotorua District Councilor comes down to his ability to win the support of the whole community.

OBAMA VICTORY AN INSPIRATION TO INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

A Maori with a long family association with the American civil rights movement says Barack Obama is an inspiration to indigenous people around the world.

Willie Jackson who has visited the US many times and met with civil rights leaders says Obama's election is being celebrated across Maoridom.

He says it could be an insiration fo other indegenus leadership to come through round the world.

Mr Jackson says President elect Obama has tempered his association with radical elements and Maori leaders in New Zealand have had to act similarly.
OBAMA VICTORY COULD INSPIRE YOUNG VOTERS

However while the turnout of young voters in the United States is being credited with helping Barack Obama become president back in New Zealand Maori youth are being seen as among those most likely NOT to vote.

The Minister of Youth Affairs Nanaia Mahuta says adults... parents, teachers and the like... have a responsibility to talk to young people about the political process... and the importance of taking part.

And rangatahi need to know that their votes count.

“By 2025 there will be a browning of the New Zealand population. We will be the mainstream. The message I’m putting out to rangatahi is we can only demonstrate that by participating in democracy and placing our vote. Otherwise our silence lets other people have a say on where this country is going, and we can’t accept that,” Ms Mahuta says.

BATTALION BOOK SOLD OUT ON EAST COAST

The first print of a book about the 28th Maori Battalion C Company has sold out in a matter of week.

Nga Tama Toa by Monty Soutar was released late last month in Gisborne at Te Poho o Rawiri Marae.

Popular Gisborne book shop Muir's, which hosted a signing with the author and contributor Sir Henare Ngata, originally ordered 200 copies followed by two more orders of 100 copies.

Owner Kim Pittar says with only 30 copies left, the book is particularly popular on the East Coast.

“If there's a Maori book out that’s applicable to the East Coast, this store is just inundated,” Ms Pittar says.

Publisher David Bateman expects to release second edition before Christmas.

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