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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New look for Ohinemutu

The iconic Ngati Whakaue village of Ohinemutu is to have a makeover.

Mauriora Kingi, Rotorua District Council's kaupapa Maori director, says a meeting next Monday will gauge public opinion on the plan.

He says the village on the shores of Lake Rotorua attracts thousands of visitors a year.

“Council is currently replacing all its utilities so there are some major works happening now in terms of replacing all the old water pipes, water mains, sewage pipes and the like. The hui is to look at traffic management and also look at enhancing the entrance ways into Ohinemutu,” Mr Kingi says.


A Maori cancer survivor is thanking those who kept up the pressure to fund breast cancer drug Herceptin.

The Government says it will fund the drug for up to a year, rather than the nine-week course previously available.

Ngaire Te Hira, who has had a double mastectomy, says the $100,000 cost of private treatment was out of the range of most Maori women.

She says without the lobbying, more Maori women would die without being given the chance of survival the treatment offers.

“Maori women, their whanau, their hapu, their supporters and those who represented them did come out and speak out loudly of having Herceptin available for them. It was always down to the dollar, and we were in the category that didn’t have a lot of money,” Ms Te Hira says.

She says most women with breast cancer are too sick to join lobby groups, so the onus fell on their families to convince the government to fund Herceptin.


An expert in development says indigenous people around the world are looking at Maori to take a lead in the fight for intellectual property rights.

Shaleni Bhutani from India works with Grain, an international organisation promoting food security for indigenous communities.
She's in New Zealand to look at the Wai 262 claim to the Waitangi Tribunal, known as the flora and fauna claim.

Ms Bhutani says many communities around the world are threatened by the way multinational companies seek to exploit their traditional knowledge and culture, but they don't have the opportunities Maori have to voice those concerns.

“It is indeed quite unique but in different counties people have tried to use whatever fora they might have had within their national settings, because also the problem with the intellectual property rights system is there is no one forum where people from all parts of the world can raise these issues,” Ms Bhutani says.


Hawkes Bay hapu Ngati Tu and Ngati Hineuru will today start putting their case against a windfarm above the Napier-Taupo Road.

Lines company Unison has applied to put 34 turbines on Te Waka Range, after being knocked back on an almost identical proposal for a 37-turbine farm.

Tania Hopmans from Ngati Tu says the hapu are upset at being dragged for a second time to the Environment Court to protect one of their most sacred sites.

“When our orators stand on the marae and they mihi to manuhiri, they bring that maunga with them. They refer to the tihitapu of that maunga, and that has not changed since mai ra no. When our tamariki at kohanga, one of the first things they learn is their pepeha for both Hineuru and Ngati Tu, we refer to that maunga,” Ms Hopmans says.

The Environment Court hearing, which is being held in Napier's Kennedy Park Motor Camp, is expected to last until the end of next week.


A Maori academic says Tainui's restructuring plan will create an extremely powerful chief executive.

The tribe's executive, Te Arataura, is facing a legal challenge from the chair of its parliament, Te Kauhanganui, over the plan to create a group chief executive covering both the tribe's commercial and social arms.

Rawiri Taonui from Canterbury University's school of Maori and ethnic studies says it could be seen as a threat to the existing order.

“The proposal to restructure their business will create pretty much what we will call a super CEO in charge of both cultural and economic affairs. The new super CEO would look to have more power than the Kauhanganui, the tribal parliament, and also much more power than the king,” Mr Taonui says.

He says Te Kauhanganui chairman Tom Roa is widely regarded as a patient and tolerant person, so the court case cannot be seen as a maverick action.

Mr Roa's application for an injunction is set down for December 18, but Te Arataura is seeking to bring to bring the case forward.


A poutakamanawa carved more than 40 years ago will take centre stage when the Rotorua District Council opens its refurbished entrance next week.

Mauriora Kingi, the council's kaupapa Maori advisor, says the new reception area should be more user friendly and encourage more Maori to take their issues of concern to the council.

The floor to ceiling carving by renowned tohunga whakairo Kima Hakaraia in 1963 features a combination known as Nga Pumanawa e Waru o te Arawa - the Eight Beating Hearts of Te Arawa.

“He actually was commissioned to carve it for the Bank of New Zealand in Rotorua but when the bank did a refurbishment they decided they didn’t want the poutokomanawa which is actually one big long carved pole depicting the eight children of Rangitihi so there are eight main figures,” Mr Kingi says.

As well as the external refurbishments, council representatives need to be better educated in how to deal with Maori kanohi ki te kanohi...face to face ... if they are to will encourage more Maori into the offices.


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