Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, March 13, 2009

Big turnout for marae opening

More than 500 people braved pre-dawn showers this morning to witness the opening of Auckland's newest meeting house.

The darkness at Unitec was split by ancient chants as tohunga enacted the rituals of whakatuwhera te whare.

Hare Paniora, the polytechnic's Pae Arahi, says as well as mana whenua, Ngati Whare and Ngati Manawa were invited to participate because they gifted logs from the Minginui forest to master carver Lyonel Grant for the project.

There was also a strong showing from Mr Grant's Te Arawa and Ngati Pikiao iwi.

Mr Paniora says the name of the house, Ngakau Mahaki, was a value shown by the Unitec kaumatua who played a major role in getting the project off the ground, the late John Turei.

“It's one of the significant characteristics of Sir John Turei who was very much humility and respect so the house, in effect, one way of saying the house is him, but you don’t have to put his name on there. The name of the marae of course is Noho Kotahitanga, which is to reside in unity,” Mr Paniora says.

Ngakau Mahaki is already booked out for the next 10 months for weekend marae noho.


Organisers of the WOMAD festival in New Plymouth says there could be strong international interest in the Maori acts sharing the stages with the best of world music and dance.

Lined up for slots over the weekend are Anika Moa, Moana and the Tribe, Fat Freddy's Drop, Hinemoa Baker and Mihirangi.

Marketing manager Lisa McCullen says the international media is particularly interested in the local performers.

“I've been receiving a lot of emails asking when their particular performance times are. People are wanting to plan their Womad adventure and they want to know what time and what stage they are on so they can make sure they are front row,” Ms McCullen says.

The eight iwi of Taranaki are sharing the responsibilty of looking after the Womad paepae, where festival goers are welcomed and introduced to aspects of Maori culture.


Staying in the world of music, a tribute concert for the late Inia te Wiata in Auckland on sunday will be an extra special occasion for one of the performers.

The celebrated baritone carved out a distinguished career in England from the late forties until his death in 1971.

The concert, which is part of Auckland Festival 09, will feature video footage of his stage performances, as well as renditions of his repertoire sung by a range of performers including his daughter Rima te Wiata.

She admits to reservations about the show but realised she had to do it.

Rima Te Wiata will be joined on stage at the Aotea Centre by kapa haka roopu Te Manuhui, cabaret singer Leon Wharekura, soprano Teana Brennan, baritone Ash Puriri and Ruia Aperahama and his band.


A new meeting house on the grounds of Unitec polytechnic in Auckland is being hailed as a national treasure.

Ngakau Mahaki, which has been built under the direction of Ngati Pikiao master carver Lyonel Grant, was opened with the traditional dawn ceremonies today.

Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey told the hui the event was a ka awatea, a new awakening for the institution.

“What we are seeing here is an absolutely amazing work of art on an international scale. The place has got an extraordinary sense of worth in terms of culture and history and place and purpose. I think this is up there with the Louvre. New Zealand doesn’t have a lot of great treasures. This is a treasure,” Mr Harvey says.

He says the new house represents a healing of the Unitec site, which for 80 years housed Auckland's mental hospitals.


Foreign producers, festival directors, and curators have been getting a taste of New Zealand's artistic culture this week.

As part of the Auckland 09 Festival, Creative New Zealand and Te Waka Toi have been running a showcase at Orakei Marae.

It included a performance of Taki Rua Production's play Strange Resting Places.

Maori arts advisor Haniko Te Kurapa says Creative New Zealand is keen to identify export ready products.

He says taking part in international festivals helps grow the capacity of the country's performers.


It's a great day for the Irish … and the Maori in Hawkes Bay on Sunday.

It's the 3rd annual St Patricks Day hui ... huili, where Irish and Maori come together to celebrate a common love of music, friends and family.

Organiser Dennis O'Reilly from Waiohiki says the St Patricks Day address will be given by Treaty Negotiations Minister and Attorney General Chris Finlayson.

That will be followed by speeches in Gaelic and Maori, a charity art auction, and a procession to the top of Otatara, the ancient maunga of the Waiohiki hapu, led by Irish musicians.

“It's a coming together of cultures. It’s respecting each other at a cultural level and having a good time and raining some bucks for the youth development and the various things that are happening at Waiohiki,” Mr O'Reilly says.


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