Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, March 06, 2009

Gang patch bill barmy

Labour's Maori Affairs spokesperson says a private bill to ban gang patches from Wanganui makes no sense and won't work.

The Gang Insignia Bill from Wanganui MP Chester Borrows this week passed its second reading with the support of ACT, with Labour, the Maori Party and the Greens voting against it.

Parekura Horomia says some of the bill's backers believe it will force gang members to cover up intimidating tattoos,

“It's barmy. One of the resurgences in this country, and a whole lot of other settled countries, is ta moko and tattoo, so what do you say about all that sort of stuff. Do you cover it up but that’s how naïve it is. It’s not the tattoo or the figure on the body, it’s what the body does. And it’s not necessarily what's worn too,” Mr Horomia says.

He says politicians are grandstanding about gangs, rather than tackling some of the underlying issues facing gang members and their whanau.


The chair of Wairarapa to Wairoa iwi Ngati Kahungunu wants to see more Maori back on the land.

Ngahiwi Tomoana says in recent years promising rangatahi have been steered into careers in business, law or medicine.

He says the primary sector, where Maori assets are concentrated, has been neglected.

Mr Tomoana would like to see the revival of specialist farm training for young Maori, so they can take advantage of opportunities being created by the ageing of the rural workforce.

“Now we've got the opportunity to manage not just our own lands but to manage all lands, because it’s not very attractive for the Pakeha generation to take up farming either so the opportunity is to take our lands by managing them. If we can’t own them, we can move next door and manage the Pakeha farms. There is a big turnaround happening,” Mr Tomoana says.

He says many Maori horticultural and agricultural ventures are leasing Pakeha land to create economies of scale.


International passengers flying into Wellington are being given a Maori perspective on the area.

As part of Air New Zealand's new living landscapes strategy, Maori regional tourism organisation Te Ara a Maui and Postively Wellington Tourism have produced an 18 minute video for the in flight entertainment syste.

Te Ara chair Butch Bradley says visitors are hungry for the stories of the land.

“It starts off with Maui fishing up the North Island and then it talks abut Kupe who journeyed here so it goes through our stories but it tells them in a modern environment so it shows the tourists who are coming here that our stories are still alive and in fact our story is still continuing, it is still growing,” Mr Bradley says.

A shortened version of the film, Te Upoko o te Ika a Maui, is on the WellingtonNZ.com web site.


Maori business and iwi leaders and the heads of trusts and incorporations are gathering at Te Papa in Wellington about now for a symposium on how Maori can boost the economy our of recession.

Shaan Stevens from the Hui Taumata Taskforce says in the 25 years since the first Maori economic summit, the Maori economy has swelled to an estimated $25 billion dollars.

He says the symposium has been in the planning for two years, but the current economic crisis has sharpened interest.

“I believe we are in a prime position to make a significant contribution based on the growth of Maori assets, the initiatives of our Maori entrepreneurs over the past decade, and there have been a number of those, coupled with the assets we are seeing returned throughout the treaty settlement process as of late, and that places Maori in a very strong position to invest in the creation of new jobs which are certainly going to help us get through this,” Mr Stevens says.

There are three work streams at the symposium on employment, small business and water, with all sessions booked out.


Meanwhile, the national Maori vegetable growers’ collective says too much Maori land is still not being used to its best advantage.

Chairperson Nick Roskruge says Tahuri Whenua's hui-a-rohe at Tauarau Marae in Ruatoki this weekend will allow growers and supporters to share ways to get the most out of their crops.

He says Maori should exercise more control of their own resources.

“You know a lot of people lease land for maize and those sorts of crops when in fact we could be growing things ourselves to put on the market rather than letting other people take advantage. It’s sort of coming back to being more in control of our own resources,” Mr Roskruge says.


The conflict between Tuhoe and Pakeha views of Te Urewera have provided the springboard for a British artist's unique vision of the land.

Isaac Julien's Te Tonga Tuturu - True South opened at Two Rooms Gallery in Newton last night with a powhiri from members of Ngai Tuhoe.

Mr Julien says the large digitally altered photographs take advantage of the way Tuhoe are fighting the way the history has been stripped away from the land to make it neutral.

“The works I have taken are quite beautiful. They have also got this certain charge to them. There’s a certain mood to them. I think there is a certain atmosphere and hopefully that is something that has been transmitted through the collaboration with Onion and Terry from the Tuhoe nation who were our guardians as we were making the work,” Mr Julien says.

Te Tonga Tuturu is on show at Two Rooms until mid-April.


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