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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tairawhiti wins Matatini hosting for 2011

All roads will lead to Gisborne in 2011 as Tairawhiti hosts its first Matatini festival in 34 years.

The region fought off bids from Rotorua, Taranaki and Christchurch to win the coveted job, which could bring up to 50,000 people to the city for three days of kapa haka.

Bid co-ordinator Willie te Aho says a strong team of kaumatua led by Sir Henare Ngata led the tono.

Tairawhiti had the advantage of existing infrastructure, as it will use a natural ampitheatre in a Mangatu Incorporation vineyard between Waihirere and Gisborne city, where the Rythym and Vines music festival is held each summer.

“One of the unique factors abut our bid was returning to our land and to our environment and saying just like the festival held in Waitangi, beside the Waikato River and at Bastion Point, we want to take the people on to our land, so it’s a proven venue, it’s a place of great historical identity for us of the Tairawhiti,” Mr Te Aho says.

The 2013 Matatini will be hosted by Te Arawa in Rotorua.

OPEN ENTRY IN LINE WITH CHANGES IN UNIVERSITY TEACHING

The head of Canterbury University's school of Maori and indigenous studies, Rawiri Taonui, says changes in the way universities operate means they may be better able to cope with students who were failed by the secondary school system.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples has called for universities to redress historic imbalances in the education system by offering open entry to all Maori and creating mechanisms to support them while they study.

Mr Taonui says because of the internet, mass communications and other changes in society, young people now pick up on new knowledge much faster than previous generations.

He says that means a low NCEA score may be meaningless in a university context.

“Universities are starting to teach a much wider range of things because of the globalised knowledge economy. This generation comes to university able to engage with that sort of material The schools don’t necessarily prepare them for that and it’s another reason why we should open up the doors, be a bit more relaxed about getting kids into universities to try these things,” Mr Taonui says.

HUKARERE CHAPEL TO BE REBUILT

Napier-based Maori girls' boarding school Hukarere is on a fundraising drive to rebuild its chapel.

Deputy principal Lelie Jackson-Pearcy says the school's original chapel was destroyed by fire along with the rest of the school in the 1920s, and the replacement was decommissioned in 2005.

Old girls rescued some fittings which they hope will find a place in the new building.

Ms Jackson-Pearcy says the aim is to reopen at the end of September next year.

BILL AIMS TO CHANGE CAVALIER TREATMENT OF MAORI LAND

A Maori and resource law specialist says a proposed amendment to the Public Works Act should stop government agencies and local authorities playing pass the parcel with former bits of Maori land.

The amendment bill put up by Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell passed its first reading last night and was referred to a select committee.

Simpson Grierson senior associate Daniel Kelleher, who discussed the bill with Mr Flavell at a legal symposium in Wellington yesterday, says it removes some of the excuses agencies have used to hang on to land when it becomes surplus.

It also spells out clearly that land must be offered back to its original owners when it is no longer needed for the purpose it was taken for.
“Property may have been taken for a public work and then used for another one and another one and what he’s trying to do, the way I read the bill, is to say ‘you can take it for one work. When you don’t need it for that, you offer it back at that point. You can’t try to use it for something else without talking to the person from whom you’ve acquired it.’ So those are quite significant changes and will mean that you will not get the pass the parcel with one entity passing it to another to use for another public work,” Mr Kelleher says.

The bill also raises significant questions about how much people should have to pay when land is offered back to them.

STUDENTS KEEN ON OPEN ENTRY PROPOSAL

The president of Auckland University's Maori Students Association is endorsing the call by Maori Affairs minister Pita Sharples for open entry to Maori.

Kingi Snelgar says Auckland has this year limited entry to several popular courses, which will eventually affect Maori student numbers.

He says as well as getting in, universities need to support Maori tauira in ways that acknowledge their cultural and social needs, as Dr Sharples pointed out.

NGATI WHATUA HAPPY COWS GONE FROM HANGI PITS

Auckland hapu Ngati Whatua Ki Orakei says the removal of cows from a sacred maunga is long overdue.

Environment manager Ngarimu Blair says the natuural grasses on Maungawhau-Mt Eden will again grace the slopes rather than being trampled under.

He says the herd has done irreparable damage to sensitive archealogical sites over the years.

“From a distance it doesn’t look bad but when you walk around the
mountain you can see a number of slips where terraces and scarps our tupuna have built have slowly but surely slipped down the mountain. We had a couple of major slips last year which caused us to say to council get red of them otherwise we will be having a big hangi,” Mr Blair says.

Now the cows are gone the next thing on the agenda is a traffic management plan to cope with the million people each year driving to the summit.

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