Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hikoi puts flag choice ahead

A south Auckland Maori leader says the tino rangatiratanga flag is the best one to represent Maori, despite its close associations with the Maori Party and the radical protest movement.

Eru Thompson from Waiohua attended the first of the consultation on which of four designs should fly on Auckland harbour Bridge next Waitangi Day.

He says people need to get past its radical beginnings and remember how the tino rangatiratanga flag was a symbol of unity during the foreshore and seabed hikoi.

“Like a host of people round the nation, we walked the whole country to Parliament under that banner, and the tino rangatiratanga flag for me is my most preferred flag of course," Mr Thompson says.

He's also stood proudly for many years under the Kingitanga flag, which is not under consideration.

WORLDWIDE CULTURE POSES CHALLENGES FOR CREATORS

A Maori interactive game developer and television producer says Maori need to maintain control of their culture as it is taken to the world.

Kingi Gilbert has in the past taken on entertainment giant Sony, protesting the inappropriate use of Maori imagery in a Playstation Game.

He says overseas interest in Maori culture creates challenges for people working in entertainment and the arts.

“I worry about this world because it’s changing so rapidly. How do we develop ourselves in that world? I think we’re okay as long as we stay true to our course, so as we’re in this age of Maori grasping on to our Maoritangi, we should always remain firm and remain centred,” Mr Gilbert says.

He will speak tonight at the Nga Korero Tataki Sustainability Symposium at the Waitakere City Council chambers.

DOUBLE HULLED WAKA A VEHICLE FOR LEARNING, CULTURE

Ngati Kahungunu representatives were in Auckland today to inspect progress on the Hawkes Bay iwi's new double-hulled waka.

Runanga chair Ngahiwi Tomoana says Te Matau a Maui's first major journey will be from Rarotonga to Hawaii next year in a fleet of Pacific waka.

It will then be sailed back to Napier, where it will be used for tourism, sports and cultural events, and for the tribe's Hikoi Whenua lifestyle education programme.

“It's about fishing, healthy lifestyles, and just a reflection on how our tipuna kept healthy in the past,” Mr Tomoana says.

The waka hourua includes sail and hull designs by Ngati Kahungunu artist Sandy Adsett, with carvings done by Broughton Johnson of Nuhaka.

RITUALS OF MOURNING VITAL FOR KEEPING IWITANGA ALIVE

A leading member of Ngai Tuhoe says bringing people back for burial is a way of maintaining whanau connections to the tribal homeland.

The High Court in Christchurch is hearing a request from Denise Clarke for the body of her husband James Takamore to be exhumed from the Bay of Plenty and returned to Christchurch for burial, in line with his wishes.

Tame Iti says after death the hapu has a right and in some cases a duty to step in and reclaim the tupapaku.

He says tangi are often the first opportunity younger people have to connect with their wider iwi.

“We encourage whanau to get their mother or father back to their homelands. Aotearoa is only a small country. We’re not talking about living in Australia and Darwin and taking days not hours and I think we should encourage whanau, taking them back as a way of getting the next generation,” Mr Iti says.

Mr Takamore's widow would be welcomed by his Tuhoe relatives when she came to visit the grave.

PLICE NEED TUPAPAKU GUIDANCE FROM COURTS

Meanwhile, the Auckland Police district's Maori strategy advisor says police are waiting on the outcome of the Takamore case for future guidance.

Senior Sergeant Glen Mackay says disputes over where someone should be buried can create awkward situations for the police, and they hope the judge will clarify the law.

“The police act as agents for the coroner and to be fair we are waiting on the rulings of the courts to see whose property the tupapaku actually is, that lets us know exactly who is responsible for the tupapaku following death,” senior sergeant Mackay says.

LETTERS REVEAL ENLIGHTENMENT VIEW OF MAORI

A different view of early contacts with Maori is emerging from the archives of the Vatican.

Scholars are translating more than 2000 letters that Marist missionaries sent back to Rome from New Zealand and the Pacific islands between 1839 and 1854.

William Jennings, a Waikato university lecturer, says the French Catholic priests had a markedly different approach to Maori than their English Anglican competitors.

“They were influenced a little bit more by these enlightenment ideas of the noble savage which meant that they treated Maori perhaps with a little bit more respect, or maybe it was because Maori didn’t feel as though the French missionaries were part of the colonial establishment, so the interactions were in many cases much warmer,” Dr Jennings says.

The letters contain transcriptions of moteatea and waiata, as well as reports of debates in Maori between converts of the various Christian codes.

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