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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, August 07, 2009

Priest and actor Eru Potaka-Dewes dies

Ngati Porou is today mourning a firebrand Anglican priest and sometime actor.

Ruatoria-born Eru Potaka-Dewes, who died yesterday, attended Waiomatatini Native Primary School, Gisborne Boys High and Otago University, where he gained history and teaching degrees before training for the pristhood.

After a spell working in Australia, he returned to New Zealand in the mid-1980s to become involved in the ferment of Maori radicalism, mounting protests on issues like immigration and often challenging the Anglican church on its history and current policies towards Maori.

He also got screen work, with credits including The Maori Merchant of Venice, The Rainbow Warrior, The Piano and Rapa Nui, which was shot on Easter Island.

Ngati Porou kaumatua Koro Dewes says his first cousin stuck up for the rights of the underpriviliged, and also challenged the way Maori custom was used, such as his protest at a Maori welcome when the remains of champion trotter Cardigan Bay were repatriated.

Eru Potaka-Dewes is lying at Mataikotare Marae in Rotorua before travelling to Rauru Marae in Te Tairawhiti this weekend.


Descendants of veterans of the 28 Maori Battalion have a new way to ensure their tupuna's stories are not forgotten.

Parliament's grand hall was filled to capacity last night for the launch of the battalion website, which has been put together by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Te Puni Kokiri, the National Library and the Ministry of Education.

Pita Sharples the Minister of Maori Affairs, says it was an honour to have 19 of the 50 surviving members on hand, representing all the companies that made up the battalion.

He says it's an amazing site.

“There’s 3600 men who served in the Maori Battalion. Each has a page and you can add stuff to it so nobody is left out or forgotten from the Maori Battalion.

The site is at <28maoribattalion.org.nz.


The coordinator of Waikato's Te Mura Haka Ngahuru Super 10 competiton says the event show a huge appetite for hapa haka in the region.

Ten teams of 10 performers gave their best shots in Waiata a ringa, Haka and poi, with Nga Takere Nui o Nga Waka taking away the $1000 prize.

Maria Huata says the format allows roopu to push the boundaries further than the main Te Matatini contest, which involves 40-strong teams.


Rotorua' deputy mayor says Maori tourism operators will directly benefit from bi weekly direct flights from Sydney.

Trevor Maxwell from Ngati Whakaue says the town is fizzing with the news Air New Zealand has picked up the run, starting in December.

Direct international flights have been a boon for the Queenstown economy and Mr Maxwell expects the flights will create the same spinoff for New Zealands most favoured tourist centre.

Trevor Maxwell says Rotorua already hosts more than 200 thousand Australian visitors a year.


A Kawhia hapu is disappointed at the failure of a Green Party bill which aimed to protect marine mammals and seabirds from fishing.

National MPs voted against the bill continuing on to a select committee.

Davis Apiti from Ngati Te Wehi says that makes the extinction of species like the Maui's dolphin and beach-nesting fairy tern more likely.

He says the hapu has been trying for years to make Aotea Harbour a sanctuary for Maui's dolphins.

There are believed to be only about 100 Maui dolphin left in their range along the coast between Whangaroa and Taranaki.


Maori filmakers showed they are a force for the future at at the Aotearoa Women in Film and Televison awards last night in Auckland.

Chelsea Winstanley, the director of Maori Television series Kaitiakitanga and Te Kete Aronui, was voted the woman to watch.

The entrepreurship award went to Janine Morrel Gunn, who with husband Jason Gunn has just opened a 7 million dollar film and television production facility in Christchurch.

Wift Board member Ella Henry says there was also a lot of Maori support when the Topp Twins' Untouchable Girls was named best movie, because of the twins’ supprt for Maori cuases and kaupapa.

Ella Henry says the celebrations were tempered by news of the death of Eru Potaka Dewes, who made a huge contribution to Maori film and television.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please remove all postings of eru potaka dewes from your websight as he is a child molester!i am one of his victims! please feel free to email me back, m.m.e.h.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous don't leave such spiteful comments such as this - you should have chosen to do something about your issues before he died

4:47 PM  

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