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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Venerable waka sought for celebration

Master waka builder Hekenukumai Busby wants to bring together three 70-year old waka for next year's Waitangi Day celebrations.

2010 is the year of the waka, and marks the 70th anniversary of the launch of the 30-metre Ngatokimatawhaorua, which is housed at Waitangi.

The renowned ocean voyager put the invitation to Tainui at last week's koroneihana hui at Turagawaewae.

“There's two waka that Princess Te Puea built the same year. Her aim was to build seven canoes but she managed to get three done and I’ve sort of invited them to bring their canoes up and celebrate their 70th anniversary as well at Waitangi next year,” Mr Busby says.

He is expecting up to 20 waka will be at Waitangi on the 6th of february.


The Prime Minister says National's preference is to let communities decide the level of Maori representation they want.

John Key says this week's cabinet decision to rule out Maori seats on the Auckland super city council was in effect a restatement of concerns in the party when the bill was introduced earlier this year.

He says it should be possible to put together a representative group of mana whenua, urban Maori and other stakeholders to work with the council.

“I acknowledge that for a lot of people it’s more an aspect of mana and they feel they should be at the table. That is still very much an option. The Local Government Act allows the council to make the decision without reference to the public to put in place Maori seats so maybe you will see a mayor and some councilors coming forward and say look ‘that’s what we want to do and that’s what we are going to do that if we become the mayor of Auckland,’” Mr Key says.

The ACT Party's strong stand against Maori seats was a factor in the decision, but not the dominant one.


Feilding's new Catholic church is blending Maori concepts with chistian motifs.

St Brigid's opened its doors this month, replacing the 80 year old Gothic-style Frederick de Jersey Clere church, which was pulled down a year ago because of its state of disrepair.

Kathleen Sheridan, the pastoral assistant, says the panels in the new church were designed by Ngati Porou artist Robert Jahnke.

They feature takitoru - common patterns seen in meeting houses around the country.

“Robert Jahnke uses the orientation of this motif as well as the shape of each cross to represent something of Christ in the state of mind of each station so it is very striking when you see them on the outside,” Ms Sheridan says.

The stained glass windows from the old church have been incorporated into new building.


Waikato Hauraki MP Nanaia Mahuta says the Maori Party is playing second fiddle to ACT in the National led government.

Ms Mahuta says the government's denial of seats for Maori in the Auckland governance shake-up shows John Key is playing his coalition partners off against each other.

She says Maori are the losers.

“If they're gong to relegate Maori representation to an advisory capacity then we’ve really made no gain, and what we know is that by 2025 there will be a browning of the New Zealand population so National really hasn’t put that at the forefront of their decision-making either,” Ms Mahuta says.

National and the Maori Party had the numbers to add Maori seats to the Auckland Council.


The New Zealand Maori Council is adding its voice to those attacking the government for ruling out Maori seats on the Auckland super city.

Spokesperson Jim Nicholls says it's time the Crown accepted the fact Maori have made a significant contribution to New Zealand's infrastructure.

“That they should set up a super city without Maori representation is not merely an insult, but it lacks any sensitivity at all in terms of the contribution that Maori have made t economy of this country and the contribution it will continue to make,” Mr Nicholls says.

He says Maori across the country are appalled at the decision.


Organisers estimate up to 50 thousand rangatahi passed through today's Kia Tu Kia Maia; Seize the Day Maori expo at Auckland's Vector stadium.

Ella Henry, a senior lecturer at AUT's Te Ara Poutama school of Maori development, says from small beginnings a decade ago, the biennial event has become an important way to show young Maori the options open to them.

While it reflects the investment the Auckland University of Technology has made in Maori education, it's now a lot bigger.

“Even though AUT does host it, every major university in the country is represented there, we had Otago, Auckland University, Unitec so it is not about AUT saying ‘come to the Maori expo so you can come to AUT.’ It’s about ‘come to the Maori expo and find out what's right for you,’” Ms Henry says.

The stands have now been taken down and the Vector arena cleared for tonight's concert, featuring bands like Cornerstone Roots, Herbs, Che Fu and House of Shem.


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