Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Broken promises spark compulsion call

A leading authority on the Maori language wants compulsory reo lessons for all children - Maori and pakeha.

Te Wharehuia Milroy was awarded the Creative New Zealand Te Waka Toi award at the weekend for his contribution to the revitalisation of te reo Maori.

The Waitangi Tribunal member says language is a taonga under the treaty and the government has a duty to ensure it is protected and available to all Maori.

“Previously I hadn't thought of it being compulsory because I thought that it was the responsibility of our own Maori people to go out and learn but when you’re faced with obstacles, when you have to pay to learn your own language, these are things that suggest there are s0em injustices being done,” Professor Milroy says.

Making Maori compulsory will improve its status in the school system and ensure resources are put into it.

TE ARAWA TRIED TRIBAL APPROACH TO LANGUAGE LEARNING

Meanwhile, Te Arawa is researching ways to increase the amount of Te Reo Maori spoken in homes and communities.

Project co-ordinator Rukuwai Daniel says eight pilot projects will trial different ways to encourage whanau to use Maori in day to day communications.

Each project is driven by different Te Arawa hapu, giving people a personal investment in having them succeed.

Rukuwai Daniel says the 12 month project is a joint initiative between Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori and Te Runanganui o Te Arawa.

TAPU SIDE OF POLICING PUT ON DISPLAY

The police have reopened their museum with new tapu and noa sections.

Manager Kamaya Yates says redevelopment of the museum attached to the Porirua Police College included extensive consultation with Ngati Toa.

As a result, the exhibition hall showcasing community policing is considered noa, meaning unrestricted.

Exhibits relating to violent crime and death are in the tapu section, including items with hair and other body residues.

Water has been made available so people can wash the tapu off as they leave the area, in the customary manner,

Kamaya Yates says the museum tries to focus on themes rather than objects, telling stories like the Rainbow Warrior inquiry and the policing of the 1981 Springbok Tour.

MANUKAU KEEPS TREATY COMMITTEE IN SUBSERVIENT ROLE

A Manukau City councillor says a refusal by fellow councillors to let Manukau's Treaty of Waitangi committee allocate marae grants is a portent of the fights Maori will have in the new Auckland super city.

Alf Filipaina says six councillors blocked his proposed rule change on the grounds the five mana whenua and four taura here representatives on the 18 member committee were appointed rather than elected.

He says that sort of thinking makes advisory committees unsatisfactory for tangata whenua.

“In light of the announcement there’s no representation on the Auckland council for Maori, of course it doesn’t look too well when we have a standing committee and we can’t even get the councilors to agree on allowing out Te Tiriti o Waitangi committee which I chair to allocate funds solely and wholly to marae,” he says.

Alf Filipaina says he intends to stand for the super city council.

NZ FIRST MAKES A PLAY FOR MAORI VOTE

New Zealand First wants the Maori vote next election.

Former MP Pita Paraone says the election of three Maori to the party's nine member board at last weekend's conference shows its commitment to tangata whenua.

They were leader Winston Peters, another former MP Bill Gudgeon, and Hineraumoa Apatu of Hamilton.

Mr Paraone says support for New Zealand First in the Maori seats remains high, and that's one of the reasons the conference voted to change the constitution so the party can go back to contesting them.

“People tend to under play the support Maori might give to New Zealand First. Last election the support exceeded 5 percent in all Maori electorates and in one it exceeded 8 percent,” he says.

Mr Paraone says standing candidates in the Maori seats should increase its share of the vote.

GOOGLE SCANNING OVER RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS STORYTELLERS

The author of one of New Zealand's most popular Maori tales is alarmed at Google's scan plan.

Writers and publishers around the world have until Friday to opt in or out of the Internet giant's voluntary settlement, under which it will make a nominal payment to rights holders whose books it digitised without permission.

Witi Ihimaera says one of the books affected is Whale Rider, and the case demonstrates how indigenous communities can be disadvantaged by cultural appropriation.

“To be frank The Whale Rider doesn’t belong to me. All the intellectual property belongs to the people of Whangara so when something like this happens I have to be very careful and acknowledge that this isn’t my work. This is to do with the mythology and the landscape and the seascape of the people of Whangara,” Ihimaera says.

He backs a call by the New Zealand Society of Authors for an inquiry to ensure the country's authors and its literature is protected.

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