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Friday, September 04, 2009

Ngati Whare mark 25 years of Whirinaki preserve

There's celebrations this weekend marking 25 years since logging of podocarps stopped in Whirinaki, but tangata whenua around the eastern Bay of Plenty forest don't have much to celebrate.

James Carlson, the chair of Ngati Whare, says unlike the West Coast which was given millions of dollars to develop alternative industries after native logging stopped, the community around Whirinaki was abandoned.

He says Ngati Whare had to use the treaty claim process to map a way ahead, which now includes a 1000 year regeneration project and ther prospect of co-management of the forest with the Department of Conservation

“Ngati Whare believe we are from there and we will remain there. All those tree huggers and all those loggers who were there 25 years ago, they’re all gone. None of them are there any more. It’s only Ngati Whare that are left behind,” Mr Carlson says.

Ngati Whare is looking forward this morning to welcoming kokako to Murumurunga Marae for reintroduction to the forest ... as well as other manuhiri including naturalist David Bellamy, who has agreed to be patron of the regeneration project.


A symposium starting in Taumarunui today will look at how different concepts of Maori education help Maori students.

Te Huinga Jackson-Greenland, an early childhood lecturer, says the hui will look at the whole sector from pre-school to secondary, including Maori and mainstream options.

She says the emergence of kohanga reo and kura kaupapa served to validate Maori notions about the way they wanted their children educated.

“Culture matters in terms of children and how they learn. When kids know what their identity is, where their traditions come from, their protocols, and they are motivated to learn, which is what kohanga and kura kauapap do very well, you’ve already got them halfway there,” Ms Jackson-Greenland says.

Speakers include educator and Maori affairs minister Pita Sharples, Rose Pere and Wally Penetito.


A nineteenth century warrior is being honoured by his Taranaki descendants.

Tutange Waionui of Ngati Ruanui fought alongside Titikawaru during the land wars and claimed credit for killing flamboyant Austrian mercenary Gustav Von Tempsky.

One of his descendants, South Taranaki deputy mayor Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, says a memorial will be unveiled in October at Pariroa Pa at Kakaramea near Patea, which Waionui and his wife Ngaati established 115 years ago.

She says Tutange Waionui was the model for the warrior who featured on the shilling coin.


The Maori Party has renewed calls for tax cuts for struggling families, a rise in the minimum wage, and no GST on essential foods.

It follows the release of an OECD report which paints a grim picture of child poverty in New Zealand.

Co-leader Tariana Turia, the Associate Minister of Health, says despite the recession the government has an obligation to ease the burden on the country's most vulnerable families.

“There's been evidence around for some time that at least 50 percent of Maori families are living below the poverty line, that our people are the ones who are most impacted on, but of course there are many families in New Zealand today who are living on very low incomes and struggling to survive,” Mrs Turia says.


The work of the Waitangi Tribunal in uncovering Maori historical experiences has led to a major rewrite of a standard textbook.

Editor Giselle Barnes says the Oxford History of New Zealand was last revised in 1992, and there have been massive changes since then in the way history is described and understood.

Professor Giselle Byrnes, from the University of Waikato, commissioned 22 scholars to write chapters for the book.

She says research done for claims has helped scholars to pull apart the myth of national identity which has been written into previous histories of the country.

“Waitangi Tribunal narratives have really shifted the direction of historical scholarship considerably over the past 20 years so this book hopes to capture something of that,” Professor Byrnes says.

The New Oxford History of New Zealand will be launched at Waikato University next Monday.


In about an hour a group of kokako will be centre of a welcome at Murumurunga Marae which start celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the end of logging in Whirinaki.

James Carlton, the chair of Ngati Whare, says the birds are an important part of the estern Bay of Plenty tribe's plans for the ancient podacarp forest.

He says Ngati Whare has used the treaty claim process to map out a future for the area, which has suffered years of economic stagnation after the closing of the native timber mills.

“We have regeneration programmes that we are going to work in partnership with the Crown and also through a co-management with the Department of Conservation so we have a true partnership with those two organisations we will have certainly and say and we will be part of the future of the Whirinaki Forest rather than a token group of people living in the vicinity,” Mr Carlton says.

One of today's manuhiri is British naturalist David Bellamy, who has agreed to be patron of the forest regeneration trust.


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