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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mate Kaiwai dies aged 94

Ngati Porou is today mourning Matehuatahi Kaiwai, the youngest daughter of Sir Apirana Ngata, who died aged 94.

Writer Keri Kaa says Auntie Mate was a renowned poet, writer and composer known for her forthright manner and unwavering support of te reo Maori.

She taught Maori into her mid-80s, including doing advanced courses for Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori.

Her last public engagement was attending the Maori language awards in Porirua last Friday.

“She was the pou pou of our language school and we're absolutely shattered because she was linguistically the model of what a good speaker, writer and thinker is and any time we asked for information we got a thoughtful and sometimes thought provoking answer,” Ms Kaa says
A service was held for Mate Kaiwai in Gisborne today, and she is due about now at Mangahanea marae, just out of Ruatoria.

E Kui moe mai moe mai moe mai.


Whanganui Maori say the council chambers is a better place for a statue of former premier John Ballance than ancestral land at Pakaitore- Moutoa gardens.

The Ulster-born Ballance founded the Wanganui Herald newspaper, and entered Parliament in 1875, eventually holding a number of portfolios including native affairs.

The new bronze statue was unveiled yesterday, replacing one beheaded during the occupation of the gardens in 1995.

Occupation leader Ken Mair says while Ballance is regarded as the representative of a colonial regime which stole Maori land, the iwi agreed to the council-commissioned statue being erected outside the civic chambers.

“There's still some strong gripes and anger about John Ballance being celebrated in any forum, whether that be down by the council, in the museum etc, but our position at the end of the day is it’s not about erasing history, it’s about acknowledging that history in its context and we said as long as it’s not down by us at Pakaitore, that’s the end of the matter,” Mr Mair says.

He says it is time for the people of Whanganui to move on.


A Waikato University lecturer who is being internationally recognised for her work in adult education says the government’s cuts to continuing education are short sighted.

Sandy Morrison of Tainui and Te Arawa will be inducted into the Association for Continuing Higher Education’s hall of fame at its conference in Philadelphia next month, for her work in Asia and the Pacific.

Ms Morrison, who’s from Tainui and Te Arawa, says the May budget cuts will have long term consequences, with most schools unable to offer night classes next year.

“The government is being very short sighted in the reduction of funding which is going to change adult and community education forever. I guess all of what they call the soft targets are not validated as much as the economic agendas that are in place,” Ms Morrison says.

Maori have effectively used the night class system to develop distinct Maori styles of education.


Labour leader Phil Goff has slammed Maori Affairs minister Pita Sharples for meeting gang leaders.

In March Te Puni Kokiri paid $6000 to bring 16 gang leaders to its Auckland office for the meeting on ways to stop escalating violence caused by the P trade.

Mr Goff says while Dr Sharples may be well intentioned, the guest list included convicted criminals who are still in the drug trade.

“Look, they’re not going to say a cup of tea with the minister and some nice words from him abut how we shouldn’t be bad, that’s not going to make the real difference. The people who are organising this traffic are making literally millions of dollars out of people’s misery,” Mr Goff says.

He says it doesn't look like a co-ordinated response to crime when one week the Prime minister is declaring war on gangs and the next the Minister of Maori Affairs is meeting with gang leaders.


Gang liaison worker Dennis O'Reilly says Pita Sharples is showing inspiring leadership on the gang issue.

The veteran Black Power member, who was at the meeting, says Dr Sharples asked the gang members to use their influence for positive rather than negative ends.

He says the Maori Affairs Minister should be applauded for trying to turn the gangs leaders away from drugs and crime.

“I’ve never heard him endorse gangs. I think it was hypocritical of the Labour guys to bag him for that. Every government I’ve known in the past 30 years are quite prepared to speak to gang leaders. Whether hey do it publicly or privately, they’ve all done it,” Mr O'Reilly says.


The eight Taranaki iwi are making plans for the first Taranaki Festival in Waitara next month.

Emere Wano from the Tu Mai Charitable Trust says kaumatua see the three day event as a way to encourage the next generation of tribal leaders.

It’s modeled on the biannual Tuhoe Ahurei, which includes sports, debates and kapa haka.

Ms Wano says the region has a busy events calendar with its annual Rhodendron Festival, the Womad world music festival and visits by international artists, but for Maori the calendar was light apart from the Parihaka Peace Festival.

The Taranaki Maori Festival starts on November 13.


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