Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dame Kiri in the business of opera

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will tonight be honoured as Auckland University's Maori Business Leader of the Year.

Awards organiser Manuka Henare says the awards are a way to celebrate Maori achievement and point the way for the next generation.

He says opera singer's music talent is only one aspect of her 40 year distinguished international career, and she has also showed business acumen.

“Her business is the business of opera and classical music. We wanted to recognise her outstanding international achievements but also to her contribution to Aotearoa’s identity and culture internationally and thirdly the wonderful mentoring programme she has for young New Zealand singers and musicians,” Dr Henare says.

Dame Kiri is singing in Berlin tonight so can't be in Auckland to receive the award, but a small ceremony is planned for when she comes back to Aotearoa over the summer.


Meanwhile, the Asia New Zealand Foundation says Maori business stands to gain from an increased focus on Asian culture in New Zealand schools.

Director Richard Grant says while Asians make up about 10 percent of new Zealand's population now, that figure is expected to grow to around 16 percent by 2025.

He says New Zealand will rely heavily on trade with the region, and it makes sense for children to learn more about their future trading partners while at school.

Dr Grant says that also applies to the growing Maori stake in the economy.

“Now but also more so in the future their critical export markets are going to be probably around the Asian rim. These companies are going to need people who work for them, who are in the export business in product specification, in marketing, I communication, who feel confident about dealing with the various economies of Asia,” Dr Grant says.


The phone at Tairawhiti Men against Violence has been running hot since news broke it was setting up a safe house for men in violent domestic situations.

Spokesperson Tim Marshall says the informal group, 75 percent of whom are Maori, was set up three years ago in response to three high profile domestic related murders in the region.

He says with the support of Gisborne women's refuge in Gisborne, from the new year a donated house will be used as temporary accommodation for men caught up in domestic violence.

“Instead of when the police turn up at a house and uplift a whole lot of children and take them away, and often in the middle of the night, wouldn’t it be easier to take the one person away and he could have somewhere else to stay for a couple of nights or however long it took. Still go to work the next day, still support the whanau, but then negotiate a safe way back,” Mr Marshall says.

Tairawhit Men Against Violence is also planning a resource centre to help men become better husbands, partners and fathers.


One of the country's newest Arts Foundation Laureates says his best work is yet to come.

Writer Witi Ihimaera from Ngati Porou and Te Aitanga a Mahaki was one of five people honoured last night.

Also receiving the $50,000 award were carver Lyonel Grant from Ngati Pikiao, taonga puoro revialist Richard Nunns, musician Chris Knox and photographer Anne Noble.

Mr Ihimaera, who was also made was made a Distinguished Companion in the New Zealand Order of Merit this year, says he sees it as recognition of the body of work he's built up since his first collection of short stories, 1972's Pounamu Pounamu.

“It's an honour to have that recognized, that longevity, but also to know the foundation wants to invest in all of our futures because there comes a time when you’re within that rank of artists and your best work is still to come and I think my best work is still to come and so I’ll be using this award to ensure that that happens,” Ihimaera says.

He's now looking forward to writing the next two books in the series that started with The Trowenna Sea, the controversial historical novel published this year.


The Greens say the Maori Party is selling its people short in accepting a deal to support National's emissions trading scheme.

Co-leader Meteria Turei says what's been offered would probably have happened anyway, such as the chance for some iwi to plant trees on conservation land and harvest the carbon credits.

She says ordinary Maori will pay higher taxes and higher fuel bills while National's farming and big business supporters get huge subsidies.

“National are getting a fabulous deal because they get to protect the business interests which they’ve always supported, get the Maori Party on side and get their legislation through. The losers are ordinary whanau who won’t get huge advantage out of the forestry deals, who don’t have huge political sway with the Maori Party or politics in general and who are going to have to deal with increased costs,” Ms Turei says.

She says the only way to protect whanau from the impact of the ETS is to make sure polluters pay.


Hauraki Maori want to stop fossickers taking sacred artefacts from their historic pa sites.

Glen Tupuhi, the Ngati Paoa representative on the Hauraki Maori Trust board, says that's behind his iwi's objection to a private museum near Kaiaua displaying taonga found at Rangipo on the Firth of Thames.

He says it's for Maori to decide their fate, not the farmers who have set up the museum.

“In former times our tupuna were having to cope with urbanisation, having to cope with all sorts of things. These things were very much fringe issues for Maori. But the whole landscape has changed now. For us as Maori, we are very concerned about these taonga. They belong to us and you cannot actually go out and say ‘hey look what I’ve found and I’ve got a collection,’” Mr Tupuhi says.

He says fossicking on pa sites is illegal and breaks wahi tapu.

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