Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Labour ETS attack brings in racial taunt

Green Party co-leader Meteria Turei has accused Labour's Phil Goff of playing the race card on changes to the emissions trading scheme.

Mr Goff claims the Government's negotiations to win support from the Maori Party for its plans means race-based legislation is in the offing.

The idea is some iwi who received forests in their treaty settlements would be given the right to plant trees on parts of the conservation estate and collect the carbon credits.

But Ms Turei says the there could be some merit in the proposal.

“It's not about being race based. It‘sa bout the value of those settlements and Labour can take some responsibility for issues around the valuation of settlements and themselves when they were in government. It’s a silly comment from Phil Goff and playing to the worst kind of politics,” Ms Turei says.

She says the forestry deal should have been part of the scheme anyway, and the Maori Party is selling its support cheaply and ignoring the long term interests of ordinary Maori.


A veteran Maori social worker says a review of foster care needs to take a Maori way of seeing the world.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has asked whether children placed with extended family are better off than those fostered outside the family, in light of high re-abuse rates for children in whanau care.

But Malcolm Peri, who was involved in the maatua whangai programmes of the 1980s which championed whanau-based care, says Ms Bennett's department has squeezed the kaupapa Maori aspects out of its work with children.

“I can't remember any real effort in the last 20 years the system has put in place to to strengthen Maori families from te ao Maori and I don’t think they give us credit for things Maori have progressed, for the families have been placed with families and have been healed,” Mr Peri says.

He says abandoning Maori programmes would mean going back to failed assimilation policies.


A giant carving in the middle of Taupo is leaving townspeople and visitors awestruck.

The nine metre totara waharoa was commissioned from master carver Delaney Brown by Contact Energy to mark the 50th anniversary of the Wairakei geothermal power scheme.

Mayor Rick Cooper says more than 2000 people were on hand for the unveiling on Saturday morning, and watched at the first rays of the sun struck the sculpture.

The carving is a history of Ngati Tuwharetoa.


A writer, a carver and a musician who rediscovered ancient Maori sounds are this evening joining the ranks of New Zealand's laureates.

Witi Ihimaera, Lyonel Grant and Richard Nunns are being honoured this evening at a ceremony in Auckland, along with musician Chris Knox and photographer Ann Noble.

Mr Ihimaera says it's an honour to join the select group of 49 who have been honoured by the privately-funded Arts Foundation’in its first decade.

“We've never really had that opportunity at all until the foundation came along and focused on that so for nine years or so they’ve been building this wonderful poutama or stairway of excellence on which they have placed us so from a Maori perspective I am very honoured to stand on that poutama,” Ihimaera says.

Even with 12 novels under his belt, he feels his best work is yet to come.


Another of the laureates, Lyonel Grant of Ngati Pikiao, says he's still getting over completing a new meeting house at Unitec, which has consumed all his energy for the past six years.

He also received an honorary doctorate from the west Auckland polytechnic this year.

Mr Grant says the laureate award, which comes with a no strings $50,000, gives him a chance to reflect on where he is at in his career, and possibly to write a book about Te Noho Kotahitanga.

“The reaction to the house has been such I feel walking away would be an injustice to the house and all that energy and time so I am going to go as hard as I can and write as much a I can in the next year or so and then get an over arching editor to make sense of it,” Mr Grant says.


A third laureate says it was the affirmation of Maori communites that allowed him to continue his investigations into traditional Maori instruments.

Richard Nunns worked with stone carver Brian Flintoff and the late Hirini Melbourne from Ngai Tuhoe to recreate taonga puora and work out how to play them.

He says because there was no one around to learn from, the trio asked the people if they were on the right track.

“We chose consciously from day one that we would take our work back to audit, back to affirmation or condemnation among the people themselves to marae after marae after marae and their affirmation is often tears, their affirmation is often wild excitement, their affirmation is a collegial argument going on in the wharenui late at night.

“That also taught us very quickly that Maori knowledge, traditional knowledge seems to be collegial. No one person knows it all and in fact it’s a wonderful protective system of sharing knowledge in a whole variety of ways so that you contribute part and also the people themselves, the hapu, the iwi the whanau are an organism, are a unit in themselves and the knowledge is protected in that way,” he says.

Richard Nunns, who has Parkinsons disease, says the money will help him move house and build a new studio so he can protect and record the instruments he has discovered over the years.

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