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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, November 13, 2009

Matiu Rata recognized as Pacific influence

Time Magazine has rated the late Matiu Rata as one of the 50 people who shaped the south Pacific region over the past half century.

The list, compiled by the international news magazine to mark its 50th year publishing in the region, includes New Zealand prime ministers Rob Muldoon, David Lange and Helen Clark, sportsmen Peter Snell and Peter Blake, and filmmakers Jane Campion and Peter Jackson.

It says as Labour's Maori affairs minister between 1972 and 1975, Mr Rata cemented his legacy by setting up the Waitangi Tribunal.

Sandra Lee, who followed Mr Rata as leader of the Mana Motuhake Party, says it was a major achievement.

“This country as a whole, Maori hand Pakeha, have a great deal to be grateful to Matiu Rata for, because as the architect of the Waitangi Tribunal legislation he provided an incredibly critical safety valve that allowed Maori and the wider society for that matter to express the problems that hgad been created by colonisation in a fair forum,” Mrs Lee says.

She says Matiu Rata had a wonderful rapport with leaders coming through in the Pacific at the same time such as Michael Somare of Papua Pew Guinea, who also features on the Time list.


A large pile of giant bones unearthed during road works in Taupo last week are moa.

Archeologists have confirmed the 40 bones come from at least five adult birds of at least two different species.

Ted Anderson, Taupo district council infrastructure's manager, the birds could have fallen into a tomo or cave at different times.

He says local Maori will be consulted on what happens to the incomplete skeletons.

“We’ve spoken with individuals rather than Tuwharetoa or Tauhara as a whole so we probably very early in the process as far as resolving the future of the bones,” Mr Anderson says.


The writer of a new play starting in Auckland next week says cross cultural relationships are at its heart.

Flintlock Musket is the second play by Kirk Torrance from Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairoa, who's better known as Wayne Judd in TV3's Outrageous Fortune.

He wrote his first play, the critically acclaimed play Strata, because he got hoha sitting around waiting for acting jobs.

His second is a tale of a Scotsman called Mason who arrives in New Zealand during the Musket Wars and is taken in by a tribal chief.

“I think it’s a dynamic era, the two cultures trying to forge some kind of relationship and trade was a big thing, cultivation methods came and muskets came, viruses, so Mason is trying to make his living here, he can’t do it and he gets taken as a mokai into an iwi that live in this isolated barren land,” Mr Torrance says.

The Flintlock Musket, which opens at the Edge next Tuesday, features Nancy Brunning, Jason Whyte, Maaka Pohatu and Te Kohe Tuhaka. It's directed by Rachael House.


The winner of a major international tourism prize says the honour is a massive endorsement for Maori business.

Whale Watch Kaikoura beat out 5000 other ventures to win the supreme award in the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards.

Speaking from London, chief operating officer Kauahi Ngapora says it's been a huge achievement building up a the company from a small whanau-owned operation to one with whale watch ventures on both sides of the Tasman.

He says the award makes him proud to be Maori and represent a 100 percent Maori owned company which has taken on the world.

Kauahi Ngapora says the win will have huge spin off for Whale Watch, Kaikoura, and the Maori tourism sector.


Rotorua deputy mayor Trevor Maxwell is looking forward to being on board the first direct transTasman flight to the city early next month ... even if it is greeted by protesting relatives.

A group of Ngati Uenukukopako from Ruamata Marae which lies under the flightpath have opposed developing the airport to accomodate the larger planes needed.

Mr Maxwell from Ngati Whakaue says the twice-weekly A320 flight will make less noise than conventional aircraft using the facility.

“It's everybody’s right to protest but the majority of tribal people are in favour, some of the elders are going over o Australia to fly back on the first flight. This is so vital to our community, particularly in recession. This is going to be good for employment and good for the visitor industry,” Mr Maxwell says.

The first direct flight from Sydney is on December the 12th.


One of the organisers of this weekend's first Taranaki Maori Festival says there's more to it than bragging rights in sports and kapa haka.

Roopu from the eight iwi of Taranaki will converging on Waitara today and tomorrow to strengthen their understanding of the history, waiata and traditions of the rohe.

Wharehoka Wano says while sports and haka are drawcards, there are also lessons to help whanau who live outside Taranaki.

Wharehoka Wano says the festival is a warm up for next March's 150th anniversary of the start of the Taranaki land wars.

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