Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mother set to challenge Sharples on home patch

Fireworks are expected at this evening's meeting of Pita Sharples' Tamaki Makaurau electorate committee.

Veteran activist Titewhai Harawira, the mother of Hone Harawira, is urging members to turn up and challenge the Maori Party leader over his treatment of the embattled Taitokerau MP.

She says party leaders are acting unconstitutionally and not adhering to the principles of tikanga and whanangatanga on which the party was formed.

“Our MP Pita Sharples has been making decisions and making public statements without a mandate from Tamaki here. Our MP acts, votes and stands according to the instructions of the electorate. We are the bosses, not the other way round,” Mrs Harawira says

She says party bosses who are pressuring her son to leave the party and become an independent are ignoring his support on the ground.


There's a renewed effort to grow varieties of kumara that pre-date the Treaty of Waitangi.

The kumara were brought back from research facilities in Japan 20 years ago by the late Dell Wihongi, but her daughter Hema Wihongi says initial efforts to cultivate them around the motu had limited success.

Five of the varieties pre-date European contact, and the other four were introduced before 1840.

Ms Wihongi says people have become reliant on commercially produced vegetables, but it's important culturally to keep the old varieties going.

“I think one of the issues there is maintaining that diversity of foods and especially traditional diversity, we get to a stage worldwide that traditional foods are just becoming extinct,” Hema Wihongi says.

The seed plants are going out to iwi involved in the WAI 262 fauna and flora claim who have developed expertise in growing traditional varieties.


The winner of a lifetime contribution award for Maori music says it's a great honour for someone who can't read a note.

Morvin Simon won the Keeper of Traditions award at the weekend's Waiata Maori Music Awards in Hastings for his work spent writing hundreds of songs and directing choral groups in the Whanganui region.

He says his aim has always been to bring out the wairua in songs using simple techniques.

“I was absolutely honoured of course and of course I still can’t read music or write it as well but we just use the six strings of the guitar, I formulate my harmonies from,” Mr Simon says.

The honour was even more special because the inaugural winner last year was the late Sir Howard Morrison.


Ngai Tuhoe has lost one of its most outstanding authorities on its traditions, especially around rongoa Maori medicine.

Tawhao Tioke died yesterday at North Shore hospital aged 89.

In his early years Mr Tioke moved with his family to Maungapohatu in Te Urewera, where his father was one of those arrested with the prophet Rua Kenana.

Relative Hemana Waaka says Mr Tioke was a waka huia or treasure trove who shared his knowledge generously.

“He was one of the few who was able to retain Tuhoetanga absolutely correct. He was one of those who was never taught to read and write in English. However, the other side that sort of supported him in that area was when he became a Presbyterian minister, which was very strong in that part of Tuhoe and Waimana, as one of the protégés of Hoani Lawton,” Mr Waaka says.

Tawhao Tioke is lying in state at Papakura Marae until Friday morning, when he will be taken for burial at Waikumete Cemetery in west Auckland beside his wife.


The Greens new Maori MP has made economics the centre piece of his maiden speech to Parliament.

Dave Clendon, who is of Pakeha and Ngapuhi me Te Roroa descent, replaces Sue Bradford who resigned last month.

The former lecturer in resource management and small business advisor says the Greens have a more sophisticated understanding of economics than other parties.

“All of our material wealth is derived from the environment, form soil and land and water and air, and if we damage those things, we’re not only causing spiritual damage to papatuanuku and ourselves, but we are also undermining our economic opportunities to the extent those resources will no longer be there for us,” Mr Clendon sauys.


Author Witi Ihimaera, is offering to buy back copies of his latest novel.

Ihimaera, who was yesterday named an Arts Foundation laureate, has apologised for not crediting the original sources of some passages in The Trowenna Sea, which follows the story of five Maori imprisoned in Tasmania in the 1840s.

His publisher, Geoff Walker, says Penguin Books New Zealand will take back stock from any bookseller who wishes to return the book.

He says Ihimaera is at the forefront of New Zealand fiction writing, and Penguin is standing beside him.

“Some of his novels such as The Matriarch and Te Uncle’s Story and Bulibasha have been some of the best novels written in English and and have brought I think te ao Maori to a Pakeha readership to a considerable degree. That is one of the key features of his novels, and The Trowenna Sea contains the same features,” Mr Walker says.

A revised edition of The Trowenna Sea will be published next year with a new section explaining the background and making full acknowledgement to writers whose work is drawn on.

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