Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day a Green highlight

Metiria Turei will be one of the billion people from 190 countries who will be marking Earth Day today.

The Green Party co-leader says her focus this year is on using water wisely and stopping unnecessary mining.

She's meeting with hapu around Thames concerned about the Government's plans to open the Coromandel Peninsula up to mining companies.

“Iwi have been involved in this fight against mining for decades and so we need to make sure the environmental movement and the Green Party stand alongside iwi who are fighting against the destruction of their whenua,” Ms Turei says.

She says Maori may be able to use New Zealand's affirmation of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on issues like the fight against mining.


The number of Maori students graduating from Canterbury University at a special ceremony today is more than double that of last year.

Rawiri Taonui, the head of Aotahi, the School of Maori and Indigenous Studies, says it's a sign the university is finding ways to appeal to Maori students.

He says 18 of the 39 graduates represent the first intake to come through undergraduate courses within his department.

The rest come from a new te reo Maori major which recognises the language as a separate study away from Maori studies.


A combination of fine dining and rongoa Maori is wowing guests at the elite Treetops Lodge just outside Rotorua.

Chef Eru Tutaki from Ngati Maniapoto leads guests from around the world into the bush to source the ingredients for the night's meal.

He then creates a degustation menu that includes flavours from Maori medicinal herbs.

“Rongoa Maori was mainly drunk as a tea, Now in terms of me becoming a chef, I can infuse it in the bread and in the soups even and in the sauces, so it’s pushing that rongoa Maori to a whole new perspective,” Mr Tukaki says.

On his days off, Eru Tutaki teaches the next generation of Maori chefs by running cooking classes at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori ki Hurunga Te Rangi.


The Race relations commissioner says the government is sending a signal to the world it is taking Maori rights seriously.

Joris de Bres says by affirming the non-binding UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the government has created international expectations it will tackle inequalities in Maori health, education and justice.

That's despite the qualified language in the speech Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples gave to the ninth session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York this week.

“Those are points which reasonably elegantly say we’re not going to change our whole treaty settlement process because of this, we’re not going to change our laws, but we do want to signal to Maori in New Zealand that the Crown takes indigenous rights of Maori seriously,” Mr de Bres says.

New Zealand was under huge international pressure over its previous opposition to the declaration.


The director of Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga Maori research centre wants universities to take a mana-inspired approach to education.

Ahukaramu Charles Royal addressed the topic of tertiary education in a breakfast speech at yesterday's Kingitanga Day celebration at Waikato University.

He says the focus in tertiary education is now on skills and preparing students for the labour market, rather than considering their future contributions to their communities.

“What our communities are looking for is young people who are certainly endowed with knowledge and skills and talents and abilities and so on, but even more so we’re looking for a kind of person who can relate to others well, communicate and is a warm hearted person,” Professor Royal says.

He says Maori communities have no tolerance for arrogant academics who are not prepared to offer anything back.


A Whanganui art gallery is holding an exhibition to help the Ratana Temple at Raetihi buy a bell.

W H Milbank Gallery director Bill Milbank says growing up in the Waemarino township he was constantly aware of the iconic building, which has been the subject of famous photos by Ans Westra, Smash Palace director Roger Donaldson and the late Robin Morrison.

Those images, and others by artists like photographer Laurence Aberhard, sculptor Matt Pine and painter Megan Campbell, make up the Church on the Hill show.

He says the gallery and the artists will give the temple a koha from any of the work sold.

“In the process of talking with them to see if it was appropriate or not for us to put this exhibition together, we discovered that in their minds the building up there has never been complete because they don’t have a bell. We said let’s see if we can start to put together a fund that will allow them to secure a bell for the church,” Mr Milbank says.

The Church on the Hill runs until May 19 at the gallery on Taupo Quay.

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