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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Music for Te Arikinui adds Royal garnish

Waikato University has added a Royal garnish to today's celebration of its links to the Kingitanga.

A concert tonight at the university's WEL Energy Theatre includes a rare performance of Ahukaramu Charles Royal's Te Arikinui, a work for tenor, strings and percussion dedicated to the late Maori queen, Te Atairangikaahu.

Dr Royal, the head of Nga Pae o te Maramatanga Maori research centre at Auckland University, says the work was commissioned in 1991 by the late Miria Simpson of Ngati Awa, with words by Timoti Karetu of Ngae Tuhoe.

“It has been played only twice previously on a public occasion and we tried very hard to have it played for Dame Te Ata before she passed away but unfortunately we weren’t successful but today we will finally play it before the incumbent ariki, King Tuheitia, who will be there, and it’s his birthday of course,” Dr Royal says.

Te Arikinui will be sung by Howard McGuire from Ngati Kahungungu, with the Waikato University Orchestra conducted by violinist Adam Maha

IMAGE MANAGEMENT KEY TO INDIGENOUS DECLARATION TICK

The Prime Minister says New Zealand's support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People is about how this country is seen abroad, rather than about what happens at home.

There is debate about whether the carefully-crafted affirmation read by Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York contained no caveats, as the Minister claimed.

John Key says the change in policy came after advice the declaration would not affect New Zealand's constitutional framework or the existing treaty settlement process.

“New Zealand’s got a very proud record in indigenous rights, a much prouder record than many other people who have confirmed the declaration, and in our view we looked on the world stage as if we didn’t care about indigenous people when in fact we’ve got this great record and all the advice I had from Crown Law is ‘nothing you’re doing here is going to make any difference if that’s what you’re worried about, it’s a non binding aspirational goal and you set out your position,’” Mr Key says.

The declaration has already been raised in court cases.

TUAKANA SOUGHT FOR MENTORING PROGRAMME

A Manawatu mentoring service is seeking Maori tuakana for at-risk youth.

Big Brothers Big Sisters coordinator Dale Anderson says the successful international programme will be launched in the region next week.

She says mentors from all walks of life are sought, especially those who can relate to Maori boys from single parent families.

Ms Anderson says mentoring has benefits for whanau and the wider society.

“Children's use of alcohol and drugs diminish while they’ve been enrolled in the programme, they attend school better, they start to think of employment opportunities, they start to have a bit more hope, they start to have they start to interact with their whanau a whole lot better, they feel better about themselves,” Ms Anderson says.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is for rangatahi aged 7 to 17.

WAIKATO UNIVERSITY COMES TOGETHER AS COMMUNITY

Class was out at Waikato University today as the institution studied and celebrated its links to the Kingitanga.

Pro-vice chancellor Maori Linda Smith says it's been a day of symposia and seminars, as well as sports and cultural events, capped off with a banquet anc concert this evening hosted by King Tuheitia.

She says it is a chance for the university to behave as a community, rather than a series of disconnected faculties and schools.

“So this is also a day about the university, about engaging our staff, not just our academic staff but all our staff, and about engaging our students and our community where we can come together and do things together. That doesn’t actually happen in most universities,” Professor Smith says.

The long-standing relationship with Tainui and Kingitanga has influenced the development of the university, so that one in five of its students are Maori.

RACE COMMISSIONER WELCOMES UN DECLARATION

Race relations commissioner Joris de Bres is welcoming New Zealand's affirmation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Mr de Bres says the Human Rights Commission has already been using the declaration in its work, and it's great to see the government catch up.

He's defending the secrecy surrounding Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples’ trip to New York to announce the change of policy.

“I can understand the decision it announce it at the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples which is meeting in New York this week because that’s where a lot of the external international pressure has come on New Zealand to change its position,” Mr de Bres says.

He says people internationally were confused a country which led the world in many areas of indigenous rights had not backed the declaration.

MAORI TELEVISION SWAPS STAFF WITH CANADIAN BROADCASTER

A broadcaster from Canada's Aboriginal Peoples' Television Network says Maori Television has a lot to teach her.

Toronto-based Patrice Mousseau, who has French, English and Ojibway whakapapa, is working on current affairs programme Native Affairs as part of a new scheme which came out of this year's indigenous television conference in Taiwan.

The APTN national news anchor says the exchange is about raising standards among indigenous broadcasters.

“If anything you’re on par or even pushing the limits for us to make sure we keep our standards high. Maori Television is doing an incredible job and I’m proud to be here learning from you guys,” Ms Mousseau says.

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