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Monday, April 12, 2010

Whanau Ora needs to heed lesson of Puao Te Ata Tu

A former Maori Affairs deputy secretary the Government could be setting up its Whanau Ora service delivery model to fail.

Neville Baker says the problems identified by the Whanau Ora taskforce are the same as those in the 1986 Puao Te Ata Tu report on social welfare.

Mr Baker, who chairs Waiwhetu Marae-based Maori service provider Te Runanganui o Taranaki Whanui, says an opportunity was missed then because government officials pushed back against recommendations to devolve service delivery to the Maori community.

“I’m reminded of the fact that it became part of the government’s planning to deliver to Maori rather than the ability of the Crown to say to Maori you lead this and we will resource you to make it all happen,” Mr Baker says.

He says Whanau Ora leaves too much control with the central government agencies.


The latest crop of Maori PhDs have been celebrated at Te Amorangi National Maori Academic Excellence Awards hosted by Waikato University.

The 25 graduates gained doctorates over the past year in disciplines ranging from biochemistry and computer science to tourism and entrepreneurship.

Maori affairs minister Pita Sharples, who as at Turangawaewae Marae for the ceremony, says when he graduated only five Maori had doctorates, but now there are more than 500 Maori PhDs.

“Now every second person I run into is a doctor and that has to be good. Doctors in science and marine biology and all sorts of things, it’s very exciting,” Dr Sharples says.


Ngati Porou artist Rangituhia Hollis is using home movies, 3D animation and video games to question mainstream media depictions of Maori.

Hollis’s Kapua 1.0 show is on now at the artist-run Enjoy gallery in Wellington.

The name is drawn from the fictional East Coast town in the 1987 film Ngati, which Hollis sees as a counter to much of what is shown about Maori.

“I was looking to draw something positive and also give form to that negative media so that it could be seen so that perhaps it could be something to be dealt with and I think the answer lies with hapu and whanau and iwi being resistant to forms of colonisation,” Mr Hollis says.

His next art project is a Maori video game that can be accessed over the Internet.


The chair of a Lower Hutt Maori service provider says the whanau ora won’t work unless Maori people are able to embrace it as their own.

Neville Baker says the new government service delivery programme is similar to the Tamaiti Whangai scheme Te Runanganui o Taranaki Whanui is running out of Waiwhetu Marae, where advocates work with families to improve their health, education and employment opportunities.

But the former Maori Affairs deputy secretary says the report of the Whanau Ora taskforce released last week isn’t written in language that will appeal the ordinary Maori, and government agencies retain too much control of the programme.

“Historically we have been involved in trade training and kohanga reo and a whole lot of initiatives where Maori people have actually been the drivers. What’s going to happen here in my view is that you need to recreate that sort of situation so people really do get behind this and make it work for themselves. I don’t see righty now that there is clarity about how this might occur,” Mr Baker says.


Waikato iwi Ngati Haua and Ngati Koroki Kahukura are completing mandating to allow them to enter treaty settlement talks.

Consultant Willie Te Aho says Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson has written to the iwi indicating a start date of late June.

The iwi with 8000 registered members between them own less than five percent their original tribal domain east of the Waikato River from Mangakino to Karapiro, taking in Matamata and Morrinsville.

“We’re looking at the return of significant areas like Maungatautere to the ownership of the iwi. We’re looking for the same for sites like Karapiro and also ensuring that our voice on the river like the Maori Affairs select committee is also heard with respect to our tupuna awa,” Mr Te Aho says.

The iwi are keen on co-management arrangements with local authorities.


Maori bones and Maori artifacts have been found at a place linked to the great Polynesian navigator Kupe.

Historic Places Trust regional archaeologist Bev Parslow says the bones, adze head and other items were found during work to convert buildings at the Devonport Naval Base at Torpedo Bay in to a navy museum.

She says it shows Maori occupied the site as early as the 1500s.

“We’re thinking it’s an early Maori site because the artifacts, though quite limited, suggest there was moa being exploited and hunted and eaten on the site, so it could have been as early as 500 years ago,” Ms Parslow says.

Kupe is believed to have landed at the bay about 900, naming it Te Hau Kapua or cloud bank carried along by the wind, and the Tainui canoe also landed nearby.

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