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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Katerina Mataira translates to win

A poetic translation has won Katerina Mataira a share of this year's New Zealand Post children's book of the year.

Old Hu Hu by Kyle Mewburn, with illustrations by Rachel Driscoll, was the winner in both its English and Maori versions.

Language advisor Paora Tibble says the veteran Ngati Porou writer and artist, who has written dozens of children's books of her own as well as Maori language novels, has done a wonderful job translating the Matariki-themed book into Hu Hu Koroheke.

“The words, they sing off the page, the way she’s translated it. There’s some beautiful kupu in it. It’s not just a word for word translation, it’s more and interpretation, and it’s got a beautiful flow to it,” Mr Tibble on

BUDGET WILL END PRETENSE

Labour leader Phil Goff says today's Budget should end any pretense the Maori Party is championing the best interests of Maori people.

Mr Goff says it's clear the country can expect a shift in wealth from low and middle income earners to the already rich, and widespread cuts in government services.

He says the Maori Party may vote against much of the government's agenda, but its support agreement means it has to vote in favour of the Budget.

“They will vote for a rise in GST. They will vote for tax cuts that give most to the very wealthy and least to those that most need it, and that’s the price of getting into bed with the National Party. They knew what the National Party was before they went into the coalition agreement. The National Party is a party that supports the most well off,” Mr Goff says.

CHILD ABUSE REPORT WELCOMED

Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says a report on the investigation of child abuse cases shows it's not just a Maori problem.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found widespread failure in the way police handle of child abuse cases.

Cases remained uninvestigated for years, investigators lost track of files, and in Whangarei the child abuse team was reassigned to meet road policing targets.

Ms Turei says Maori will welcome improvements in the way cases are managed, but they have concerns because of the recent high profile cases which have involved Maori, even though cases are found across the

She hopes child abuse cases will now be given the priority they deserve.

TOBACCO SALES BAN WOULD BE LIFESAVER

The Smokefree Coalition says banning tobacco sales will give Maori five extra years of life by 2040.

The coalition told the Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry this week that it wants sale of tobacco to be made illegal by 2020.

Director Prudence Stone says the benefits of a tobacco-free country are backed up by Otago University research into life expectancy.

She says continuing addiction can be managed by allowing people to grow their own, but only a minority is likely to take that option.

“If you bring about law prohibiting tobacco use, you are criminalizing those smokers. What they cold do is change the whole ball park for the tobacco industry and turn it into a criminal behaviour for tobacco to be sold in New Zealand,” Dr Stone says.

She says boosting quit programmes could mean by 2020 there are few smokers left.

NGAITERANGI FIGHTING BACK AS COUNCIL TRASHES WAAHI TAPU

Ngai Terangi is fighting a plan change that would see dozens of its waahi tapu stripped of basic protections.

The Tauranga iwi has made submissions to Tauranga City Council over a new city plan that includes only 52 significant Maori areas, rather than the 126 designated in the previous plan.

Iwi resource manager Dee Samuel says without that protection, developers don't need to consider the historic value of the sites.

He says there was no consultation, and the iwi only spotted the change in the final draft of the plan.

“We really need to see that there is legal protection for our places of importance. We need to tidy up this loose handling of decision making in some back room,” Mr Samuel says.

Ngai Terangi may have to put heritage protection on the agenda when it negotiates a settlement for its historic treaty claims.

MICKEY MOUSE POWHIRI CULTURAL PANTOMIME

An Auckland commercial kapa haka troupe is under fire for performing a traditional Maori welcome for stars of the Disney on Ice show which opens at the Vector Arena tonight.

Te Puru o Tamaki donned their grass skirts for Mickey and Minnie Mouse, who also stayed in costume for the whole powhiri, including the hongi.

Labour list MP Shane Jones says the event is part of a trend for powhiri to be treated as entertainment rather than an important way to bring groups of people together.

“I suppose they are part of a modern cultural pantomime. Then you get someone like Mickey Mouse coming to town and it ends up turning Maori culture into a Mickey Mouse affair. And whilst the people participating may think they are adding something to the ceremony, what they are doing is subtracting something that is precious to all Maori,” Mr Jones says.

He says people in kapa haka need to take a hard look at where they are taking Maori culture.

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