Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, May 03, 2010

Nanny Pita takes smoking credit

Those Maori who’ve managed to give up smoking since last week’s tax hike may want to give thanks to the nanny state.

The term was widely used by National before the last election to attack Labour government policies.

But Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says the Maori Party isn’t afraid to intervene to improve people’s lives, and smoking is an area that affects a disproportionate number of Maori.

“There is always that nanny state sort of idea behind something when you push it but I want people to know the Maori Party has always been very strong about that. We haven’t all been smokers in the past. I know I have. I’m not sure about the others. So we’ve taken that stand now, this is our fourth, fifth year, we’re carrying on with that stand,” he says.

Dr Sharples accepts there is a risk some addicts may spend money on tobacco rather than making sure their children are fed properly.


A new marae-based health service in south Auckland aims to use the marae’s kaumatua and kuia to help families in difficulty.

Manurewa Marae last week opened its new whare oranga or clinic in a joint venture with Counties Manukau Health.

Marae deputy chair Alec Tairua says it’s part of a wider service, Te Rau Korowai, which will use the practical experience of older residents.

“We have kuia, kaumatua that can go to homes and help these whanau that are struggling not only in health but finance wise, abuse, all those sort of things,” Mr Tairua says.


A teacher who is reviving old Maori games says there is a wealth of pastimes to be rediscovered.

Harko Brown says space restrictions meant his first book, Nga Taonga Taakaro, contained only 20 activities, including the ball game ki a rahi.

He’s working on a comprehensive follow-up, drawing on 30 years of interviews with his own relatives and with kaumatua from around the country.

“A lot more information can be put in, whakapapa related to the game. I think a lot of people looking for the sources, and building that themselves by being able to whakapapa to the areas that release the knowledge and information,” Mr Brown says.

His interest in old games was sparked as a child talking to his six uncles who had served in the Maori Battalion.


Greens’ leader Meteria Turei says the government’s decision to extend submissions on mining conservation land is a victory for Maori.

Ms Turei says the obligation to consult with Maori on aspects of resource management has been written into law … and it looks like the government initially overlooked that obligation.

She says that’s why it’s important iwi and individual Maori make their views known by the end of May.

“They know that they haven’t talked with Maori enough. Government hasn’t properly consulted with any iwi about what their real plans are and that has shut Maori out of the decision-making process of being aware of what the Government’s genuine plan is, so that process is going on now because the Government realises they have made a really big mistake,” Ms Turei says.

She was heartened to see so many Maori including representatives of Coromandel iwi taking part in Saturday’s anti-mining march down Auckland’s Queen St.


A leading tohunga has taken the anti-smoking campaign to a new level by putting a curse on tobacco manufacturers.

Amster Reedy from Ngati Porou has served as a cultural advisor to many groups, including the New Zealand team to the Beijing Olympics.

He unleashed the makutu in response to industry submissions to the Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into tobacco.

Mr Reedy says industry representatives seemed to be saying they reserve the right to sell their drug to the poor, black and the stupid.

“To me that was a slight to Maori. There’s nothing worse than not seeing how we could reply and the traditional Maori response would be the one I adopted which was to look up an old chant and send it on its way,” Mr Reedy says.

He says the makutu is a potent tool for change from traditional Maori culture which should not be ignored.


A taonga puoro player is keen to take a composition written for the late historian Don Stafford out on the international festival circuit.

Horomono Horo played Legends of Rotorua by English composer Paul Lewis at two concerts with the Rotorua Chamber Ensemble at the city's Museum of Art and History.

It draws on the story collected by Mr Stafford of Te Arawa ancestor Ihenga and the patupaiarehe fairy people of Ngongotaha.

Mr Horo says it was a great to play traditional Maori instruments alongside the ensemble's harp, violin and cello.

“It's been a wonderful journey collaborating taonga puoro with the different genres, not only from New Zealand or from the different point of view but also from the western world and contemporary music’s,” Mr Horo says.

He will also perform at the New Zealand Pavilion during the Shanghai World Expo.

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