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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ngapuhi protects its sovereignty from rogues

Ngapuhi chairperson Sonny Tau says tribal evidence put to the first week of hearings on Northland claims has emphatically shown the iwi never ceded its sovereignty.

Rather than pursue specific land claims, the country's largest tribe has chosen to focus on the constitutional implications of the 1835 declaration of independence and 1840 Treaty of Waitangi.

Mr Tau says by the time the treaty was signed, Ngapuhi had 70 years of interactions with Europeans, and its chiefs were clear about what they wanted from the relationship.

“Our tupuna Kupe is said to have arrived here around 950. So how come people who have lived in this beautiful land for so many centuries would in five minutes cede their sovereignty to people they knew were thieves, rogues and vagabonds. I ask any person in this country, would they sign over their house, their car and everything else to a person they know was of ill repute,” Mr Tau says.

He says the treaty was an agreement for the British Crown to impose its laws on settlers, not on Maori.


A Victoria University student says the value of iwi scholarships comes as much in the support they demonstrate as in the monetary sum.

Tahlia Kingi received $1000 from Te Arawa Fisheries towards her studies in clinical psychology.

The iwi-owned company has given out $45,000 this year as part of a strategy to support 500 iwi members into higher education and skilled employment by 2020.

Ms Kingi, who already has a science degree from Otago University, says it's a welcome boost.

“It's not a huge amount of money. It helps ease the financial burden of being a student but it also shows the support Te Arawa has. It kind of motivates us to put in that extra effort because you know you’ve got the support back home of your whanau and your hapu and your iwi,” she says.

Tahlia Kingi's father, Guy Kingi, also received a Te Arawa 500 Scholarship towards his final year of studies at Waikato University for a Bachelor of Law degree.


The days of seeing a Maori showband in cabaret may be numbered.

Maori Volcanic Billy Peters says the showbands' mix of popular songs, impressions, comedy skits, kapa haka and superb musicianship has been entertaining crowds around the world for half a century.

But times are changing, and the once lucrative Australian club scene that has sustained the Volcanics for decades has been dealt a blow by changes to alcohol and smoking laws.

The Maori Volcanics are in New Zealand for five shows starting at the Tokoroa Cosmopolitan Club tonight.


Rugby historian Malcolm Mulholland says momentum is building for a face to face apology to Maori excluded from whites only All Black tours to South Africa.

The author of the centenary history Beneath the Maori Moon says the committee of Gisborne's Te Poho o Rawiri Marae is willing to host the historic meeting when the Springboks are in New Zealand in July.

He says O'Regan Hoskings, the president of the South African Rugby Union, will attend.

“We are just trying to confirm the attendance of the South African Government and once we confirm our dates in terms of our South African visitors we will be issuing a formal invitation to the parties concerned here, which include former players, protest leaders, the NZRU and the New Zealand government,” Mr Mulholland says.

Te Poho o Rawiri is where the Springboks were welcomed in 1965 and 1981, making it the ideal place for the apology.


A leading Maori art and architectural historian says the marae is changing as Maori face up to the challenge of improving their health and social indicators.

Dr Deidre Brown from Auckland University's School of Architecture and Planning has been awarded a Presidents Award by the New Zealand Institute of Architects for her contribution to knowledge about Maori architecture.

She says Maori architects are making valuable contributions to the way the country develops its public and private spaces.

Maori are also rethinking marae, which since the revival kicked off by Apirana Ngata in the 1920s have tended to focus on a meeting house and separate buildings for dining and ablutions.

“What we are seeing now is the addition of social services to the marae so you will have a whare ora, a well being space which might have outpatients clinics or doctors and I’ve been to some marae where you even have a small pharmacy. That’s a new building that’s been added to that complex and I think it recognises the way Maori are assuming control over their own self-determination in healthcare,” Dr Brown says.


A former New Zealand Rugby League captain has heaped praise on one of the best Maori players never to have worn the black and white jersey.

Richie Barnett says New South Wales selectors got it right by naming 30 year old Timana Tahu in the Blues Squad to play Queensland in the first State of origin match.

The 30-year-old Parammata centre, who has returned to the 13-man code after three years in professional rugby, has a Maori dad and an Aboriginal mum.

Mr Barnett says he has the skills and experience needed for Origin football, particularly steel in defence.


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