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Friday, June 25, 2010

Community Max giving hope to rangatahi

Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira has welcomed news of extra funding for Community Max in the far North and other regions.

The short term work scheme was axed in this year's budget, but Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has found $17 million to bring it back in provincial areas with high Maori unemployment.

Mr Harawira says the scheme is giving community groups a chance to spruce up infrastructure like marae and community centres, and it's also also offering hope for eligible rangatahi in the 16 to 24 age range.

“I know a lot of young people have missed out and done it tough these last few years and don’t see much hope. I’m not saying Community Max is the answer to everything but it is an opportunity for our kids to lift their sights again,” Mr Harawira says.


Taranaki whanui have been gathering at Owae Marae in Waitara to remember those who have died over the past year and look forward to the year ahead.

The Harimate marks the start of the annnual commemoration of the legacy of physician turned politician Sir Maui Pomare, who died 80 years ago.

Marae member Ruakere Hond says it's a chance for the iwi of Taranaki to achieve a common direction.

“This year being the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of war here in Waitara makes it particularly relevant to talk about the long history of Taranaki iwi seeking ways to redress that grievance so we’re definitely in that part of the process but at the same time it’s appropriate to hear the korero of other people’s perspectives of the 150 years,” Mr Hond says.

Pomare Day tomorrow will include a speech by Te Atiawa kaumatua and former governor general Sir Paul Reeves on how to look back at the past but go forward in peace, and the launch of the marae-based youth court on the marae.


There will be a lot of hot air at tomorrow's Matariki celebrations in Flaxmere.

Te Aranga Marae chair Des Ratima says the marae has bought together seven hot air balloons to simulate the seven stars of Matariki.

A ceremonial hangi opened at dawn, with the steam rising to represent the connection between Papatuanuku the Earth Mother, and Ranginui, the Sky father.

“We'll open the hangi at 6am and in the hangi will be seven woven kono, each with a riwai and a kumara. Each will be taken to a balloon so each balloon will have an offering to Ranginui from Papatuanuku. Then they take to the sky and I think it will be quite moving really,” Mr Ratima says.

The ceremonial hangi will be followed by a traditional breakfast and a matariki carnival in the afternoon.


The judge who will be conducting youth court sessions on Waitara's Owae Marae says rangatahi engage more with the judicial process in that environment.

The initiative will be launched at tomorrow's Pomare Day commemoration on the marae, which will be attended by Attorney General Chris Finlayson and senior members of the judiciary.

Judge Louis Bidois says rangatahi attending court sessions on other marae show more respect and interest and listen harder.

He says that will make the whole process work better.

“It's about monitoring what has been agreed to at the family group conference, to ensure that the tasks that were agreed to were complied with but there’s also going to be an added dimension of having kaumatua there, there may well be additional tasks that are required of the youth, some cultural aspect to it like learning a mihi, learning a whakapapa, making some connections to their own tribal area,” Judge Bidois says.

He expects there will eventually be about a dozen cases dealt with at each monthly session.


Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira says this week's testimony by whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand demonstrated the value of the Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry.

The former American industry executive told the committee the government should require disclosure of all the additives that go into cigarettes to make them more palatable and addictive, especially to young people.

Mr Harawira says Dr Wigand reinforced how the industry targeted indigenous communities, and his testimony will add weight to the committee's final report.

“We're doing this through the Maori affairs select committee and we are doing this for Maori because the health select committee had constantly refused year after year after year to deal with this issue. We know if there are positive outcomes for Maori in terms of getting rid of tobacco, those positive outcomes will be for the whole country,” Mr Harawira says.


A ceremonial waka being launched tomorrow at Aurere in the far north will be a vessel to promote Maori art and and culture in Europe.

Tamahou Temara, the operations manger for Toi Maori, says the waka built by master craftsman Hekenukumai Busby is destined to be a working exhibition at the Volkunkunde Museum in Leiden, Holland.

A team from Aotearoa will train paddlers from the Njord Royal Rowing Club to use the waka and help museum staff maintain it.

“In terms of legal ownership it will still be owned by Toi Maori so as long as we still have the mana over that waka, in terms of our international promotional strategy around Maori art and what have you, we can use that waka as a vehicle to promote not only our art but our culture throughout Europe,” Mr Temara says.

The waka will be handed over to the Volkenkunde Museum in October


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