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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gang women’s story wins first book prize

A book about a work co-operative for gang women has won writer Pip Desmond the New Zealand Society of Authors E.H. McCormick award for best first non-fiction book.

Stephen Stratford, the convener of judges for the New Zealand Book Awards, says Trust: A True Story of Women & Gangs is a potent combination of oral history and memoir.

He says it was an extraordinarily hard topic to write about, but Desmond, who had been a member of Wellington's Aroha Trust during its three-year existence in the 1970s, Aroha Trust, had exceptional access to the women.

“I don't think anyone will again be in a position to write a book with such inside knowledge of what the life is like. She’s known these women for years and they obviously trust her a lot and shared things with her they wouldn’t with anyone else, so it’s a real one of a kind, this book,” Mr Stratford says.

Titles shortlisted for the New Zealand Book Awards, which will be announced in August, include Dame Judith Binney's history of Te Urewera, Encircled Lands, and Maori Architecture: From fale to wharenui and beyond by University of Auckland art and architectural historian Deidre Brown from Ngati Rehia and Ngapuhi.

TREATY SETTLEMENT SUPPORT WINS TURIA BACKING

Maori Party co leader Tariana Turia says Attorney General Chris Finlayson's willingness to strike a deal on reform of the Foreshore and Seabed Act is indicative of his positive attitude towards treaty settlements.

She says Mr Finlayson, who is also Minister for Treaty Negotiations Minister, is a straight shooter.

“He knows that for our people to progress and move forward, settlement is a must. We only need to look at those iwi who have settled to see their growth, their development, their participation within their tribal boundaries. That’s what Chris Finlayson wants for the whole country and of course I support that,” Mrs Turia says.

MALE MODELS NEEDED FOR MAORI FASHION SHOW

Organisers of next weekend's Miromoda Fashion Design Awards in Wellington are looking for more Maori men to play clothes horse.

Project co-ordinator Katrina Matete of Nga Puhi and Ngati Porou says 17 Maori designers are showing their work, with the winners getting a spot in the Air New Zealand Fashion Week.

She says the model search wraps up today, with spots still open.

Katrina Matete says models who make a splash at Miramoda could find it opens doors internationally.

RECESSION HAVING LONG TERM EFFECT ON YOUNG MAORI

The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services says Maori continue to be hard hit by the recession, despite a small drop in unemployment.

The council's fifth vulnerability report predicts the situation will get worse, as small increases in benefits and wages are offset by increased GST and energy costs.

Executive officer Trevor McGlinchey says more than one in four young Maori is jobless, and the fact the majority of those are not involved in training or education could lead to long term problems.

“As our tamariki and rangatahi grow, if they grow without skills and without knowledge of the working world, they’re not going to be able to contribute to a healthier positive New Zealand, let alone a healthy positive Maori community,” Mr McGlinchey says.

BINNEY, BROWN MAKE BOOK AWARDS SHORTLIST

Two books which have been snapped up by readers with an interest in Te Ao Maori have made the shortlist for the New Zealand Book Awards.

Encircled Lands, Judith Binney's history of Te Urewera, is a finalist in the general non-fiction section, while Deidre Brown's Maori Architecture: From fale to wharenui and beyond is a contender for best illustrated non fiction title.

Stephen Stratford, the convener of judges, says Dr Brown's combination of words and pictures has opened many eyes to what's out there.

“The images are just enlightening about the history and development of architecture. I mean it’s interesting to look at the old buildings from an architectural point of view rather than just interesting old buildings so you’ve got a trained architectural mind appreciating these things and also bringing us up to date with contemporary architecture by Maori and to what degree that is Maori architecture. It’s quite an interesting discussion,” he says.

Other finalists include Anne Salmond's history of the discovery of Tahiti, Aphrodite's Island, books on Marti Friedlander and Milan Mrkusich, and chef Al Brown's Go Fish collection of recipes.

ROWER HIPANGO WINS SCHOLARSHIP TO BERKELEY

A 19 year old Whanganui rower has won a sports scholarship at the University of California in Berkeley.

Paparangi Hipango will study sports psychology, design and photography when she's not working the oars.

The nearly-six foot rower has been competing since she was spotted by coach Fiona Symes in her first year at Wanganui Collegiate.

She says she's had great support from her whanau and the people of Whanganui, and she's also picked up valuable experience through competing in China, Austria and France.

Paparangi Hipango leaves for California in August.

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