Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, June 11, 2010

Repatriated taonga on show before Webb's auction

A once-in-a-lifetime collection of Maori, Australian Aboriginal and Pacific Island artifacts has gone on show in an Auckland auction house.

More than half the items to be auctioned at Webbs next Thursday night come from the Zanesville Museum of Art in Ohio, where they were a gift of a former Caterpillar bulldozer salesman who worked in Australia and the Pacific from the 1920s to the 70s.

Webbs managing director Neil Campbell says it's a chance to see an extraordinary range of museum quality taonga, which range from cloaks and jewelry to weapons to meeting house carvings.

“The presence that it has brought to this building, the mana that has brought to this building is something that will be missed when it goes out the door next week. We had the karakia and blessing last night with Eru Thompson and local kaumatua and we talked about that quite a lot. You can quite often walk into places with this sort of material and feel an energy, and it can be a positive energy or a confused energy. This is a positive energy,” Mr Campbell says.

There has been extraordinary international interest in the auction.


The holders of Maori domain names are being given a chance to get a macron in their address.

The power to add macrons has recently been added to the New Zealand registry of Internet addresses.

Debbie Monaghan, the domain name commissioner, says people who want their a, e, i, o and u's to conform to the grammatical standard before Maori language Week have until July 6 to make a sunrise application for a variant of their name which includes a vowel with macrons.

The registry is getting a positive response to Maori web-heads to the macron capability and the sunrise application mechanism.


Some of the great names from kapa haka history will get a chance to shine again this weekend in Wellington.

Te Papa Tongarewa's celebration of matariki, the Maori new year, features the third kaumatua kapa festival ... as well as an arts and crafts village and a Moko Village with national and international tattoo artists.

Organiser Mere Broughton says 11 culture groups are sending their senior citizens to the show, including Te Arawa, the Auckland Anglican Club, Ngai Tahu, Te Awa Tapuaha from Whanganui, Waikato, Te Roopu Tahiwi, Hokowhitu Atu and Whanau Apanui, totaling 350 kaumatua.

Te Papa's 18 days of matariki celebrations have become a highlight of the museum's calendar.


The Maori Party is threatening to spit the dummy unless the Government compromises on its replacement for the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

The Prime Minister, John Key, this week threatened that there would be no repeal if the Maori Party didn't support the proposal Attorney General Chris Finlayson intends to take to Cabinet on Monday.

The Iwi Leadership Group, which has been talking with the Government on the issue, is unhappy with the idea of putting the foreshore in a new type of ownership called public domain, rather than acknowledging a Maori interest up front.

Whip Te Ururoa Flavell says the Maori Party met today with the Iwi Group, and it has its own concerns it wants to put to ministers over the weekend, if a meeting can be arranged.

“At this time I can say we are not exactly jumping over the moon with joy with it but that remains to be seen whether that leads to leaving the bill to be fought on for another day or whether we stay with it and honour the commitment we made to our people to have it repealed and allow our people the right to justice,” Mr Flavell says.

The government has failed to address many of the iwi leaders' concerns.


Sports commentator Ken Laban says the switch from funding sports participation programmes to funding elite athletes will leave Maori and Pasifika out in the cold.

The government today announced it would spend up to $18 million a year more to keep New Zealand athletes wining on the world stage.

Its plans include reallocating some existing funding for the benefit of codes like cycling, rowing sailing triathlon and ocean kayaking.

Mr Laban says the numbers competing in triathlon are a fraction of those turning out each week for netball, rugby or touch football, which are maily played by Maori and Pacific Island communities.

He says the government should re-evaluate its criteria for what constitutes high performance sport.


One of the organisers of Te Matatini says Australian-based teams are improving.

Nine roopu are competing in Canberra this weekend for the three spots in next year's national kapa haka competitions in Gisborne.

Willie Te Aho says one in six Maori live in across the Tasman, and the standard of tutors and performers is getting better all the time.

Closer to home, Te Papa Tongarewa museum in Wellington is hosting a kaumatua kapa haka festival this weekend.


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