Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, July 02, 2010

Whale link to ancestors needs protection

Ikaroa - Rawhiti MP Parekura Horomia says his ancestors came here on a whale, and he is going to protect the mighty mammals.

Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson says the Maori fisheries trust Te Ohu Kaimoana is doing Maori a disservice through its support of commercial whaling.

He says while many Maori would support the right of indigenous groups in Alaska, Greenland and even Japan to take whales for customary purposes, statements coming from Te Ohu Kaimoana leaders who attended last week's annual International Whaling Commission hui in Morocco indicate clear support for Japan's commercial harvest.

“I've seen weka disappear in my day. That used to be a real delicacy for us where there were thousands and thousands of them. Because of a whole host of reasons, people slaughtering them, they’re gone. I never saw the moa disappear, but our tupuna, my tupuna came here on a whale so it’s important we protect them,” Mr Horomia says.


The country’s newest dame says Maori leaders have ignored the problems alcohol is doing to Maori families for too long.

Dame June Jackson has joined group of high profile New Zealanders led by former governor general Sir Paul Reeves to back an overhaul of liquor licensing laws.

She says alcohol abuse is a scourge on the Maori world.

“We're up against it. We have Maori wardens who go round our hotel who do great work but it’s enough. I think there should be more mobilising of our people speaking against it, and doing things that could stop our people gravitating towards this rotten stuff,” Dame June says.


Maori are being encouraged to get on their bikes.

Paul McCardle from Bike on New Zealand says after returning from living in the Netherlands, he and wife Meg Frater were struck by the lack of cycling in this country.

They're wheeling out a scheme to Hawkes Bay Schools with high Maori rolls, St Mary's in Hastings, Maraenui in Napier and Peterhead in Flaxmere, to build cycle tracks and provide bikes as part of the physical education programme.

He says the programme is building confidence and self esteem among pupils.

Once the schools’ programme is running smoothly the scheme could be extended to other schools and to marae.


Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson has joined the campaign for Hosea Gear to make the All Black squad for the tri nations tests beginning on July 10.

Parekura Horomia attended a rally for his Ngati Porou tribesman in Gisborne last night.

He says it beggar's belief that the winger won't be adding to his two All Black test caps after his hat trick of virtuoso tries in last week's New Zealand Maori defeat of England.

“I know people might think it’s only a small thing but you really have to start asking the question abut our national selectors in relation to Maori participation when they turn a blind eye like that,” Mr Horomia says.


Toi Maori has chosen three young wahine kai hoe and one male paddler to represent Aotearoa in this year's Tribal Canoe Journeys in the Pacific northwest of the United States.

21-year-old Waimirirangi Conrad of Te Aupouri, Ngati Kuri and Te Rarawa says she and Francis Mamaku will join the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde from Portland, Oregon, while Bronwyn Hetaraka and Karen Kite will paddle with the Suquamish Tribe from Seattle.

Ms Conrad says they will join thousands of people from 60 American and Canadian nations on the 10-day hikoi.

“I got chosen because their women play a big role in their tradition and in their waka kaupapa so they wanted another women to go over just to relate to their women, to have a different view rather than tane always going,” Ms Conrad says.

She says the Tribal Journeys project shows young people there are alternatives to computer games or gangs.


One of the foremost experts on Maori weaving, Mick Pendergrast, has died on the eve of his 78th birthday.

His book Maori basketry for Beginners, now known as Te Mahi Kete, was first published in 1975 and has never been out of print, and he published numerous other books on Maori and Pacific fibre arts.

He started his career as a teacher, but after a spell during the 1960s working for Volunteer Services Abroad in the Solomon Islands, he became an ethnology assistant at the Auckland museum.

His nephew Andrew Pendergrast says his uncle's interest in fibre started in the 1950s when he was working in Torere in the eastern Bay of Plenty.

“He enjoyed talking to the kuia and inevitably they would be weaving a kete and he just looked and learned and listened and once he developed an interest he learned to make kete himself and started recording different patterns and getting name for patterns so from day one he really looked at it from an academic perspective,” Andrew Pendergrast says.

Mick Pendergrast's funeral service is at the Manukau Memorial Gardens in south Auckland tomorrow.


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