Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fighters for Maori rights from east and west

Ngati Porou negotiatiors have suspended treaty settlement negotiations to return to the East Coast to bury one of their rangatira, Te Kapunga Koro Dewes, who died today at the age of 80.

Apirana Mahuika, the chair of Te Runanga o Ngati Porou, says his cousin had a life of leadership and achievement, fighting for the advancement of Maori and of Ngati Porou.

Mr Dewes started his career as a teacher at Tikitiki District High School before switching to St Stephen's Maori Boarding School so that he could study at Auckland University.

After graduating he worked for the university's adult education department before being appointed a lecturer in Maori at Victoria University of Wellington.

Mr Mahuika says he pushed the limits of what was possible, becoming the first person to present a masters thesis in te reo Maori.

“We have fought all sorts of battles together. We have fought educational institutions, universities, and of course Koro became the father of the chair of Maori act Victoria University in that he was the one that fought for a chair and the only regret that we had was that he was not appointed to the chair that he fought hard for establishment,” he says.

In 2004 Victoria University made Koro Dewes an honorary doctor of literature.

The tangi is at Hinerupe Marae in Te Araroa.


Pressure is going on the Ministry of Education to make children's books written in te reo publicly available in libraries.

All but one of the winners in the te reo section of last night's LIANZA children's book awards are published by the Ministry for immersion and bilingual schools and are not available for public purchase or in libraries.

Alice Heather, the convenor of the Te Kura Pounamu section of the awards, says this makes it hard for people on the street to get hold of the books.

“The public libraries have been fighting for a while to get the right to purchase them. I think if you are going to put them out to the public you have to have a guaranteed market to make them financially viable and I don’t know if that market is big enough. The first step is to get it into the libraries so if someone out on the street wants a book, they can get it from the library,” she says.

The winner of Te Kura Pounamu was a novel, Hewa, by Darryn Joseph, published by Pearson.


The captain of the Black Sticks is encouraging more Maori girls to take up hockey.

The team is off to Argentina on Friday to compete in the 12th Women's Hocky World Cup.

Kayla Sharland of Rangitaane says hockey will give them a chance to see the world.

After Argentina Sharland will head for the Commonwealth games in New Delhi.


Taranaki is reeling at the sudden death today of Te Miringa Hohaia, the initiator of the Parihaka Peace Festival.

Mr Hohaia, of Taranaki Tuturu and Taranaki Whaanui, was 58.

He was a prominent figure in the political and cultural affairs of Taranaki, and in the revival of traditional Parihaka waiata and poi, as well as fighting for Maori land rights.

He jointly edited Parihaka: The Art of Passive Resistance, which won the history & biography category of the 2001 Montana New Zealand Book Awards, and helped curate the exhibition of the same name in the Wellington City Art Gallery.

Parihaka kaumatua Huirangi Waikerepuru says when he returned to the coastal Taranaki settlement in the mid 1970s, Mr Hohaia immersed himself in the history and traditions of the meeting house Te Paepae of te Raukura, where a gathering is held on the 18th of every month to remember the philosophies of the prophet Te Whiti o Rongomai.

“Carrying on at a time when the gaps were beginning to appear was an enormous step to take, to carry that responsibility, and he’s carried it very well over the years that he has been there and now Te Miringa has moved on and let’s see who is there and we must continue the journey,” Mr Waikerepuru says.

Tera te kohu e tatao mai ra i te atamai o te maunga hauhunga ma. Te Miringa Hohaia, moe mai ra.


The Federation of Maori Authorities is backing the reintroduction of compulsory superannuation.

However, FOMA wants to see money put into the scheme paid out to whanau if the contributor dies before reaching the age of entitlement.

Chief executive Ron Mark says this would take acknowledge the fact Maori have lower life expectancy than non-Maori, yet the relative age of the Maori population means they make up an increasing proportion of contributors.

“We know that there is a very high likelihood that many of our whanau will never collect that. Now the advantage of your private scheme is if you pass away before you superannuate, you get that money paid back to your estate. The disadvantage of the state run scheme, National Super, is you can pay into it for an entire lifetime and die at the age of 64 and not collect one red cent out of it,” he says.

Mr Mark says it would be dishonest of the state to collect money in the traditional way knowing Maori are less likely to benefit.


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