Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, August 30, 2010

Maori slow to seek seats

A Maori member of Environment Bay of Plenty regional council says Maori are put off standing for general council seats because of their low chance of success.

There is keen candidate interest in all three Maori wards on the council, the only dedicated Maori seats on any of the country’s 83 councils, but overall the number of Maori candidates for October’s elections is low.

Raewyn Bennett says the say the debate over Auckland’s governance was handled by the Government did little to encourage Maori participation.

“You had a Royal Commission, our people supported that, they made submissions, and they were quite active at advocating those positions for Maori on that new council and Rodney Hide came in and did away with them. Under those circumstances, people think why bother,” says Mrs Bennett from Ngaiterangi, who represented the Mauao ward on Environment BOP.

Meanwhile, four members of Tamaki Makaurau mana whenua iwi, Ngarimu Blair and Vivien Bridgwater of Ngati Whatua and Tainui’s Tukoroirangi Morgan and Rukumoana Schaafhausen, have been appointed directors of the council owned organisations which will manage the bulk to the new Auckland super city’s assets.


The MP for Te Tai Tonga, Rahui Katene, is welcoming Environment Canterbury’s move to acknowledge the dual names of many South Island landmarks,

She says names link people to the landscape, and this decision recognises the dual cultural heritage of Te Waipounamu

Mrs Katene says the new policy is overdue.

“When you look back to the settlement, that was part of the agreement and it’s taken this long. I think it’s really great that finally people are in a space where they are able to accept that Maori do have a place in this country and Maori place names are important,” she says.

Mrs Katene says names keep iwi history alive.


A Taranaki historian is looking forward to recording the stories of Taranaki iwi living in Australia.

Honiana Love won a $12,500 New Zealand Oral History Award from the History Research Trust Fund to allow her to do the mahi.

She says it's part of a wider Te Reo Taranaki language revitalisation projects, and it means she can reach parts of the iwi who would would otherwise be very difficult to connect with.

“We know that we are an oral people where talking face to face is one of the best ways for us to understand what each other’s perspectives are. This is the perfect format for us to start collecting some of that information,” Ms Love says.


While Maori won’t have seats on the new Auckland super city council, representatives of mana whenua iwi have gained a chance to say how the city will develop.

Reporter Adam Gifford says Ngati Whatua and Tainui members have been appointed to the council owned organisations that will control the bulk of the city’s assets.

Four people with experience overseeing tribal assets line up among the powerbrokers, bankers and professional engineers picked by Local Government Minister Rodney Hide to look after Auckland’s taonga.

Tukoroirangi Morgan, the chair of Waikato-Tainui’s executive, is on the board of Auckland Council Property limited, chaired by Sir John Wells.

A director of Tainui Group Holdings, lawyer Rukumoana Tira Marie Schaafhausen, is on Regional Facilities Auckland, chaired by former National government deputy prime minister Sir Don McKinnon.

Ngati Whatua o Orakei’s resources and heritage manager, Ngarimu Blair, who has been outspoken about the iwi’s desire to have a say in management of the city’s foreshore and seabed, gets a chance to do that as a member of the Auckland Waterfront Development Agency, which will be led by outgoing Waitakere City mayor Bob Harvey.

Another member of Ngati Whatua, AUT University executive Vivien Bridgwater, will serve on Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development Ltd, which is chaired by McConnell Group chair Dave McConnell.


One of the judges of the New Zealand Post Book Awards says the supreme award winner, Dame Judith Binney’s Encircled Lands, would change the way people understood the history of Te Urewera.

Dame Judith was surrounded by members of Ngai Tuhoe as she accepted the work on Friday night.

Paul Diamond says the book was an extraordinary effort, bringing together archival and oral sources to reveal a hidden history.

“Because of the way Judith worked and because of her history of working in that area in the Bay of Plenty, Tuhoe and other iwi up there were happy about her telling that story. It’s one thing to think of an interesting topic in tea o Maori but it’s another thing to gain access to the sources and the archives and things and to tell that story so you’ve got this exhaustive archival research and you’ve got the korero auaha, you’ve got the oral history,” Mr Diamond says.


And the annual Te Waka Toi Awards have acknowledged the impact of one of the country’s leading contemporary dancers on Maori arts and culture.

Taiaroa Royal from Te Arawa, Ngati Raukawa and Ngai Tahu recieved the Te Tohu Toi Ke – the “making a difference” award - for his contributions over two decades.

He says it was totally unexpected, and it’s humbling to be recognised for doing what he loves to do.

A new supreme award, named after the late Maori queen Dame Te Atairangikaahu, went to opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, while Nga Tohu a Ta Kingi Ihaka awards for lifetime contributins to the maintenance of Maori culture went to Jossie Kaa, Kihi Ngatai, Tata Maere, Vera Morgan and Wiremu Kaa.


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