Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, August 30, 2010

Maori view for waterfront redesign

A director of the new Auckland Waterfront Development Agency says he's looking forward to bringing a Maori perspective to the strip where the city meets the harbour.

Ngarimu Blair, the heritage and resource manager for Ngati Whatua o Orakei, has been appointed to the council owned organisation for three years.

He says Ngati Whatua made it clear in its submission to the Queen's Wharf design project that it was looking for a Maori and south Pacific presence on the waterfront.

“We are invisible on our waterfront and I intend to try and change that in this role although I will be one person out of seven on the board, rather than talking through stakeholder consultation hui, I’ll be now in a position to bring those ideas and thoughts directly to the decision makers and in fact be one of them,” Mr Blair says.

Other Maori appointed to the council controlled organisations include Tainui chair Tukoroirangi Morgan on Auckland Council property, Tainui Group director Rukumoana Schaafhausen on Regional Facilities Auckland, and Vivien Bridgwater from Ngati Whatua on the body responsible for Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development.


A budding ta moko artist says a scholarship from Maori arts funding organisation Te Waka Toi will allow her to deepen her studies into what she considers the ultimate art form.

Taryn Beri from Ngati Toa, Ngati Raukawa and Te Ati Awa, is halfway through a three-year apprenticeship with tohunga Mark Kopua in Tolaga Bay.

She was trained in graphic design and ran a clothing business, Blackberi Aotearoawear, but says like an increasing number of wahine she was attracted to ta moko.

“It's pretty much the ultimate art form out there for an artist. There’s just so much korero and layers of matauranga you can learn within studying ta moko as well which really appeals to me,” Ms Beri says.

The other Nga Karahipi scholarships for emerging Maori artists granted by Te Waka Toi at the weekend award ceremony went to curator and visual artist Reuben Friend from Waikato, who is studying for a Masters Degree in Maori Visual Arts.


Rotorua's singing te reo teacher, Beatrice Yates, has embraced new technology.

The 70 year old has been self-publishing books she wrote 30 years ago as an itinerant teacher needing resources to teach Maori.

Now Kiwa Media has taken her title One Day a Taniwha, which can be sung to the tune You are my Sunshine, and turned it into an iBook.

The One Day a Taniwha iBook is available in Maori, English, Japanese, Spanish and French.


The chair of the Waikato-Tainui executive, Tukoroirangi Morgan, says it's in the Government's power to prevent the loss of valuable farmland to foreign buyers.

Mr Morgan says iwi have a vested interest in rebuilding the tribal estates that were destroyed by colonisation or taken at gunpoint - but the flood of overseas buyers is setting an artificially high price for land.

“This government should take the political lesson form one of our greatest political leaders, Sir Apirana Ngata, who changed the land tenure system in the Pacific, including countries like Rarotonga where you can’t buy, you can lease for a long period of time but you cannot buy. That’s the kind of proposition that we favour,” Mr Morgan says

He says wider public disquiet over land sales may show Pakeha are starting to appreciate how Maori feel about losing their lands.


A unity celebration at the Mahatma Gandhi centre in Auckland over the weekend had special significance for a Rotorua-trained carver.

Tane Singh-Lagah's mother is of Indian and Ngati Awa descent, and his father has Indian and Tuhoe whakapapa.

He says he brought those influences together in a baton he carved for yesterday's Raksha Bandhan festival ... which will be passed on each year to the next festival host.

Tane Singh-Lagah says the Hindu Council of New Zealand has been forging links with Maori communities for more than a decade.


The author of a gardening book for children says it's important Maori kids re-learn the skills of their ancestors and develop a lifelong love of gardening.

Dianna Noonan says knowing how to plant and tend gardens builds confidence as rangatahi learn to fend for themselves.

“Maori were the first market gardeners and if it wasn’t for them Pakeha would not have had the kumara they had available to them. GHardenins skills were there and we’ve lost them over a couple of generations. It’s important to get them back because it builds confidence and it also encourages such fantastic nutrition in kids,” says Ms Noonan, the co-author of the Tui New Zealand Kids Garden Book


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