Waatea News Update

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Friday, June 04, 2010

National hui rejects Foreshore Act offer

Iwi leaders have rejected the Government's proposed reform for the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

About 100 iwi representatives met in Auckland this afternoon to discuss a plan to be taken to Cabinet next week to replace Crown ownership of the foreshore and seabed with a regime where no one is considered to own it.

There would be a process for Maori Maori customary rights to be recognised, including a right to use and develop areas within the confines of existing legislation.

Ngai Tahu chair Mark Solomon says what's offered falls far short of what iwi are seeking.

“We did put a proposal and the proposal was the foreshore be vested, not a title, that it be vested equally in the treaty partners on behalf of all New Zealanders, that it be vested as a taonga tuku iho, in other words that it’s inalienable, it can never be sold. The Crown flatly rejected that concept,” Mr Solomon says.

The Crown has indicated it wants the issue settled by the end of the year, or it is off the table and the existing legislation remains in force.


A model scout says Maori need to overcome their shyness if they want to break into the industry.

Auditions start in Auckland tomorrow for the second cycle of New Zealand's Next Top Model, and move round the country over the week.

Sylvia Pikari of Nga Puhi and Ngati Hine says the producers are keen for more Maori to apply because they have a special New Zealand look.

She says Maori have a lot to offer the modeling industry, but they tend to shy away from the glamour jobs.

“No doubt many of our young Maori girls would love to participate in something like New Zealand's Next Top Model but either they’re too whakamaa or they won’t be cool around their peers. We’re not just unique in our beauty, but in our personality and our style,” Ms Pikari says.

She says advertising agents are always on the lookout for Maori faces.


The coach of the Maori rugby team to take on the New Zealand Barbarians in Whangarei next Wednesday says the squad will need to get the most from its limited preparation time.

The squad gathers in Auckland on Sunday.

Jamie Joseph says that's when the players will hear what's expected of them as Maori All Blacks and go through the protocols, so there could be as few a three practice sessions before the first game.

The Maori All Blacks will also play Ireland and England to mark the centenary of Maori rugby.


Ngai Tahu chair Maori Solomon says iwi leaders want to keep talking to the Crown over a replacement for the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

A national hui today rejected the proposal attorney General Chris Finlayson wants to take to Cabinet, which would replace Crown ownership of the coastal area with a notion of a public domain with no specified ownership.

Mr Solomon says there are some positive aspects in the proposal, but there are still major sticking points, including ownership of minerals and that Maori are being treated differently to the 12,000 people landowners with existing titles to parts of the foreshore.

“We certainly favour the longer conversation because we haven’t come to a resolution. It would fair also to say on the other side the Cornw has a strict timeline they are working to. Their view is it has to be finished and off the table by the end of this year. If not, it’s off the table,” Mr Solomon says.

He says the Iwi Forum wants the foreshore vested equally in the treaty partners on behalf of all New Zealanders.


Maori country fans will be out in force this weekend for the 36th Gold Guitar Awards in Gore.

Up to 700 competitors and 5000 fans ans supporters are expected in the Southland town.

Organising committee member Shona Hewlitt says Maori audiences warm to the storytelling that is an integral part of country music.

She says many Maori entertainers have kick started their careers in the Southland town, including Dennis Marsh and Cameron Clayton.

She is looking forward to hearing 14 year old Jaitlyn Watene, who won the junior section last year and went on to wow the crowd at Australia's Tamworth Music Festival.


Filmmaker Merata Mita was buried today by her iwi and friends, but her loss is being felt around the world.

Several hundred people were at Pukehina marae in the Bay of Plenty to farewell the maker of Patu and Mauri, who died on Monday aged 67.

Producer Tainui Stevens says she helped lay the foundations not just for the current Maori film and television industry but for indigenous filmmakers worldwide.

“The film world is in many ways an international world where the indigenous voce was just starting to be felt and there were rich pickings for someone like Mereta and she spent many years on the film festival circuit as judge, as adjudicator, as teacher, fostering indigenous film talent for tangata whenua worldwide,” Mr Stephens says.

Water case draining away

The chair of Central Plains Water is optimistic a deal can be struck with dairy processor Synlait on use of water from the Rakaia River in the South Island.

Pat Morrison says the irrigation company is having amicable discussions with its rival, and an agreement would be to the advantage of both parties.

Such a deal would end a Supreme Court case about the interpretation of the Resource Management Act.

This has alarmed Lake Waikaremoana claimant Vern Winitana from Ngati Ruapani, who was granted intervenor status allowing him to make submissions to the court.

He says it's a case that needs to be run.

“The priority is to ensure that consenitng authorities get a wild and discretion when they are a approving these consents. It appears big business once again doesn’t want that case to be argued. There’s also treaty considerations as well which aren’t being considered in this case or precedent,” Mr Winitana says.

He says Central Plains Water used similar tactics last year to stop him and the Maori Council having their say in a case involving Ngai Tahu Properties.


A Maori sports psychologist says pakeke and kaumatua need more rather than less exercise as they age.

Dr Ihirangi Heke from Ngati Wairere lecturer in sport, and physical activity and Maori health at Otago University.

He says improved fitness can reduce common injuries among the elderly.

“We actually need to be pushing them harder, so when they get to 50, the medical models recommend they need to be slowing down, they need to be taking walks around the block and starting to ease back. I’ve got an opposite view. I think we need to be doing power training and agility training with older people to prevent falls by keeping them in a condition that prevents all those things happening,” Dr Heke says.


A new collection of short stories puts some familiar characters from Maori mythology into contemporary settings.

Tina Makereti, the author of Once Upon a time in Aotearoa, says the creation myths and the exploits of Maui Tikitiki can cast light on today's issues.

For example, the story of the stillborn Maui being wrapped in his mother’s top knot and put out to sea is presented as a high school student hiding her pregnancy from her peers.

“There's part of the story where she dreams of her son and the dreams very much refer to the mythology of Maui, the things he did, so if you know those stories well you’d probably pick it up I think,” she says.

Tina Makereti, Ngati Maniapoto, Te Atiawa and Tuwharetoa is doing a doctorate in creative writing at Victoria University.

Once Upon a time in Aotearoa is published by Huia.


Waikato Tainui is welcoming an application by one of New Zealand's largest mining companies to prospect for coal in the Huntly area.

L & M Energy wants to evaluate a 2000 square kilometre area north and south of the Waikato township which it believes could contain more than 2 billion tonnes of coal.

Tainui executive chair Tokoriarangi Morgan says since the time of his grandfather, coal mining has been a primary sourse of employment for Maori in the region.

“This additional licence provides some continuity and some confidence of sustainable long term employment opportunity. That has to be good for the community not only in fiscal terms but in employment terms,” Mr Morgan says.

He looks forward to building a strong relationship with the company.


Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell will try to introduce a bill giving communities more control over where gambling machines are installed.

The Gambling Harm Reduction Bill would also remove racing as an authorised charitable purpose and require machine operators to use technology such as player tracking devices and pre commit cards.

Mr Flavell says the Maori Party is sick of the damage pokie machines are doing to whanau and Maori communities.

“If we're do gooders and it saves families form destruction and it saves partnerships from breaking up and if it saves some tamariki from not having kai when they go to school, so be it,” Mr Flavell says.


Ngai Te Rangi, Ngati Pikiao and people from the world of Maori film and television are at Pukehina Marae in the Bay of Plenty this morning to bid their final farewells to Merata Mita.

Friend and colleague Ella Henry says in documentaries and films like Bastion Point Day 507, Patu and Mauri, Ms Mita created images showing both the dark side and the beautiful side of being Maori and being New Zealanders.

Ms Henry says at 67 she died too young, but their is some solace in the fact that she died after delivering her final piece of work to Maori Television.

“She died on the stairs of Maori Television, an organisation she had fought for over 20 years to see realised, and she died surrounded by Maori women who loved her and appreciated her and I hope in some small way that made her passing just a little bit easier for her,” she says.

Merata Mita's funeral service starts at 11 this morning at Pukehina marae.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Maori ignored as Petrobras signed up

Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson is attacking the issue of a licence to Brazilian company to prospect for oil off the North Island East Coast.

Parekura Horomia says energy minister Gerry Brownlee failed to consult Maori before signing over the Raukumara Basin to Petrobras International.

“Nobody knew about it. It wasn’t discussed in Parliament and the Maori Party didn’t say anything. And all of a sudden you’ve got this huge agreement signed up even with this disaster in Mexico, and also without even talking to the iwi leaders, Whanau a Apanui, Tairawhiti, Ngati Porou, Turanganui, those people where it is relevant to,” Mr Horomia says.

He says the decision shows up the government's supposed interest in reforming the Foreshore and Seabed Act as a farce.


A Taupo trust says it's happy to share its experience with other Maori landowners who want to develop their geothermal power resources.

Tauhara North No 2 has just won resource consent to build a geothermal power plant at Nga Tamariki just north of the lake.

Its first such joint venture with Mighty River power opened last month.
Chief executive Aroha Campbell says the trust, which represents almost 800 Ngati Tahu beneficiaries, is aware many other hapu and iwi are keen to get into generation.

She says Ngati Tahu has at least one more geothermal property suitable for power generation, but a third project would be a long way off.


Maori rugby coach Jamie Joseph says the centenary jersey is a fitting tribute to those who have worn the Maori jersey before.

The new Te Ao Hou strip was designed by Dunedin graphic designer David Burke, with input from New Zealand Rugby Football Union Maori cultural advisor Tiki Edwards and kaumatua Whetu Tipiwai and Luke Crawford.

It incorporates silver ferns and mangapore or hammerhead sharks woven into a ball shape.

Mr Joseph says the explanation from Mr Edwards brought the significance of the pattern home by explaining its whakapapa.

The Maori squad will assemble in Auckland on Sunday before their hit out against a Barbarians lineup in Whangarei on Wednesday.


A Maori intervenor fears the plug is about to be pulled on a case which could set the rules for allocation of water and other resources.

Vern Winitana from Ngati Ruapani says he asked to be heard in the action between dairy processor Synlait and irrigation company Central Plains Water because the interests of the public and Maori were being overlooked.

But he says with deadline Friday for Synlait to file its submissions to the Supreme Court, indications are a deal is about to be struck which means water would continue to go to the first party to file a resource consent.

He says that would be a repeat of last year's case when Central Plains settled with Ngai Tahu Properties on the eve o0f a hearing, and it's an abuse of the legal process.

“It just may be that the court system is going to be taken for a ride here by big business and whilst they might be posing as litigant parties, in fact they don’t appear to be treating this very seriously,” Mr Winitana says.

Pat Morrison, the chair of Central Plains Water, says the comapny has been in amicable discussions with Synlait and he is optimistic a deal can be signed soon.


Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson Parekura Horomia says dropping the name Te Irirangi from the Auckland super city's eastern suburbs ward was an act of redneckery.

Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson yesterday used a supplementary order paper to change the name to Howick, claiming he could not find anyone who knew where Te Irirangi might be.

Mr Horomia says desipe its agreement with the Maori Party to be man-enhancing, National puts pandering to it core constituency ahead of concern for Maori sensibilities.

Te Irirangi was the principal chief of the area when Europeans first visited in the early 1800s.


Filmmakers and fans were this afternoon welcomed on to Taihoa Marae in Wairoa to mark the start of the fifth Wairoa Maori Film Festival.

Organiser Leo Koziol says more than 50 films will be screened over Queen's Birthday weekend, including documentaries, music videos, short and feature-length films from Maori and indigenous filmmakers.

They include a film Real Injun about the portrayal of native people in films, including and analysis of Once Were Warriors.

After the festival seven short films will be toured around the country as part of a Matariki Maori Movies at the Marae initiative.

History lesson lacking in schools

The head of Maori and Ethnic studies at Canterbury University is backing his counterpart at Victoria University in attacking the quality of history taught in schools.

Rawiri Taonui says Peter Adds is right to say race relations is the loser if children leave school without ever getting a Maori perspective on history.

He says while understanding of Maori culture and language has improved dramatically over the past couple of decades, the new perspectives on history which have come out of the bicultural Waitangi Tribunal investigation process have not made their way into the syllabus.

“If you say to people what happened at the battle of Orakau where Rewi Maniapoto, two or three hundred of his people were killed trying to escape, what happened at Ngatapa where Maori were stripped naked and thrown from cliffs, what happened at Hanley’s Shed in the Whanganui-Taranaki district where colonial cavalry, some of whom were decorated later, charged down a small group of 8-10 year small boys and hacked them to death with sabers. People just don't know that,” Mr Taonui says.

If the public knew more about the history of te Urewera, its attitude toward's Tuhoe's claim for the national park might be quite different.


Environment Waikato has give a small Taupo Maori land trust the go-ahead to build a second geothermal power plant on tribal land.

The joint venture again brings together Tauhara North No 2 and Mighty River Power, who last month opened the 140 megawatt Nga Awa Purua plant.
The new plant at Rotokawa will tap into the Tamariki field just north of Taupo beside the road to Rotorua.

Trustee Aroha Campbell says the venture will provide jobs and training as well as sustainable income for the trust and its beneficiaries.
“It means more stability in terms of our control of our destiny. While Nga Awa Purua has provided the foundation for that, Nga Tamariki will enhance that,” Ms Campbell says.

If no appeals are lodged, ground for the new project shoudl be broken by the end of the year.


New Zealand Post expects keen interest in next week's issue to mark 100 years of Maori rugby.

The stamps and a special New Zealand Maori Rugby centenary jersey were where blessed at a ceremony at the New Zealand Rugby Union headquarters in Wellington yesterday.

Post's stamp marketing director, James Te Puni from Ngati Porou says the 50 cent stamp has an images of the jersey design, while the 80 cent stamp is of the official centenary logo the rugby union has developed to celebrate 100 years of Maori rugby.


Housing Minister Phil Heatley says the government may be getting the better of partnerships it is forming with iwi to develop housing.

Under the housing innovation scheme, it has agreed to fund four projects in Ahipara, Moerewa, Tauranga and Whakatane.

Mr Heatley says for a spend of just over $6 million, the government will see 44 homes created for Maori.

“The beauty of the funding is that the government puts in $1, and the iwi providers put in $1 and more in fact. In this case iwi are providing land, they’re providing resources and they’re providing labour and a whole lot of design techniques so actually the government is getting a lot more out of this than it normally would and that’s what a partnership is all about,” Mr Heatley says.

Another $5 million was included in the Budget for similar schemes.


A Ngati Pikiao kaumatua says opinions in Rotorua are divided over the jail time given to Hawea Vercoe's killer.

In the High Court at Rotorua yesterday, 21-year-old orchard worker Isaiah Tai was sentenced to two years and ten months in gaol after earlier pleading guilty to the manslaughter of the Environment Bay of Plenty regional councillor and Rotoiti Kura Kaupapa principal outside a Whakatane bar last November.

Toby Curtis says while many in the iwi may be dismayed at the short sentence, it could be seen as giving Tai a chance to turn his life around.

“If the young man were to rehabilitate himself to the point where at some stage in the future he may start to emulate the good intentions and the philosophy that Hawea believed in for the good of our people and he starts to take all that on board, perhaps it could be of value,” Mr Curtis says.


A Kerikeri lawyer says he was torn between his work as chief advisor for Ngapuhi's treaty claims and being offered a judgeship.

Greg Davis starts work in the District Court at Whangarei and Kaikohe later this month.

He says the appointment was an honour for his family, his hapu Ngati Manu from the Bay of Islands and for Ngapuhi - which will get its settlement eventually, whoever is doing the mahi.

“The kaupapa that Ngapuhi has been carrying for a number of years is bigger than any individual how has been involved in the process. It’s been a real privilege to work with Ngapuhi over the years, to see the real development of the iwi and to see a real change in Ngapuhi’s mindset about looking to get on with some of the important work of building a bigger, stronger, better Ngapuhi,” Mr Davis says.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Mereta Mita taken home

Trailblazing Maori filmmaker Merata Mita was this morning taken back to Pukehina Marae in the Bay of Plenty.

Ms Mita, from Ngati Pikiao and Ngai Te Rangi, died suddenly in Auckland on Monday.

Her body lay in state overnight at the meeting house Tumutumuwhenua on Bastion Point, the scene of her first documentary.

Ngati Whatua kaumatua Joe Hawke told the tangi he believes the presence of Ms Mita's camera on the 507th and last day of the Bastion Point occupation protected the people there from police violence.

Claudette Hauiti, the deputy chair of Maori in film and television Nga Aho Whakaari, says Merata Mita challenged filmmaking conventions in a way which opened the door for other Maori and indigenous people to go through.

“She allowed a platform and a medium and a space for others to be able to tell their stories in their way and in their time as well too. Her ability to attach a story to the telling of those stories though, that’s what set her apart,” Ms Hauiti says.

Mereta Mita's funeral is at 11 on Friday morning in Pukehina.


The co-editor of a book on environment management is encouraging Maori to take a lead role in promoting conservation.

In Kaitiaki, Massey University lecturer Rachel Selby collects Maori perspectives on issues like climate change, pollution, pest control, and who sets policy.

She says too often Maori are forced to take action to protest local and regional council decisions because their rangatiratanga is ignored.

“Our role as rangatira and our relationship with the environment has been compromised but we never relinquished that willingly. In a way the government and the regional, local bodies have usurped that position and we have to keep telling them that we take that kaitiakitanga responsibility seriously and that we want to be involved,” Ms Selby says.

Kaitaki is published by Huia.


The first festival of Maori playwrights was kicked off this morning with a theatrical dawn powhiri this morning at Papakura's Hawkins Theatre.

Organiser Graeme Bennett says the month-long festival will give audiences the chance to see the work of the work of established playwrights Albert Belz and Briar Grace Smith alongside newcomers like as Whiti Hereaka.

There's also a 24 hour challenge in which teams of playwrights, directors and actors will write and stage 15-minute plays.

Mr Bennett says a trip to south Auckland over the month will be worth the effort.

“The shows we have programmed for the festival, we know they are of good quality, we’ve been through them, read the scripts, we’ve seen them in some cases. We hope that the general public, in particular Maori, trust us,” he says.


Iwi chairs working with the Government on an alternative to the Foreshore and Seabed Act have summoned all iwi to an urgent hui in Auckland on Friday.

Mark Solomon from Ngai Tahu says the aim is to get a national consensus on a replacement framework for coastal management.

He says the short notice was unavoidable.

“The attorney general is taking a proposal to Cabinet on Monday so we wish to put the final stages out to iwi for their view,” Mr Solomon says.

The hui is at the Ellerslie Event Centre from noon on Friday.


The Maori Party is making a last ditch effort to have the interests of mana whenua groups acknowledged by the Auckland super city.

Te Tai Tonga MP Rahui Katene has put forward a supplementary order paper seeking to insert a Treaty of Waitangi clause into the Local Government (Auckland Law Reform) Bill.

She says it's unacceptable that local iwi have been excluded from a direct interest in a city encompassing such a large area and population.

“So we're definitely trying to find any way we can to get proper decision-making processes in there so that mana whenua are involved all the way through and not just as advisors in the mayor’s officer or in an advisory board or whatever you want to be but there sitting at the table as a representatives of your people,” Mrs Katene says.

National supported inclusion of a treaty reference in its Emissions Trading Scheme reform bill, so she hopes it will do so again when the SOP is debated tonight or tomorrow.


Kahungunu Tourism is seeking Maori All Black photos and memorabilia for an exhibition to coincide with England's game against New Zealand Maori in Napier on June 23.

Chairperson Marie Edwards says the show at the iwi-owned company's new booking office and information centre on Napier's Marine Parade will celebrate 100 years of Maori rugby.

She says they've been inundated with historic items from around the Hawkes Bay, but are now looking for a national flavour.

Marie Edwards wants scans or reproductions rather than actual photos, before the exhibition opens on June 12.

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Whanau sets sights on Raoul Island

A Coromandel family is claiming the right to manage customary fisheries around the Kermadec Islands.

The Ministry of Fisheries has advertised the names of three tangata kaitiaki put up by Te Whanau o Hamiora Mangakahia to administer the Kaimoana Customary Fisheries Regulations, and the area they will cover.

This includes a small stretch of the Coromandel coast taking in Whangapoua and Matarangi beaches, and extending seaward to include the Mercury and Red Mercury Islands, Cuvier Island, and the Kermadec group 800 kilometres to the northeast.

Whanau spokesperson Shena Christian says the whanau has evidence of fishing expeditions to the islands, but she won't say what species were targeted.

“I could tell you but I’m not sure if I should. When it comes to customary, a lot of the customary evidence and knowledge is what we’d like to retain first while we go through this process,” Mrs Christian says.

Te Whanau o Hamiora Mangakahia is registered with the Hauraki Maori Trust Board, and it is consulting with the board on how its tangata kaitiaki nominations fit with the Board's application to manage customary fisheries for the whole peninsula.


A negotiator for Te Atiawa's treaty claims says if settlements are to win public acceptance, New Zealanders need to know more about the events and relationships that shaped their country.

Peter Adds told a seminar at New Plymouth's Puke Ariki Museum to mark the 150th anniversay of the start of the Taranaki Wars that the way history is taught needs to change.

He says whether by accident or design, there are no Maori stories or perspectives in the primary and secondary school history curriculum.

"Certainly there has been major omission in our education system around the teaching of treaty things and the teaching of local histories, and it doesn’t do local communities any good to miss out on that stuff,” Mr Adds says.


A couple of young tennis stars from the north have turned their back on poachers from Auckland.

In just their second year of competing, 12-year-old Hakopa Baker and his 10-year-old brother Matiu Baker cleaned up the opposition at the summer tournaments.

Their mother Sue, who's from Ngapuhi and Ngati Porou, says this attracted the attention of city clubs, but the family decided not to move back from Whangarei.

The family is fund-raising to send the brothers to Brisbane at the end of the month for a junior development tour with professional coach Peter Stenburg.


The union representing early childhood education teachers says changes in the Budget make a mockery of a new government report on the state of Maori pre-school education.

Judith Nowotarski, the vice president of the NZEI, says the Nga Haeata Matauranga report for 2008 and 2009 found good progress towards ensuring every Maori child has the opportunity to participate in high quality education.

That will change once early childhood centres lose the funding which allow them to ensure more than 80 percent of teachers are qualified.

“By cutting the funding bands at the highest levels to services who have 100 percent trained and qualified teachers, is taking that away saying that those children in mainstream services, Maori children in mainstream services are being denied access to high quality and trained teachers,” Ms Nowotarski says.

She says a new scheme to increase participation of Maori and Pacific Island children in early childhood education is being done at the expense of the majority of Maori children who already attend mainstream pre-schools.


Residents of Little Waihi meet on Wednesday night to prepare the fight against their eviction.

Te Arawa Management, the commercial arm of Te Arawa Lakes Trust, has told many of its lessees in the Bay of Plenty coastal township that they have to leave because their dwellings are sub-standard and threatening the health of the neighbouring estuary.

Long time resident Jack Elsworth says the move is premature as a sewerage scheme due to be built next year will remove any threat ... which residents don't accept.

“The flounders are still there and they’re still healthy flounders. There’s still healthy pipis out there and there’s still healthy fish of all sorts. Not one of us has died because we’ve eaten contaminated fish. There’s beautiful fish out there still,” Mr Elsworthy says.

Little Waihi residents are looking forward to put their case to Te Arawa Trust board at a special hui on Sunday week.


The convenor of judges of the Te Reo section of the Library and information Association's children’s book awards says English language readers are now envious about the quality of books being published only in Te Reo.

Alice Heather says in past years most entries for Te Kura Pounamu were translations.

That's not the case today.

“Now we've got people that can’t read Maori being jealous because they’ can’t access the content because it’s only in te reo Maori. Personally I think publishers should be looking at some of that content being available in both languages so that Maori that can’t read Maori and non-Maori that can’t read Maori can have access to that wonderful content about Maori tikanga, Maori practices,” Ms Heather says.

The finalists are Te Kahikatea by Keri Pewhairangi, Darryn Joseph's Te Wahi me te Taiao series, and Hautipua Rererangi by Andrew Burdan, and Katarina Mataira's translation of Hu Hu Koroheke by Kyle Mewburn and Rachel Driscoll.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Adds subtracts history from race debate

The head of Victoria University's School of Maori Studies says the way New Zealand history is taught in schools is hurting race relations.

In a speech at New Plymouth's Puke Ariki Museum marking the 150th anniversary of the start of the Taranaki Wars, Peter Adds said recent changes to the curriculum have not fixed the fundamental problem.

The Te Atiawa ki Taranaki claim negotiator says high school students get a patchy view of the country's history from the Crown perspective, and they are ill equipped to understand why Maori feel the way they do.

“I don't think it places New Zealanders in a good place to assess all the things that are going on in New Zealand today, especially in race relations and a whole lot of treaty things that are happening in this country, and what that produces is dissension and jealousy in some sections of our community about what’s happening with that process,” Mr Adds says.


The convenor of judges in the te reo section of the Library Association's Childrens book awards says the Maori language renaissance made it hard to pare down a shortlist.

Alice Heather says judges have now the difficult task of choosing a winner between a picture book, a novel, a non-fiction entry and a graphic novel or comic.

Te Kura Pounamu finalists include Te Kahikatea by Keri Pewhairangi, Hu Hu Koroheke by Kyle Mewburn and Rachel Driscoll translated by Katarina Mataira, Darryn Joseph's Te Wahi me te Taiao series, and Hautipua Rererangi by Andrew Burdan.

“I think it shows what a wonderful range and a high standard is being entered because all of the judges had to leave out books they had chose for the short list,” she says.

Te Kura Pounamu will be awarded in mid-August


A pair of Tairawhiti artists are off to the state of Washington to explore how waiata and kapa haka can relate to the arts of the peoples of the Pacific Northwest.

Tawera and Henare Tahuri will take up a one-month Te Waka Toi-Sqwigwialtxw residency at Evergreen State University in Olympia in July to work alongside artists and performers from the Salish nation.

Mrs Tahuri says they have always taught, composed and performed as a team in both the performing and visual arts.

“We want to go and share our skills and expertise in waiata and haka and Maori performing arts with the people of that area and hopefully put them together in a performance and also an artwork,” says Mrs Tahuri, who tutors at Toihoukura and is from Nga Ariki Kai Putahi, Whakatohea and Ngati Uenuku.


The lead advisor for Ngapuhi's treaty claims has been snatched by the Crown.

Kerikeri lawyer Greg Davis from Ngati Manu has been appointed a judge of the District Court, to sit in Kaikohe and Whangarei.

Mr Davis says setting up a process for Ngapuhi hapu to decide on the team to negotiate a settlement of historic claims gave him an insight into what the country's largest tribe is seeking.

“The real mahi that Ngapuhi wants to be getting on with is not fighting the Crown but is actually about building a bigger,s trjnger, better Ngapuyhi, to get on with the tasks of rebuilding our marae, educational ensuring that we have the opportunity to build and develop an economic base for Ngapuhi,” he says.

Greg Davis is a brother of Labour list MP Kelvin Davis.


A younger member of the Harawira whanau says Winston Peters is out of line in his attack on the family.

The New Zealand First leader told an audience in Gisborne at the weekend the Harawira family were self-anointed Maori leaders who had been on the state's teat their whole lives.

28 year old Tumamao Harawira, a Maori Television and radio broadcaster, says while it may be Okay for Mr Peters to criticise his uncle, Maori Party MP Hone Harawira, it's not Okay to have a go at anyone carrying the family name.

“You know just making personal comments towards the family, I guess that’s Winston Peters’ way of doing things, but it’s a bit underhand and below the belt,” Mr Harawira says.

He says using Mr Peters’ yardstick, every police officer, teacher and government employee could be considered to be supping at the state teat.


Parihaka woman Tiahuia Abraham has become the international vice president of a longstanding organisation that supports women and children around the Asia Pacific region.

Mrs Abraham, who is from Ngati Moeahu and Ngati Haupoto, is already the New Zealand president of the Pan Pacific and South East Asia Women's Association, which has non-government organisation consultative status with the United Nations.

She also heads the Aotea branch of the Maori Women's Welfare League, and says it's important wahine Maori look at the bigger picture on issues like health, education and peace.

She says many Maori now have Pasifika and Asian whanau.

One of her goals is to set up a Pan Pacific Women's Association chapter in Taranaki.

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Merata Mita gave vital support to storytellers

The world of Maori film and television is reeling from the death of director, writer and producer Merata Mita.

Ms Mita from Ngati Pikiao and Ngai Te Rangi, who made ground breaking documentaries on the Bastion Point occupation and the protests against the 1981 Springbok rugby tour, collapsed on the steps of Maori Television's Auckland headquarters yesterday and could not be revived.

Tainui Stephens, who worked with Ms Mita on the television news programme Koha, says after leaving New Zealand in the mid 1980s she supported and mentored other indigenous filmmakers around the world.

In the past couple of years she helped a new generation of filmmakers in her role as Pouwhakaruruhau or mentor for the Maori film development board Te Paepae Ataata.

“Whether it was a Maori language short film in Tuhoe country, of Taika’s feature Boy or up and coming scriptwriters who didn’t know if they had it or not, it was very comforting to know that Merata had returned home with the much that she knew to offer for the benefit of film and television Maori storytellers,” Mr Stephens says.


The new head of the Tertiary Education Commission has expressed regret for overseeing the demise of Maori trade training.

As former head of the Iwi Transition Agency and Te Puni Kokiri, Sir Wira Gardiner had to disestablish the schemes run by the former Department of Maori Affairs that produced thousands of Maori carpenters, electricians, plumbers and other trades people.

He says on reflection the schemes should have been stepped up as a shortcut to encouraging Maori achievement.

“You'd be foolish if you didn’t say there weren’t better things to do there weren’t better ways to do it and there weren’t more effective ways to get Maori from where they are, to lift them qualitatively on to that and I think trade training was a proven success,” Sir Wira says.

He will oversee the $3 billion annual the government spends each year on tertiary education.


A long serving member of the New Zealand Maori Council is backing calls for the body to be reorganised.

Maanu Paul says review of the select committee review of the 1962 Maori Community Development Act is throwing up some good ideas about how the 50-year-old organisation can become more relevant for Maori today.

He says in a new form the council could be the most effective ways to get resources from government to Maori communities, rather than through the current Ministry for Maori Development.

“Marae based, hapu-based operations need to become the focus of the New Zealand Maori Council. Such a focus should be enriched by the addition of the powers held by the TPK and of course the funding held by TPK,” Mr Paul says.


The trust which owns the land at the Bay of Plenty settlement of Little Waihi says evicting residents is a last resort.

Toby Curtis of Te Arawa Management, the commercial arm of Te Arawa Lakes Trust, says many of the buildings in the settlement are un-permitted and sub-standard, and their existence is a threat to the neighbouring estuary.

He says while the eviction notices issued to 29 lessees do seem harsh, the trust is prepared to be flexible.

“We will be sitting down as they have in the past with each family that is affected to see if we can negotiate our way through and see how we can come to an arrangement where the family isn’t going to be penalised or where the family might be disadvantaged,” Mr Curtis says.

It would be a major exercise to upgrade many of the homes to acceptable building standards.


Whanau Ora Minister Tariana Turia says funding should start flowing to the first providers by the end of July.

Expressions of interest will be called for after the the completion of hui explaining the new model for delivery of health and social services.

Mrs Turia says there has been massive attendance at the hui from Maori providers who want given the chance to do things in a different way.

“They're excited because it means they’ll have integrated contracts, they’ll be able to work far more comprehensively that they’ve ever been allowed to do and they think that will make their work far more interesting but more importantly they will be able to see the real change that they have been seeking,” Mrs Turia says.

She's encouraging providers to join together to pursue the Whanau Ora contracts.


The new head of the Tertiary Education Commission is promising to make whatever changes he finds necessary to the way the sector spends $3 billion a year.

Sir Wira Gardiner past brushes with the education sector have included a long involvement with Ngati Awa's Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi, a brief spell as Crown observer on Te Wananga o Aotearoa and being brought in last year as commissioner for Hamilton's troubled Fraser High School.

The former soldier says the Government needs to know it is getting the best band for its buck.

“I suppose within about three months I will have a pretty good idea of where I think we should go. In this case it’s a question of talking to the minister, talking to the commission, and either supporting the direction that’s going or if there needs to be a change, I’m not unhappy to make those suggestions,” Sir Wira says.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Filmmaker Merata Mita dies suddenly

Pioneer filmmaker Merata Mita has died after collapsing on the steps of Maori Television's Auckland headquarters, where she had been attending a meeting about an upcoming special.

Ms Mita, from Ngati Pikiao and Ngaiterangi, started using film and video while teaching at Kawerau College in the 1970s.

In 1978 she took a crew to Orakei just in time to film police removing occupiers from the site of a planned residential development on land taken from Ngati Whatua.

Her documentary Bastion Point: Day 507 was followed by others including Patu on the 1981 Springbok Tour, the first feature length documentary by a New Zealand woman.

Claudette Hauiti, the deputy chair of Maori industry group Nga Ohu Whakaari, says she will forever be associated with a group of Maori filmmakers who broke down barriers.

“Merata Mita along with a lot of others – Selwyn Muru, Don Selwyn - crafted images of Maori that became iconic images of Maori for New Zealand. Merata detailed the history of this country through the eyes and lens of Maori,” Ms Hauiti says.

A generation of Maori broke into the world of film and television by working on Merata Mita's productions.

No reira Merata... e kore koe e wareware i a matou o te ao papaaho... takoto mai, takoto mai, moe mai raa.


The new chair of the Tertiary Education Commission says his work in Maori organisations has prepared him to oversee the annual $3 billion spend on the sector.

Sir Wira Gardiner, a former first executive of Te Puni Kokori, adds the post to a raft of jobs which have come his way since the election of a National Government, including membership of the boards of Te Papa Tongarewa and Maori Television and as Crown facilitator for negotiations with Tuhoe.

He says the three year appointment is logical.

“I've always had an interest in tertiary education. I’ve been with the wanangas for over 20 years and I was with the founding fathers of Awanuiarangi. I’ve got a passion for tertiary education and I think that’s a logical outcome to the step to this job which will be a big challenge,” Sir Wira says.


A Maori health researcher says restrictions on tobacco advertising haven't stopped the tobacco companies targeting Maori women.

Marketing to women is the theme of today's World Smokefree Day.

Heather Gifford from Whakauae Research says a new study reported in the latest New Zealand Medical Journal lifts the lid on how packaging, price and the use of terms like mild and light lure so many Maori women to take up smoking.

“People think they're sort of sexy, basically. It’s the packaging design, they use colours that appeal to women, they use images that appeal to women. There’s a really high use of the Internet by Maori, particularly Maori youth, and there’s lots of marketing tobacco through the Internet,” Dr Gifford says.


The country's top Maori dairy farmer says its success was a result of finding new ways to fund its growth.

Waipapa 9 Trust won the Ahuwhenua Trophy for the 3000-cow operation it runs near Taupo on behalf of 1200 Raukawa and Ngati Tuwharetoa shareholders.

Chairperson Dawson Haa says when the banks refused to lend on multiply-owned Maori land, the trust used stock as collateral to buy five neighbouring farms which were each considered too small to be economical.

That gave it land under general title it could borrow against for development, as well as returning land into tribal ownership.

“We certainly do look at retaining the land that was once ours and the only way to do it without anyone moaning and groaning and carrying on about Maoris always getting a handout, the best thing is to compete in the open market and buy it at the value that has been put on it by the owners,” Mr Haa says.


Associate health minister Tariana Turia says a feared backlash against the rise of the tax on tobacco hasn't happened.

It's World Smokefree Day, and the Maori Party co-leader was in Hawera launching Maori health provider Ngati Ruanui Tahua's sponsored challenge to giving 22 participants 40 days to give up smoking.

She says smokers understand the reason for the price of their daily smoke rising.

“Most people have been really happy to think that we care enough about them to want them to give up smoking. I mean they’re terribly addicted and it’s terribly difficult to give up but they know they also need a lot of tools that are going to help them. Price is one of them,” Mrs Turia says.

She hopes the select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry will push for the removal of cigarette advertising from retail outlets, despite a big push from the industry against the move.


One of the leaders of New Zealand's contingent to the world Waka Ama Championships says it's possible Aotearoa could one day topple Tahiti as the sport's leader.

French Polynesia ended the regatta in Noumea at the weekend with 28 gold, 24 silver and 10 bronze medals, compared with New Zealand's 11 golds, 10 silvers and 21 bronzes.

Australia took home 19 medals and Hawaii 12.

Hoturoa Kerr from Nga Kaihoe o Aotearoa Trust says New Zealand has the largest number of paddlers, including more than 200 Maori, but the Tahitians' experience counted in the big races.

“It's probably going to be a 10 to 15 year plan to actually get to the point where we can be consistently taking out some of the more premier races at an event like, this, but we’re getting close. It’s just a bit of work to try to make it happen,” Mr Kerr says.

Waiapapa 9 wins Ahuwhenua

A fast-growing Taupo dairy business has won the 2010 Ahuwhenua Trophy for Maori Excellence in Farming.

Waipapa 9 Trust runs 3000 cows on three blocks, as well as forestry, sheep and beef operations, on behalf of 1200 Raukawa and Ngati Tuwharetoa shareholders.

Chief judge Doug Leeder says the three finalists were of an exceptionally high standard, and the final choice came down to the quality of governance and vision, and whether they were likely to achieve to their strategy.

Mr Leeder says the Ahuwhenua trophy is providing valuable learning and mentoring opportunities for Maori farmers.


The five marae from the Huntly area have signed an agreement with Huntly Power Station operator Genesis Energy which could lead to education and training opportunities for rangatahi.

The generator has had an at times strained relationship with tangata whenua since the station was built in 1973.

Waahi kaumatua Taitimu Maipi says the memorandum of understanding points the way forward.

Taitimu Maipi says Genesis will help the marae on developments and on Tainui’s efforts to clean up the Waikato River.


Iwi, commercial eelers and scientists are united in seeing eel farming as the way forward for the industry.

John Hohapata-Oke from Ngati Awa Fisheries, who chaired a national hui on the fishery in Whakatane last week, says both the native long and short fin eel populations are under threat because of over-fishing and changes to habitat.

He says there is good potential to develop eel farms and use any excess to repopulate the wild stock.

The hui decided form a national association to tackle industry issues.


The chief judge for the Ahuwhenua Trophy for Maori Excellence in Farming competition says all Maori farmers can benefit from taking part.

Waipapa 9 Trust won this year’s trophy for the way it has built up a 3000-cow herd alongside sheep, beef and forestry operations on a number of blocks near Taupo.

Doug Leeder says the benefits come not just from the $40,000 in prizes but the advice and mentoring that comes during the judging process.

He says the competition highlights Maori success.

Next year the Ahuwhenua trophy will be given for sheep and beef operations


A Rotorua lawyer says it makes more sense to use Maori rather than American values in reforming the criminal justice system.

Annette Sykes from Ngati Pikiao says the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill passed into law last week is based on failed policies from the United States.

She says the idea of three strikes, that people should be given extremely long sentences after their third conviction for a violent or sexual crime, comes from the American game of baseball.

“You know we had out own games based on quite different values. If you look a kiorahi, the key thing is to protect the most vulnerable on the field, which is really the Maori approach to those who offend of who confront problems in their lives by causing harm to themselves and others,” Ms Sykes says.

She says the three strikes law is likely to increase the percentage of Maori in the prison population.


As winter tightens its grip on the South Island, Te Waipounamu is starting Matariki earlier than Te Ika a Maui.

Gina Huakau, the Dunedin City Council's Puaka Matariki coordinator, says because Matariki can't be seen as far south as Dunedin, Puaka is the star cluster used to mark the Maori new year.

She says a range of events is planned for children and families, starting with stargazing at Beverly Begg Observatory tonight.

Two shipping containers have been parked in Dunedin's Octagon and turned into a gallery and theatre for short films and documentaries.