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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Tainui women get moko kauae

A group of Tainui women are preparing to get the ancient moko kauae or chin tattoo.

70-year-old Te Aroha Tairakina says the moko will be done at Turangawaewae Marae on Friday and Saturday by ta moko experts Haki Williams and Mark Kopua from Tolaga Bay.

The moko will serve as a living tribute to the late Maori queen, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, and will mark the ascendence of King Tuheitia.

Mrs Tairakina has been thinking about getting a moko since Dame Te Ata suggested it more than 10 years ago.

“People were beginning to get themselves done, and she asked the question, why didn’t we women of Tainui do it? And so it’s taken 10 years for it to happen, and I don’t know, I suppose it wasn’t the right time, but we feel with her passing, it was a good idea just to honour her memory,” she says.

Mrs Tairakina says she's relieved the moko will be put on with modern tattooing needles, rather than the ancient chisel method.


A former candidate for the Auckland mayoralty says it's imperative more Maori stand and vote in local body elections.

Pauline Kingi, who is now the Auckland regional manager of Te Puni Kokiri, says the votes she pulled showed Maori will support a Maori candidate, if they can find one on the ballot.

She has no regrets about her unsuccessful campaign.

“I never regretted putting my hand up and having a go, because I think it’s vital. You can’t just stand back as a critic on the sideline and say ‘I’m not going to participate, but whatever you do, I’m not going to like.’ There’s something inherently negative about that approach. But the reason our people are not supporting is we haven’t got enough role models showing us that it's achievable,” Ms Kingi says.

She says under the current system, elections are the only way to ensure Maori have a voice at the table when decisions are made.


Green Party MP Sue Kedgley says setting up a trans-Tasman body to oversee natural remedies is a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi.

She says the Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill has minimal cross-party support, and the Government may struggle to get it passed into law.

Ms Kedgley says the Australia New Zealand Therapeutic Products Authority will be based across the Tasman and it is unlikely to take the treaty into account.

“Frankly what is being proposed is a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi and your right to use and if you wish commercialise any of your traditional herbs which you have used for centuries,” Ms Kedgley says.


A Tainui delegation including King Tuheitia is in Canada this week exploring ways to build cultural and economic exchanges with indigenous communities there.

Pauline Kingi, the Auckland manager of the Ministry for Maori development, says the trip is a sign of the increasing economic maturity of Maori.

Ms Kingi says while there was talk about such indigenous networks 20 or so years ago, they are more realistic now.

“When I was at Harvard I looked at the potential of us doing business with the United States, the Continent, with Chinese people through the Chinese economic zones but it’s taken 25 years for that to happen, and it’s happening now. They say there’s a time that comes and I think our time is here now,” Ms Kingi says.


A union-backed hui in Rotorua is looking for ways to improve the skills of Maori working in the forestry industry.

Syd Keepa from the Council of Trade Unions runanga says four in five workers in the sector are Maori.

Mr Keepa says the unions are concerned about safety, and they identified lack of training is often a cause of workplace accidents.

“We found out after doing a bit of a scope of the industry that it was due to training, and a lot of our people are shy in terms of fronting up to those Pakeha institutions, so what we developed was to try and learn them in a Maori concept rather than a Pakeha concept,” Mr Keepa says.

He says 90 delegates are attending the three day hui, run by the Engineering Printers and Manufacturing Union, and the Northern Distribution Union, and they'll be encouraged to take what they learn back to the worksite.


A doctoral researcher looking at coastal management says Maori need to be given more resources to participate in managing the resource.

Sarah Hemmingsen is finishing her PhD at the Australian National University in Canberra, after working with Ngai Tahu runanga while completing a Masters degree at Canterbury University.

She says while some of the processes described in the Resource Management Act, district plans and the Fisheries Act may look good on paper, the voluntary structure of most iwi organisations means it is a struggle for Maori to have effective input.

Ms Hemmingsen says the whole community is missing out as a result.

“There are a lot of people in these communities that have knowledge that is astounding. They can sit there and just look at the weather and tell you things about what will be happening, and if you go down and look, that is exactly what will be happening. So there needs to be recognition of the knowledge handed down, greater involvement, communication,” she says.


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