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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Te Atiawa leader joins ancestors

Te Atiawa today buries one of its outstanding leaders.

Ted Tamati has been lying at Muru Raupatu Marae in Bell Block since he died on Tuesday, as iwi from around Mount Taranaki and further afield have paid their respects.

Mr Tamati, who was 81, was until recent years the chair of the Taranaki Maori Trust Board and the Paraninihi ki Waitotara Incorporation.

Former Governor General Sir Paul Reeves says his cousin cast a long shadow.

“He was a quiet person but he was always present to give leadership and support to people and we will absolutely miss him. His contribution to muru raupatu, to the Taranaki Trust Board and the PKW trust, has been invaluable over the years, He has been a great person and a great leader,” Sir Paul says.

Mr Tamati's death will also cast a shadow over the annual commemoration for Sir Maui Pomare, which is being held at Owae Marae in Waitara today and tomorrow.

A large group from Tainui is due there this afternoon to bring the kawe mate or memory of the late Maori queen, and other tribes will also remember their dead and celebrate the legacy of the ground-breaking Maori MP.


National says its new Trade training policy will create opportunities for young Maori.

Leader John Key says too many Maori are leaving school without any qualifications or skills.

He says a focus on academic subjects has left many students behind.
National is proposing new funding structures to get qualified tradespeople into schools as teachers.

“The idea here is to day at the moment technology and trades training has largely been taken out of the schools, we have a programme operating called Gateway which is a little kind of taster about whether you might want to be a mechanic or a plumber or a hairdresser. This would be a significant ramping up and a lifting of the esteem under which trade training is held,” Mr Key says.


Pioneering Maori contributions to heritage protection will be noted at World Heritage Council's meeting in Christchurch this weekend.

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says Maori should feel pride that one of their own, Tuwharetoa leader Tumu Te Heuheu, is chairing the council.

Mr te Heuheu's ancestor gifted the central North Island mountains to the people of New Zealand, creating one of the first national parks in the world.

Mr Horomia says that's worth celebrating.

“Be one of the biggest international conferences held here for some time, New Zealand is already recognized as a leader in the sense of heritage sites and Tumu needs to be recognised on behalf of the effort put in by Maori people,” Mr Horomia says.


Some of the country's top legal and Maori brains are gathered at the Tainui Endowed College at Hopuhopu for the next three days to discuss how Maori customary law is part of the law of the land.

Alex Frame from Waikato Law School's Te Matahauariki Institute says a highlight of the Tuhonoho Custom and State symposium will be the launch of a compendium of references to Maori custom in case law, traditional Maori accounts and historical records.

He says customary law around the world is considered part of the common law, which is determined from time to time by the courts.

Dr Frame says the common law of New Zealand is not the same as the common law of Britain.

“New Zealand common law takes account of the circumstances and traditions of Aotearoa New Zealand, and so our common law is likely to be heavily influenced by Maori customary law. It doesn’t require any law change to bring that about. That is already the law,” he says.

Dr Frame says the reference work, Te Matapunenga, should help courts decide future cases involving Maori custom.


Historic relationships between Tainui and Taranaki will be further strengthened over the next two days.

As part of the annual commemorations for pathfinding Maori MP Sir Maui Pomare, a large party from Tainui is due at Owae Marae in Waitara today to bring the kawe mate or memory of the late Maori queen, Te Atairangikaahu.

Te Atiawa spokesperson Ruakere Hond says the commemoration started in 1936 after Pomare died of tuberculosis in California, and it has always been a significant date on the Maori calendar.

He says it's a time when Taranaki can return hospitality to other iwi.

“By asking the Kingitanga to recognize this day of Maui Pomare and to bring Te Ata on gives the ability to Taranaki as a whole to acknowledge Te Atairangikaahu and the work and the connection that we feel we have with Tainui right from the time of Tawhiao and Potatau te Wherowhero, that connection has been maintained between Taranaki and Tainui,” Mr Hond says.


Bay of Plenty schoolchildren are being encouraged to come up with new dances.

The Fresh Moves programme teaches children the basics of contemporary dance, so they can use body movements to tell stories.

Organiser Elzira Vermeulen says ten schools are taking part, and they'll hold a dance-off at the Baycorp Stadium next Monday.

She says the children are asked to draw on their own lives and experiences.

“They use that and interpret it and it becomes a creative sort of dance. So it will have contemporary influence, might have jazz, have ballet, might have a lot of gymnastic influence just depending on how each child’s individual background is being used,” Ms Vermeulen says.

A highlight is likely to be Tauranga's Gate Pa School, which plans to recreate the 1864 battle of 1864 between Ngai Te Rangi and British soldiers.


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