Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Marae provides despite extreme weather

Despite being inundated with water, a Kaeo marae remains the centre of its community.

Hayley Kareko from Mangaiti Marae says Tuesday's flood in the Northland township left the wharehui and other buildings covered in 10 centimetres of mud and sludge.

But because power has been out in the valley, the kitchen has to stay opening.

“They have just a lot of water damage in the wharekai, the ceilings are leaking, and that’s our kai place at the moment because we’ve got gas cooking over there so that’s what we’re using to help supply and cook for the families around the marae,” Ms Kareko says.

Mangaiti Marae will need outside help to clean up.

Another Whangaroa marae, Karangahape near Towai, was also flooded out.

Its chairperson Roger King says the hapu is trying to raise funds to lift the buildings up, or rebuild them on higher ground.


A leading practitioner of Maori medicine is unimpressed with a government proposal for a voluntary register of traditional knowledge.

The idea is in a working paper on ways to manage pharmaceutical companies bio-prospecting, or looking for plants which could provide the basis for new drugs.

Rose Pere from Ngai Tuhoe and Ngati Kahungunu says rather than make things easier for the drug companies, the Government should be protecting Maori matauranga or knowledge from exploitation.

“Rongoa is here for the whole of humanity. It shouldn’t be privatised or taken under control by any government, and what they’re trying to do is take control of Maori rongoa, traditional healing, That’s where I stand up and speak straight out against the government,” Ms Pere says.

She says the Government hatched its bio-prospecting plan without properly consulting Maori.


The Water Safety Council says more accurate information is helping identify why a disproportionate number of Maori die by drowning.

Maori strategy manager Mark Haimona says the council's drowning database now identifies enthnicity.

He says that has revealed a higher proportion of Maori than Pakeha die during recreational situations, often during the gathering of kaimoana.

“A lot of the drawings that occurred were about diving, they were about diving in and around the water about zero to one kilometer off, and it’s by researching that that drown base and analysing statistics that we can kind of make better headway into where Maori drown, what they’re doing when they drown, the age group they are, the areas that they're in,” Mr Haimona says.

The Water Safety Council will use the information to develop targeted information campaigns.


Ngai Tahu has added another waka to its business.

Subsidiary Kaitereteri Kayaks has bought one of its competitors, Southern Exposure.

Both firms run trips along the coast of Nelson's Abel Tasman National Park.

John Thorburn from Ngai Tahu Tourism says Southern Exposure also has a water taxi business which complements another Ngai Tahu business, Abel Tasman Aqua Taxis.

He says the businesses should be merged and rebranded by summer.


A government plan for a register of traditional Maori knowledge has got the thumbs down from a leading expert in matuaranga Maori.

The idea is contained in a discussion paper on regulating bio-prospecting, which the government had developed in advance of the Waitangi Tribunal releasing its long awaited report on the Wai 262 indigenous fauna and flora claim.

It says such a register could help officials dealing with pharmaceutical companies looking for new plant-based drugs.

But Rose Pere says practitioners of rongoa Maori or traditional healing are unlikely to want to put their knowledge in such a database.

“And I'm sick and tired of government agencies tapping into our knowledge, tapping into our resources, simply because they use it to suit themselves,” Dr Pere says.


Northland rangatahi are starting to get behind a garden challenge.

Reuben Porter, who manages organic gardens for Maori trust in Ahipara, launched the challenge after hearing kaumatua lamenting the lack of opportunity for their young people.

He says many rangatahi lack direction, and, if they don't leave the district, may join gangs or get caught up in drugs and alcohol.

Mr Porter says horticulture can be lucrative, and rangatahi can learn valuable skills.

“This is just another avenue that we can utilise, pick our young people up, and give them a sense of price, learn again these skills not only of our tupuna mai rano but also the modern technology today so that we can utilise our resources,” Mr Porter says.

The garden challenge will be held over summer - the region's best growing season - using currently unworked Maori land.


A Mapua children's author says her use of Maori words and concepts gives her books a uniquely New Zealand flavour.

Melanie Drewery from Ngati Mahanga has taken an interest in some of the lesser known Maori monsters.

Her 14th book for tamariki, the Grumble Mumble Rumbler, is a pop up book featuring a cast of fearsome beasts.

They include the taniwha... the maero.. wild hairy people with long bony fingers and sharp tails...the taipo, a small goblin able to change shape ... and the nagarara, a legendary giant with bat wings, much like a dragon.

Ms Drewery started writing when her own children were at playcentre.

“I'm not a fluent speaker and I really wanted to introduce my children into their culture in an easy way, and doing I this way it’s not threatening, that people who in the past would have picked up a book and say ‘ No I’m not reading that stuff, it’s got Maori in it, would read it and learn by accident,” Ms Drewery says.


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