Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, July 13, 2007

Unions take indigenous path

The Council of Trade Unions' vice president Maori says the labour movement is a way for Maori to build their indigenous networks.

Sharon Clair has just been re-elected for a second four-year term.

She expects the term to involve more international activity, helping get indigenous perspectives heard in the wider movement.

“Working with the United Nations, we’ve just had one of our kaumatua come back from the Indigenous People’s Permanent Forum, I’m off to the International Labour Organisation again next week, we’ll continue to build our indigenous networks with other trade unionists around the globe,” Ms Clair says.


Ngai Tahu Tourism is feeling confident about the future.

Chief executive John Thorburn says the results of a long term building process are starting to show.

The company has just bought Nelson sea kayak and water taxi business Southern Exposure, which operates around Abel Tasman National Park.

Mr Thorburn says it's been a good year.

“We're enjoying the strong visitor numbers coming through from international visitors and we’ve made some good acquisitions that have really strengthened our portfolio so we’re feeling pretty confident about the future,” Mr Thorburn says.

Ngai Tahu Tourism now has so many brands in the market, it is giving some thought to merging and rebranding some of its operations.


Feilding-based Ngati Kauwhata wants to help its people prepare for a bird flu pandemic.

Spokesperson Dennis Emery says the topic comes up regularly at marae hui.

The iwi is holding an information morning at Aoirangi Marae later this month, with input from MidCentral Health's emergency planning team.

Mr Emery says natural disaster is still fresh in Ngati Kauwhata minds.

“Our people kept thinking back to the major flooding that we had in 2004 and so we have empathy for what’s going on in the north now because it’s exactly what happened to us in February 2004, so we’ve been remembering and it actually alerted us to the fact that we need to be prepared,” Mr Emery says.

A big turn out is expected.


A second volume of interviews with contemporary Maori artists is being launched at Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington about now.

Taiawhio II includes 17 artists including Sandy Adsett, Shane Cotton, Brett Graham and Rachael Rakena, whose collaborative work Aniwaniwa is currently on show at the Venice Biennale, and the Atamira Dance Company.

Editor Huhana Smith, the museum's senior curator matauranga Maori, says many of the artists have tacked issues like the foreshore and seabed debate and treaty claims.

They also look at relationships to tradition and whakapapa.

“They do refer back to some of the painted house traditions or they’re referring to the exceptional skills of master carvers like Rahururu Kupo and they use that visual vocabulary to enrich their own and to enrich their own ideas, so there’s a lot of this transference of information which you could say is a whakapapa interrelationship. That’s what makes this book so interesting. I’ve read it all. I love it,” Ms Smith says.

The original Taiawhio is now in its third reprint.


A 15 minute film about a war party carrying a canoe and a prisoner overland has won the Friends of the Civic prize for the best short at this year's Auckland Film Festival.

It's the second year in a row that director Tearepa Kahi from Ngati Paoa has won the prize.

Taua took a year to make, including six days filming in the Waitakere Ranges, and involved almost 300 people.

The 125 thousand dollar budget came from the Film Commission, National Geographic, and the Ngati Paoa Whanau Trust.

Mr Kahi says it's an idea he has been carrying for a long time.

“I've always grown up with Kotuitituarua at our marae, our waka taua, and the idea of portaging, of something meant for water traveling across land, always fascinated me. And then inspiration came by way of the idea of a good Samaritan in the midst of war, what happens when a young boy is forced to help a stranger in the midst of danger,” he says.

Mr Kahi says with two short under his belt, he's keen to step up to a feature film.

Taua will screen as part of a shorts programme at Sky City Theatre at five tomorrow and three thirty on Tuesday afternoon.


Matakana Island landowners are meeting tomorrow to discuss their response to the sale of a big chunk of the island in Tauranga Harbour.

An investment company has bought the shares in Te Kotukutuku Corporation, which has a 2000 hectare forest on the eastern side.

The vendor, TKC Holdings, had been trying for several years to develop up to 200 sections on a canal development, but opposition from locals has stymied plans.

Taeawa Kuka, who is organising the hui at Opureora Marae, says the community is trying to develop a consensus position on the development.


The editor of a new book on contemporary Maori artists says their involvement with social and political issues gives their work an extra edge.

Taiawhio II is being launched at Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington tonight.

Huhana Smith says the 17 artists interviewed have a wide variety of backgrounds and working methods, but they all show a willingness to engage with the issues of their society.

In the five years the book has taken to put together, many of the artists have done work on themes like the foreshore and seabed debate and treaty claims.

“There's kind of a socio-political edge to the book, which is fantastic because these are artists talking about the nature of their practice, but what they’re also involved in as far as determining context from their own turangawaewae or the relationship they may have with tribal areas and that kind of thing. That’s a really nice thread coming through, there’s this nice kind of edginess,” Ms Smith says.


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