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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Apiata VC celebrated

Ngapuhi wants one of its heroes to come home.

A large contingent from the north traveled to the eastern Bay of Plenty this weekend to join 4000 other at Te Kaha celebrating the award of the Victoria Cross to SAS corporal Willie Apiata.

They asked Te Whanua A Apanui to bring Corporal Apiata to Tai Tokerau so his whanau there can share in his honour.

The ope was led by some of those whanau, including 92-year old Tamati Paraone, one of the oldest surviving veterans of the 28 Maori Battalion.

Mr Paraone’s son, MP Pita Paraone, says the weekend has special significance for his father.

“He’s extremely proud. Not so much because he is a veteran of the 28 Maori Battalion but more so because his grandmother and Wiremu’s great grandmother are two sisters so he’s quite proud for Ngati Hine and indeed Ngapuhi nui tonu,” Mr Paraone says.


Maori organic growers are rolling out a new indigenous standard.

Hinga Marsh from Organics Aotaroa New Zealand says the Hua Maori certificate has been developed by umbrella group Te Waka Kai Ora.

He says the standard, which will be unveiled at this week's national Organic Sector Conference at Lincoln University, puts international best practice in an indigenous framework that recognises Maori values and approaches to food production.

Mr Marsh says it will help Maori preserve the knowledge held by a diminishing number of elders.

“Because we're not practicing particularly organics in horticulture, gardening and so forth, we’re very rapidly losing those knowledge bases that are particularly Maori,” he says.


Environment Bay of Plenty is trying to strengthen links with iwi.

The regional council is considering setting up forums in Rotorua, Tauranga and Whakatane to give iwi and hapu a chance to voice their concerns on resource management issues.

Maori committee chair Tai Eru says Maori faced difficulty in getting their views across through existing channels.

He says the forums could be a model for other councils.

“This is a milestone in regional council affairs but I guesas lot of other regional councils in New Zealand will actually want to come and visit the Bay of Plenty regional council and see how it actually works,” Mr Eru says.

Environment Bay of Plenty is already setting a good example hy having three Maori constituency seats.


Despite high employment levels across the country, Maori women still struggle to get well paid skilled employment.

Sharon Clair, the Maori vice president of the Council of Trade Unions, says the rosy figures hide some big disparities.

While the latest Household Labour Force Participation survey showed the highest number of people in work since the survey began, 7 percent of Maori were still jobless.

Ms Clair says many Maori women do several jobs to put food on the table.

Quite often those jobs will be work in unskilled and semi-skilled work areas – service industry – and they can be jobs that can be very physically demanding, long hours and minimum wage pay,” she says.


A Kahungunu hapu is gearing up for a new fight to protect the skyline on the Napier Taupo Road.

Lines company Unison is seeking consent from Hastings District Council to build a 34 turbine windfarm on Te Wake, near the Titiokura Saddle.

Bevan Taylor from the Tangoio Marae-based Mangahaururu Tangitu Society says Unison has made only minor changes to its earlier plan for a 37-turbine wind farm.

That plan was rejected by the Environment Court because it was too close to a 75 turbine project being built by Hawke's Bay Windfarms.

Mr Taylor says Unison is abusing its financial position.

“It takes resources to keep that up. We go and prove our case before the Environment Court and then you get people with huge amounts of resources just continue to denigrate our wahi tapu and take no notice of the values of this wahi tapu with respect to Maori,” Mr Taylor says.


Corporal Willie Apiata has brought tremendous pride to the people of Te Whanau A Apanui.

That's the view of tribal member Tuariki John Delamere, who was in Te Kaha for the weekend celebration honouring New Zealand’s newest wearer of the Victoria Cross.

The former MP says Corporal Apiata’s success will inspire rangatahi living in the area to seek a career in the armed forces.

“You can be a little Maori boy growing up in Te Kaha in the middle of nowhere and go on to achieve the highest honour that it is possible to give someone and that young boy came out of Te Kaha and did himself, his tribe and his country proud in a bland far far away and we get to reflect in that glory that Willy has brought on all of us,” Mr Delamere says.

He says Mr Apaiata is well known in the district for his humility and


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey ..absolutely proud of Willy Apiata. But I must say winning a award for being on someone elses land and there uninvited in the name of justice does leave a bad taste....Who,s really defending thier land. What has the Afgahnistan people done to NZ to deserve us on thier land...Worth thinking about. What would we think if the Afghani soliders were here fighting uninvited and these soliders got medals for fighting us defending our land..

Food for thought..


9:24 pm  

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