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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Funeral stoush not final rift

An expert on tikanga says those involved in a fight over the burial of a Ngati Upokorehe man should not let it harm their long term relationship.

James Takamore's body was buried near Opotiki a week ago after relatives drove his body north.

His partner of 20 years, Denise Clark, wants to rebury him in Christchurch.

Huirangi Waikerepuru says such disputes are more common as people spend much of their lives out of their tribal areas.

The tradition is for the tupapaku to be returned to the iwi for burial.

He says there is always room for strong argument about where that burial should be, but it should be done in a way which enhances the mana of the deceased and strengthens relationships between the families.

“We talk about the tupapaku being a taonga, but the real taonga is the securing of the interrelationship between both families, the children, the mokopuna at both ends, so that there’s no grievance and that the extension of that family grouping from the rural to the urban is strengthened,” Mr Waikerepuru says.


Meanwhile, Maori who want to have a say about what happens after they die need to make a will.

A new Wills Act was passed last week, making it easier to make a final testament.

Henry Stokes, the Auckland managing solicitor of the Public Trust, says only 47 percent of Maori have wills, compared with 75 percent of Pakeha.

He says that can cause problems sorting out estates.

“People seem to think that is you die without a will, your husband or wife or partner will automatically receive everything in your estate. It’s simply not the case. You’ve got Maori land that is dealt with in a different way in any case that purely goes according to descent,” Mr Stokes says.

Children and even parents can have automatic entitlements under estate law, which need to be sorted out by a competent executor.


Attempts to get rural Maori into better housing are running into a nightmare of red tape.

Victoria Kingi from the Horaparaikete Trust, which is trying to build six houses on a 100 acre papakainga reserve at Papamoa, says the system doesn't work for Maori.

The trust has been stymied by high costs imposed by local government, banks that won't lend on multiply-owned land and Housing New Zealand policies favouring individuals over trusts.

She says Tauranga Moana is seen as a wealthy area, but the wealth isn't spread evenly.

“We have some of the poorest Maori living in Tauranga Moanan in areas like Maryvale, Kairua. There are pockets of Maori who are living at a level that is similar to and in some cases even worse than Maori up north and Maori along the East Coast,” Ms Kingi says.

Some Maori in Tauranga Moana are living in 80 year old houses with no running water or electricity.


National's Maori Affairs spokesperson Georgine te Heuheu is challenging the mandating used in the Te Arawa treaty settlement.

The Government has postponed trying to introduce the settlement legislation while it talks to other central North island iwi about aspects of the deal.

Some of those iwi had originally been part of Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa, but dropped out during the negotiations,

Despite that, Treaty Negotiations Minister Mark Burton says the group, now known as Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa, is mandated to receive and manage the settlement on behalf of the Affiliate Te Arawa Iwi and Hapû.

But Mrs te Heuheu says the government has completely mishandled the process.

“Their mandating in this area leaves a lot to be desired and in the process they’ve taken it upon themselves to bring in the settlement areas that may or may not be appropriately put in there,” she says.

Mrs te Heuheu says the government has split the Te Arawa canoe down the middle with its tactics.


Reluctance by courts to issue protection orders is putting Maori women and children at risk.

That's the response of Women's Refuge head Heather Henare to a Waikato University study on the way the Domestic Violence Act is implemented.

The report says fewer orders are being issued than when the Act was first introduced a decade ago, there are few consequences for men who breach protection orders, and many in the justice system minimise violence and blame the victims.

Ms Henare says they're the sorts of concerns Refuge was raising three years ago.

She says it means Maori women become doubly victimised.

“We know that they are already high in terms of statistical data. We know that there is a lack of resourcing out there for them, and we know that there are limitations for managing some of those issues for them under the current system,” Ms Henare says.

The Domestic Violence Act is a good piece of legislation which needs to be implemented and properly overseeen.


The author of a new guide for journalists says the New Zealand media would be better off is there were no specialist Maori issues reporters.

Carol Archie says the media has treated Maori as being outside the mainstream.

She says that's bad for Maori and bad for journalism.

“At the moment by separating Maori issues off to one side, we’re suggesting that Maori aren’t part of the fabric of our whole society. We’re suggesting that when someone does an education story, they’re not going to get Maori perspectives and angles on it. The education reporter or other specialist reporter can at the moment say ‘We’ll give that to the Maori specialist reporter, we won’t look at the Maori angles in our rounds,’” Ms Archie says.

Pou Korero is published by the Journalists' Training Organisation.


Blogger Jake said...

Of course Newsrooms should employ specialist Maori issues reporters. This is typical Carol pontificating about her own ego. JTO should have a robust training module around Maori reporting.

2:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Jake but we need Maori journalists reporting not only on Maori issues but across the board. In media generally and especially since the advent of Maori on TV and Maori TV there has been a flourishing of of Maori and Pacific Island talent and expression which has permiated main stream to the point where I sense a fear and resentment of it by 'mainstream.' This intrusion however is popular and appealing. There is still an area that is not well reported and that is marae and Maori issues where Maori reporting and reporters is needed. Crime reporting for example still needs more accuracy with regards to ethnicity. What the hell is a 'Caucasian?' Even the late Billy T had trouble with that one. What's wrong with calling these nanakia 'Pakeha?' Even Pakeha know what that means. I believe that long word is used to hide ethnic shame. I remember discussing these ethicities with my tertiary students. For example the nanakia was described as a halfcaste Maori. This meant that the police were only chasing the Maori part while the innocent Pakeha half was at home safe in bed.

9:40 am  

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