Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, November 23, 2007

Maori Party picked to become permanent

National's number two is picking the Maori Party to become a permanent part of the political landscape.

And Bill English says he expects the party to become more centrist as it matures.

The two parties have disagreed on some issues but shared common ground on others.

Mr English says that's a good sign, as the Maori Party has more of a future than other minority parties in the House.

“Seem to me for a long time that if the Maori collective interest was well enough organised they could become a genuine centre party because they have a reason to exist that New Zealand First and United Future won’t exist past their current leadership,” Mr English says.


Archaeologists working on a bypass near New Plymouth are uncovering layers of Taranaki history.

Michael Taylor, the project manager, says the current dig is on the site of a European homestead built during the 1870s.

Beneath the old pennies, dog burials, fireplaces and china and ditches is evidence of earlier Maori occupation, with shellfish middens and adzes.

The team also found bullets fired from the neighbouring Bell Block Stockade before the house was built.

The bypass has taken several years and uncovered two Maori villages - Oropuriri and Hoewaka.

Mr Taylor says artifacts found in the area reveal a rich history.

“They have a particular interest for archaeologists because they traverse a time when Maori people are adapting and integrating European goods in their lifestyles so there’s lots of metal adzes. They’re using metal tools. They’re using plates. They’re using guns. You find musket balls and percussion caps form the percussion weapons. We found a rifle barrel,” Mr Taylor says.

The road is expected to be finished in two years.


One of New Zealand's top contemporary Maori artists hopes a push into the United States will change the way people see his work.

Rangi Kipa has just got back from Denver, where he built an installation based on a whare whakairo for the city's new Museum of Contemporary Art.

He's trying to break away from the more traditionally oriented work which arts marketing organisation Toi Maori is promoting on the Pacific Northwest.

“ The market that I'm aiming at isn’t particularly interested from an ethnographic customary perspective. They‘re more fine art buyers, and it just happens that I come from a customary background.” Mr Kipa says.

His priority now is completing work for a show in New York's fashionable Chelsea art district next year.

He currently has a small show at Objectspace on Auckland's Ponsonby Rd.


Families are the big losers of extended lockdowns at Wellington prisons.

Kim Workman from Prison Fellowship says inmates at Rimutaka and other prisons near the capital are locked into their cells from 5 in the evening until 8 in the morning, because of a shortage of prison staff.

That means prisoners can't ring their children before school, and families can't visit after work visits.

He says prisoners need social interaction for their rehabilitation.

“Maori prisoners probably more in a way because we know the best approach in dealing with Maori is to deal with Maori as a group, not as individuals, and peer support, peer interaction, discussion groups, there’s no opportunity to interact in quite the same way,” Mr Workman says.

He says there are not enough staff because successive governments have responded to public pressure for tougher penalties, without putting in the infrastructure to cope with bigger prison musters.


The associate minister of heath is calling for more tolerance among Maori of people with disabilities.

Mita Ririnu spoke to the National Maori Disability Provider Hui in Tauranga yesterday on challenges for the sector.

He says there are now more than 50 Maori providers offering culturally appropriate support.

He says people with disabilities want to live within their own communities, including being able to get jobs.

“The issues certainly while they are many, they are not insurmountable, because we are dealing in most cases with attitudes and a lack of support for them so the focus is on allowing people with disabilities to lead normal lives within the community,” Mr Ririnui says.

He assured the hui that while the Ministry was restructuring some of its disability services, the focus on Maori health and disabilities would remain strong.


A festival in Waitakere City this weekend will try to improve relations between tangata whenua and other ethnic groups in west Auckland.

Organiser Stephanie Harawira says a wide range of performers will be on show at Parr's Park over the weekend, including kapa haka, Cook Island, Tongan, and Samoan groups, African and Japanese drumming, Indian music and funk, pop and hip hop groups.

“It was born out of our desire the unite the Pacifica and Maori because we found here in west Auckland there was a real wall of division, Maori over one side, PI over the other, so we decided to put Oceania together,” Ms Harawira says.

Up to 10,000 people are expected.


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