Waatea News Update

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Ratana education tie up with Kingitanga

The group trying to reestablish a Bible College and Treaty University at Ratana Pa has suggested it can share resources and facilities with Tainui.

Ruia Aperahama from the Uri Whakatipu research group sketched out the plans at the Ratana celebrations yesterday, which were attended by King Tuheitia and a large contingent of Kingitanga supporters.

Tainui is trying to revive its plans for a post graduate study and research centre based at Hopuhopu, while the Bible College at Ratana could have its first intake of students by 2010.

Mr Aperahama says the two superpowers of the Maori world have been working closely in recent years, and it makes sense for them to work together educating their young people.

“We may send them to the endowment college in Waikato, so that they may be educated in in and learn about the history of the King Movement. Being reciprocal, the King Movement encourage their children and their people to come to Ratana Pa to our treaty university where they may share and learn about the history of Ratana,” Mr Aperahama says.

He says education will help both organisations endure.


Ngai Tahu wants to develop a branding system to identify genuine South Island pounamu.

Under the terms of its claim settlement, the tribe owns all the greenstone, a type of jade found in West Coast rivers.

Chairperson Mark Solomon says the branding scheme will track each piece of pounamu as it goes through from wholesale to retail to private ownership.

He says it's part of its attempt to maintain quality in the industry and curb the rampant black market in poached pounamu.

He says there is also concern about Canadian or Asian jade being sold as pounamu.

“The experts can tell. The general public, myself included, can’t. Which is why we want to introduce a system where, when you go into a shop and it says you are buying New Zealand pounamu, there’s a methodology that guarantees you get genuine pounamu,” Mr Solomon says.


It's not just Opera in the Pa this weekend but Opera on the Island.
The tenth annual celebration of young Maori and Pacific Island singing talent at Ohinemutu Te Papaiouru Marae tomorrow night coincides with the Rotorua Festival of Arts.

Organiser Oscar Nathan says as a special treat for festival goers, there will be a more intimate performance on Sunday at Mokoia Island.

“We have two operas, the main Opera on the Pa, Ohinemutu, some of the artists that featured on the evening prior, we have on the Sunday on Mokoia, less numbers and we go over on the Lakeland Queen and the people get to meet the artists and experience opera in a lot closer and more intimate fashion,” Mr Nathan says.

Performers at tomorrow's event include Mere Boynton, Ben Makisi and Phillip Rhodes with support from the 30 piece V8 Operatic Choir, conducted by Peter Scholes.


A plan to establish an inter-university network to help Maori academic staff has won support from the Tertiary Education Commission.

It is one of 11 projects accepted for the fourth and final round of the TEC's Innovation and Development Fund.

Massey University Maori studies head Mason Durie says the Maori Academic Network Across Universities in Aotearoa, or Manu Ao, came out of discussions between the senior Maori academic leaders at the eight universities.

“We're creating an inter-university network so that you’ve got kind of a virtual marae for Maori academics. We want to be able to share some innovative teaching models. There’s quite a lot happening but in isolation and without any critical mass, and we think sharing some ideas about university teaching will be important,” Professor Durie says.

He says there is a high turnover of Maori academics, and programmes are needed to keep talented Maori withing the university system.


Maori living near the Kawhia and Aotea harbours are taking exception to demands they identify their waahi tapu.

Davis Apiti the kaitiaki of Okapu pa at Aotea, says they've had contact from the Crown Minerals Office, which is considering an application from a multi national company to prospect down a 1500 square kilometre coastal strip from Manukau Harbour to Taranaki.

Mr Apiti says the hapu have been asked to furnish details of all its sites which fall in the zone.

Mr Apiti says Crown Minerals expects the hapu to cover the cost of the response.

“You know why should we grant the cost of all this information that’s going out. It’s a concern to us. This information is precious, that we want to protect, and at the expense of someone else just saying we want it and we can do what we like with it,” Mr Apiti says.

He says those working for Crown Minerals seem to thnk think all the Maori in the Kawhia area are unemployed and have nothing better to do.


A combined Tamaki Makaurau Kapahaka concert will bring together the old and the new to celebrate the art form, rather than competition.

'Paorooro' will be held at the Auckland Town Hall on Sunday with the four Te Matatini National Kapahaka Tamaki Representative groups including Manutaki, Te Waka Huia, Nga Tumanako and Manu Huia taking to the stage.

Organiser and performer Amomai Pihama says the event is a first for the groups who will compete against each other next month.

Ms Pihama says the event will promote the unity of Auckland Kapahaka.

“The cool thing abut this for all four groups representing Tamaki at Te Matatini next month is that we’ve never actually been in a situation where we’ve been on stage and we’re doing it together so it’s quite a unified event rather than competition where we’re all competing against each other, so we’re all really excited about it,” Ms Pihama says.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Ngai Tahu setting water agenda

Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu is sponsoring a forum next month on management of water as it readies itself to fight government policy changes regarding water ownership and management.

Runanga chairperson Mark Solomon says other iwi from around the country have been invited to the forum, as well as experts from Hawaii and North America.

Mr Solomon says the tribe is still trying to find out what the government is planning in its Sustainable Water Programme of Action, but it has a long term commitment to managing waterways in the South Island.

“The enhancement of river ways, protection of riverways is always of extreme importance to Ngai Tahu. We like to look at different models of how do you protect your waterways. And this is just furthering the discussion and the knowledge we gather on the issue,” Mr Solomon says.


The Minister of Maori Affairs says the relatively low turnout out at Ratana Pa for this week's celebrations was a good sign.

Less than 10 thousand people were at the historic pa near Whanganui for celebrations around the birthday of church founder Tahupotiki Ratana. Some years more than double that number have turned up.

Mr Horomia says Maori unemployment is the lowest it's been in decades, and many Maori are unable to take the time off to be part of the celebrations around the birthday of the church's founder.

“It's a positive thing when people say there’s not as many turning up, well people are working, and that’s a good thing,” Mr Horomia says.

He's expecting relatively low turnout for next week's treaty commemorations at Waitangi.


Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira says Maori in the north should look at alternative energy generation as an opportunity to development marginal lands.

Waikato incorporation Taharoa C is looking to develop a wind farm on its land near Kawhia.

Mr Harawira says there are similar opportunities in the north if Maori want to seize of them.

“If Taitokerau’s got something they may be looking at moving on jointly, there could be alternative power, like the wind farm at Pouto point in Kaipara, They’re proposing another one in Te Rarawa, and also another one up in Aupouri, Parengarenga,” Mr Harawira says.

He says tribes in Tai Tokerau need to learn how to work together for development and economic growth.


Ngai Tahu is teaming up with Bay of Plenty Polytechnic to upskill the tribe's fishers in the deep south.

Ngai Tahu Seafood iwi liaison manager Rino Tirikatene says the 10 fishers are using a combination of distance learning and on site training to study for the Offshore Watchkeepers and Offshore Masters qualifications.

He says the qualifications will allow them to fish further out to sea and to work on bigger vessels, giving them more scope in their careers.

“It is difficult to attract new people into the industry, and what we found is that Ngai Tahu fishers are really built around families, so these programmes are targeted at those families and we want to retain and keep them in the industry,” Mr Tirikatene says.

More than 60 percent of Ngai Tahu's fish in Murihiku or Southland are caught by Ngai Tahu fishers.


The head of the Ngapuhi Treaty Claims Design Team says there is a lot of work to be done by the tribe internally before it can start looking for a settlement with the Crown.

The team is trying to give some shape to what will be the last major tribal area to go through the claim process.

Among the questions it needs to resolve are whether it should put its evidence before the Waitangi Tribunal or go straight to negotiation.

Rudy Taylor says a deal can't be done until the various hapu and whanau in the country's largest iwi learn to work together.

“Until we interlock with overlapping boundaries of one another and understand what those claims are, that process of us having to settle cannot be done until the hapus and the iwi all come together,” Mr Taylor says.


Te Arawa is getting ready for its tenth Opera in the Pa tomorrow at Ohinemutu in Rotorua.

Organiser Oscar Nathan says the event has been a stepping stone for many of the country's young opera stars, some of whom will be back tomorrow including Ben Makisi, April Marie Neho and Mere Boynton.

The performers will also sing at a smaller event on Mokoia Island on Sunday.

Mr Nathan says over the years the format of the event has changed to take in other musical styles, but this year organisers have gone back to the original vision of the late Bishop Manuhuia Bennett.

“The vision back then was to support up and coming Maori and Pacific Island artists and what happens now is we are seeing that flourish and the vision of Manuhuia was to see Maori, marae and music come together, the three Ms, and we’re really happuy where we have got to over our 10 year history,” Mr Nathan says.

Entry to Opera in the Pa is resticted to 1200 places to ensure everyone gets a good view.

Labour holding head high at Ratana

The Prime Minister says Labour can hold its head up high at Ratana Pa each year because its policies have delivered real benefits for Maori.

National and the Maori Party used their appearances at the pa yesterday to fire shots at the government, with National's John Key saying Maori should be wary about Labour's claims of Maori economic advancement, and Tariana Turia saying Maori deserved to be given more of the credit for their improved fortunes.

Helen Clark says the evidence is there from the census that Maori incomes have risen faster than average during the term of her government, and other indicators are positive.

“You can go back with your head held really high and say we’re proud to have worked with you to get these results. Now we’ve got the number of the rangatahi coming through the school system with qualifications way up, Maori in trade training, Maori in university. This is the basis fort the future and it's fantastic,” Ms Clark says.

She says the appearance of a National Party leader at Ratana is still a novelty which gives rise to more confusion than clarity.


A Maori health researcher says Maori grandparents raising their mokopuna are an overlooked sector of society.

Cheryl Smith from Wanganui was won a grant to spend three years studying the health needs of such grandparents.

She says they are often called in to help children who are going through a traumatic period.

Dr Smith says health statistics don't indicate how many Maori grandparents are affected and what support they need.

“When I began to talk to pediatricians, health workers, people working with children especially, I realized there’s quite an increase in grandparents taking over the fulltime care of mokopuna, and I’m really interested in looking at the health of those grandparents, because they’re an important safety net for us as whanau,” Dr Smith says.

She says grandparents need to learn how to look after childhood ailments, as well as worrying about their own health.


Ngai Tahu chairperson Mark Solomon says he's disappointed the court refused to let the Crown seize a helicopter used to transport stolen pounamu.

Central Otago helicopter pilot Harvey Hutton was last week jailed for 18 months and ordered to pay 300 thousand dollars reparations for stealing up to $1.6 million of Ngai Tahu-owned greenstone, but turned down an applicaiton for forfeiture under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Hutton was prosecuted as a result of evidence gathered by a private investigator hired by Ngai Tahu.

Mr Solomon says there is a substantial black market in pounamu, and the South Island tribe wants illegal miners to understand the risks.

“That's the law isn’t it? If you’re caught black marketing paua, you run the risk of having your boat, your trailer, your vehicle confiscated. And we were hoping the same signal would be sent by the courts in regards black marketing of pounamu,” Mr Solomon says.

He says Ngai Tahu will keep using private investigators to monitor the industry.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has given National's new leader the thumbs up for his Ratana appearance.

Mrs Turia says he appeared to win favour from the morehu who had listened to his speech, and he scored points for mixing informally with the crowds, including taking part in a game of volleyball with local rangatahi.

She says it was a down to earth outing.

“They liked his message. He’s been the only politician since I’ve been in Parliament who’s been prepared to say that New Zealanders should acknowledge the tangata whenua and their special place in society, and they lose nothing by it,” Mrs Turia says.

She felt Mr Key's comments at Ratana were genuine.


Ngai Tahu Properties has called for bids for nine forest blocks in North Canterbury.

Manager Tony Sewell says the 16 thousand hectares are leased to a Rayonier joint venture, and return about three quarters of a million dollars a year in licence fees.

Mr Sewell says Ngai Tahu wants the money for other investments, and forest land is not a good performer compared with other opportunities now available.

“We've got a portfolio of $300 million of property assets, and as the assets mature we sell them and buy other assets we can buy and add value to and that’s what happens when you manage a portfolio,” Mr Sewell says.

Ngai Tahu expects to do well out of its investment, given the price it paid the Crown for the blocks.

Bids close on March the 23rd.


Northland waka builder Hekenukumai Busby is getting ready to launch a canoe built especially for women.

Hinemoa will be launched in front of Te Tii Marae on February the fifth as part of the Waitangi commemorations.

Mr Busby has been building the 12 seater waka during the past month, and says it will be completed by the end of this week.

He says while old tikanga featuring prevents women from crewing on war canoes, Hinemoa it will create new tikanga.

“We can't actually put them on waka taua, but we’ve decided to change to a waka tetekura which allows the wahine to paddle without breaking the laws of our waka taua,” Mr Busby says.

Hinemoana is the 22nd waka Mr Busby has been involved in creating.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Important day for Ratana faithful

The politicians have gone from Ratana Pa back to Wellington, but for church members the most important day of the annual hui is today.

The 25th of January is the birthday of movement founder Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana, and it's the day the morehu remind themselves of who they are and how they got there.

Waatea News correspondent Ruia Aperahama says highlights of today include the unveiling of the headstone for the late Te Reo Hura, TW Ratana's daughter and the fifth tumuaki or church leader.

There will also be the launch of the church's plans to build a Bible college and treaty university.

Mr Aperahama says there will be an emphasis on family and relationships.

“The overriding theme is whanaungatanga, whakawhanaungatanga whether that’s of denomination, church or tribe or organisation, there’s always been a willingness to try and see things in common,” Mr Aperahama says.


Green Party Maori Affairs spokesperson Metitia Turei says she wants to see the Treaty of Waitangi put back into the school curriculum.

Ms Turei says this is the year to fight back against a trend to remove the treaty from public life.

She says the departure of Don Brash from National's leadership should encourage a better climate for debate, but there was a lot of damage done over the past few years, such as the decision to exclude any reference to the treaty in the document which sets what is taught in the nation's schools.

“They said it was because they were putting out a Maori curriculum this year, but also because I think there’s a tendency now post Brash and Orewa and foreshore to just avoid specifically referencing the treaty. That’s a real problem because it’s done secretly, it’s not legislation, it's not really obvious,” Ms Turei says.

Metiria Turei says every child going through the New Zealand schools should learn about the treaty, not just Maori immersion students.


King Tuheitia will be fullfilling the wishes of his late mother, when he opens a new wharekai near Dargaville next month.

Rex Nathan from Oturei marae on the the Poutu Peninsula, says Dame Te Atairangikaahu was a guest at the marae, twice in the 1990's.

He says the invitation to open the dining hall came about because one of the marae's kaumatua was on the board of the National Kohanga Reo Trust with the late queen.

“Manuera Tohu a year ago asked Te Atairangikaahu if she could come up and open the wharekai, and she said she was not very well at the time, but she would certainly make sure there would be a representative from Tainui to fulfil that role, so that’s really our connection with King Tuheitia,” Mr Nathan says.

The new wharekai will be known as Atarangi Te Reo Aroha O Te Whanau.


The head of the body negotiating the Te Arawa land claim settlement says a court challenge by the Maori Council and the Federation of Maori Authorities is unlikely to derail the settlement.

Eru George says Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa will stand back while the two bodies battle it out with the Crown.

The issue is over whether the Government is able to take ownership of part of the Kaingaroa Forest from the Crown Forest Rental Trust to on-sell to Te Pumautanga.

Mr George says it's up to the Crown to assemble the settlement package.

“We've agreed to the deed of settlement, a deferred process and of course the cultural redress along with the quantum. By singing that as a deed of settlement we’ve accepted what the Crown has offered and the process will continue from there,” Mr George says.


Former Tamaki Makaurau MP John Tamihere says any party which wants to govern New Zealand over the next decade needs to develop policies which include rather than exclude Maori.

Mr Tamihere says John Key's first appearance at Ratana Pa yesterday shows the new National Party leader has grasped that point.

Mr Key told the hui that statistics on Maori health, education, crime and welfare showed there was no room for complacency, and much still needed to be done.

Mr Tamihere says Mr Key is displaying a grasp of political reality which eluded his predecessor Don Brash.

“As a consequence he’s had lunch with Peter Sharples, he’s had good conversations with Tariana Turia, so he’s on the road to mending fences and building bridges. And I think that ups the Maori leverage capacity in the country to do business in it, as long as we know what we are doing and how we are going about doing that,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says policies need to be focused on the whole Maori community, not just the emerging Maori middle class.


Renowned Maori fisherman Bill Hohepa says the latest format for his quarterly fishing camps is finding favour with Maori boys and their dads.

Camp Hohepa at Akitio beach on the coast east of Daneverke wrapped up yesterday.

Mr Hohepa says two thirds of the participants were Maori, and he has always had a lot of Maori support for his activities.

The camps used to include girls, but Mr Hohepa says changes in occupation safety and health regulations meant his latest camps are for boys and their fathers or caregivers.

“It's the fathers’ responsibility for the day to day behaviour of the children and it’s my responsibility to teach them the basics of fishing. So it has the benefit iof a relationship between father and son, and when we dish out the prizes, you can just see how proud the father is of his son who’s going up to win a new fishing rod for his achievements,” Mr Hohepa says.

The next two camps are planned for Hastings, and Motuhi Island in the Hauraki Gulf.

Eagle vs Shark Taika’s ticket to Hollywood

A packed out audience at the Egyptian Theatre in Salt Lake City is now watching the premiere of film-maker Taika Waititi's first feature, Eagle versus Shark, at the Sundance Film Festival.

Co-producer Ainsley Gardiner says there is a big buzz around the film and around Waititi, whose two previous short films, Two Cars One Night and Tama Tu, have already screened at the prestigeous festival.

She says Waititi started his day on a high note, being named in trade bible Variety as one of the 10 directors to watch in 2007.

“It means big things in the industry here and it probably means even more so that Taika has access to this industry if he wants a career in Hollywood, which is not entirely what he’s after, but any publicity for the film creates a groundswell,” Ms Gardiner says.

Distributor Miramax will release the Film Commission-funded Eagle vs Shark in the United States on June the first, and it will get a New Zealand season later in the year.


Maori Council chairperson Sir Graham Latimer says the Government needs to learn to respect the rule of law.

The council and the Federation of Maori Authorities has asked the High Court to stop the government taking land in the Kaingaroa Forest administered by the Crown Forest Rental Trust to use in a Te Arawa land claim settlement.

Sir Graham, who also chairs the trust, says it was set up in 1989 as a negotiated settlement after the Crown was unable to prove it owned the land under the state forests it wanted to sell.

He says the government is putting the claim settlement process at risk.

“Our biggest concern and Maori’s biggest concern is to get ourselves consolidated. We’re in a better position than we were in in 1989 and I’m certain we can deal with the claim far more efficiently than anyone else, and the Crown, the bureaucracy needs to step back and leave things alone,” Sir Graham says .

He says the Crown should wait for the Waitangi Tribunal to say who should own the forest land.


Ratana Pa today played host to politicians from both sides of the political divide.

National Parly leader John Key went on to the marae near Wanganui this morning, while Prime Minister Helen Clark led a large group of Labour MPs and supporters on this afternoon.

But Waatea News reporter Ruia Aperahama says the person the morehu or church followers wanted to see was King Tuheitia, who is being welcomed on about now.

Mr Aperahama says King Tuheitia's presence at the annual hui is a sign of the importance of Ratana in keeping alive the dream of Maori unity or kotahitanga, irrespective of tribal affiliation.

“This has been an ongoing dream, an aspiration which started back in the 19th century, the rise of our early prophets, and most of the early prophets like Whiti, Tohu, Tawhiao, Te Tooti, Te Ua Haumene, most of the descendants still come back here and celebrate, and those are some of the networks this movement shares,” Mr Aperahama says.


Former Labour MP John Tamihere says the annual Ratana January hui maintains its importance as the first major event in the Maori hear because of the dignity and hospitality of its hosts.

It's also an important meeting place for the morehu or church members from around the country and for other Maori who wish to show support for the church's social aims.

Mr Tamihere says it's an environment where Maori set the rules, and that is positive.

“They're just extraordinarily humble people in receiving all delegations regardless of where you’re from, who you’re from, what you look like, and hw you’ve composed yourself, as long as you reciprocate their dignity and their standards, which by and large it’s hard not to do there. It’s extraordinary experience,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says the visit to the marae by National leader John Key shows that party now understands if it is to have any chance of regaining the treasury benches, it needs to come to terms with the role Maori will play in the country's future.


Two Maori researchers have received grants for the Health Research Council to further their studies into issues of importance to Maori.

Emma Wyeth from Otago University received the Eru Pomare Research Fellowship to investigate Maori health experiences in the South Island and views on genetic research.

Cheryl Smith from Whanganui has been awarded the Erehapeti Rehu-Murchie fellowship in Maori health.

Aroha Haggie, the council's Maori group manager, says Dr Smith will look at the health of what has always been an important if overlooked group in Maori society, grandparents who become full time caregivers to their mokopuna.

“Cheryl is doing a piece of work that’s very new and innovative and something that we are sure will be able to provide us with some really good information as well as the opportunity to look at other areas and ask other questions that will contribute to our health outcomes,” Ms Haggie says.


A support group for parents in Wellsford is encouraging Maori parents to front up if their children get into trouble at school.

Fraser Toi says too often Maori parents won't turn up when they are asked by the principal or board of trustees to discuss their child's bad behaviour.

He says Te Roopu Whakamana encourages Maori parents to put their names forward on school boards of trustees.

It also promotes Ngati Whatua tikanga and runs treaty workshops.
Mr Toi says Maori parents sometimes need support to overcome their shyness.

“30 years that I've been here, seeing the same problem, how our Maori parents are reluctant to go in and face the issues concerning their children and of course as a result out children suffer. Quite often the issues aren’t major, but they’re enough to deter them,” Mr Toi says.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

FoMA, Council sue Crown over forest deal

The Federation of Maori Authorities and the New Zealand Maori Council are suing the government over the proposed settlement of Te Arawa land claims.

FoMA chairperson Peter Charlton says the Crown intends to take part of the Kaingaroa Forest out of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust and sell it to Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa.

In the process, it will collect $63 million in accumulated rent.

Mr Charlton says that is a breach of 1989 agreement between the federation, the Maori Council and the Crown which created the trust to collect rent for the former state forests until the Waitangi Tribunal was able to determine who should own the land underneath.

“The government are not following the laws of the country and they are unfortunately trying to make themselves beneficiaries without following the protocols laid out in statute,” Mr Charlton says.

An application for an injunction was lodged in the High Court in Wellington yesterday.


The new leader of the National Party won't be short of party support when he is welcomed on to Ratana Pa this morning.

Maori Affairs co-spokesperson Tau Henare says at least 15 National MPs are expected, with most having attended previous Ratana hui, including Georgina te Heu heu, and former party leader Bill English.

The Te Atatu based list MP says church members or Morehu will be looking for John Key to be decisive, and to present a clear message on National's plans, and its strategy to get Maori and non Maori working together.

“I think it's especially significant that we introduce John to the people of Ratana. Ratana people play a huge part in Maori politics and in national politics,” Mr Henare says.

National is expected at the Marae about 11 this morning, while the Prime Minister and the Labour delegation is due to arrive about 1.30.


Ruatoria - based Radio Ngati Porou is dusting off its civil defence manuals as it responds to concerns about the swarm of earthquakes which have hit the East Coast in recent days.

Four earthquakes had occurred since Saturday, all between 4 and 4.3 on the Richter scale, centred in the sea about 30 kilometres east of the town.

Station manager Heni Tawhiwhirangi says the radio is the central communication point for civil defence.

“We've got civil defence community set ups in every community, so they go into action and they action and connect into the radio. We connect with them, the police and all the extra services,” Ms Tawhiwhirangi says.

The worst scenario would be if earthquakes tip underwater cliffs into the Hikurangi Trough, causing a tsunami.


After many years of quiet on the legal front, Maori are again challenging the Crown over the way treaty settlements are conducted.

The Federation of Maori Authorities and the Maori Council yesterday asked the High Court for an injunction against the settlement of Te Arawa land claims.

Federation chairperson Peter Charlton says the Government wants to take part of the Kaingaroa Forest out of the control of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust, and transfer it to Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa.
In the process it will pocket $63 million in accumulated rentals.

Mr Charlton says that breaches the 1989 deal between FoMA, the Maori Council and the Crown, which was designed to protect Maori claims to the land under the former state forests.

“And according to our legal advice, the Crown can only become a beneficiary if the Waitangi Tribunal so rule,” Mr Charlton says.


Wellington-based Te Atiawa wants to know who is behind a challenge to its mandate to collect $3 million in fisheries settlement assets.

Iwi member Martha Hineone Gilbert is seeking a judicial review of Te Ohu Kaimoana's decision to grant a mandate to Te Atiawa ki te Upoko o te Ika a Maui Potoki Trust to hold the settlement assets.

Ms Gilbert says three trustees representing Lower Hutt's Waiwhetu Marae were not properly elected.

But trust member Morrie Love says the iwi followed the proper processes.

He says the iwi is asking the Court to demand security for costs, which it hopes that will flush out the real challengers.

“It's is interesting because the person taking the action has no assets and is a beneficiary, so it is difficult in fact to see how she can afford the action,” Mr Love says.

The full case won't be heard until at least the middle of the year.


A Ngai Tai man who has studied Maori attitudes to celestial events, says pre-European Maori saw comets as a part of the natural world, and not a sign of impending doom.

This week thousands of New Zealanders are out looking for Comet McNaught in the night sky.

Pita Turei says oral traditions include many stories of comets, including one sighted by people at Parihaka during the dark days of 1881.

He says traditional Maori society monitored celestial activity closely, a legacy of their navigation across the Pacific Ocean.

“If you've voyaged on the ocean for 1000 years and you’ve collected all that knowledge ands passed it on in a form that is practical and useful, comets you would have recognised in the context of that, not as things to be afraid of but things to be taken notice of and to be aware iof what other tohu there were at the time,” Mr Turei says.

Mahia Maori block subdivision access

The organiser of a road block on the Mahia peninsula says the protest challenged the way Wairoa District Council ignores Maori concerns over their sacred sites.

Alice Kairau from Rakato Marae says the road, which gives access to a new upmarket coastal subdivision, goes over a sacred burial site.

Ms Kairau says tangata whenua felt the consultation process was designed to marginalise their concerns, and they took a firm stand.

“We as Maori have to be very careful that we insist that our waahi tapu be protected. Because if we don’t do that now, in the future the government’s going to say you can go over your waahi tapu, there’s no significance. We’ve got to be very very careful,” Ms Wairau says.

The Mahia hapu also fears the council may take their land for settling ponds for the subdivision's sewerage system.


Wellington-based Te Atiawa and Te Ohu Kaimoana have asked the High Court to demand security for costs against a woman who is challenging the tribe's $3 million fisheries settlement.

Martha Hineone Gilbert has asked the court for a judicial review of Te Ohu Kaimoana's decision to grant the mandate to Te Atiawa ki te Upoko o te Ika a Maui Potoki Trust to hold the settlement assets, because she says three trustees representing Lower Hutt's Waiwhetu Marae were not properly elected.

But trust member Morrie Love says the iwi followed the proper procesees.

He says before the mid-year hearing, Te Atiawa wants to be sure the court system isn't being abused.

“It's a very expensive thing to take matters into the High Court, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. If Te Ohu Kaimoana was successful, because this is a case against Te Ohu Kaimoana, not against the trust, but the trust is also named as a defendant in the hearings, that in fact the parties, if unsuccessful could pay the fairly large costs that are involved,” Mr Love says.

The case has already cost Te Atiawa more than $50,000 in legal fees and expenses.


Veteran Kapa Haka tutor Bub Wehi says Maori cultural groups are losing their regional identities as they fight for competition points.

Mr Wehi's te Waka Huia will perform at a special concert at Auckland Girl's Grammar on Sunday afternoon, along with Tamaki Makaura's other top teams Manu Huia, Nga Tumanako and Te Roopu Manutake.

While the concert is billed as a display of Auckland's unique kapa haka style, Mr Wehi says regional styles were more distinct in the 1970s, when he was leading Gisborne-based Waiherere.

He says that may be because of the pan-tribal nature of city groups.

“In Te Waka Huia, we’ve had a member of every tribe in our group at some time, and we’ve found it a little difficult leaving Waihirere in ’81 to come up here, trying to9 get away from the style we were used to.” Mr Wehi says.

He says these days kapa haka judges are the ones with the greatest influence over which styles will flourish.


National list MP Tau Henare says the Government should be more flexible about accepting the qualifications of people who teach in kohanga reo.

Education Minister Steve Maharey says his ministry is working with the Qualifications Authority on recognising the whanau whakapakiri qualification being developed by the Kohanga Reo National Trust for Maori immersion early childhood workers.

Unless kohanga have staff with qualifications equivalent to registered teachers, they cannot provide the 20 hours a week of free early childhood education delivered in the latest Budget.

Mr Henare, who worked for the national trust before returning to Parliament, says the government should have sorted the issue out before bringing the policy in.

“What does qualified mean, because if you ask kai ako at kohanga, they will thell you that they’ve done the whakapakiri, they’ve done stage one two three four, but somewhere along the line there has to be some work done on the equivalency between whakapakiri and the degree in early childhood education,” Mr Henare says.


All roads lead to Ratana this week, as the Morehu or church members descend on the small settlement near Wanganui to celebrate the birthday of founder Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana.

Politicians are also looking to pick up some influence among a sector of Maori who do regularly turn out to vote.

For the fifth year National will be there, with its third leader in that time, John Key, due in tomorrow morning.

Labour's team led by Prime Minister Helen Clark will be taken on by Wellington iwi Te Atiawa about 1.30.

Ratana spokesperson Wayne Johnson says while tumuaki Harry Mason is a strong Labour supporter, the church no longer has an exclusive relationship with the party.

“We are quite happy to talk to any party at the moment. Obviously our historical legacy still aligns us with Labour, but I keep repeating year in and year out, we don’t tell the membership who they should vote for,” Mr Johnson says.

The Ratana kitchens have been instructed to be ready to feed anywhere from 5000 to 20,000 guests.


Just down the hill from Ratana, a Ngati Apa hapu is preparing its marae to withstand any flooding caused by a predicted break in the wall of Ruapehu's crater lake.

Pahia Turia from Ngati Rangiwhakaturia says the marae on the banks of the Whangaehu River has been hit by two floods in recent years, and it needs to be ready for the huge mass of water and mud which would be tipped into the headwaters in the event of a lahar.

He says work has already started on a flood protection wall, which is providing a focus for unity for the hapu.

“We're only a quarter of the way through building the wall. We’re hoping to have it finished in probably three months time. We’ve been fortunate enough to have whanau come back and we’ve got a little task force working on that and that’s brought quite a few rangatahi back home to help with the erection of the wall,” Mr Turia says.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Median for Maori could hide margins

A Maori historian says an increase in Maori earning power is no cause for complacency in tacking socio-economic development at the bottom.

Census data shows between 2001 and 2006 the Maori median income rose 41 percent to 20 thousand 900 dollars, only three and a half thousand dollars under the median for the total population.

Rawiri Taonui, the head of Canterbury University's school of Maori and Indigenous studies at Canterbury University says the increase is a sign the Maori renaissance of the past two or three decades is delivering results, as is a higher level of Maori involvement in tertiary study.

But he says there a still a lot of Maori who are struggling. which the median figure doesn't show.

“It's a little bit artificial because it could be reflective of quite high incomes amongst an emerging Maori middle class dragging up what continues to be quite a low working class income amongst Maori people,” Mr Taonui says.

He says statistics in health issues such as diabetes and heart disease can be better indicators of the poverty trap many Maori are in.


With summer's heat finally upon us, Northland community worker Mike Smith says Maori should be factoring global warning and the future energy crisis into their long term strategic planning.

Mr Smith says he'll be raising environmental issues at the forums planned for the lower marae at Waitangi next month.

He says climate change will have an impact on Maori, as they consider long term investments in areas like tourism which depend on relatively cheap international and domestic travel.

He says the Maori need to look to their own resources rather than rely on government programmes.

“I'd say in 40 or 50 years time, if you’ve got water, independent source of power and some kai in the garden, he rangatira a koe,” Mr Smith says.


Te Papa Tongarewa Maori manager Te Taru White says the national museum's Maori dimension is helping it develop valuable relationships with similar institutions overseas.

Yesterday the Japanese national museum in Tokyo opened Mauri Ora at the museum of Tokyoa show of 120 taonga from Te Papa collections.

The show is in reply to the Treasures of Japan display hosted by Te Papa last year.

Mr White says museum managers from Italy, France and Germany are attending the Japan show and are keen to stage similar exhibitions.

He says forming strong bonds is also essential to facilitate the return of Maori taonga such as preserved heads.

“We've got a repatriation from the Marshal Museum in Aberdeen happening over the next week and a half of nine toi moko. Arapeta Hakiwai, our most experienced person, he’s done a number of these repatriations, and Kukupa Tirikatene, a Ngai Tahu elder, are going across to retrieve them,” White says.


The head of a New Plymouth Maori immersion pre-school says the Government's criteria for extra early childhood funding is critical to the early stages of tamariki development.

The Maori Party has criticised the requirement the funding for 20 hours free early childhood education is only for facilities with registered teachers, which excludes most kohanga reo.

But Aroaro Tamati from Te Kopae Piripono says the first three years are critical for the development of children mentally, physically and socially, and Maori immersion pre-school centres need to get it right.

“This period of time there’s a huge amount of change happening in early childhood and recognition of the importance of early childhood for our tamariki before the age of three is a critical time for children’s learning and development and if we don’t get it right then, it’s not a good pathway for their development,” Ms Tamati says.

Te Kopae Piripono qualifies for the new funding because it has always used qualified staff during its 13 years of operations.


South Auckland has the highest Maori population in the country, and there are moves to make sure they are specifically targeted in health promotion messages.

Counties Manukau District health Board Maori manager Bernard Te Paa says resources planned for this year include Maori language publications, the use of Maori role models to promote health kaupapa and other special campaigns for Maori.

Mr Te Paa says it's a departure from the past.

“We tend to generalize some of our health promotion messages and what we’d like to do is have some that are particularly targeted to our Maori people. Is there a healthy way to do a boil up? Is there a healthy way to do a hangi? And thankfully there are,” Mr Te Paa says.


While many whanau have been lolling by the beach or barbeque this summer, historian Rawiri Taonui has been walking in the footsteps of the ancestors.

Mr Taonui, the head of Maori and indigenous studies at Canterbury University, has an ongoing project to recreate the epic journeys recorded in tribal histories and legends.

This summer he walked through the mountains northwest of Arthur's Pass, over to Moana Kotuku or Lake Brunner and south along the east coast of the South Island.

It's part of the route marked out by Waitaha ancestor Rakai-hautu, the captain of Uruao canoe, who landed in Nelson and walked to Bluff, using his ko or digging stick to scrape out the inland lakes along the way.

Mr Taonui says traveling alone, he gets the sense he is seeing places where the way the ancestors would have seen them.

“You notice things with changes in wind, changes in clouds, really subtle things, Personally I believe it gives you an insight into the way our ancestors thought, because a lot of our poetry and imagery and language is drawn from a deep seated intimacy with natural forces,” Mr Taonui says.

He intends to write a book about his voyages.

TradeMe chops protest souvenir bidding

Sometime forestry worker Mike Smith says the reaction to an attempt to auction the chainsaw he used in his 1995 attack on the pine on One Tree Hill has exposed the racism that lurks below the surface of New Zealand society.

Online auction site TradeMe shut down the auction after conducting an online poll which found respondents voting three to one for the listing to be removed.

It also removed his listing for copies of the correspondence he received as a result of the controversy.

Mr Smith says many of the comments and emails could be called hate mail.

“The backlash that occurs, people expose to others some of their more deep seated prejudices and fears. It almost prises off the facard, the mask some New Zealanders like to show to the outside world – they’re being tolerant and all the rest of it – it’s interesting to see what monsters creep out from under the edges of those masks,” Mr Smith says.

The chainsaw has been relisted on EBay.


Maori aren't making enough progress for the Maori Party.

Waiarki MP Te Ururoa Flavell says census data which shows the Maori median income rising 41 percent between the 2001 and 2006 census, still leaves a big gap between Maori and the rest of the population.

Mr Flavell says while the government is keen to give its policies credit for an increase in Maori median income over the past 5 years, the figure doesn't take into account the rise in inflation and cost of living over the same period.

He says the census data shows the government is short-sighted in its refusal to develop specific programmes to tackle Maori disadvantage.

“The statistics talk about the gaps between Maori and non Maori and yet the government seems to be determined not to identify the gaps by way of race. Yet here we have these statistics that tell us clearly that Maori lag behind the rest of New Zealand over health, over education over employment, so let’s not fudge around and say we’re making gains because the bottom line is those gaps are still far too big,” Mr Flavell says.


Maori surfer Daniel Kereopa broke a hoodoo over the weekend, winning three titles including the open men's event at the nationals held Oakura in South Taranaki.

The Raglan-based 28 year old has long been regarded as one of the best in the country, but has never before taken the top prize despite making the finals on numerous occasions.

Kereopa says although the win was a long time coming, he is surfing better than ever.

“I think my decisions are getting better. I see things a lot clearer and I don’t get rattled by names of other surfers like I used to. I’m just really enjoying my surfing and my time out on the water,” Kereopa says.

The strength of Maori surfing came through in the Nationals, with Winnie Paul from Sandy Bay near Whangarei winning the open women's title and Jason Mathews from Taranaki the over 35 men’s event.


Tainui chairperson Tukoroirangi Morgan says the electoral college used to appoint new fisheries commissioners should be used more widely.

Mr Morgan headed up Te Kawai Taumata, which has just filled four slots on Te Ohu Kaimoana.

Ten members of Te Kawai Taumata are chosen by regional clusters of iwi, with the 11th seat reserved for an urban Maori representative.

They then pick from a shortlist of nominations put up by the iwi.

Mr Morgan says its first outing delivered the best people for the job.

“Kawai Taumata provides us with a wonderful opportunity and a model to begin to choose our representatives to take charge of our destiny in all sorts of forums, Kawai Taumata is appropriately poised to do social services, whether it be housing, employment or whatever,” Mr Morgan says.

The electoral college reappointed Koro Wetere and Archie Taiaroa to the commission, where they will be joined by Te Whanau a Apanui chief executive Rikirangi Gage and Kahungunu chairperson Ngahiwi Tomoana.


A New Plymouth Maori immersion early childhood centre says government criteria can only mean better pre-school facilities for tamariki.

Education Minister Steve Maharey says funding for 20 hours free pre-school education will be provided for centres with registered early childhood teachers, which excludes most Kohanga Reo.

Aroaro Tamati of Te Kopae Piripono says increasing training and qualifications within Maori immersion centres will ensure the best for tamariki.

Ms Tamati says her facility qualifies for the funding because it has insisted on trained teachers.

“Training and qualifications can only mean that children are accessing the best because it means that upskills us. It opens us up to new ideas, so in terms of early childhood the amount of training and qualifications that we at Kopae Piripono have can only make a difference for our children here, our tamariki,” Ms Tamati says.

In 2004 Te Kopae Piripono was recognised by the Ministry for Education as a Centre for Innovation.


Maori living near Sandy Bay north of Tutukaka are celebrating an unlikely victory.

New Zealand surfing competitions tended to be dominated by surfers from the West Coast beachs of Piha, Raglan and Taranaki, as well as those from Tairawhiti.

But a young Maori woman from the small Northlland beach has trumped them all by taking out the open women's event.

Raglan-based surfer Daniel Kereopa says Paul took the right attitude into the national surf championships at Oakura in Taranaki over the weekend.

“You know she surfed really really well and she went out early before her heat and she looked happy, she looked relaxed, and that’s what it took for her to win. Sandy Bay is an unexpected place for a champion to come out of, you don’t get a big range of waves, but It’s good enough for Wini to do it so I'm stoked for her too,” Kereopa says.

Atareta Maxwell dies

Te Arawa is mourning the loss of one of its most respected kuia and a major contributor to the national kapa haka scene.

Atareta Maxwell, who along with husband Trevor was the force behind the Ngati Rangiwewehi group for 30 years, died last week aged 61.

Her nephew, broadcaster Scotty Morrison, says Aunty Dina, as she was known to her whanau, demanded total commitment from performers.

Mr Morrison says his aunt's professionalism helped Ngati Rangiwewehi win the national kapa haka title in both 1983 and 1996.

“She instilled a lot of discipline into Ngati Rangiwewehi, helped them to a new level of performance though some at the time exceptional and very rare choreography that hadn’t been seen before and she was behind the new performance styles that Ngati Rangiwewehi came up with,” Mr Morrison says.

He says Atareta Maxwell believed kapa haka should be used to develop people not just as performers but as people.


The Maori electoral college, Te Kawai Taumata, has gone for a mix of old and new hands to take the Maori fisheries settlement forward.

It's the first time fisheries commissioners have been chose by iwi rather than the Minister for Maori Affairs.

Former commissioner Naida Glavish, the deputy chair of the 11 member college, says iwi put up nine candidates for the four open positions.

The new commissioners are Rikirangi Gage, the chief executive of Te Whanau a Apanui, and Ngati Kahungunu chairperson Ngahiwi Tomonana.

Two commissioners were reappointed.

“Koro Wetere and Archie Taiaroa both rolled over because there was an expression of absolute appreciation of their institutional knowledge, not only of the fisheries but also the knowledge the hold with regards all iwi,” Ms Glavish says.

She says the challenge for the commission this year is to compete allocation of fisheries assets to the 22 iwi who have not yet completed the mandating process.


Otaki artist Suzanne Tamaki is waiting for MAF clearance for her kite Manu Wahine to travel to the British Museum.

Clearance is needed because the kite is builtr in the traditional fashion with feathers and natural fibres.

Ms Tamaki was commissioned by the museum to make a companion piece to the kite it holds in its collection by a unknown Te Arawa artist from 1843.

She says the museum is making an effort to shine a contemporary light on some of its Pacific collection.

“They see that there’s a big movement of that happening here and Europe is really paying attention now to what’s happening here, and I think that’s really in response to what we are experiencing overseas,” Ms Tamaki says.

She hopes to get to London when her manu wahine is exhibited at the British Museum later in the year as part of a major Pacific show.


Education Minister Steve Maharey says the government is working with the Kohanga Reo National Trust on ways kohanga can qualify to provide free pre-school education.

The 20 hours free pre-school education promised in last year's budget only applies to centres with registered early childhood teachers.

Because kohanga reo are whanau led, similar to the Playcentre model, they don't qualify.

Mr Maharey says the door has not been closed on kohanga.

“This policy is about early childhood education. That relates to teachers being present, them being registered and qualified, and that’s the issue that Kohanga needs to look at – do they want to move down the road of having qualified teachers. My understanding is increasingly they do, and if they do of course they’ll simply access the policy,” Mr Maharey says.

He says the Kohanga Reo National Trust needs to work with the Qualifications Authority to get its three year whanau whakapakari qualification accepted as a formal teaching qualification.


Organisers of this year's Waitangi Day in the Bay of Islands are aiming for a low key and uncontroversial event.

Organising committee chairperson Pita Paraone says the national day of February 6 will kick off with a dawn service on the Treaty Grounds, followed by the Navy's flag raising ceremony.

The Prime Minister will host a breakfast for invited guests at the Waitangi Copthorne Hotel, while a fleet of waka launch from Hobson Beach.

An interdenominational church service, entertainment and sporting events make up the rest of the programme, which ends with a Navy sunset ceremony at the flagpole.

Mr Paraone says organisers don't want to open up any wider debate about the role of the Treaty of Waitangi between Maori and the Crown.

“We're just commemorating the fact that it was signed on that day, and given some of the adverse activity that’s taken place in recent years, we just want to focus on a programme that will bring people back to Waitangi,” Mr Paraone says.


For our last story we go to the Tokyo, where in the next hour a group of kaumatua led by Maori King Tuheitia will hold a dawn ceremony to clear the Japanese national museum for an exhibition of 120 artifacts from the Museum of New Zealand.

Te Papa Maori manager Te Taru White says major pieces in the Mauri Ora exhibition include the front of Tokopikowhakahau, a meeting house carved in the Waikato in the 1870s, and a 6 metre canoe hull which stood for many years at Pipiriki as a memorial to Whanganui rangatira.

He says Mauri Ora will raise the profile of Maori in Japan.

“We take our culture out there, we take out taonga out there with pride, and people get to see who we are in their back yards. If we can excite people about being the unique and indigenous culture of Aotearoa New Zealand, then we may excite them enough to visit new Zealand. And of course that has spin offs for tourism, for business, and highlights Maori as the unique peoples of the South Pacific,” Mr White says.

After the official opening of Mauri Ora this afternoon, King Tuheitia and his wife Te Atawhai will have a private afternoon tea with the Japanese Emperor.