Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, March 23, 2007

Water ownership grab alleged

An expert in Maori resource management says the government's Sustainable Water Programme of Action amounts to a grab for ownership of the country's water.

In question time yesterday the government denied a similar charge leveled by the Maori Party, insisting water was a public resource.

Maria Bargh, a Victoria University Maori studies lecturer, says while the government claims its proposed policy is not about ownership, the small print indicates it is.

“In their Programme of Action, they’ve got clear policies in there around further commodifying water and water allocations, and then it’s the same case that we had in the case of the fisheries, can you commodify something if you don’t actually own it. I think the answer to that is no,” Dr Bargh says.

Maori still believe they hold customary title to rivers and lakes, and some iwi and hapu are asserting their rangatiratanga through efforts to restore water quality.


National Party Maori affairs spokesperson Georgina te Heuheu says new figures showing an ageing Maori population illustrates why Maori incomes need to rise.

2006 Census data released this week shows 4.1 percent of Maori are aged over 65, compared with 3.4 percent in 2001.

Mrs Te Heu Heu says many older Maori are vulnerable because they didn't have enough income during their working lives to save for retirement.

She says Maori incomes need to be on par with other new Zealanders, so they too can save for their retirement years.

“I don't think we’re as well prepared as some others may be. Obviously that’s the importance of jobs, of raising Maori incomes, because those still lag behind those of other New Zealanders, because if you haven’t got a decent income your ability to save is severely diminished,” Mrs te Heuheu says.


A prominent Maori educator says the National Certificate of Educational Achievement needs to be fixed, not replaced with overseas qualifications.

Tihi Puanaki from Christchurch's Aranui High School says the NCEA has the potential to better reflect New Zealand's society and needs than the Cambridge Examinations or the Baccalureatte.

But she says its value is being undermined by students pursuing subjects that give maximum credits with minimum effort.

“We're actually starting to go with the kids on their little trolley around the supermarket of NCEA credits and look around for the easiest credits with the largest amount of points and work on those,” Mrs Puanaki says.

She says schools need to do more to raise students' expectation levels and make the NCEA system work better.


There will be 18 million reasons to celebrate at this Sunday's Kingitanga poukai in Manaipoto territory, at Te Kotanganui-a-noho Marae in Te Kuiti.

That's the value in dollars of the fisheries assets going to Ngati Maniapoto as its population-based share of the Maori fisheries settlement, now its mandate has been accepted by Te Ohui Kaimoana settlement trust.

Te Ohu Kaimoana chief executive Peter Douglas says all tribes in the Tainui waka have now

“So Hauraki, Waikato and Raukawa completed it last year and Ngati Maniapoto completed it this week, so now they’ve got an opportunity to come to agreements between themselves on how they’re going to share the inshore fisheries,” Mr Douglas says.

Some 41 of the 57 iwi have now completed mandating processes, and the trust is working with mandated iwi on ways to resolve disputes over coastal boundaries.


Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira believes the government is still determined to sell off Landcorp's Rangiputa and Whenuakite farms.

Landcorp announced this week it was taking them off the market for a year, while the government conducts a review of land held by departments and state owned enterprise.

Mr Harawira says if treaty claimants hadn't occupied the blocks, they would be in private hands already.

He says the original 30 day delay, announced at the height of the land occupations, wasn't long enough for the government to find a way to sell the land.

“They didn't have time to stitch up a proper review in 30 days, that’s all it was. The extension of it from 30 days to a year hasn’t changed one iota in my view government’s original intention, which was to sell off the land,” Mr Harawira says.

He says the government got into the Landcorp sale mess because it failed to consult with its own Maori MPs.


Tonight's regional Maori rugby game between the northern region Te Hiku o Te Ika, and the South Island, Te Waipounamu, will give Maori coach Donny Stevenson a chance to cast a wider net.

Mr Stevenson says six weeks out from the Maori team's defence of the Churchill Cup, it's essential he looks at players inside and outside the Super 14.

“We want to get a bit of depth in our rankings because you never know where we’re going to be in six weeks time with injuries and player availability in terms of All Blacks and Junior All Blacks so we’ve just to be sure that if need be our ranking are deep enough so we can pull guys in at short notice,” Donny Stevenson says.

The fact tonight's game is a curtain raiser to the clash between the Auckland Blues and the New South Wales Warratahs is an added bonus for fans.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Kahawai case shows shared fishery flaws

Ngapuhi chairperson Sonny Tau says a High Court ruling on kahawai should spell the end of the government's shared fisheries plan.

The court said Fisheries minister Jim Anderton must reconsider the catch limits and quota allocations for the fish, which is keenly sought by Maori recreational fishers.

Mr Anderton says the decisions shows the importance of the shared fisheries policy, which aims to redistribute the avalable catch of kahawai and other species between the the commercial, recreational and customary sectors.

Mr Tau says the minister got into trouble because he made decisions without proper information, and he'll make the same mistakes with the new policy.

“The recreational take isn’t being measured properly and that’s the first thing that needs to happen, especially in light of the shared fishery which the ministry continues to push at this time. They haven’t had good evidence of they haven’t had good advice to make these decisions, yet they’ve gone ahead and made these decisions,” Mr Tau says.

Almost all the commercially caugh kahawai goes to Australia as crayfish bait.


National list MP Tau Henare says kura kaupapa could be the losers if the government directs more Maori language resources towards mainstream schools.

Mr Henare, the party's Maori Affairs co-spokesperson, says those schools have struggled over the years to access Maori language teaching aids.

He says they may have cause for concern at the curriculum published this week for teaching te reo Maori in mainstream schools.

“When we focus all our attention on the mainstream, aren’t we taking away from the kura kaupapa that have already been established and are crying out for resources and that.
Mr Henare says.

While he welcomes any moves advance te reo Maori, he also wants to see Maori students doing better at basics like reading and writing.


The Ngai Tamanuhiri Whanui Trust is starting to see some results from its efforts to restore the health of Te Wherowhero and Brown's beaches near Gisborne.

Chief executive Dawn Pomana says the Conservation Department and community members are helping the iwi clean up the shoreline, recently filling several skips with rubbish.

Landowners are now buying in to the plan to eradicate pests, build a fence to keep predators out, and plant more than 40 thousand native trees.

“Putting back our native, bringing back all of the birds and things that we haven’t had for some time. Hopefully they will all come back when our plantings start developing and we’ll have much cleaner waterways. That's the plan,” Ms Pomana says.


Ngati Porou Whanui Forests head Chris Insley says a challenge by the Federation of Maori Authorities to the government's climate change policies won't affect his company's plans to plant thousands of acres of the East Coast in carbon sink forests.

FOMA executive vice chairperson Paul Morgan has indicated the federation is preparing a challenge to the government's plans to tax land concerted from forestry to other uses.

Mr Insley says while that is an issue which needs to be cleared up, Ngati Porou is in the planting business.

“The kaupapa that Federation of Maori Authorities is raising is valid, and it just needs to be worked through with government, and there are some signals coming out of government which I know Paul is signaling. Government is signaling equally that they are willing to sit down and discuss those, but it in no way impacts on the new project that Ngati Porou has just committed to,” Mr Insley says.


A new book by Maori and Pacific academics and customary leaders is challenging some of the hype around genetic engineering.

Contributor Aroha Mead from Victoria University says Pacific Genes and Life Patents is the first co-ordinated response by Pacific peoples to the hordes of genetic and biomedical researchers trying to exploit the unique flora, fauna and peoples of the South Pacific.

Ms Mead says Maori have experienced cases of unethical bio-research and had to put up with over-blown claims about the role genes play in issues like smoking, alcoholism and other social problems.

“So we really want to challenge the premises of this research and show that genetic research is very experimental, it’s a new area of science, and we shouldn’t take it as literally as some of the newscasts that we get,” Ms Mead says.

The Pacific region needs stronger laws governing genetic research and life patents.


Weavers from around the world are gathering today at Rongomaraeroa Marae at Porangahau on the Hawkes Bay coast.

Organiser Raina Ferris says the Kuruwaka workshop will be a chance for overseas manuhiri to learn more about Maori tikanga and custom and share their own worldviews.

“And what's beautiful is that we discover the commonalities between us and our belief systems too, pre-missionary I’m talking, and it’s lovely to rejoice in that,” Ms Ferris says.

The world weavers' workshop will also feature a ceremonial sweat lodge, medicine wheel teachings and visits to local sacred sites.

Bio research unethical too often

One of the contributors to a new book on genetic engineering says Maori are being subjected to unethical bio-research and gene patenting.

Aroha Mead, a senior lecturer at Victoria University, says the unique flora, fauna and people of the South Pacific have attracted hordes of genetic and biomedical researchers.

She says there has been a lack of ethical oversight of what is extremely experimental research, and Maori have been told their genetic make-up is to blame for everything from alcohol and smoking to teenage pregnancies.

“The implications of that, as well as making people feel really bad, is the underlying message is why bother having policy to improve Maori socioeconomic conditions, because they are fundamentally programmed to fail,” Ms Mead says.

She says the writers of the book, Pacific Genes and Life Patents, want to see a regional Pacific intellectual property office which can assess patent and trademark applications and counter attempts to patent indigenous life forms.


The Federation of Maori Authorities says the forestry industry is suffering a crisis of confidence over the government's response to climate change.

Executive vice chairperson Paul Morgan says FOMA will oppose any moves to impose a deafforestation tax or to confiscate carbon credits.

He says Maori control a third of the forestry estate, and they have serious concerns.

“There's a real a serious concern in the industry about the business certainty going forward – there’s none. We’re seeing deforestation taking place,. Unless that’s addressed, we will see further erosion of employment in the industry, and of course Maori are very significantly involved in forestry,” Mr Morgan says.

The Federation of Maori Authorities is considering a Waitangi Tribunal claim that any interference in Maori forestry interests is a breach of article two of the Treaty of Waitangi, which guarantees Maori undisturbed possession of their lands and forests.


Gisborne entertainer Toni Stewart is thanking a background in kapa haka for winning her a role in the German production of the The Lion King.

Ms Stewart was lead singer for Whangara mai Tawhitii, which won this year's national Te Matatini competition.

She has also performed with the Wahirere Maori Club, Te Waka Huia, Pounamu, Ngati Rangiwewehi and the Sir Howard Morrison Showband.

Stewart says kapa haka a great grounding for a career in musicals.

“Kapa haka has taught me how to sign properly and how to sing loud, which they like in the Lion King. Loud singers. New Zealand’s full of them. Should be more of them in the Lion King,” Stewart says.

She has already worked in the Sydney, Melbourne and Chinese productions.


Ngapuhi leader Sonny Tau is welcoming a High Court ruling that Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton must reconsider catch limits and quota allocations for kahawai.

Ngapuhi supported the case taken by the Recrational Fishing Council and the Big Game Fishing Council, who argued recreational fishing should take priority in the species.

Mr Tau says it was a mistake to bring kahawai into the quota system, and almost all the commercial catch goes to Australia as crayfish bait.

He says it's a victory for common sense.

“It's a victory for the ordinary person who likes to throw a line in the water now and then, especially us Maori up here It’s not about more fish in the chilly bin. It’s about more fish in the water so that our tamariki and their tamariki can go out and get a decent feed of fish for their families into the future,” Mr Tau says.

He says the judgment could force a review of other quota allocation decisions.


Maori educator Te Keepa Stirling says the new curriculum document for te reo Maori should help Maori-speaking children in the transition between primary and secondary schooling.

Mr Stirling, the kaumatua at South Auckland's Te Kura O Nga Tapuwae and a senior kapa haka judge, says the document released yesterday gives the language a better status in the school system.

He says many secondary schools struggled without proper guidance on how te reo should be taught.

“The fact that it’s now become part of the strategy, yep, I’m happy because it shows there needs to be a consistency when our students come from the primary school through to secondary school, it has a continuous pathway,” Mr Stirling says.


A Te Atiawa hapu is a step closer to seeing some of its traditional land in New Plymouth used for a Maori cultural centre.

Ngati Tawhirikura has a draft agreement with New Plymouth District Council to jointly administer the Rewa Rewa Reserve at the mouth of the Waiwhakaiho River.

The land was the site of Rewa Rewa Pa, and also includes an urupa.

Trustee Grant Knuckey says the agreement reflects the council's plan to use the land for public access to the coast, and the hapu's desire for a marae and for arts, cultural, educational, heritage and recreational facilities.

“We see council being a long term participator in the community, not like some businesses that over time will restructure and sell, and we have to change our partner. The council will be ongoing like ourselves,” Mr Knuckey says.

The full council is due to consider the agreement at its next meeting.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Maori population ageing

Massey University Maori studies head Mason Durie says census data shows people need to start planning for an ageing Maori population.

More in-depth data released yesterday shows that at the 2006 census the median age of Maori was 22.7 years, up from 21.9 in 2001.

Some 4.1 percent of Maori are now aged over 65.

Professor Durie says while that ageing population means it may be more difficult in the future to get a seat on the paepae, many of those older people may not be in good health.

“There is a warning here for iwi and other people who are planning Maori services that services for the elderly may need to assume greater importance. We’ve focussed a huge amount of attention in the last two or three decades on a young population. There is another population boom emerging as well, and we need to think about that,” Professor Durie says.

It's also likely that many of older Maori may face economic hardship, because they would have had lower than average incomes and long periods of unemployment through their lifetimes.


Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres says the release of a curriculum for teaching te reo maori in mainstream schools is a milestone.

Mr de Bres joined Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia for the launch of the draft curriculum at Newlands College yesterday.

He says it should make te reo Maori more accessible for all students.

“This is a curriculum that takes you from woe to go, in primary schools, secondary schools, whatever kind of school you’re at, and I think it provides the foundation for Maori really to be learnt as a special New Zealand language in all our schools. It will take a while for that to happen, but this really is the milestone,” Mr De Bres says.


A spokesman for Nelson Maori landowners says an eco-tourism development on a contentious piece of coastal land could be the way to bring the hapu together.

The Wakapuaka 1B Trust has called for expressions of interest for a development based around the Wakapuaka estuary and surrounding land.

Trustee Selwyn Katene says the six Ngati Tama families represented on the trust have fought a century-long battle to confirm their ownership of the tidal estuary.

Mr Katene says the High Court has ruled in their favour, and the owners feel it is time to build for the future.

“We're like any other family, there are few of us on the land. Most of us live in Nelson, down Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland, and it’s quite expensive to fly back to Nelson all the time but if we were to have a development down there, it would entice a lot of us to go down there more regularly and hopefully to settle down there,” Mr Katene says.

As well as some kind of revenue-producing business, Wakapuaka 1B would like to develop a marae, health centre and kura.


The head of Maori studies at Massey University says latest census data shows a major effort needs to go into increasing the educational qualifications of Maori males.

Mason Durie says while Maori participation in tertiary education has increased, most is at the certificate or sub-degree level, and far too many do not complete courses.

He says there is also an alarming gap between men and women.

“Maori men are much less likely to have a formal qualification than Maori women, and there’s some concern about that, particularly if we compare that and look at the current education statistics for school leavers and Maori boys performing worse than Maori girls and much worse than the general population,” Professor Durie says.

Lack of qualifications affects the choices Maori men have through their lives.


Labour list MP Shane Jones says Landcorp's decision to put off the sale of its land in the far north presents an opportunity to get some movement on Ngati Kahu's land claim settlement.

Ngati Kahu claimants occupied the Rangiputa station after the for-sale signs went up, forcing the government to review of the way state agencies and state owned enterprises disposed of surplus land.

Mr Jones says the row has brought to the surface many issues of growing public concern.

“In the north there is a great deal of support for that land to be restored back to Ngati Kahu and there’s an awareness in Ngati Kahu that the coastal areas shouldn’t be subdivided and flogged off, they should be put aside so that all local people can go camping, recreating, boating, because it’s getting harder and harder to do as lend becomes owned by either foreigners or rich New Zealanders who really aren’t interested in helping the public gain access to the coast,” Mr Jones says.

Labour's Maori caucus has lobbied vigorously behind the scenes to make sure senior ministers understand the anxiety Maori have about the treaty claim settlement process.


Maori academic Paul Moon says the new te reo Maori curriculum doesn't address schools' real problems.

Paul Moon from the Auckland University of Technology says students are drifting away from Maori-related subjects.

Dr Moon says the government needs to take a more fundamental look at how Maori issues are addressed in schools, and neither the te reo curriculum released yesterday nor the overarching curriculum do that

“What you're doing here is playing with the content and the thinking of a whole other generation that’s coming through, and you’ve got to be very careful. You can’t just at the stroke of a pen say we’ll do this differently and we’ll change this. You’ve got to think this will affect how a whole new generation sees what it is to be a New Zealander,” Dr Moon says.

Landcorp breathing space

Labour's Maori caucus chairperson says Landcorp's decision to put off any sale of its Whenuakite and Rangiputa farms for a year should give claimant groups a chance of negotiating a satisfactory outcome.

Shane Jones says the Maori Caucus will keep up pressure for surplus land identified in a review of the government's sale processes to be used for treaty settlements.

Mr Jones says the Maori Party had nothing to do with the Landcorp decision, but is trying to claim credit for the efforts of claimants and the Maori caucus.

“These are issues that have to be dealt with judiciously but dealt with conclusively and we’ve reached a conclusion. The land will not be sold, It’s reflective of the vigorous lobbying behind the scenes that the Maori caucus does because we’re part of government, and you have to maintain a very professional approach to maintain the confidence of the public when you’re in government, We don’t have the option of yelling and screaming like the Maori Party do,” Mr Jones says.

He now wants to see the Treaty Negotiations Minister sit down with the representatives of Ngati Kahu, Sir Graham Latimer and Niki Tauhara, to discuss the future of the Rangiputa Block.


Ngapuhi maverick David Rankin is challenging the venue for an historic meeting between the northern iwi and Te Arawa this week.

Te Arawa and the mayor of Rotorua are due at the Kaikohe offices of the Ngapuhi Runanga on Friday to discuss comments by a Rotorua councillor who compared 19th century Ngapuhi leader Hongi Hika with Nazi leader Adof Hitler.

Mr Rankin says any such meeting between iwi should be on a marae.

“The runanga office at 16 Mangakahia Road has no mana. We haven’t laid our dead there, we haven’t mihied, and we haven‘t expressed our things that are Maori inside the runanga office or the council office. The mauri for us as Maori belongs on the marae,” Mr Rankin says.

He says because the meeting isn't on a marae, he is withdrawing his offer to return a two hundred year old taiaha, Wii Te Parahi, which was captured by Hongi from Te Arawa on Mokoia Island.


A Black Caps team full of Maori and Pacific Island players.

That's the future as seen by Counties Manukau Cricket chief executive Bryan Dickinson.

The association is trying to interest more Maori and Pasific Island children in the sport, sending coaches out to south Auckland primary schools to run clinics and cricket-related activities.

He says Maori and Pacific Island children show the hand-eye coordination, agility and sharp reflexes needed ikn cricket.

“You see them playing kilikiti, they’ve all got the natural talent. We’re just seeing if we can tap into that and get them playing cricket as well,” Mr Dickinson says.


The Race Relations commissioner says migrant communities want to learn more about Maori, but most don't know where to ask.

Joris De Bres says International Race Relations Day today is a reminder of the culturally diverse country New Zealand has become.

He says there is room for improved cultural understanding between Maori and new arrivals to the country.

“If Maori communities take the initiative to initiate the welcome, I think that would be repaid in kind in terms of understanding and appreciation of indigenous culture. I think there’s a lot of receptiveness to that amongst migrants, but sometimes they don’t know how to uplift that opportunity,” Mr De Bres says.


The Minister of Maori Affairs says the draft te reo Maori curriculum launched today will make the language more accessible to more people.

The draft will be open for discussion for three months, and the final version will be released next year.

Parekura Horomia says while there has been a curriculum in kura kaupapa for 10 years, there have never been set guidelines for teaching te reo in mainstream schools.

He says the Maori language is unique to New Zealand, and should be available to all students.

“Promised those who challenged us that we had a full draft Maori curriculum coming out and this is the start of it, and certainly to make sure that it’s not just in the kura or the wharekura but it’s available to teachers, boards in all schools,” Mr Horomia says.

He says New Zealanders are increasingly supportive of Maori being used in public settings.


A Tainui waka builder is looking for sponsors to fund a return voyage to Hawaiiki.

Hoturoa Kerr, the kaiarahi of waka programmes at Te Wananga o Aotearoa, has built a double-hulled, nine-metre waka similar to those his ancestors sailed to Aotearoa on.

He wants to build a 20 metre version, at an estimated cost of $280 thousand, to make the return journey ot eastern Polynesia.

Mr Kerr says it's a way for young Maori to learn where the come from, in a physical and cultural sense.

“So where in the old days people were sailing from Hawaiki across the horizon to find a new land to live on, we say that’s great, but now in this day and age lets use the same kind of vehicle, a waka, to extend the horizons for our rangatahi and our people today,” Mr Kerr says.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Court clears obstacle to Taranaki settlement

Taranaki iwi Te Atiawa hopes a Court of Appeal decision on leasehold land at Waitara will speed up progress towards settlement of its raupatu claim.

The Court yesterday found against leaseholders, ruling the New Plymouth District Council can sell 146 hectares in Waitara to the Office of Treaty Settlements.

Te Atiawa Iwi Authority member Grant Knuckey says it will go in the land bank for the eventual settlement.

Mr Knuckey says it's what's left in public hands of the Pekapeka Block, which was occupied by the Crown in an incident which sparked the first Taranaki war.

“In terms of this particular block, there’s a bit of wairua that comes with that, so I think it’s quite significant that it’s now available and certainly will give people encouragement to resolve issues and make it happen,” Mr Knuckey says.

He says internal disputes in the iwi have delayed negotiations, and a settlement is three to five years away.


Taranaki's Inglewood Primary School says a programme to improve behaviour is proving particularly effective with it Maori students.

For the past four years Inglewood has been running an American designed programme called Reach, which stands for respect, expect, achieve, communicate and hauora or health.

Associate principal Karen Houghton says teachers develop individual plans for students, and they teaching good behaviour rather than punishing bad.

She says the mentoring aspect of Reach seemed to appeal to Maori pupils.

“You know they like ot take on the role of modeling to the younger ones which a lot of them are used to doing on the marae on different occasions in their families anyway. We’ve got some kids that are the used to putting their siblings to be, whereas some Europeans don’t do all that sort of stuff,” Ms Houghton says.

The Reach programme is now being picked up by other schools.


It's all hands to the chisel as carvers put the finishing touches to whakairo on the new Unitec marae.

Hane Paniora, a spokesperson for the Auckland polytechnic, says with site work underway, the team under master carver Lionel Grant is putting in long hours to finish the support beams and rafters,

“The carvers, the four of them, are flat tack at the moment, they’re under pressure,. They would still have a few, I think six poupou to do for the whare. I think there’s about 34 of these, and they’re also flat out doing all the heke for the whare,” Mr Paniora says.


Organisers of this week's Auckland secondary school's Maori and Pacific Island performing arts competitions are expecting a trouble free event.

Polyfest kicks off with a powhiri at the Manukau Sportsbowl this morning.

Director Craig Seuseu says 9000 pupils from 50 schools will be performing, and more than 90,000 spectators are expected over the four days.

There are separate stages for Maori, Tongan, Samoan, Cook Island and Niuean competitions, with other cultures represented on a non-competition diversity stage.

Mr Seuseu says despite being the largest event of its kind in the world, Polyfest is known as a peace-fest.

“We had zero arrests last year, zero problems, police were telling us that the intelligence they have around the place, because they always keep an ear open for what could happen at the festival, they’re saying that things are quite quiet up there,” Mr Seuseu says.

The theme of the festival will be tributes to the late Te Arikinui Dame Te Ataairangikaahu and late King Taufa'ahou Tupou IV of Tonga.


One of the country’s top Maori policemen is challenging Maori families to take more responsibility for whanau members who get in trouble with the law.

Superintendent Viv Rickard, the Waitemata District commander, says the small percentage of Maori involved in crime need their whanau to show them another way.

Mr Rickard says Maori support systems should kick in before it's too late.

“Some people aren’t taking individual responsibility, and it’s everyone else’s fault. Well, I know people have had some bad starts, but as family, Maori, we’re fantastic about getting around people when they die. It’s when they’re alive that I actually want us to get around our young people,” Mr Rickard says.

He says there is little to be gained from blaming the government or the system if relations break the law.


Nelson iwi Ngati Kuia is trying to find melodies for the words of its ancestors.

Spokesperson Wayne Hippolite says the iwi's Waitangi claim researchers came across a manuscript in the Alexander Turnbull Library containing waiata and oriori collected from the top of the South Island by anthropologist Percy Smith in the late 19th century.

Mr Hippolite says it was a valuable source of information for Ngati Kuia and neighbouring tribes.

“So it was really important for us to have waiata that belonged to us, and finding those scripts, those kupu, has allowed us to bring back to life some of the korero of the iwi. It’s been awesome,” Mr Hippolite says.

He says the iwi have had to imagine what melodies might have been used in the days the songs were written.

Ngati Porou forestry boss logs off

The departing general manager of the Ngati Porou Whanui Forests says the company is well poised to deliver hundreds of millions of dollars in added value to Ngati Porou landowners.

Chris Insley is stepping down after four and a half years to complete a doctorate at Waikato University.

Mr Insley, who already holds a degree from Harvard Business School, wants to pursue consulting opportunities worldwide.

He says the Ngati Porou forestry project is in good shape after the deal with London-based investors to plant several thousand hectares of new forests on the East Coast to take advantage of emerging markets for carbon credits.

“That on the back of the very large existing joint venture with the Korean people that the company has creates a really strong solid platform for the business to go forward,” Mr Insley says.

Chairperson Whaimutu Dewes says Ngati Porou Whanui Forests has achieved significant growth under Insley's leadership.


The Association of University Staff says the Tertiary Education Commission is watering down its commitment to Maori by removing references to the Treaty of Waitangi from the new Tertiary Education Strategy.

Maori officer Naomi Manu says the emphasis should be on improving recruitment, retention and achievement rates of Maori.

Ms Manu says a lack of responsiveness means the Maori students will become further marginalised.

“The minimising of things Maori and of things that are important to Maori plays a bIg role in developing a sector or growing a sector which is responsive to Maori,” Ms Manu says.

The Association of University Staff expects Maori participation to continue declining unless targeted programmes are put in place.


The late Te Arikinui Dame Te Ataairangikaahu and late King Taufa'ahou Tupou IV of Tonga will be honoured at this weeks Polyfest in South Auckland.

The biggest event of its kind in the world, the annual Auckland secondary schools' culture competitons kick off tomorrow at James Cook High School in Manurewa and the Manukau Sportsbowl.

There are five stages for Maori, Tongan, Samoan, Cook Island, Niuean and other cultures.

Event director Craig Seuseu says the deaths of the two significant Polynesian leaders will be used as a theme for many performances.

“The theme itself is used, it’s actually used in the Polyneisan dances and the theme for composing the various dances and the script and the songs that go along with the performances,” Mr Seuseu says.

Up to 9000 secondary school pupils and more than 90,000 spectators are expected at the four-day event.


Northland iwi Ngapuhi has decided it should present its claims to the Waitangi Tribunal.

A claims design group has been working for several months on how its claims should be handled, with some early indications there could be a preference for direct negotiations.

But Ngapuhi chairperson chairperson Sonny Tau says the iwi has now written to the Waitangi Tribunal requesting it be put on the hearings timetable.

Mr Tau says the iwi wants a process where it will be in control, rather than the agenda being set by lawyers.

“The desire of the hapu was to tell their stories. Hence the quite in depth hearings design that we’ve sent the tribunal That was the reasoning, because they all decided to go there,” Mr Tau says.

Ngapuhi will hold meetings with its members to explain the plans, starting at Parawhenua Marae in Te Ahuahu on Friday and Manurewa marae on Saturday.


Bay of Islands hapu Ngati Rehia wants to take a more hands on approach to environmental management and development..

Runanga administrater Waata Rameka says Ngati Rehia's economic future depends on the way it can use natural and heritage resources.

He says Ngati Rehia and neighbours Ngati Torehina have set up a business unit, Ahi Kaa Advisors, with a range of responsibilities.

“The rohe, whaklapapa, nga marae, he tiriti, relationships, whenua, nga wai, te moana, heritage, monitoring and reviewing ne,” Mr Rameka says.

The hapu will be looking for opportunities in aquaculture, indigenous forestry and eco and cultural tourism.


Maori from the top of the South Island have discovered a valuable historical resource at the Alexander Turnbull Library.

Wayne Hippolite from Ngati Kuia says the previously unknown manuscript by 19th century anthropologist, Percy Smith, contains dozens of waiata relating to various iwi in the region.

Mr Hippolite says it's an exciting find.

“There are over 100 weaiata in there, and not all beling to our iwi, but to iwi on the top of the south – all types, oriori, pao. The ones that we’ve mainly tried to utilize and bring back to life are the waiata tangi,” Mr Hippolite says.

The manuscript was found by researchers working on the tribe's Waitangi Tribunal claim.

Junior officials rush to judgment on custom

A lawyer for the Marutuahu confederation of tribes says decisions were made about who has rights to make claims in Auckland by officials with no experience or competence in Maori custom and law.

Paul Majurey says last week's Waitangi Tribunal hearing into the proposed settlement with Ngati Whatua o Orakei showed up the settlement process as embarrassingly deficient.

Mr Majurey says other iwi, whose traditional links to Tamaki Makaurau are widely known and understood in the Maori world, finally found out why they could get no satisfaction or explanation from the Office of Treaty Settlements.

“They had an individual who with one ro two years post-university experience was making calls on custom. He was saying ‘I think this tribe’s in and that tribe’s out.’ Well, that’s just pathetic and completely disregarding our interests and would never happen in a proper Waitangi Tribunal process,” Mr Majurey says,

Marutuahu and other tribes want Ngati Whatua's agreement in principal set aside so a comprehensive Auckland settlement can be developed.


The Ministry of Social Development's East Coast commissioner says the future is looking good for Maori employment.

Lindsay Scott says in a region with traditionally high rates of Maori joblessness, the number of people on the dole has dropped 57 percent in the past five years.

Mr Scott says while the region has a lot of seasonal employment, the changes are coming in permanent work.

“Looking out in the longer term there are some good indicators that more sustainable jobs are coming on stream for Maori people. For example in Gisborne we have got 230 people on modern apprenticeships and 55 of those are in building and construction, and a high proportion of the people on those apprenticeships are Maori people,” Mr Scott says.


Producers of a film about a young Maori boy and his twin sister living on a chicken farm in the north are scouring the country for new talent.

Shooting for The Strength of Water is due to start in August.

The script was written by Briar Grace-Smith from Ngapuhi and Ngati Wai, who is known for plays like Purapurawhetu, Nga Pou Wahine, and Haruru Mai.

It's been six year in development, including sessions at the Sundance screenwriters workshop in Utah last year.

Grace-Smith says the number of Maori writing, producing and starring in films has grown massively since Once Were Warriors made Tem Morrison and Rena Owen household names, and it's great to see the diversity on show.

“We've seen all kinds of different stories and different images of who we are as Maori on the screen, and we show ourselves in our many colours I guess, so all the old stereotypes we saw way back have all been broken,” Grace-Smith says.


A Massey University professor of Maori studies says building more wind turbines on the Tararua Ranges will weaken the mauri or life force of the hills.

Taiarahia Black is supporting an objection by He Kupenga Hao i te Reo Inc to the granting of a resource consent to the Motorimu Wind Farm for 127 turbines on the hills near Palmerston North.

Professor Black says the plan ignores the relationship Maori have with the land.

“It's tapu summit, stood apart, a source of expression of the people, and their point of contact with the sky, and words like mana, mauri, wairua tapu are repositories, a guardian spirit, and the mauri is kept safe and connected to the land, and people in this case today, the mountainous range, te pae maunga o Tararua,” Professor Black says,

The planned farm is close to land where He Kupenga Hao i te Reo plans to build a retreat for people who want to immerse themselves in te reo Maori.


One of Maoridom's most high-flying academics says drop-outs shouldn't be written off.

Linda Smith, a director of the centre for Maori research excellence Nga Pae O Te Maramatanga, was one of the speakers at a symposium on Maori education in Auckland yesterday.

She says the symposium, From Pupil to Professor, is part of an effort by the Maori academic community to identify ways more Maori can become academic leaders.

Professor Smith says university is different to school, but many Maori don't even get through school.

“Instead of dismissing them we have to think of them as an untapped potential we haven’t reached,. And the role of schooling is to try and reach not just those students who sit in the first two rows of a classroom. We’ve got to reach all out our students and tap their potential so they can go on and achieve, because we know our people can achieve,” Professor Smith says.


Ngai Tahu author and poet Keri Hulme will be weaving her life into the Eternal Thread exhibition at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu next week.

The Booker prizewinner read and talk about her life as a writer, as part of a series of presentations by Maori artists during the show of contemporary and traditional Maori weaving.

Toi Maori general manager Garry Nicholas says Hulme always gives a unique perspective on the arts.

“Been a whitebaiter down there living on the coast, but able to engage in an art form which is literature which takes her throughout the world, so for Maori we understand that, to stay at home, to be very close to your land and the things that are important, but to speak to the world is one of the things we all aspire to,” Mr Nicholas says.

Smoke and mirrors hide settlement value

A lawyer for the Marutuahu confederation says the Crown used smoke and mirrors to hide the true cost of a proposed settlement with Ngati Whatua o Orakei.

Paul Majurey says last week's Waitangi Tribunal Tamaki Makau Rau hearing flushed out damaging information about the way the Office of Treaty Settlements handled claims to central Auckland.

Other iwi say their interests in the region were totally ignored.

Mr Majurey says the value of more than $50 million in naval housing land on the North Shore the Orakei hapu is to receive was discounted to zero.

He says the Crown is also trying to claim a right of first refusal for surplus Crown land has no financial value, despite evidence to the contrary from other settlements.

“You can nominally purchase it one day, not pay over any money, and collect several millions of dollars in profit the next day, pay out the Crown, and you’ve got your profit to do other things with. And it’s not a bad thing to happen, Ngai Tahu have had it and other tribes have had it, but don’t try to tell us it’s got a zero value to try to minimise what value the settlement is,” Mr Majurey says.

He says the Crown should allow a proper investigation of all Auckland claims.


The new chief librarian of the Alexander Turnbull Library says he is pleased at the increasing number of Maori finding work in libraries.

Chris Szekely, (PRON Cee- Kay) from Ngapuhi, was the city librarian at Manukau City Council, and will now head New Zealand’s leading heritage research library.

He says the number of Maori librarians has grown from a handful to almost 200, and they have worked to make libraries more inviting for Maori as places to work, study and use.

“It’s pleasing to me as someone who was here at an early stage to see a generation later that we’ve got young Maori coming through with degrees, with confidence, with visiuon about where Maori need to be going,” Mr Szekely says.

He was welcomed to the library in Wellington this morning.


The pressure has gone off a marae near the lower reaches of the Whangaehu River with the break in the Ruapehu crater lake.

The lahar of mud and water which was five metres high in the headwaters of the Whangaehu was barely noticeable by the time the extra water got to the river mouth.

Whangaehu Marae spokesperson Pahia Turia says after being inundated twice in recent year the marae has been building a flood protection wall.

He says it's just as well the lahar did not come on top of flood conditions.

“We'd done three sides. We’re on the last side now and yesterday when I heard the crater lake I thought to myself ‘damn, if it breaks we’re in trouble,’” Mr Turia says.

He's disappointed Civil Defence did not warn those living close to the lower reaches of the river that the lahar was on its way.


An education symposium in Auckland today focused on how Maori participation in academia can be improved.

From Pupil to Professor was organised by Te Pae O Te Maramatanga, the multi-university centre for Maori research excellence.

Director Linda Smith says there are many barriers to Maori achieving the kind of post-graduate degrees required for academic leadership.

They include steering Maori away from maths and science at high school level, which means students can find themselves blocked off from areas of tertiary study.

“The truth of the matter is wherever we are in the system there are barriers and I think what we’re trying to do is identify the key ones and think abut how all of us, altogether can help get rid of the barrier and get our students through in greater numbers,” Professor Smith says.

She says long term strategies are needed to address the problems.


The chief executive of Ngati Whatua o Orakei is defending the process used to arrive at the tribe's settlement of its central Auckland land claims.

The Office of Treaty Settlements came under fire at a Waitangi Tribunal hearing last week, with tribunal members and cross-claimants questioning whether Ngati Whatua had got special treatment over other iwi with traditional ties to the Tamaki isthmus.

But Tiwana Tibble says Ngati Whatua had to establish its mandate before talks could start, and there were robust processes used.

Mr Tibble says it was not practical to talk to cross claimants until Ngati Whatua and the Crown had agreed on the historical account to be included in the agreement in principle.

“Because it will not go through a triubunal process, the only record it will have about this case is in the agreed historical account, so it was very important for Sir Hugh and his team at the time to get that right,” Mr Tibble says.

He says Ngati Whatua left some assets on the table for other iwi.


Ten thousand dollars will be shared between the Waiohiki Marae and community arts centre after a St Patricks Day celebration with a difference in the Hawkes Bay on Saturday.

The Hui and Huili brought together those who share Maori and Irish Whakapapa.

Organiser Dennis O'Reilly says things looked a bit quiet at the church service first thing in the morning, but a big crowd turned out later in the day.

The programme included korero from Ngai Tahu elder Sir Tipene O'Regan and governer General Anand Satyanand, a Celtic-Maori art auction and the St Patricks day dance.

“Then in the evening we had Frankie Stevens and Brannigan and his Ka Pai Band and my god, what a rocking night. We couldn’t get them to the church service mate, but couldn’t keep them away from the party. We were celebrating being Maori, being Irish, and we were celebrating all being New Zealanders. It was great,” Mr O'Reilly says.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Canterbury teachers too negative

Lincoln University’s assistant vice chancellor Maori says too many teachers still hold negative attitudes about their Maori students.

Maori educators in Canterbury are concerned the region has the highest rate of suspensions and stand-downs for Maori students in the country, and the fourth lowest rate of Maori achievement in schools.

Hirini Matunga says a negative attitude to Maori and Maori kids can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“I think that’s where one of the problems is, teachjing the teachers of our children to better understand their Maori students, to understand how they tick, and hopefully take a positive attitude to them and their learning,” associate professor Matunga says.


National's Maori affairs co-spokesperson Geogina te Heuheu says her party's policy to scrap Maori seats is a trade off for treaty settlements.

National plans to kick off the constitutional process for ending the seats in 2014, if it is in power.

Mrs te Heuheu says that's a realistic timetable.

“It makes sense to link it with things like the end of the settlement process, the final conclusion of all claims, by which time hopefully Maori statistics have also improved,” Mrs Te Heuheu says.


But Labour list MP Shane Jones says the only Maori policy National is firm on is getting rid of the Maori seats, and everything else is vague promises.

Mr Jones says Labour has showed leadership by setting a 2008 date for lodging historical claims, but there is no logical connection between claims and Maori political representation.

“Our position is very clear. Maori seats will remain for as long as Maori voters continue to support the seats. I think that the muddle and the confused signals coming from National is just reflective of the fact they have no clear policy,” Mr Jones says.


A proud day for the Manahi whanau and the whole of Te Arawa.

That's how the Rotorua Deputy Mayor Trevor Maxwell described this weekend’s formalities at the marae at Ohinemutu to honour Maori Battalion sergeant Haane Manahi.

Prince Andrew presented three taonga to the tribe, including a ceremonial sword from the collection of his grandfather, King George VI.

The Duke of York also attended a service at Sergeant Manahi's graveside, along with surviving members of the 28 Maori Battalion.

“The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, came down to Tamatekapua at Te Papaiouru Marae. It was a proud day, not only for the Manahi family but for the whole of Te Arawa. It was a beautiful day,” Mr Maxwell says.

Prince Andrew was also guest of honour at a ball to mark the event, and yesterday visited the tribe’s sacred island Mokoia in Lake Rotorua.


Greens education spokesperson Metiiria Tuurei says the drop in Maori studying at tertiary education reflects a drop in Government support.

Ms Turei says cuts to scholarships and subsidies has reversed what had been an historic increase in participation of Maori at tertiary level.

She says in responding to National Party attacks on race-based funding, the government scrapped useful programmes like Manaaki Tauira grants.

“It was incredibly useful, especially for those whom the education system had failed when they were younger and who were wanting to be re-educated at that tertiary level. The Government also cut the SSG grant which gave universities money to help support those Maori students who went through tertiary education,” Ms Turei says.


A Christchurch educator says Canterbury schools are taking steps to address the underachievement of Maori students, but they take time to get results.

Hirini Mutunga, the vice chancellor Maori at Lincoln University, says the region should be embarrassed by the ongoing under-achievement of Maori students.

He says it’s hard for teachers with little understanding of Maori concepts to get the best out of those students.

Associate professor Matunga says there are things that can be done.

“To be fair I think there are some initiatives that are trying to cut through that. Ngai Tahu has acknowledged that it is a major problem, and they’ve entered into a partnership with the Ministry of Education though a programme called Te Kete o Aoraki to work more closely with schools to assist their Maori students, but these might take a couple of years to kick in,” Mr Matunga says.


The national Maori rugby coach is singing the praises of Crusaders’ first five, Stephen Brett, who was a major contributor to the Canterbury team’s 32-10 win over the Bulls in Christchurch over the weekend.

Donny Stevenson says the 21 year old is following in the footsteps of All Black Daniel Carter.

Stephen Brett was born in Waiouru but raised in Christchurch and has ties to Ngati Kahu in the north.

Mr Stevenson says although it's still early days, Brett is has the skills to make it to the top.

“It’s pretty lofty comparison but he’s got a pretty sound game. He’s quick, he’s explosive, he can kick, he can run, so he’s got the full artillery, but it’s his first year in that top level, so time will tell there, but certainly he’s a player for the future,” Mr Stevenson says.