Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Saturday, May 05, 2007

OTS document dump discloses botched process

Tamaki Makaurau MP Pita Sharples says the withholding of potentially crucial documents by the Office of Treaty Settlements is a sign of deeper problems in the claim settlement process.

The Waitangi Tribunal this week issued a please explain note to the Crown after it realised the significance of documents filed four weeks after a the end of the hearing into claims against the process used to settle Ngati Whatua's Tamaki Makaurau claims.

Acting chairperson Carrie Wainwright asked why Crown officials did not mention the documents at the hearing, despite direct questioning on the relevant issues.

Dr Sharples says the controversy should come as no surprise to claimants or politicians.

“The process of handling the treaty claims is absolutely shocking, and the rules and the way in which they are implemented, the tactics used by the Office of Treaty Settlements, everything leaves so much to be desired. It is really really bad,” Dr Sharples says.

The Maori Party is not taking sides in how the Tamaki Makaurau claim should be settled.


Hamilton's Fraser High School will this weekend host the Waikato regional schools' kapa haka competition.

Groups from 12 schools will compete for spots at the national schools's competition, but not Fraser High.

Organising committee chair Brendon Morgan says the school is taking on the role because it complements the Te Kotahitanga programme has adopted to improve the achievement of its Maori pupils.

“We've decided to host to boost the morale and get the people involved within our kura to come and support something Maori for our Maori students, and form there we’re definitely looking at, in the very near future, to adopt a kapa haka group at Taniwharau,” Mr Morgan says.


There's just over a week to go until entries close for the Pikihuia Awards for Maori writers.

Maori Literature Trust chairperson Robyn Bargh from Huia Publishers says interest is growing in the competition, which aims to encourage Maori to pick up the pen.

Ms Bargh says it's been a big career step for finalists.

“The important thing for budding writers to know is that some of the winners of the previous awards have gone on to do great things and publish books, so James George, Isabel Waiti Mulholland, Paula Morris, Kelly Ana Morey, Aroha Harris, have all produced books and have had opportunities to go to writers’ festivals around the world,” Ms Bargh says.

Submissions through Huia Publishers close on May 15.


Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says getting loans to build on multiply-owned Maori land doesn't need to be hard, if owners can show unity of purpose.

Government ministers are promoting better use of family land as a way for Maori to overcome some of the obstacles to home ownership, but there is a traditional perspective that banks are reluctant to lend because they don’t understand the security.

Mr Horomia says he has seen many examples of Maori families coming up with innovative ways to build on their ancestral lands.

“If we want it kept collectively under our laws of tikanga, we’re going to have to confront how we manage and convince banks that it’s ok to lend on it, and in some cases if families are strong enough, they get it organized,” Mr Horomia says.


One of New Zealand’s young Maori leaders has been recognised for his contributions.

Areti Metuamate was one of six people this week honoured with a Young Community Leaders Awards from governor general Anand Satyanand.

Mr Metuamate, from Ngati Raukawa and Ngati Kauwhata, works for Te Tai Tonga MP Mahara Okeroa and is the national secretary of the Te Runanga o te Haahi Katorika - the Maori council of the Catholic Church.

He also has been involved with Te Runanga o Raukawa, was part of a rangatahi hauora research group, is on the national World Youth Day committee, and works with hui Katorika around the country.

Mr Metuamate feels he hasn't done anything out of the ordinary.

“Like many of our people you just do what you think you can to contribute to a community. I went to a Catholic Maori boarding school, and that’s the sort of philosophy they instill in you, and also spending time with our kaumatua and kuia whose whole philosophy is all about what we can do for our people, so for me it’s not something you need to be acknowledged in a reward, but of course it's nice to be,” Mr Metuamate says


The camouflage gear and waders are at the ready for tomorrow's opening of the duck season.

For Maori sportsman turned television presenter Tawera Nikau, it signals the start of an annual family reunion.

Whanau from around the country make tracks to Lake Waikere, north east of Huntly.

Mr Nikau has been duckshooting since he was seven, and plucking ducks is a family tradition.

He's not a bad cook either, if you like your duck boiled, fried, roasted, curried or cooked in a hangi.

But his big advantage is his surefire way of luring an unlucky duck into his scopes, a full range of duck calls.

Tawera Nikau with that quack track.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Deadline for full disclosure of Crown case

The Office of Treaty Settlements has until noon today to give the Waitangi Tribunal any documents which may be relevant to its proposed settlement of Auckland claims with Ngati Whatua o Orakei.

Tribunal acting chairperson Carrie Wainwright demanded the documents after the discovery of a previously undisclosed 2003 report, which challenged the historical research underlying the $80 million settlement.

Judge Wainwright says the tribunal can't safely complete its Tamaki Makaurau Settlement Process report until all significant questions are answered.

Ngati Te Ata kaumatua Eru Thompson says while the delay is hard on the tribes challenging the proposed settlement, it's crucial an accurate historical record is established.

“It's our historical background, who we are, the effect it will have on us in the future of course if the decisions are made and the historical events aren’t reflected, and so the concerns for all claimants, all of the tribes, is that part of their history, our history will now be removed as the result of the direction they’re taking at the moment,” Mr Thompson says

He says the Office of Treaty Settlements was wrong to exclude other tribes with historical links to Auckland from the Ngati Whatua settlement process.


The attitudes of health professionals is one of the reasons cited for a disproportionately high level of hospital admissions for Maori children with asthma.

Asthma Foundation Maori services director Sunny Wikiriwhi says Maori and non-Maori have similar incidence of asthma and respiratory disease, but the symptoms for Maori are much more severe.

Ms Murray says that's why they're twice as likely to require hospitalisation.

She says the foundation's new Maori reference group will try to tackle some of the barriers which Maori families face.

“More commonly cited barriers for Maori is about the cost of consultation, that’s the cost of going to a GP, access to transport to get to hospitals, to see their GP, telephone costs, and another one that is quite often talked about from a Maori perspective is the attitude of health professionals,” Ms Wikiriwhi says.

Many Maori parents feel put down by health professionals talking to them in clinical and technical language about their child's health.


An Auckland based lawyer says many Maori are hesitant to draft wills because they fear the act will make death come sooner.
Andrew Lawson, who spent a decade working at the Mangere Community Law Centre in South Auckland, says that's the feedback he gets when he goes to tangi.

“That reticence, almost as if making a will is bringing it on or close, you know, it’s not something that people are proactive some times, and it’s just a formal document that basically sets out your wishes,” Mr Lawson says.

Maori need to spread the message about the benefits of spelling out what happens to taonga, including interests in Maori land, and the problems they leave for whanau if they die without a will.


Fellow broadcasters, friends and members of the many communities touched by the late Henare Te Ua will get a chance to say their farewells in Auckland today.

The long time head head of Radio New Zealand's former Te Reo o Aotearoa Maori and Pacific Island unit died on Wednesday aged 74.

He will be taken to St Matthews in the City at 10 this morning, and lie in state until a service at 7 this evening.

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says as a grandson of Ngati Porou leader Sir Apirana Ngata, Mr Te Ua was able to bring real authority to his role.

“In his sort of stately way he carried himself with something he was born and bred with, and I suppose in that sense his ability to project what he thought and really talk on behalf of his people was something I’ll sadly miss and just knowing Henare and the great person he was, he really was a true professional,” Mr Horomia says.

After tonight's service, Henare Te Ua's body will be taken to Waihirere near Gisborne, where he was brought up, and he will be buried there on Sunday.


Ngapuhi chairperson Sonny Tau says the next head of the Fisheries Ministry needs to understand Maori and treaty issues.

Current chief executive John Glaister has resigned for family reasons and will return to Australia.

During his two and a half year reign, Dr Glaister proposed changes which Maori see as undermining the treaty fisheries settlement and the industry believes will undermine its commercial viability.

Mr Tau says getting an outsider was a bold experiment which didn't pay off, and the State Services Commission should look for someone who understands New Zealand's unique fisheries environment and can balance customary, commercial and recreational interests.

“I think that they should be looking for a person who has a lot of experience in fisheries and also an experience working with the different sectors and actually understanding the legislation that they currently have,” Mr Tau says.

He says Dr Glaister's reign woke Maori up to the real value of their fisheries settlement.


Former Silver Fern Noelene Taurua says top Maori netballers will benefit from international experience in a trans Tasman competition.
The competition starts next year with five teams each from New Zealand and Australia.

Ms Taurua, who coaches the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, says it will provide a path for Maori players into national squads and make them focus more on their sport.

“Be awesome to get more international exposure and at that semi-professional level – it’s not fully professional, but it is a step in the right direction,” Ms Taurua says.

She'll be looking at how young Maori players like Liana Barret Chase, Danika Wipiiti and Te Huinga Reo Selby-Ricket from the Southern Sting benefit from playing at a higher level.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Fisheries boss Glaister quits early

The man who united Maori, commercial and recreational fishing interests has quit as head of the Fisheries Ministry.

John Glaister announced today he is returning to Australia for family reasons after less than three years on the job.

Ngapuhi chairperson Sonny Tau says the sectors were united in opposition to the shared fisheries policy developed by Dr Glaister.

The proposed policy would take quota from commercial operators to make more available for recreationalists.

Mr Tau says Dr Glaister's time at the ministry was valuable in that it woke up tribes to the value of their fisheries settlement allocations.

“He's pulled them out of their comfort zone and made them realise they have a significant investment in the recreational sector, in the customary sector of course, and in the commercial sector,” Mr Tau says.

Dr Glaister's successor needs to understand the Maori and treaty dimension of the New Zealand fisheries environment.


A proposal to restrict access to some official records in a bid to cut down on identity fraud is especially bad for Maori, according to an Auckland historian.

Graeme Hunt is critical of the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Amendment Bill.

Mr Hunt believes it's an attack on press and academic freedom that locks up records which have been public since 1848.

He says Maori could be caught out because their understanding of family, is wider than in a European sense.

“Whanau can encompass hapu, iwi, it can encompass people who are not directly related family members, but they form part of the wider whanau, and my concern is if this bill goes ahead it will be very very difficult for Maori families in particular to undertake family research,” Mr Hunt says.

He says being able to research family connections is a fundamental right for every New Zealander.


Injuries to key players is the biggest concern for Maori rugby coach Donny Stevenson ahead of the team's departure for the Churchill Cup in England.

New Zealand Maoris will play three games in its bid to retain the cup.

The first is against Canada on May the 25th.

Stevenson says there is a lot of talent available, but there is always the risk of injury.

“The closer we get to the tournament the harder it is because there’s sort of no recovery time, so any injury can be quite critical to our selections,” Mr Stevenson says.

The team assembles in Auckland on May 14.


The amended anti-smacking bill has been hailed as a good compromise by Maori Anglican leader Hone Kaa.

Dr Kaa joined yesterday's march on Parliament in support of Green MP Sue Bradford's bill to amend section 59 of the Crimes Act.

He supports the bill because of his first hand experience of the impact of violence on Maori whanau.

Dr Kaa says an amendment brokered between Prime Minister Kelen Clark and National leader John Key, which reiterates the ability of police to use their discretion in taking cases, was a face-saving way of getting the bill through.

“It was a good compromise. It still allows for police intervention but it leaves the discretion with the police. What is odd of course is that discretion was always there, but what it does do now is the amendment now spells out the level at which the police might use that discretion,” Dr Kaa says.

He's pleased to see the Christian right kicked into touch.


The chair of Ngati Whatua hapu Te Uri o Hau says it shouldn't be necessary for the Government to buy back coastal at Te Arai, just south of Mangawhai.

Conservation Minister Chris Carter says the government is considering buying back the land, which includes the breeding grounds of rare birds.

The department did not object when the Crown sold the land to Te Uri o Hau as part of its 2002 treaty settlement.

Mr Kemp says the hapu's development plans take into account the need to protect the natural features.

“We only want to use 5 percent of the land for building to make our money. The rest will be in parks and camping grounds so that there’s access way for the whole of the community. But if the Crown wants to pay us the money and go and do that, well that's fine,” Mr Kemp says.

The development can make a considerable contribution to the future welfare of the hapu, so it won't sell the land cheaply.


The Asthma and Respitory Foundation's Maori services director says Maori parents need to become more aware of asthma symptoms.

New Zealand has the second highest rate of asthma in the world, with more than half a million school days a year lost to asthma-related absences.

Sunny Wikiriwhi says while the prevalence of asthma among Maori and non-Maori is about the same, the symptoms for Maori are more severe.

“Maori require hospitalization twice as often as non-Maori. Our tamariki for example quite often have more days out of school because of respiratory illness,” Ms Wikiriwhi says.

The Asthma Foundation has established a Maori reference group to address the issues underlying the high Maori asthma rate.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Pines no answer to East Coast pollution

A Ngati Porou environmental scientist says the Gisborne District Council is not pulling its weight in the effort to stop erosion in the Waiapu River catchment.

Tui Warmenhoven from He Oranga Mo Nga Tuku Iho Trust says the Waiapu has some of the the highest sediment pollution levels in the world.

She says the council's response is the East Coast Forestry Project, which encourages pine plantations.

Ms Warmenhoven says that strategy hasn't worked, and it's time to restore the land back to its earlier condition.

“The people here want to have government support to plant natives and other trees that are much more sustainable to our environment, to our economy, to our culture. We don’t readily get that option. We just get thrown the pine tree and the willow tree,” Ms Warmenhoven says.

Many farmers see planting natives as an impediment to pastoral farming.


National's associate health spokesperson says Maori are paying the price for unfair distribution of mental health funding.

Jonathan Coleman says spending on mental health has gone up, but Maori still have trouble accessing services.

Dr Coleman says that's because too much is being spent on management and not enough on appropriate services.

“There's plenty of money in the system, but the problem is it’s not getting to where it’s needed. There’s Maori people in the community who would really benefit from accessing mental health services but for whatever reason they’re not getting into the service,” Dr Coleman says.


A new book has attempted to chronicle Maori opposition to the neoliberal policies adopted by successive governments since 1984.

Resistance editor Maria Bargh says neoliberalism and free market ideologies been a new form of colonisation for Maori.

Dr Bargh says Maori workers often caught the brunt of neo-liberal policies, and in some cases they fought back.

She says the book should help put recent Maori history into context.

“When people in the supermarket or your workplace or other places start attacking Maori rights and putting Maori down and things, like that, I think this book gives people a number of responses that they can present to people like that and just put a reasoned case forward,” Dr Bargh says.

Maori resistance took many forms, and the book will appeal to people interested in globalisation and its impact on indigenous communities.


Maori spectrum claimants are considering going back to the Privy Council over the Government's latest interference in the mobile phone market.

Economic Development Minister Trevor Mallard has ruled out regulating the amount phone companies charge to switch calls between fixed and mobile networks, and will instead allow Telecom and Vodafone to lower the charges at their own pace.

Maanu Paul from the Maori Council says the move means the frequencies Maori won six years ago in a supposed settlement of the spectrum claims are virtually useless to New Zealand Communications, a new mobile network company partly owned by the Maori spectrum trust.

Mr Paul says the Privy Council left the door open if the Crown and Maori were unable to reach a satisfactory settlement, and it looks like it is time to take that option.

“With the deal that Mallard has now done with Vodafone and Telecom, it’s obviously the old schoolboy necktie system in operation, and that this government is too gutless to operate a policy in good faith and so they’re not going to be reasonable with Maori, they’re going to be totally unreasonable, and this trust will fail,” Mr Paul says.

He says Mr Mallard has fought Maori interests every step of the way on spectrum issues.


Keeping a track where families are living should improve Maori immunisation rates.

Health Ministry senior advisor Alison Roberts says data from the National Immunisation Register shows almost one in three Maori babies does not get an immunisation shot in their first year, compared with one in six Pakeha and Asian babies.

That leaves the population vulnerable to epidemics of measles and hooping cough.

Dr Roberts says many Maori children fail to complete immunisation courses because their parents move house in their first year.

“Now with the National Immunisation Register being able to track children better, ie, any provider from anywhere in the country can look up a child’s immunisation on the register and immunise that child whenever they see them, I’d like to think we can immunise the child more easily,” Dr Roberts says.


Perserverance is paying off for a Maori Playstation game developer.

Maru Nihoniho from Metia Interactive is launching her new game, Cube, at next week's The New Cool exhibition of interactive games in Auckland.

Ms Nihoniho says more Maori are getting involved in console game development, but it's a long hard process.

“It took a while to get Cube published, and I had to go through all the steps of getting it approved by Sony first, and then taking my prototype overseas and getting that in front of publishers. A year after I started pitching, we signed,” Ms Nihoniho says.

Latimer warns Maori can't get dial tone

Maori Council chairperson Sir Graham Latimer says the Government is making it impossible for new entrants to bring real competition to the mobile phone market.

The Minister of Economic Development, Trevor Mallard, has ruled out regulating how much phone companies charge to let calls from other companies onto their networks.

He says Vodafone and Telecom can reduce the charges at their own pace over the next five years.

Sir Graham says that is a further setback for the Te Huarahi Tika Maori spectrum trust, which holds frequencies reserved for Maori under a treaty settlement.

The trust is working with New Zealand Communications to build a mobile phone network, but Sir Graham says the business needs a stable regulatory environment to succeed.

“If we don't watch out we’ll be shut out, and we’ll never get in the door again. We’ve had two attempts to get going, and then everything sort of falls to pieces. You go round in a circle, remembering there’s no money floating for Maori to do anything. By the time you go round in a circle, it's gone again,” Sir Graham says.

He says consumers will suffer from the move.


A New Plymouth hapu is fighting the sale of surplus council-owned land near the Te Henui Cemetery.

Wikitoria Keenan from Ngati Te Whiti Ahi Kaa says the area was set aside as native reserve in the 1880s, with 11 hapu members listed as owners.

It was later taken under the Public Works Act, but part of the title is still in Maori ownership.

Ms Keenan says while New Plymouth City Council is putting a $1.2 million value on the block, it has a greater heritage value to the hapu.

“It is ancestral land. It’s still in Ngati Te Whiti ownership or whanau from Ngati Te Whiti. If the council is thinking of selling it, we want it returned to us,” Ms Keenan says.

Council staff will investigate Ngati Te Whiti Ahi Kaa's concerns before this month's full council meeting.


Moana and the Tribe are practicing their Russian language skills.

The popular soul funk kapa haka band is building on a series of exploratory trips to make a fully-fledged tour.

Moana Maniapoto says the Tribe will perform in a wide range of venues.

“Like very high end philharmonic theatres with classical musicians to universities, clubs, a meat works with 1500 workers watching, to a very small village, a free public concert. It’s a very unusual mixture. It’s not like your conventional tour we’ve done in other countries,” Maniapoto says.

The tour was developed through the support of New Zealand's ambassador to Russia, Christopher Elder.


Green co-leader Russel Norman says New Zealand based banks could do more for Maori who want to build on multiply owned land.

Mr Norman says rising house prices are making it increasingly difficult for New Zealanders to buy their own homes.

He says building on family land is a real option for many Maori, and local lenders should be able to understand the complexities of lending against blocks with multiple owners.

“One of the issues is looking at the way credit works around multiple ownership land. The hope that I have is that some of the New Zealand owned banks like Kiwibank and TSB and some of the smaller finance corporations would actually have the better understanding of that multiple ownership structure to be willing to make loans on that basis,” Mr Norman says.

The Greens are proposing a ban on house sales to non-residents.


The president of the Council of Trade Unions says Maori are becoming increasingly active in the union movement.

Ross Wilson says while Maori traditionally worked in unionised areas, member numbers fell after with the industrial reforms of the 1990's.

He says the CTU runanga has helped the organisation address Maori issues and bring more workers into the fold.

“Maori workers are quite concentrated in some of the traditional industry sectors. Always have been. So we have an increasingly active Maori membership who provide leadership around an agenda which has the potential to provide workforce development opportunities for Maori workers and we’ve got a very strong focus on that,” Mr Wilson says.


Almost a thousand schoolchildren from Ruatoria and Tolaga Bay have been through a mobile exhibition on the 28 Maori Battalion's C Company.

The company was mainly recruited from the East Coast.

Tairawhiti Museum educator Gayle Te Kani says the exhibition was a chance to
get across some key messages.

“We wanted to educate them about it and certainly to feel proud about what they did and who they were and how they conducted themselves as a battalion and the feats they did, but really the main message was just the whole futility of war and the loss that Maoridom suffered,” Ms Te Kani says.

Tairawhiti Museum is attempting to collect photographs of all C Company members.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mallard ducks regulation to favour mobile duopoly

A leading telecommunications analyst says the decision by Economic Development Minister Trevor Mallard to let Telecom and Vodafone write their own rules for mobile termination rates could spell doom for a competing Maori-backed mobile phone network.

New Zealand Communications has started building a network which will use spectrum reserved for Maori under a treaty settlement.

Paul Budde says the company, which will have 20 percent Maori shareholding, was banking on a stable regulatory environment.

But he says Mr Mallard's decision this week to over-ride the Commerce Commission and reinforce the existing duopoly could cause a rethink.

“What the minister is doing is say ‘ignore the Commerce Commission, and if you’ve got any problems, then actually see me and I will overrule the Commerce Commission.’ I mean once you start on that track it’s a very very dangerous track and you are going to undermine the credibility of the government policies, the credibility of the regulator, and that is bad bad bad news,” Mr Budde says.

He says with the real cost of mobile calls to network operators dropping below one cent, Trevor Mallard is guaranteeing Telecom and Vodafone another five years of profits from gouging their customers.


A Maori social policy expert says the Mental Health Commission's review of the past 10 years shows Maori concerns over access to mental health services still need to be addressed.

Fiona Te Momo from Massey University's school of social and cultural studies says while the Haererenga mo te Whakaoranga report details the way mental health services have become more responsive to patient needs, it also identifies shortfalls in the system.

Dr Te Momo says Maori still have disproportionate rates of mental ill health.

“The service and type of delivery needs to be looked at. What are those issues in terms of our Maori clients? What’s happening with the service provided to them? What type of mental health are they incurring, and is this the subject of other things like drugs, alcohol, and everything else that’s happening within their environment?” Dr Te Momo says.

Maori community organsiations need to become more involved in delivery of mental health services.


Muttonbirders are getting ready for the busiest part of their short season.

The few hundred Rakiura Maori with birding rights are on the 15 islands in the far south where the titi or sooty shearwaters nest.

Birder Marty Te Au says the birds are in good condition, but catches have so far been low.

Mr Te Au says the rough weather expected at the end of the week is likely to bring ideal harvesting conditions.

“This is the main part of it. The first of April is what they call a nowi, where you go down there and drag the birds out of the hole, but you don’t get that many. It’s this time of the year that you start catching the birds when they come out of the holes on their own free will, ready to fly,” Mr Te Au says.


The Waitangi Tribunal has delayed releasing its report on the 80 million dollar plus settlement of Ngati Whatua's claims to central Auckland until it is sure the Crown has disclosed all the relevant documents.

Acting chairperson Carrie Wainwright issued a memorandum yesterday with new questions for the Office of Treaty Settlements, and demanded answers by noon Friday.

In March a three-member tribunal panel heard from several Auckland and Hauraki iwi that their claims to Tamaki Makaurau had been pushed aside in the rush to settle with the Orakei subtribe of Ngati Whatua.

Judge Carrie Wainwright promised a quick report, but two weeks ago the tribunal received more documents which she says were absolutely central to the issues before the inquiry.

She wants to know why the Office of Treaty Settlements didn't reveal them to the hearing, and whether any other surprises can be expected.

She has given the Crown until Friday to give an answer, and produce any other papers.

Judge Wainwright says she may then call for more submissions, or even reconvene the hearing and put the witnesses back in the stand.


Australasian telecommunications analyst Paul Budde says the Government's latest move in the mobile phone market undermines the Maori radio spectrum settlement.

Economic Development Minister Trevor Mallard has rejected Commerce Commission advice to regulate the amount phone companies charge to switch calls between fixed and mobile networks, and instead will allow Telecom and Vodafone to gradually reduce fees over the next five years.

Mr Budde says that spells disaster for Maori-backed New Zealand Communications, which is building a mobile network using frequencies granted to Maori to settle the radio spectrum claim.

He says fair competition needs strong regulation.

If you then start undermining, on one side you have the Maori spectrum sort of issue, and on the other side the only thing what you are doing is actually strengthening the duopoly between the major players, I mean the right hand is doing something totally different to what the left hand is doing,” Mr Budde says.

He says while Telecom and Vodafone are laughing all the way to the bank, New Zealand's telecommunications policies are making it the laughing stock of the developed world.


Maori language musicians are expecting little benefit from New Zealand Music Month.

Singer Moana Maniapoto says while the focus on kiwi sounds may help some mainstream musicians, those performing predominantly in Maori struggle to get airplay.

She says most Maori musicians have learned to just get on with their business.

“New Zealand Music Month might well work for some bands and get them an additional profile but I think the reality for a lot is that we’re doing the hard slog, so we’ve just finished a performance in Wanaka, we’re preparing to go off to Russia and we’re recording our fourth album at the moment. That’s all very much under the radar,” Maniapoto says.

Mental Health Commission reviews decade

An expert in Maori mental health says the Mental Health Commission's review of the past decade highlights the importance of Maori communities getting involved in the sector.

Fiona Te Momo (left) from Massey University's school of social and cultural studies says despite some improvements over the decade, the sector is still under resourced.

Dr Te Momo says there is limited time for professionals to see and treat clients because so many are coming through the doors.

“If that's how it's delivered mainstream, and there’s still a need for clients to have extra assistance, this is where maybe it comes back to the communities, whanau, hapu and iwi, to help work in and uplift that responsibility that may be required to make the client or the patient healthy,” Dr Te Momo says.

The disproportionate number of Maori with mental health problems means more still needs to be done in that area.


Ngai Tahu is involved in an innovative project to improve the health of Christchurch's waterways.

Project manager Craig Pauling says it's the first time Ngai Tahu has had a chance to research the state of the estuary, known as Ihutai, and the rivers which feed into it, the Otakaro or Avon and the Opawaho or Heathcote.

Mr Pauling says it's working with other community groups and scientists under the auspices of the Ihutai Trust, which aims to restore and manage the estuary.

“We've already been out in the field a number of times so we’ve been doing monitoring for the last month. It’s just a baseline project so we’re just gathering data for the first time because we haven’t got any other data to compare to,” Mr Pauling says.


Waiariki Institue of Technology's first deputy chief executive Maori says a rise in Maori students at the Rotorua polytechnic isn't coming at the expense of Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

The Wananga has shed courses and students under Crown managers, giving many loss-making polytechnics a chance to fill the gaps.

But Miki Roderick says Waiariki's growth from 1400 hundred students in 2006 to more almost 1750 now was the result of improved relations with iwi and the community, a new sports academy and a policy of attracting school leavers, who can study there for free.

The success that we've currently enjoyed is primarily because of a stronger stakeholder relationship and getting bhack to the community, and to the labour market that we’re hopefully servicing, so I don’t think it’s a result of a fallout from the wananga. It’s more that we’re focused on core areas of out business that are related to the community needs,” Mr Roderick says.

He says the Waiariki polytechnic is keen to work with the wananga on complementary education projects.


Leaders of the Notorious chapter of the Mongrel Mob have indicated they want a change in gang culture.

Auckland Police Iwi liason officer Huri Dennis says two senior figures from the chapter were responsible for an historic meeting last week at Manurewa Marae between the Mob, Black Power, Hells Angels and representatives of South Auckland youth street gangs.

The hui comes as south Auckland civic leaders have expressed mounting concern about gang related violence and murders in the region.

Mr Dennis says it's the sort of kaupapa the police could endorse, but it's certainly not a hui they could call.

“The drive of the hui, the platform of that hui was spearheaded by the Mongrel Mob, the Notorious chapter, Roy Dunn and Edge Te Whaiti and his whanau, just saying ‘we’ve had enough, we want to do something better, we want something better for our kids,’ and they’ve started to engage with some of these younger gang leaderships,” Mr Dennis says.

The next move may be to take the korero to other gang chapters around the motu.


Prime Minister Helen Clark is welcoming efforts by urban Maori authorities to assist in the distribution of money set aside in the Maori fisheries settlement for education and training.

A National Urban Maori Authority hui in Auckland over the weekend looked at how the $20 million set aside for Te Putea Whakatupu Trust should be used.

The trust was established because of concern many Maori would not be able to beenefit from the settlement through their iwi.

Helen Clarke says urban Maori leaders John Tamihere and Willie Jackson advocated strongly for the trust when they were MPs.

“John of course would have been a strong advocate for the interests of urban Maori as Willie traditionally has been, so the aim would have been to try to be fair to everybody, and while it seems to be a pity for people not to know what their whakapapa is, maybe the urban allocation is one way to deal with that,” Helen Clark says.


A tradition dating back 800 years for Rakiura Maori is in full swing.

Yes, it's mutton bird season, and those with birding rights are making the hazardous journey to the Titi Islands to catch the titi or juvenile sooty shearwaters.

Birder Marty Te Au says the main part of the season is approaching, when the titi come out of their nesting holes.

“The birds are in good condition but the weather’s against them at the moment, with the full moon and everything. They’re catching a few but not as many as they would. It’s been calm. You need the rough weather. That’s not due to hit here until Saturday,” Mr Te Au says.

There are about 15 islands which are harvested, with between 25 and 30 family members on each island.

NUMA looking at fisheries education fund

The National Urban Maori Authority is looking at ways the money earmarked in the fisheries settlement for education and training can help its constitutents.

John Tamihere from West Auckland's Te Whanau o Waipareira says Te Putea Whakatupu Trust will eventually have a putea of $20 million.

Mr Tamihere says it's important the money, which was fought for by the urban authorities, go to Maori who may be cut off from their tribal affiliations.

“Census shows up to one in four Maori are non-aligned to any tribal group. And so this fund was out in place to try to support them. We’re endeavoring to brand that and get a range of scholarships out of all the tertiary facilities up and down the country going for Maori,” Mr Tamihere says.

The National Urban Maori Authority is growing, with the Nelson authority the latest to join.


Ngati Manawa claimant and Maori Council member Maanu Paul says the Government should not do settlements which breach Maori tikanga or traditions.

Ngati Manawa has claimed part of the Kaingaroa Forest which the Government intends to hand over as part of a settlement of Te Arawa land claims.

Mr Paul says cordial relationships with neighbouring iwi are the cornerstone of Maori life, and Te Arawa risks upsetting those relationships.

“Those Maori claimants like Te Arawa who have accepted a deed of settlement of other people’s lands for themselves ought to say to the Crown ‘we cannot abide with this. Remove other people’s properties out of the settlement and we’ll accept the settlement,’” Mr Paul says.

The Te Arawa settlement is held up while the High Court and the Waitangi Tribunal consider separate challenges to the process.


Maori actor Rena Owen says she had to draw on her own childhood experiences for her latest role as a Tuhoe kuia.

Owen plays the lead role of Puhi in Children of the Rain, a sequel by director Vincent Ward to his breakthrough 1981 documentary In Spring One Plants Alone.

The original film followed Puhi as she talked about the hardships endured through three marriages, the loss of tamariki and the challenges of caring for a schizophrenic son, who she believed was under a maketu or curse.

Owen says she jumped at the chance to play the kuia at age 50 and 80.

"One of the only reasons I think I could portray this wahine was because I did grow up in the sticks, under the shadow of my grandmother, so when I watched this documentary I could identify this woman,” Owen says.

Children of the Rain is due for release towards the end of the year.


The minister in charge of Child Youth and Family Services says she's satisfied with the numbers of social workers achieving full registration.

National's Anne Tolley has challenged the fact only a third of CYF social workers are registered with the Social Workers Registration Board.

But Ruth Dyson says that's good progress, given that the board has been going for just over two years and staff must take time out from their existing work to be assessed.

Ms Dyson says New Zealand social workers face major challenges and need specialised skills because of the number of Maori families they deal with.

“We know that more Maori families are in low income situations. Their traditional family support is no longer available, they have some inter-generational unemployment issues, often live in rural, isolated communities. For social work support of those families, it obviously needs more specialised skills,” she says.

Ms Dyson says Child Youth and Family remains committed to having all its social workers go through the registration process.


The sport of handball is picking up a strong following among Maori.

Des Ratima from Handball New Zealand says Maori women dominate the top women's teams, while many of the top male players are expatriates from Europe.

Mr Ratima says Maori also dominate the administration of the sport, and they're trying to generate wider interest.

“It's been in Maori control since its inception in this country. Like touch and like tag, which has taken off among Pacific Island and Maori rangatahi, handball has that same potential,” Mr Ratima says.

The national handball championships will run this month at Auckland's Waitaakere Stadium.


Once Were Warriors star Rena Owen says being in the exotic ethnic class can be a disadvantage in Hollywood.

Owen has kept busy with supporting roles in Tinseltown since her 1995 breakthrough, but has to come back to this part of the world for lead roles.

She says roles for brown women in mainstream movies are limited in mainstream movies.

Owen fears it could count against Whale Rider star star Keisha Castle Hughes, if she tries to follow in the footsteps of another teenage Kiwi actress, Anna Paquin.

“Now that girl went on from movie to movie to movie to movie, whereas with Keisha, the opportunities have been more limited, and you’ve got to say why, what’s the difference. And the difference really is the visual thing, inn terms of skin colouring and she’s like me, she’s always going to be in the exotic ethnic class,” she says.

Owen is currently working on a Vincent Ward film, The Rain of the Children.

Opposition is easy says ex-MP

Former Labour MP John Tamihere says a surge in support for the Maori Party shows the benefits of being in Opposition, but the party is yet to face a real test.

A Marae DigiPoll released on Saturday showed not only was support growing in the four sets it already holds, but it was closing on Labour Ministers in Tainui and Ikaroa Rawhiti and had convincingly overtaken Mahara Okeroa in the southern seat of Te Tai Tonga.

Mr Tamihere says it's easy to say the right things in opposition to win popular support among Maori, but Maori in government have a much harder task.

“When the rubber hits the road and you have to do deals, and that is the true test of whether an unblemished Maori brand can exist. It will in opposition, because it has nothing to lose,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says the Maori Party may be heading for a stumble with its constituents with its support of Sue Bradford's and-smacking bill.


One of National's Maori MP's has changed her stance on Sue Bradford's bill to tackle violence against children, meaning the Maori Party's support becomes even more crucial.

List MP Paula Bennett says what she sees as a ground swell of public opposition gave her no choice but to vote against the repeal of section 59 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allows parents who beat their children the defence of reasonable force.

Ms Bennett says she was conflicted by issue, but did not want to see parents criminalised for smacking.

“And I had over 3000 pieces of mail in a one month period, and I really sat there one day and thought what you’ve got to do, you’ve got to listen to your heart and listen to your head, and do what that says, and when I did that, what I heard was you’ve got to listen to the people,” Ms Bennett says.

The bill comes back before Parliament this week.


Shellfish gathers in the Bay of Plenty are being warned of a potentially fatal toxin in the region.

The area's kaimoana is a vital source of food for tangata whenua in the rohe.

But Medical Officer of Health Phil Shoemack says high levels of paralytic shellfish toxins have been found between Maketu Estuary to the mouth of the Whakatane River.

He says people who eat the shellfish risk damage to their nervous systems.

“The sort of symptoms they might get might be tingling around the mouth, numbness, particularly of the face of the hands and feet, possibly if it got worse difficulties with swallowing and even breathing, dizziness, double vision, if it gets really bad, sever cases, paralysis, and difficulty breathing to the point of possibly dying,” Dr Shoemack says.

It's not clear what causes the toxin outbreaks.


The head of Prison Fellowship says iwi and other Maori organisations should be getting involved more with the criminal justice system.

Kim Workman, who is a former Corrections Department deputy secretary, says a major impediment to reintegrating former prisoners into society is a lack of support from whanau and the wider Maori community.

Mr Workman says the success in the health sector of providers run by Maori for Maori shows what can be done when Maori get fired up, but the Criminal Justice system hasn't engaged with Maori to the same extent.

“If you look at the criminal justice sector there’s a handful of people who are struggling on a pittance, and it raises a question for me as to whether some of those resources that are focused on forestry and foreshore issues and fisheries should perhaps be now focusing on morehu, the remnants, and working with those people,” Mr Workman says.

He says increased involvement by Maori in rehabilitation may create more options for community based sentencing.


New Zealand First's Maori spokesperson says the party's poor showing in the latest Marae Digipoll is no cause for concern.

The poll found just over 5 percent of Maori would vote for a new Zealand First candidate, about the same percentage the party won at the last election.

Pita Paraone says the party is focused on 2008.

Hey man people have been saying that we’re dead party walking and all those sort of things, but at the end of the day there’s only one poll that counts, and that’s coming up in 2008. And the fact is, come the general election, people will look back at our record and say that New Zealand First delivered,” Mr Paraone says.


Maori Party MPs will meet tomorrow to discuss whether they will continue to support Green MP Sue Bradford's bill tackling violence against children.

A Marae Digipoll showing more than 80 percent of Maori oppose what is dubbed the anti-smacking bill.

Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell says while they will take the poll into account, the party believes it can win supporters around.

“When you actually explain out the intent of the bill, where it’s come form, where it’s supposed to be heading, people from pretty much all of the hui that I’ve been involved with in our three week consultation programme have basically turned around and not that we took a poll at the end but people are a little bit clearer abut the Maori Party’s stand and actually a hell of a lot more supportive of it,” Mr Flavell says.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Tamaki Bros open Christchurch village

Maori tourism gurus the Tamaki brothers opened their new venture in Christchurch over the weekend.

Mike Tamaki says the project has taken over four years to put together, but he is confident the interactive experience will be a hit with overseas and domestic travelers.

After visiting dozens of indigenous tourism ventures worldwide, he decided there was a better way to tell the story of the settlement of Aotearoa by Maori and non-Maori.

Visitors are led through native bush, a pre-European Maori village, a musket war and a post-colonial village where Maori spirituality was forbidden.

Mr Tamaki says with actors, sound and light effects, it is unlike any other Maori tourism experience.

“Big problem is nobody gets to know the true story of the Maori, and many people go along to Rotorua or anywhere else or for that matter Hawaii, where you can also get a Maori cultural experience, and it’s all exactly the same, it’s all based on entertainment on a stage. What we’ve done down here is taken portions of our history out of time, and we’re totally re-enacting them,” Mr Tamaki says.

He says too many other ventures just offer tourists a show and a feed.


Hawkes Bay social workers are concerned at an alarming number of homeless and mentally ill young Maori men in the rohe.

Doug Banks, the manager of mental health service provider Whatever it Takes, says his organisation found between 150 and 200 homeless people, mostly young men.

Mr Banks says there is no emergency accommodation in the region, and people are dossing down in cars, bins and beaches.

He says whanau are unable to cope with the rangatahi.

“A lot of their whanau are struggling as well with the same issues, and a lot of their whanau find it very hard to deal with the kind of problems that these people have and it’s not particularly their fault. They don’t know what to do and they don’t know how to deal with the situation. They don’t have the skills themselves to address the issues,” Mr Banks says.

He says local councils are unwilling to take responsibility for emergency housing needs.


Members of Otaki's Rangiatea Church are celebrating the return of taonga from the National Library.

The 150 taonga were preserved, and where possible restored by the library after they were rescued from the blaze which destroyed the original church 12 years ago.

Vestry committee chairperson Te Hope Hakaraia says the church is discussing how the taonga should be displayed in the new church, which opened in 2003.

Mr Hakaraia says items like a kiwi feather kete used to collect donations have their own whakapapa.

“They have their own mauri, their own history, so each of those taonga have been stored, that has been part of the healing for us, and I think the kete is very much in that mode,” Mr Hakaraia says.

Rangiatea hopes the return of the taonga will be matched by the return of more people to use what was known as the Maori cathedral.


The head of the Prison Fellowship says too many Maori prisoners have no support after their release.

Kim Workman says a national hui next month will discuss how the relationship between prisoners and the communities they will return to can be strengthened.

He says prisoners with support are much less likely to re-offend when they're released, and he's challenging Maori families to maintain contact with their whanaunga on the inside.

“Positive Maori families, kapa haka groups, rugby league groups, marae groups that are prepared to take on people that are essentially morehu, they are remnants, they’re not accepted by the Pakeha and they’re not accepted by Maori,” Mr Workman says.

More than a third of Maori prisoners never have visitors.


Maori tourism operator Mike Tamaki is adamant those who visit the Tamaki Brothers’ new heritage village in Christchurch will go away with a better appreciation of New Zealand’s past.

He says most New Zealanders have received a glazed over view of our pre and post-colonial history.

The Tamaki Heritage Village was officially opened on Saturday, after four years of planning and construction.

Mr Tamaki says new venture gives both domestic and international visitors a chance to better appreciate the sacrifices made and hardships endured by both Maori and non Maori in the settlement of Aotearoa.

He says that includes loss of land, the suppression of Maori spirituality and 30 years of civil war.

“What we're looking at doing is reenacting these things within the tourism industry which is a non threatening, user friendly vehicle that everybody feels comfortable with walking through. You’ve got no idea how many both Maori and Pakeha that we’ve had through in the last three weeks now that have just has absolute appreciation for our past,”
Mr Tamaki says.


The innagural Maori art market held in Wellington over the weekend is set to become a regular event on the Maori arts calendar.

Tamahou Temara, the operations manager for Toi Maori, says response to the korowai fashion show, and to the works on display by over one hundred Maori artists far exceeded expectations.

More than 5000 people visited the three day event.

He says the guidance offered by senior Maori artists like Darcy Nicholas, Sandy Adsett and Colleen Urlich, ensured a high quality exhibition that brought out the best of both Maori artists and galleries.

You could see the competitive edge that the artists were going through with each other but overall they’re just rapt with the response that they’ve had with people coming in to view their artworks on display and also the art galleries that have come in no doubt give more interest to other potential Maori art galleries that may want to come in for the future,” Mr Temara says.