Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Rates burden a compounding problem

A member of the Wanganui River Maori Trust Board says it's a travesty that almost two third of the $600,000 unpaid rates bill on Maori land in the region is penalty charges.

The Wanganui District Council has asked its iwi liaison groups for suggestions on how it should handle the escalating debt.

Jarrod Albert says Maori should pay rates on land which is generating income, but most of the Maori land with rates arrears is unproductive.

“Our land remains, a lot of it, undeveloped or landlocked. Therefore the rates pile up because there’s no services been provided and there’s no revenue being produced to service the block and its rates,” Mr Albert says.

The problem of rating unproductive Maori land is a nationwide concern the Government needs to address, rather than leaving it to District Councils.


A Maori clinical educator for Plunket says the organisation has made great strides in improving its relationships with Maori mothers and their babies.

Plunket is this week celebrating a century of service.

Meryl Ryan says Plunket started kaiawhina training for Maori nurses about 15 years ago, and it now has a Maori education team which works alongside Maori health providers.

“We're looking all the time in feedback with Maori communities and we do focus groups to see what they’d like and if they’d like things on marae, kohanga, all the different ways we can work with Maori families and encourage them to seek well child services,” Ms Ryan says.


Rotorua's Maori arts and crafts institute was reopened this afternoon after a $20 million upgrade.

Te Puia acting chief executive Anthony Cox says visitors will note an immediate difference, with the entrance to the institute and thermal valley now marked by 12 ornately carved pou, depicting the 12 heavens of Maori mythology.

Behind the gate are interpretive galleries with interactive displays of Maori taonga and on the legends and the science of how the Whakarewarewa valley was formed.

Visitors can see trainee weavers and carvers at work in the expanded workshop area.

Mr Cox says Te Puia has stayed true to its origins as a centre for preserving and promoting Maori cultural arts, while giving tourists more to see.

“Combined with the new facilities it’s really become a half day experience rather than what’s been promoted in the past as a one hour tour, yeah, you really need to dedicate a half day to see it all properly,” Mr Cox says.

He says tourist attractions like Te Puia need to periodically renew themselves.


The Maori Party wants all smaller historical claim settlements to be topped up to $20 million.

The party's alternative treaty budget calls for an end to the billion dollar cap on claim settlements.

The cap, imposed by the Bolger National Government, is no longer policy, but party co-leader Pita Sharples says it still exists in practice because of the way relativities between claim settlements are set.

Dr Sharples says many settlements have been too small to be sustainable.

“We want a minimum of every claim to $20 million, so all those claims under $20 million have to be backed up to $20 million, because what’s happened is, the smaller tribes have got such a pittance, they had no money left to develop the land they’ve been able to buy back, which was taken from them in the first place,” Dr Sharples says.

The Maori Party would buy out the relativity clauses in the Tainui and Ngai Tahu settlements, which guarantee those tribes 17 percent each of the total settlement fund.

Ngai Tahu chairperson Mark Solomon says the Maori Party has not consulted with the iwi about its policy.


Frano Botica has developed a taste for the small screen.

The former rugby professional fronted a programme this week on the special relationship between Maori and settlers from the Dalmation coast.

The former All Black and Warriors player says it gave him a better appreciation of the hardships endured by his Croatian grandfather as he established himself here.

Mr Botica wants to learn more Croatian and Maori, and wants to give television presenting another go.

“My first opportunity to go on tv and present a show, so it was a new challenge for me, but it was certainly very difficult multi tasking you know, walking, looking at a camera and trying to remember my lines and talking, Although it sounds easy, it’s actually quite hard, but in the end it came across pretty well and certainly enjoyed it and would love to do some more,” Mr Botica says.


Auckland comedy festival audiences have been getting a taste of indigenous humour.

And unlike those moments during powhiri when the whole marae dissolves into laughter, leaving the non-Maori speakers wondering what the joke was, this time everyone can get the gag.

Andre King and Figjam, also known as the Whakas, arepresenting their show Maori protocol for dummies at the Comedy Underground in Queen St tonight and tomorrow.

The pair say they're not the only Maori comics on the scene.

The Whakas will also perform their protocol for dummies in a showcase of Maori and Pacific Island comedians next week, including everyone but Willie J and JT.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

$20m Rotorua institute revamp opens

A $20 million revamp of Te Puia Maori arts and crafts institute at Whakarewarea opens this afternoon.

As well as an upgrading the physical environment, Te Puia commissioned Wellington company 3D Creative to build interactive displays on Maori history, culture and the natural environment of the area.

The teaching areas for carvers and weavers have also been substantially increased.

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says Rotorua has always been the foundation of the Maori tourism industry.

“It's a place where generations have penny-dived, generations have been the guides, generations have been the performers, and that’s been really really great, and they have been an important, integral part, and it gets to another stage now where we’ve got to start owning the businesses, we’ve got to start regulating where the visitors come to, in the sense of our businesses,” Mr Horomia says.

He says Te Puia should set new standards for tourism developments.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia's claim that smacking arrived with the colonists and the Christians has won some heavyweight academic backing.

Mrs Turia drew some fire with her explanation that Maori Party support for Sue Bradford's anti-smacking bill was an attempt to return Maori to the old ways.

Auckland University anthropologist Dame Anne Salmond says early missionary writers like Samuel Marsden, Richard Taylor and William Colenso all commented on the fact Maori did not hit their children.

“In Britain of course at that time kids were hit quite often. The dictum was ‘spare the rod and spoil the child.’ So it was thought to be good for kids to give them a whack, bit not in Maoridom at that time. That’s not to say kids were never hit and warfare of course, they could end up in pretty unpleasant circumstances, but that was also true in Europe,” Professor Salmond says.


Plunket celebrates its centenary this weekend, and its president says it still plays an important role for Maori mothers and their babies.

Kay Crowther from Invercargill says the service has adapted to the needs of the many cultures now living in New Zealand.

In the past Plunket was seen as a Pakeha-dominated culture, but Mrs Crowther says Maori involvement has grown over the past 20 years with representation at board level.

“The wonderful thing about Plunket is it has been able to stay relevant in the community because it’s grounded in the community and it understands community needs. The community needs in Manukau for example are far different to what’s needed in Southland, so it’s about understanding the whole country, being able to deliver those services that are appropriate,” Mrs Crowther says.


The outgoing deputy chair of Te Puia says a $20 million revamp has turned the renamed Maori arts and crafts institute at Whakarewarewa into a world class indigenous tourism attraction.

Te Puia will be opened this afternoon by Prime Minister Helen Clark.
Mike Simm, a tourism industry veteran, says because Maori culture is such an essential component in the New Zealand tourism market, it's essential such high quality attractions exist.

He says Maori operators have realised they can't do everything themselves, and are more willing to bring in outside experts.

“Maori are actually recognizing the fact they’ve got something that is very important, and it’s not something that can be taken away from them, but irt can be developed quicker if they take a more collaborative approach and use skills, whether they be Maori or non-Maori, to help develop some of their cultures,” Mr Simm says.

He's not seeking another three year term on the Te Puia board because there is too much interference from government officials.


A group representing blind and visually impaired Maori want to help their members get onto the marae more.

Christine Cowan, the national manager of Ngati Kapo, says Maori people who lose their sight face challenges getting resources in te reo Maori, and they can find that some marae refuse to accept guide dogs.

Ms Cowan says Ngati Kapo holds regular hui, so members can share their problems in a marae environment.

“It's very important to our people, our visually impaired people, because it enables them to participate in marae-based activities, but also work with able-bodied Maori to blow away some of those fallacies about blindness and the ability of blind and visually-impaired people to be active members in society,” Ms Cowan says.

Ngati Kapo's southern regional marae noho hui will be at Rapaki marae in Lyttleton this weekend.


Aussie league stars are taking a shine to Maori art from the tiny far north settlement of Whangape.

That's home to a Maori art service called Image Nation, set up by the three Murray brothers, Richard, Phillip and Jody.

Richard, the artists, says Phillip is responsible for marketing while Jody manages the Image Nation web site and IT needs.

He says work has gone on lease into Auckland hotels and corporate and government sites, and it has also drawn interests from offshore buyers, including some big names in the NRL.

“And we've touched base with another whanaunga of ours, Craig Smith, the Kiwi league star, and he’s marketing some of our work, and people like Danny Buderus, Andrew Johns, have shown a real keen interest,” Mr Murray says.

Apologies sought for seditious ancestors

Green MP Keith Locke says now the Government has agreed to scrap sedition laws, it should consider apologies for Maori leaders prosecuted under those laws.

The Law Commission last month recommended the sedition law should go, and its report has now been endorsed by the Greens, United Future, ACT, the Maori Party, and Labour.

Mr Locke says the law was used against Parihaka leader Te Whiti o Rongomai in the 1880s and Tuhoe prophet Rua Kenana early last century, when they spoke out against the Crown’s breaches of Maori rights.

“The Prime Minister’s apologies to various people around the place, Samoans and this and that, so I think an apology going way back to the misuse of the sedition laws would be quite a good thing. It would help settle things a bit,” Mr Locke says.

The only person convicted of sedition in the past half century is Auckland man Tim Selwyn, who attacked Helen Clark's electorate office window with an ax to protest foreshore and seabed legislation.


Two landmark carvings in the western Bay of Plenty town of Katikati may be relocated to save them from water damage.

The figures, known as Nga Kaitiaki or The Guardians, are currently at Tuapiro marae being repaired and restored by their creator, master carver Mutu Bryan.

Fellow carver James Schuster, a Historic Places Trust Maori heritage advisor, says the way the pou were erected in 2000 wasn't suitable for wooden carvings.

“They're set in concrete, and I said one of the worst things for whakairo is putting them down in concrete. The totara just sucks the moisture straight out of the concrete, and that’s what rots them. So I said ‘If you can, change the base of them. If they’re going to be moved, that’s the ideal opportunity to take them out of that concrete base,” Mr Schuster says.


As Reed Books prepares to celebrate its century, it may come as a surprise its most successful author ever is a Maori.

Gavin McClean, who has written the history of the iconic New Zealand Publishing house, says Reeds has published six thousand items, about a quarter of them of Maori interest.

Mr Mclean says its most succesful author is Witi Ihimaera, whose first collection of short stories, Pounamu Pounamu, was published in 1972.

“He is by far the most successful writer Reed’s has ever had. He’s far eclipsed Barry Crump, for example. Something like a quarter of a million, just for Whale Rider, but of course he’s done many other very successful books for Reed’s as well,” Mr McClean says.


A future National led government would be seeking significant changes to the laws covering Maori trusts, runanga and land.

Leader John Key says the party is working on policies around the treaty settlement process, and on the future shape of Maori authorities and runanga.

He says consultation with iwi indicates there would be widespread Maori support for an overhaul of Te Ture Whenua Maori Act, which regulates how Maori land is managed.

“Our view is that there needs to be some greater flexibility in those Acts and that more authority should move to Maori. There’s a bit of a paternalistic view taken. We want to make sure that Maori, when they get control of their assets, have the same ability to manage those assets as pretty much anyone else,” Mr Key says.

He says the changes are critical for encouraging Maori economic development.


Maori Party MP Hone Harawira is challenging Transit's decision to fly the European Union Flag to fly on the Auckland Harbour, while continuing to deny space to a Maori flag.

Transit refused to fly a Maori flag on Waitangi Day was because it said it did not represent a sovereign nation.

Mr Harawira says the organisation seems to be applying different rules on different days of the week, and he wants to take up the issue with bridge management.

“We’re taking that up with the Race Relations Office. We’d like an opportunity to sit down with the managers of the bridge and work out how best to get through this. We want to see the Maori flag flying on important Maori days, rather than not see the European flag flying on other days,” Mr Harawira says.


Noted historian, anthropologist and author Dame Anne Salmond says knowing about Maori life and culture is an important part of being a New Zealander.

Professor Salmond is returning to the classroom to teach a first year Maori Studies course at Auckland University, after almost a decade working on research, writing and university administration.

She says many New Zealanders don't understand the country they grew up in.

“I just think a lot of people have really strong opinions about things Maori but they really don’t know much about it. They will say things like Maori must have been very violent to their children, without knowing what the facts are. They will say that Maori language has no value, without understanding the ideas and the art forms that are embodied in the reo,” Professor Salmond says.

The course will cover early Maori life, the Treaty of Waitangi, the colonial period, land wars, the treaty, and the Maori renaissance to the present day.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

High Court knocks back forest case

The Federation of Maori Authorities is considering whether to appeal a High Court judgment that it can't stand in the way of the proposed Te Arawa land settlement.

The Federation and the Maori Council argued the Crown is breaching its trust towards Maori in the way it intends to sell 50 thousand hectares of Kaingaroa Forest to a Te Arawa group, while pocketing more than 60 million dollars in accumulated rentals.

Justice Gendall said while the Crown has a duty to act in good faith and not benefit itself at the expense of its Waitangi Treaty partners, the courts cannot stop intended legislation.

Federation deputy chairperson Paul Morgan says while the case failed, the Government should now think twice about changing the way it deals with Crown forestry assets.

“We entered into an arrangement in 1989. It was a simple arrangement. Essentially they’ve been disloyal. They’ve acted in bad faith. It’s quite dishonest, their approach, and it lacks any integrity,” Mr Morgan says.

He says the Crown demands claimants accept settlements as final, but considers it can come back later and change the rules to suit itself.


Kapa haka and sport may be the way to divert young Maori from the gang lifestyle.

Ken Laban, who has spent many years working with gangs in the Wellington region, says performing arts and sports are useful tools to help give youth a sense of community.

He says team sports have given many young men a sense of purpose and belonging, an a framework to learn other aspects of culture and tikanga.

“Even more powerful than sport is the performing arts, because one of the issues we have with sport is girls come from those whanau as well, and a lot of them are not into the contact sports, but what they can all do together as a whanau and a community is the performing arts,” Mr Laban says.

He says after today's tangi for two year old Jhia Te Tua who was killed in a gang-related shooting in Wanganui at the weekend, a real effort needs to be made to improve relationships betwen gangs and the communities they live in.


Maori country artist Dennis Marsh says the criteria for songs on the latest album is the Maori strum.

The former Golden Guitar winner has just completed his 18th album, featuring songs made famous by Elvis Presley, Mickey Gilley and the George Baker Selection.

He says they all have one thing in common.

“Well the song has to be played by the average Maori with the guitar, ka-ching, ka-chik, and Baby Blue is one of those songs. It’s alost like a Ten Guitars song. It’s a favourite we can’t get away from,” Marsh says.


The Office of Treaty Settlements is taking another look in its files for documents which could be relevant to the Waitangi Tribunal's investigation of Ngati Whatua's Auckland land claim settlement.

The tribunal has expressed its displeasure at the way key documents only surfaced a month after hearings on the Tamaki Makaurau Settlement Process hearing ended.

Last Friday Crown lawyers told the tribunal there was nothing else to disclose, and they were satisfied the Office of Treaty Settlements had acted properly.

That earned another rebuke from tribunal deputy chairperson Carrie Wainwright, who suggested Crown Law was playing games with the disclosure process.

In another memorandum filed yesterday, Crown Law treaty team leader Virginia Hardy admitted there was an error in judgment in assessing the relevance of the documents, but there was no intention to mislead the tribunal.

Ms Hardy asked for another two weeks to re-examine the files at the Office of Treaty Settlements.

And she endorsed Judge Wainwright's decision to review the way documents are made available for urgent inquiries.


Kahungunu chairperson Ngahiwi Tomoana says a priority for his fourth term will be revitalising te reo Maori within the iwi.

Mr Tomoana says the highlight of his previous term was completing the fisheries settlement and setting up sound corporate structures for the iwi, which stretches from Wairoa to Palliser Bay.

He says the pressure is now on to strengthen the cultural domain.

“The only thing that differentiates us from any other people in the world is our reo. And in order to fulfill our expectations of ourselves, we’ve got to reintroduce the reo, and we see in 20 years time we want every Kahungunu person to be speaking our reo. I mean it’s te reo rangatira,” Mr Tomoana says.

He says the Kahungunu rohe needs more kura kaupapa, more Maori resources in mainstream schools, and more Kahungunu and Takitimu history taught in schools.


The author of a centenary history of Reed Books says the iconic New Zealand company has provided a vital bridge between Maori and Pakeha.

Gavin McClean says almost a quarter of the 6000 items published by the company in its first hundred years has included Maori content.

Mr McClean says that proved valuable in the 1940s and 50s, when there was little direct contact between the predominantly rural based Maori and urban Pakeha.

“It was things like the tourist brochures, Kiwi Records, which they also produced with Maori songs and language, and these books on Maori language which went into the secondary schools, and then of course the pictorial books that gave Pakeha New Zealanders in the cities some contact with Maori culture and history,” he says.

Mr McClean says the amount of Maori material Reed published helped fuel the Maori renaissance.

Pirirakau loses historian Rolleston

The Pirirakau hapu of Tauranga Moana has lost leader and historian Peter Rolleston, who has died aged 57.

Hapu chair Rawiri Kuka says Mr Rolleston was a valuable source of information whenever archeological sites were uncovered in the rohe.

Mr Kuka says the former freezing worker was asked in 1994 to research the hapu's Waitangi Tribunal claim, and he was given a wealth of knowledge by the region's elders.

“His knowledge of history for Tauranga Moana as well was really acknowledged where he was employed by the Waikato University to do lectures on Taurangamoana history. He’s going to be sadly missed, and at such a young age. We looked at him not as a elder but as a son of the Piriraku people, because it’s too young to die,” Mr Kuka says.

Peter Rolleston was buried at Tutereinga Marae on Saturday.


Green MP Metiria Turei is concerned many small treaty settlements may be unsustainable.

The Maori Party today released the Treaty of Waitangi section of its alternative budget, calling for an end in practice to the billion dollar cap on treaty settlements, a minimum quantum for each settlement, increases in claimant funding, and an independent authority to develop settlements.

Ms Turei says settlements of 10 to 20 million may not be economically viable, given the cultural obligations on post-settlement iwi.

“The administration costs of running iwi, the costs of running and rebuilding marae, that’s expected of claimants once they’ve settled their claims, all of those costs get very high over time and I’m very worried that claimants are being forced to take what is actually very small amoints of money, given the responsibilities they need to use it for,” she says.

Ms Turei will ask the Maori Affairs Select Committee to review the settlement process.


One of the most successful Maori contemporary musicians says New Zealand Music Month has little to offer artists who record in te reo Maori.

Mina Ripia from electronica duo Wai has been touring the world for seven years on a ground breaking first album that fuses kapa haka and techno beats.

Ms Ripia says while its music is embraced by international audiences, Wai struggles to get airplay in this country outside Maori radio.

She says music month represents a lost opportunity.

“Opportunity for mainstream radio stations who don’t play any Maori language music to play it for that month, and that would be great if that happened, but I know it doesn’t and I’m just trying to stay positive on music month kaupapa but it’s just a weeny bit one sided,” Ripia says.

Wai's next stop is Beijing this weekend to take part in a world music concert, and it's trying to get its second album completed this year.


Ngapuhi chairperson Sonny Tau says recruiting skills rather than burglary or other crimes seems to be qualities sought by today's gangs.

Mr Tau says Ngapuhi is concerned at an upsurge in gang activity in the north, with the gangs targeting 12 and 13 year olds for roles in drug distribution networks.

He says the iwi wants to confront the gangsters responsible, but they stay hidden in the shadows.

“They're not patch members who do the recruiting. It’s guys about 17 or 18 who are on the verge of being patched up, and sending them out there to get as many recruits as they possibly can,” Mr Tau says.

Several gangs are involved in the build-up.


Ngati Kahungunu chairperson Ngahiwi Tomoana has won a fourth term in the role.

Mr Tomoana says the Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa iwi has opted for stability at a time it faces major challenges.

He says Kahungunu's multi-level electoral structure means its leaders need to win comprehensive support.

“You have to be nominated from your whanau to your hapu, then your hapu to your rohe, an then your rohe to the iwi whanui, and then everyone gets an individual vote as well, so you’ve got whakapapa entitlement as well as a general electoral entitlement, so it us comprehensive support for anyone who goes through that gauntlet of whanau, and then that gauntlet of an election,” he says.

As well as his Kahungunu role, Ngahiwi Tomoana has assumed a leading role in efforts to achieve more coordination between iwi leaders, and he was recently appointed to Te Ohu Kaimoana fisheries settlement trust.


Former New Zealand Maori representative first five eighth Glen Jackson has scooped the Professional Rugby Players' Association Player of the Year Award with his English club Saracens.

Jackson is the leading points scorer in the Guiness Premiership with 272 points, 90 ahead of his nearest rival.


Two Rotorua modelling agencies are joining together to encourage Maori into the industry.

Peter Moengaroa from Reflexions Model and Talent Agency says his firm and Toi Te Aranga Hair, Beauty and Art will offer a beauty salon, catwalk and training centre for Maori.

Mr Moengaroa says there is unmet demand from clients here and overseas for Maori models.

He says Maori have a lot of personality which can shine on the catwalk, but many young people are too shy to have a go.

“When they are given something to learn and they do it well, they are that much more confident, that much more proud of themselves, which is what we are aiming for. The whole modeling aspect is to instill some confidence and self development, particularly into some of our younger Maoris.” Mr Moengaroa says.

Modelling can give young people confidence and skills which will help in any other career they want to pursue.

Gangs recruit schoolkids with bandana plan

Northern leaders are concerned gangs are moving into the area recruiting 12 and 13 years olds to distribute drugs.

Ngapuhi chairperson Sonny Tau says the gang war in Wanganui in which a two year old girl died is symptomatic of greater activity by gangs across the country.

Mr Tau says in Kaikohe and neighbouring towns, gang prospects seem to be judged not by the burglaries they commit but the number of younger boys they can lure into the drug trade.

“A lot of young kids are persuaded into that sort of thing by being promised bandanas and all the regalia. That sort of peer pressure is being exerted right across the spectrum in the north here and we’re really worried about that,” Mr Tau says.

While the Ngapuhi Runanga is working with police and other government agencies on the problem, the solution will need to come from out of the Maori community.


Principals of sole charge schools are meeting in Palmerston North this week to discuss the challenges they face.

Such schools with less than 25 pupils used to be common in rural Maori communities, and several of the 35 principals expected at Massey University's centre for educational development are Maori.

Centre associate director Jeff Franks says sole charge principals must balance administration load with classroom time, and they have to deliver all the cultural elements expected by their communities.

“The principals that will be coming to our conference have growing awareness of the need to help children to be bicultural and to respect the treaty, and in our conference there will be opportunities for teachers to talk to one anther about the needs of individual students and of Maori in particular,” Mr Franks says.


Maori electronica group Wai is off to Beijing this weekend to perform at a world music concert.

Lead singer Mina Ripia says the group hasn't stopped working since it released its debut album 7 years ago.

Its unique fusion of kapa haka, techno and dum and bass has attracted fans around the world.

Ms Ripia says she and partner Maaka McGregor still dig taking their brand of waiata Maori on the road.

“It has been consuming both Maaka and I’s lives for the past seven years, which has been great, because the album was created to the memory of my papa, so to be still being able to share that memory seven years later and with people who haven’t got the faintest idea that we the Maori people are even a people, it's awesome,” Ms Ripia says.

Wai is half way through its second album, but recording sessions have to be fitted in between trips to Norway, Taiwan, Spain and Brazil later this year.


The Waitangi Tribunal has delivered a blistering criticism of the Crown's attempts to withhold documents relating to the proposed settlement of Ngati Whatua's Auckland land claims.

A 2003 report by the Crown's most senior historian challenging the historical account used in the settlement agreement, and one questioning Ngati Whatua's unwillingness to consult with cross claimants, didn't surface until two weeks ago.

In a memorandum released yesterday, tribunal deputy chairperson Carrie Wainwright made clear her unhappiness with the explanations from Crown Law and the Office of Treaty Settlements.

Judge Wainwright said the tribunal process relies on all parties sharing information, and she does not expect parties to engage in the kind of game playing over discovery that can characterise litigation in the courts.

Judge Wainwright says while the Crown was entitled to put into evidence whatever interpretation it wanted on the way negotiations with Ngati Whatua were conducted, its lawyers were obliged to put all documents before the tribunal, and not just those that supported its interpretation.

She says the tribunal will finish its report on theTamaki Makaurau settlement process without another hearing.

It will also hold a separate review of the way the Crown furnishes tribunal inquiries with evidence and relevant documents.


A senior Maori policeman says gang tensions could flare up in any part of the country in response to the killing of a Black Power member's daughter in Wanganui.

Wayne Panapa, the iwi liason officer for the Waikato Police district, has been in the river city since the weekend.

He says while things are relatively calm, that could change after this week's tangi for two year old Jhia Te Tua.

“Some of the talk is it may not happen in Wanganui, it may flare up in Counties Manukau or South Auckland or some other place. They’ve got national groups throughout the motu,” Mr Panapa says.


Te Aupouri artist Ralph Hotere is the subject of a major book due out in November.

Publisher Ron Sang says Mr Hotere has selected the most important works from each of his major series for inclusion in the book.

He says writers Vincent O'Sullivan and Kriselle Baker were able to penetrate the veil of privacy the Dunedin-based artist surrounds himself with.

“He is extremely private and he doesn’t like any publicity, it’s almost impossible to ask him to answer any questions, so you’ve got to do your own homework and it’s been very successful having those two to do the book because they know him from way back and Vincent O’Sullivan’s article is so easy to read, it’s not like a textbook at all, it’s not an academic review, it’s a simple biography,” Mr Sang says.

As well as the standard edition, there will be a $9000 limited edition of 100 copies featuring heavier paper, a stainless steel cover and a silkscreened work by the artist.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Auckland settlement unravelling bad signal

The Prime Minister says she'd be sad to see the Auckland land settlement unwound because of a challenge to the Waitangi Tribunal.

The tribunal is preparing its Tamaki Makaurau Settlement Process report on claims by several iwi they were pushed aside in the rush to settle with Ngati Whatua o Orakei.

Last week it raised questions about why the Office of Treaty Settlements held back documents which challenged the historical research used in the negotiations and criticised Ngati Whatua's refusal to talk to cross claimants.

Helen Clark says a tremendous effort was made towards the end of Ngati Whatua leader Sir Hugh Kawharu's life to complete the settlement with the hapu.

“That was done to general acclaim in the Auckland area. The city council was very positive about the relationship and the enhanced relationship with title of iconic land returning to the hapu, so for that to now be unwound I think is a pretty bad signal, and I’d be pretty sad to see that happen,” Ms Clark says.


A director of an award-winning Auckland Maori tourism venture says more rangatahi should consider careers in the sector.

Melissa Crockett from Potiki Adventures says overseas visitors respond to the enthusiasm young Maori bring to their New Zealand experience.

Ms Crockett, whose background includes youth work with troubled teens, says few young Maori saw Maori tourism as a career option, but many would do well as tour operators or guides.

“They've got that value within them of manaakitanga being paramount and they also have so much other knowledge within them that they don’t think is anything special but that tourists do, so it’s all of those basic legends, it’s all of that understanding of connection to whakapapa that most rangatahi have knowledge of,” Ms Crockett says.


An organisation representing more than 500 blind and visually impaired Maori is looking for people to read talking books in te reo.

Ngati Kapo national manager Christine Cowan says there is a lack of material for the blind in Maori, and what there is is extremely popular.

She says finding readers with the appropriate skills seems to be the hardest part.

“There's always been great demand to have readers who have the ability to read in te reo. For a lot of our members it’s a great joy to access information in te reo,” Ms Cowan says.

The issue will be on the agenda at Ngati Kapo's southern regional hui at Rapaki marae in Lyttelton over the weekend.


A long-mooted plan to build a visitors centre at Cape Reinga is on the go again.

Former Fullers managing director Mike Simm has been brought in by Enterprise Northland to work with Ngati Kuri and Te Aupouri on the project.

Mr Simm says landscaping should start in October, with building over the next two years.

He says many visitors regard New Zealand's northernmost attraction as a geographic experience like Lands End in Britain, but they should also be able to learn about its cultural significance of Te Rerenga Wairua and its unique fauna and flora.

“We've got to get DOC involved in getting them to interpret those elements, get the met service and others to interpret the significance of the geography of the place, and of course there is this overriding Maori cultural issue which is so important and so interesting is we can interpret it in a way that engages people and encourages them to delve into the elements that interest them,” Mr Simm says.

He says it's an ideal project to use some of the advanced interpretive technologies which are being pioneered at Rotorua's Te Puia arts and crafts institute, where he is just finishing three years as deputy chair.


Associate health Minister Mita Ririnui says a free meningitis vaccine campaign will be of particular benefit to Maori.

The Government has added the Prevenar vaccine to the National Immunisation Schedule at a cost of $68 million over the next four years.

Mr Ririnui says Maori tamariki have higher rates of pneumococcal meningitis and the vaccine is a safe way to bring down those rates.

“This particular vaccine has been proven to be safe in many countries around the world and this is good news for many New Zealand families, Maori and non-Maori, particularly with Maori as we know from history that as usual Maori will be disproportionately affected by these types of diseases, so that’s good news for us as Maori,” Mr Ririnui says.

All babies born in New Zealand from the start of next year can receive the vaccine at six weeks, three, five and 15 months through their GP or Primary Health Organisation.


The head of Canterbury University's Maori studies department says any moves to tackle gangs needs to address the needs of gang members as well as public safety issues.

Rawiri Taonui says banning gangs in the wake of the death of a two-year-old Wanganui girl would just fuel an already volatile situation.

He says a two-pronged approach is needed.

“One that tries to increase the level of safety for the general public and young people and children and all those sorts of things, and then on the other hand the things that will address the real underlying issues about good housing, getting back in contact with their culture, providing them with constructive role models, and so on and so forth,” Mr Taonui says.

He says gangs have proved resourceful in getting around tougher laws.

Te Puia red tape frustrates tourism maven

A high profile tourism identity says government interference is one of the reasons he won't seek another term on the board of Te Puia, the Maori arts and crafts institute in Rotorua.

Former Fullers managing director Mike Simm says he's proud the rebuilding of Te Puia has been completed ahead of schedule and 10 percent under budget.

Mr Simm says it's a world class indigenous tourism attraction.

But he says a similar upgrade at Skyline Skyrides started about the same time but finished before te Puia even turned a sod.

“The approval process and the review takes quite a long time with government and I guess the frustration was the government wasn’t required to put any money up for this project. One wonders sometimes why the review had to be quite as laborious as it was,” Mr Simm says.

The $20 million Te Puia upgrade, which was paid for out of retained earnings, will officially open on Friday.


United Future MP Judy Turner says the government 's anti-violence strategy ignores this country's high levels of female violence.

Past studies have highlighted a disproportionate number of Maori turning up in violence statistics.

Now a study from Victoria University has found mothers are as likely to kill their children as fathers.

Ms Turner says despite clear evidence women are as violent as men in the home, a $14 million Ministry of Social Development campaign is solely focused on changing the attitudes and behaviour of violent men.

She says women and children are always painted as victims.

“Well that's only half the picture, and if we are serious abut it we actually need to be looking at all the facts, and the facts suggest that women too have problems managing their anger and are very quick to resort to violence as equally large numbers of men, and that should be of equal concern,” Ms Turner says.

She says children and families will suffer if half the perpetrators of child violence are ignored.


Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says money used to improve Maori literacy is well spent.

The Government has launched a Maori language medium strategy, Te Reo Matatini, which aims to coordinate the many initiatives that are already underway.

Mr Horomia says the aim is to make te reo Maori a natural part of New Zealand life.

“If people don’t promote the language in everyday activities, you know in sports, out shopping or wherever else, it becomes a language that’s just learnt in school or on the kapa haka stage. What this strategy is about is to try to increase and improve participants’ ability to both read and write the language,” Mr Horomia says.

Te Reo Matatini will help providers delivering bi-lingual and immersion programmes find new ways of using te reo.


Political scientist Maria Bargh says Labour will need to find fresh talent if it is to win back seats from the Maori Party, or even retain the three it holds.

Labour is sounding out high profile Maori to stand in the four Maori seats it lost last election, and Te Tai Tonga MP Mahara Okeroa is also considered vulnerable.

Mita Ririnui, who lost Waiariki to Te Uroroa Flavell, is out of favour with many senior party figures.

Dr Bargh, a Victoria University Maori politics lecturer, says in the eyes of many Maori voters, Mr Ririnui and Mr Okeroa are still tainted by their support for Labour's Foreshore and Seabed Act.

“The current issues like fresh water and the potential privatization of fresh water and the comments existing Labour Maori MPS make about those different issues still leads many Maori voters to suspect that fighting for Maori rights isn’t really at the top of the minds of all the Maori MPs,” Dr Bargh says.


Former MP John Tamihere says Maori need to stop their rangatahi joining gangs.

Mr Tamihere says the community is justifiably outraged at the death of a two year old in a drive by shooting in Wanganui.

He says the path to gang membership and inevitably prison usually starts with lack of interest in school and low self esteem.

Mr Tamihere says that's a better place to start than trying to change the behaviour of gang members or prospects.

“There's no doubt it’s a Maori-related problem down there. There’s no doubt whether you’re in Wairoa or in Wanganui, there’s a problem between the Mongrels and the Black Power. Now if they’re going to be what our younger people aspire to join, we’re going to have some problems. And the key is like in turning off our poor criminality is turning off the traffic heading towards the gangs and or the prisons,” Mr Tamihere says.


Maori political agitator Tame Iti says his outspoken ways are affecting his international travel.

The colourful Tuhoe character is off to Austria at the end of the week to take part in Lemi Ponifasio's production based on Shakespeare's last play, The Tempest.

Mr Iti says he's used to his activities being monitored domestically, but now his reputation has spread.

“I'm kinda blacklisted in some countries around the world too. Australia I’ve been flying in and out of Australia for nearly 40 years. Now I can’t just fly into Australia any more, because they have visas. If they’re not paranoid about Islamic or the Arabs, they get paranoid about people like you and I,” Iti says.

Mahuta wants to keep Tainui boundaries

Tainui MP Nanaia Mahuta wants her constituents to join her in opposing changes to her electorate boundaries.

The Electoral Commisson is proposing a new seat, Pare Hauraki-Pare Waikato, which will push her seat North into Manurewa but move the southern Ngati Maniapoto areas in the King Country into Te Tai Hauauru.

Ms Mahuta says she'd like to see the Tainui identity retained.

“It might be better for the boundary to start at the Bombay Hills and push south, include the King Country, and if you need to numbers-wise, include Taumarunui and Tokoroa. And that again would be a seat that you could call Tainui,” Ms Mahuta says.

People have until June 5 to lodge objections with the Electoral Commission.


A Rotorua doctor says health providers in the region need to take a different approach to tackle high Maori teenage pregnancy rates.

Tania Pinford, the clinical leader of youth health for Rotorua's general practice organisation, says up to half of the people who come to services like the Rotovegas Youth Health Clinic are young Maori.

Dr Pinfold says it's important young people are encouraged to make good and informed choices about sexual health.

“We know that many of the mainstream services are sometimes difficult for young people and young Mari people to work with. They don’t feel very welcome there and they’re not very friendly or flexible kind of services, so services like ours are about reorienting medicine and healthcare access to make it easier for young people and young Maori people,” Dr Pinfold says.

She says if young people get pregnant, they need to get support so they can get on with their lives in positive ways.


New Zealand First MP Ron Mark says Maori leaders need to take a stand against the gangs.

Mr Mark says the weekend shooting in Wanganui of a two-year old girl shows the folly of Maori condoning the anti social and violent behaviour of their own people involved with gangs.

He says their tupuna would be ashamed.

“Our Maori need to stand up and take a very close look at themselves. What sort of people have we become? On Anzac Day we celebrated the deeds and the heroism and the sacrifice that our tupuna made over the generations. And when it comes to this, we turn a blind eye, and we do nothing,” Mr Mark says.

He says Maori whanau should adopt a zero tolerance approach to the illegal activities of some of their own.


Former Tamaki Makaurau MP John Tamihere says changes to the electorate boundaries in the Maori seats shouldn't affect Labour's prospects.

The Auckland-based Maori seat now held by Maori Party MP Pita Sharples is losing part of Manurewa to Tainui, which is to be renamed Pare Hauraki-Pare Waikato.

Tainui MP Nanania Mahuta is opposing the change, because she will also lose Ngati Maniapoto areas in the northern King Country.

Mr Tamihere says that's not what Ms Mahuta needs to worry about.

“The outcome is not a function of whether you get more rural votes and therefore more conservative National votes. Never played a part in Maori politics. Key will be not where the lines are drawn but how people in those electorates vote, and they will vote either Maori Party or Labour Party,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says the way the numbers stack up the Electoral Commission doesn't have a lot of room to move on Maori seat boundary changes.


Wanganui kaumatua Morvin Simon says the town is in mourning after the drive-by shooting of a two year old girl on the weekend.

Mr Simon says the finger is being pointed at younger gang members, because older members tend to be more settled.

He says older ways of resolving disputes have given way to more lethal practices which put innocents at risk.

“The method of challenging of course is very different to the days when you get out there on the marae and you taiaha yourselves and so on, but today they’re using all manner of weaponry. The by-product of it of course is that the mokopuna has paid for the rivalry between the two gangs,” Mr Simon says.


Activist and actor Tame Iti is off to Vienna to tell the story of Tuhoe.
He leaves on Friday for a role in Lemi Ponifasio's production Tempest, which uses Shakespeare's drama to comment on current political events in Aotearoa and the wider world.

The play will be part of the Vienna Festival to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth.

Iti says Ponifasio asked him to talk of his whakapapa, his time growing up in Ruatoki, his punishment for speaking Maori in school, and the wider issues of colonisation, the urban Maori drift and human rights.

“He thought that Tuhoe, Tame Iti, people like ourselves I guess, their story had not been heard. You get a split second I guess on Six O’clock News and in the paper, so he offered the stage as a place for me to do that,” Iti says.

Tempest will be toured through New Zealand later in the year.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Wanganui death indictment of gang support

New Zealand First Law and Order spokesperson Ron Mark says too many Maori are condoning and promoting gang lifestyles.

Mr Mark says the death of a two-year old in a gang related shooting in Wanganui over the weekend should be a wake up call to Maori families who turn a blind eye to the activities of whanau members in gangs.

Mr Mark says it's time Maori stopped looking for someone else to blame.

“The days are long gone when we can sit here and blame other people for our own behaviour. The days are long gone when we can blame the missionaries and blame colonization. This is New Zealand today. These people are allowed to behave in this way because Maoridom across all Aotearoa tolerate it and even promote it,” Mr Mark says.

New Zealand First wants a Suppression of Gangs Act, modeled on the suppression of terrorism legislation.


A former Maori school principal says there are few people competent to evaluate Maori teachers.

Primary teachers from around the country are voting today on whether to support a new career model in the profession.

Jim Perry, who headed kura kaupapa Maori in Te Puke and Mangere, says the proposed model is supposed to acknowledge teachers with advanced skills and create leadership pathways.

But Mr Perry says a lot of what Maori teachers are expected to do isn’t captured by the model.

“The question’s got to be, who is capable of assessing the ability of our Maori teachers, particularly those in kura kaupapa, kura auraki? That’s one of the big problems we've got,” Mr Perry says.


Rangitikei District Council's Te Roopu Ahi Kaa is looking at ways to get more young Maori involved.

Chairperson Richard Steedman says it is considering selecting youth representatives from the constituent iwi to take part during the public forum part of komiti meetings.

Mr Steedman says the komiti needs to have an eye to the future and a succession plan.

“District Councils are not the most exciting places really for youth but Rangitikei District Council does have a youth forum and we have been working on ways of brining them into councils,” Mr Steedman says.


A former member of the New Zealand Educational Institute’s executive says while a new system aimed at retaining primary school teachers is welcome, it may not be enough for many Maori teachers.

Today 25 thousand teachers nationwide will vote on a new model for evaluating teachers, which will affect career paths and salaries.

Jim Perry, a retired school principal, says retaining top Maori teachers has been a constant battle over the years.

He says expectations on Maori teachers are different, from leading school kapa haka groups to acting as social workers.

“You’re expected to do a lot more, because you are Maori. Any discipline problems with the Maori kids, go and get the Maori teacher, get them to come along and fix it up. And if in fact you are being used for that, then that should be recognised in terms of an improvement in your salary level,” Mr Perry says.

He says it would be hard to find people with the competence to assess Maori teachers.


A hui in Blenheim today will look for better ways for youth workers to deal with rangatahi.

Coordinator Robin Spence from the Marlborough Youth Trust says there are no simple rules youth workers.

Ms Spence says they need to be able to work in a range of different cultural situations.

“We're going to be talking about cultural identity because it is vital to be able to network in to the different communities. As well as Maori, we’ve got quite and international population, because a lot of migrant workers come in with their families to work in the vineyards so we do have quite a multicultural situation here,” Ms Spence says.


A Maori entertainer who has lived in Las Vegas for 40 years is back home to finish a documentary about his brother.

Kawana Pohe, from Tuwharetoa was a saxophonist for the Maori Hi Fives, who toured extensively through Australia and Asia in the early 1960s.

Mr Pohe's tuakana, Johnny Pohe, one of the first Maori pilots in World War 2.

He flew for the Royal Airforce before he was shot down and became a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft III.

Johnny Pohe was one of 76 prisoners who tunneled out of Stalag Luft III in an escape that formed the basis of the Steve McQueen classic The Great Escape, and one of the 50 who were recaptured and shot.

Kawana Pohe says it was an honour to be part of the documentary.

“They wanted to film me at the gravesite at Posnan where Johnny’s tombstone is and where a lot of the Commonwealth airmen were buried. Wouldn’t say it was my best performance, but for my brother I played saxophone at his graveside,” Mr Pohe says.