Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, July 20, 2007

Irene Goldsmith dies aged 103

Ngati Porou has lost a long-serving guardian of its ahi kaa.

Irene te Huatahi Goldsmith died on Wednesday at Te Puia Springs Hospital, where she had lived for the past decade. She was 103.

Relative Vapi Kupenga says Mrs Goldmith was well known on the coast through her working life as part of her husband Watty Goldsmith's trucking firm.

A member of the Mackey whanau, one of Ngati porou's most prominent families, she played an active part in tribal life.

“Nanny Rene was one of the stalwarts in the community, te pupuri te mauri. We came and went, and Nanny was always there. One of those families that is always there, looking after the marae, making sure the tikanga is stable,” Ms Kupenga says.

Irene Goldmith is lying in state at Porourangi Marae. Her funeral is tomorrow.

No reira e te whaea takoto mai, takoto mai, moe mai.


The MP for Taitokerau says if a fraction of the resources put into resolving the leaky homes crisis had gone towards problems with Maori housing, his constituents would be much better off.

Hone Harawira used a speech in Parliament last night on the leaky homes bill to launch into the deplorable conditions many Maori in the north are living in.

He says with an average income of just over $13,000, Maori become locked into substandard houses, which affects their health and economic opportunities.

“I'm thinking to myself gee, here we are, putting a lot of energy, $76 million into this leaky homes saga down here in Auckland into relatively well off, affluent, to a large degree white folks and all of our relations are getting bashed up north, down the coast, don’t even qualify under the scope of this legislation,” Mr Harawira says.

He says last week's Northland floods highlighted the problems many whanau face.


A former Social Welfare manager says a bill to lower the age of criminal responsibility is ludicrous.

Hohepa Mutu from Te Arawa was responsible for residential facilities for young people in the 1980's.

The bill, put up by New Zealand First MP Ron Mark, could mean children as young as 12 are jailed for crimes like assault.

Mr Mutu says many young people come to the attention of authorities for extreme incidents which may be one-off.

He says they need nurturing rather than extreme punishment.

“Many of these children are taken into care because of neglect rather than anything else, and to look at imprisoning children, I think that’s ludicrous, it’s draconian. Good lord, what's wrong with these people,” Mr Mutu says.

He says prison will just make young offenders worse.


The Minister of Affairs is defending a controversial change in the eligibility for one of Maoridom's most prestigious scholarships.

The Ngarimu Scholarship, which was launched in 1948 to commemorate Victoria Cross winner Te Moananui a Kiwa Ngarimu, will only be available to descendants of members of the 28 Maori Battalion.

The government has doubled the amount available to $217,000 a year, and it has added a new class of funding for leadership development of up to $30,000.

Just over 3000 men served in the battalion during World War Two, and almost 700 died in battle.

Parekura Horomia says it's appropriate to focus on the link with the battalion, and he doesn't believe many Maori scholars will miss out because of it.

“There's not many Maori families in this country who can’t whakapapa to the 28 Maori Battalion. If you find them, then you let me know. Because when we went in the population, most whanau, extended whanau, had affiliation,” Mr Horomia says.

He says there are other scholarships available for Maori who don't qualify.


The Maori Party is says Labour is trying to rewrite history over the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Labour's Maori MPs have piled into the smaller party this week over its failure to win cross party support for a repeal of the Act.

They accuse it of being a single issue party.

But co-leader Pita Sharples says his MPs are holding their heads high.

“The government Maori members have been absolutely ridiculous. They’ve invented stuff, saying that we said we’d resign if we didn’t get this through. How can one invent a lie just to get political capital? Another one said we’d mislead the people. Absolutely not. We said we’ve done what we’re going to do and we’re going to keep doing it,” he says.

Dr Sharples says the Maori Party is the only group holding the government accountable to Maori.


Maori students are making huge gains in mathematics because of better support at home.

That's the conclusion of an Education Ministry study.

Erica Ross from the ministry's literacy and numeracy assessment team says since 2000, New Zealand children have switched from rote learning to exercises which help them identify number patterns and visualise answers.

She says researchers interviewed Maori and Pakeha students about their experiences, and found Maori are benefiting most.

“They got significant support from their home in their numeracy as a result of being involved in the numeracy project. Now that means the whanau are really getting in behind and supporting their students, because that result wasn’t reflected in the English medium,” Ms Ross says.

Scholarship will exclude most Maori

A former winner of a Ngarimu scholarship is concerned at tough new eligibility criteria.

The government has doubled funding for 60 year old scholarship to more than $217,000, and says there will be a greater focus on funding post-graduate studies and the development of Maori leadership.

But that rather than being open to all Maori, the money will only go to those who can whakapapa to a member of the 28 Maori Battalion.

Patu Hohepa, whose distinguished academic career was helped at an early stage by Ngarimu funding, says that's a backward step.

He says a relatively small number of Maori went overseas to fight in World War Two, and a third of those were killed in battle.

“To then pick from the two thirds of those who came back, descent lines, it’s going to cut out a whole lot of Maori who have relatives, uncles and that who went overseas but they are not direct descendents,” Mr Hohepa says.

There were also tribal areas which refused to join the war, because of unresolved raupatu claims.


A Taranaki kaumatua believes Maori will no longer be able to whakapapa back to their awa tupuna, or ancestral rivers and lakes.

Huirangi Waikerepuru says the Foreshore and Seabed Act, and the Rotorua lakes and Waikato River claim settlements, are a challenge to Maori tikanga or custom.

In those settlements, the river or lake bed goes to the iwi, but the Crown owns the water column and airspace above.

Mr Waikerepuru says that will challenge speakers on marae when they whakapapa back to elements of the landscape.

“They'll be able to include their awa, but the reality is that it’s managed and controlled somewhere else. Before, the hapu and the people of the land controlled the landscape, the environment, and affiliated to that,” Mr Waikerepuru says.


One in five New Zealand adults has problems with literacy, including a disproportionate number of Maori.

That has prompted a Southland businessman to come up with a novel way to save people the embarrassment of publicly admitting they can't read or write.

Steven Winteringham says he was inspired by a television item about the problems people face when they can't read signs or fill in forms.

“There's got to be something a bit better to help these people so I came up with the idea of a card, similar to a credit card, that could be very discreetly passed across without having to ask and without them sort of drawing to other people's attention,” Mr Winteringham says.

Literacy Aotearoa has picked up the idea, and is producing an initial run of 5000 of the cards, printed in English and te reo Maori.


Indigenous rights lawyer Moana Jackson says his forthcoming trip to Geneva is in line with a long Maori tradition.

Mr Jackson hopes to present a report to the United Nations committee on racial discrimination in a fortnight.

The committee has asked for updates from the Government and from Maori about what has happened in the three years since the passing of ther Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Mr Jackson says since 1840 Maori have a tradition of looking for suitable places to present their take or issues.

“Our ancestors tried to meet with the King and Queen in England in the 1920s. People from here travelled to Geneva to the League of Nations, which was the forerunner of the United Nations. And so when our people now go to the UN and to many other indigenous or international forums, we’re really I think maintaining that tradition,” Mr Jackson says.

He says Maori have been extremely patient with the government, despite its unwillingness to respond to their concerns.


A Samoan educator believes non-Maori should support the role of Maori as tangata whenua or people of the land.

Mua Strickson Pua runs the Tagata Pacifica Resource and Development Trust, which helps young Pacific Island and Maori who have been expelled from schools.

As well as Pacific Island culture, the students learn about Maori history and culture and the effects of urbanisation on indigenous peoples.

Reverend Strickson Pua says that makes the Maori students sit up and take notice.

“They're hearing non-Maori saying quite clearly and powerfully that it’s awesome to be tangata whenua, that this is an awesome history, and that these are Pacific Islanders who have acknowledged that they have received great blessings by coming to this country,” Rev Strickson Pua says.

He says young Maori feel affirmed when non-Maori celebrate their culture.


A group promoting Wellington's Miramar area wants to highlight its Maori history.

Enterprise Miramar Peninsula wants to see the redevelopment of the former military base at Shelly Bay into a five star hotel, and it's trying to get a farm used by Wellington Prison turned into a regional park.

Spokesperson Allan Probert says while the area's brand is based on its film industry, the peninsula's many pa and archaeological sites could be the basis of iwi-based tourism.

“There are a lot of artifacts up there that are not being looked after so they need to be addressed. The second issue obviously is making people aware of them, because I think it’s important to value those, and the third thing obviously is to look on the opportunities that history brings,” Mr Probert says.

The branding exercise is funded by a $25,000 economic development grant from the Wellington City Council.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

More Ngarimu money but eligibility cut

The government has more than doubled the amount available for Ngarimu Scholarships.

The scholarships have been awarded annually for 60 years, in honour of Victoria Cross winner Te Moananui a Kiwa Ngarimu.

It's funded by endowments and government grants.

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia, who chairs the scholarship committee, says by 2009 there will be $217,000 on offer.

He says there will be a greater focus on post-graduate studies and development of Maori leadership, with up to $30,000 available in a new leadership scholarship.

“What we are trying to do is focus at the upper end to try and accelerate those modern sciences that we know we need but at the same time not losing track of our culture and our language and that,” Mr Horomia says.

Eligibility will be restricted to those who can whakapapa to a member of the 28 Maori Battalion.


A public health specialist is warning racism in health will continue unchecked if references to the Treaty are removed from legislation and policy documents.

Gay Keating, the director of the Public Health Association, made the point today to the select committe considering New Zealand First MP Pita Paraone's Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi Deletion Bill.

She says the fact Maori are less likely to receive elective surgery is an indication of systemic discrimination.

Dr Keating says increasing awareness has led to a significant increase in health services.

“By having Maori developed and Maori controlled services, we’re beginning to see a distinct improvement in Maori health. If we take away references to the treaty, if we undercut that founding approach, we undercut the gains that we are beginning to make,” Dr Keating says.

The health of Maori is worse than other New Zealanders at all levels of income and education.


It may not fly off the shelves, but Auckland University Press knows its latest publication will still be selling when today's bestseller is pulped.

This evening at Waipapa Marae it's launching Volume Four of Nga Moteatea, the collection of traditional Maori songs and poems collected early last century by politican and cultural revivalist Sir Apirana Ngata.
The first volume came out 80 years ago, and is still selling.

The final volume was prepared for publication by respected academics Tamati Reedy and Hirini Moko Mead.

Christine O'Brien from AUP says it book a CD of many of the moteatea, drawn from the university's archive of historical recordings.

“I think it's just absolutely fantastic because Nga Moteatea is a great taonga. It’s a really great national literary and cultural treasure and we’re just enormously proud to be involved in bringing this to the wider public,” Ms O'Brien says.


John Key says Tariana Turia needed to try harder if she wanted National's support for overturning the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

National's leader is rejecting suggestions he gave the Maori Party false hope, before finally saying this week his party won't support Mrs Turia's bill at its first reading this parliamentary session.

He says both parties agree it is an issue of property rights, but National wants fundamental uncertainties around the foreshore and seabed resolved.

“There was never a position where it was going to change. It doesn’t mean that we won’t revisit the topic at some stage. We certainly will, and we’ve made it clear to the Maori party that we’re happy to look at alternatives, but we want to put up a suggested solution, without just having a simple repeal,” Mr Key says.

He says politics is not just a question of legal argument, but of winning the hearts and minds of the country.


A Maori tourism delegation heading off to China tonight, will be accompanied by Chinese living in New Zealand.

The delegation will visit five cities in 10 days, promoting Maori tourism products to travel agents and government officials.

Johnny Edmonds from the Maori Tourism Council says the presence of members of the China New Zealand Business Council in the delegation will be invaluable in bridging the cultural and language barriers.

“You know we've got quite a useful combination between the two, and communications will be made a lot easier. Our partners here, the China Business Council, have become increasingly familiar, not only with Maori culture of course, because we’ve done a number of things with them, but also with the Maori tourism products or the range of products that we have,” Mr Edmonds says.

The delegation is led by associate tourism minister Dover Samuels.


Hawke's Bay Museum is creating a new position to deal with demand from people wanting to see its taonga Maori.

Director Douglas Lloyd Jenkins says the Napier City Council will fund a half time curator from next year.

The museum's Ngati Kahungunu advisors want the artifacts to be shared with the communities they come from, while remaining protected.

Mr Lloyd Jenkins says because of the contributions of some active early curators and collectors, the museum's collection is one of the best outside the main centres.

“We've got a very extensive taonga Maori collection here that was assembled in the late 19th century right through, and it’s a very strong collection and at the moment we don’t really have the specific expertise to display it and discuss it to the level we would like,” he says.

The collection includes many rare Ngati Kahungunu matau or fishhooks, about 100 kete, 80 cloaks and hundreds of other artifacts.

Rejection by National inevitable

A former Maori Party candidate says the party should have learnt its lesson about trying to cosy up to National.

John Key this week ended months of speculation by ruling out his party's support for Tariana Turia's Foreshore and Seabed Act Repeal Bill.

Atareta Poananga, who stood in Ikaroa Rawhiti last election, says her party expended a lot of political capital, time and effort on what was always a lost cause.

“If they're not going to be supportive of us on that particular issue, they’re certainly not going to be supporting us on anything else that’s important for us. For example, retention of the Maori seats – that’s another thing they’ve said they will do away with. So in fact they’re our opposition, and anyone who would trust them must be dreaming,” she says.

Ms Poananga says none of the Pakeha parties are going to support Maori customary rights.


Maori tourism operators are off today to say kia ora to China.

Dover Samuels, who is leading the delegation in his role as associate Minister of Tourism, says they're responding to an invitation from China's tourism minister, who visited Aotearoa last year.

He says the operators hope to form long term relationships with travel wholesalers.

“This is an unprecedented hikoi, if you like. It is a hikoi to show the Chinese people Maoridom’s face and recognising that 30 million Chinese travel from five to 14 days annual around the world on their holidays,” Mr Samuels says.

Tourism is worth $17 billion a year to New Zealand, and Maori culture is an important part of the visitor experience.


An 80 year collaborative effort in Maori scholarship will reach its conclusion tonight.

Volume Four of Nga Moteatea will be launched at Auckland University's Waipapa marae.

The first volume of traditional Maori songs and poems was collected and published by Ngati Porou scholar and politician Sir Apirana Ngata in 1928.

After his death, the next two volumes were prepared by Pei Te Hurinui Jones from Ngati Maniapoto.

The waiata in the latest book have previously appeared in a Maori-language only version prepared by Tamati Reedy.

Hirini Moko Mead was brought in to translate them into English, so all four volumes have the same format.
Professor Mead says that will help people with limited Maori appreciate the beauty of the ancient songs.

“Even for ones who do understand Maori, it is often difficult to understand what the composer was getting at, so it was very necessary to have the English translation,” Professor Mead says.

“The complete set includes almost 400 waiata.


Dover Samuels says his departure from Parliament will make room for younger talent in the Labour party.

After months of speculation, the outspoken list MP has confirmed he won't seek reselection.

By the next election Mr Samuels will have spent 12 years in the House, including two terms as MP for Taitokerau.

He's been holding back from announcing his resignation because he wants his ministerial spot to go to fellow northerner Shane Jones.

Mr Samuels says he wants to do what's best for the party.

“We have young candidates, we have very visionary candidates that want to put their names in, and I think at the end of the day we should give them a chance and I’m certainly a supporter of that and I will play my part at the appropriate time,” he says.

In the meantime, Mr Samuels is continuing his ministerial duties - which this week includes heading a delegation of Maori tourism operators to China.


The Department of Conservation is backing off providing vehicle access to a Bay of Islands beach in the face of strong opposition from local iwi.

Northland conservator Chris Jenkins says DoC and the Far North Council have reached agreement with Ngati Rehia on pedestrian access to Taronui reserve, north of Kerikeri.

But concerns over sacred sites and kaimoana plundering means that's as far as the iwi wants to go at this time.

“I don't want to pursue the vehicle access issue until after we’ve resolved those concerns with Ngati Rehia. I’d be guided by ideas and solutions they would have on this issue. They may be looking at some of the customary fishing protections and so on, but that’s really issues we need to talk through and resolve with them,” Mr Jenkins says.

A marked walking track should be completed by summer, with the council providing a car park at the start of the track.


The long-awaited Napier urban marae is nearing completion.

Establishment trustee Mike Taane says the idea has been around for 50 years, but work on Pukemokimoki Marae finally started just over two years ago on its riverbend Road site.

It's set to open in early October.

Mr Taane says community support is building.

“Before the marae started, it was ‘Oh yeah, here we go again” but after building started enthusiasm has steamrolled along to the point where marae trustees have now been appointed, policies and procedures for the marae operation have also been dealt with, management structures have been put in place for the future development of the marae and its financial base,” he says.

Mr Taane says the tahuhu or ridgepole of the wharenui is made from metal, so sprinklers can be inserted along its length.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Kawhia kaumatua John Apiti dies

Maori living around the Kawhia and Aotea Harbours are mourning the loss of one of their senior Kaumatua.

John Apiti spent most of his 91 years farming, and had a lot of input into environmental issues affecting that part of the North Island west coast.

Nephew Davis Apiti says he was highly regarded for his knowledge of te ao Maori, and was a familiar figure at hui throughout the Waikato region.

John Apiti is the last of his generation in the Apiti whanau, and the last to have learned his farming skills from the Mormon Maori Agricultural College.

"He's the last of the old boys from the MAC, that's the college down there in Hastings, and he talked about the good times he enjoyed down there before before the earthquake," Mr Apiti says.

The funeral for John Apiti will be at the Latter Day Saints church in Kawhia at 11 tomorrow, after which he will be buried at the whanau urupa at Matakowhai Point, overlooking Aotea Harbour.


It's the worst kept secret in Maori politics.

Dover Samuels won't be seeking reelection.

He spent two terms representing Tai Tokerau and is currently serving his second stint as a Labour list MP.

Mr Samuels says he will inform Prime Minister Helen Clark and the party of his decision at an appropriate time, but his intention is clear.

"I've made it clear that I certainly won't be seeking renomination for the next election and the reasons why," Mr Samuels says.

He wants to spend more time with his family, and he also wants to make room for younger candidates such as fellow Taitokerau-based list MP Shane Jones.


Three students from the South Island have made a book they hope will improve the literacy skills of other young Maori.

Josh Toohey, Jordan Russ and Tyrone Frost-Kidd, from St Thomas of Canterbury College, wrote A Perfect Day with help from noted children's author Margaret Mahy, as part of a Young Enterprise project.

It's aimed at primary and intermediate age children.

Mr Toohey, who's from Ngai Tahu, says the book has a school setting, but it also brings in issues of wage slavery and child labour in the third world.

He says the project gave the trio an understanding of the importance of literacy.

"We just saw it as kind of pressing issue and one that influenced a lot iof decisions and choices that people like Maori could be making in life, and being literate was extremely important in contemporary society," Mr Toohey says.

He and his friends tried to write the book in a way which would engage other young Maori.


The author of a new book on Auckland's Maori past says New Zealanders are losing their sense of place because they don't learn their history at school.

Paul Moon says New Zealand and Albania are the only two countries he knows of where history is not compulsory at secondary school level.

It has left generations students without a sense of place or identity.

Dr Moon says Maori communities expect their young people to learn tribal history.

"So they understand the place they come from, they have an attachment to that place, in management terms they have buy in. Whereas if you don't have that attachment, you don't understand the history, you can become a drifter, and when you drift you don't have a sense of place. It starts to affect the way you live, the way you value things, so it has a flow on affect," Dr Moon says.

While the book doesn't take sides, The Struggle for Tamaki Makaurau may help people understand why other iwi have challenged the Government's proposed settlement of Ngati Whatua.


A Ruapehu District Councillor wants to use her council's historic places policy to preserve Maori sites and stories.

Karen Ngatai is asking Ruapehu district residents to share their knowledge, photos and documents of the region's history, to be stored in an archive in the old Tokirima post office.

Mrs Ngatai says the council needs a stronger policy, but it needs community backing.

"It's a community thing, not just a council thing. We really want people to get involved and come to us, and say we've got this site, we've got this building, and there's this story behind it. That hasn't happened in the past," she says.

Mrs Ngatai says the district is in danger of losing its historic record as kaumatua die off.


A high profile candidate for the south Auckland mayoralty says he wants to help Maori victims of crime.

Former Olympic middle distance runner Dick Quax wants to make the jump from Manukau City councillor to mayor at next month's local body elections.

He says the region has a high Maori population, and the safety of all residents has to be a priority.

"One of the things that I'm concerned about is that Maori are disprortionately, a large number of them are victimes of crimes, so we have to make sure we do everything possible as a communtiy to safeguard everybody," Mr Quax says.


Schools are back this week, and students may be noticing some changes in their tuckshops.

They've been ordered to phase out fatty foods and provide healthy alternatives.

Michelle Mako, the manager of the Health Sponsorship Council's Feeding our Futures initiative, says Maori whanau should welcome the change.

"You know if we're going to be asking whanau to be make better choices for their tamariki by ensuring their kids are eating the right kinds of food, and remembering that a third of all foods kids are eating, they're eating in the school environment, we need to make sure the school environment is also supporting whanau by providing healthier foods," Ms Mako says.

She says there are no quick fix solutions to the rising levels of child obesity in New Zealand.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Taonga to be returned to Tuhoe

Tuhoe people are to be reunited with some long lost taonga.

The taonga were found in Whakatane Museum by Presbyterian minister Wayne Te Kaawa, while he was researching how land in Maungapohatu came into the hands of the church.

They were gifted to Presbyterian missionaries John Laughton and Annie Henry, who established schools in Maungapohatu and Ruatahuna early last century.

Reverend Te Kaawa says the 60 taonga include kereru and kiwi feather cloaks, a tokotoko and other carvings, a cooking pot said to belong to Captain James Cook and a carved gourd brought to Aotearoa on the Mataatua waka.

“I happened to come across them and went home to Ruatahuna and said to the people, ‘hey, did you know there is all these taonga in the Whakatane Museum that belong to you,’ and they were so overcome they just broke down and cried because it was their parents and grandparents who gifted these taonga to John Laughton and Sister Anne Henry, and they thought they had been lost, Rev Te Kaawa says.

As well as their ownership of the taonga being acknowledged, the Maungapohatu hapu will also get back papakainga land the church has owned in the tiny Urewera settlement for 80 years.


The Green's Maori spokesperson says poor consultation killed a bill to create a trans-Tasman agency overseeing medicines and remedies.

The Therapeutics Product and Medicine Bill is being shelved because the Government can't get enough votes for it.

Loud among the chorus of opposition were traditional Maori healers, who feared the new agency would restrict their use of rongoa Maori or natural remedies.

Metiria Turei says that opposition might not have been so loud if the Government had consulted properly.

“And they've completely failed to talk popreprly to Maori about the impact on rongoa Maori. It only impacts on them when it becomes part of the business practice, the therapeutic practice that Maori are engaged in. They’ve just failed to deal with Maori properly on an equitable basis that talks to us about what those issues are for Maori,” Ms Turei says.


He's been described as a lynchpin of the northern arts community.

Carver Te Warahi Heteraka was yesterday honoured by Creative New Zealand and the Local Government Association for his contributions to creative places ... in particular his Waka and Wave installation in Whangarei's Hatea River.

Scott Pothan, the director of the Whangarei Art Museum, says during that 10 year project, Mr Heteraka showed the clear thinking and ability to bridge cultures which makes him an inspiration for other Northland artists.

“His mana is extraordinary in the north and I’ve discovered that time and time again in all sorts of meetings on all sorts of controversial issues. He’s been the lynch pin to resolving issues in a very sensible and collaborative kind of way and the same kind of way that he works collaboratively with artists and crosses boundaries between traditional tikanga and contemporary practice,” Mr Pothan says.


A Maori health worker says the meningococcal epidemic has woken Maori up to the need for childhood vaccinations.

Child advocacy group WellChild has raised the alarm about New Zealand's immunisation rates, which are ranked by UNICEF as 23rd out of 25 industrialised nations.

The national target is to have 95 percent of children up to date with immunisations by age two, but only 77 percent meet that mark ... and the percentage of Maori children is significantly lower.

But Ripeka Taipari, from the Whare Mauri Ora Trust in Otahuhu, says the situation is improving.

“When the meningococcal vaccine was spread throughout the country, Maori children or Maori parents started picking up on the vaccinations because that was when they got registered to see if they had been taking the immunisations that were on the national schedule,” Ms Taipari says.

Many Maori children miss out on vaccinations because their parents are less likely to take them to see a doctor ... but by the time they are five most have all the required shots.


The Ministry of Economic Development wants Maori views on how companies hunting for medicinal plants and substances should be regulated.

It's holding a series of hui over the next two months on its bio-prospecting discussion document.

Chris Kilby, the acting manager of energy and communications, says the exercise will help the government consider the recommendations of the Waitangi Tribunal's report on the Wai 262 indigenous fauna and flora claim.

That's expected later this year.

He says there are few controls on international pharmaceutical companies.

“Bio-prospectors are coming in and taking flora and fauna which perhaps we’re not aware about and both Maori and wider New Zealanders aren’t benefiting from that in terms of understanding what that activity is, where are the benefits going, so this document is asking those questions, which sits very nicely alongside the WAI 262 environment,” Mr Kilby says.

The ministry is keen to get feedback from Maori on the idea of creating a register of traditional Maori knowledge on the uses of native plants.


If you can't get to to Whangarei any time soon, a new book will give an insight into the town's award winning sculpture.

Waka and Wave in the Hatea River by the Town Basin is a collaboration between carver Te Warihi Heteraka and sculptor Chris Booth.

Whangarei Art Museum director Scott Pothan has told its story in his book Make Rocks Sing.

He says it's not written as art history for curators, but for people who feel an affinity with the piece.

“I think it's a very engaging kind of story. It’s almost a story against adversity. We were declined funding so many times and I think everyone would be interested in the story of how we managed to get a major signature sculpture for the city celebrating biculturalism in the north,” Mr Pothan says.

At a ceremony at yesterday's Local Government conference to recognise councils' investment in the arts, Waka and Wave won the Whangarei Council a judges’ citation, and Mr Heteraka received an award for his outstanding individual contribution.

Heteraka honoured for creative place

Northland carver Te Warihi Hetaraka has been honoured for his contribution to the arts.

At the Local Government Conference in Dunedin today, Mr Heteraka was given a Creative New Zealand award for outstanding individual contribution, acknowledging his skill as a carver, teacher and as a mentor to younger artists.

His work includes the carvings in the Maori Affairs Select Committee room in Parliament, Terenga Paraoa Marae in Whangarei, and Waka and Wave, a collaboration with sculptor Chris Booth near the Whangarei Town Basin.

Whangarei Mayor Pamela Peters says Mr Heteraka has made a huge contribution to the town.

“The people he brings together, the kind of atmosphere he creates around himself, the generosity of spirit and of course the artistic excellence as well, so he is an outstanding individual and we’re lucky to have him in Whangarei,” Ms Peters says.

Wind and Wave is the subject of a new booklet and exhibition at the Whangarei Art Museum.


A Maori political commentator says the Maori Party's failure to win cross party support for its Foreshore and Seabed Act repeal bill is not a crushing blow.

Matt McCarten, the former president of the Alliance, says while foreshore and seabed was the issue that led to the creation of the party, it has proved itself to be more than a single issue party.

National's leader, John Key, says National won't support the bill in its current form.

Mr McCarten says what the Bill says is less important than its political symbolism.

“The bill was notoriously drafted badly, but no one cares particularly about the detail. They don’t. It was a symbolic line in the sand, so to speak, and that’s what drew Maori to say it was a critical point,” Mr McCarten says.

He says the Maori Party has shown its supporters tha Maori can be at the table, and that will ensure its survival.


Maori traditional healers say the demise of a bill to create a transTasman agency for regulating drugs and remedies could be a short term victory.

The Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill won't be put to the vote this session because the Government can't muster enough support.

Tane Cook from Nga Ringa Whakahaere o te iwi Maori says that's good news for Maori rongoa practitioners, who were concerned at the impact of the bill on traditional remedies.

But he says the proposed changes could be effected through regulation.

“The government has been trying to look at, okay, this particular bill didn’t work, so how else can we rewrite this to look like something else but effectively it still does the same job as they wanted this particular bill to do. So I still believe yes it’s a victory, but I still believe we should be taking things quite cautiously,” Mr Cook says.

Before it moves to regulate traditional remedies, the Government should wait for the Waitangi Tribunal to report on the Wai 262 indigenous flora and fauna claim.


The Presbyterian Church is to return land in the the Urewera settlement of Maungapohatu to Ngai Tuhoe.

It is the result of 16 years of negotiations between the church's Maori synod, Te Aka Puaho, its properties and Maungapohatu's Te Mapou Papakainga Trust.

Wayne Te Kaawa, who researched the title, says the Crown bought part of the 60 acre Papakainga block in 1923 and on-sold it to the church four years later for 10 pounds.

He says the gift will give the hapu a greater land base.

“The papakainga was supposed to be 60 acres back in the 1920s when it was set up, but it was whittled down by the government down to 10, 15, maybe 20 acres today, and th land was originally supposed to be for the Mapou papakainga but the government had other ideas,” Rev Te Kawaa says.

The land will be handed back at a ceremony at Maungapohatu on August 4.


The Ministry of Economic Development says a controversial register of traditional Maori knowledge or matauranga Maori is only a suggestion.

The idea is contained in a discussion paper on ways to regulate bio-prospecting for plants which can be used for medicines or remedies.

Chris Kilby, the ministry's acting secretary of energy and communications, says a lot will depend on the outcome of consultation hui with Maori over the next two months.

He says some sort of protection is needed.

“Currently New Zealand has no regulations or recognised guidelines for the use of traditional knowledge, so that’s one of the key factors that we’re asking through this document of Maori and other New Zealanders of what should we do about that,” Mr Kilby says.

He says the policy may also have to take account of whatever comes out of the Wai 262 flora and fauna claim to the Waitangi Tribunal.


Green MP Metiria Turei has issued a challenge to Maori organisations to financially support Women’s Refuge.

She says as iwi improve their financial positions with Waitangi treaty settlements, they should think of ways to improve the overall health and well being of their communities.

“It's not just about economic growth and development. That’s part of what we should use our resources for. But we have to provide support for those groups that support our women and our children,” Ms Turei says.


Maori consumers are being asked to consider whether goods they buy harm other indigenous peoples.

Trade Aid communications manager Michaelia Ward says many of the products enjoyed by consumers in developed economies are made by sweatshop labour in poorer countries.

She says all New Zealanders should avoid products from countries with reputations for using sweatshop labour.

“We need to start thinking as global citizens, and the Maori situation in New Zealand is very similar to the marginalised communities that we work for in Trade Aid, people that have been marginalized for all sorts of reasons through global trade,” Ms Ward says.

Forest claims head for showdown

Central North Island iwi are gearing up for a head on confrontation with the Government over forestry claims.

A weekend hui at Waitetoko Marae near Taupo chaired by Tuwharetoa paramount chief Tumu te Heuheu resolved to stay out of direct negotiations.

Instead, the iwi want the Waitangi Tribunal to order the government to hand over Crown forest assets to the appropriate claimants.

The hui also supported an appeal to the Supreme Court by Tuwharetoa, the Federation of Maori Authorities and the Maori Council against a settlement which would see the Crown handing over a third of the Kaingaroa forest to Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa.

Maori Council member Maanu Paul it was a convincing show of unity.

“All these things are happening at once, and we can’t sit by and leave it ot the Crown’s manipulations. We have to make an initiative of our own,” he says.

Mr Paul says the new collective has the support of the 75 percent of claimants who are not currently in negotiations with the Crown.


The fight to eradicate pests from New Zealand's forests is trampling Maori spiritual values.

That's the view of the Upper Coromandel Landcare Association, which wants a royal commission on the use of 1080 poison.

Spokesperson Reihana Robinson says the Conservation Department and regional councils are telling Maori they should support poison drops because the aim is to protect vulnerable native species.

She says that ignores the use Maori make of all forest species, whether they are native or introduced.

“Possums can be an important source of income and employment, and pigs, deer and goats are important sources of food, so what we’ve got is DoC and regional councils, with their pest plans, and their 1080, working to further impoverish Maori and strip us of rights and resources. That's where it's at,” Ms Robinson says.

She says the current Environment Risk Management Authority investigation on relicensing 1080 is flawed, because the authority does not have all the resources it needs to investigate the detrimental effects of the poison.


Modern assumptions about the Maori history of Auckland could be challenged by a new book published this week.

The Struggle for Tamaki Makaurau by Paul Moon, a history lecturer at the Auckland University of Technology, looks at the stategic importance of the region to Maori.

Recent attention has focused on the role of the Orakei hapu of Ngati Whatua, the group recognised by central and local government as the primary tangata whenua.

But Dr Moon says before 1840, Tamaki was an important junction for a lot of hapu and iwi.

“People were coming and going around the country, and using Auckland as a shortcut to go from one sea to the other, and as a result they tended a lot of times to leave a few people from the canoe behind, so there’s a whole lot of tribal histories around the country that have connections with the Auckland area,” he says.


A Maori cultural advisor with the army says former soldiers who work as private contractors in war zones are aware of the risks.

34-year-old Darryl De Thierry died in Iraq last week when his armoured vehicle hit a landmine.

Aaron Taitoko says Mr de Thierry made a lot of friends in his 14 years in the New Zealand army, and they're grieving for him.

He says many Maori are lured to Iraq by wages of up to a thousand dollars a day.

“There's the carrot there with the money, the pay packets that they’re picking up over there as well, and a lot of the guys have a plan to go there for a couple of years just to get ahead really, get ahead in life,” Mr Taikato says.

The tangi for Darryl De Thierry will be at Ngati Rahiri Tumutumu Marae in Te Aroha on Saturday.


Too many Maori make poor decisions about their finances.

A banking survey has found most Maori and Pacific Islanders had little knowledge of basic financial matters ... including credit cards, mortgages or retirement planning ... and that makes them vulnerable to credit traps or scams.

Ada Lauese, a budget advisor with West Auckland's Waipereira Trust says it stops Maori getting ahead.

She says it's not just education but attitude.

“They do not know where there next penny’s coming from and anyone can talk them into buying a car, or MacDonalds, material things. We’ve got to be taught not to book too many things up when we haven't got the money,” Mrs Lauese says.


Women's Refuge is about more than safe-houses.

That's the message the movement wants to get through during this week's appeal.

Chief executive Heather Henare says Refuge is trying to address issues of violence out in the community, and it's building relationships with Maori runanga and trusts to try to get action on the high proportion of Maori women and children who come into the refuge system.

“A huge percentage of our work is driven by the work we do in the community. The safe housing we provide is a much smaller referral to our organisation now, which is a good thin, because it means women and children are finding alternatives,” Ms Henare says.


Former MP John Tamihere says the Hone Harawira should focus on his own people's problems rather than play international statesman.

He says the Taitokerau MP was out of line in his criticisms of Australian Prime Minister John Howard's policies towards Aboriginal communities.

He should concentrate on issues of concern in his electorate, like education, health, and better sewerage and water supplies to the region's marae.

“You're the member for Taitokerau. You’re not the member for Northern Territory. Okay. Love ‘em to bits as you might like, but I would never have an Abo poke their nose into our business over here. And if we can’t fix up our own back yard, I don’t need someone else poking their nose in over the politics of what’s going on and all the rest of it,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says Mr Harawira should ask himself every day how he is advancing the cause of his own people.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Refuge appeal highlights common problem

The head of Womens Refuge says the disproportionate use of refuges by Maori is because they have fewer options.

Last year 42 percent of women and 51 percent of children using Refuge were Maori, while Pakeha accounted for 43 percent of women and 30 percent of children.

Heather Henare says that reflects the way refuge has developed, and the options people have in society.

“White middle class violence is just as prevalent out there but it doesn’t necessarily get the notice, or they won’t necessarily use our service. They may use our crisis line, but they’re more likely to access services through lawyers and other means,” she says.

Ms Henare says safe houses are just a small part of the organisation's work, and much of its efforts go into community programmes on issues of violence.

The annual appeal for Womens Refuge started today.


The head of the Ngati Apa Runanga says the Rangitikei tribe's proposed $14 million treaty settlement should be seen as an act of generosity towards the nation.

Ngati Apa signed an agreement in principle with the Crown last week, and is now consulting with neigbouring iwi and hammering out the details of the settlement.

Adrian Rurawhe says his iwi entered direct negotiations knowing it could get back only a fraction of what it lost to the processes of war and colonisation.

“We know the difference between compensation and redress, and this process is about redress. We will not receive compensation for what we lost. Every claimant group or tribe that settles under this process, basically, that is an act of generosity towards this nation,” Mr Rurawhe says.

Because Ngati Apa is relatively small, it should be able to consult with its five constituent hapu and conclude the settlement in less than a year.


An influential Ngai Tahu elder is urging the South Island tribe to move to direct elections for its executive and kaiwhakahaere or leader.

Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu has been consulting beneficiaries about changes to its electoral process.

It has put up two options, but both include retention of an electoral college to appoint the executive members.

Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan says that won't resolve long-standing problems, nor will it make the executive accountable.

The former Southern Maori MP says direct elections will make the executive accountable to the people, rather than to the 108 members of the appointment committees.

“It would require a minor amendment to one clause in the Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu Act of 1996, but I think it would be better and it would avoid recent problems that they have had at the table,” Mrs Tirikatene-Sullivan says.

Ngai Tahu members living in Auckland will discuss the proposed changes at Waipapa Marae tonight, with two further hui at Hokitika on Wednesday and Christchurch next week winding up the consultation round.


Central North Island forestry claimants have united to seek the return of the forests through the Waitangi Tribunal.

The iwi met at Waitetoko Marae near Taupo yesterday in a hui chaired by Tuwharetoa paramount chief Tumu te Heuheu.

Relations between the iwi have been strained over the past year by the decision of Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa, which represents about half the tribes in the Arawa Confederation, to negotiate a direct settlement with the government.

Maanu Paul from the New Zealand Maori Council and Ngai Moewhare, a hapu from the centre of the Kaingaroa Forest, says the new collective includes all claimants who are not already committed to negotiations.

He says the tribunal can order the government to hand over Crown forest assets to appropriate claimant groups.

“We have to save the forest for our mokopuna, and this is a way forward that we can see. We are not going to enter into negotiations with the Crown. We are going to seek resumption orders from the tribunal,” Mr Paul says.

The Central North Island claimants are backing a likely appeal to the Supreme Court of a case challenging the use of forestry assets in the Te Arawa settlement.


Kaeo residents and regional support agencies met today to discuss the town's future after last weeks flood.

Judy Steele, the chief executive of Te Runanga o Whaingaroa, says many of those affected, including many Maori, did not have insurance.

She says while Prime Minister Helen Clark suggested the town might have to be relocated, most residents don't want to move.

“Some people will relocate, because I guess they get to the end of their tether, and that does include some of our Maori whanau, and I’ve heard that there will be a couple relocating. The majority of us have this need to stay, so we’re really looking at how to do things more wisely, I guess, to be really aware of the effects of flooding on us. It’s really about flood management,” Ms Steele says.

She says the area needs some concerted help from the local council and central government agencies.


A service which helps keep Maori storytelling alive wants to go global.

Trustee Kath Akuhata Brown says the Aio Foundation was set up three years ago because of concern kaumatua were dying before their stories were told.

It's building up a digital archive of stories and making them available to schools.

It's also running programmes in kura kaupapa to teach writing drama for radio.

Ms Brown says the idea now is to make the stories available internationally.

“Imagine being a little child in Africa and hearing a story from a kid in say for example Ruatoria. You know it would be pretty cool,” Ms Brown says.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Lagging iwi could lose lease access

The Maori fisheries settlement trust is concerned delays by a few iwi to get mandates is preventing other tribes from pushing ahead with development of their assets.

The chair of Te Ohu Kaimona, Archie Taiaroa, says three quarters of the 57 iwi have received their initial share of the settlement, which includes deepwater quota and shares in Aotearoa Fisheries.

They're now resolving boundaries issues with their neighbours, so they can receive the inshore component of the settlement, which is based in coastline length rather than iwi population.

Mr Taiaroa says if those neighbours haven't become mandated iwi organisations, the process can't go forward.

“Most iwi have always said they want to do their own thing. Well now the opportunity is there, what’s holding them up to actually progress and got through the process to do that and get on with it. We’re saying the benefits that are theirs and all their constituent members’ should be taken advantage of and utilized,” he says.

Archie Taiaroa says if the delays continue, Te Ohu Kaimoana may refuse to lease annual catch entitlements to the un-mandated iwi groups, which could cost those groups hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.


Otago University is looking for ways to align itself with Maori aspirations.

It has adopted a Maori Strategic Framework, setting out ways it can contribute to maori development.

Chancellor Lindsay Brown says the framework grew out of a Treaty of Waitangi stocktake the university conducted in 2005.

He says Otago already has a strong relationship with Ngai Tahu, and it is developing agreements with other iwi.

“We do have a good policy already in place where there is contribution in matters Maori to research and a growing roll of Maori students and also looking for opportunities to increase our Maori staff.
Mr Brown says.

He wouldn’t comment on the loss of two of the Otago's leading Maori staff members, because the matter is still going through the grievance process.

Tania Ka'ai, the former head of Otago's Te Tumu School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, and John Moorfield, a leading expert on the Maori language, start new jobs today at the Auckland University of Technology.


A Maori organic farmer says last week’s Northland floods has turned dreams into nightmares for many Maori who have moved back to their ancestral papakainga.

Percy Tipene says many people move back with limited resources and they try and make a go with what they've got.

But he says the floods show the importance of doing research on the best use of land.

“It'll be quite a dilemma, where is the actual best site to put a house up on. I think one of the issues that has created this is changes in the use of land based activities, and I think this is a crucial concern to Maori people in terms of what’s happening upstream and how we can actually protect what they are trying to achieve,” Mr Tipene says.

He says many people may find it hard to renew their insurance after the floods.


Te Ohu Kaimoana is threatening to stop leasing fish quota to iwi who haven't gone through its mandating process.

Chairperson Archie Taiaroa says 75 percent of iwi have now secured mandates and received the bulk of their fisheries settlement assets, but 14 others are lagging behind.

That creates problems because tribes need to reach agreement with their neighbours on boundaries before they can collect the inshore portion of the settlement, which is based on coastline length.

Mr Taiaroa says at some stage the fisheries settlement trust may stop leasing annual catch entitlements to those iwi.

“We're talking about 14 out of 57 so there’s been a large number who’ve taken advantage of it but then those slower ones, and the impact they have on others isn’t helpful, so what we would need to do is have a good look at how the thing can be moved forward much more quickly than is being allowed by some of the iwi who are reluctant or not getting their act together,” Mr Taiaroa says.

Axing the lease system could cost those iwi hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.


A west Auckland film director is ready to step up to feature length, after winning acclaim for his first two shorts.

Taua by Tearepa Kahi was judged the best short at this year's Auckland Film Festival.

The Ngati Paoa man won the same prize last year with his first short, The Speaker.

Taua, which was shot in the Waitakere ranges, tells the story of a war party trying to carry their canoe and a prisoner over land.

Mr Kahi says it was it required a huge effort from the 300 strong cast and crew, as well as financial support from the Film Commission, National Geographic, and the Ngati Paoa Whanau Trust.

“Filmmaking’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination. You can have the best ideas but it does come down to support. Obviously really really stoked about the level of support wee received for Taua and the fact it’s doing well on the local scene and is about to go on to Edinburgh and America and everywhere else later on in the year with the international film festival circuit,” Mr Kahi says.

Taua will screen as part of a shorts programme at Sky City Theatre at three thirty on Tuesday afternoon.


Manukau Institute of Technology is making structural changes to make itself more welcoming for Maori.

Maori head Wiremu Docherty says a new Maori caucus will sit alongside MIT's academic board and other staff and student bodies.

He says the caucus will be measured by action rather than talk

“We're more closer to having an institute that’s bicultural. Still a long way to go, but we’re that much more closer on paper in the structures of having these working relationships down and packed,” Mr Docherty says.

The first task for the caucus will be to develop a five year plan for Maori at MIT and the community it serves.