Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, August 17, 2007

Polynesian leaders mourned

A former Minster of Maori Affairs says the koroneihana hui is bringing home to people how much has changed in Polynesian leadership over the past year.

Thousands of people have been through Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruiawahia to remember their dead, re-emphasise the links between the living, and take part in cultural and sporting activities.

Koro Wetere says after Wednesday's memorial day for the late Maori queen, Te Atairangikaahu, an air of excitement has gripped the celebrations.

Guests expected over the weekend include the King of Tonga and the Samoan head of state.

“For all of those people plus ourselves it’s been a horrendous year, given the passing of Dame Te Ata and then the King of Tonga and then of course the Maleatoa, the head of state for Western Samoa, and then of course Tom Davis, from the Cook Islands, who was formerly a prime minister for that country,” Mr Wetere says.


Meridian Energy has reached out to Maori to try to avoid court action over its North Bank hydro tunnel project.

Ngai Tahu kaumatua Rik Tau says a working party is developing environmental guidelines for the $900 million project.

Meridian wants to take water from Lake Waitaki, run it through a tunnel to a power station before putting it back into the Waitaki River.

Consent hearings started in Timaru on Monday.

Mr Tau says Meridian is the only organisation which has ever taken time to consult with customary owners.

“Local authorities are notorious for never associating with Maori landowners and so rather than have litigations, it is important for us to sit down as landowners who have customary rights, who have court orders for the prior use right of the water that dates back to 1868, and find a way forward,” Mr Tau says.

Policies developed by the working party could be used by other companies or individuals seeking resource consents to use water.


A researcher into how Maori students learn is endorsing the new draft Maori education strategy.

Russell Bishop is the director of Te Kotahitanga, an Education Ministry-funded pilot which gives teachers new ways to interact with Maori in the classroom.

He says the strategy picks up on that, as well as other professional development programmes which are improving literacy and numeracy.

“I'm delighted with that approach. I’m delighted there’s an umbrella statement in this strategy that says we’re going to build upon that which is successful for Maori students. Supporting teachers through providing quality professional development is the way to go. I totally support it,” Professor Bishop says.

He's pleased ministers are waking up that the system needs to be responsive to students, not the other way round.


A member of Auckland's Ngai Tai iwi says a whare in Howick should have the same name as the house it replaces.

An independent commissioner has granted Manukau City Council resource consent to rebuild the house in the Emilia Maud Nixon Garden of Memories, which was burned in an arson three years ago.

During the consent hearing the council said Ngaitai from the eastern Bay of Plenty had withdrawn permission for the house to be called after its ancestor, Torere, because of controversy surrounding the project.

But Pita Turei says that's not a decision they had a right to make.

“You can't just turn up, wave your arms around and magically a name disappears. The name wasn’t even written on the house. The name is written in the hearts and minds of people. It’s in our whaikorero. It’s in our waiata and our songs. That name hasn’t gone anywhere. It's still there,” he says.

Mr Turei says the opposition to the rebuilding was small and petty, compared to the support the whare enjoyed from the tens of thousands of people in east Auckland who used is for educational and cultural activities.


Ngai Tahu are set to re-occupy Kaiapoi Pa.

Hapu spokesperson Paora Tau says mana whenua are swinging in behind Pegasus, a city being developed north of Christchurch.

Even local whanau members who initially opposed the project are now working on the site.

He says some may end up living there... beside the old Kaiapoi Pa.

“Right next to the pa site are sections put aside for our people if they can afford it. It’ll be very expensive but I hope some can and I’ll be looking at it myself actually,” Mr Tau says.


Trustees of Maori assets are being encouraged to learn more about their responsibilities.

Auckland accountant Heta Hudson says most trustees are involved on a part time basis, and often don't understand their duties and liabilities.

Mr Hudson, from Ngati Awa and Tuhoe, is facilitating a wananga for trustees this weekend.

He says there is often little preparation of training from going on trusts.

“You're kind of thrust in these positions to manage whatever whanau assets or ahu whenua assets that the trust may hold, and a lot of the time trustees may not actually understand what that means so looking at their rights as a trustee and also their obligations to the beneficiaries of the trust,” Mr Hudson says.


The country's best kapa haka teams are in Waikato this weekend for a special performance.

Koroneihana spokesperson Moko Templeton says because king Tuheitia has been a keen performer and tutor in culture groups, the groups know they have to put on their best at tomorrow night's Whakamihiria showcase at Turangawaewae.

“Top six Matatini roopu are going to perform for King Tuheitia as well as the ones who come every year like Te Hokowhitu a Tu and Ohau-Ngati Pikiao so we’ll see the young funs in their prime and we’ll also see our nannies and koros,” Ms Templeton says.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Monster Manukau’s own creation

A member of Auckland's Ngai Tai iwi says problems on Manukau City Council's Tiriti o Waitangi Committee are of the council's own making.

In an extraordinary meeting this week, the council dumped James Brown from Ngai Tai Umupuia Te Waka Totara Trust from the committee, because he allegedly threatened councillors and staff.

But Pita Turei, a former member of the Ngai Tai Trust, says Mr Brown was given his status by the council, not the iwi.

“He has never represented Ngai Tai on that forum and no one from Ngai Tai put him there. Manukau City Council put him there to represent us, rather than deal with us. So they created the monster that became James Brown,” he says.

Mr Turei says Manukau City has a lot of work to do to repair its relationship with Ngai Tai ... starting with the rebuilding of its marae at Howick, which has just received resource consent three years after being burned down.


The head of the main union covering journalists says industry pressures are contributing to poor coverage of Maori issues.

Journalists and media commentators have been looking at the state of the industry in a summit convened by the Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union.

Secretary Andrew Little says he understands Maori frustration at what they see as unbalanced coverage of Maori kaupapa.

He says poor resourcing and heavy workloads means journalists entering the industry don't get the grounding they need to cover issues properly.

“They get to churn out story after story very quickly, they don’t get a chance to consider historical issues, and do research and look carefully and closely at issues and as a consequence I think the quality of the reporting suffers and I think that’s been especially the case with Maori, just a lack of understanding, and also a lack of Maori journalists,” Mr Little says.

Another specialist area today's journalists don't know how to cover is industrial relations.


Mana whenua are working with archaeologists to preserve newly discovered remnants of Kaiapoi Pa.

Part of a wooden palisade was found by contractors doing site work for the new city of Pegasus, just north of Christchurch.

Paora Tau, who is monitoring the find on behalf of his hapu, says experts from Auckland University are now on site ensuring any other finds are identified and preserved.

He says piece has an intriguing history.

“Well they believe it was a palisade from the Kaiapoi Pa from the storming by the muskets and the fire of Te Rauparaha. It used to be a waterway there. Ocean-going waka used to come right up there. Even though there’s not a lot of water there now, over time it could have floated down to where was found,” Mr Tau says.

Paora Tau says any taonga found could be displayed in a special facility planned for the original Kaiapoi pa site.


An independent commissioner has given the go-ahead for Manukau City Council to rebuild a controversial whare in east Auckland.

The 1936 carved house in a Howick reserve was burned down three years ago.

Retired judge Peter Salmon says it's an asset Howick residents should be proud of, and the proposed replacement will have minimal impact on the surrounding area.

Pita Turei from Ngai Tai, which holds the mana over the area, says the consent process was unnecessarily complicated, because the council overstated the level of community opposition.

“A couple of grumpy old men didn’t like it. A couple of new immigrants from South Africa were concerned about having that many coloured people in the neighbourhood. But all the opposition against it was petty, and yet it took three years to resolve this because of Manukau City Council officers and Manukau City Council politicians,” he says.

Mr Turei says replacement carvings have been completed, and all Ngai Tai needs is for the shell to be rebuilt.


A Maori environmentalist is putting her hat in for the Far North mayoralty.

Emma Gibbs says Maori make up half of the population in Taitokerau, but that's not reflected around council tables.

She says Maori communities are tired of the spin coming from their local bodies, and she represents transparency.

She also wants to encourage more Maori to come forward.

“We need a Maori in there, and if another Maori stands, and I reckon they’re better than me, I’m very happy to pull out rather than split the votes. And if you’re going for the mayor, all that’s really required of you is to have good judgment, stand up for your constituents, and the biggest thing is, I’m going to make sure that no more lies will be told,” Mrs Gibbs says.

She says the existing council has been slow to own up to mistakes, such as the repeated sewage spills into kaimoana-gathering areas.


A new journal is looking for original research from grassroots Maori health workers.

The Maori Health Review is a monthly digest of research from all over the world on issues affecting Maori health.

Editor Matire Harwood, a Ngapuhi doctor and researcher, says it's a quick way for medical professionals to keep in touch, without having to wade through the original papers and journals.

She says it's also a chance for Maori to strengthen their networks and share their experiences.

“I'm also encouraging Maori providers, grass level research for them, if they can’t get it published elsewhere but they think it’s really important for other providers to know about, for them to submit papers and we can include those too,” Dr Harwood says.

The publication is online at maorihealthreview.co.nz.

Manukau mayor guided by tribunal

The country's longest serving mayor is crediting the Waitangi Tribunal for giving his council a solid footing to work with Maori.

Sir Barry Curtis is stepping aside after 23 years leading Manukau City, and almost 40 years of public office.

Shortly after he first put on the mayoral chains, the Waitangi Tribunal released its Manukau Claim report, detailing the grievances of tribes around the Manukau Harbour.

Sir Barry says its findings were a solid foundation to work from.

“We have set in place memorandums of understanding with the various marae. We’ve got 23 urban marae in Manukau. We’re worked very closely on environmental issues. We have of course the Treaty of Waitangi committee where we have appointed members from mana whenua and taura here, working with Manukau City Council, so we have a very rich partnership in place,” Sir Barry says.

However, Manukau's relationships with tangata whenua don't always run smoothly.

The council yesterday removed Ngai Tai Umupuia representative James Brown from its Tiriti o Waitangi standing committee because of alleged threats against councilors and staff.

Sir Barry says Mr Brown has made positive contributions in the past, but recent behaviour was unacceptable.


Maori organisations aren't getting the resources they need to combat family violence.

Jozie Karanga from Te Korowai Aroha o Aotearoa, a Maori social work training organisation, says most of the new funding goes to government agencies like Child, Youth and Family and police.

$60 million over four years was set aside in the last budget for family violence prevention.

Ms Karanga says Maori organisations and initiatives are seeing little of it.

“Certainly the organisations that we advocate for have worked in this area for many years, 30 or 40 years. We know what the needs are. We already work collaboratively with one another and with government departments because we have to, and yet we’re still under-resourced,” she says.

Ms Karanga says Maori whanau in strife are more likely to engage with non-government Maori organisations.


A Maori songwriter says inclusion in the finals for the Maioha Award makes her feel a part of a strong and growing tradition.

Aio, by Andrea Tunks and her husband Pierre Tohe, is up for the te reo section of the Apra Silver Scrolls, which will be decided next month.

The song is about peace and the simple but good things in life.

Ms Tunks, from Te Whanau Apanui and Te Whakatohia, says the award is the pinnacle for recordings in te reo Maori.

“It has a legacy of some great Maori musicians having been awarded the Maioha award so it is exciting. It’s exciting to know your material or your work is considered serious enough or good enough to be part of it,” she says.

Ms Tunks beleives Aio has crossover potential - if it can get mainstream airplay.

Other finalists are Poti, written by Mika, Taupuhi Toki, Mokoera Te Amo, and Kingi Williams, and Tenei Tamaiti by Marian Mare.


A new draft Maori education strategy targets teacher attitudes as a key to improving performance of Maori students.

Ka Hikitia, which was released today, builds on research programmes such as Te Kotahitanga which have changed the way teachers interact with students.

Parekura Horomia, the associate minister of Education, says Maori students must be able to succeed as Maori, without giving up their culture.

He says a lot depends on the leadership students get, and that means teaching the teachers.

“At 12, 13, 14 you certainly take into account whoever’s trying to teach you or lead you or whatever else and this certainly is a way. If you keep the leadership strong, if you keep the teachers strong, then the pupil will end up being strong and able to make the best choices for themselves,” Mr Horomia says.

Ka Hikitia also calls for students to have access to high quality Maori language eudcation, and for family, whanau and iwi engagement in the educaiton of their tamariki.


The Maori arm of the Baptist church has a new head.

He's David Moko from Te Arawa, whose ministry and mission work has taken him from Aotearoa to the Pacific region, Australia, Asia and North and Central America.

Now he's back, Mr Moko wants to expand the Maori Ministry's economic base, as well as continue with its religious mission.

He says there's no question who he's answerable to.

IN: Obviously I want to represent firstly God, because he’s my ultimate employer in this role, and secondly my iwi, Te Arawa, and thirdly iwi katoa,” Mr Moko says.

He took over as tumuaki from Sam Emery, who is retiring.


The head of Maori Rugby League says the code lost a powerful advocate and statesman with the death of Ron McGregor.

The former Kiwi was farewelled by hundreds of players, administrators and supporters at Auckland's St Mathews in the City this afternoon.

Howie Tamati says Ron McGregor was a man of integrity as a New Zealand representative in the 1940s, in his roles on the sport's international governing board, and as chair of both Auckland and New Zealand Rugby League.

He says Mr McGregor welcomed Maori input into every level of the game.

“The game flourished in his time and at that time the New Zealand Maori Rugby League were part of the New Zealand Rugby League board, they actually sat in on the board meetings. At least there was a presence around the table where the New Zealand Maori Rugby League were represented and had their views listened to, So that in itself is a credit to Ron McGregor,” Mr Tamati says.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ngai Tai rep thrown off Manukau forum

Manukau City Council has dumped one of the iwi representatives from its Tiriti o Waitangi standing committee.

Mayor Sir Barry Curtis says James Brown, the chief executive of Ngai Tai Umupuia Te Waka Totara trust, had threatened council members and staff verbally and in writing.

There had also been threats of physical assault against council staff.

Sir Barry says Mr Brown has made a positive contribution to the council's relationships with Maori, but his behaviour in recent weeks had gone beyond the boundaries of constructive debate.

Mr Brown has been banned from council premises, and the council has invoked a mediation clause in its agreement with Ngai Tai Umupuia.

An extraordinary council meeting decided the Ngai Tai seat on the committee would remain vacant until the relationship is reviewed, which will take at least until November.


More Maori are moving into the health workforce.

Mita Ririnui, the Associate Minister of Health, says school leavers, second chance learners and even people on other career tracks are now seeing health as an option.

The ministry's He Pa Harakeke Maori health workforce profile, released yesterday, found a 50 percent increase in maori midwives over the past year and a 300 percent increase in the number of Maori radiation technologists, from 12 to 40.

Mr Ririnui says the increase is important because of changes in the way Maori are choosing to access health services.

“They're choosing to got to a Maori provider rather than the traditional GP services they have sought from mainstream organisations in the past, so that being a fact, it’s important they see nice brown smiling Polynesian faces, Maori faces when they go to these provider organisations,” Mr Ririnui says.

The workforce profile will be collected every three years to help training and registration organisations and district health boards with their planning.


A Hawkes Bay apprenticeship scheme could benefit local marae.

Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga and Eastern Institute of Technology have teamed up to offer 15 apprenticeships a year for young Maori.

They'll work for local builders, and be taught the theory components by EIT.

Taiwhenua spokesperson Patrick Legeyt says they must also work on at least one marae maintenance project a year, on a koha or voluntary basis.
He says the Taiwhenua hopes to tap into the experience of builders who went through the Maori Affairs trade training schemes in the 1960s and 70s.

“We were ideally looking for one of those to be the coordinator of the programme, No one came forth for that, but there are some of those builders who are still out there and may take on a young apprentice. We are hoping that more will come forward,” Mr Legeyt says.

While the economy is demanding more highly-skilled workers, a huge reservoir of young Maori talent has remained untapped.


A master of political gamesmanship believes new MP Hone Harawira has got what he deserves.

The Maori Party MP has been stuck with a bill for $1100 for his unauthorised trip to Alice Springs.

Mr Harawira says the cost is justified by the attention he got for the plight of the Northern Territory's Aboriginal communities, which are facing unprecedented intervention by the Australian government.

But New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the attention the Tai Tokerau MP was seeking was for himself - and that's why he got into trouble with Parliament's speaker.

“As the event emerged and as more and more information was known, he got himself extreme difficulty, how shall I put it, not admitting it was a political stunt. Media people knew abut it, television crews were there, and those things happen because things are organised, not because they are pure accidents, and that's the problem,” Mr Peters says.


Ngai Tuhoe has taken the lead in connecting some of the North Island's remotest areas to the Internet.

Riaka Hiakita from the Tuhoe Education Authority says 2000 homes and schools in the eastern Bay of Plenty and Uruwera Ranges will be linked by wireless broadband over the next couple of years.

The Ministry of Economic Development is backing the project, with technology supplied by Rural Link, a company spun out from Waikato University research.

Mr Hiakita says while the original motivation was to allow schools to access online learning systems, the iwi now wants to connect with not only its communities but the 85 percent of Tuhoe living outside the rohe.

“We see huge potential in terms of our iwi and cultural development and in terms of promoting and progressing our culture, our identity and language,” Mr Hiakita says.

Rural Link will start installing transmitters in the remote bush sites next month.


A west Auckland Maori trust is taking a new approach to housing for people recovering from mental illness.

Te Kotuku Ki Te Rangi opens its first home in Glen Eden this week.

Chief executive Josie Smith says rather than large group homes, the trust is working with Housing New Zealand to buy one and two bedroom houses.

Residents will pay rents well below market rates, and they'll get ongoing support from the trust.

“We have a strong team that follows up every move. We ensure their benefits are taken care of, we ensure they’ve got furniture to go into those homes, food is there to last them through that week, because by the time we have moved them from wherever they are into that house, they’ve got no money left. So we’ve got to make sure we’ve got a team to assist these people to move into their homes and assist them once they're in there,” Ms Smith says.

Te Kotuku Ki Te Rangi eventually wants to have 50 such houses.

Queen's flag finally furled

A familiar sight around the Waikato will be seen no more.

Tainui and other tribes gathered at Huntly today to remember the late Te Atairangikaahu, who died a year ago.

It's the offical closure of the reign of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, preceding the week long coronation celebrations for her son, Kingi Tuheitia.

Waatea reporter Mania Clarke says that means changes to the flag which is today flying over Waahi Pa.

“For the last time her flag will be flown today. In the ceremony where the flag comes down later on this evening, it won’t be seen again,. At this time it hasn’t been decided what design or how Kingi Tuheitia’s flag will appear,” Ms Clarke says.

The day also included the opening of a garden at Waahi Pa, featuring the Te Atairangikaahu rose which was bred for the queen and presented to her last year on the fortieth anniversary of her coronation.


It's a wild place to go fishing, but Nga Rauru now has fish they can call their own.

The iwi, which holds the mana between the Whanganui and Patea rivers, is to receive $1.9 million in fisheries settlement assets.

Chief executive Marty Davis says Te Ohu Kaimoana has confirmed the authority set up to manage the 2003 land settlement also met the mandate conditions of the Maori Fisheries Act.

Te Ohu Kaimoana is now more than three quarters of the way through the process of allocating fisheries assets to iwi.


Community and child safety groups are tackling the unacceptably high number of children run over in driveways.

Valerie Te Raitu from Injury Free Counties Manukau says a resource kit to be launched this week highlights the problem.

Two toddlers a month are admitted to Starship Hospital after being run over on a residential driveway.

She says stickers in the kit will remind drivers to ask a very important question before they set off.

“Ka wehi ahu koe i te kainga. Kei hea o tamariki, that would be the question, where is your child, that would be the one you are thinking about, kei hea o tamariki,” Ms Te Raitu says.

An increasing number of shared driveways and the popularity of SUVs are contributing to increased accidents involving children.


Te Arawa Maori women have challenged each other to lose weight. Now it’s the men's turn.

Paora Te Hurihanganui from Te Papa Takaro o Te Arawa says the winner of the women's weight loss challenge walked away 29 kilos lighter and 25 hundred dollars richer.

He says there's a few changes to the 12 week men's challenge, with a greater emphasis on physical activity such as traditional martial arts.

“We've put in an 11-week mau rakau programme and also a couple of whanau weekends for waka experiences, so you go out and do a bit of waka ama, those types of things on the water,” Mr Te Hurihanganui says.

The contests are a fun way to tackle the obesity which can lead to unacceptably high levels of diabetes and heart disease in Maori.


Leave the politics to the politicians.

That's the advice New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has for Kingi Tuheitia, as he moves fully into his role at the head of the King Movement.

Today marked the end of a year of mourning for his late mother, Te Atairangikaahu, with thousands of people, including Prime minister Helen Clark, descending on Waahi Pa at Huntly for Te Rau Maumahara, the day of remembering.

Mr Peters says over her 40-year reign Dame Te Ata built up political respect for Kingitanga by her conduct ... without getting bogged down in the day-to-day ruck of politics.

He says King Tuheitia won't go wrong following his mother's prescription.

“It's so often the case where the nature of politics and community involvement will try and drag a person like that in to a partisan role where they take sides. That is not what should be happening and the queen knew that and I trust that the new king understands that,” Mr Peters says.

King Tuheitia will make his first public speech at Turangawaewae next Tuesday, ending a week of coronation celebrations.


More Maori are visiting their own health providers.

Mita Ririnui, the Associate Minister of Health, says an increase in the number of Maori providers, and the Maori health workforce, is showing up in improved outcomes.

The ministry has published a profile of the Maori health workforce, showing increases in registered doctors, nurses, midwives, radiation technologists, dietitians and chiropractors.

Mr Ririnui says it makes a difference when Maori people see Maori faces at their local medical centre or public health organisation.

“There are issues around culturl safety, cultural understanding, and also the level of trust that you will have with a Maori that understands where you come from, areas of health that are sensitive to you, and that enables a professional relationship to be developed more along cultural lines,” Mr Ririnui says.


Creative Tauranga has taken on a coordinator to encourage Maori arts in the region.

Te Rahui August will network and support visual artists, musicians and performers ... and well as help co-ordinate arts festivals and the 2009 Te Matatini kapa haka nationals.

She's from Ngaiterangi, Ngati Ranganui, and Ngati Pukenga, so she's already hooked into Tauranga Moana iwi.

Ms August says the job has a grassroots focus.

“It definitely means that I have to get out there and make sure everybody knows what we do as an organisation, what my position is for, and also to help art organisations, artists, feel comfortable to come and utilise our resources,” she says.

The Maori arts community in Tauranga Moana lobbied for three years for the Te Puni Kokiri-funded position, because they felt they weren't getting fair access to resources.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Nga Rauru gets fish mandate

Wanganui iwi Nga Rauru has been cleared to take delivery of it fisheries settlement assets.

That means less than a quarter of iwi are still to complete the mandating process set by Te Ohu Kaimoana.

Iwi chief executive Marty Davis says Nga Rauru is set to receive $1.9 million dollars in deepwater quota, cash and shares in Aotearoa Fisheries.

Because of the limited coastal fishery in the region, its inshore quota package, which will come later, will be relatively small.

Mr Davis says because Nga Tauru has just completed it raupatu settlement, the mandating process was relatively straightforward.

“There was some very cosmetic changes that had to be made to our constitutional matter once the (Maori Fisheries) Act came along, but essentially we met the iwi mandating requirements at the same time as we mandated for the post settlement governance entity,” Mr Davis says.

Because the fishing industry has moved away from Wanganui, Nga Rauru will be using partnerships to fish its quota.


Free long-term birth control to Maori families is a way of addressing some invisible discrimination in the health system.

So says Erica Amon, the operations manager for Waikato Primary Health.

Her organisation is offering contraceptive implants for women and vasectomies for men in high need groups, including Maori and Pacific Island people, because Waikato Hospital can't keep up with the number of women seeking tubal ligation sterilisation.

Ms Amon says the hospital gives priority to older women ... to the disadvantage of Maori mothers.

“A lot of Maori families, Maori women, had their children younger, so it kind of disadvantaged them. They were already on the back foot. If they made their decision that they’d had their family and they didn’t want any more children – and of course they have to make that decision this isn’t about reducing family size for the sake of it, it’s when the family choose to, they were on the back foot because they finished earlier,” Ms Amon says.

She says unintended pregnancies, as are all too common among women on the sterilisation waiting list, can createnegative health consequences for the whole family.


Tangata whenua are balancing culture and cash at the Auckland Airport Marae.

Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa is a partnership between Tainui and the airport company.

Sonny Rauwhero, a kaumatua for Mangere hapu Te Akitai, says since it opened late last year, the marae has been used by business groups, schools and churches, by wananga for reo classes ... and by whanau greeting tupapaku being brought back to the country for burial.

He says that requires sensitivity to manage.

“You have a tupapaku there and suddenly tourists turn up – how are you going to ask them not to come in. That’s the part of things that frightens us a little at times, because tangihanga was the priority then, but tourists are needed to help pay for the place,” Mr Rauwhero says.

The airport marae has taken on a business manager, Zella Morrison-Briars from Ngati Maniapoto and Te Arawa, who will be looking for new ways to generate activity there.


One of the pioneers of Te Kotahitanga says raising Maori student achievement requires a revolution in New Zealand teaching.

Brian Smith is principal of James Cook High in Manurewa, where half of the students are Maori.

It was one of 12 schools to pilot the new system developed by Waikato University researchers.

He says Te Kotahitanga tries to make the classroom more suited to the learning needs of Maori students.

“We make some changes in the way the teacher works with the student so there’s more teacher-individual student interaction, there’s more small group-student interaction. We have a slightly different way of organising the work the youngsters do, so the teachers have got to change the habits of a lifetime, and for older teachers like myself who’s been in the game a long time, that's a big ask,” Mr Smith says.

Te Kotahitanga has helped James Cook High lift literacy levels for all its students to well over the NCEA average.


The Environmental Risk Management Authority believes Maori concerns about 1080 should be met by the its new guidelines.

ERMA has approved the poison for continued use in possum control, saying it's a necessary evil.

Spokesperson Linda Robinson says among the 1400 submissions received by the independent review, there we many from Maori concerned at the processes being followed.

She says some parts of the country seem to be doing it right.

“A number of iwi and hapu groups in particular have really good relationships with Department of Conservation or with regional councils in their areas and have really good models of how things can work really positively. The committee was mostly concerned that that was inconsistent across the country,” Ms Robinson says.

Maori want to be more involved in decisions around conservation and pest management in their rohe.


Maori whanau are not getting equal access to disability services.
That's what disability support group Te Roopu Waiora will tell Parliament's social services committee when it meets in Auckland today.

Kaiwhakahaere Tania Kingi says Maori communities often don't know what support is available to them.

She says they don't want to access mainstream services - but that's where 97 percent of the money goes.

"Now that doesn't equate. If the highest need is among Maori communities, and yet the lowest utilisation is also with those communities, how can you reconcile that sort of funding split,” Ms Kingi says.

Maori Party snubs Te Roroa deal

The Government's chances of passing a settlement for a small Northland iwi look dead.

The Maori Party has joined National and the Greens in rejecting the Te Roroa Settlement Bill.

The bill is due to come back for third reading in the current session.

The hapu based around the Waipoua forest agreed to the deal on the eve of the election after 15 years of negotiation, but some of its negotiators say it falls far short of what they were seeking.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says it's another example of the failure of the Government's treaty settlement process.

"Te Roroa's a very good example. $9.3 million. That's not even enough money to buy back the land that was taken from them, let alone develop anything, plus their wahi tapu have not been returned - there must have been a way of doing that. So we've got an iwi there that's totally unhappy with their own claim that they've signed off on," Dr Sharples says.

The Maori Party wants an independent settlement authority to oversee how claims are processed, and it will push for a select committee inquiry into the Office of Treaty Settlement.


Auckland Airport is looking for ways to generate activity on its new marae.

It's taken on a business manager to develop the potential of Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa.

Zella Morrison-Briars from Ngati Maniapoto and Te Arawa, says as well as being a place to support whananu and house tupapaku being brought back into the country for burial, the marae has other educational and cultural uses.

She says it's a great place to give visitors a positive first impression.

“We hear about the indigenous people of the country and we’d like to think that in Aotearoa New Zealand that the marae’s beginning to say ‘yes, when you come to this country, we are a rich ethnic group of indigenous people, we are first people of the nation, and where better can you be introduced to the first people of the nation,’” Ms Morrison-Briars says.

She says the marae has created a cultural heart for the mini city that is the airport.


Marquees are going up, tonnes of kai is being prepared and Tainui people are readying themselves for a big week.

The koroneihana of the Maori king Tuheitia starts tomorrow at Waahi Pa with a day of remembrance for his mother, Te Atairangikaahu, who died a year ago.

The action then shifts to Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia.

Kaumatua Rick Muru says Turangawaewae is a hive of activity as whanau arrive and pitch in.

“It's a time when the whanau get together and help prepare for the koroneihana, the first koroneihana for our new king, so everybody’s involved, everybody’s focused and everyone’s moving forward,” he says.

Up to 50,000 manuhiri are expected over the week.

Kingi Tuheitia will give his first public speech next Tuesday.


Waikato Primary Health is offering free long-term birth control to Maori and other high need families.

Its operations manager, Erica Amon, says that could include vasectomies for men and Mirena implants for women.

The move was prompted by a study of 2003 which found two thirds of the women on the Waikato Hospital waiting list waited more than six months for voluntary sterilisation.

Six percent became pregnant in that time, with two percent having abortions and twice that number having unplanned babies.

Ms Amon says it's an unnecessary strain on families.

“If the family has an unintended pregnancy, then that will place a further stress on the family which in the long term is likely to have and effect on the health of that family, and we want to try and avoid that,” Ms Amon says.

The hospital gave older women priority for sterilisation by tubal ligation, which disadvantaged Maori women who start their families younger.


Housie profits are helping Rotorua whanau with their funeral debts.

Te Pono Awhina Roopu is putting the profits from its fortnightly sessions into a bereavement fund.

Spokesperson Margaret Brell says death of family members is rarely planned for.

As well as dealing with their grief, whanau are increasingly being asked to come up with cash up front.

“Who's got $1500? ‘Cos at the moment that’s what they’re saying in the paper. The funeral directors here are actually saying now if there’s somebody who passes away it’s going to be $1500 up front,” Ms Brell says.


Not enough Maori are applying for travel and research fellowships.

Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, the Minister for the community and voluntary sector, says not one of the 20 recent Winston Churchell Memorial Trust Fellows honoured today at Government House were Maori.

She says that's disappointing because they're missing out on a valuable exchange of ideas and experiences.

“It is really important because it is about going to learn about other peoples and cultures and research but also about sharing about what we’re doing in New Zealand, and I’m very proud of the kohanga reo movement and the Maori cultural renaissance that’s going on here, and that’s of huge interest now at the international level,” Ms Laban says.

The fellowships are a cost effective way to do research and bring back new concepts which can help New Zealand.


One Maori who is undertaking overseas research is carver Shannon Wafer.

He's heading far a residency in Canada organised by Toi Maori.

From Te Ati Awa, Taranaki and Ngapuhi, Mr Wafer is a graduate of Te Puia Maori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua, so he's familiar with the Maori styles of ornate embellishment.

But he's expecting a different approach from the master carvers of Canada's northwest coast he'll be learning from.

“The cleanliness in their style of carving, I won’t say it’s better than ours, but it’s incredible. They don’t do surface design in their carving. They’re all shape and form. Then they finish their carvings by painting them,” Mr Wafer says.

He will be based in Terrace Canada, which is eight hours north of Vancouver.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mauao deal signed off

Tauranga Moana iwi have moved a step closer to taking control of Mauao.

Ngai Te Rangi, Ngati Ranginui and Ngati Pukenga have signed off on a final agreement which will give them title to the Mount Maunganui landmark.

Te Puke-based Waitaha, which has historical links to the maunga, also signed.

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Hormia says the Government will legislate the transfer as soon as possible.

Colin Bidois, the chair of the Tauranga Moana Runanga, says while some in the iwi are concerned it's a clayton's handback, he's happy with the deal.

“I'm quite prepared to go along with it as it is, and see what happens down the line, because I don’t think that government will be interfering in the management of Mauao or interfere in any way. They’ve got a lot more to do and over the last 12 years I don’t know of one instance where the Crown has interfered in the present management of Mauao,” he says.

Mr Bidois says he's been smiling since the deal was signed.


They may not be racist, but.

That's the report on white Australia from Hone Harawira, after his inspection of Aboriginal living conditions.

The Maori Party MP has sent his Tai Tokerau constitutents a lengthy report on his two day excursion to the Northern Territory last week, prompted by the Howard government's crack-down on alcohol consumption and child abuse in Aboriginal communities.

He says the poverty in the town camps around Alice Springs was shocking, but even more eye opening was how blind white Australians are to their indigenous people.

“I don't know how that happened, but they seem to completely not see them. And so the town camps are almost invisible to the people of Alice Springs. They don’t see the problem, they don’t see it’s a big fuss, certainly when John Howard comes in with a big hammer, all they can say is ‘That sounds like a good idea, let’s tidy things up here and move on,’” Mr Harawira says.

Despite the controversy back home, he says his trip got much-needed international publicity for Aboriginals.


A young carver hopes a Toi Maori residency in Canada will teach him some new and some old skills.

Shannon Wafer, from Te Ati Awa, Taranaki and Ngapuhi will take part in a month long wananga in Northwest Coast Art in Vancouver, and work under master carvers to create poles and house fronts for a village in the Tsimshian Nation.

Mr Wafer, who trained at Te Puia Maori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua, says he's already met master carver Demspey Bob and learned valuable lessons.

“When I first met Dempsey in 2001, one of the things which they had in their possession was a hand adze, a tuki. We use a double-handed tuki over here. The single-handed tuki is a tool that’s sort of been lost to us, so after meeting these people, it is being re-introduced into our carving,” Mr Wafer says.

He likes the clean lines of northwest coast carving.


The Maori Party believes it has the support to force a Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the Office of Treaty Settlements.

Co-leader Pita Sharples says a report on progress implementing Waitangi Tribunal recommendations highlights the need for such an investigation.

The Minister of Maori Affairs has boiled down a report covering 12 years and 47 reports into ten paragraphs of text and a five page table.

Dr Sharples says it's full of stock phrases and ignores the tribunal's recent blasts against the treaty settlement process.

He says the minister, Parekura Horomia, is falling down in his duty to monitor government on behalf of Maori.

“This is clearly a role that Parekura has. He’s supposed to keep the other ministers and the other departments honest in the way in which Maori are treated, and not just find ways of protecting them, and you know, there’s a time you really have to stand up and say this is humbug,” Dr Sharples says.

He expects support from National and New Zealand forst for an investigation.


A former foster child says the foster system needs more resources.

Ron Mark, who's now a New Zealand First MP, says the number of kids coming to the attention of authorities is on the rise.

But he says there aren't enough people willing to be foster parents.

And Mr Mark says despite all the rhetoric about placing within whanau, the system still can't cope with traditional whangai arrangements, such as when grandparents pick up the care of their mokopuna.

“The fact that when grandparents often say we’ll take that child off the daughter’s hands because we know she’s a drug addict, we know that she’s hanging out with bad people, we know that the child’s going to be at risk, Child Youth and Family won’t give those grandparents the same degree of support that they give to foster parents. They’re given the unsupported child benefit, but beyond that they’re whistling into the wind,” Mr Mark says.

New Zealand first want to see some alternatives, so children aren't being put in dysfunctional and dangerous situations.


A gambling industry critic says poor Maori communities are being targeted by the industry.

John Stansfield from Problem Gambling says the highest turnover through pokie machines is coming from places like Kawerau, Thames-Coromandel and Rotorua.

In Rotorua alone, one-arm bandits collect $364.73 for every man, woman and child.

He says the extent of the problem can be seen when gambling machine distribution is compared with the atlas of deprivation, published each year by the Health Ministry.

“The redder the map is the poorer you are, and if you put on top of that an acetate sheet and you plot where the pokie machines are, it’s a direct hit. Put in where the moneylenders are it’s a direct hit. If you then put in where the junk food is, it’s a direct hit. Now none of these communities sat down and said ‘Gee, what’s we’d really like to have is two dollar shops, moneylenders, junk food and pokie machines,” Mr Stansfield says.

He says there should be much stronger controls on gambling machines ... or they should be scrapped altogether.

Little Children are Sacred report defiled

Hone Harawira is putting his support behind the authors of a controversial report on abuse against Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory.

Tai Tokerau MP took an unauthorised side trip to Alice Springs last week to hear from Aboriginal leaders about the response to the Little Children are Sacred report.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard used the report to justify a range of interventions, including taking over Aboriginal communities in the Territory for five years, banning alcohol and pornography and testing children for signs of abuse.

But Mr Harawira says those moves weren't among the 97 recommendations in the report by Aboriginal leader Pat Anderson and lawyer Rex Wild QC.

“They recommended ‘John, this is what the situation is, we’ve got to go 100 miles an hour to the left.’ John Howard’s picked it up and thought ‘Wow, here’s an election opportunity. Guys, hard out, we’re going right.’ He never gave one second’s consideration to the actual recommendations in the report,” he says.

Mr Harawira says the Howard government has soiled the credibility of the report's authors, who on Friday told Australian senators they were not consulted about the response package.


A scheme to boost the achievement of Maori students seems to be helping their classmates as well.

A study of NCEA marks in 12 schools piloting Te Kotahitanga found overall pass rates were two and a half percentage points higher than other schools in the same decile range.

Russell Bishop, the director of the programme, says the results should make it easier to sell Te Kotahitanga to teachers, who can be resistant to change.

“What we focused on was helping those teachers to reach Maori students and as teachers become more au fait with the programme and as we were able to support teachers in their classrooms to support the learning relationships with Maori students, then Maori students, their results take off,” Professor Bishop says.

Te Kotahitanga isn't a quick fix to the problems of Maori educational disparity, but results so far are promising.


A Ngati Kahungunu dancer is excited about his next venture on the fringes of fashion.

Taane Mete is developing a dance piece for next month's Wearable Art extravaganza in Wellington.

It builds on the success of his recent Auckland production, Renu O Te Ra: The Edge of the Sun, which involved young dancers and choreographers.

He says the collaborative approach to making both pieces gives him a thrill.

“You do get to see the whole process of things coming together, rehearsals being choreographed, dancers being choreographed, costumes being made on site, and when you’re amongst that kind of high level of output and people creating in the same atmosphere, it’s pretty intoxicating in a way,” Mr Mete says.


Ngati Kahungunu is trying a new approach to family violence.

Co ordinator Mereana Pitman says the Violence Free Iwi strategy will ask Maori how they have dealt with family violence in the past, and what they want to do in future.

Unlike government programmes which deal with individuals, it will focus on the family as a whole.

“The strategy is around encouraging Ngati Kahungunu hapu and whanau to take some sort of responsibility and ownership around the violence, but not only the violence, for caring and for looking after our people in our own communities and our own back door,” Ms Pitman says.

The strategy will be launched at Ruahapia marae in Hastings later this month, before it's rolled out at a series of roadshows around the rest of the rohe.


Meanwhile, New Zealand First's justice spokesperson says the Family Group Conference system isn't working.

The system is held up as an example of restorative justice in action, and a way tikanga Maori is incorporated into the mainstream system.

But Ron Mark says they are not effective for serious offenders.

He says claims of an 85 percent success rate don't take into account the number of kids in minor trouble who would have sorted themselves out regardless of the conference system... and it ignores the problems caused by repeat offenders.

“I mean when a young person is on their firth appearance in the Youth Court, any sane, intelligent, educated person would have to say something didn't work,” Mr Mark says.

While New Zealand First wants to see Family Group Conferences remain as an option for Youth Court judges, it wants to seem some alternatives for repeat offenders.


Ngai Tuhoe have enlisted the help of scientists to restore their forests to their former glory.

Landcare Research and Tuawhenua Trust are investigating why some large tree species in and around Urewera National Park are not regenerating as they should.

The trust manages 10,000 hectares in the region.

Chairperson James Doherty says factors could include climate change, competition from other plants, the effect of predators and the dramatic decline in populations of kereru or native pigeons, which traditionally disperse seed.

He says Tuhoe regard their forests as a taonga to be handed down to future generations, but sometimes that trust has been compromised.

“In the early 50s, late 40s, early 50s, that taonga was damaged, and it was damaged by way of logging the podocarps. So my generation is trying to find ways of restoring that,” Mr Doherty says.

Podocarps like rimu, matai, and totara can live for hundreds of years, and without help regeneration could be slow.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Apiata VC celebrated

Ngapuhi wants one of its heroes to come home.

A large contingent from the north traveled to the eastern Bay of Plenty this weekend to join 4000 other at Te Kaha celebrating the award of the Victoria Cross to SAS corporal Willie Apiata.

They asked Te Whanua A Apanui to bring Corporal Apiata to Tai Tokerau so his whanau there can share in his honour.

The ope was led by some of those whanau, including 92-year old Tamati Paraone, one of the oldest surviving veterans of the 28 Maori Battalion.

Mr Paraone’s son, MP Pita Paraone, says the weekend has special significance for his father.

“He’s extremely proud. Not so much because he is a veteran of the 28 Maori Battalion but more so because his grandmother and Wiremu’s great grandmother are two sisters so he’s quite proud for Ngati Hine and indeed Ngapuhi nui tonu,” Mr Paraone says.


Maori organic growers are rolling out a new indigenous standard.

Hinga Marsh from Organics Aotaroa New Zealand says the Hua Maori certificate has been developed by umbrella group Te Waka Kai Ora.

He says the standard, which will be unveiled at this week's national Organic Sector Conference at Lincoln University, puts international best practice in an indigenous framework that recognises Maori values and approaches to food production.

Mr Marsh says it will help Maori preserve the knowledge held by a diminishing number of elders.

“Because we're not practicing particularly organics in horticulture, gardening and so forth, we’re very rapidly losing those knowledge bases that are particularly Maori,” he says.


Environment Bay of Plenty is trying to strengthen links with iwi.

The regional council is considering setting up forums in Rotorua, Tauranga and Whakatane to give iwi and hapu a chance to voice their concerns on resource management issues.

Maori committee chair Tai Eru says Maori faced difficulty in getting their views across through existing channels.

He says the forums could be a model for other councils.

“This is a milestone in regional council affairs but I guesas lot of other regional councils in New Zealand will actually want to come and visit the Bay of Plenty regional council and see how it actually works,” Mr Eru says.

Environment Bay of Plenty is already setting a good example hy having three Maori constituency seats.


Despite high employment levels across the country, Maori women still struggle to get well paid skilled employment.

Sharon Clair, the Maori vice president of the Council of Trade Unions, says the rosy figures hide some big disparities.

While the latest Household Labour Force Participation survey showed the highest number of people in work since the survey began, 7 percent of Maori were still jobless.

Ms Clair says many Maori women do several jobs to put food on the table.

Quite often those jobs will be work in unskilled and semi-skilled work areas – service industry – and they can be jobs that can be very physically demanding, long hours and minimum wage pay,” she says.


A Kahungunu hapu is gearing up for a new fight to protect the skyline on the Napier Taupo Road.

Lines company Unison is seeking consent from Hastings District Council to build a 34 turbine windfarm on Te Wake, near the Titiokura Saddle.

Bevan Taylor from the Tangoio Marae-based Mangahaururu Tangitu Society says Unison has made only minor changes to its earlier plan for a 37-turbine wind farm.

That plan was rejected by the Environment Court because it was too close to a 75 turbine project being built by Hawke's Bay Windfarms.

Mr Taylor says Unison is abusing its financial position.

“It takes resources to keep that up. We go and prove our case before the Environment Court and then you get people with huge amounts of resources just continue to denigrate our wahi tapu and take no notice of the values of this wahi tapu with respect to Maori,” Mr Taylor says.


Corporal Willie Apiata has brought tremendous pride to the people of Te Whanau A Apanui.

That's the view of tribal member Tuariki John Delamere, who was in Te Kaha for the weekend celebration honouring New Zealand’s newest wearer of the Victoria Cross.

The former MP says Corporal Apiata’s success will inspire rangatahi living in the area to seek a career in the armed forces.

“You can be a little Maori boy growing up in Te Kaha in the middle of nowhere and go on to achieve the highest honour that it is possible to give someone and that young boy came out of Te Kaha and did himself, his tribe and his country proud in a bland far far away and we get to reflect in that glory that Willy has brought on all of us,” Mr Delamere says.

He says Mr Apaiata is well known in the district for his humility and