Waatea News Update

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

My Photo
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, August 31, 2007

Koiwi found under Tolaga school

Tolaga Bay Area School students are having an unexpected history lesson after an urupa was discovered under their playground.

Principal Nori Parata says the cemetery was attached to an Anglican mission founded in the 1840s by Charles Baker.

Many of the bones are of children, who probably died of introduced diseases like smallpox and influenza.

They were found earlier this month during foundation work for a new art block, and archaeologists were immediately called in to excavate the koiwi and the remnants of the church and mission buildings.

“It is an exciting discovery and it’s one that we have ensured our children come on this learning journey with us. It’s one thing to learn about history in theory and it’s another thing to have it being uncovered on your back lawn, so to speak, so the kids have been intensely interested in what has been going on here,” Ms Parata says.

Ngati Kuranui and Te Aitanga a Hauiti are reburying the koiwi at the public cemetery nearby.


Maori kids are choosing Playstation over sports.

That was a concern of some of the country's leading sportspeople on a panel at today's AUT Maori Expo.

Tony Kemp, New Zealand Rugby League's high performance director coach, says he and fellow panelists Dion Hobson and Winton Rufer are looking at the feasibility of an education facility where kids can play sport and learn life skills in a fun environment.

He says there's a real drop off in Maori teenagers on the playing field.

“You look at schools and you’re not allowed to play bulrush at lunchtime. You don’t see kids walking round with a footie in their hands, jumping up in trees and retrieving it, because there’s so many other things they can get their hands to and I think as a society we need to approach this more on an adult scale than a child scale and start pushing them back out there,” Mr Kemp says.


A waka for women and children will tomorrow be taken to her new home.

Hine-moana, Waka Tete Kura, the Maiden of the sea, is being housed alongside the Mataatua waka on Whakatane's Mataatua Reserve.

Tepene Mamaku, the kaumatua for Toi Maori, says he first had the idea for Hine-moana back in 1990, when Maatatua was launched as a waka for men only.

“I'm glad that Hinemoana is now there so that women and children equally take part in learning of the traditions and historical value of the waka… And it also takes them off the streets anyway,” Mr Mamaku says.

The waka is owned by Toi Maori Aotearoa, under its two national committees, He Awhi Tikanga, and Nga Waka Federation.


A man who invaded TVNZ's news studio 15 years ago isn't ruling out a similar response to the state broadcaster's latest overhaul of its Maori programming.

Piripi Haami was part of a group that protested the shifting of Maori language news bulletin, Te Karere, to make way for cricket coverage.

He says TVNZ is still showing its disrespect for te reo Maori by rescheduling Te Karere into a mid afternoon slot.

The original protesters have been discussing their response.

“Could we focus on the direction of going in and sorting it out again. I’d love to. We’d love to,” Mr Haami says.

As well as shifting some programmes around, TVNZ intends to treble its Maori programming, including new Maori focused reality and drama shows.


Whanganui iwi are getting another chance to restrict the amount of water taken out of their river.

The Court of Appeal has granted them leave to appeal against a High Court decision that reinstated Genesis Power's 35-year consent to take water for the Tongariro Power scheme.

Jamie Fergusson, the lawyer for the Whanganui River Maori Trust Board, says the iwi want to go back to an Environment Court ruling that gave Genesis a 10-year water right, to give it the opportunity to reach a long
term agreement with the tribes.

He says there are important questions to be resolved about the Resource Management Act.

“If the key is sustainable management, what does that mean in terms of this application in the Tongariro power development where there’s obviously a recognised need for power generation but on the other hand there’s also been a recognition by the Environment Court that there are significant adverse effects on the cultural and spiritual values and interests of Maori,” Mr Fergusson says.

The appeal is unlikely to be heard before next year.


The daffodil sellers were out in force today raising money for the Cancer Society.

Chief executive Dalton Kelly says the society has been working with Maori around the country to strengthen relationships and develop services.

All the society's pamphlets are now available in te reo.

Mr Dalton says a disproportionate number of Maori are coming down with various forms of cancer.

"One in three New Zealanders are affected by cancer and regrettably one in four New Zealanders will die, and I have to say Maori people are disproportionately high in those figures and particularly in the area of smoking,” Mr Kelly says.

He says 25 percent of cancer deaths can be directly attributed to smoking.

Maori Trustee should be independent

The Maori Council wants the revamped Maori Trust Office to be completely independent of government and answerable only to Maori.

The Government says it intends to separate the Office from Te Puni Kokiri, but its role will be unchanged.

The Maori Trustee administers more than 100,000 hectares of Maori land, much of it in blocks which are considered uneconomic or where owners can't be found.

Maori Council chair Sir Graham says the separation is a positive move after years of indecision, but important questions of governance are still unanswered.

He'd like to see an elected board to oversee the Maori Trust Office, and even appoint the Maori Trustee.

“It must be governed by the people. Maoridom must vote for this and we all have to go to the ballot because no one can freely say that they’ve got the authority to do anything,” Sir Graham says.

The Government has to learn to trust Maoridom to look after its own affairs.


The head of Hamilton urban Maori authority Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa is hoping three is the charm.

Matiu Dickson is standing for Hamilton City Council for the third time.

If he wins, he'll break a 15-year drought of no Maori representatives.

Mr Dickson has served on the Tauranga District Council and now works as a law lecturer at the University of Waikato.

He's shocked at the way the council interacts with Maori.

“We have 27,000 Maori people that live here and about half of them would come from Tainui and the other half are like me and come from mata waka. Quite frankly the council here does not engage with the Maori community full stop. So that's got to change,” Mr Dickson says.

He would like to see Tainui have more input into council decisions, because the iwi is the biggest landowner and ratepayer in the city.


An Auckland photographer is inviting marae to exhibit his pictures of Maori.

Chris Traill says he's a people photographer, and has gathered a huge collection of images during his career.

A show of his work, including many shot over almost two decades of Auckland secondary schools cultural festivals, comes down today after a short season at the Fresh Gallery in Otara.

Mr Traill says his work has often appeared in Maori publications, but he'd like to find other ways to reach Maori audiences.

“I photograph all sorts of cultures but particularly have really strong work within Maoridom and there are people of character in abundance within Maoridom and my camera’s just drawn to you people and I feel a real privilege that I am in this country and able to live my life with such a beautiful race of people,” Mr Traill says.


One of the biggest events in the Maori tertiary calender gets underway in a few hours in Auckland.

It's the biannual Maori Expo, hosted by the Auckland University of Technology, but open to all tertiary institutions.

On the agenda are fashion shows, kapa haka, and forums where Maori leaders discuss business, politics and sport.

Pare Keiha, the AUT's pro vice chancellor for Maori advancement, says the event has become an important part of the university's branding.

“We have an ambition to be the university of choice for Maori, and that as you might imagine is no simple task. The genesis of the expo comes out of a significant want to celebrate our identity, not only as a university but to celebrate our identity as a university that has a significant commitment to Maori,” associate professor Keiha says.


The Minister of Maori Affairs wants to see a change of culture among young Maori.

Parekura Horomia says the link between illiteracy and gang involvement identified by south Auckland youth workers is a reminder how much more needs to be done to reach Maori boys during their formative years.

He says low academic achievement has a lot to do with attitude.

“I think it's a culture issue with the young fellows. Certainly literacy is part of it but it’s also the hang up of the macho imagery, you know, as you play good hard rugby, if you do the haka and you’re in the front row you’re staunch, so that’s something we will unbundle as we go along,” Mr Horomia says.

The extension to more schools of Te Kahikatia and Te Kotahitanga programmes, which focus on Maori students' achievement, may help the situation.


National's leader says he won't be shy about using the party's list to get more Maori into Parliament.

National now has three list MPs with Maori ancestry, but in the past has also had Maori representing general seats.

John Key says internal polling shows increasing support among Maori for National, though that is from a very low base.

He says that should translate into some strong candidates.

“There's two or three I’d say high profile Maori have made it clear to me privately their intentions to run. I think that’s great. I’ve mad It quite clear we intend to use the list as a sort of sure fire way to build greater ethnic diversity in the party,” Mr key says.

He says a lot of the support will depend on the kind of policies National is able to present leading up to next year's election.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

TVNZ to treble Maori programming

Television New Zealand plans to almost treble its Maori programming.

The state broadcaster today unveiled its new Maori strategy, including the creation of a Maori programming commissioner.

Whai Ngata, the head of Maori Programmes Whai Ngata, says the strategy is conditional on support from funding agencies Te Mangai Paho and New Zealand On Air.

He says TV One and Two currently show 167 hours of Maori programming, which goes up to 300 hours, with another 190 hours on its new digital channel.

Mr Ngata says the change signals a mainstreaming of Maori programmes into TVNZ's core business of providing local content.

“TVNZ wants to be a local content leader in terms of programming and I’m talking about local content in general, and to be that it has to look at the encouragement of more Maori programmes in its schedule,” Mr Ngata says.

Many of the new shows will be made by independent production houses.


Aotearoa New Zealand needs a fresh dialogue about its race relations.
That's the thinking behind a new draft statement released this week by the Race Relation Commissioners.

Manuka Henare, one of the document's authors, says it covers a lot of ground, including a claim the Treaty of Waitangi is the foundation for racial equality.

He says the society is becoming increasingly diverse, and while its national identity still draws on its bicultural roots, other cultures are having an influence.

“We say in the document that some of the ideas will provoke some discussion. Some people disagree. Some will like the ideas. But the point is to have the dialogue, and as we say, seek common ground,” Dr Henare says.

The Race Relations Commission hopes to get a statement finalised by next August's Diversity Forum.


A Waikato University lecturer is looking at the history of the piano in Maori life.

Kristine Moffatt says her research was prompted by Jane Campion's film The Piano, which portrayed Maori as childlike and surprised when they saw the instrument for the first time.

In fact Maori quickly adopted the piano to their music making.

Dr Moffatt will share some of her research at the university's Tauranga campus next Tuesday as part of its Musical encounters in Aotearoa spring lecture series.

She'll include stories about Apirana Ngata's piano and occasions where pianos were brought onto marae to accompany poi and haka.

“Through looking at the piano, I can look at this object that had been brought by Europeans to New Zealand but Maori became interested in it and enjoyed learning to play, but also kind of made it their own,” Dr Moffatt says.

Her research will eventually be turned into a book.


The head of a Northland iwi radio station says Maori radio is well placed for the shift to digital broadcasting.

Broadcasters from across the country have been in Wellington this week for a seminar on digital radio broadcasting strategies.

Mike Kake from Radio Ngati Hine says a shift is inevitable, and the question now is about what transmission platform is appropriate for the country.

But he says a $3.4 million capital injection into the iwi radio network a year ago is giving Maori a head start.

“We're installing with the capital Axia which is a digital on air studio program, already digital, so it’s digital compatible, so when they do go to the jump to the digital platforms on the transmission sites, iwi radio’s in a good position,” Mr Kake says.


New Zealand First's spokesperson Rod Mark wants to know if a double standard is operating over Dunedin's Undie 500 riot.

Mr Mark says it's not the first time students have caused mayhem on the streets of the south.

He says compared with the reaction to recent incidents involving Maori, police and public seem to be treating the whole thing as a joke.

“If a riot of this sort had occurred in Waitara or in Gisborne, people would be expecting people to be dealt with severely by the police. There is one law for all, There is one standard. And just because you happen to be one of those privileged few to be given the opportunity to go to med school in Otago, doesn’t mean to say that you should get special treatment or special privileges in the eyes of the law,” Mr Mark says.

He says playtime is over for the Otago and Christchurch students and it's time to face the law.


Rallying's most experienced Maori driver is trading in his racing leathers for a microphone at this year's rally of New Zealand, which starts tonight at Mystery Creek in Hamilton.

Marty Rostenburg, from Ngati Kahungunu holds 13 New Zealand motorsport titles and raced in the event in 2005.

Instead of racing around the backroads of the Waikato, he'll be a presenter of Sky Sports coverage of the 11th round of the world rally Championship.

The fastest Maori in motorsport says he would have jumped at the chance to compete against the worlds best, including as Sebastian Lobe and Marcus Gronholm, but this year it wasn't to be.

“There's a lot required to complete a campaign like competing in Rally New Zealand. Unfortunately we weren’t able to pull the deal together this year, so a couple of buddies asked me if I could give a hand out with a couple of their jobs in the rally. If you can’t be at the waka and behind the tiller, you my as well be behind the scenes and making it happen for the other folks,” Mr Rostenburg says.

One of the highlights of this year’s Rally of New Zealand is a special leg dedicated to the late Possum Bourne.

Friday August 24

Maori Trustee to get independence

The Government wants to turn the Maori Trust Office into a stand alone organisation, separate from Te Puni Kokiri.

It's seeking feedback on the plans, which will require new funding arrangements between the Maori Trustee and the Crown.

In his latest 2006 report, Maori trustee John Paki said he was acting as trustee or agent for 186,000 owners of more than 2000 properties, covering 100,000 hectares.

While the post is statutorily independent, the post has always been filled by someone from the Maori affairs department, and the office is staffed through Te Puni Kokiri.

There will be no changes to the trustee’s duties, but in future he will directly employ staff and the office will no longer be part of the public service.

The trustee will also start paying interest on his Common Fund, with is money held on behalf of owners.

In the year ending March 2006 there was $38 million in the Common Fund and $60 million in the General Fund, which represents a century of retained earnings and investments.


Whanganui Maori this afternoon had their own send-off to former mayor Chas Poynter.

The iwi was invited by the family to the funeral home to poroporoaki the man who headed the council during the long-running Moutoa Gardens occupation.

Mr Poynter's funeral is tomorrow.

Putiki Marae chairperson Hone Tamehana says their feelings for the former mayor have nothing to do with their objections to a proposal by current mayor Michael Laws to rename a road after Mr Poynter.

“We do have a lot of fond memories with Chas, and more importantly, we’ve had special events on the mare here at Putiki. Chas has always been invited and he’s always attended. The unfortunate thing with this current mayor, we’ve always extended the hand of manaakitanga to him. He hasn’t replied in a way that he would actually be forthcoming to actually participate,” Mr Tamehana says.

The road at Putiki that Mr Laws wants to change was named after Wikitoria, the daughter of premier 19th century Whanganui chief Te Rangihiwinui Keepa.


The new coach of the New Zealand Rugby League team predicts an exciting future for young Maori prop Sam Rapira.

The Waikato-raised Warrior has signed a deal with the club that will keep in Auckland until 2012.

Gary Kemble says Rapira, a former junior Kiwi captain, is benefiting from playing alongside experienced internationals Steve Price and Reuben Wiki.
The 20 year old will be in the thick of the action, when the Warriors take on the high flying Manly Sea Eagles at Mt Smart on Sunday.

“He's learning a lot off Price and Reuben, and that’s great. For a young man he’s doing great stuff and he’s going to be round a long long time and I think he’s going to be one of the best we’ve seen once he matures and gets right into it and takes responsibility,” Mr Kemble says.

A win will guarantee the Warriors a spot in the top eight for the playoffs.


The Education Review Office wants to see a greater Maori dimension in sex education.

A new study of 100 schools found the majority are not meeting the needs of Maori students.

The subject was made compulsory for year seven to 10 pupils in 2001 because of concerns over New Zealand's high teen pregnancy rate and rates of sexually transmitted infections.

Chief review officer Graham Stoop says too many schools took a one size fits all approach to the issue.

He says the most successful programmes for Maori students were where Maori kaupapa-driven organisations were brought in to help.

“When that has happened, Maori students have been far more engaged than when it didn’t, so that’s one really practical good example that we give in our report. Another one we give is where Maori are brought in for hui and meetings and conferences so that their perspectives can be brought to bear on this,” Mr Stoop says.

Only 17 of the 100 schools had good monitoring of pupils' progress.


Ngati Kahungunu isn't letting up on its resistance to a Hawkes Bay windfarm despite its foe just getting a lot bigger.

Genesis Energy has joined Unison & Roaring 40s’ in a venture to build a 34-turbine windfarm on the Te Waka Range beside the Napier Taupo Road.

The Environment Court has already knocked back a 37-turbine farm for the site, because of its impact on the environment ... and on Maori spiritual values.

Bevan Taylor from the Mangahaururu Tangitu Society says the involvement of the State Owned Enterprise will make the fight tougher.

“You've got two powerful groups forming together an alliance and it just makes it, if we’re looking at resources, tough for our hapu eh,” he says.

Mr Taylor says the hapu will repeat its objections to the resource consent hearing next month.


One of the country's foremost ta moko artists is noticing major changes in people's acceptance of tattoos.

Gordon Toi's designs adorn the skin of many Maori, as well as hundreds of Dutch people, where he works for a couple of months each year.

He says in both Aotearoa and Amsterdam his clients have become more aware of the significance of ta moko and what the designs mean.

“I can still remember a time where people would want it but were afraid to even almost talk about it but now days people are quite confident about what they want and why they want it and where they want it,” Mr Toi says.

He will talk about ta moko at the Auckland Central Library on Monday, as part of the programme around the library's three-month Hokianga exhibition.

Race document out for discussion

A document which upholds the Treaty of Waitangi as the foundation for racial equality in New Zealand should be debated in every community and marae.

That's the view of Manuka Henare, one of the authors of a Draft Statement on Race Relations unveiled at this week's Diversity Forum by Race Relations Commissioner Joris De Bres.

People have until the end of the year to provide feedback towards a second draft on Race Relations Day next March, with a final version due in 12 months.

Dr Henare says the two page draft covers a lot of territory, and the authors are hoping it will get people talking.

“It doesn't hit the mainstream media by and large. It’s the kind of debate that takes place in corners and in local halls and marae and so on and so forth, and if you give them 12 months, it’s amazing what New Zealanders come back with,” Dr Henare says.


Teeth in Tai Tokerau should get healthier with the launch today of three mobile dental units.

Tui Robust from Ngati Hine Hauora says the units will allow the Maori health provider to reach more people, particularly youngsters.

But he says addressing the rates of dental decay in the north, which are among the worst in the country, will require not just treatment and preventive care but oral health promotion and education.

“The information needs to get out to schools. The communication needs to be consistent. It’s also the people that need to take the responsibility, not just the agencies by actually making that happen. So the responsibility in the end actually comes back to the people,” Dr Robust says.

Ngati Hine Hauora has a decade of experience in oral health.


The winner of an AMP premier scholarship wants to wake up the world to the traditional korowai or cloak.

Bethany Edmunds from Ngati Kuri is one of 13 young achievers to get a hand up from the insurance company.

She's been weaving since she was 12, learning her first patterns from the late Nikki Lawrence of Te Rarawa.

Ms Edmunds will use her grant to study for a Master of Arts at New York University, specialising in textile conservation and costumes.

“I'll be looking at the history of textile culture, but also what role costuming plays within a culture, so for me doing korowai and that kind of thing, it’s a prestigious thing for us as te iwi Maori so I want to sort of open the eyes of the rest of the world to the mana that is involved in our traditional crafts,” she says.

Ms Edmunds says her studies could create international opportunities for other weavers.


South Auckland youth workers say tensions between street gangs in the region seem to have eased.

Willie Peace from Tamaki Ki Raro Trust in Mangere says youth workers are starting to share information and develop more holistic services for the city's rangatahi.

He says after a spate of fatal shootings and stabbings, they've been able to get in try to prevent further flare ups.

“There's been a quiet patch but it doesn’t necessarily mean nothing’s happening, It just means that we’ve been given a let’s say a window of opportunity to work within the areas of concern by the police and Housing Corp as to how we can work with these young people and giving them positive choices rather than making the only choice they believe being gang affiliation,” Mr Peace says.

Illiteracy is at the root of a lot of the trouble, with rangatahi coming out of the school system with few options because they can't read or write.


The Green's local government spokesperson says central government needs to create incentives for councils to implement the recommendations of an independent inquiry on rating.

Metiria Turei says the inquiry has identified major unfairness in the way Maori land is assessed for rating purposes, and the way Maori landowners are treated by many councils.

There are practical things government can do to improve the relationship between Maori and councils.

“The inquiry panel said that there are treaty issues in the way Maori land is being dealt with. The Government has resources they can help local government deal with those treaty issues and take them seriously. That would be a very positive thing for central government to do,” Ms Turei says.

The government should start paying rates on government property, to make up some of the money councils will miss out if Maori land valuations are lowered.


The first Maori councilor has been returned in this year's local government elections.

Raewyn Bennett was unopposed as the Mauao representative on Environment Bay of Plenty.

Ms Bennett says she's hoping the other councilors who will be elected to general seats on the regional council will be more sympathetic to Maori concerns than the current team.

That's because the most of the councilors who voted for the introduction of Maori wards were dumped last time, and it's been a conservative three years.

“When I first went on council it was like being in and environment where social movements and civil rights movements of the past 50 years had bypassed them, and I was prepared to resign because I didn’t want to go through the stress of changing attitudes, but then I though this was just a reflection of what's out in our community,” she says.

Ms Bennett says the positive thing about representing a Maori ward is being able to give a purely Maori perspective to the council's activities.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Reo foundation at Kaikoura

Kaikoura High School is making Maori language lessons compulsory for its year seven and eight students from next year.

Principal Brian Allison says the subject is currently only available as a one term option.

He says a third of the roll is Maori, and the school is developing a five year plan to boost Maori achievement.

“It's also a chance for us to have another language in the school and I think Maori is as important as any other language to have. I don’t see us putting in French and Japanese and so on. I think the Maori language is pretty important for our kids to get a grasp of and some background knowledge," Mr Allison says.

Kaikoura High School will also boost the effort it puts into kapa haka and tikanga lessons.


Wellington City's only Maori councilor wants to take the step up to mayor.

Luthier and environmentalist Ray Ahipene-Mercer from Ngai Tara is one of half a dozen Maori around the country seeking mayor office in next month's elections.

He says in his seven year representing the eastern ward, he's shown that he is able to bring people together from different viewpoints.

Mr Ahipene-Mercer is seeking support from across the political spectrum.

“I'm not standing and never have stood totally on a Maori platform. I’ve been active on Maori issues before I was a city councilor and some people I’ve no doubt support me on that, both Pakeha and Maori, but I’ve always worked on a platform of trying to bring together people from all ethnicities and all political views, even those I may not fundamentally agree with,” he says.

Mr Ahipene-Mercer says the Wellington council has developed strong links with tangata whenua and taura here groups in recent years, and sitting councilors have been strong supporters of Maori concerns


A Ngati Kuri woman has won a trip to the Big Apple through her dedication to traditional weaving.

Bethany Edmunds has been given an AMP premium scholarship to complete a Master of Arts at New York University.

She'll be studying costuming and textile conservation, with the intention of eventually restoring and perhaps repatriating some of the korowai held by overseas institutions.

Ms Edmunds says when she started weaving at 12 alongside the late Nikki Lawrence of Te Rarawa, she had no idea where those early lessons might take her.

“I never realised at the time when I learnt to do mahi whatu that it was going to open the doorway to the rest of my life essentially and the responsibility I have now knowing this mahi is quite huge. I’m aware now it’s my responsibility to ensure its survival and pass it on to other people,” Ms Edmunds says.


A dispute over tourist trips to a sensitive offshore island has reopened wounds about a treaty settlement.

The Department of Conservation has refused to give Tuatara Maori Limited a concession to take up to 56 tourists a year to Takapourewa or Stephen's Island, at the top of the Marlborough Sounds.

Roma Hippolyte from Ngati Koata, which has a 10 percent stake in the company, says it's a sign the iwi has lost its mana over the island, which is home to 50 thousand tuatara and other rare reptiles, frogs and insects.

Takapourewa was returned to the iwi in 1994, but it was required to immediately gift the island back and take on a co-management role.

Mr Hippolyte says that was not what the elders expected, and led to ongoing mamae or pain.

“There are many DoC staff and managers who understand the spirit of the deed and wish to be inclusive and work with us but the policies of the department are black and white and in this case they do not respect us and so yes, the policies work unilaterally against us," Mr Hippolyte says.


The Green's local government spokesperson says the problem of Maori rating shouldn't be seen as a racial issue.

An independent panel says the basis for rating Maori land should be changed, because the current system leads to owners facing excessive charges.

Auckland mayoral candidate John Banks says the recommendation would lead to race-based rating.

But Metiria Turei says Mr Banks is showing his ignorance.

“This is not about race. This is about the different status that Maori land has under Te Ture Whenua Maori Act, the fact it can’t be sold and that it has multiple ownership and therefore does require different consideration,” she says.

Metiria Turei says Maori voters should make the rating system an issue in the current local government elections.


The carver of a pou stolen from a Masterton marae says things aren't what they used to be.

Takirirangi Smith from Whitireia Polytechnic created the poupou for the front of Heru a Rangi Marae almost 20 years ago.

He's just got back from a ten-week artist residency at Evergreen State College in Washington to find out about the theft earlier this month.

Mr Smith says when he started carving, no one would have considered violating tapu by stealing such a taonga.

“There was a lot more respect about touching those things, even among the Pakeha community. Things have certainly shifted a lot. It's hugely disappointing,” he says.

Mr Smith says the marae plans to increase its security by putting a gate up, but some in the Rongomaia Te Waaka hapu believe the valuable work will eventually find its way back.

Tuatara trip ban upsets iwi

A top of the South Island iwi is upset the Department of Conservation has nixed a plan for tourists visits to Stephens Island.

Ngati Koata are kaitiaki of both the island, also known as Takapourewa, and the tuatara who live there, and have signed a co-management agreement with DoC.

Spokesperson Roma Hippolyte says Ngati Koata has a minority share in Tuatara Maori Ltd, and backed the plan to helicopter small groups of visitors to the island.

“We really believe that if policies and procedures by this company were of an even higher standard than DoC themselves used for people landing on Takapourewa, that there shouldn’t have been an issue for DoC to grant the concession,” Mr Hippolyte says.

Ngati Koata will seek a meeting with DoC about its continuing relationship.


An independent review of local government rating has found many councils over-value Maori land for rating purposes.

It says because Maori land can't be sold on the open market, it shouldn't be rated on the same basis as general land.

Review chairperson David Shand says a new basis needs to be found for rating Maori land, which takes into account its cultural context and the restrictions of Te Ture Whenua Maori Act.

He says councils also need to improve the way they interact with Maori landowners.

“We found too many councils who just don’t take the time to train their staff, and this means being an owner of Maori land is a bit of a nightmare. You write letter after letter and you get nowhere and nobody pays any attention and nobody’s interested, and nobody’s empowered to act anyway,” Mr Shand says.

Central government should work with councils and Maori to develop consistent policies across the country for dealing with overdue rates on Maori land.


A musician credited with reviving taonga puoru is to be recognised by the Lilburn Trust.

Richard Nunns says the award is a tribute to all the Maori artists and musicians who have been part of the Maori music renaissance.

Mr Nunns has spent 40 years researching traditional Maori instruments and unlocking the mysteries of their sound.

With songwriter Hirini Melbourne and instrument maker Brian Flintoff, he traveled to marae all over the country and museums around the globe to piece together the puoro puzzle.

He says much will remain unknown.

“It's a small miracle that the people have remembered what we have and shared it with us and we’ve been able to piece together some of the korero and also, within a vector of probability, we have reinvigorated the sounds. We can’t say that it is exactly how it was because we have no kind of connection in living players who learnt in a traditional way, but we think that we're pretty close,” Mr Nunns says.

If he gets time between concerts and teaching, he'd like to finish a book on taonga puoro started by the late Hirini Melbourne.


A call from one of the country's largest Maori fishing companies for the industry to work more closely together.

Ngai Tahu Seafoods has reported a before tax profit of $9.2 million in the year to June, on revenue of $76 million.

Chief executive Geoff Hipkins says it shows moves to restructure the company are paying off, including last year's 20 million dollar write off of its Cook Strait Seafoods and Pacific Trawlers acquisitions.

But he says there are parts of the fishing business which are still too dependent on outside forces.

“I have a look at hat happened with greenshell mussels. Despite what the politicians say, that’s turned into a commodity. The only people making money are the importers in the United States etc. There is a good case for rationalisation of that marketing effort so we’re not played off against one another. As a result prices are being driven down unnecessarily,” Mr Hipkins says.

Ngai Tahu's aggressive move into the retail sector is paying off, with its six Pacific Catch outlets in the Wellington region particularly strong.


The head of an independent review into local government rates says the government should now have enough information to tackle long-standing issues with Maori land.

The review recommended a new basis be found for rating Maori land, which takes into account its cultural importance and the fact it can't be sold outside the immediate descent group.

David Shand says the review panel came up against the long history of grievances and problems Maori have had with the rating system.

“This has been around too long. People have to get their act together. This is central government and local government. Obviously Te Puni Kokiri has got to take a role here. It’s been around far too long and we’ve done the most comprehensive job of anyone in accumulating all the issues and putting them on the table,” Mr Shand says.

He says councils also need to train their staff to deal sensitively with Maori landowners.


The Maori Internet Society is trying to make the New Zealand Internet bilingual.

It has put up a proposal that names in the dot nz namespace be reachable in Maori - so web sites ending with dot co dot nz could also be reached by keying in dot mahi dot nz.

Dot net could become dot ipu, dot org is dot ropu and schools become dot kura dot nz.

Society chairperson Karaitiana Taiuru says it's an alternative to creating another set of domain names for Maori organisations, and complements efforts to create a Maori language interface to the Google search engine.

“It will definitely dispel the myth that the Maori language is dead or there’s no place for Maori language in technolgies such as the Internet. I think it will put us on the world map again saying yes we’re Maori, we’re actually ahead of every other indigenous culture in the world by proposing this,” Mr Taiuru says.

The Domain Name Commissioner, Debbie Monahan, says the plan is technically feasible.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ngai Tahu turns around Seafood loss

Ngai Tahu Seafoods is celebrating a turnaround which has netted the tribe a $9.2 million profit.

Last year the company lost more than $22 million dollars, mainly because of a $20 million dollar write down in assets acquired with the Cook Strait Seafoods business in 2003.

Revenue was $76 million, with New Zealand and China the biggest markets.

Chief executive Geoff Hipkins says a change programme kicked off in 2005 is paying dividends.

“Obviously we've had a significant rationalization of our overheads, particularly plant and equipment, our retail stores have turned around and produced in excess of $600,000 profit, similarly with our wholesale business, an increase in margin there to where there is a positive contribution and we’ve reduced our frozen fish holdings from $5 million to half a million,” he says.

By swapping deepwater quota with inshore parcels held by other iwi, Ngai Tahu Seafoods has been able to guarantee supply of popular species to its Pacific Catch chain of retail stores.


An independent panel says most Maori landowners are being charged too much in fates.

The panel headed by David Shand has released a 277 page report on local government rates.

It says because Maori land can't be sold on the open market, the valuations used to set rates are in most cases excessive.

It recommended the Government establish a new basis for rating that explicitly recognises the cultural context of Maori land and the restrictions of Te Ture Whenua Maori land act.

It says there's a long history of grievances and mistrust between Maori landowners and councils, and even now councils don't give staff the training necessary to deal with landholdings where there might be poor ownership records, multiple ownership and little or no management structure.

The panel also rejected a call for central government to fund councils for rate arrears on Maori land, because it says the problem is caused by over-valuations, or because councils don't adequately engage with Maori landowners.


One of the musicians who pioneered the revival of traditional taonga puoro instruments fears his playing days are drawing to an end.

Richard Nunns has been diagnosed with Parkinsons disease, a progressive neurological condition associated with the trembling and stiffness of body parts.

Mr Nunns, who is to receive a $6000 Lilburn Trust award this Friday for his contribution to the arts, says it's not something he has been trying to hid.

“It's pretty obvious if anybody sees me now on stage that I’ve got the wiriwiri in a very practiced way but yes, it’s another journey that one has to travel with and it might even be a tohu in some ways that my playing days have come to an end and I’ve got to sit down and do this big book,” he says.

Mr Nunns says the bilingual book is a collaboration with the late Hirini Melbourne, documenting the pair's long exploration of taonga puoro.


Bay of Plenty Maori say Housing New Zealand policies are frustrating their attempts to build affordable papakainga housing.

The Horaparaikete Trust is trying to build six houses on its 100 acre block at Papamoa.

Chairperson Victoria Kingi says under new rules the owners will have to come up with a 15 percent deposit.

That's because the state agency has dropped a scheme which allowed rural Maori to get loans with a three percent deposit, if they undertook training courses.

She says claims Maori weren't using the low deposit facility don't stack up.

“About 150 Maori here did (the course) and I think about seven Maori got loans. It’s just shocking. They need to be more critical and analyse why their products aren’t working. They need to develop a really robust Maori housing policy, I don’t think they have developed one for a long time,” Ms Kingi says.

As well as making its own money available, the government could do more to liaise between Maori trusts and banks, who are reluctant to lend on Maori land.


The deputy mayor of Rotorua is taking a third crack at incumbent Kevin Winters for the tourist town's top job.

Trevor Maxwell missed last time by 250 votes.

He says with 30 years service, he is the most experienced councilor.

Other contendors are councilor Cliff Lee, Lyall Thurston and former Women's refuge head Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, as well as Mr Winters.

The Ngati Rangiwewehi member hopes voters will see the advantage in voting for a Maori mayor.

“We have an advantage being Maori that we have one foot in our people’s camp and a foot in the wider world and we can give a better perspective on both, whereas perhaps our non-Maori relations can't,” Mr Maxwell says.

While he doesn't support Maori wards, he'd like to see a lot more Maori standing for council in the town.


Twenty years after starting his career singing backup for Billy T James, Leon Wharekura has his own album out.

It's a Love Thing includes the Prince Tui Teka classic "Mum", some jazz influenced tunes, and a tribute to the late Maori queen, which the Waikato and Taranaki singer debuted at Waahi Pa at the Whakamaharatanga preceding last week's Koroneihana celebrations.

Mr Wharekura says the song was a gift from the late Dalvanius Prime.

“He goes into hospital and Leon’s visiting him one day and he says hey, I have this tune I want to pass on to you, this is how it goes. So there I am sitting by his bedside, he sings the rangi to me, says take this song and develop it,” Mr Wharekura says.

He wants It's a Love Thing to appeal to those who grew up on Nat King Cole and Louis Armstrong, rather than aiming at today's pop market.

Funeral stoush not final rift

An expert on tikanga says those involved in a fight over the burial of a Ngati Upokorehe man should not let it harm their long term relationship.

James Takamore's body was buried near Opotiki a week ago after relatives drove his body north.

His partner of 20 years, Denise Clark, wants to rebury him in Christchurch.

Huirangi Waikerepuru says such disputes are more common as people spend much of their lives out of their tribal areas.

The tradition is for the tupapaku to be returned to the iwi for burial.

He says there is always room for strong argument about where that burial should be, but it should be done in a way which enhances the mana of the deceased and strengthens relationships between the families.

“We talk about the tupapaku being a taonga, but the real taonga is the securing of the interrelationship between both families, the children, the mokopuna at both ends, so that there’s no grievance and that the extension of that family grouping from the rural to the urban is strengthened,” Mr Waikerepuru says.


Meanwhile, Maori who want to have a say about what happens after they die need to make a will.

A new Wills Act was passed last week, making it easier to make a final testament.

Henry Stokes, the Auckland managing solicitor of the Public Trust, says only 47 percent of Maori have wills, compared with 75 percent of Pakeha.

He says that can cause problems sorting out estates.

“People seem to think that is you die without a will, your husband or wife or partner will automatically receive everything in your estate. It’s simply not the case. You’ve got Maori land that is dealt with in a different way in any case that purely goes according to descent,” Mr Stokes says.

Children and even parents can have automatic entitlements under estate law, which need to be sorted out by a competent executor.


Attempts to get rural Maori into better housing are running into a nightmare of red tape.

Victoria Kingi from the Horaparaikete Trust, which is trying to build six houses on a 100 acre papakainga reserve at Papamoa, says the system doesn't work for Maori.

The trust has been stymied by high costs imposed by local government, banks that won't lend on multiply-owned land and Housing New Zealand policies favouring individuals over trusts.

She says Tauranga Moana is seen as a wealthy area, but the wealth isn't spread evenly.

“We have some of the poorest Maori living in Tauranga Moanan in areas like Maryvale, Kairua. There are pockets of Maori who are living at a level that is similar to and in some cases even worse than Maori up north and Maori along the East Coast,” Ms Kingi says.

Some Maori in Tauranga Moana are living in 80 year old houses with no running water or electricity.


National's Maori Affairs spokesperson Georgine te Heuheu is challenging the mandating used in the Te Arawa treaty settlement.

The Government has postponed trying to introduce the settlement legislation while it talks to other central North island iwi about aspects of the deal.

Some of those iwi had originally been part of Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa, but dropped out during the negotiations,

Despite that, Treaty Negotiations Minister Mark Burton says the group, now known as Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa, is mandated to receive and manage the settlement on behalf of the Affiliate Te Arawa Iwi and Hapû.

But Mrs te Heuheu says the government has completely mishandled the process.

“Their mandating in this area leaves a lot to be desired and in the process they’ve taken it upon themselves to bring in the settlement areas that may or may not be appropriately put in there,” she says.

Mrs te Heuheu says the government has split the Te Arawa canoe down the middle with its tactics.


Reluctance by courts to issue protection orders is putting Maori women and children at risk.

That's the response of Women's Refuge head Heather Henare to a Waikato University study on the way the Domestic Violence Act is implemented.

The report says fewer orders are being issued than when the Act was first introduced a decade ago, there are few consequences for men who breach protection orders, and many in the justice system minimise violence and blame the victims.

Ms Henare says they're the sorts of concerns Refuge was raising three years ago.

She says it means Maori women become doubly victimised.

“We know that they are already high in terms of statistical data. We know that there is a lack of resourcing out there for them, and we know that there are limitations for managing some of those issues for them under the current system,” Ms Henare says.

The Domestic Violence Act is a good piece of legislation which needs to be implemented and properly overseeen.


The author of a new guide for journalists says the New Zealand media would be better off is there were no specialist Maori issues reporters.

Carol Archie says the media has treated Maori as being outside the mainstream.

She says that's bad for Maori and bad for journalism.

“At the moment by separating Maori issues off to one side, we’re suggesting that Maori aren’t part of the fabric of our whole society. We’re suggesting that when someone does an education story, they’re not going to get Maori perspectives and angles on it. The education reporter or other specialist reporter can at the moment say ‘We’ll give that to the Maori specialist reporter, we won’t look at the Maori angles in our rounds,’” Ms Archie says.

Pou Korero is published by the Journalists' Training Organisation.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Journalists’ guide updated

All New Zealand journalists should be able to turn in stories on Maori subjects.

That's the view of Carol Archie, who's just written a journalists' guide to Maori affairs.

Pou Korero is published by the Journalists Training Organisation, updating the late Michael King's 20-year-old Kawe Korero.

Ms Archie says Maori are part of mainstream New Zealand and coverage should reflect this.

“A professional New Zealand journalist should be able to cover Maori issues competently. They should be able to pronounce the language well. They should understand key concepts. They should be able to greet people in Maori. They should be able to understand a little about the history of the story that they’re writing. For instance if they’re writing something about immigration, it is important to realise that the Treaty of Waitangi was the first immigration document in New Zealand and that Maori have a lot of perspectives and opinions, world views on that particular subject,” she says.

Ms Archie says Maori are a growing audience for news, and should be catered for in the mainstream.

Copies of Pou Korero are available from the Journalists Training Organisation.


A high profile Rotorua mayoral candidate wants to make family violence an election issue.

Merepeka Raukawa-Tait joins a crowded field wanting to head the sulphur city, including incumbent Kevin Winters, current deputy Trevor Maxwell, councilor Cliff Lee and former councilor Lyall Thurston.

The former Women's Refuge head is now a regional manager for intellectual disability support organisation IDEA Services.

She says she's been asked to stand by people in the community, and a lot of that support comes from her outspoken views on social issues.

“I do want to take a zero tolerance approach to family abuse, and here in Rotorua I know the figures for Rotorua, and we’ve got nothing to be proud of, particularly our Maori families, and I’m not going to pull back on my message to say our tamariki deserve the best and they deserve a head start and we as a whanau can give it to them,” Mrs Raukawa-Tait says.


Waikeria Prison inmates are growing traditional Maori vegetables to give them a taste of the skills they will need outside.

Errol Baker, the manager of the Maori unit Te Ao Marama, says it developed from a prisoner wanting to plant kumara.
A new garden was created which also grows kamokamo, purple corn and Maori potatoes.

The garden is planted by the phases of the moon, and traditional Maori tools and agricultural techniques are used.

Mr Baker says it allows inmates to reconnect with their roots, and aids their rehabilitation.

“The vision is that they learn to supply food for their whanau on their release, and it’s actually teaching them that they can do it. A lot of guys come from the city and may never have had the opportunity to learn how to grow vegetables and provide them for their family,” Mr Baker says.

The vegetables will be donated to women's refuge and foodbanks.


A Rotorua claimant group is confident it can still get its settlement through by next June.

On Friday the Government said it would not introduce legislation setting in place its deal with Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa until it had talked to other claimants about aspects of it.

The government is denying it doesn't have the numbers to get the law passed.

Under a complex deferred settlement arrangement, Te Pumautanga will end up with $86 million of Kaingaroa Forest land, while the Crown pockets more than $50 million of accumulated rentals.

Te Pumautanga chairperson Eru George says that's what will be clarified.

“It's those accumulated rentals that those who have not settled yet want to have some clarity around. Now the Crown has said that these accumulated rentals will go to a Maori purposes fund, and that’s alright, but what’s this fund look like, how is it going to be designed, and what impact does it have on those who have not settled,” Mr George says.

Te Pumautanga stayed away from a hui in Rotorua yesterday which was meant to bring the iwi together to resolve differences over the settlement.


The Children's Commissioner says extreme groups are trying to capture the child protection message.

Cindy Kiro and her office were called a waste of space Christine Rankine, the chief executive of the For the Sake of Our Children Trust, at a weekend rally in Auckland.

Dr Kiro says she supports those who want to raise awareness of the issue, but the lightly-attended rally missed the mark.

“The people who are organising it are genuine and I think it’s unfortunate that they are captured by two organisations in For the Sake of Our Children Trust and Sensible Sentencing Trust who have such punitive views and whose solution basically is focused at the end, after the problem has happened, rather than stopping making it happen,” Dr Kiro says.

She says credible groups in the children's movement, including Maori and iwi groups, don't want to be part of the limited and punitive message Christine Rankine is pushing.


Activist Mike Smith is urging coastal Maori communities in the north to consider moving to higher ground.

He says they can't keep ignoring the warning signs of climate change, rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

The man who made his contribution to global warming by cutting down the pine tree on One Tree Hill says regular flooding of his Kaeo hometown is a reminder of the region's vulnerability.

Many papakainga are in valleys beside rivers that open out to the sea.

“If I look around Whangaroa, Otakau Bay, Matauri, Te Ngae, Matangirau, all of those villages, all our papakainga now, are all going to be under water within 20 years they say,” Mr Smith says.

AUT bail-out slammed

The Government is being accused of double standards over its $50 million bail out of the Auckland University of Technology.

Tertiary Education Minister Michael Cullen says the money is an investment to enable to new university to continue its development and improve its research and teaching capability.

But unionist Matt McCarten, a former board member of Te Wananga o Aotearoa, says the university racked up $90 million in debt on a massive building programme to attract students who aren't coming.

He says the government's response is in stark contrast to its reaction when the Maori tertiary institution tried to collect the $20 million it was owed for capital development, under a treaty settlement.

“They wanted the CEO’s resignation, they wanted statutory managers, they wanted to put Crown managers in, it was a public disgrace, and here it’s just business as usual, and they’re still in debt, and they’re running at a deficit, but it seems to be all OK,” Mr McCarten says.

He says the wananga is in a far healthier state than the rest of the polytechnic sector, but the government seems determined to undermine it.


Comedian Mike King has some sobering news for his good friend who would be mayor.

He says the odds are stacked against Willie Jackson sporting Manukau's mayoral chains.

The Waipu based humorist says the decision by Mr Jackson and fellow politician turned broadcasters John Tamihere to join the local body fray was big news in the Maori world.

But he's warning his Mangere mate not to get his hopes up.

“Now that's a news story that these two boys are standing for mayor. Now John Tamihere I could understand but Willie Jackson. Puh-leeze. Standing in Manukau. Puh-leeze. Hasn’t Willie looked in the mirror lately? He’s not white. He’s not going to get that job. Man o man o man.”


One of the country's top Maori musicians says a long period of soul searching led him to create his first solo album.

Tiki Taane's Past, Present, Future album fuses bass-heavy dub and traditional Maori instruments.

Mr Taane says as a member of Salmonella Dub for more than a decade, he felt stuck somewhere in between the cultures of his Scottish mother and his Ngati Maniapoto father ... so he had to get out to embrace his Maori side.

“What am I doing? I’ve been in this band for 11 years. I feel like I’ve taken it as far as I’m able. I’ve come to a crossroad in my life. I need to either keep going down the path I’m on which is already good, in one of the biggest bands in New Zealand, making lots of money, selling records, playing big sell-out shows, but artistically not doing what I really really really feel like I want to be doing,” Mr Taane says.

Tangaroa, the first single off the album, features the haka and vocals of Tiki Taane's father Uekaha Taanetinorau.


Whanganui Maori have being paying homage to former mayor Chas Poynter.

Putiki Marae chairperson Hone Tamehana says many people outside the rohe have a distorted view of the relationship between tangata whenua and Mr Poynter, who was buried on Saturday.

That's because of sensationalist media coverage of the Motua Gardens occupation a decade ago.

But Mr Poynter was a regular at marae events, and he's remembered with affection.

Mr Tamehana says the iwi would like to see a walkway near the town centre named after Mr Poynter.

“It's currently under construction and I think it’s near completion and it’s flanking the river on the town side and would be most appropriate. That’s where I believe Chas spent a lot of his time,” Mr Tamehana says.

The iwi is unhappy with a proposal by current mayor Michael Laws to take an ancestral name off Wikitoria Road, which runs between the highway and Wanganui Airport, and call it Poynter Drive.


There's a call for more Maori to become surgeons.

The Royal Australian College of Surgeons is predicting 50 percent growth in surgery volumes over the next two decades because of the growth and aging of the population.

But John Simpson, the college's executive director, says New Zealand is struggling to keep up with demand because of the lure of overseas opportunities and changes in the health workforce.

He says the number of surgeons in training needs to more than double from the current 27, and more Maori need to learn to wield a scalpel.

“There are two or three starting at the training scheme now but there are still no great move to have a lot of additional Mari surgeons, as much as we would all like there to be,” Mr Simpson says.

Maori doctors tends to specialise in areas of more immediate need, such as primary healthcare, community care and general practice.


Auckland City Library is trying to alert people to the wealth of material which focuses on the Hokainga.

It's mounting a three month exhibition of work relating to the region, including static displays and korero from Maori with connections to the region.

Judith Waaka, the Maori collections librarian, says Hokianaga Whakapou Taniwha.. whapaou ariki.. whakapou tangata holds many surprises.

“A lot of it is rare one-off material that is held in special collections and not many people know about – books, manuscripts, photographs from the early 1800s,” Ms Waaka says.

At lunchtime today, tattooist and sculptor Gordon Hatfield will talk on the history of ta moko in Hokainga.