Waatea News Update

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

My Photo
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, September 14, 2007

Bishop Whakahuihui Vercoe dies

There's mourning today in the Anglican Church for a former Bishop of Aotearoa and Archbishop of New Zealand, Whakahuihui Vercoe.

Archbishop Vercoe, who died in Rotorua last night aged 79 after a long illness, was ordained in 1952.

He served two spells overseas as a military chaplain, in Malaya from 1961 to 1963 and South Vietnam in 1968 and 1969.

This year he filed a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal on behalf of Maori Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange.

The current bishop of Aotearoa, Brown Turei, says Archbishop Vercoe was always willing to speak his mind ... as he showed in 1990, when he led the service at commemorations for the 150th anniversary of the signing of the treaty.

“When he spoke at Waitangi in front of the Queen and made that world shattering statement about his people being marginalized, that didn’t go over too well with the Government of course, but that’s Hui Vercoe and if a thing needs to be said, he will say it,” Bishop Turei says.


Maori Party leader Pita Sharples says the death of Archbishop Whakahuihui Vercoe will be felt wider than the Anglican Church.

The pair were often colleagues and competitors through their shared passion for the traditional Maori performing arts.

Dr Sharples says the archbishop will be remembered for his knowledge of the Maori world, and his outspoken views.

“Forthright man. One may not have agreed with all his views. At least he was consistent with them and a good leader and wonderful pathfinder for us and he’ll be sorely missed, not only by the church but as a kaumatua and leader and elder on the marae,” Dr Sharples says.

Whakahuihui Vercoe is lying in state tonight at Houmaitawhiti Marae in Rotoiti.

He will be taken at first light to his birthplace at Torere in the eastern Bay of Plenty.

No reira i te rangatira, takoto mai, takoto mai, moe mai.


Outstanding contributions to Maori Language Week are being honoured in Wellington tonight.

Among the 40 finalists are Diagnostic Medlab, the Auckland Kindergarten Association, Pacific Island radio station Niu FM, dance station George FM ... and Radio New Zealand, Tourism Bay of Plenty and the Ataahua Bed & Breakfast in Christchurch.

Lana Simmons-Donaldson from the Maori language commission, Te Taura Whiri, says it was tough judging because of the high standard of entries.

“Oh it's just amazing some of these things and the bar is definitely higher this year and the people, to win, they’ve had to be really outstanding in their categories, and quite interesting and we’re really happy that over 64 percent of entrants this year were first timers,” Ms Simmons-Donaldson says.

Today is also the anniversary of the 1972 presentation to Paliament of the petition seeking formal recognition of te reo Maori.


The late Whakahuihui Vercoe is being remembered as someone who was not afraid to be a prophet.

Archbishop Vercoe died in Rotorua yesterday of cancer at the age of 79.

Canon Hone Kaa from St John's Theological College was mentored as a preacher by bishop Vercoe.

He says Maori have lost a fine leader who was willing to speak out on issues of social justice and the Treaty of Waitangi.

“When he made his now very famous statement, ‘you have marginalised us.’ He said ‘you have not honoured the treaty.’ It had a tremendous impact on everybody, not just at Waitangi, but throughout the nation. Nobody does this when the Queen is present, but here was this bishop, prepared, to be a prophet and critique the government of the day,” Dr Kaa says.


And one of Whakahuihui Vercoe's former comrades in arms says the former army padre had a big impact on Maori service people.

Bob Newson, a prominent lay member of the Maori Catholic Church, says Bishop Vercoe showed the same bravery in speaking out on issues of social justice as he did the battlefields of Malaya and Vietnam.

“He had a lot of influence, a lot of steadying influence on a lot of the soldiers that went to Vietnam and also in training in Malaysia. He’ll be a sad loss and we certainly will miss him and we extend our sympathy to the family,” Mr Newson says.

Whakahuihui Vercoe is at Houmaitawhiti Marae in Rotoiti, from where he will be taken tomorrow to his birthplace at Torere in the eastern Bay of Plenty.


A veteran film director says Maori filmmakers are on the cusp of a new era.

Barry Barclay from Ngati Apa today hosted a scriptwriters' workshop on maintaining rangatiratanga in Maori storytelling, as part of the Festival of Maori Writing.

The director of Ngati and Feathers of Peace says new funding from the Film Commission and new technology is changing Maori filmmaking.

He says it is getting easier to take the filmmaking out to where the stories are, rather than being bound by the studio.

“Some of the scripts are located right in one specific area, Matamata’s one of them, so what does that mean? We perhaps can make it there, involve the local community, and make it their taonga as well, rather than just a generalised film that came out of New Zealand,” Mr Barclay says.

Tonight Eagle vs Shark producer Ainsley Gardiner and director and presenter Te Arepa Kahi host a panel on Maori in film and television at the Wellington City Gallery Theatre.

SFO axing endorsed

A former Maori MP who tangled with the Serious Fraud Office is celebrating the Government's plans to ax the white collar crime fighter.

It is to be replaced with a new agency under the police dealing with organised crime.

In March an Auckland jury cleared Tuariki Delamere on 14 charges brought by the SFO relating to his immigration business.

The former immigration minister is now seeking costs and is considering a case for malicious prosecution.

He says the SFO had been acting like the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation under J Edgar Hoover.

“You have a body that was not accountable to anybody in this country, and you had a director who was not accountable to anyone n this country and I’m glad to see the government’s getting rid of them. Because they’re incompetent and they’re out of their depth anyway,” Mr Delamere says.

He was acquitted not on technical grounds but because the Serious Fraud Office did not have evidence to back the charges.


The contribution of Maori to the union movement is being celebrated in a new DVD.

Helen Te Hira from the Council of Trade Unions says the resource looks at the way tangata whenua have organised themselves politically, economically and culturally.

She says as a naturally collective people, Maori have made significant contributions to the development of unionism from its beginning.

In fact the first union notices in New Zealand were in Maori.

“We were approached by the Australian unions because as shearers Maori could undercut labor gangs of Australians and New Zealanders so they decided they’d better get us onside. And so from there you see a whole lot of activism, and even when unions weren’t present, say in the rural sector, you still see Maori coming together and organising themselves,” Ms Te Hira says.

The CTU wants to look at what lessons can be learned from Maori models of organising.


A Hamilton school is devastated by the destruction of its taonga whakairo.
Vandals broke into the five-year-old library and information centre at Nawton Primary on Sunday and ripped carvings off the wall.

Principal Mike Sutton says the school's roll is 60 percent Maori, and the carvings were valued by all the students.

“They were really important artifacts. Because carvings and whatever you put in your school, the artifacts show what you believe and what you think is important, and it was a way of valuing Maori and the culture and the important role they play in learning and in our community,” Mr Sutton says.

Carver Kingi Tawhiao has taken away the remaining pieces to see if they can be repaired, or if he has to start over.


A leading far north elder says the agreement in principle to settle Te Rarawa's treaty claims should spur other Muriwhenua iwi.

Sir Graham Latimer says the $20 million package signed last Friday will boost the tribe's development, and its negotiators have done a reasonable job.

He says the other four iwi who took the Muriwhenua Claim should pick up the model and apply it to their own areas - if they can get into talks with the Crown.

“The opportunities for the rest of the tribes up here are there is they want to take them. You can go on all day saying it’s not enough. The main thing is to get yourself on the board so you know where you're going,” he says.

Sir Graham, who also chairs the Crown Forestry Rental Trust, says he does have concerns about part of the deal allowing Te Rarawa to buy 29 percent of the Aupouri Forest.

He says the forest should be given to a body representing all five tribes, as the Crown offered a decade ago.


Maori have heeded the call to make themselves available for District Health Boards elections.

Fifty of the 430 candidates around the country are Maori, with the Tairawhiti area particularly spoilt for choice.

Rangi Pouwhare, the Maori relationships manager for the Ministry of Health, says the boards manage billions of dollars for health and disability services, so it's vital Maori have their say.

“If we're not at the level where the decisions are made, we’ll never be heard so it is important to make sure that the funding and the decisions made at that level are good for Maori. But until we’re there, to give the information and let our voice be heard, we won't ever be heard,” Mr Pouwhare says.

The challenge for candidates now is to encourage Maori voters to tautoko them.


The leader of New Zealand First is welcoming a new Organised Crime Agency.

Winston Peters has been a long time critic of the Serious fraud Office, which the agency will replace, because of its failure to prosecute anyone over the deals identified during the Winebox Inquiry.

He says while the new agency needs to keep the pressure on white collar criminals, increased scrutiny on gangs will benefit the whole country.

“Maoridom should be cheering from the rafters about this, because every time there’s a damaging portrayal of Maoridom via the gangs and their behaviour and their involvement in serious crime, it denigrates and diminishes Maori as a people. And the sooner we deal to that and tell these guys it’s back to the straight and narrow we want them to do, the better for Maoridom,” Mr Peters says.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Vogue moko ugly face of fashion

Those French moko aren't meke.

An expert in Maori intellectual property rights says the phony tattoos used by Jean Paul Gaultier to promote his latest fashion collection are ugly and offensive.

Aroha Mead says Gautier is known as an innovative and creative designer, but the moko patterns, and the often immodest poses of the Vogue models wearing them, aren't up to his usual standards.

“They're not nice designs at all. I don’t think he’s done himself any great service because the work he’s come up with is really quite unattractive,” Ms Mead says.

She says the Government should make more effort to make it known to the world that Maori culture is not up for grabs.


A west Auckland mayoral candidate is crying foul over an anti-violence campaign.

John Tamihere says the presence of sitting Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey on council-funded billboards with Outrageous Fortune star Robyn Malcolm and former All Black Va'aiga Tuigamala breaches election rules.

“He's no longer the mayor. He’s a candidate. He’s lining up in the queue like all the rest of us. You can’t use my ratepayer’s funds to fight me. That’s what he’s doing. And what’s worse he’s wrecked a great campaign by politicisng it and abusing it in an election period,” Mr Tamihere says.

He has complained to the returning officer.

Mr Harvey co-chairs the city's anti-violence campaign committee with Tamaki makaurau MP Pita Sharples.


Three Northland marae are going online in a bid to bring Information Technology out into the community.

Addie Smith from the Ngatiwai Trust Board says within four years all 14 marae in the tribe's rohe will be networked through the board.

The marae-based learning centres are equipped with servers, laptops and websites which can be used to get information out to the wider iwi.

She says it's a new way of thinking about marae.

“There does seem to be the image that marae are becoming non-existent, that people are not using them. That’s not so. I think they are. It’s just getting people understnding that their marae can be the hub of their community and this is what's happening,” Ms Smith says.

The project is funded by Te Puni Kokiri, Internal Affairs and an ASB Trust grant of $314,000.


Punches are being thrown at a Waitakere City anti-violence campaign.

The billboard campaign features three famous westies - Outrageous Fortune star Robyn Malcolm, former All Black Va'aiga Tuigamala and mayor Bob Harvey.

Mayoral rival John Tamihere says Mr Harvey is abusing the anti-violence message - and ratepayers' money - for electoral advantage.

And west Auckland based activist Titewhai Harawira the campaign political point scoring ... and it's aimed at the wrong people.

“Two whites and a Samoan. The kaupapa for Christ sakes is about every time there’s any violence it’s those Maoris. All of those Maoris. They should own this and own the other thing. And yet when it comes to getting the message out, where’s the Maori face? Where’s the Maori women? This is in bad taste,” Mrs Harawira says.

She says the Waitakere campaign - and a similar $14 million effort by central government - is a waste of resources which should go into community groups doing anti-violence work.


The Government's decision to vote against a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People's is being called shameful.

The declaration, which has been going through the United Nations process for 20 years, comes up before the General Assembly tomorrow.

Aroha Mead from Victoria University, who has been involved in government and indigenous consultation on the draft, says New Zealand has always prided itself on its human rights record.

She says the declaration aims to send a clear message to governments that discrimination against indigenous people will not to be tolerated.

“So when the Crown is saying that the declaration is incompatible with government policy, one can only draw from that that these basic principles about not discriminating against Maori and having a constructive relationship with us are not part of government's current plan,” she says.

Ms Mead says a no vote would an historic step back for this country.


The first novel published by a Ma' ohi (PRON like Maori with an H) or indigenous person from French Polynesia has finally been translated into English.

Island of Shattered Dreams by Chantal Spitz was launched last night as part of the Festival of Maori Writers.

Many of its themes will be familiar to Maori readers, including the loss of language and land through colonisation.

Ms Spitz says the book caused a scandal when it was first published in 1991, and she got a hard time whenever she went to Papeete from her home on the outlying island of Huahine.

“Now people look at the novel as very avant garde, before its time novel and Tahitians are kind of proud of my work now,” Ms Spitz says.

Ka Hikatia rushing through

Maori principals are concerned a new Maori education strategy will be pushed through before frontline educators have a chance to comment.

Ka Hikitia is an eight point plan to lift Maori achievement over the next five years.

Shane Ngatai from the Maori principals' association Te Akatea says the roopu's hui a tau this week called for more time to make submissions.

He says consultation has been inadequate.

“The meetings being held around the country are not being well attended because notification or the relevance of attending the consultation has not been made strong and clear enough,” Mr Ngatai says.

Te Akatea will seek a meeting with the Minister Steve Maharey and Parekura Horomia to push for more time.


New Plymouth District Council says the deal it has struck over a new sewage pipeline shows the work it has put into improving relations with iwi is paying off.

The council yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with Oakura hapu Ngati Tairi over the $19 million pipeline, which will take waste from the coastal settlement into the New Plymouth treatment system.

Brent Manning, the council's water and waste manager, says the hapu will get advance notice of any work and can place observers on the job when the pipeline nears known waahi tapu.

“In some areas it still does pass very close to waahi tapu and obviously in that respect the iowi and in this case the Ngati Tairi hau had particular co There were particular concerns they had which needed particular protocols,” Mr Manning says.

The memorandum should set a precedent for future projects.


A Ngati Awa sculptor has shown his work in a sacred cave to highlight the significance of the region's waahi tapu.

Pete Takutaimoana-Harawira got permission from kaumatua to use Te Ana o Muriwai or Muriwai's Cave at the Whakatane heads.

The works were based on landmarks significant to Ngati Awa, all but one of which are visible from the cave entrance.

Some of the landmarks are being covered over or hidden by new structures, and he wanted to show the beauty and significance of the area.

“Like a lot of coastal areas, development is moving in. They have a huge interest in the prime locations along the coastline. A lot of our waahi tapu are there. They’re moving in and starting to build the apartment blocks and marinas,” Mr Takutaimoana-Harawira says.

Te Ana o Muriwai is named for the sister of Toroa, captain of the Mataatua waka that landed near the Whakatane Heads.


A Tuhoe hapu which has been blocking access to a Bay of Plenty forest wants forester Rayonier to sit down and negotiate.

Police this week issues trespass notices against members of Ngai Tamatuhirae o Muriwaka and seized a portable mill which they said was operating illegally.

Hapu spokesperson Tearaaka Tepairi says the mill was operating without the permission of the protesters.

Disputes over the ownership of the forest land and access roads are long standing.

She says when Rayonier, operating under the Matariki brand, bought the forests from Carter Holt Harvey, it bought a history of trouble - including problems with sacred sites.

“Our rangatira went up and put a rahui on Tahora to bless the area because a lot of the waahi tapu had been desecrated up there. There was a lot of puketea trees that they used to put their dead under. When the forestry first came in they damaged the area, they destroyed a lot of the waahi tapu that was on top of there,” Ms Tepairi says.

The hapu has asked Matariki to prove it has title to the forest land before it starts logging.


Hauraki Maori want further talks with the Fisheries Ministry over their share of an increase in the Coromandel scallop catch.

The annual catch entitlement for quota owners has increased five-fold, from 22 to 108 tonnes, reflecting the recovery of the fishery after devastating storms a decade ago.

But the amount available for recreational and Maori customary take are each being increased by only a third, from 7 and a half to 10 tonnes.

Hauraki Trust Board member Harry Mikaere says as quota holders, Hauraki will benefit.

But he says there is a clear imbalance in the amount set aside for other users.


The Maori principal's association is throwing out a challenge to its own members to help lift Maori student achievement.

Te Akatea has been meeting in Wellington this week to consider the challenges facing the sector.

Co-president Shane Ngatai just having a leader of Maori descent does not guarantee schools will deliver for Maori students or work effectively with Maori communities.

About 5 percent of the country's 2700 principals are Maori.

“And not all of them are engaged in Maori achievement either, I’d have to say. Some do need to be challenged around their thinking and stepping outside the comfort zone and what they have to do, the hard decisions some of them have to make around ensuring the students are learinng, are engaged,” he says.

Mr Ngatai says programmes such as Te Kotahitanga, which recognise the effect teacher expectations have on achievement, have shown a dramatic change in results is possible.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Crisis of followers not leaders

Maori face a crisis of who to follow, not of a shortage of leaders.

That's the view of Ella Henry, an expert in Maori development and leadership.

The Marsden Fund is funding research into the sort of leadership and governance structures Maori need for the future.

Ms Henry says traditional rangatira did not see themselves as leading from the front, but as doing a job people behind them put them there to do.

The Ask Your Aunties host says leading is a lot harder than it used to be.

“Our leaders have I think 10 times the difficulties that rangatira prior to the treaty had because they’re trying to deliver to us in a society that’s been systematically created to disempower us. Plus we have the added complication that occasionally the Crown picks our leaders,” she says.

Ms Henry says the key is education, because educated communities make good choices.


A Taranaki coastal hapu has reached a deal with the New Plymouth District Council which should help protect its sacred sites.

Ngati Tairi spokesperson Hone Baker says the memorandum of understanding covers construction of a $19 million sewerage pipe from Oakura to New Plymouth's wastewater treatment plant.

The hapu will be given advance notice of any work, and it can put an observer on site.

He says Ngati Tairi pushed for the deal because it was unhappy with the proposed route.

“They were actually going to go straight through one of our waahi tapu in Oakura so hence the MOU, like, ‘we need to talk to each other about where you intend to put the pipes. You let us know where you’re going to put it and tell you what's there,’” Mr Baker says.


What's kumara in French?

That's the sort of question being posed by translators as they struggle with Maori words in books in English by New Zealand writers.

Jean Anderson, the head of French at Victoria University, says retaining Maori words is an important way of acknowledging New Zealand's unique culture.

Dr Anderson, who has translated books by Patricia Grace and Janet Frame, says too many translators translate words like kete and kumara into English, and then into a foreign tongue - totally changing the meaning.

“If you put it into the French equivalent which is pata douce it’s got connotations of the war when people couldn’t get proper potatoes so they ate sweet potatoes instead. It’s got all kinds of French connotations that have got nothing to do with what’s going on in the original text,” she says.

Dr Anderson is facilitating a panel discussion at the National Archives in Wellington tonight on colonisation of the Pacific, to launch a book by Tahitian writer Chantal Spitz.


The head of the Unite Union says a campaign to abolish youth rates has reignited Maori industrial activism.

Fast food chain McDonalds has announced it will pay all workers adult scale from next March, falling into line with Wendy's.

Matt McCarten says Restaurant Brands, which owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks, and supermarket owner Progressive Entrerprises have also indicated they may be open to change.

He says many young Maori workers have taken a stand during the two-year campaign ... even when they had their hours cut for taking part.

“Everyone's been bloody passive for a long time and this is the first of the next generation – it’s not fair, it’s not fair. And 100, 120 years ago Maori were aid different rates for the same job and they went on strike. The first two strikes in New Zealand were by Maori who said we get the same as the Pakeha for the same job,” Mr McCarten says.

Today's youth activism should help advancing Maori political aspirations in future.


The Greens fear axing the Serious Fraud Office could give white collar criminals a licence to loot.

Justice spokesperson Nandor Tanczos says the proposed new Organised Crime Agency could just be an excuse for the police to put even more effort into Maori-dominated gangs.

He says investigating white collar fraud is a costly and time consuming, but people lost more in the shonky financial dealings of the 1980s than from property crime during that period.

“Corporate crime isn’t always organized crime either, and by focusing on organized crime networks, it doesn’t mean some of that other stuff is going to be of interest at all, and that would be a worry,” Mr Tanczos says.

He says concentration of power within the police, including investigation, prosecution and recovery of criminally derived assets, could increase the risk of vendettas and politically expedient arrests.


The international market for Maori writers is growing, but the important battle is still at home.

Robyn Bargh from Huia Publishers says to prosper in the larger international markets, writers need a strong domestic following.

Huia's Festival of Maori Writers kicked off in Wellington today, as part of New Zealand Book Month.

Ms Bargh says the festival, which has been running for 12 years, is a testament to the strength of the Maori creative sector.

“There are more Maori writers. They are also getting better, or we’re finding better ones. More are getting published. And I suppose these festivals give them an opportunity to just meet with each other, talk with each other, for us to just meet them and the public to meet with them,” she says.

Ms Bargh says Huia would like to see more work in te reo Maori, but they are not viable unless they're supported by sales.

King Tuheitia to Raiatea summit

The Maori King Tuheitia is off to French Polynesia today to join other Pacific ariki families for a summit called by Tahitian Prince Teriihinoiatua Joinville Pomare.

Others expected at the Raiatea event include the royal families of Samoa, RapaNui , the Cook Islands, Hawaii, New Caledonia, and Tonga.

The French Polynesian government has asked the ariki not to come because of internal political and security concerns, but a Kingitanga spokesperson says the trip has nothing to do with the government and nothing to do with politics.

Prince Pomare is expected to seek support for a declaration calling for improving education and economic development across Polynesia.

Moko Templeton from Tainui says the Kingitanga has sought closer links with other Pacific royal families since the time of Princess Te Puia Herangi, and King Tuheitia faces similar challenges as the other traditional leaders.

“They having lost their ariki as well of Samoa and Tonga, at the same time as us losing Te Atairangikaahu, I think it’s just the royal families themselves sharing a unique bond in that they have lost their parents,” Ms Templeton says.


The high number of Maori women entering the legal profession could have dramatic impact on the legal landscape.

Tama Potaka, who chaired last weekend's Maori Law Society hui-a-tau, says he was heartened by the number of female lawyers and law students attending.

He says that will affect the pool of talent which can be drawn on for judicial appointments, and should help the courts become a better reflection of society - similar to what has happened in Parliament under MMP.

“Around 15 percent of MPs are Maori or are of Maori descent. I don’t think we could say the same of the judiciary at this time. Neither could we say the same of the judiciary with regards to wahine,” Mr Potaka says.

The hui looked at ways lawyers could strengthen Maori communities.


Maori librarians want to see Maori children's books reach a wider audience.

Books written in or translated into te reo Maori were acknowledged at yesterday's Library Association Children’s Book Awards, with Robyn Kahukiwa receiving the Te Kura Pounamu award for Matatuhi.

One of the judges, Eddie Neha from the Maori library association Te Ropu Whakahau, says it was a strong field, but few people out of the kura kaupapa system will see the books.

“As much as they get published, they don’t go to stores. Most of them are published as resources through the Ministry of Education through Huia, and they’re free resources. So only really Maoir get them, because they’re only put into wharekura and kura kaupapa and those sorts of things,” Mr Neha says.

He says there is no longer a shortage of Maori authors and illustrators, and most of their books are translated into English.


Maori lawyers want greater acceptance of the role that tikanga Maori should play in New Zealand's legal system.

Tama Potaka says it was a major topic of discussion at the weekend's Maori lawyer's association hui in Auckland.

He says the continuing raruraru over the burial... and possible exhumation.... of Christchurch man James Takamore has highlighted gaps between Maori custom law and statute law.

He says Maori perspective need to be respected in the creation and application of the law.

“At the ground level many lawyers and non-lawyers are increasingly aware that there will be a time in the country’s future where our own customs are analysed, reviewed and considered as guidelines for judges and for legislators,” Mr Potaka says.


A Maori academic says Maori can't be fitted into one-size-fits-all models.

Manuhuia Barcham, the director of Massey University's Centre for Indigenous Governance and Development, has won a Marsden Foundation fast start grant to study what are the most appropriate governance structures for indigenous groups.

He says corporate models may help with economic development, but often neglect people's cultural needs and desires.

Dr Barcham says many iwi are told they should copy Ngai Tahu's highly corporatised and business-oriented structure.

“That structure might be useful if you’re an iwi with a large resource base, large land area, high degree of human capital, but if you’re a small land-locked iwi with low human capital, remote from large urban centres, that more than likely won’t be the best structure for you to adopt,” he says.

As well as Maori models, he will be looking at indigenous groups in Australia, Canada and the United States.


The return of kuaka or godwits to the shores of Aotearoa has been linked to the earliest period of Polynesian exploration.

Thousands of the birds are making the 11,000 kilometre non-stop flight from Alaska and Siberia.

Keith Woodley from the Miranda Shorebirds Centre, who has been using satellites to track the birds, says oral history suggests the kuaka may have given Maori ancestors the confidence to strike out southwest across the ocean.

“We know that if some birds do strike bad weather or they need to drop out they do come down onto some of the islands, although not in great numbers, but of course anyone living in the Pacific would have realized that at certain times of the year these birds, which are certainly not sea birds, they were not equipped to live in the water, they were coming down and they were taking off and flying in a certain direction, so it was a good indication there was something to attract these birds over the horizon,” Mr Woodley says.

Kuaka are attracted to areas with large tidal estuaries, including the Firth of Thames, Manukau, Kaipara, Parengarenga and Farewell Spit.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Kahukiwa book wins children’s prize

Artist Robyn Kahukiwa has added children's books to her list of accolades.

Her book Matatuhi, translated into Maori by Kiwa Hammond, won the Te Kura Pounamu at today's Library and Information Association's Childrens Book Awards in Rotorua.

Other finalists included three titles by Sue Corkill translated by Huirangi Waikerepuru, Eriata Nopera, a Graham Metzger and Hana Pomare collaboration, and Gavin Bishop's Whakaeke i ngaa Ngaru translated by Katerina Mataira.

One of the judges, Eddie Neha from the Maori library association Te Ropu Whakahau, says it was a worthy winner.

“Anyone's who's ever seen Robyn Kahukiwa’s work will be absolutely thrilled with this book. Every page is a journey in itself. Kiwa Hammond, as expected, his reo is wonderful. The combination of the reo and the pictures, the story flows just so so wonderfully,” he says.

Mr Neha says the books should be seen more widely, but most of them just get distributed to schools.


The Maori principals association Te Akatea is concerned a nationwide shortage of teachers nationwide is affecting schools' ability to deliver all curriculum areas to their students.

The association is holding its hui in Wellington this week, including discussion on the best ways to teach the 88 percent of Maori children who attend mainstream schools.

Co-president Shane Ngatai from Hamilton's Rhode Street Primary says the workload for Maori teachers is particularly high.

He says schools are struggling to fill vacancies in all areas.

“500 positions available at the moment that haven’t been filled, and with the government’s strategy of reducing our year one classes from 1:23 to 1:18, it’s going to create even more demand for teachers,” Mr Ngatai says.

Te Akatea is concerned that all teachers coming through the system learn how to interact positively with Maori students.


Horomona Horo will be thinking of his tupuna when he blows his pukaea over Flanders fields.

The Rotorua taonga puoro teacher has been invited to Belgium for next month's ceremonies marking the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele.

The trumpet-like pukaea was traditionally used to relay signals in war and for rituals associated with planting of kumara and other crops.

Mr Horo, from Ngati Porou, Nga Puhi and Taranaki, says it's an honour to play for the old soldiers, including some of his ancestors who lie buried there.

“The biggest thing for me is being able to play the traditional Maori instruments at these dawn ceremonies and commemorations, because it will be the first time an indigenous instrument will be used in I suppose any war commemoration done by military, because all you ever hear is the bugle,” Mr Horo says.

He will also play his taonga puoro in Bruges Cathedral in accompaniment to carillion bells.


The Prime Minister says this week's deal with Tuwharetoa protects the public's right to free recreational use of Lake Taupo.

It replaces a 1926 deal which gave Tuwharetoa a share of fishing licence fees and the 1992 settlement which returned the lake bed to the tribe.

Helen Clark says the new arrangement, which gives Tuwharetoa one and a half million dollars a year from the Crown, cleans up dangerously loose wording in the earlier agreements.

“Tuwharetoa as I understand it could have actually been moving in and deciding to charge the recreational user. Now you can imagine the pigeons which would have flown around the coop on that. So the government has in effect bought Tuwharetoa out of some of those loose parts of the National Party's deal,” she says.

Ms Clark says the new deal confirms Tuwharetoa's right to charge commercial lake users a fee.


The first indigenous president of the American Library Association has been impressed by the respect given to Maori in New Zealand.

Loriene Roy is in Rotorua for the annual conference of this country's Library and Information Association.

She's from the Anishinabe or Chippewa people of Minnesota.

She says the visibility of Maori culture in New Zealand is refreshing.

“It's just so stimulating to be in an environment where native language is acknowledged, expected, respected, where that in the beginning of a conference opens with cultural ceremony, with powhiri, and that there are introductions in Maori,” Ms Roy says.

She says most American publishers and librarians still don't understand how important it is to let indigenous peoples tell their own stories.


A painter from Putaruru, a mother of six who works in a chicken smoking factory, a concrete truck driver and a Taneatua schoolboy are among the 19 finalists for Homai Te Pakipaki.

Maori Television's Friday night karaoke series in front of a live audience has been one of the hottest tickets in Auckland.

Co-host Te Hamua Nikora says the reaction from the live and the broadcast audience was unexpected.

“Absolutely none of us knew that it was going to snowball and blow up as well as it did. Personally I was worried. I thought it was going to either make my career or end it for me. I’m so happy Aotearoa’s taken Homai Te Pakipaki into their hearts. I mean it’s nothing but entertainment, manaakitanga and whakawhanaungatanga. To use as a Maori people, easily we were going to jump on that bandwagon. But the rest of Aotearoa loved the kaupapa too,” Mr Nikora says.

This Friday's final will be filmed at the larger Beaumont Centre in Freemans Bay. The winner picks up $10,000.

Tainui MP welcomes lake precedent

Tainui MP Nanaia Mahuta is welcoming a new settlement between the Crown and Ngati Tuwharetoa which clarifies issues around the ownership of Lake Taupo.

The deal signed at Parliament yesterday could have implications for Tainui's settlement for the Waikato River from Huka Falls to the sea.

Tuwharetoa is to get one and a half million dollars a year to cover its share of trout licences and other Crown fees, and it will be able to charge commercial users of the lake.

Nanaia Mahuta says Waikato-Tainui people will be keen to read the small print.

“I'm sure we will be looking with interest in terms of the settlement and its potential implications for the river claim. We certainly support Tuwharetoa in moving towards clarity and resolution around Lake Taupo,” Ms Mahuta says.


Mainstream schools need to look at what's working in kura if they want to lift the results of Maori students.

That's the advice from Shane Ngatai, the co-president of Maori principals' association Te Akatea and head of Hamilton's mainstream Rhode Street Primary.

Some 88 percent of Maori children go to mainstream schools.

Mr Ngatai says that means mainstream educators need find new ways of approaching students - but given their response to the Ka Hikatia draft Maori education strategy, the message isn't getting through.

“In our region in the Waikato there are over 750 schools but only four principals from the mainstream turned up to that consultative meeting. Now I’m not going to ask them what they were doing or why they were not there but I think it’s a reflection on the thinking around … maybe it’s too hard for us or we're not interested,” he says.

Mr Ngatai says if Maori students in a school succeed, everyone succeeds.


A Ngai Tahu academic is trying to track the browning of New Zealand media.

Jo Smith from Victoria University's school of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies has won a $170,000 Marsden fast start grant to look at what she calls settler, native and migrant media.

She wants to tie it in with the history of colonial settlement in Aotearoa.

Dr Smith says the two-year project will concentrate on the period between 2004, when Maori Television started broadcasting, and 2008.

“2004 is also a watershed in New Zealand cultural politics. You have the establishment of the Foreshore and Seabed Act. You have the emergence of the Maori Party. And this begs the question how has New Zealand media changes in 2004 to 2008 and our notions of national identity off the back of these changes,” she says.

Dr Smith will also look at the emergence of a strong Pacific voice with television programmes like Bro Town and movies like Number Two and Sione's Wedding.


Ngati Tuwharetoa says a new settlement over Lake Taupo clears up questions over two previous settlements.

The tribe was granted a share of trout fishing licence fees back in 1926, and in 1992 its ownership of the lake bed was recognised.

Trust board secretary Rakeipoho Taiaroa says the value of the annuity was eroded by time, and there seemed to be limits on the tribe's ownership.

Under the deal signed at Parliament yesterday, Tuwharetoa gets a one-off payment of almost $10 million, $1.5 million a year as its share of licence fees, and the right to charge commercial operators of the lake.

“It really brings both agreements together and actually clarifies the board’s right not only to charge but it gives us fee simple title rights as any other landowners in New Zealand, whereas previously in the 1992 agreement it didn’t really carry through too well,” Mr Taiaroa says.


A project which has made Northland Maori communities more aware of the risks of fire has been highly commended by Accident Compensation's Community Safety and Injury Prevention Awards.

Willie More from Ngapuhi says Kotahitanga was launched after a dozen people died in fires in a year.

Task Force Green workers are trained to install smoke alarms, and just as importantly, to talk to whanau about how quickly fires can spread and what they should do.

“The most important thing is the messages as well. It’s no use putting these things in and it goes off and people don’t know what to do when it does go off, so it’s making sure they deliver the message to the family and the children so that they understand it,” Mr More says.

The Kotahitanga team is also getting other safety messages out to the community, such as giving kaumauta advice about preventing falls.


A Playstation Portable game designed by a fledgling Maori firm has been has been nominated as one of the world's best pieces of electronic content.

CUBE was designed by Maru Nihoniho from Whanau a Apanui, Ngati Porou and Ngai Tahu, after she switched careers from managing restaurants to multi-media design.

She will have to wait until November, when the winner of the entertainment category in the World Summit Award will be announced at a gala diner in Venice, Italy.

Ms Nehoneho says until then, her company Metia Interactive has plenty to keep it busy.

“We want to get another title or two out there and resume a project we started working on a couple of years ago which is a Maori-based and themed game featuring a Maori heroine,” Ms Nihoniho says.

She says managing restaurants and bars was good training for managing teams of young designers and programmers.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Tuwharetoa revisits lake deal

Ngati Tuwharetoa has renegotiated its settlement giving it ownership of the bed of Lake Taupo and the Waikato River to Huka Falls.

A new deed signed at Parliament this afternoon simplifies the 1992 settlement and confirms the tribe's ability to charge fees to commercial users of the lake.

It will also be paid $1.5 million a year as its share of fees charged by the Crown.

Under the old deal, this could potentially rise every year.

In the new deed, the Crown is paying Tuwharetoa a $9.85 million lump sum to forego those perpetual increases.

The Conservation Minister, Chris Carter, says the Crown will continue to own and manage the trout fishery.


A huge amount of effort over the past two decades has gone into achieving treaty settlements, but not enough work is done on how tribes should be run after settlements.

That's the reason Manuhuia Barcham from Massey University has been given a $170,000 Marsden fast start research grants to study indigenous corporate structures.

Dr Barcham says he'll be looking at Australia, the United States and Canada for comparisons.

He says problems are starting to emerge in western Canada as native bands complain the corporation structures imposed on them don't allow them to achieve all their goals.

“Economic growth is one of those. It’s good to be able to pay for the health and education of your people. But there are other issues as well, and a pure western economic model or even one that’s just had a little bit of tinkering on the side to insert some tikanga or kawa somewhere isn’t necessary the best structure to achieve the various goals that a group might want,” Dr Barcham says.

Maria Bargh from Victoria University has been given a similar grant for a related project looking at the pressures on indigenous peoples to form corporations, and how that changes their relationship with their tribe.


A mostly Maori group which patrols Porirua's streets has won praise for making the town a safer place to live.

The Porirua Community Guardians were highly commended at the national ACC community safety and injury prevention awards.

Guardians' manager Dallas Crampton says the 50-strong roopu runs safety patrols, offers crime prevention advice and education, reports graffiti and other safety issues, and conducts annual street makeovers in uncared for parts of the city.

He says members chose their name and approach from a belief that antisocial behaviour happens when there aren't capable guardians around.

“We've wrapped up this community passion and ability in a pretty visible lime green uniform, deliberately not like a police uniform or a security guard. It really embodies that local caring,” Mr Crampton says.

The Guardians are similar to the Maori Wardens, in that they are a less threatening to young people than other authorities.


Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board says a revised settlement signed today will clarify the rights the tribe holds over Lake Taupo.

Board secretary Rakeipoho Taiaroa says it wraps together a 1926 deal, under which Tuwharetoa got an annuity and a share of trout fishing licence fees, and the 1992 deed which vested ownership of the lake bed in the tribe.

He says the value of the annuity has dropped over time, because of the reluctance of the Crown to increase the fees in line with inflation.

The Crown will pay Tuwharetoa a one-off sum of just under $10 million and a fixed annuity of $1.5 million a year.

Mr Taiaroa says the new deed clarifies Tuwharetoa's right to charge commercial users of the lake.

“To middle New Zealand there’s no change at all. You and I can go for a swim and do what we like recreation wise, but if you or I are looking to go to the lake for a comercial purpose, ie to make money from the lake, that’s when there will need to be a discussion with the Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board,” Mr Taiaroa.


Awa FM has found a new audience for Waitangi Tribunal hearings.

The Whanganui-based iwi station has been broadcasting live from the hearings of the Whanganui land claim, which are this week at Parakino Marae.

Station manager Geoff Mariu says it meant rescheduling a few advertisers and sponsors, but they've all seen the value of the broadcasts ... and there had been a great response from listeners.

“We've helped to connect people who can’t make it in to the hearings for whatever reason and via the Internet also we’ve had a huge response from overseas saying that they’re really enjoying listening to the korero of the stories from home,” Mr Mariu says.

Rangatahi have taken coverage even further, using texts, You-Tube and social networking sites like Bebo to get news of the hearing out to friends and whanau in Aotearoa and overseas.


Restoration is almost complete of a building which was a second home many Maori who moved to Auckland in the 1950s and 60s.

Tatai Hono or the Holy Sepulchre started life in Parnell in 1884 as St Pauls.
It was moved to its current Khyber Pass site in the 1960s to be home for the Auckland Anglican Maori Mission.

A half million dollar grant from the ASB Community Trust has allowed the mission to restore and strengthen the roof, walls and kauri floorboards, install sprinklers, upgrade the kitchen and ablution blocks and build a new marae entrance.

Canon Lloyd Popata says the marae has been a significant meeting point for Maori.

“Particularly groups that didn’t come from Auckland, that weren’t Ngati Whatua and Tainui. For Taitokerau, it was a kainga rua. For Ngati Porou and Kahungunu, it was another place of meeting where they could come together for a whole host of reasons,” Canon Popata says.

The structural work should be completed over the next month, and a carved amo and new tukutuku panels should be done by April.

Universal screening for baby bashers

The Children’s Commissioner expects widespread Maori support for her plan for universal risk assessment and support for new babies.

Cindy Kiro wants a system where those caring for newborns to nominate a health provider to assess progress through home visits.

She says because existing tamariki ora and well child initiatives funded by the Health Ministry are voluntary, many at risk children fall through the cracks.

This can particularly affect Maori, who tend to be more mobile than other groups in society.

She says while some groups seem to resent the idea, Maori communities she has spoken to are supportive.

Children’s welfare must be paramount.

“I think it’s got to a point where we can’t stomach seeing these babies injured and hurt any more. That means a few people have their homes visited a few more times by a few more people. Hopefully the intention is to provide them with support. The intention is not to act as a little detective agency,” Dr Kiro says.

At the moment 11 children a week are admitted to hospital with injuries caused by caregivers or family members.


Northland tribe Te Rarawa believes its treaty settlement breaks new ground in recognising iwi interests over Conservation land.

Chairperson Haami Piripi says the agreement in principle signed at Panguru on Friday includes a new concept called Whenua Ngahere which will promote Te Rarawa participation in the management of DOC estate in their rohe.

He says it’s a significant acknowledgement of the tribe’s status as mana whenua of the area from the northern side of Hokianga Harbour to the base of the Aupouri Peninsula.

“A large part of our settlement is around the Conservation estate. We’ve managed to broker an innovative solution to the issue of one third of our rohe being Conservation estate, to get the Crown to recogise that we have mana whenua in the area of our rohe,” Mr Piripi says.

The rest of the settlement, including $20 million in cash and assets and 29 percent of Aupouri Forest, should give Te Rarawa a sound economic base.


A Canterbury University researcher has been given half a million dollars by the Marsden Fund to investigate changes in the way women speak Maori.

Margaret Maclagan says her work will complement a project which has been running for the past four years, in which researchers compare archive recordings of men born in the 19th century with the way old and young men from the same tribal rohe speak now.

Professor Maclagan says the influence of women on the sound and rhythm of a language may be even more important.

“Internationally women tend to be in the lead in language changes and secondly because women are particularly important in passing the language on to the next generation,” she says.

The moves to revitalise Maori through kohanga reo, after a generation of neglect, means the study could test fundamental hypotheses on language change and transmission.


Mandatory screening for families with newborn babies will help make people realise child abuse isn’t just a Maori problem.

Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro says while recent high profile cases has drawn attention to disproportionately high rates of family violence among Maori, it’s a problem than cuts across ethnic and socioeconomic lines.

She says targeting perceived at-risk groups is less effective and more expensive than a universal approach.

She’s advocating mandatory screening at key times in a child’s life, starting with an assessment at the time of birth.

“Are there previous referrals to Child Youth and Family for child abuse or neglect? Is there a history of drug or alcohol abuse? Is there a history of family violence? Keep a watchful eye out for those things. Take an opportunity art birth to basically see what’s going on and turn the odds in favour of the babies,” Dr Kiro says.

Her proposals build on existing well child and tamariki ora programmes.


Colonial intimacies, intimate colonialism is the title of a new study of inter-racial marriage in Aotearoa in the two centuries to 1969.

Angela Wanhalla from Otago University's history department has been granted $165,000 from the Marsden Research Fund for the two-year project.

Given how important interracial marriage has been to the development of modern New Zealand’s society, culture, and identity, she's interested in official attitudes over the years.

“So we're looking at how far the state was interested in dealing with inter-racial marriage and how far the state was interested in regulating it and how they managed it through the census and also how far the churches were interested in managing inter-racial marriage and what they thought about how New Zealand society was developing over the nineteenth and early twentieth century,” Dr Wanhalla says.

She expects to find regional differences, especially in places like the deep south, Poverty Bay and far north which had earlier contact with European and American sealers and whalers.


Former All Black Glen Osborne says the decision by the Italian squad to turn their backs on this weekend’s haka was more about Italian rugby than a deliberate cultural snub.

Mr Osborne, who has played for clubs in Japan, France and Italy says the Italians knew they were in for a tough encounter, and didn't want to give their opponents any advantage.

“I don't think it was a cultural thing at all. I think they just didn’t want to face up because they knew it was intimidating for them and they jkust wanted to focus on their own game. I think they were just scared from the very start,” Glen Osborne says.

The All Blacks went on to win 76-14 in their opening World Cup match in Marseille.