Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, September 21, 2007

Manu korero results

Te Arawa rohe can be proud of three of its younger orators.

At this week's Manu Korero secondary school speech competitons Auckland, Tupoutahi Winitana Te Kaipara took the Pei Te Hurinui Jones trophy for senior Maori home to Te Kura o Te Ahorangi near Turangi.

Along the way he won the prizes for best prepared speech, best impromptu and best male speaker.

The Korimako trophy for senior speech in English was won by Ibrahim Soloman from Rotorua Boys High School, and the Sir Turi Carroll trophy for Junior English was won by Cruz Karauti-Fox from Taupo-nui-a-tia College.

Te Rawhiti Ihaka junior Maori award went south to Manawatu-Horowhenu in the luggage of Te Ataakura Pewhairangi from Te Wharekura o Mana Tamariki.

Hona Black from Ngai Tuhoe, a student at Hato Paora, got a special mention for coming second in both the English and Maori senior events.

Waatea news reporter Te Kauhoe Wano says the whanau support for Tupoutahi Winitana from parents Chris and Tina showed through.

“You know you just don’t see it with Tuoutahi only. The whole whanau’s there and you’ve seen their faces around at these competitions, whether it be the performing arts, so very much the whanau and that’s reinforced again by Hona Black and his dad Taiarahia Black who’s one of the big reo exponents, hurinoa te motu, the professor at Massey University as we know, and of course Tuhoe origin, so very much having that strong leadership in the whanau helps a lot with these tamariki,” he says.


The Maori Women's Welfare League is being challenged for forgetting its role.

The league is holding its 56th annual hui at the Copethorne Resort in the Bay of Islands.

Maori Party co leader Dr Pita Sharples says despite its proud history providing leadership for Maori, the league’s performance has been disappointing in recent years.

“The league has not made strong support statements to the work a lot of us have been doing in the area of domestic violence, child abuse, family breakdown and poverty. I would have thought they would have led the charge for us here in Aotearoa so I am a bit disappointed with the way the league has sort of got in the way of the delivery of services rather than being the watchdog and the mother for our people,” Dr Sharples says.


The whanau of a Northland man killed in Sydney hope their efforts to speed up release of his body will help other Maori across the Tasman.

42 year old Shane Hau died last Saturday after he was hit by a car in West Sydney.

Relatives and supporters have protested outside the Glebe coroner's court for the past two days.

Whanau member Pauline Hopa from Auckland says the protest was effective, and the tupapaku is due to arrive in New Zealand tomorrow for burial in Moerewa.

“They're responding to what they see as bad treatment but they’re also building a platform so the next whanau that comes along mightn’t have that same thing happen to them,” Ms Hopa says.

As the Maori population in Australia grows, dialogue is needed to make the Australian authorities aware of Maori cultural expectations.


This week's Manu Korero speech competitions have showcased some of the best of what Maori have to offer.

Pita Sharples, the co-leader of the Maori Party, says there were impressive performances from highly-motivated rangatahi.

He says more of his colleagues should have been at the Manukau Events Centre in South Auckland.

“Walking around there, watching the buzz, 2000 people in there, I wish my fellow politicians, my collegues in Parliament could just walk through that hall at any hour of the proceedings, and they would get a completely different view of our rangatahi and of us as a people,” Dr Sharples says.

The senior prize for Maori speech, the Pei Te Hurinui Jones trophy, went to a Turangi homeschooled student, Tupoutahi Winitana-Te Kaipara.

Ibrahim Soloman from Rotorua Boys High School won the Korimako trophy for best senior speech in English, while the Sir Turi Carroll trophy for Junior English was won by Cruz Karauti-Fox from Taupo-nui-a-tia College.

Te Ataakura Pewhairangi from Palmerston North's Te Wharekura o Mana Tamariki won the junior Maori section.


Sir Howard Morrison has received many accolades, but he will treaure the one he gets this Sunday on his home marae Te Papaiouru in Rotorua.

He is to receive Te Tohu Tiketike a Te Waka Toi from the Maori board of Creative New Zealand for his lifetime commitment to entertainment.

Sir Howard began his career in 1955 with the Clive Trio before achieving fame with the Howard Morrison Quartet.

He says it's a very special award.

“You know I've won everything that one possibly could through achieving in my career from the mainstream, but to be honoured by the Maori contingent of Te Waka Toi makes it even more important to me, and to be presented with that on my own marae,” Sir Howard says.

He says show business has kept his mind young.

Waipareira turns a profit

West Auckland's Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust is celebrating a return to financial health after six tough years.

Unaudited results show assets of $19 million, no debt and a $2.5 million operating profit.

That compares with a $2.5 million loss last year, and losses totaling more than $16 million over the past six years.

The turnaround has come after some major restructuring, including the return of chief executive John Tamihere, the axing of unprofitable businesses and services, and a reduction in staff from 200 to around 120.

Paul Stanley, the general manager, says the organisation has been a lot smarter about the way it does business, which has allowed it to benefit from greater efficiencies.

“There's a price that you can’t put on it and that’s about people’s commitment to it. That whole thing about getting Waipareira up and moving was really based on three things: hard work; hard work; and really hard work,” he says.

Mr Stanley says most of Waipareira's revenue comes from health and social services contracts, as well as some smart investments.


Young Maori and Pacific Island men may be leading double lives.

That's the warning from Alan Va'a from the 274 Trust, which works with rangatahi on the streets of Otara.

He says many parents are caught up working to put food on the family table, and they don't see the telltale signs their sons are drifting into a life of trouble and violence.

“They see their sons come to church. They’re angels at church and they’re not doing too bad at school, but they live this other secret alternative life which is a gangbanger’s life so they can get into trouble that way. From a parent’s point of view we need to play a bigger role in terms of knowing what’s going on in our kids’ lives and maybe understanding the telltale signs of that,” Mr Va'a says.

He says the influence of American street gang culture through music and videos is pervasive through the region.


Police are turning to Maori leaders to help their recruitment efforts.
Iwi Liaison officer says the service has identified the need for more young Maori officers, so it can be more responsive to the community it serves.

As well as targeting school leavers, it is seeking support from rangatira throughout the country.

“Talk to Maori leaders from each Maori region to front up with about 10 of our best from either Ngapuhi, Ngati WWhatua, Kahungunu, right across the country, so the face of policing looks like it’s in a position to police Maori communities,” Mr Haumaha says.


The Maori Women's Welfare League's annual conference kicks off this morning at the Copthorne Waitangi Resort in the Bay of Islands.

It's a major event in the Maori world, as the nation's mothers and grandmothers try to chart a way forward for their communities.

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says since its formation in 1951 the league has been the most consistent group in addressing social issues affecting Maori.

He says a new generation of members is changing the way the roopu is perceived.

“From being a duplicate of the Pakeha rural women’s movement they’ve grown to be a very strong Maori force that has both a social and cultural strength that has I think been the most consistent and they’ve stuck together and they've survived,” Mr Horomia says.


A new director of the Maori fisheries trust says Te Ohu Kaimoana needs to win the trust of iwi to be their primary advocate in the fishing industry.

Fred Cookson from Te Arawa and Ngati Kahungunu was this week appointed to the board, along with Ngapuhi chairperson Sonny Tau.

The Whakatohea-based accountant has been involved with iwi fishing enterprises since 1991, and has served as an alternate director for the past year and a half.

He says Te Ohu Kaimona's role is changing as iwi gain control of their own fisheries settlement assets.

“We're going to devolve out of asset allocation, and iwi are going to be able to develop their own autonomy, and then we’re going to have to come in and have the real smarts on policy and regulation in the industry and we’re going to have to be a real lobby group on behalf of our iwi. Now the big thing of course is to encourage our iwi that that’s where we’re going to be heading and bring them with us, so we’ve got to show a bit of leadership around that,” Mr Cookson says.

He says mandated iwi organisations now have the responsibility to ensure the benefits of the fisheries settlement get out to their members.


A leading Maori sculptor says contemporary carvers veering are more willing to push than boundaries than they were a few years ago.

Rex Homan, from Te Rarawa, Ngati Paoa and Te Atiawa exhibits regularly in Aotearoa as well as pioneering new markets in Los Angeles and Vancouver.

Mr Homan says while some purists may question his stylised carvings inspired by Maori mythology and nature, he gets a lot of support from younger carvers.

“I know a lot of people say ‘Oh no, that’s not Maori art,’ but I know so many younger Maori today who still refer to the traditional side of things but they try to bring it forward into the present, not to change anything but just to express themselves in a today style,” he says.

Rex Homan is preparing for a solo exhibition in Vancouver next year of his bird series, Nga Manu a Tane.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tangata whaiora join in recovery

People with mental illnesses are being encouraged to take more of a leadership role in their treatment and recovery.

Te Rau Matatini, the Maori mental health workforce development organisation, has just completed a three day leadership and training hui at Auckland's Orakei Marae for 150 tangata whaiora Maori.

Organiser Rawiri Evans says tangata whaiora and their whanau have the right to have a say in what happens to them

He says it's a new way of thinking for many Maori mental health providers.

“It's all about empowerment for our people. It’s a move away from just a medical model towards a whanau ora approach to looking at recovery principles for our whaiora,” Mr Evans says.

Too often Maori fall through the cracks of mental health services, so it's important tangata whaiora are able to advocate on their own behalf.


South Taranaki District Council wants to know whether any waahi tapu lie along the route of its proposed 160 kilometre coastal walkway.

Hawera geography teacher Diana Reid has a New Zealand Royal Society fellowship to explore and define the route from Stony River south to Waitotara's Waiinu Beach.

That includes the rohe of Taranaki, Nga Ruahinerangi, Nga Rauru and Ngati Ruanui.

The mayor, Mary Bourke, says the walkway is part of the council's ten year plan.

She says the first part of the process will be consultation to identify urupa and other sacred places.

“It would not be going through waahi tapu. That would be the last thing we’d want to do. It would be going around those sorts of sites. And there are a number of issues that need to be talked through. One is waahi tapu. Another is access across ancestral lands and any land for that matter, and a lot of the walkway would be right along the coast so it wouldn’t require access,” Ms Bourke says.


An artist known for his use of colour and glitter is showing his dark side.
Reuben Paterson from Ngati Rangitihi and Ngai Tuhoe is showing is latest work at Auckland's Gow Langsford Gallery.

The glitter on black enamel paintings are symbolic of te ao marama, the world of light.

He says as well as celebrating life, he wanted to explore themes of death and darkness.

“Matauranga, tikanga, whakapapa, all of those things link in with te ao marama and I think the transcendence and qualities of light that glitter gives links to that. But now that I’m using such a black paint, it’s like that light does come out of the darkness,” he says.

The Reuben Paterson Reverie runs until October 13.


A police iwi liaison officer believes Maori in Australia may need to spell out their cultural practices to authorities.

A sydney-based whanau has been protesting over the length of time a coroner is taking to release the body of one of their relatives.

Wally Haumaha says it's a situation police in this country have had to deal with many times, and often it's a matter of having the right person in place at the right time.

He says as the composition of communities change, it can take time for authorities to learn the cultural needs of various groups.

“Within New Zealand we have a diverse range of communities here of different ethnicities and we certainly do our best to meet the cultural needs of those communities. I think it would be no different in Austrealia. They would be looking for a point of contact or someone to guide them through that process,” Mr Haumaha says.

It's important for Maori that tupapaku be returned to the whanau intact for burial.


Switching voices from kaumatua to kotiro is just part of the job for Talking Books narrator Hera Dunleavy.

The Ngati Pakeha actor is one of a handful of narrators able to read books and magazines in te reo Maori for the blind and visually impaired.

She says the job requires her to keeping track of different characters in her head, and adapting her voice to suit each one.

When it comes to voicing te reo books like the Huia short story collection Nga Pakiwaitara, she has to do her homework.

“Nga Pakiwaitara that I did last year, there’s writers from all over New Zealand and they all have slightly different dialects an what have you and sometimes in the book there’s misprints so you have to really be quite diligent in understanding,” Ms Dunleavy says.

It's the 70th anniversary of the Blind Foundation's talking books service.


One of the top Maori basketball players will set a record tonight.

The clash against the Cairns' Taipans at Auckland's North Shore Events Centre will be Paul Henare's 131st game for the New Zealand Breakers.

The point guard from Napier has been a Tall Black since 1999, and he's been with the Auckland-based franchise since its launched four years ago.

Coach Andrej Lemanis says he's got an all round game.

“Paul brings a lot of passion and energy to the game. He always gives you 100 percent. He also does a good job of running the team from that point guard spot and he gets into it defensively and he really gives us an energy that drives the rest of the group a lot of the time,” Mr Lemanis says.

Tuwharetoa seeks forest resumption

Tuwharetoa is asking for 10 Kaingaroa Forest blocks to be handed over in settlement of its claims.

The Government has already earmarked some of the land to settle the claims of affiliate iwi and hapu of Te Arawa.

Tuwharetoa has asked the Waitangi tribunal to make a binding recommendation on the matter, because it says the proposed te Arawa settlement will prejudice the chances of other iwi in the area to be dealt with fairly.

George Asher, a member of the tribe's claims committee, says two major issues need to be addressed.

“Number one, how to sort out overlapping iwi interests in certain blocks of land, which are very substantial given the ancestral relationships of iwi in the central North Island to many of those lands. The other issue is the Crown vesting in itself the accumulated rentals from those lands without going through the process that was promised to us through the 1989 Crown Forest Assets Act agreement,” he says.

Mr Asher says the Waitangi Tribunal has already found Ngati Tuwharetoa's claims are well founded.


Hawkes Bay iwi say power lines company Unison Networks is abusing its economic power by trying to push through a wind farm near the Napier Taupo Road.

Maungaharuru-Tangitu Society Incorporated and Ngati Hineuru Iwi Incorporated are waiting to hear whether the High Court overrules an Environment Court finding that the 37-turbine farm on Te Waka Range would damage an outstanding landscape.

Lawyer Jolene Patuawa says the iwi is also having to fight a 34-turbine proposal by the company, which is almost identical to the first plan.

“A little bit cynically I think that they’re just trying to throw around the fact that they can afford to keep putting us through processes and they’re not going to accept that we managed to get a good decision for the tangata whenua,” Ms Patuawa says.

Te Waka Range has immense spiritual significance to tangata whenua.


A Hawaiian woodturner is excited to find Maori have retained some of the carving skills his people have lost.

Palika Kramer is one of the guests at next week's International Woodskills symposium in Hastings.

He's also spending time with Maori artists, so he can learn more about the graphic designs in moko and whakairo.

He says Maori work has a strong emotional impact to him.

“One of the things that might be missing from what has carried forth in Hawaiian culture is that we had a lot of these graphic elements and we had a lot of the fierceness warrior type things represented in both the carving and designs, but it doesn’t have as strong a presence in Hawaii as what I’ve seen with the Maori culture,” Mr Kramer says.

He says traditional Hawaiian culture was abruptly interrupted by contact with the outside world, so it's impossible to know how it might have evolved.


The newest member of Te Ohu Kaimoana believes the Maori fisheries settlement trust can play a greater role in putting iwi concerns forward.

Ngapuhi chairperson Sonny Tau was appointed a director of the trust by an iwi electoral college, along with Opotiki accountant Fred Cookson.

They replace Shane Jones and Rob McLeod.

Mr Tau says he's pleased the country's largest tribe finally has a representative at the top table.

He says Te Ohu Kaimona is now a significant part of the Maori world, and it needs to give thought to its role going forward.

“We need to look at the attacks that Maori are coming under and to see whether we could provide some strategic leadership for iwi to approach issues like the indigenous rights and all that stuff. To approach that individually is a big ask so we might be able to provide some strategic leadership there that they can leverage and get them to work together,” Mr Tau says.

Another priority will be to improve the performance of the Ministry of Fisheries towards Maori.


The Public Health Association wants the quality and availability of housing to become an election issue.

Director Gay Keating says overcrowded and substandard housing is affecting the health of whanau.

Health sector resources are going into dealing with preventable illnesses.

She says families understand the impact poor housing can have on their health, even if for economic reasons they can't afford to make different decisions.

“I'm much more concerned that the government agencies, both local government and central government, are having difficulty making that connection,” Dr Keating says.

She wants to see policies which reduce the incidence of overcrowding and better align publicly-owned housing stock with areas of high need.


A well-traveled gateway has returned home.

Taranaki carver Patrick Keepa built the whakaheke for the New Zealand Village at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, and it was used again at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games.

Howie Tamati, the chief executive of Sport Taranaki, says it will now go on display at his organisation's new headquarters at New Plymouth's Yarrow Stadium.

He says it's an inspiration, and not just for Maori athletes.

“The interesting thing about the whakaheke is the journey it’s been through, what it actually became the catalyst for, the fact that this carved gateway was the entranceway to the Olympic village in Sydney and then went on to Manchester. It provided the inspiration for the NZOC to develop a strong cultural element within the New Zealand Olympic team,” Mr Tamati says.

The carvings on the whakaheke carvings represent the bringer of knowledge in Maori legend.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Harawira savages mongrel government

A Maori Party MP is going on the road to whip up anger over the Government's vote against the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Rights.

Hone Harawira is devoting next week to a national tour on the issue, and says he'll keep raising it until the election.

He says Labour's Maori Caucus could have prevented last week's no vote, or at least got an abstention on the non-binding resolution.

The Taitokerau MP says the government has thumbed its nose at 20 years of work by Maori and other indigenous peoples from round the world.

“I'm bloody glad this government opposed it. I needed to be clear to Maori all around the country that this Labour Government is a dog government man. When it comes to being dog on Maori rights, there ain’t no more mongrel government than this one. One thing I’ve always like about National, they’ve got a habit of stabbing you in the front. This Labour crowd, pats you on the back, and in goes the knife,” Mr Harawira says.

The Government says the declaration was in conflict with treaty settlement mechanisms and other remedies developed in New Zealand over the past 20 years.


Ngapuhi leader Sonny Tau's role in encouraging support for the Maori fisheries settlement has been rewarded with a seat on the settlement trust.

The push by the country's largest iwi to end 15 years of squabbling over allocation was critical to the final settlement model being adopted.

Mr Tau becomes the first Ngapuhi representative to sit on Te Ohu Kaimoana or its predecessors.
He replaces former chairman and Labour list MP Shane Jones.

The other new director is Opotiki accountant Fred Cookson from Te Arawa and Ngati Kahungunu, who has extensive experience managing iwi assets.

He replaces Business Roundtable chairperson Rob McLeod.

Directors of Te Ohu Kaimoana are appointed by an iwi electoral college, Te Kawai Taumata, from a panel of candidates selected on a regional basis by iwi.


Marae orators of tomorrow are battling it out this week.

The top students from schools around the country and their supporters are thronging the Manukau Events Centre at the annual Manu Korero speech competitions.

Waatea news reporter Te Kauhoe Wano says today's competition is for the Pei Te Hurinui Jones trophy for senior Maori and the Korimako trophy for senior speech in English.

He says the speakers have been of a consistently high standard.

“The way they've delivered, their strength when they’ve stood, their proudness when they’ve stood, reo Maori and reo Pakeha, their ability to speak correctly, their ability to put a poiunt across and make it clear, all those things have been covered.

“However, I do feel there’s room for pushing other elements of getting up and speaking publicly, such as using ngahau or entertainment or humour to get across your point, and I think that’s one thing that’s a little bit lacking, they’ve lacked spontaneity, they’ve been a little bit too rigid, they’ve been too conformed and they've lacked humour,” Mr Wano says.


In another blow to the Government's proposed settlement with Te Arawa, Ngati Tuwharetoa has asked the Waitangi Tribunal for binding recommendations over part of the Kaingaroa Forest.

The tribunal has to power to order the Crown to hand over licensed forest land or state owned enterprise land to particular claimants, but has never used it.

On behalf of Tuwharetoa ariki Tumu te Heuheu, lawyer Karen Feint said the tribunal's report on Central North Island claims released last month found Tuwharetoa's claims were well founded, and substantial remedies are justified.

But its chances of getting a fair settlement would be prejudiced if the 10 forest blocks identified were handed over to affliate iwi and hapu of Te Arawa, as the Crown proposes.

She says Tuwharetoa is also concerned that the Crown is departing from the agreed system for dealing with the land, as set out in the 1989 Crown Forests Assets Act.


The head of Labour's Maori caucus says the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Rights is only of historical interest for this country.

Labour's Maori MPs have come under fire from the Maori Party for their defence of New Zealand's decision to vote against the declaration at last week's General Assembly.

But Shane Jones says the declaration was not consistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and the work this country has done on treaty settlements and building a national identity which embraces Maori.

“The declaration reflects 24 years worth of work and time and events have moved on in New Zealand. We’re no longer back at that period of time in the early 80s when there was precious little interest or opportunity for Maori culture and Maori rights to be secured and enjoyed, and that’s not the case today. We’ve made enormous strides,” Mr Jones says.

He says the Maori Party seems determined to stir up strife between Maori and Pakeha.


Health workers say it's time to play catch up on cervical cancer.

Gay Keating from the Public Health Association says while Pakeha women are now far more likely to get regular cervical smear tests, Maori women are 20 years behind.

That's one of the reasons preventable cervical cancer is the third most common cancer for Maori women, at a rate twice that of non-Maori.

Dr Keating says there may be a range of reasons why many Maori women don't participate in the National Cervical Screening Programme.

“Maori women are more reluctant to come forward, maybe because they feel they don’t know they GP so well, of that they’d rather have a woman do it, or maybe prefer to come along with their friends. Maori and Pakeha, we’re all a bit shy about raising our skirts in front of someone we don't know terribly well,” she says.

A campaign to encourage Maori women to have regular smears was launched this week.

Ngai Tahu tourism aspirations

Ngai Tahu Tourism is looking to build on a record profit.

The company pulled in more than half a million visitors to its attractions, which include Rotorua's Rainbow Springs, guiding companies on the Franz Josef Glacier, Queenstown's Shotover Jet and Dart River Safaris, and 43 percent of Kaikoura Whalewatch.

It made $8.6 million, before interest and tax, on revenue of $39 million.

Its chief executive, John Thorburn, says a new strategy of running the business in regional clusters is paying off.

He says Ngai Tahu Tourism is well positioned within the industry.

“We believe we’re quite well positioned to really leverage off what is in fact the Tourism New Zealand strategy which is linking the landscapes with the people through the experiences. That’s really where we’re heading as a national marketing push and it aligns very well to Ngai Tahu’s values and aspirations,” Mr Thorburn says.

The company is planning to up its investment in the West Coast by building a hot pools complex at Franz Josef.


Eat less and move more.

That's the message coming out of the Obesity Action Coalition's annual hui in Wellington yesterday.

Director Leigh Sturgess says obesity is a preventable disease, but there is no simple cure.

New research shows Maori children are more likely to be overweight than non-Maori, with junk food a major cause.

Ms Sturgess says the problem reaches across the Maori population, with many people failing to reach their potential or dying from obesity-related illness before they reach kaumatua status.

“And if you're severely overweight or have cardiac problems or diabetes or a whole lot iof issues, health issues, then you aren’t a contributing member of society and you’re just sitting watching life go by when with a little bit of care earlier on, it could have been easily avoided,” Ms Sturgess says.

The push to eat healthily is often derailed by low income or just complacency.


A former Maori Women’s Welfare League president says the growing economic strength of Maori women shows the ideals of the suffrage movement in action.

It's Suffrage Week, marking 114 years since New Zealand women were given the vote.

Dame Georgina Kirby says it's an occasion to honour groups like the league, which continue the fight to empower women.

She says when the league set up the Maori Women's Development Incorporation in 1987 to make loans and mentor Maori, there were less than 1000 Maori in business.

“Today there's about 22,000 Maori in business. That’s 20 years. And the Maori contribution to the economy of this country is now $9 billion, so it’s still quite and encouragement for our people,” Dame Georgina says.

A challenge for Maori is to keep connected to their cultural roots as they move ahead economically.


An award winning writer of Maori has just won a scholarship ... to learn Spanish.

Uenuku Fairhall from Te Arawa and Ngai Te Rangi has just picked up his second Pikihuia short story award.

Now the Education Ministry is giving the Rotorua kura kaupapa principal the chance to spend a year in a Spanish-speaking country - probably Mexico.

Mr Fairhall says the award requires him to teach up to five hours a week at a local school - which he sees as a great opportunity.

You're observing what’s happening in the school. You’re to involve yourself in as many cultural events as you possibly can so you not only come back being proficient in the language, but you also have a lot of cultural understanding,” he says.

Last year Mr Fairhall took 31 students from his kura to Mexico for three months ... which helped their Spanish considerably.


The Obesity Action Coalition wants junk food ads banned from around children's television programmes.

The coalition has released a report on the links between advertising and children's health, called Would you like LIES with that?

Leonie Matoe from Te Hotu Manawa Maori says advertising may be one of the reasons Maori tamariki are more likely to be overweight than other children.

“It directly points to the effect of advertising and marketing on what the children or tamariki like to buy, what sorts of kai they ask for and what they like to eat. If you’ve been shopping in the supermarket with your tamariki performing that factor, you can’t deny them sometimes what they are asking for,” Ms Matoe says.

Pressure from ads can put extra stress on whanau trying to put healthy kai on the table.


A Maori take on space navigation has been unveiled at a South Auckland gallery.

U-F-O-B at Te Tuhi centre for the arts in Pakuranga is a collaboration between sculptor Brett Graham and digital artist Rachael Rakena.

Viewers are encouraged to lie on beanbags on the floor of a darkened gallery looking up at 15 round screens housed in carved wooden forms, reminiscent of spacecraft or waka.

Ms Rakena says the piece explores themes of Pacific migration, rising sea levels and submersion.

It comes with a specially commissioned soundtrack.

“The soundtrack was made with Paddy Free especially for this, so it’s a combination of theremin, guitar, ukelele. Ned Ngatai came and played the guitar for us. It’s kind of a deconstructed pearly shells,” Ms Rakena says.

U-F-O-B runs until November.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Indigenous declaration vote defended

The Prime Minister says she'll put New Zealand's record up against any of the countries which voted for a United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Rights.

The Government has come under fire since it voted last week against the declaration, along with Australia, Canada and the United States.

Helen Clark says the vote has given the Maori Party and others at the far end of the Maori sovereignty movement something to moan about.

"That's to be expected, but anyone who seriously looks at that voting list looks at New Zealand and Canada for example, and compares the record here of genuinely and seriously attempting to address indigenous rights issues, and compares that against a great many of the countries who signed the declaration, will know we have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of,” Ms Clark says.


A former Labour Northern Maori MP says he's committed to stopping construction of a proposed visitors' centre at Te Rerenga Wairua.

The Department of Conservation is building a carpark and toilets on Pae Rehua, the hill overlooking Cape Reinga in the far north.

Planning is underway for a visitors' centre next to the new carpark.

Bruce Gregory says the area is sacred to all Maori, and what is being proposed is totally inappropriate.

“Pae Rehua should be a marae atea wairua, just an area of land, sacred, at which people can meet and if necessary, korero, karakia. There should be no buildings here and the buildings which they are talking about should be developed away from the area,” Dr Gregory says.

The best place for a visitors centre would be Te Paki, where the tour buses come off 90 Mile Beach, or nearby Waitiki Landing.


The only self styled brown label at New Zealand Fashion Week continues to grow.

Kia Kaha designer Charmaine Love showed her latest signature collection on the Auckland catwalk today, but she says most of her attention is now overseas.

The Charmaine Love Collection has been signed with American fashion showroom Ambrosia, and Kia Kaha's Cambo golf range, produced in association with former US Open winner Michael Campbell, is selling in Europe, Australia and through Golf Galaxy in the United States.

“We're exporting to America now and that’s going really well, particularly in the golf market. We’re selling up there in the biggest golf company in America and its sales are as strong as Nike and Adidas, which is fantastic for us,” Ms Love says.

She says foreign buyers appreciate the meanings behind the Maori-influenced designs on Kia Kaha clothing.


It's been a good year for Ngai Tahu Tourism.

The company doubled its previous record profit to $8.6 million on revenue of $39 million.

John Thorburn, the chief executive, says more than half a million tourists came through its attractions.

He says it has been consolidating existing businesses, buying new ones and shifting to running its businesses on a regional basis.

“It makes a lot of sense to focus in particular regions where we have some strength and really work on building those community relationships and building our opposition in those cluster areas, so that’s been our strategy. We’ve focused on areas in the southern lakes, West Coast, Abel Tasman where we’ve already got a position that we can build on,” Mr Thorburn says.

Over the next year Ngai Tahu Tourism aims to continue its expansion strategy.


Young Maori are more likely to be overweight than their peers.
That's the conclusion of a new report from health agency Te Hotu Manawa Maori.

Nutrition manager Leonie Matoe says Maori girls are particularly vulnerable, with obesity rates 50 percent higher than non-Maori girls.

She says the culprit is often fast food - and tackling the problem means finding messages that are realistic for low income Maori families.

“We're promoting all this wonderful healthy kai, but unfortunately what we’re promoting is out or reach because of income and out of economic necessity so what whanau actually have to buy, or what stores are around them, actually forced to eat a lot of the high fat, high sugar products that are around,” Ms Matoe says.

A nutrition resource kit for Maori health providers will be released at a national hui at Turangawaewae next month.


A Rotorua kura kaupapa principal is crediting reading for a double win in the Pikihuia Maori short story award.

Uenuku Fairhall from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Koutu won the award for best story in Maori, while his pupil Te Teira Maxwell won the student's section.

Three other pupils also made the finals.

Mr Fairhall says he had the senior students working on the kaupapa from the beginning of the year.

“Our best writing comes from our kids who are best readers and we push that all the time. From 10 to one to 1.05 the whole school’s reading, whether it’s a visitor or whatever, everyone. The teachers got to read. And that’s the only way to give you insights and different ways of looking at things, so reading and writing have to go together. You feed one and you feed the other,” Mr Fairhall says.

He will probably enter the Pikihuia Awards one more time.

Polynesian ariki to repeat summit

Ariki from the Polynesian triangle have agreed to meet in French Polynesia every two years to build on ancestral links and uphold their traditional cultures.

Maori king Tuheitia and Tuwharetoa paramount chief Tumu te Heuheu were among the traditional leaders who attended a three day summit at Taputapuatea marae on the island of Raiatea, at the invitation of Tahiti's Prince Joinville Pomare.

Waatea correspondent Julian Wilcox says Raiatea is probably the Hawaiiki Maori ancestors left from to come to Aotearoa.

The ariki issued a declaration setting out their aims.

“Trying to maintain and uphold the cultural values of each iwi, that this is not a political movement, it’s a cultural movement and therefore politics should stay out of this particular forum, and that this hui that is going to be held every two years be held at Taputapuatea on Raiatea given that it is the spiritual epicenter of the peoples from the Polynesian triangle,” Mr Wilcox says.

Julian Wilcox says after the summit the ariki were welcomed to Tahiti by newly-reelected president Oscar Temaru - who the previous week had urged the leaders not to come because of the political instability in the lead up to last Friday's election.


Students and supporters are gathering at the Manukau events centre about now to be welcomed on to the country's premier Maori speech competition.

Nga Manu Korero has been showcasing the oratorical skills of Maori students since 1965, when former politician Donna Awatere Huata was among the first winners.

Te Makao Bowkett, one of the judges of the English section, says one of the changes this year is to shorten the preparation time for the impromptu section to five minutes ... to reflect the reality of whaikorero on the marae atea.

“There's always been, and I say this respectfully, a purist view that we don’t take time to prepare, we don’t take time to write notes. We are given a kaupapa and we stand and rise and respond naturally, spontaneously and accordingly,” Ms Bowkett says.

The competitions run until Thursday.


A Tuhoe artist says New Zealand culture is still struggling with how to incorporate Maori icons.

Reuben Paterson's latest show at Auckland's Gow Langsford Gallery opens tonight.

He says any artists trying to develop a New Zealand iconography are using symbols like hei tiki in contemporary ways ... but they often fail to show respect for their source materials, or treat them in an honest way.

“New Zealand needs icons and they always come from first cultures but I think there sometimes needs to be a bit more respect in how taonga is handled by artists and I’m not speaking of Maori artists, I’m speaking of everybody I think,” Mr Paterson says.

He says the way images of hei tiki are being put on t-shirts and other commercial items are devaluing the taonga.


Newly re-elected French Polynesian president Oscar Temaru has made his peace with Pacific traditional leaders, after earlier telling them not to come to his country.

Ariki from around the Polynesian triangle, including Maori king Tuheitia and Tuwharetoa paramount chief Tumu te Heuheu, have just held a three-day summit on Raiatea to recognise ancestral connections and discuss ways to strengthen traditional culture.

Mr Temaru and political rival Gaston Flosse had jointly signed a letter asking the ariki not to come, because of fears of political instability in the lead up to last Friday's election.

But Waatea correspondent Julian Wilcox says one the summit was over, the president hosted the leaders to a dinner at his palace in Tahiti.

“Him doing so was more a case of ‘Look, it wasn’t about the fact that I didn’t want the hui to happen, it’s more about the fact that we were going through these political issues, and the country wasn’t politically secure at the time.’ So maybe that’s what it was. That’s what he was saying it was,” Mr Wilcox says.

The Maori delegation has been invited back to the presidential palace for lunch today, before it returns to Aotearoa.


The Apiha Maori of the Post Primary Teachers Association fears reform of electoral financing will prevent it advocating for Maori.

The proposed bill widens the definition of political advertising to stop groups voicing opinions if they were the same as those adopted by any political party.

Te Makao Bowkett says groups like the PPTA need to be able to comment on issues that affect them.

She says the PPTA doesn't just represent teachers, but also the interests of students and their wider whanau.

“We need to be in a position politically to always express what we are in agreement with, what we feel could be done better in terms of Vote Education policy, putea, funding of secondary education, so we’ve always got to be free to express that as a professional body,” Ms Bowkett says.

She says trying to limit free speech is a threat to New Zealand's liberal democracy.


A leading Maori academic says the government's vote against the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples isn't the end of the matter.

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, from Waikato University's Centre for Maori and Pacific Development Research, says the issues covered in the declaration have been extensively debated in New Zealand over the past two decades.

She says there are other avenues to lobby for change ... such as the WAI 262 Maori intellectual property claim being argued by lawyer Maui Solomon and others.

“Even though the decision has been made at that level in that forum, that doesn’t mean that the korero has stopped, that the discussions are a waste of time. Which is why I really admire the work being done by Maui and the guys and women – because it means the wero is still out there,” Dr Te Awekotuku says.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Pig cell opponents won over

A medical researcher who has won approval to implant insulin-producing pig cells into diabetics says Maori have come round to support the controversial treatment.

Bob Elliott has been blocked from running the trials in this country for a decade, but his company Living Cell Technologies has now been cleared by regulator Medsafe and the Gene Technology Advisory Committee.

The proposal initially sparked a furore among Maori, but Professor Elliott says times have changed.

“It does run up against the traditional Maori view, which would say this is not a good things agt all, but the modern Maori are saying ‘Well, heavens alive, we have to change as the world changes and we’ve got this big problem and this looks like it could be helpful so we’ve just got to take it and it’s up to the individual to make a choice about this,” Professor Elliott says

About 40 percent of Maori over the age of 40 have or will get type two diabetes.


The Blind Foundation wants better Maori pronunciation in its talking books.

The foundation is seeking funds for new generation digital talking book machines, to replace its 20-year old analogue tape recorders.

It has about 12,000 titles in its library in either Braille or recorded formats.

Book studio manager Mary Schnackenberg says the foundation is keen to have more te reo material content for its 6 percent of members who are Maori, and to make sure the language is respected in all its recordings.

“What we have to tackle here is the correct pronunciation of words in te reo. Now we don’t expect to conquer the entire Maori language but we do expect to improve the pronunciation of Maori words used in an English context,” Ms Schnackenberg says.

The Blind Foundation also produces recordings for the Education Ministry for Maori language students.


A switch to screenwriting has paid off for Victoria University Maori studies lecturer Ranui Taiapa.

The Ngati Porou woman picked up the prize for best short film script at this weekend's Pikihuia Awards with Road Warrior, a story about road workers dealing with the death on the job of a workmate.

Ms Taiapa was a finalist in the short story category two years ago, but after helping friends on 48 Hours film competitions, she decided her ideas might be better suited to the screen.

She wanted to show people that road workers have dignity in their labour.

“I just wanted to draw some parallels between their story and the story of our soldiers, our Pacific and Maori ancestors in the Pioneer Battalion, who were over in the trenches in World War I but were digging trenches and were there as a labour force really as opposed to a fighting force,” Ms Taiapa says.


The Health Ministry says it could be years before the effectiveness of current cancer strategies are known.

Latest figures show Maori women are four and a half times more likely to die of lung cancer than non-Maori, and Maori men two and a half times more likely.

Ministry adviser John Childs says the cancer control strategy launched in 2003 tries to address those inequities by changing how doctors and hospitals treat Maori patients ... as well as encouraging healthy eating and physical fitness.

The strategy runs alongside the government's investment in smoking cessation programmes, but Dr Childs says results can't be expected overnight.

“It will be still may years before we see an impact in the reduction of smoking and certainly many more years before we see a reduction in both incidence of lung cancer and the number of people dying from lung cancer.
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Dr Childs says Maori women also died more often than non-Maori from breast cancer, while the rates of stomach cancer among Maori men are disproportionately high.


The head of Te Waka Toi believes the Internet and global communications has made it impoossible to police the use of Maori imagery.

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku says fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier's use of ta moko in a Vogue magazine spread is just the latest example of the French fascination with Maori and tribal art, dating back to the 1800s.

She says the scope of the problem is illustrated by an ad showing a person snapping kapa haka on their cellphone and then sending the image of the performer's moko to people all over the world.

“That Sony advert, which was actually challenged, demonstrates just how insidious the Internet and technology and the world that we live in has become for us. No imagery is sacred any more,” Dr Te Awekotuku says.

The Maori arts organisation encourages cooperation and collaboration so artists who want to use Maori imagery come to honour the stories and traditions that produce the art.


A finalist in next month's New Zealand Music Awards hopes his efforts will encourage younger musicians to keep trying.

Adam Whauwhau's second album Tukuna Mai is up for Best Maori Album, four years after his debut, He Hua o Roto, made the finals of the Maori Language album category.

The kura kaupapa teacher says it's always going to be a struggle to get airplay, but Maori musicians need to keep hammering on the doors of the mainstream stations.

“We just have to encourage our rangatahi and people that want to compose music, because I think they find barriers in terms of trying to get themselves out and get themselves started and not knowing the right pathways to follow so I suppose by just doing what we do that hopefully it will encourage other people to follow and pursue their goals and their aspirations in terms of music,” Mr Whauwhau says.

Bishop Vercoe prophet of time

Maoridom made its way to the eastern Bay of Plenty over the weekend to pay tribute to an extraordinary leader.

Anglican archbishop Whakahuihui Vercoe died on Thursday aged 79.

A priest since 1952, he was made head of the Maori arm of the church in 1981.

Former bishop of New Zealand Sir Paul Reeves, who consecrated him as Bishop of Aotearoa, says because of the decision by the church to split into three different congregations, Bishop Vercoe had more authority than his predecessors.

His success in that role led to his appointment in 2004 as Bishop of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

“That was a really great appointment. You know he was not an easy fellow, but prophets never are, are they, but he spoke uncomfortable truths many times. He was a man who was in the business of justice, and not simply that he speak the word but he also walked the walk,” Sir Paul says.

He says Bishop Vercoe's speech at Waitangi in 1990, in which he told the Queen that Maori people had been marginalised and the treaty ignored, was one of the most outstanding sermons of the 20th century.


Environment Waikato and the Raukawa Trust Board have pledged to work together on environmental issues.

Jenni Vernon, the chair of the regional council, says the memorandum follows similar agreements with Hauraki and Maniapoto.

They'll be sharing some resources and working towards an iwi management plan, which will cover some of the major issues in the upper Waikato area.

“The critical factor for Raukawa at the moment is pine to pasture, that’s happening in the upper catchment, where potentially 70,000 hectares going into pasture from pine trees. Now that’s got some water quality issues and some flood management issues. That’s one of the issues that we. share some concern about together,” Ms Vernon says.

She says Environment Waikato and iwi in the region share a common concern for the natural environment.


A school principal and one of his students are among the winners of the Pikihuia awards for Maori writers.

Uenuku Fairhall from Rotorua’s Te Kura Kaupapa o Te Koutu wrote the best short story in Maori, while Te Teira Maxwell scooped the prize for best story in Maori by a secondary school student.

Robyn Bargh from the Maori Literature Trust and Huia Publishers says there was a high calibre of entries this year.

She says Maori writers are becoming more confident about submitting their work for consideration.

“This year I felt more than any other year that confidence. This year I think finalists and the winners are a combination of some of the more experienced writers – some of them have been finalists in the awards over a number of years – and then we’ve got emerging new talent. It’s really exciting. I think we’ve got some promising people coming forward,” Ms Bargh says.

The organiser of the Pikihuia award for Maori writers says the number of entries in te reo Maori exceeded all expectations.

The awards were announced in Wellington on Saturday night, and the finalists have been published by Huia Publishers.

Robyn Bargh from Huia and the Maori Literature Trust says Maori writing has changed since the awards were launched more than a decade ago, and not just in the willingness of people to write in Maori.

“Maori writing has moved on from where it was probably 15 years ago when a lot of it was concerned with identity – who am I and who are we? I think we have moved past that and are really exploring now our relationships and out inter-relationships in today's world,” Ms Bargh says.

Winners of the te reo Maori short story categories were Uenuku Fairhall, the principal of Rotorua's Te Kura Kaupapa o Te Koutu, and his student Te Teira Maxwell.

Danielle Cavey from Invercargill wrote the best short story in English by a secondary school student, while Royna Ngahuia Fifield from Palmerston North took the senior prize for a story in English.


A Te Rawara project manager has made the finals of the Young Engineer of the Year award.

Tyrone Newson from engineering consultancy Beca has been leading teams designing and constructing extensions to Auckland Airport's domestic and international terminals.

He has also taken a lead in creating professional support groups for Maori and Pacific Island engineers, both at university and out in the workforce.

Mr Newson says engineering hasn't had as high a profile for professionally-oriented Maori as careers in medicine, law or television.

“Lot of those professions seem more exciting and better paid, and unless you have a genuine interest in the engineering profession or the built environment around you, we’ve tended to shy away, but I think by having the groups that we’ve got now able to increase the profile of engineering and show how exciting it can be,” Mr Newson says.


A Maori filmmaker says Maori should go back to thinking about tikanga rather than intellectual property rights.

Barry Barclay says the furore over fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier's use of ta moko to call attention to his fashion range highlights the challenges Maori face in protecting their culture.

But there are risks with using frameworks like the World Intellectual Property Organisation, and Maori may be on stronger ground if they reach back into the past.

“My uncle was a carver. He never called his carvings intellectual property. He called them taonga. And they came under tikanga. That’s how we’ve looked after our treasures in the past, and if we can get the system to understands that and I think in our own day to day dealings, like often in the film business, we’re getting better at that,” Mr Barclay says.

As well as making films like Ngati and Feathers of Peace, Barry Barclay is the author of Mana Tuturu: Maori Treasures and Intellectual Property Rights