Waatea News Update

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Anderton amendment back to House

A controversial amendment to the Fisheries Act is heading back to Parliament after a bid to kill it in the select committee.

The Bill will make sustainability the main purpose of fisheries management and give the Minister of Fisheries greater power to cut fishing quotas.

It is opposed by groups across the sector, including iwi, Te Ohu Kaimoana and the Seafood Industry Council, who say it will undermine the quota management system.

David Carter, the chair of the Primary Production Select Committee, says the four National MPs on the committee wanted it reported back to Parliament with a recommendation it not proceed, but Labour's four MPs would not agree.

He says they ignored widespread concern from Maori.

“The two Maori Labour members of Parliament were Dover Samuels and Mita Ririnui. Both of those members had the ability to stop this legislation in its tracks and deliver satisfaction to Maori fishing interests. They both refused to cooperate,” Mr Carter says.

Now the bill has lapsed before the committee, Jim Anderton can try to round up the votes in Parliament to get it passed.


A Maori Party MP is calling for changes to the way the police use iwi liaison officers.

Hone Harawira says police commissioner Howard Broad did huge damage to the kaitakawainga by excluding them from the planning and execution of the Operation 8 anti-terror raids.

He says there seems little point in building up capacity to work with Maori - before any trouble happens - and then not use it.

“The first issue he has to deal with is why on earth do you employ kaitakawaenga if you are then going to ignore them. He should have used them. He didn’t use them. He staked his reputation on his elite police force unit’s ability to come up with charges of terrorism and he was wrong mate, big time wrong. He should go,” Mr Harawira says.

He says the solicitor general's refusal to sanction anti-terrorism charges shows the Maori Party was right to oppose the police action - despite being told by other parties to shut up.


Artist Israel Birch has attempted to turn the sound experience of taonga puoro into a visual form in a new work on display at Nelson's Suter Art Gallery.

Ruku Po (3), which features layers of resin pigments ground into metal sheets, is a centre piece of the gallery's current show, Ahi Kaa To Keep The Fires Burning.

To mark the event, the Nga Puhi and Ngati Kahungunu artist performed at the gallery on traditional instruments with two of his influences, Richard Nunns and Brian Flintoff.

Anna Marie White, the show's curator, says it helped put the visual work in context.

“It was acknowledging the national influence that Richard and Brian have and the important contribution they have made to the history of taonga puoro in New Zealand,” she says.

Israel Birch's work sits well alongside other work in the show, which explores ideas of tradition and belonging to the land through works by artists like Toss Woollaston and Colin McCahon.


The Maori Party says the international reputation of police has been damaged because of the police's botched anti-terror raids.

Co-leader Pita Sharples says common sense prevailed with the solicitor general's decision to veto any prosecutions of the so-called Urewera 17 under the Terrorism Act.

But he says the harm will linger.

“To brand us internationally as terrorists, to me the damage is done. It’s too late now. In Bankok, in Turkey, they think Maoris are going to assassinate the Prime Minister and take over the country,” Dr Sharples says.

He says Police Commissioner Howard Broad should resign over the fiasco.


The Overseas Investment Office talked to the wrong people over the sale of a coastal farm beside the Firth of Thames.

That's the view of John McInteer from the Hauraki Maori Trust Board on the clearance for Australian beef farmer Trade Lines Malaysian to buy the 1400 hectare farm south of Orere Point.

He says the land has more than 30 archaeological sites, including two former pa and an urupa.

The OIO says the sale had the backing of Ngai Tai Umupuia Te Waka Totara Trust - a group whose representative was earlier this year sacked from Manukau City's tangata whenua consultative committee.

Mr McInteer says that's not the standard of consultation expected by Hauraki.

“Ngati Paoa haven’t been consulted at all. Ngati Whananunga haven’t been consulted at all. And the land to the north in the Clevedon area, where this company does have some property, Ngai Tai, that is their sphere of influence, but this area is not that iwi’s area at all and the direct and relevant iwi have never been consulted,” Mr McInteer says.

The sale could threaten the iwi's access to the land, which has always been respected by the previous owners, the Adams family.


Life inside the Mongrel Mob - and how to get out.

That's the story behind the book True Red, which is being launched tonight in Pukekohe.

It's the autobiography of former Mongrel Mob president Tuhoe Isaac, who now heads a mission which works among gang members, prison inmates and other social outcasts.

Co-author Brad Haami says after 15 years out of the gang, Mr Isaac felt ready to tell how he was able to turn his life around.

“We just used to meet really and talk and I kind of said ‘Look bro, I’d really like to get under your skin man to see what really makes you tick in that world but what makes you get out of that world.’ I didn’t want to write something where the rules of gang life prevailed,” Mr Haami says.

Broad call for resignation

There's a call for the commissioner of police to resign over the failed terror prosecutions of people allegedly involved in military-style training camps in the Urewera.

The Solicitor General refused to let the police go ahead with charges under the Terrorism Act, because the evidence collected in a year long investigation isn't up to the high standards required.

Former MP turned talkback host Willie Jackson says the decision is an indictment of police commissioner Howard Broad.

“He ordered an operation, and basically, anyone who was related to Tame Iti was a suspect, and he must be held accountable for this, because there’s two cases here. One we’ve got Tame Iti and what was Tame up to, but two, we have a whole community whose rights have been breached,” Mr Jackson says.

He says at the least Mr Broad owes a major apology to the Tuhoe people of Ruatoki, whose human rights were breached during the October 15 arrests.


Maori landowners believe they're being asked to bear the cost of the Government's climate change policy.

The issue will be a major focus of the Federation of Maori Authorities' annual hui, which starts in Ngaruawahia today.

Paul Morgan, the federation's deputy chairperson, says Maori farmers are interested in sustainable management and using science and technology to reduce their carbon footprint.

But because they have traditionally been low-intensity users of their land, they could be caught out by the proposed emissions trading scheme.

“The general population involved with land use has intensified and reaped the economic benefit. Essentially they are polluters. The principled position that FOMA takes is that we don’t believe Maori should carry the burden, and the way the policy is structured, that is certainly the case, so we want the government to address that,” Mr Morgan says.

He says climate change policies must be applied fairly.


Ngati Tuwharetoa isn't letting down its guard over the threat of didymo to its volcanic plateau waterways.

Tribal landowners have reopened access roads to the upper Tongariro River, after Biosecurity Minister Jim Anderton gave the all clear that samples of the algae collected in the area were not live.

Rakeipoho Taiaroa from the Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board says the iwi is reviewing its response to the didymo threat, which can leave rivers clogged up with what's known as rock snot.

“Ngati Tuwharetoa people, we are also commercial operators ourselves, and so that may have a detrimental effect, but the primary issue is our taonga and making sure as best as possible we get this ngangara out of our waterways,” Mr Taiaroa says.

He says the didymo action group will continue to run tests on the rivers.


A leading Anglican churchman says the police should now apologise to Tuhoe for the October 15 raid on Ruatoki.

Hone Kaa from St John's College says the church has been vindicated by the solicitor general's decision to veto terrorism charges against people arrested for involvement in alleged military-style training camps in the Urewera.

Last weekend's Maori Anglican Synod denounced the police action, earning a rebuke from New Zealand First leader Winston Peters for rushing to judgment and not upholding the law.

But Dr Kaa says the Church was standing up for people dragged into the police net.

“Our concern was with the women, children and kaumatua, who were subjected to terror by the forces of the law. They are owed an apology. It’s the heads of the police themselves that have to go and seek that peace that Tuhoe is looking for,” he says.


The Fisheries Ministry has refused to front up to a forum which includes not only Maori but recreational and commercial fishers as well.

The Hokianga Accord is holding its tenth hui at Auckland University's Waipapa Marae today to discuss changes fisheries laws, including a proposal which would give the Minister of Fisheries greater powers to cut catch limits.

Ngapuhi chairperson Sonny Tau, one of the main drivers of the Accord, says the Ministry was invited along, but it seems to see the forum as a threat.

“It bring together all the factions in one room, rather than what the ministry is doing which is having Maori in one room discussing the same thing as he does. They’ve got those segregated forums. They’ve got the Maori forum and they’ve got the Pakeha forum doing the same things,” Mr Tau says.

The Hokianga Accord is trying to be proactive about fisheries management, rather than the sector just reacting to decisions of the ministry.


Taura here in Manawatu want a greater say in decisions that affect them.

Ngati Porou woman Tangihoro Fitzgerald says a hui on ways to prevent family violence revealed many Maori in Palmerston North feel disconnected and displaced.

She says local and central government agencies look no further than Rangitane when they reach out to Maori in the city - and while migrant Maori don't want to undermine the mana whenua, they need to make their voice heard.

“When decisions are made in Wellington about a major Maori issues or whatever, they decide it down there, then they head up north, and they by-pass us,” Mrs Fitzgerald says.

Her One Voice group is trying to prepare a database of the 11,000 Maori living in the Manawatu region.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Terror trial nixed

The Solicitor General's refusal to let the police charge 12 members of the Urewera 17 under the Terrorism Act opens to the way for debate on the Act and the place of dissent in New Zealand society.

That’s the view of Auckland University law professor David Williams, a treaty specialist who has in the past represented Maori land protesters.

The solicitor general, David Collins QC, said charges under the Arms Act against those arrested last month can go ahead, but there is not enough evidence to establish a group was preparing a terrorist act.

He defended the police, saying they had put an end to disturbing activities.

Professor Williams says New Zealand should be a place for robust political debate, without the fear of arrest.

“This idea that the police should be dealing with disturbing activities does sound a little bit like a view that the police are engaged in keeping an eye on people described as dissenters. That is extremely unfortunate, certainly seems to be what’s happened, and this decision by the solicitor general means there can be some more debate about this,” Professor Williams says.

Parliament should take the Solicitor General's advice and refer the Terrorism Act to the Law Commission for review.


Counties Manukau Health is looking at integrating its mental health and alcohol and drug services.

Project manager Tuhakia Keepa, who spoke on Maori mental health to this week's Cutting Edge Addiction Conference, says it could make a difference for clients with multiple disorders.

Up to 80 percent of those seen by mental health services also have substance abuse problems, but under the existing system those must be treated separately.

Integrated assessment and unified case management from one provider is better for clients.

“In terms of working with Maori people, these types of integrated approaches tend to lean towards whanau ora approaches from the perspective that you see a wider range of a person’s issues and you tend to treat a person as a whole rather than separate compartments of disorders,” Mr Keepa says.

When people front up to a service, they expect it should be able to address most of their health needs.


Maori musicians hope exposure at a Spanish music fair will open the door to lucrative international sales.

Neil Cruikshank from Maorimusic.com took samples from musicians like Ruia Aperahama and Adam Whauwhau to Womex, the annual world music trade fair in Seville last month.

Womex attracts about 4000 delegates pitching their music to record labels, media and booking agents.

He says it's the best trade fair for kaupapa Maori musicians.

“There are other industry trade fairs, but a lot of them are more focused on mainstream pop, rock or hip hop, predominantly in English,” Mr Cruikshank says.

He got good feedback, and negotiations on licensing deals are continuing.


A leading Maori health strategist says changes outside the health sector will improve Maori health outcomes.

Mason Durie, the professor of Maori research at Massey University, was a keynote speaker at this week's Australasian addiction conference in Auckland.

He says problems like addiction and diabetes emerge because of things happening in society, and the health sector gets left to clean up.

The aim must be to prevent problems emerging.

“The prevention will come about when we have much better achievement at schools, when we have employment that offers young Maori and also older Maori opportunities to get into worthwhile careers that are interesting and are going somewhere and when we have whanau that are able to transmit values,” Professor Durie says.

He says the Maori health sector is now large enough to start tackling some problems at source.


His party may be trying to block treaty references in legislation, but Winston Peters has no problem with schools teaching children both the English and Maori version of the national anthem.

The New Zealand First leader wants all schools to begin the day with singing of God Defend New Zealand.

He says while some adults struggle with the tune and lyrics, children can easily learn both sets of lyrics.

“The fact is they’ll learn it with the greatest of ease. I can recall in my early days at school we were learning foreign language songs and children have no difficulty learning that, they have difficultly when they get older because they don’t have the mental flexibility,” Mr Peters says.

New Zealand First's Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi deletion bill was thrown out of Parliament during its second reading debate last night.


From Muriwhenua to Murihiku, it's a big day spiritually for the Ratana Church.

Nga Morehu, the church followers, remember November the eighth as the day in 1918 when founder Tahupotiki Ratana saw a vision of the Holy Spirit.

Church spokesperson Ruia Apirahama says that revelation marked the start of Ratana's mission to give hope to Maori at a time of despair because of the loss of land, traditions and mana.

“This was the turning point for Ratana in his life and his calling and his mission and at that time in 1918 the total population of our people had been reduced to less than 45,000 so Ratana’s rise came at a particularly challenging time for our people,” Mr Apirahama says.

Perth slaying ups tension

It could be up to elders to calm tensions between Maori and Aboriginal groups in Western Australia's capital city.

An 18-year-old Maori man from Turangi was killed yesterday in a street brawl involving up to 20 Maori and Aboriginal youths in eastern Perth.

Arawa Metekingi, a leader of the city's Maori community, says there could be further battles unless action is taken soon to defuse the situation.

He says Maori elders are reaching out to their counterparts.

“There's a group here of elders that are on good speaking terms and see the elders from the Aboriginal society quite often, and they just talk and chat among themselves. There is a group here that does mediate, if they need to come in and do that. They’ve been called upon a couple of times,” Mr Metekingi says.

There has been friction between the two groups in the past.


Maori Anglicans are demanding the government and the police apologise to Ngai Tuhoe for the anti-terror raid on Ruatoki.

A meeting of the Maori Synod in Christchurch on the weekend condemned the raid and the trauma, fear, terror and humiliation experienced by the Tuhoe people.

Te Kitohi Pikaahu, the Bishop of Te Tai Tokerau, says the church can't stand by when human rights are being ignored.

“The church in the past has always stood for justice, and if it’s the church or if it’s Maoridom generally who are going to raise the issues about social justice for Maori and for all of us, well the church will stand up for that,” he says.

Bishop Pikaahu says the motion was seconded by a Ruatoki Anglican minister, Awanui Timutimu, who was caught up in last month's raid.


Two Northland coastal hapu are banking on the frigate Canterbury to revive its home kainga.

Ngati Kuta and Patukeha are represented on the Canterbury Trust, which co-ordinated the scuttling of the ship at Deepwater Cove off Cape Brett over the weekend.

They're training their people to set up small businesses catering to the divers who are expected on the country's newest artificial reef.

Helen Harte from Ngati Kuta says the hapu want to declare mataitai marine reserve around the sunken vessel.

“The frigate coming here fitted into our fishery plan very well. It’s also a dive attraction of course, so the tourism opportunities will grow as Te Rawhiti becomes a part of a destination for the dive trail. Eco-cultural tourism is what we’re looking at,” Mrs Harte says.


A leading Maori lawyer says the police anti terror raid on Ruatoki will set back relations between police and Maori for years.

Moana Jackson this week quit as a patron of this year’s Police College intake because of what he calls flagrant abuses of police power during the arrests of activists in the eastern Bay of Plenty and other parts of the country.

He took on the role to support Maori officers who were trying to change police culture, but says it's clear from the way the anti-terror arrests were carried out that the police don't value or trust Maori staff.

“Maori officers with considerable experience were not even consulted. The senior Maori advisory group to the commissioner was not consulted and so a lot of the artifice which had been established to try and shift the culture to work on relationships was simply sidelined and ignored,” Mr Jackson says.

He says the Suppression of Terrorism Act has eerie similarities with the 1863 Suppression of Rebellion Act, which was used to justify attacks on Tuhoe during the land wars.


The Department of Conservation wants to hear Maori views on a simplified process for managing whale strandings.

It's proposing to assign a unique identification number to any dead whale, so any bone harvested from it can be permanently tracked.

Tui Shortland, the resource management co-ordinator for the Ngati Wai Trust Board, says it sounds similar to a system the Northland iwi already uses in its whale resource recovery.

“We name the resources as they’re divided up and as they’re distributed to different people for different purposes, and that’s the way we do it and it’s been designed by Ngati Wai,” Ms Shortland says.

Ngati Wai offered to help the Conservation Department with the consultation because of its expertise in the field, but had no response.


A Christchurch Maori tourism venture is having to train its staff to answer questions on contemporary Maori issues.

Dave Brennan from Katoro Tours says when the firm developed waka tours on the Purukaunui or Styx river, it expected the focus would be on the area's rich Maori and colonial history.

But he says visitors are also keen to know what's happening to Maori now.

“They actually ask a lot of questions about what Maori are all about today. They’re asking about the treaty. The see things on the news and want to get a Maori perspective and we’re finding that to be a new experience for us to incorporate with the whole product,” Mr Brennan says.

The waka Te Kowhai can take up to 14 tourists - who have to paddle their own way up the river.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Two decades of health advance

A leading Maori psychiatrist says Maori have made huge progress in dealing with mental health and addiction.

Mason Durie, the professor of Maori research and development at Massey University, told this week's trans-Tasman addictions conference in Auckland that health service delivery has been transformed over the past two decades.

Maori perspectives and practices are part of mainstream health services, and there are almost 300 independent Maori providers, compared with just three 20 years ago.

He says Maori have a better foundation to work from.

“What we've laid in the last 20 years is I think a good cultural base for understanding health problems. At last we’ve got a good sized health workforce that we didn’t have 20 years ago. And my guess is that over the next decade we will be able to tackle health problems in a much more deliberate way than has been possible to date,” Professor Durie says.

He says the health sector only picks up problems created elsewhere in society, so societal change is the key to reducing addiction levels.


The creator of a fast food hangi says Maori need to be more innovative.

Ron Smith from Matamata-based Puff'n Billy Foods says the frozen Hangi To Go will be sold through supermarkets in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Auckland.

The company also makes Hangi in a Pie.

Mr Smith says the chicken and pork meals are low in fat and salt, and put a contemporary spin on a traditional Maori food concept.

“No good tagging along with things that Pakeha already do, because they do them hell of a sight better than we do. This is one region I know we set the measure. The building of our oven, they left it completely to me to determine, because there was not a Pakeha out there that understood how the hell to cook a hangi properly,” he says.

Mr Smith says it cost the company more than $80,000 to comply with the standards needed to get Hangi To Go into supermarkets.


Visitors to Christchurch can not only punt on the Avon, they can paddle on the Purukaunui.

Katoro Maori Tours lets novice paddlers have a go on its 14-seater waka Te Kowhai.

Spokesperson Dave Brennan says it's for tourists who want something adventurous than kai and kapa haka.
While they're seeing the sights along the river, which is also known as the Styx, they're getting the history of the area... including tales of co-operation when Pakeha settlers first arrived in the area.

“The ship could only come halfway up the Avon River, and they had to rely on Maori waka to get their stock further up the river bank so they could start building the city. And on the return journeys Maori would load up the waka, put all their harvest crops on there, their harakeke, put them on the ships and send them over to Sydney, so there was a commercial trade here in the city that went way back before the city was ever founded,” Mr Brennan says.


A Maori community leader in Perth fears there could be retaliation over the death of a Maori man in a street brawl.

The 18 year old died after a fight in the eastern suburb of Lockridge between up to 20 maori and aboriginal youths.

Arawa Metekingi says there have been attempts to build bridges between Maori and Aboriginal communities since a similar brawl about 15 years ago ... but there is always tension under the surface.

He expects escalation.

“Our people are proud people, especially when somebody hurts them. Very hard to get some mediation done until something happens. I think it could escalate and there will be a battle that’s going to go down,” Mr Metekingi says.

Maori elders are seeking talks with their Aboriginal counterparts, but it may be too late.


An outspoken lawyer has quit as a patron of this year’s Police College intak because of the anti-terror raids on Ruatoki.

Moana Jackson says he accepted the position out of respect for the many good police officers who were trying to shift police culture.

He helped with courses for iwi liaison officers, and has been working closely on programmes for the latest class of recruits.

But the October 15 raid on Ruatoki and the arrests of Maori activists around the country made it untenable for him to continue.

“They damaged a lot of the trust they may have established, by their blatant disregard of human rights, by their abuse of women and children. We have uncovered evidence from people who have no reason to lie of absolutely appalling things that were done by the police that day,” Mr Jackson says.

He says the police deliberately excluded its senior Maori and iwi liaison officers from the anti-terror operation.


Concerns about Maori drinking need to be matched by action.

Hector Matthews, the Maori and Pacific manger for the Canterbury District Health Board, says Otago University research showing Maori are more likely to engage in hazardous drinking confirms what workers in the field are facing.

He says the liquor laws have become too liberal, particularly the ability to buy alcohol 24 hours a day.

“Our economic policy is out of step with our health policy, and I think our country needs to discuss quite openly whether or not we want 24 hour access to alcohol and whether or not the benefits outweigh the costs, and from a health perspective, I don't think they do,” Mr Matthews says,

If New Zealand wants to improve health outcomes for Maori, it also needs to address underlying issues of poverty and unemployment.

Surprise at double drug level

Maori of all ages are more likely to use drugs or drink in a hazardous way.

That's the surprising finding of a survey of 13 thousand New Zealanders, which was presented to the Cutting Edge Addiction Conference in Auckland.

Project leader Elisabeth Wells, from Otago University says the New Zealand Mental Health Survey was the first to match use patterns with diagnoses of drug and alcohol disorders.

While the same proportion of Maori drink as non-Maori, they are more than 50 percent more likely to indulge in hazardous or binge drinking.

Dr Well says the most surprising finding was that 20 percent of Maoru use drugs, compared with 13 per cent of Pakeha and other groups and 9 per cent of Pacific people - and it wasn't just because of the relatively young age of the Maori population.

“We ended up with differences that remained, even when we took account of age and sex and when we took account of education and household income so it wasn’t just we were looking at a younger population for Maori,” Dr Wells says.

Groups who use drugs and drink heavily can become self-perpetuating, as younger people adopt similar behaviours.


The Bioethics Council is seeking Maori views on how far doctors and parents should go in testing babies before they're born.

It's holding a series a hui as part of its planned national consultation on the issue.

Council member Tahu Potiki says Toi Te Taiao wants to hear from ordinary whanau... not just the experts on tikanga and health.

“The Council wants to make sure the Maori opinion is heard as loudly as everybody else’s, that it’s given as much value in this debate,” Mr Potiki says.

There will also be online forums on Toi Te Taiao's website - www.bioethics.org.nz


A Ngati Raukawa woman is sharing the waiata of Ngati Poneke with aspiring Wellington singers.

Gaynor Rikihana hosts sessions every Monday at the Thistle Hall where Maori and non-Maori come for a sing-along, as well as pronunciation lessons and karakia.

She has chosen the songs common in the region.

“I decided to try and pull waiata from the famous Ngati Poneke kapa haka group so I just teach the old school waiata and the waiata from the area I’m from in Otaki, Ngati Raukawa, Kingi Tahiwi, using some of his waiata as well but using Apirana Ngata and whose folk who were originators of Ngati Poneke,” she says.

Gaynor Rikihana is also a member of the band WAI.


A sacked probation officer's battle for compensation is being called an insult not only to Maori but to those who fought for civil rights in the United States.

Josie Bullock lost her job in 2005 after going to the media about a verbal warning she was given for sitting on the paepae during Maori ceremony.

She told the Human Rights Review Tribunal her action was like that of civil rights campaigner Rosa Parks, who refused to move to the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955.

Naida Glavish, tikanga Maori advisor for Auckland District Health Board, says Ms Bullock is way off beam.

“Rosa Parks stood for the rights of Black women. She herself was a black woman. And she stood for her rights against the culture of Josie Bullock. She thinks she has a right to stand and speak for Maori women. How dumb does she think we are and who lied to her that where our men sit is the front row,” Ms Glavish says.

She says if government agencies want to adopt tikanga Maori into their protocols, they need to do it properly.


A south Auckland emergency phone service is urging whanau to call in early to prevent family violence.

Te Kainga was set up last year ago by the South Auckland Family Violence Prevention Network after the death of the Kahui twins.

Co-manager Suzanne Pene says violence often follows a pattern, and people are being urged to use the 0800 Te Kainga toll free number to break the pattern.

“If they know on Tuesday that Thursday night is usually the night they get the bash because it’s drinking night, then we encourage whanau to ring on the Tuesday so we can implement a safety plan or looking at alternatives or if we need to get them out of there,” Ms Pene says.

Te Kainga works with other agencies so callers can access advice on budgeting, housing relationships and other problems which may be behind the violence.


Kiwi opera singers are being encouraged to learn some of the classic Maori repertoire.

Last weekend's New Zealand Aria competition in Rotorua featured a Maori section, which all competitors were required to participate in.

The section was won by Rotorua kapa haka performer Huia Clayton, with overall winner Wade Kernot (PRON: Kur NO) coming second.

Event organiser Ian Edwards says it's a way for New Zealand singers to differentiate themselves when competing internationally for roles.

“So what we say to these classical singers particularly, if you’re learning in Russian or Italian or French or German or whatever, for goodness sake have a Maori song as part of your repertoire,” Mr Edwards says.

The third place getter in the Maori section, Piripi Christie, performed a piece he'd written himself.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Lawbreakers in deep blue

A leading Auckland lawyer says he has found clear evidence the police broke the law during last month's anti-terror raid on Ruatoki.

Peter Williams QC spent the weekend in the Tuhoe stronghold collecting statements from 35 people caught up in the Black Monday police action.

He says police treated Tuhoe people as if there were second class citizens who would never retaliate.

“There's been no apologies, there’s been no offers to fix up all the things the police have smashed in the houses, smashed ceilings and turning over the furniture and all the rest of it. There’s been transgressions of the law in relation to search. They took people into custody, that is, they guarded them when they had no right to,” Mr Williams says.

A letter of complaint is being prepared for the commissioner of police, and further action will be taken if there is no suitable response.


A Maori public health specialist says a cervical cancer vaccine could save the lives of many Maori women.

Family First is opposing giving Gardasil to teenage girls, because it says it says the vaccine will promote promiscuity.

But Paparangi Reed says it's vital women build up immunity to sexually transmitted infections which can lead to the cancer, before they are sexually active.

She says the lobby group is substituting morality for medical science.

“Like most vaccines you have to give the vaccine before you’re exposed to the contagious agent, whether it be a bacteria or a virus, so it’s important that girls get it before they’re sexually active, and as we know, some men take advantage of quite young girls, so we need to make sure young girls are protected,” Dr Reed says.

The Government is seeking advice from British health officials about that country's decision to give the vaccine to all 12-year-old girls.


Kapa haka skills helped a Rotorua man take a classical music title at last weekend's New Zealand Aria song competition.

Huia Clayton, from Te Arawa and Whakatohea, won the Maori section with his rendition of Io Matua.

He says knowing te reo, being able to pronounce the words and knowing what he was singing about, helped him sell the song on stage at the Rotorua Convention Centre.

His preparation was on the job, singing for tourists in one of the Sulphur City's kapa haka groups.

“I didn't prepare too much. I just said here’s a song, send it in, then I’ll go in and sing it. At concerts, after our performances, we sing songs while people are taking photographs, and that’s one of the songs that I sing normally,” Mr Clayton says.

The overall prize was won by Perth-based professional singer Wade Kernot.


Alcohol and drug researchers say the lingering effects of colonisation may be responsible for disproportionately high levels of Maori addiction.

Addiction is under the microscope this week at the Cutting Edge conference in Auckland.

Doug Sellman from the National Addiction Centre in Christchurch says there is debate about whether it is cause by genes or the environment, or a mix of the two.

He says in the case of Maori, socio-economic and developmental disadvantage seem more important.

“We don't think Maori have difficulty because of their genetics. It’s because of the social disadvantage that Maori have in a colonized society such as we have in New Zealand,” Professor Sellman says.

Over the past decade researchers have started to pay much more attention to the special nature of Maori difficulties with addiction.


Totara trees which were cleared to make way for the new Kerikeri heritage bypass are being turned into imposing pou whenua for the Northland town.

The posts will stand at either end of the bypass to mark the Kerikeri Inlet as the place where Maori and Pakeha first met.

Waitai Tua from Te Runanga O Ngati Rehia says it's one of six pou whenua planned for sites throughout the tribe's rohe.

Although the focus is on tangata whenua and Pakeha, other migrant groups won't be ignored by carvers Heemi Rihari and Rameka Rewiti .

“Heemi has made one poupou with no carving on it due to the fact that Kerikeri is a multicultural society and that will symbolize those type of people that is living within the rohe of Ngati Rehia,” Mr Tua says.

The team also plans to carve pou for Kororipa Pa opposite the Stone Store, where chiefs of the North used to gather before major events.


A leading figure in the revival of te reo Maori has been recognised for services to New Zealand childrens literature.

Katerina Mataira from Ngati Porou won the Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award for her decades producing books in te reo.

As well as writing her own stories, Ms Mataira translated other books or prepared new versions on the same theme.

“And that is because te reo Maori is really so different from English. The way that the language is structured. The way every language has its own very very unique idioms do not translate easily,” Ms Mataira says.

When she started teaching in the 1950s, the challenge was to provide enough literature for those learning the language.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Terror threat to refuge

Women's Refuge is concerned the Terrorism Supression Act could affect its operations.

The act and last month's anti-terror arrests will be up for discussion at the annual hui of the National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges, which started in Wellington today.

A Taupo safehouse for Maori women was raided on a drugs warrant a day after Taupo refuge workers attended a march in Rotorua in support of Tuhoe activist Tame Iti.

Police say there was no connection between the two events.

But Heather Henare, the national collective's chief executive, says the incident made many in refuge feel vulnerable.

“There is a degree of fear out there around the terrorism bill and what that actually means to the likes of refuge workers or any worker that is actively involved in activism on behalf of the oppressed,” she says.

The hui will also consider a new Maori co-strategy developed by the collective's Maori development unit.


An Otago scientist wants to know how much use today's Maori make of traditional food gathering sites.

Gail Tipa has been awarded a $10,000 Te Tipu Putaiao Fellowship to investigate mahinga kai.

She will be working closely with Ngai Tahu, which has made the identification and use of traditional resources an important part of its tribal identity.

By identifying contemporary practices, her research could help regional and district authorities plan better for mahinga kai.

“A lot of the information we give in resource consent hearings or in environmental forums, we base it on historical information that we know. But if someone challenged us, said how many people are you talking about, is it 50 or 5000, we just don't know,” Dr Tipa says.

She will also look at barriers Maori face when they try to clean up or restock mahinga kai.


Maori musicians need to work together to build an industry.

Ngahiwi Apanui says the success of Friday’s Pao Pao Pao concert in Wellington shows the depth of talent in the contemporary Maori music.

He says while headliners Whirimako Black and Moana have shown it is possible to make commercially successful Maori music in New Zealand, they have also found the international market can be more receptive to their sounds.

That makes it hard to build up momentum locally.

“Part of the blame really rests with the musicians, because we haven’t organized ourselves very well. People talk about the Maori music industry. Well, to have an industry, you’ve got to have more than three products a year. And really that’s down to us getting together and pooling our resources and using them for the betterment of everybody,” Mr Apanui says.


A Tuhoe spokesperson has lashed out at the silence of politicians over attacks on the civil rights of iwi members.

Tamati Kruger, an historian and Ruatoki community leader, says the quasi-military police lockdown of the eastern Bay of Plenty community three weeks was blatantly illegal.

He says while the police have had three weeks to fish for evidence to back their alarmist allegations of terrorism, Labour's Maori MPs have abandoned their Tuhoe constituents.

“It is really an inadequate response from Maori politicians to say let’s wait. Because while we’re waiting, there continues to be injustice, there continues to be breaches of civil rights. It’s not a good Maori response for one Maori to say to another, ‘we something extraordinary happening here, an event, let's wait,’” Mr Kruger says.

What Tuhoe is calling Black Monday injured relations between the iwi and the government, and injured race relations.


Meanwhile, a veteran protestor says the crack-down on activists is a massive misuse of state power.

John Minto says three weeks after the arrests of people alleged to have taken part in terrorism training camps in the Urewera, police continue to visit people active in Maori rights, environment, peace and union issues.

He says it shows a disdain for privacy and civil rights and is a waste of police resources.

“For the last few weeks we’ve had young activists, particularly Maori activists, who’ve been visited by the police. These are aside from the ones who’ve been arrested. Police turn up with a telephone book size file of every phone call they’ve made in the past year, every text message they’ve sent, every email they’ve sent, all transcribed, and then they’re asked questions about these various people they’re communicating with,” Mr Minto says.

He says the police activities seem designed to justify the big budget increases the Security Intelligence Service and the police anti-terrorism section have received since 2001.


A new report has found Maori teenage mothers are most at risk of their babies dying.

The Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee looked at factors involved in the deaths of babies up to four weeks old and foetuses after 20 weeks.

The review head, Cynthia Farquhar says each year about 600 babies die before or during or soon after birth.

She says Maori teenagers need greater supervision during pregnancy because of their high risk.

“They're more at risk because they tend to be smokers, they may not have as much midwifery care as they need, they tend to go into pre-term labour more frequently, Tehre are some other explanations about access to services and how comfortable they are with services that are provided,” Professor Farquhar says.

There is a clear need for more Maori midwives, especially in rural and provincial areas.

Labour still cares says Jones

The lack of Maori specific rhetoric in the Prime Minister’s speech at the annual Labour Party conference held in Auckland over the weekend, doesn't mean Labour is neglecting Maori needs.

That's the view of rising MP Shane Jones, who was last week elevated to cabinet.

The former head of Te Ohu Kaimoana says Helen Clark spoke of a push to improve housing affordability, which would impact many Maori families currently living in rental accommodation, and tax cuts that would benefit all workers including Maori.

“And let’s be fair here. She listed in chronicle fashion 8 to 9 years of policy changes, new programmes and massive transfers, billions and billions of dollars, through into the community and Maori have been handsome beneficiaries there so I don’t think it’s fair to say that just because there wasn’t a string of specific iwi references, that our people haven’t benefited. Our people are in the target group that Labour is always chasing,” Mr Jones says.


The new associate Minister of Tourism says the Maori tourism sector needs to grow.

Nanaia Mahuta says research indicates Maori culture is an integral part of the visitor experience for many tourists.

She intends to continue the work done by former associate Dover Samuels in creating opportunities for Maori operators

“A lot of the face of New Zealand is presented by Maori participation in tourism. We’ve got to grow that. Everything that people recognize about what makes New Zealand unique has a lot to do with our clean green image and a lot to do with Maori, so we are key players in that industry,” Ms Mahuta says.


Rangi Kipa’s latest work is in good company.

The Whakatane-based artist created a work based on a traditional carved meeting house for the inaugural show of the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art’s new building.

The show, called Star Power – Museum as Body Electric, celebrates the global reach of art.

Stephen Wainwright, the chief executive of Creative New Zealand, says Mr Kipa’s inclusion is an acknowledgement of the impact Maori art is having on the North American art community.

“He's gone there with a number of internationally renowned artists from Mexico, Canada, South Africa and so on, so it‘s a terrific opportunity for him to have his work placed in the context of these well known international artists in a brand new exhibition space in Denver,” Mr Wainwright says.

And Rangi Kipa has another show opening this month closer to home - Auckland’s Artspace gallery.


The Southern regional manager for the alcohol liquor advisory council says there will be a lot of interest from Maori working in the health sector, to a conference discussing culturally-based strategies to combat addictions.

Tuari Potiki is at the Cutting Edge Addiction Conference being held at Auckland’s Aotea Centre.

700 delegates including over 300 from across the Tasman will hear from international experts in the field, with keynote speakers focusing on addictions and their impact on indigenous communities.

Mr Potiki says studies both here and overseas confirm the success of culturally focused programmes.

“How you get to know someone is hugely important. Gender, by women for women. There are issues only women can understand, that need to be addressed by other wahine. Similarly, there are things that only we Maori can do. Other people haven’t got our answers for us,” Mr Potiki says.


The man in charge of returning koiwi to New Zealand’s national museum says his upbringing prepared him for his new role.

Te Herekiekie Herewini says as the new manager of repatriation at Te
Papa, he’ll be picking up on the work of others over the past two decades who have established the principle of bring back Maori remains from museums around the world.

He says it’s fulfilling a responsibility to the tupuna involved.

“One of my aunties always said to me when I was very young, she said ‘Boy, when you pass away, no matter where you are in the country, the whanau’s going to come and get you and bring you home. That philosophy sot of stayed in my head. For me, our tupuna are overseas so it’s up to us to bring them home and take them back where they belong so they can have a peaceful rest,” Mr Herewini says.

The next group of 48 koiwi and toi moko is due to come back from British institutions on November 21.


The South Auckland Family Violence Prevention Network wants whanau to find alternatives to lashing out.

It’s holding an awareness programme this week, with buses traveling round the city offering anti-violence information and presentations by community agencies

There’s also a family fun day in Mangere Town centre tomorrow with food and information stalls.

Spokesperson Ngaire Harris says one of the messages is that involvement with sport can change behaviour, and so the campaign has enlisted the support of the Manukau Rovers and Mangere youth rugby league.

“Living out here, you just kind of get bombarded with all these negative messages so this is just a good chance for them to say well these are our alternatives to having fun with whanau, and there’s quite a high level of Maori rugby league in Waikato and South Auckland and you don’t see them but there’s a lot of happiness and fun going on with them,” Ms Harris says.