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Friday, November 23, 2007

Maori Party picked to become permanent

National's number two is picking the Maori Party to become a permanent part of the political landscape.

And Bill English says he expects the party to become more centrist as it matures.

The two parties have disagreed on some issues but shared common ground on others.

Mr English says that's a good sign, as the Maori Party has more of a future than other minority parties in the House.

“Seem to me for a long time that if the Maori collective interest was well enough organised they could become a genuine centre party because they have a reason to exist that New Zealand First and United Future won’t exist past their current leadership,” Mr English says.


Archaeologists working on a bypass near New Plymouth are uncovering layers of Taranaki history.

Michael Taylor, the project manager, says the current dig is on the site of a European homestead built during the 1870s.

Beneath the old pennies, dog burials, fireplaces and china and ditches is evidence of earlier Maori occupation, with shellfish middens and adzes.

The team also found bullets fired from the neighbouring Bell Block Stockade before the house was built.

The bypass has taken several years and uncovered two Maori villages - Oropuriri and Hoewaka.

Mr Taylor says artifacts found in the area reveal a rich history.

“They have a particular interest for archaeologists because they traverse a time when Maori people are adapting and integrating European goods in their lifestyles so there’s lots of metal adzes. They’re using metal tools. They’re using plates. They’re using guns. You find musket balls and percussion caps form the percussion weapons. We found a rifle barrel,” Mr Taylor says.

The road is expected to be finished in two years.


One of New Zealand's top contemporary Maori artists hopes a push into the United States will change the way people see his work.

Rangi Kipa has just got back from Denver, where he built an installation based on a whare whakairo for the city's new Museum of Contemporary Art.

He's trying to break away from the more traditionally oriented work which arts marketing organisation Toi Maori is promoting on the Pacific Northwest.

“ The market that I'm aiming at isn’t particularly interested from an ethnographic customary perspective. They‘re more fine art buyers, and it just happens that I come from a customary background.” Mr Kipa says.

His priority now is completing work for a show in New York's fashionable Chelsea art district next year.

He currently has a small show at Objectspace on Auckland's Ponsonby Rd.


Families are the big losers of extended lockdowns at Wellington prisons.

Kim Workman from Prison Fellowship says inmates at Rimutaka and other prisons near the capital are locked into their cells from 5 in the evening until 8 in the morning, because of a shortage of prison staff.

That means prisoners can't ring their children before school, and families can't visit after work visits.

He says prisoners need social interaction for their rehabilitation.

“Maori prisoners probably more in a way because we know the best approach in dealing with Maori is to deal with Maori as a group, not as individuals, and peer support, peer interaction, discussion groups, there’s no opportunity to interact in quite the same way,” Mr Workman says.

He says there are not enough staff because successive governments have responded to public pressure for tougher penalties, without putting in the infrastructure to cope with bigger prison musters.


The associate minister of heath is calling for more tolerance among Maori of people with disabilities.

Mita Ririnu spoke to the National Maori Disability Provider Hui in Tauranga yesterday on challenges for the sector.

He says there are now more than 50 Maori providers offering culturally appropriate support.

He says people with disabilities want to live within their own communities, including being able to get jobs.

“The issues certainly while they are many, they are not insurmountable, because we are dealing in most cases with attitudes and a lack of support for them so the focus is on allowing people with disabilities to lead normal lives within the community,” Mr Ririnui says.

He assured the hui that while the Ministry was restructuring some of its disability services, the focus on Maori health and disabilities would remain strong.


A festival in Waitakere City this weekend will try to improve relations between tangata whenua and other ethnic groups in west Auckland.

Organiser Stephanie Harawira says a wide range of performers will be on show at Parr's Park over the weekend, including kapa haka, Cook Island, Tongan, and Samoan groups, African and Japanese drumming, Indian music and funk, pop and hip hop groups.

“It was born out of our desire the unite the Pacifica and Maori because we found here in west Auckland there was a real wall of division, Maori over one side, PI over the other, so we decided to put Oceania together,” Ms Harawira says.

Up to 10,000 people are expected.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Negotiation bias raised lawyer's hackles

Lawyers representing Waitangi Tribunal claimants are asking whether their work is still relevant.

Ohakune-based Mark McGhie, who is working on both the Whanganui and East Coast inquiries, has drawn attention to a letter from the former treaty negotiations minister, Mark Burton, to the Ngati Porou Runanga.

The runanga was told there was no downside risk in its bid enter direct negotiations because "completing a tribunal process will not increase the amount of redress the Crown offers Ngati Porou".

“That has general application, that the Crown is saying ‘really there’s no need to have Waitangi Tribunal hearings, let’s just go direct to negotiations.’ Our concern is that the Crown are not aware of the treaty breaches or the effect of them, so they’re trying shortcuts which are not appropriate,” Mr McGhie says.

He says the Crown still seems to be working on settlement figures worked out 15 years ago, when the National Government set a $1 billion cap on claims.

The deputy chair of the Waitangi Tribunal, Carrie Wainwright, has asked the Crown to clarify whether tribunal findings affect settlement offers.


New Zealand First's Maori Affairs spokesperson is accusing a Maori Party MP of painting a distorted view of race relations for overseas viewers.

Ron Mark and Hone Harawira are both appearing on a programme on race relations and last month's anti-terror raids, which will be broadcast on global news network Al Jazeera next week.

Mr Mark says when Maori are excelling in business and education, harping on about the raids and subsequent hikoi sends the wrong signals.

“We now have one message going out which says we’re a bunch of people with tattoos screaming and ranting against the oppression that’s been foisted upon us by the Pakeha who seek to abuse us and that we’re all up in arms and worse we’re justifying the use of arms to achieve a separatist nation within the nation,” Mr Mark says.

He says Al Jazeera viewers will get the impression Hone Harawira speaks for all Maori - which clearly he doesn't.


She took time out last night to be pick up an arts laureate, but Moana Maniapoto is back at work today on her fourth studio album.

After pioneering the use of traditional Maori instruments and musical forms on her earlier albums, Ms Maniapoto is still looking for ways to make haka and poi a natural part of her brand of pop.

She says her success is due to the team of musicians and performers around her, including her new producer.

“Working with Simon Holloway who did the arrangements for Moko, he’s very clever. He never roll his eyes when I come in with a song and never goes ‘gee, really,’ so that's good,” Ms Maniapoto says.

Wha will be released early next year.


Protester turned politician Hone Harwira fears Maori will be silenced because of anti-terror laws.

The Maori Party MP says proposed changes to the legislation will scare many Maori off from protest, even if they have legitimate cause for complaint.

He says Maori have a right to protest injustice.

“If anything is making me angry, it’s the sense that Maori people are going to start getting scared to speak up and I say to people rage against that, don’t stand for that, speak out and take action when necessary to defend the rights of your people from the ongoing theft of Maori land and the ongoing oppression of Maori rights,” Mr Harawira says.

He has spoken out against the anti terror laws in an interview on global news channel Al Jazeera, which will be broadcast next week.


The Young Engineer of the Year always had a passion for the job.

Tyrone Newson, who is of Te Rarawa and Tongan whakapapa, picked up his title at the Engineering Excellence Awards at Te Papa in Wellington last night.

He is currently managing major terminal extension projects at Auckland Airport for engineering consultancy Beca.

The award also acknowledges his contributions to the profession and the community, which includes founding the South Pacific Indigenous Engineering Students group while at Auckland University and a Maori staff group at Auckland City Council.

His father, Bobby Newson, says his son always knew what he wanted to do with his life.

“Ever since he left college it’s the only thing he wanted to do and even while at college. He’s always been that type of person when he puts his mind to something he stays with it and he achieves it,” Mr Newson says.


Maori families from the top of the South Island have had their stories told.

Te Ara Hou - The New Society, the second volume of the Te Tau Ihi O Te Waka series by historians John and Hilary Mitchell, was launched in Wellington last night.

While the first volume dealt with covered the early myths and legends of the Nelson and Marlborough tribes, Te Ara Hou deals with the colonial period.

John Mitchell says they've tried to flesh out previously incomplete stories.

“Some of the bits and pieces are known. Some of them are in the local versions of history, but again we’ve tried to dig out the detail, get the Maori perspectives on some of those stories and also get the written record absolutely accurate with places, names, dates spelt out very clearly,” Dr Mitchell says.

Te Ara Hou will have separate launches in Blenheim and Nelson next week, so the descendants of the whanau can participate.

No link between evidence, claim quantums

The Waitangi Tribunal has asked the Government if its reports affect the amount tribes are offered in claims settlements.

The issue has flared at a time when tribes are being encouraged into direct negotiations - despite problems identified in the planned Tamaki Makauru and Te Arawa settlements, where the government bypassed the tribunal.

A lawyer for Whanganui claimants raised the alarm about a letter from a former minister of treaty negotiations to Te Runanga o Ngati Porou, which is seeking a mandate to enter direct negotiations.

Mark Burton told the runanga that completing a tribunal process would not increase the amount the Crown would offer the east coast tribe.

That's because it must be consistent in its treatment of various types of claims.

Carrie Wainwright, the tribunal's deputy chair, says the crown must clarify whether it is a general principle that the quantum of redress to be offered is not affected by evidence presented to the tribunal – and whether this applies to a future Whanganui settlement.

The new treaty minister, Michael Cullen will now be put on the spot to show the tribunal is not irrelevant.


Te Papa Tongarewa is trying to identify the origins of the latest group of koiwi to come back from overseas, so the ancestral remains can go back to their whenua.

The remains of 46 tupuna were welcomed to the national museum in Wellington yesterday.

They came from various museums throughout Great Britain.

Herekiekie Herewini, the head of repatriation, says the focus now switches from negotiations with foreign curators to talking to iwi.

“Some of them came from the Chatham Islands. They’re probably Moriori, but they could be Ngati Mutunga as well. There’s one tupuna from the Whanganui region and others from the Auckland region, We’ve got some of the information about some of the tupuna, but that’s some of the work we need to do over the next year, is to find out where exactly these ancestors came from,” Mr Herewini says.

He says British museums are increasingly comfortable with the idea of returning human remains, as long as it doesn't set a precedent for other items they may hold.


Moana Maniapoto has joined an elite group of New Zealand artists.

The singer songwriter from Ngati Tuwharetoa and Te Arawa has been made an Arts Foundation Laureate.

When convener Bob Jahnke told her she'd won the $50,000 award, she was taken aback - because she'd assumed they went to people of more advanced years.

“I was a bit worried that it might be a signal that you’re at the end of your career, but he very tactfully said that is was to recognize an artist in the blossoming of their career and to help them in their new projects so I very graciously accepted that,” Ms Maniapoto says.

She is working on her fourth album.... which after tahi, rua and toru... is called, naturally, wha.


Hone Harawira has told global television viewers of Maori anger over last month's terror raids.

The Maori Party MP has been in Kuala Lumpur filming an interview for Al-Jazeera's 101 East Show, to be screened on the network's worldwide English channel next week.

The show will also feature Ron Mark from New Zealand First - whose interview was done by satellite from a Wellington studio - and footage shot in this country last month by an Al-Jazeera crew.

Mr Harawira says he didn't go out of his way to bag New Zealand.

“In fact it wasn't even about attacking the government per se. It was about using the Terrorism Suppression Act to try to control what has been a 150 years of legitimate Maori land protest,” Mr Harawira says.

He says Al Jazeera offers the Maori Party a way to get its message to other indigenous people around the world, without it going through the narrow filter on New Zealand's mainstream media.


A Green MP is warning Maori tourism operators to be on the lookout for cultural theft.

Metiria Turei says the number of Maori eco-tourism businesses is set to increase, as co-management of parts of the Conservation estate becomes part of treaty settlements.

That puts them in a good position as visitors increasingly look for a combination of green and cultural experiences.

But she says the challenge will be to retain their cultural integrity and protect their unique brand.

“The other big issue around that too is the cultural misappropriation that often happens with tourism ventures in general. There’s a lot of other tourism operators use Maori culture and identity and symbols as a selling point, but it’s a form of misappropriation of our cultural property.” Ms Turei says.

Maori tourism operators may need to do more work on the tikanga of their industry.


Maori cowgirls are kicking up their heels in Katikati - all in the name of fitness.

Te Runanga o Ngai Tamawhariua is running line-dancing classes for wahine, to help them manage their weight and blood pressure.

Coordinator Aroha Koria says they're blending country and western steps with kapa haka moves.

“It's basically line dancing using te reo commands and using Maori music, all stepping in line together at the same time, and next month we’re implementing the poi to go in there with the steps and the moves and the beat and the rhythms,” Ms Koria says.

The group has taken to wearing cowboy hats with a Maori motif.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Whale kill economic folly

The head of a Maori owned whale watch company is accusing Japanese whalers of economic recklessness and hypocrisy.

A six ship Japanese fleet is on its way to Antarctica, where it intends to kill 1000 whales, including 50 humpbacks and 50 fin whales.

Kaikoura Whale Watch is investing more than $5 million into a joint venture on Australia's Gold Coast based around the annual humpback migration.

Chairperson Wally Stone says that's a better use of the world's remaining whale stocks.

“A whale that lives 70 years, where you are able to watch every year versus being able to kill once. Clearly it is far more economic and far more valuable alive than dead,” he says.

Mr Stone says it's the height of hypocrisy to travel halfway round the world to kill whales in a sanctuary under the guise of scientific research.


Waikato University wants its region's name pronounced correctly.

Linda Smith, the university's new pro-vice chancellor Maori, is encouraging university staff and the wider community to say Waikato "Why-Cut- Or" ... and not "Why-Cat-Oh" or "Why- Kado".

Tom Roa, a senior Maori studies lecturer, says rather than being lazy, people have become accustomed to saying the word wrongly.

He says people should respect the heritage of the language.

“For hundreds of years the pronunciation of Waikato has been Waikato. In the last 100 years, it’s clear that it has been changed. Those of us of Waikato invite people to use it well and to pronounce it properly,” Mr Roa says.

More than two thirds of respondents to a Waikato newspaper poll said the language initiative was politically correct claptrap, and they'll stick with "Why Cat Oh"


19th century settler views on Maori have been rescued from dusty bookcases and put online.

Thirty classic novels of Maoriland have been put up by the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre, a free archive of New Zealand and Pacific Island texts and heritage materials.

Jane Stafford, an associate professor of literature at Victoria University, says the books include observations on settler life, bush clearing, goldfields, sea life, and women's sufferage.

She says readers and writers of the time were fascinated by the Maori world, and the books take a fanciful and romantic view of Maori history.

“They're a sort of a view of Maori society and the Maori past that sort of suits the settler purposes, so it often is ‘the past’ where Maori exist, and it’s a way in fact of moving them out of the present I think, so you’re saying these are incredibly admirable and interesting and so on and we’re fascinated with them, but they’re not part of modern New Zealand, they’re part of the past,” Dr Stafford says.


The largest group yet of koiwi came home from overseas today.

The 46 tupuna have spent decades in museums throughout Great Britain.

Herekiekie Herewini, the head of repatriation at Te Papa Tongarewa, says museums in that country are now more willing to return human remains - unlike in France, where authorities fear returning preserved heads and other body parts will lead to requests for other sorts of taonga.

He says today's repatriation took three years of complicated negotiations.

“It's our largest repatriation of tupuna from overseas since the programme was established in 2003, but in future we’re hoping for the return of a number of our ancestors that will be equal to this number or even bigger, Mr Herewini says.

Over the next six months Te Papa will attempt to identify the remains and return them to their tribal whenua.


Expect more flexibility in National's attitude toward the Maori Party.

Rawiri Taonui, head of Maori and indigenous studies at Canterbury University, says its growing strength in all the Maori electorates means the Maori Party could hold the balance of power after the next election.

He says that will mean National might need to swallow some of its reservations about the party's positions.

“We could find them prepared to negotiate and with much greater flexibility than we probably appreciate because if John Key is in a position to be government and he needs the Maori Party, he is going to have to get them on board,” Mr Taonui says.

Relations between the two parties have gone off the boil since National refused to back Tariana Turia's bill to repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act.


The Green's Maori Affairs spokesperson says Kaikoura Whale Watch is providing a powerful role model for indigenous groups in countries throughout the Pacific.

The Ngai Tahu owned company is taking its expertise and technology to Queensland's Gold Coast, where it is setting up a joint venture based around the annual migration of humpback whales.

Meteria Turei says its positive and sustainable use of the resource is in stark contrast to the Japanese whaling fleet, which set off this week for its annual slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean sanctuary.

“I think it's a really good thing that they’re doing, that Ngai Tahu is branching out in this way. It’s spreading this whole idea across the Pacific that whale watching is the way to make money out of whales, as opposed to slaughtering them,” Ms Turei says.

Whale Watch goes for Gold

The head of Whale Watch Kaikoura says a $5 million dollar Australian joint venture shows the Ngai Tahu company is one of the best in the world at what it does.

The venture with Sea World involves building a special 24 metre boat to carry more than 100 passengers at a time to see the humpbacks which migrate past the Gold Coast between June and November.

It will also use interpretation technology developed for Whale Watch by Dunedin's Animation Research.

Wally Stone says Sea World, which is part of Village Roadshow, had done extensive research to identify the leaders in whale watching.

“Clearly we came out on top and a lot of that is the technology, the interpretation and the values that are embedded within the company and those were all attributes that are seen as highly desirable and they want duplicated over there,” Mr Stone says.

He says the venture shows there is far more value in a live humpback than in a dead one - which is why Japan's whaling expedition to the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary should be stopped.


The Wellington Tenths Trust hopes a new lookout will wake people up to the city's Maori history.

The lookout on Mt Victoria opens in about an hour.

It features panels telling the story of Ngake and Whataitai - two taniwha who turned a lake into the harbour we know today - and a carved pou.

Liz Mellish, the Tenths executive officer of the Wellington Tenths Trust, says the lookout is testament to the positive relationship which has developed between tangata whenua and the Wellington City Council in recent years.

“We work very hard to ensure that things Maori are highlighted, We want to bring the history that disappeared with the built environment back up so that it’s actually exposed for the world to see that Wellington was a complex and very busy place for Maori,” Ms Mellish says.

The lookout is part of Te Ara o Nga Tupuna... the city's Maori Heritage trail.


New Zealand softball will be represented at the Beijing Olympics - even if the team won't make it.

Wiremu Tamaki from Wellington has been picked to umpire at the games, only the second New Zealander to officiate in the sport at that level.

The White Sox failed to qualify, and the men's code isn't on the Olympic programme.

He says the role will put pressure on him at home games.

“You know if you don’t do a good job in your own backyard, people will start questioning and say gee, this fellow’s going to the Olympics,” Mr Tamaki says.


The Deputy Prime Minister believes that Tuhoe lost public support with last week's hikoi.

Michael Cullen says the government is aware of Tuhoe's concerns about the police action in Ruatoki... and it accepts the right of all New Zealanders to protest.

But he says the way the 300-strong hikoi hit Wellington may have backfired on them.

“From the general Pakeha population I suspect the hikoi did more harm than good it was seen probably as overly aggressive, threatening, in fact generally undermined the position that some have taken in regard to the validity of the police raids,” Dr Cullen says.

As Minister for Treaty Negotiations he hopes the Government can soon be talking with Tuhoe about settling its historic claims, and putting the raruraru behind it.


A new long-term study will trackng New Zealand life from cradle to grave could give new insights into Maori identity.

Richard Poulton, the co-director of Otago University's National Centre for Lifecourse Research, says one of the centre's first projects will look at how identity affects where people end up in life.

He says the numbers involved are larger than previous longitudinal surveys because of the need to have a statistically credible sample of Maori.

“We'd have at least 1000 sole Maori identification and 1000 mixed Maori identification and with that number of 1000 people we can really begin to tease out how things like identity moderate or impact on people’s life course or how they negotiate the challenges life throws at them,” Professor Poulton says.

As well as producing new research, the National Centre for Lifecourse Research will try to put academic research into accessible forms.


A leading greenstone carver found sharing stories about ancestors helped him make a bridge with a native American glass artist.

Lewis Gardiner's collaboratative works with Preston Singletary, a Tlingit, are currently on show at the Spirit Wrestler Gallery in Vancouver, where they've been selling strongly for between C$8000 and C$30,000.

The Te Arawa, Ngai Awa, Whanau Apanui and Ngai Tahu artist says all the works are based on ancestral stories and legends.
He says his Vancouver journey has been a great experience.

"It's not only a great process to exhibit works but it's a great process to learn about other mediums as well. I had the opportunity to work with a renowned United States artist in Preston Singletary. who works in a new material of glass blowing, so for me it's an educational journey," Mr Gardiner says.

He's planning another trip to British Columbia next year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Govt should butt out of Maori development

The Federation of Maori Authorities says the government should stop interfering in Maori development.

Spokesperson Paul Morgan says the Government's plans to separate the Maori Trust Office from Te Puni Kokiri could be a positive move - but only if the Maori Trustee is made truly independent from Government and accountable to Maori.

The Maori Trustee manages 100,000 hectares of Maori land and is holding almost $40 million on behalf of owners, as well as $60 million in accumulated profits.

Mr Morgan says Maori asset managers need to work together so they can benefit from greater scale and access to markets.

“The Maori Trustee can play a part in that role, but it won’t do it as an individual. It will need to have access and direction form a really experienced commercial board. The government and the officials won’t want that because they like tinkering and interfering, but it’s time we told them straight, butt out of our economic development future, leave that in competent Maori hands,” Mr Morgan says.

He says the Maori Trustee has some valuable statutory powers which could benefit Maori, but he has refused to use them.


A Northland teacher has found positive peer pressure can boost Maori achievement at school.

Rawiri McKinney, the deputy principal at Opononi Area School, was awarded a Masters of Education with first class honours from Auckland University for his thesis on academic success.

Rather than look at why students fail, he looked at why a group of Maori seventh formers was succeeding.

He says they all had strong taha Maori, links with their marae, and good mentors.

“Bar one they had good links with grandparents, really good relationships. They had a good camaraderie between them and I think that was probably a positive drive was that together the peer pressure was positive. When we hear of peer pressure, we think of drugs and alcohol and hanging out at night, but this peer pressure was actually really really positive and they drove each other,” Mr McKinney says.

Hehopes his work will inspire other researchers to look at the positives rather than the negatives of Maori schooling.


Sales of Maori art in the lucrative North American market are picking up.

Nigel Reading, the curator of Maori work at Vancouver's Spirit Wrestler Gallery, has been representing artists like Rangi Kipa, Manos Nathan and Darcy Nicholas for eight years.

He says customers are now comfortable enough to make significant purchases.

“You have to build confidence. You have to educate your audience and build their knowledge base by slowly introducing the art form, and initially sales were minimal, but it takes time and we have built that market and it is now starting to pay off,” Mr Reading says.

There is keen interest in the current exhibition of collaborative pieces by jade carver Lewis Gardiner from Te Arawa, Ngati Awa and Ngai Tau and Tlingit glass artist Preston Singletary, with more than 75 percent of the work sold so far.


The new Minister of Treaty Negotiations is signaling changes to the way his department will engage with claimants.

The Office of Treaty Settlements came under fire from the Waitangi Tribunal earlier this year for entering direct negotiations without protecting the interests of overlapping claimants.

As a result agreements in principle in Auckland and Rotorua are unraveling, forcing the government to attempt a comprehensive settlement for the central North Island forests.

Michael Cullen says the government needs to avoid cross claims late in the negotiation process.

“And that will probably mean therefore processes involving the range of cross claimants early on where there’s a specific claim under negotiation, brining the other cross claimants in for a broad discussion and perhaps referring back to them on occasions to try and make sure we don’t get derailed later on,” Dr Cullen says.

Other major negotiations at the top of his agenda are the Port Nicholson Claim for the Wellington area and Waikato-Tainui's river claim.


A former supervisor at Ngati Hine Health Trust's residential care homes has pleaded guilty to 167 charges of theft.

Hana Pukeroa will be sentenced in February, once a reparation report is completed.

Ngati Hine spokesperson Mike Kake says an internal audit picked up that Pukeroa had diverted more than $60,000 dollars in residents' social welfare benefits into her own account.

He says the Whangarei-based trust has taken action to ensure it won't happen again.

“We've just tightened up our whole processes internally. There are now probably a lot more checks and balances in place. This thing with this is it was an internal audit of Health Trust processes that identified this criminal action,” Mr Kake says.

He says all the residents will be reimbursed their losses in full, regardless of Pukeroa's plans for reparation.


Otago University researchers have confirmed a painful truth for many whanau - that Maori are genetically pre-disposed to gout.

Anthropologist Hallie Buckley has been studying 3000-year-old skeletons found in Vanuatu.

She says damage to the joints indicates the tupuna probably had gout, a painful form of arthritis,

Their descendants continued across the Pacific, carrying with them the tendency to build up uric acid in the joints.

Dr Buckley says her findings, published in the latest issue of Current Anthropology, could help lift the stigma of gout.

“There does seem to be a perception in New Zealand that it’s purely related to lifestyle factors and the possibility that a genetic predisposition may be causing this high prevalence is very important for actually understanding the mechanisms of it,” Dr Buckley says.

She says many Maori don't report the symptoms of gout early enough because they don't want to admit they have the disease.

Independent board call for Trustee

The Federation of Maori Authorities wants to see a commercially-focused board oversee the Maori Trustee.

The Government will introduce legislation before Christmas overhauling the Maori Trust Office, which looks after 100,000 hectares of Maori land on behalf of 186,000 owners.

It used to manage more land, but since 1975 most of the larger and more economic blocks have become self-managed trusts and incorporations ... many of them now FOMA members.

Paul Morgan, FOMA's vice-chairperson, says the Maori Trustee hasn't lived up to its potential.

“I believe that there is a direction that they could take in terms of Maori economic development. They haven’t delivered that over the last 10-20 years in terms of when there’s been so much growth and they either need to go down that path or essentially they’ll be a relatively meaningless organisation for Maoridom,” Mr Morgan says.

He says the Maori Trust Office currently just provides back room administration which could be done by other accounting or management organisations.


Australian police are looking to their New Zealand counterparts for help in policing Maori and other minority communities.

Wally Haumaha, the police manager for Maori, Pacific Island and ethnic affairs, says a group from Melbourne attended lst week's conference on Maori responsiveness in the police force.

They were looking for ways to better deal with Maori falling foul of the law across the Tasman.

“I sent them up to Papakura Marae to the Maori wardens’ training programme. They couldn’t believe that we have Maori wardens in this capacity on our streets looking after our kids and going into our family homes,” Mr Haumaha says.

He says this country leads the world in community policing.


It's a race against time to save old Maori sites around the country from erosion.

Richard Walter, an anthropologist at Otago University, says many of the earliest and most important archaeological sites are within 100 metres of the coast.

He says changing weather patterns are exposing and damaging many of these sites.

Professor Walter is heading a team unearthing a 14th century village at Cooks Cove in Tolaga Bay, which is under threat.

“Some of these sites we’ll just have to let go. Some of them we may be able to put something in place to slow down the erosion – for example the planting of different species that may halt erosion – and other sites we may be able to do this type of salvage excavation to get some information out of them before they're finally destroyed,” he says.

Professor Walter says regional management plans are needed involving iwi, councils and the Historic Places trust so archaeologists can move quickly to salvage sites.


A Northland Maori women's refuge says the Government is failing to provide resources to cope with the domestic violence uncovered by national anti-violence campaigns.

Stacey Pepene from Te Puna O Te Aroha in Whangarei says referrals have doubled on a year ago.

She says a most of that is down to national and local campaigns against family violence, which means more people are reaching out for help and support.

It's putting pressure on refuges.

“We're still receiving the same funding we have for the last three years and it’s stretching our resources to the limit. It’s stretching our workers to the limit. And though we realise this is a positive move towards Aotearoa tackling family violence, our government is still not responding in terms of funding,” Ms Pepene says.

She says the increase has been apparent since the launch of the refuge-supported Campaign for Action on Family Violence in September.


A whare tupuna in Southland needs some help.

The Gore District Council has turned down a request for $200,000 to complete the ancestral house at Te Hono o te Ika a Maui ki Ngai Tahu marae.

John Aramakutu, the marae's chair, says the marae has been in operation for 20 years in a converted dairy factory.

He says it needs major repairs to keep open, so it targeted a $550,000 fund set aside for community use.

“Apparently it's all been tucked away for a brand new community centre under the auspices of Mataura Community Group which is just a group they named after the fund. There are a couple of halls there, and there’s the marae. The marae was there first, so finish it,” Mr Aramatuku says.

He says the marae is open to all people.


Weavers from Ngati Wai hope an ecological good deed will give them material for future artworks.

A group from the Northland iwi is on Taranga, also known as Hen Island in the Hen and Chickens group, for the annual kiore hunt.

Tui Shortland, the Ngati Wai Trust Board's resources manager, says it's important to limit numbers of the native rat, because of the impact they have on tuatara and insect life on the offshore islands.

But they are culturally valuable as a direct link to the ancestors who brought them across Te Moananui a Kiwa from their Polynesian homelands.

“Kiore can't swim. Anywhere that you find a kiore, that’s where we’ve put them. There’s old evidence of them being sort of farmed and their fur being collected for similar purposes as we’re doing and for their meat as well,” Ms Shortland says.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Police faced fear at hikoi

The nation's top Maori cop believes last week's hikoi on Parliament came close to violence.

Wally Haumaha, the national manager for Maori, Pacific Island and Ethnic policing, says 2005's 20-thousand strong foreshore and seabed hikoi was a walk in the park for police compared to the march on Parliament by about 300 Tuhoe and their supporters.

He says the anger over the anti-terror raid on Ruatoki heightened tension on both sides.

“Even within our own lines, amongst police, I stood behind some of our young officers. I could see a bit of the fear on their faces as they faced the sticks being waved in their face and I said to them ‘stay calm, stay calm and let them get that anger out,’” Mr Haumaha says.

He was impressed with the actions of hikoi leader Teweti Tihi in calming down the marchers' anger.


Maori dairy farmer are less likely to take the money and retire than their Pakeha shareholders.

That's the reaction of the Federation of Maori Authorities to Fonterra's proposed capital restructuring, which will allow no-farmers and foreign investors to buy shares in the dairy giant.

Paul Morgan, FOMA's executive vice chairperson, says the majority of Fonterra's Pakeha farmer shareholders are in their late 50s and above, and they're looking for a way to profitably exit their life's work.

But Maori land ownership structures means FOMA's members, who represent a significant minority of shareholders, had different drivers.

“Maori are long term land users in that industry. They’re generally not going to sell up and can’t by law. Whilst we all want to maximize wealth, the Maori interest is more focused on sustainable wealth, the long haul,” Mr Morgan says.

Maori farmers will be concerned any future milk price mechanism in the restructured organisation will continue to give them a fair return from Fonterra's activities.


Archaeologists are racing to save what they can from one of New Zealand's earliest known villages.

The site at Cook's Cove in Tolaga Bay is threatened by severe erosion.

It's being excavated by a team from the University of Otago and the Historic Places Trust, working with Te Aitanga a Hauiti.

Richard Walter, the dig's co-director, says so far they have found moa bones, earth ovens, food remains, tools and post holes dating back to the 14th century.

“It's a very important site because it dates very early in New Zealand’s prehistory, it’s a very early site and it’s in danger from erosion so we’re excavating some of the intact portions so we can gain information before the site is finally destroyed,” Professor Walter says.

Any artifacts uncovered will be returned to Te Aitanga a Hauiti, after they have been to the university laboratories for analysis and identification.


Northland Maori womens refuges say they are stretched by a doubling of referrals.

Coordinator Stacey Pepene from Whangarei refuges Te Puna O Te Aroha and Tryphina House dealt with 80 women and their children last month, compared with 41 referrals in October last year.

She says more people are coming forward because of campaigns against family violence.

“A lot more people now are taking notice and taking responsibility for the violence that’s happening in their neighbourhoods, in their homes, in their communities, so we’re seeing a lot more people reaching out for help, reaching out for support, reaching out for information,” Ms Pepene says.

She says the Government expected its national anti-violence campaigns would have such an impact, but it hasn't offered more resources to those on the front line.


Maori wardens have undergone the second of their training sessions with police, this time in a marae setting in Papakura.

One of the trainers, Taitokerau iwi liason officer Paddy Whiu, says the Government-funded course will alternate between marae around the country and the Police College in Porirua.

He says it's a way of ensuring the strengths of the wardens' traditions and culture are respected.

“Why we go out to the areas is for our older kaumatua kuia, who are still in our areas there and still active. They’d rather us come out to the marae and train them. The marae, that’s their arena, and they feel more comfortable there,” Mr Whiu says.


The annual Ngati Wai kiore cull got under way today.

Teams left for Taranga, also known as Hen Island in the Hen and Chickens group.

Resources manager Tui Shortland says they want to restore the ecological balance on the island.

She says the native rat is valued because it was brought to Aotearoa by the original Polynesian settlers.

“We don't want to eradicate them. We still consider them to be our taonga. We will admit they do have an impact on the islands, an impact on the tuatara, the other native species out there, so what we want to do is just create that balance by culling them back,” Ms Shortland says.

The skins from the kiore will be used by weavers to make clothing, in the same way the ancestors would have used them.

Fisheries changes dictatorial

The head of one of the largest tribes says proposed changes to the fisheries act are dictatorial.

Under the amendment the Minister of Fisheries will be given greater powers to cut quotas if he thinks the sustainability of a species is at risk... even if he doesn't have the research to back up his concerns.

Api Mahuika, the chair of Ngati Porou Runanga, says that's not what Maori signed up to, when they gave up some rights to reach the fisheries settlement

“He will have contrl in terms of what happens with fisheries proposals. It is no longer a matter of consultation with the peiople who are involved. In fishing,. The decision is made by the ministry and by the ministry, these are some of the flaws. These are dictatorial and cavalier treatment of our people,” Mr Mahuika says.


The new associate minister of health says the willingness of prominent New Zealanders to publicly discuss their mental health has helped lessen the stigma associated with mental illness.

Maori songwriter Mahinarangi Tocker, sportsman John Kirwan and musician Mike Chunn have been the faces of the Like Minds Like Ours campaign which was last week extended for a further six years.

Steve Chadwick says the campaign has cross party support, as all can see the benefits of communities with more acceptance of people with mental health problems.

She says the Like Minds Like Ours campaign is working.

People understanding, because of those brave voices of Mike Chunn and John Kirwan and Mihinerangi all speaking out and I think it’s been a really successful campaign for thking the stigma away, about people that used to once just hide in corners really,” Ms Chadwick says.


First there were the Mothers of Porangahau.

Now the sisters of the coastal Hawkes Bay settlement are highlighted in a follow up book launched last week.

Marina Sciascia says she and co writer Hillary Pederson have tried to capture the stories of 10 Maori and nine Pakeha families who have contributed a huge amount to the area over the past century.

“We’ve seen people come and go in our district and people that have made a big impact and a lot of those families aren’t here any more and you lose sight of the families and the people that had been a part of our growing up so it was like ‘let’s record some of those stories, let’s put their names in print let’s put them in a book and in that way they’ll never get lost,’” Ms Siascia says.

The book was launched at Te Poho, an exhibition at the Hawkes Bay Events Centre in Hastings featuring works by members of Poronagahau’s Ngati Kere people.


One of the developers of the draft Maori curriculum for schools says the document will give Maori medium pupils more opportunities to learn their tribal histories.

Tony Trinnick says in many schools children learn what teachers know, and often a lot of what is important information in the community is ignored.
He says the draft puts a high emphasis on cultural fluency.

“Maori medium focuses pretty much on developing students oral, written language, Maori language, or their literacy, it’s more than just their language, much more than say the English medium does, and I think it also encourages the inclusion of much more local knowledge than the English medium does as well,” Mr Trinnick says.

“The draft will be out for consultation for six months.


Peter Sharples says no one wants to listen to him any more now he's an MP.

The Maori Party co leader is disappointed he wasn't consulted on the draft Maori curriculum which is for Maori medium schools, despite the fact that he founded the country’s first kura kaupapa Maori.

He says fellow MP's Te Uroroa Flavell and Hone Harawira, who also have hands on experience in the sector, were left out of the loop as well.

“Once upon a time I used to be called up for a view on haka, some cultural facet or some educational issue or a marae issue or tikanga as a cultural expert, education expert, something like that. Now I’m just an MP and nobody wants your opinion. But in terms of straight out consultation it’s rare we end up in the grass roots committees any more, which is a shame,” Dr Sharples says.


Happy to some, musical tohunga to others - the music of the late bass baritone Inia Te Wiata is being commemorated in a double CD and DVD this month.

His wife Beryl Te Wiata says she chose the 49 songs covering classical, opera, musicals, spirituals and waiata, to demonstrate the diversity of her late husband’s work.

While several previously unreleased tracks are included, there was little such material available because most of the Ngati Raukawa singer’s career was as a live performer.

She says the title for the collection came naturally.

“He used to say that to people when they were terrible at speaking Maori. Before I left to go to England which was 1948 we didn’t know how to pronounce anything, and over in England it was even worse. They couldn’t cope with his name. So he used to just whisper in somebody’s ear, when they were battling to try to say, it, he’d say ‘Just call me Happy,’” Mrs Te Wiata says.