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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Pita Apiata from Ngapuhi Taumata dies

Ngapuhi is mourning the death of one of its most senior kaumatua.

Pita Apiata from Te Tii Marae was one of the founders of Te Taumata Kaumatua o Ngapuhi, which has played a prominent role in Waitangi Day commemorations in recent years.

He was a grand uncle to Corporal Willy Apiata VC and was instrumental is organising the Victoria Cross winner's return visit to the north earlier this year.

Taumata Kaumatua member Kingi Taurua says Mr Apiata, who was 81, will be sorely missed.

“It will be a big job to fill his shoes, especially with Waitangi Day coming up and the October 28 commemoration of the signing of the 1835 Declaration if Independence, Pita has played a big part in that.
Mr Taurua says.

Pita Apiata is lying at Oromahoe Marae. He will be buried on Friday.


A Manukau City councilor says a decision to reject separate Maori wards was an insult both to Maori and the wider public.

Anne Candy, who represents the Manurewa ward, says the council's Tiriti o Waitangi committee had given a lot of consideration to its recommendation for the wards, which was voted down 11 to 5 by the full council.

She says the council should have allowed the public to have its say.

“It was really just asking for public consultation. Whether it ended up being Maori wards or not we will never know but it allowed a process to start to consider that, and it may have happened,” Ms Candy says.

If promoters of the Maori wards want to force a referendum on the issue, they would need to collect 10,000 signatures.


The Green's Maori affairs spokesperson says the growing Maori middle class shouldn't forget where it came from.

Metiria Turei says polls showing younger Maori voters are more conservative is disappointing.

She says as more Maori get a tertiary education and start seeking career and economic security, they should give a thought to those who may not have the same advantages.

“Most of our people still have poor low-paying jobs, live in revolting housing, don’t get access to decent education, so it’s all well and good for it to be okay for some of us, but for the majority of us it’s still really really bad and so I’d hate to see the growing Maori middle classes turn away from those people they've come from,” Ms Turei says.


A Ngati Kahungunu fisheries negotiator says Maori ways of settling problems can help other groups in the fishing sector.

Ngahiwi Tomoana, who is also the deputy chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana, spoke at a recreational fishing conference last week at which concern was expressed at the influence of Maori commercial interests.

Mr Tomoana says a kanohi ki te kanohi or face to face approach was what finally resolved the Maori fisheries allocation debate, after legal action as far as the Privy Council.

“We chased each other round the world twice, until we got home and sat around the table and discovered we weren’t that far apart at all, but we’d let ourselves believe we were. I related that story to them because they were having a bit of a duke up amongst each other too and they saw the commercials as villains and Maori creeping into their domain, but after that sort of korero they were more available to listen, they were more open to suggestion,” Mr Tomoana says.

All groups with a stake in fisheries need to work together on strategies, rather then react to solutions imposed by the Fisheries Ministry.


Maori are being urged to prepare for the implications of an aging population.

Today is the United Nations day of the older person.

Wendy Margaret Bremner, the executive officer for Age Concern Counties Manukau, says since 2001 the number of over 65s in south Auckland has jumped by 16 percent.

She says Maori are still more likely than Pakeha to have older relatives living with them, so they need to lobby for resources to ensure kuia and koroua get what they deserve.

“There's implications for public health services, public transport, extra demands for everybody across the generational population, and it’s a new dynamic that hasn’t been experienced in the world before, so it’s something everyone needs to get their head around,” Ms Bremner says.


Otaki-based Te Wananga-o-Raukawa is offering a new post-graduate course to improve teachers' knowledge of tikanga Maori.

Tutor Awanuiarangi Black says the one-year Te Heke Whakaakoranga programme is aimed at people with at least five years teaching experience in either kura kaupapa and mainstream schools.

He says it aims to strengthen and refresh the teaching workforce.

“One of the main aims of this programme of course is to assist teachers to teach our kids to see through Maori eyes. The minority may go into kura but the majority of our Maori kids are in the mainstream,” Mr Black says.

Te Heke Whakaakoranga is designed for working teachers, with four contact days at the Otaki wananga a month.


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