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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Treaty troglodyte gets theatrical treatment

The deputy chair of the Waitangi National Trust is defending the trust's right to use the love life of a Ngapuhi ancestress for a new theatrical attraction on the Treaty Grounds.

Maikuku: Maiden of the Weeping Waters is based on the life of a woman who lived in a cave on Waitangi foreshore 150 years before the treaty was signed.

Members of Ngati Rahiri and Ngati Kawa say the hapu were not consulted about the play, and their ancestress is not for sale.

But Pita Paraone says the trust is free to use local histories in its attractions.

“The issue here is do we require everybody’s consent or otherwise to tell the local history. Now I could understand some disquiet that people might have if in fact the story that we’re telling is incorrect. We have never been alleged of that,” Mr Paraone says.

He says rather than discuss the issue, Ngati Rahiri and Ngati Kawa walked out of a hui with trust staff this week.


A new families commissioner says many of the problems he has had to tackle in his career were a result of family dysfunction.

Kim Workman from Ngati Kahungunu was appointed to the commission after stepping back from a hands on role at the Prison Foundation.

His career also includes time with the police, Maori Affairs and as head of the prison service.

His new role will give him a change to promote good family life.

“There are a lot of vulnerable families, a lot of people struggling to keep their relationship together. I felt this was a really good opportunity to get involved in developing positive policy, advocating in a strong family and whanau lives and providing independent policy and advice on those issues to government,” Mr Workman says.

He's keen to see the Families Commission adopt social marketing campaigns to address some of the issues facing Maori families.


Planning is underway for the Kawhia Kai Fest in early February.

Last year more than 7000 people descended on the small Waikato coastal settlement to sample traditional Maori delicacies like dried shark, huhu grubs and fermented corn.

Organiser Hinga Whiu says even more interest is expected next year, after the Lonely Planet guide gave the festival the big thumbs up.

“The Kawhia Kai Festival is mentioned as one of the top 10 Maori events to attend so that was something big for us because you have no idea who is coming to these events so somebody must have been there and they really enjoyed it so that was a plus for us as a committee, and it puts Kawhia on the map,” Mrs Whiu says.


Rangitikei iwi is preparing to restructure itself to take delivery of its 16 million dollar treaty settlement.

The deed of settlement was signed off yesterday at Whangaehu Marae, ending a 150 year old grievance over the dispossession of the tribe through the Crown's purchase of the 260 thousand acre Rangitikei-Turakina Block in 1849.

Chairperson Adrian Rurawhe says when the settlement legislation goes through sometime next year, the 3000-strong iwi will need to manage its share in three former Crown forests, other land blocks including Marton Golf Course, and papakainga housing developments around five of its marae.

“We'll be setting up our new structure, post-settlement entity, and going through a process of transferring what we currently have in our current structure into our new one and preparing for the receiving of the settlement asset,” Mr Rurawhe says.

As well as the business aspects of the settlement, Ngati Apa will be forming new partnerships with resource management authorities.


Winston Peters says the Maori Party is wasting its time talking to National.

While John Key has ruled a Peters-led New Zealand First out of post-election consideration, he has not ruled out some alliance with the Maori Party.

Mr Peters says the Maori Party still has got to learn about politics, and it needs to know where the best interests of its constituents are.

“The National Party is diametrically opposed to their interests in every way. I was a former National Party member, and for years, long before anybody in the National Party right now even joined the party I was a member, but I saw what they were about. They were not about a great single nation with a developing culture. They were about the new National Party, not the old National Party I used to belong to hey (Keith) Holyoake was the leader, and (Rob) Muldoon was the leader. The new National Party became elitist, and it’s sad, so what the Maori Party is doing talking to them I don't know,” Mr Peters says,.

He says even though the Maori Party stabbed him in the back over the Owen Glenn donation, he could work with it in the future.


Members of two Waitangi hapu are angry about the Waitangi National Trust's new theatrical production, which is based around the love life of an ancestress who lived in a cave below the treaty grounds 300 years ago.

Maikuku: Maiden of the Weeping Waters runs five nights a week at a $25 dollar ticket price.

Emma Gibbs from Ngati Kawa and Ngati Rahiri says the hapu have kept the stories of Maikuku to themselves, and it's not the place of the trust to tell them.

“We were never approached. We cannot sell our ancestress because we have no right to belittle her mana. She is a woman of mana and to sell stories about her to me bastardises her trueness for the well-being of her descendants,” Mrs Gibbs says.

The hapu walked out of a hui with trust staff this week because they didn't consider their concerns were treated seriously.

Pita Paraone, the trust's deputy chairperson, says as long as the correct story is told, the trust has a right to tell it.


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