Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, January 25, 2008

Welcome home for Ngapuhi

The Ngapuhi Runanga hopes to see up to a fifth of tribe members come home to Kaikohe this weekend.

The third Ngapuhi Festival kicks off at nine tomorrow morning at Northland College, with a full programme of sports, music, kapa haka, educational programmes and debate.

Sonny Tau, the tribe's chairperson, says up to 20,000 people are expected.

He says it's a way the runanga can keep members informed of its activities on their behalf.

“It's critical for the communications for our people. They’ve demanded it and the wananga series in there, the whakapapa series, all that stuff far outweighs the small amount that we spend on it,” Mr Tau says.

The Ngapuhi Runanga budgeted $200,000 for the festival, but most of that has already come back as sponsorships.


The Maori Party says both major parties only want to rearrange the deckchairs on the wreck of the treaty settlement process.

Treaty settlements came under the spotlight at Ratana yesterday, with National's John Key promising more resources for the Waitangi Tribunal and Labour defending progress.

Last month agreements in principle were signed with Taranaki Whanui over Wellington claims, Tainui for the Waikato River and Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa for a former Lands and Survey farm north of Kaeo.

Tariana Turia says neither party is willing to address the issue that the amount allocated for settlements leaves claimants short-changed and unhappy.

“They didn't talk about reviewing the process. They didn’t talk about reviewing the quantum. They just want to change the deck chairs and add a bit more money into the process but it stays the same and we have a fiscal cap,” Mrs Turia says.


A central North Island hapu is pleased work has started cleaning up the lower reaches of the Tongariro River.

Ngati Turanitukua has partnered with Environment Waikato to remove the sediment that built up after two major floods.

Huia Paki, who chairs the iwi's environment committee, says construction of the Tokaanu Power Station dramatically reduced the volume of water carried by the river.

“The reduced flow of water doesn’t have the power to carry the sediment all the way down to the lake. Consequently, we have build up of sediment. Cleaning of the river and clearing out of islands and obstacles that are created is essential to help guard against flooding,” Mr Paki says.

The river restoration work starts on Monday.


Far North claimants want the police to move against a group which has chopped down shelter belts on land which forms part of a treaty settlement.

Ella Henry, a negotiator for Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa, says an agreement in principle signed just before Christmas will return the land as a working farm, so the iwi is concerned at any damage to property.

The farm is still owned and administered by the Office of Treaty Settlements, which has alerted the police to the action.

She says the Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa Trust Board has tried to accommodate the protest group, but they are beyond reason.

“Their behaviour has been unacceptable to date. It is a small group. They purport to represent the whole hapu, and they don’t, clearly. I am Ngati Aukiwa and they’re certainly not representing me. The trust board is here to represent the whole iwi, and not just one or two disgruntled families,” Ms Henry says.

She also had sharp words with Kaeo Transport, which took the contract to remove the logs from the property.


Most of the politicians were gone, but today was the most important of the Ratana 25ths hui.

National MP Georgina te Heuheu says thousands of morehu were at the pa today celebrations marking the birthday of church founder Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana.

They included religious services, a brass band competiton and a huge birthday hakari.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has called her parliamentary colleague's vultures who gate-crash the celebrations.

But Mrs te Heuheu says there is enough room at Ratana for politics and church business.

“Today is the family day. Today they can do their own thing. They can have their birthday without having to worry about other influences,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

Maori MPs from Labour, New Zealand First and the Maori Party stayed on for the day.


The Children's Commissioner is backing a plan to screen children for disruptive behaviour patterns before they get to school.

Cindy Kiro says while it falls short of her proposal for a series of tests at different stages of a child's life, the Education Ministry plan is a good start.

She says it will lead to earlier identification and intervention.

“The idea behind it is good because it’s about getting in early before problems become too difficult to shift and it is about trying to provide support to the child, to the teachers or the people who are caring for them and to their parents so there is consistency to reinforce good behaviour, not bad,” Dr Kiro says.

She's not concerned the screening will adversely affect Maori children, because violence or acting out negative behaviour is unacceptable in any cultural context.

Warm political welcome at Ratana

Despite calls from one of their colleagues to stay away, politicians got a warm welcome at Ratana Pa yesterday.

MPs from Labour, National and New Zealand First headed to the marae near Wanganui to attend the hui marking the birthday of church founder T W Ratana ... and to woo the Maori vote ahead of this year's election.

Tau Henare, who accompanied National leader John Key, says the warning by Tariana Turia from the Maori Party to leave politics were at odds with the mood of the day.

“There were a few comments about the winds of change coming, and given that Tariana had said no politics please, it’s funny that the locals, they wanted to dive into the politics, but hey, it was all good, and it was a great day,” Mr Henare says.

John Key told the hui the Treaty settlement process had stalled under Labour, and National will increase resources to the Waitangi Tribunal.


Rotorua's deputy mayor is backing a call to jail people who mug tourists.

Trevor Maxwell says robbers are doing immense harm to Rotorua's reputation.

The head of the Waikato Bay of Plenty Law Society, Jonathan Temm, wants to make theft from a tourist a special crime carrying a mandatory jail term.

Mr Maxwell says it's the best idea he's heard for a while.

“At least it can be seen that we are trying to support something that might deter some of the lowlife that do do this to guests. We’re known for manaakitanga and this is not a good way to treat our guests that come to New Zealand,” Mr Maxwell says.

He says the idea is likely to be welcomed in other tourism towns.


Kaikohe is bracing itself for an influx of up to 20 thousand Ngapuhi, home to celebrate their culture and identity.

Northland College is the venue for a weekend of sports, talk and music from acts with northern connections like Ardijah and Che Fu.

Sonny Tau from Te Runanga o Ngapuhi says the organisers - and the town - have learned a lot from the two previous Ngapuhi Festivals.

“We've run out of kai in the shops before because the businesses didn’t take us seriously, but we’ve met them now and really got stuck into them about the ability to feed our people when they come home. We’ve got hangis 24-7 all over the place. Marae are going away from festival with 8, $9000 made. They’ve never seen that sort of money made in the north,” Mr Tau says.

The festival has proved an effective way for the runanga to communicate with the tribe's 100 thousand members.


The police are starting to think outside the box on how to tackle the growing street gang problem.

Huri Dennis, the Maori Strategic Advisor at Police National Headquarters, says a new generation of criminals will need a different approach.

He says that might mean taking some risks and working with veteran gang leaders like Edge Te Whaiti and Roy Dunn, who are trying to tackle the problems at the source.

“We've aligned our mahi with Roy and Edge because we’ve seen what they’re doing and for better or for worse them and their team are doing what they can to help who they can in particular some of our own rangatahi. We need to just start thinking a little bit more creatively about how we deal with this, and we need to get it done pretty quickly,” Mr Dennis says.

Five teenagers appeared in the North Shore court yesterday on charges of aggravated robbery in relation to a series of attacks last week.


The Government is hoping to salvage a settlement of Central North Island claims by March.

A proposed settlement which would give Te Pumautanga, a group of Te Arawa iwi and hapu, more than $80 million of Kaingaroa Forest land was put on hold when other tribes claimed they had overlapping interests.

Willie te Aho, a consultant for Te Pumautanga, says the Office of Treaty Settlements has hired Wira Gardiner, a former head of Te Puni Kokiri, to facilitate talks with the other iwi, including Tuwharetoa, Tuhoe and Ngati Rangitihi.

He says Te Pumautanga is still keen for its settlement to go ahead.

“March is the d-day. Hopefully a common way will be found forward. If it can’t then we expect, with respect to Te Pumautanga and Te Arawa, that that legislation will go through the house in April-May,” Mr te Aho says.

Other lawyers involved in the process say the government is unlikely to get the votes to pass settlement legislation unless it can point to widespread support on the ground.


Ngapuhi is bringing home some of its ancestors this weekend - as well as thousands of living members.

A feature of the third Ngapuhi Festival at Kaikohe is a film evening, with historical footage shot in the north.

Lani Sowter from the Ngapuhi Runanga says the films, dating from the 1900s to the 1950s, were unearthed from the National Film Archive by Lawrence Wharerau.

“He's gone and spoken to his friends there and we’ve been fortunate enough to get those back so people can have a look at what Ngapuhi looked like in 1906,” Ms Sowter says.

The festival will also include sports, music, culture and a wananga series where people can learn about Ngapuhi history.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pre-schooler tests cause unease

The Maori Party is unhappy about plans to test pre-schoolers for anti social behaviour.

The Ministry of Education will work with the Ministries of Health and Social Development to screen the children and offer basic parenting courses to the their parents.

It's claimed the intervention will reduce the chances of children turning to crime later in life.

But Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell, a former teacher, says it seems an extreme measure.

“It's a little bit young to start doing that. There are a lot of circumstances that can change tamariki and their lives, so a little bit cautious about this action if it is taken across the board, in the sense that there is a profile already been painted with respect to our Maori children,” Mr Flavell says.


A negotiator for the Port Nicholson Claim says Maori are asking for nothing more than their fair share in treaty settlements.

An agreement in principle which will make Taranaki Whanui claimants the landlord of a number of iconic Crown buildings in central Wellington is currently out for ratification.

Sir Paul Reeves, a former governor general, says while the negotiations took several long years, the outcome fills him with hope.

“I get a great sense that Maori want to move on, they don’t want to stay in grievance mode, but as they move on they want to taken with them their fair share of the asserts that they see in order that they may develop them and make their contribution both to their own number and also the wider society of Aotearoa New Zealand. I want to be part of that,” Sir Paul says.


Whakarewarewa plans to honour some of its legendary guides.

The Rotorua thermal attraction became the premier destination for tourists to the region after the erruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886 buried the Pink and White Terraces.

Watu Mihinui, a director of Whaka Thermal Tours, says photos of the leading guides will take pride of place at the entrance to the village.

They include Maggie Papkura, Guide Rangi and her mother, Bubbles Mihinui.

She says the guides of the past learned their trade by following their aunties around.

“These days our guides have to be skilled in first aid, knowing what the OSH requirement are, some of the standards through the tourism world. Our guides today have to be trained in those sorts of things as well as the stories that have been handed down for the generations,” Ms Mihinui says.

Modern guides walk comfortably in both worlds, explaining how locals still use geothermal pools to cook food ... while also owning microwaves.


John Key is happy to make the annual 25ths hui at Ratana Pa the start of the political year.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has criticised other parties for showing up at the marae near Wanganui, saying it's inappropriate to use it to make campaign promises.

But the National Party leader says he's been looking forward to his visit today.

He's clocked up some serious hui time around the country over the past year, so his second visit to the pa was a lot less intimidating.

“There's no question that when you spend more time you not only get to see the achievements and the successes and also the areas where there is greater need for development but equally you feel more comfortable. You understand the protocol and you understand what happens and you understand the vitality I think,” Mr Key says.

He used his visit to Ratana to promise more resources for the Waitangi Tribunal and a commitment to settling claims.
The marae also hosted a large ope of Labour MPs led by Helen Clark, as well as New Zealand First MPs.


Politicians are now looking ahead to the next major event on their calendar.

The Prime Minister will attend commemorations at the Treaty Grounds on Waitangi Day, before heading back to attend events in Auckland,.

Don't expect to see her on Te Tii Marae though - Helen Clark still hasn't forgotten the rough treatment she got the last time she went on the lower marae.

Parekura Horomia, the Minister of Maori Affairs, says he'll be at Waitangi too, but taking the focus off the North has had benefits

“Waitangi Day is really important for Te Tii and north but certainly since we’ve been in government, it’s grown dramatically as a celebration around the country where both Pakeha and Maori are celebrating Waitangi day in different forms,” Mr Horomia says.


The Waitangi Tribunal has ordered research continue for claims in the East Coast district, despite a bid by the Ngati Porou Runanga to move directly into negotiations.

The tribunal held a judicial conference in Gisborne yesterday to measure progress on the claims.

It said the casebook, which contains all the historical research prepared for the claims, will close off in December.

Lawyers at the hearing said there was no comment from the tribunal on how it might be affected by talks between the Office of Treaty Settlements and Te Runanga o Ngati Porou.

The runanga got more than 90 percent support from a postal vote on its mandate to enter direct negotiations, but the government has not yet indicated whether it will accept the mandate.

Many of the other claimant groups say they have separate identities within Ngati Porou or independent of the tribe, and they have a right to tell their stories before the tribunal.

Ratana home to politics

A Ratana Labour MP is dismissing the Maori Party's warning against gatecrashing this week's celebrations at Ratana Pa.

Mita Ririnui says politics has always been a part of the January event, which marks the birthday of church founder Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana.

He says the morehu are interested by what the parties have to say.

Tariana Turia, whose home marae is in neighbouring Whangaehu, says it's inappropriate for politicians to view their trip to Ratana as the start of the political year.

But Mr Ririnui says she's changed her waiata.

“The co-leader of the Maori Party shepherded the 2004 hikoi against the Foreshore and Seabed (Bill) into Ratana Pa, where she met them. When she launched her party and launched her policy, she did that from Ratana Pa. When they won the four seats in Parliament, the first big hui they went to was at Ratana Pa. Now, why the change?” he says.

Mr Ririnui says the Maori Party is slipping into Ratana Pa by the side door because it no longer enjoys the support from Maori it was getting two or three years ago.


Moves to curb climate change could be costly for Maori.

Consultant Willie Te Aho says Maori landowners who want to switch from forestry to dairying could face a $13,000 dollar a hectare penalty under the proposed climate change emissions trading bill.

They could also miss out on on carbon credits on the 400,000 hectares of land held by the Crown which are subject to Treaty claims.

“There's going to be an allocation for those lands, and to cut a long story short, they’re looking at not allocating to Crown Forests licensed lands for a range of reasons. Now for Maori, that’s an $800 million opportunity that they’re not getting the access to that all other New Zealanders will have access to,” Mr Te Aho says.

There is a series of hui on the climate change bill over the next month, starting next Tuesday in Hastings.


Whanau in Kawhia are putting the finishing touches to their offerings for next week's kai festival.

Organiser Lloyd Whiu says traditional kai has to be collected at the proper time, and a lot of it needs extensive preparation and storage.

He says the festival, now in its fifth year, has been a great learning exercise for the community.

“In the long term it’s all about retaining the knowledge about how to get it and we know several marae, whanau, hapu in the area that have called wananga specifically to learn how to collect this kai, in what season you’re supposed to collect it, and then it’s all about storing it so it is ready for the kai festival,” Mr Whiu says.


Hapu from Aotea Harbour are trying to stop a developer digging up a thousand truckloads of soil to make way for an exclusive coastal subdivision.

Shane Edwards says marae around the harbour associated with Ngati Whawhaakia, Ngati Te Weehi and Ngati Patupoho fear pollution from the work will damage shellfish beds and fishing grounds.

He says Environment Waikato regional council ignored its own rules in letting the developer, Aotea Estates, get as far ahead as it has.

The hapu are using a resource consent hearing in Kawhia yesterday and today to challenge the project.

“It's costing a lot of aroha and a lot of time because we couldn’t afford lawyers so we’ve all been in the books and in the history and producing our statements and pulling our case files together, so it’s cost us in terms of time we’ve pretty much missed Christmas and new year,” Mr Edwards says.

If the digging consent is granted, the hapu are likely to appeal to the Environment Court.


Retiring Green Nandor Tanczos is full of praise for some of his political opponents.

The dreadlocked MP has call it quits after three terms in parliament so he can spend more time with his young family.

He says the Maori party has been a welcome voice in the House.

“I think it's been fantastic having the Maori Party in Parliament. I think they’ve brought a voice that was lacking before and I think they’ve articulated really clearly the Maori positions and perspectives on things in a way that’s won the respect across the House and in the media as well, so I think that’s been a fantastic development,” Mr Tancos says.

Maori still need to push for constitutional reform, and be open to debate on republicanism.


An outdoor education conference in Christchurch is hearing how Maori values can affect the way rivers are managed and used.

The conference at Lincoln University has attracted delegates from 14 countries, including teachers, tour guides, mountain guides, camp managers and government planners.

Garth Gully, who manages the safety programme for Outdoors New Zealand, says a session on Maori attitudes to the environment was well received.

“Understanding about te wai ora and the cultural imperatives we have in the rivers in Aotearoa, how we as a sector, as outdoor professionals, can lower the drowning rate in our country, but also recognise that rivers and awa are integral to our culture here,” Mr Gully says.

He says the challenge for Outdoor Recreation is to provide people with the skills to use rivers correctly.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Aotea hapu fight diggers

Hapu around Aotea Harbour between Raglan and Kawhia are fighting a major development on their shores.

An Environment Waikato committee is in Kawhia today hearing an application by Kevin Wrenn of Aotea Estates to move 11,300 cubic metres of soil as part of the development of 84 sections.

Hapu spokesperson Shane Edwards says that's more than 1000 truckloads of fill, which could clog waterways and lead to erosion.

He says the development is well outside what should be allowed in the area.

“Big two-storey houses and then they have boats and humans start interacting with the environment, desecrating sites, walking over pa sites, boats in the harbour and what that does to fish and all of that kind of activity that spoils what’s recognized in this region as an iconic landscape in need of protection by every government statute,” Mr Edwards says.

He says the hapu, Ngati Whawhaakia, Ngati Te Weehi, Ngati Patupoho, can't afford lawyers, so they've spent the holidays preparing their submissions for the hearing.


A call for lessons in how to be a good citizen.

Veronica Tawhai from Ngati Porou is in New South Wales at the Australian Social Educators Association's biennial conference.

She says governments talk of involving voters in major decisions, but don't give them the information they need to make considered choices.
For example, the New Zealand social studies syllabus makes no mention of the Maori Seats - even though the future of the seats could be decided by referendum.

“The challenge that we have is indeed that is we want our citizens, Maori, Pakeha and everyone, to be informed and therefore empowered in such a decision, we need to immediately start working on strengthening our citizenship education programme,” Ms Tawhai says.


There's alarm in Hauraki about the thinning ranks of kaumatua and kuia.

It's organising wananga to train people to fill the speakers' benches before the paepae is empty.

Tutor Korohere Ngapo says it wants to make sure the treasures from the ancestors remain accessible to the iwi.

“The main purpose of the hui is to get a group of people with ties to Pare Hauraki, not just people living in Pare Hauraki but all arund the motu, who would like to return and partake in some kind of forum with regards to the revitalisation of te reo Maori of course and also whaikorero and karanga,” Mr Ngapo says.

The first wananga reo is at Nga Hu Toitoi Marae in Paeroa is this weekend.


Tikanga remains a path out of crime for young Maori.

That's according to Mita Mohi, who has run Maori focused programmes in prisons since 1981.

He says about half the prison muster is Maori, but many feel disconnected from their culture.

His programmes can have had a profound impact on inmates.

“You get a lot of the backbites, saying you’re going in there teaching the boys how to fight with sticks, but it’s all about instilling pride and discipline. I’ve got boys now who’ve been in prison coming out now and helping me with my programmes. It’s just really wonderful,” Mr Mohi says.

He is disappointed the Corrections Department cut short the time Bailey Junior Kuariki spent on his Mokoia Island taiaha wananga this month, because the country's youngest convicted murderer appeared to be responding positively to the discipline.


Maori are being urged to respond to the bill creating a carbon credit trading system.

Willie Te Aho, who is facilitating a series of climate change hui, says an iwi leadership group has been talking to officials about the issues.

But it's now time for landowners and land-based businesses to also have their say to the select committee.

“That bill form an independent point of view will have the same impact on our society as Rogernomics did back in the mid 80s and we know Maori were a big causualty of that policy so this ahs the potential to have the same impact on Maori so Maori need to be understanding of the risks and also the opportunities that exist in this bill,” Mr Te Aho says.

The first regional hui on climate change issues will be at Hastings next Tuesday, leading up to a national hui in late February.


People living in a Tainui stronghold should know more about each other, with the launch of a low frequency radio station broadcasting on a low range frequency in Kawhia.

LLoyd Whiu, who helped set up the station for Te Runanga o Ngati Hikairo, says after just a few weeks on air, it's proving an asset to the whole community -- even if it creates a hectic home life.

“At the moment it’s based here in our garage and we’re sort of jumping back and forward from the kitchen to the radio station, home schooling to the radio station, and it’s all good fun. But that’s good for us and it means we can communicate with people on the other side of the harbour, Taharoa, and get community panui out, so it’s all about getting that community interaction between the different communities in Kawhai moana so it's fantastic,” Mr Whiu says.

Hone back home beside Hongi

Ngapuhi's greatest poet now lies alongside Ngapuhi's greatest chief.

Hone Tuwhare was buried yesterday at Kaikohe on Wharepaepae, the same block of land where Hongi Hika's bones lie in their cave.

Sonny Tau, the chair of the Ngapuhi Runanga, says despite living most of his life outside the north, the poet never forget he was Ngapuhi - and told the world about where he grew up.

“He's painted that many beautiful pictures for us and for the world, and especially for the Maori world, he’s painted a lot of pictures of what it was like for him as a young kid. He talks about the handful of puha and all that kind of carry on. Excellent writing yes,” Mr Tau says.


The Maori All Blacks are set to take an unchanged line up into the 2008 season... on the coaching benches at least.

Donny Stevenson from Ngati Awa will continue to guide the squad, with Shane Howarth staying on as assistant coach.

Peter Potaka was reappointed manager.

Donny Stevenson says it's great to have continuity in the management team, and the Rugby Union's new schedule means a pleasant coaching headache - more players to choose from.

Maori players on All Black duty are still off limits, but the Maori team will now have access to Junior All Blacks.

“They're going to be available for Maori selection, and last year that included the likes of Corey Flynn and Corey Jaine and Rico Gear played some games for the Maoris, Hoani McDonald, so there are several players that are going to be eligible for selection so it’s going to be quite a rigorous process, narrowing down the teams,” Mr Stevenson says.

The Maori All Blacks line up in June at home against Tonga, Samoa and Japan.


Whakarewarewa in Rotorua is paying tribute to its unique tourism tradition.

Profiles of some of its legendary guides will be unveiled at the entrance to the world renowned geothermal village next week.

Willie Te Aho, who has whakapapa connections to Whakarewarewa, says the dawn ceremony will acknowledge the wahine who introduced Maori culture to thousands of tourists from all parts of the world.

“The people that we will be paying tribute tio include guide Sofia, who was at Tarawera and then at Whakarewarewa, Guide Maggie Papakura, Guide Rangi, and also one of our more recent guides and kuia and mentors, Bubbles Mihinui, so that’s something for Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao to celebrate,” Mr Te Aho says.

The launch on February 2 will be a community celebration.


A leading expert in tikanga Maori is disappointed justice officials yanked a high profile prisoner off his training course.

Mita Mohi has been running wananga on Mokoia island in Lake Rotorua for more than two decades, using mau rakau or weapons training as a way to teach at-risk rangatahi self discipline and pride in being Maori.

Bailey Junior Kuariki - NZ's youngest convicted murderer - did three days on the island before he was recalled to the Hastings prison.

Mr Mohi says Bailey Kuariki had a lot to gain.

“He's never really had much of an upbringing in Maori culture. He’s really hungry for it. I noticed when he was on the island he was with the taiaha and with the boys in training really good. Sometimes it’s hard. People can’t really see it, but, if they come along and experience it. It’s not just about using a taiaha. The taiaha is just a base,” Mr Mohi says.

More than 150 inmates have attended his taiaha wanaga since 1981, without incident.


People interested in ensuring Maori remains a living language need to broaden where te reo is spoken.

That's the view of Phil Lambert, who runs the arts programmes for Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

Four hundred tutors are meeting at Turangawaewae marae in Ngaruawahia this week to learn the best ways to pass on the reo.

He says while a lot of effort is spent encouraging people to take up te reo, they have limited opportunities to use it outside marae, educational or media settings.

“There aren't many contexts where hey can take their reo out into the community and allow the reo to flourish. Like you wouldn’t hear many people ordering fish and chips in the reo or ordering milk from the dairy in te reo. The contexts are quite limited,” Mr Lambert says.


Touch teams are gathering in Auckland for the first world indigenous tournament.

A powhiri will be held at Hoani Waititi Marae this afternoon, with the tournament running at neighbouring Parr's Park until Saturday.

Gerard Ngawati, the president of the National Maori Touch Trust, says the competition has attracted teams from around the Pacific as well as New Zealand based Chinese and Japanese squads.

He says the game is great for promoting healthy lifestyles and whanaungatanga.

“People get an opportunity to identify their hapu through what they wear but also during the po whakangahau on Saturday night they have an opportunity to get up as a group and sing their waiata and do their haka that belongs to their hapu and iwi. A lot of that background and knowledge has been gathered and retained by these players as well,” Mr Ngawati says.

While a Maori Touch Team competed in the Youth World Cup in 2002, the international governing body has squashed attempts to regularly field Maori teams in World Cup competitions.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tuwhare laid to rest

Ngapuhi has laid to rest its greatest poet.

Hone Tuwhare was buried today at Wharepaepae near Kaikohe, next to his mother.

He died last week in Dunedin aged 85 after a long illness.

Sir Graham Latimer says Tuwhare's words and achievement inspired Maori.

The pair went to Japan together 60 years ago as part of J Force, and the Northland leader says Tuwhare's ambition to be a poet sparked some amusement among his fellow soldiers.

“Yeah he wanted to be a poet, definitely. He would have been what, 24, 25 at that stage. But very timid approach to it all, very quit and humble. You spend all day talking to him and it seems like he’s just been whispering in your ear,” Sir Graham says.

Hone Tuwhare's most famous poem, No Ordinary Sun, first published when he was in his 40s, was inspired by what he saw of the effects of the atom bombing of Hiroshima.


A Victoria University researcher has been given $400,000 dollars to compare ways indigenous people around the world view mental illness.

Lynne Pere says the four year project could influence the way tangata whai ora are treated.

The Health Research Council fellowships will allow her to build on work done for her doctoral thesis, which showed Maori with mental health problems have different ideas on what constitutes an illness.

“If you're not prepared to listen or to take into account those experiences or those understandings or those interpretations, then you’re really not going to have as big an effect in aiding people on a journey towards recovery,” Dr Pere says.

A post-doctoral fellowship also went to Sarah-Jane Paine from Massey University, for her work on sleep disorders.


A warning Maori and Pacific Island students are most likely to be hit by a new policy introduced at Auckland's Westlake High.

The school wants to hold back students in years nine and ten if teacher's don't think they are showing the right attitude to work - even if they pass exams.

John Minto from the Quality Public Education Coalition says it's just the latest twist in a trend by schools to weed out undesirable students.

He says if the policy is picked up by other schools, it will have a devastating effect on students from low income communities.

“Issues like homework, issues like what the school calls attitude are seen as problems by mainstream educationalists, in other words Pakeha educationalists, so I think there is a potential for this to develop into something which is really very serous and that’s why we’re wanting the government to intervene,” Mr Minto says.

He says the government needs to ensure schools have a legitimate reason for holding students back.


Tainui is mourning the loss of one of its leading kaumatua.

Ruben Tupaea, a kaitiaki of Taupiri maunga, died on Sunday at the pokai at Kokohinau Marae in Te Teko.

As well as his contributions to the urupa and the marae, Mr Tupaea was a rugby league stalwart, umpiring for more than 20 years after he finished his playing days with the Taniwharau club.

Pokaia Nepia, the chair of Turangawaewae, says the Tupaea whanau has been associated with marae since the days of Princess Te Puea.

“When she came to Ngaruawahia from Mercer and she brought all these orphans up to help build Turangawaewae Marae and his kaumatua, his tupuna were the ones that came up with Te Puea so the family’s been associated with the marae for years,” Mr Nepia says.

Rueben Tupaea is lying at Turangawaewae marae and will be buried on Thursday.


Also at Ngaruawahia this week, 400 tutors from Te Wananga O Aotearoa are getting a refresher course in the teaching model used by the country's largest Maori tertiary institution.

Phil Lambert, who oversees the delivery of arts programmes at the wananga's 130 sites, says a philosophy of student-centered teaching is behind its success.

“We've got all the tutors from around the country in one place at the one time specifically so that as we move forward through the year, we’re all doing so under the same kaupapa so that’s the key reason we have this hui a kaupapa at the beginning of the year,” Mr Lambert says.

Te Wananga O Aotearoa expects student numbers to remain steady this year at about 40,000.


The author of a report on Maori in Australia says Maori migration across the Tasman is now outpacing other New Zealanders.

More than 27,000 people crossed the ditch to live last year, a 20 year high.

Paul Hamer says despite the negative impact of the reforms of the 1980s on the Maori workforce, they were relatively slow to move offshore.

But as whanau members have established beachheads, they have discovered in recent years that there are real opportunities in the lucky country.

“There are a lot of Maori who are working class people in New Zealand and there is obviously this incredible resources boom in places like Western Australia and Queensland and so for blue collar work, there is really good money to be had so that’s obviously motivating a lot of people to move at the moment as well,” Mr Hamer says.

The shift to Australia can often be a journey of cultural self-discovery for Maori.

Ratana readies for crowds

Ratana Pa near Wanganui is filling up as thousands of morehu gather for their annual celebration of the birth of church founder Wiremu Ratana.

Ruia Aperahama, a prominent church member, says while numbers attending are down on the 1980s and 90s, it's still a highlight of the Maori year.

It's also a magnet for politicians, with the leaders of all major political parties expected over the next couple of days.

Mr Aperahama says morehu are still divided in their political support between Labour and the Maori Party, with many feeling Labour hasn't looked after its Te Tai Hauauru candidate, Errol Mason, the son of church leader Harry Mason.

“If Labour had been really serIous about Errol they would have given him already a top position, or if not considered him on the list, they should have given him some role in the Labour machinery, but since that time to now, that hasn't been the case,” Mr Aperahama says.

He says it's unlikely Erroll Mason can win Te Tai Hauauru as long as Tariana Turia is the Maori Party candidate.


A Maori business consultant has been shortlisted for an award for excellence in business support.

Philip Broughton from Ngai Tahu and Ngati Kahungunu runs the Maori business facilitation service in the South Island for Te Puni Kokiri.

The Dunedin chartered accountant has worked with more than 300 Maori businesses, and says there are subtle differences from their mainstream counterparts around tikanga and whanaungatanga.

But the key to success is good relationships, which Maori are good at.

“The Maori community have always been good talkers. They’ve always been good traders. If we can give them a framework, then often they can build some wonderful houses,” Mr Broughton says.

The success of Ngai Tahu in business has inspired many individual Maori in the South Island to strike out on their own.


He's left big shoes to fill.

That's Maori publisher Robyn Bargh's tribute to Hone Tuwhare, who is being buried today.

The reknowned poet died in Dunedin last Wednesday at the age of 85.
His funeral service is at one this afternoon at Te Kotahitanga Marae in Kaikohe, his birthplace.

Ms Bargh says Tuwhare inspired many others with his ability to weave Maori and working class stories into his poetry.

“Hone Tuwhare I think what was significant about him was he stood out on his own. He went places other people haven’t gone. And over a long time of course, over 40 years or so, so it’s going to take a long time to recover that and build up some other people in that spirit,” Ms Bargh says.

Since he was first published in the 1960s, Hone Tuwhare set the benchmark for aspiring Maori poets.


An exceptional New Zealander is being laid to rest today.

Hundreds of people passed through Te Kotahitanga Marae in Kaikohe yesterday to pay tribute to poet Hone Tuwhare, who died last week in Dunedin aged 85.

He's to be buried beside his mother at Wharepaepae this afternoon.

Robin Bargh from Huia Publishers says Tuwhare has been inspiring other writers since his first poems were published more than 40 years ago.

And while most publishers shy away from poetry, that first book, No Ordinary Sun, is still in print.

Ms Bargh says that's a sign of his exceptional qualities.

“Hone Tuwhare had a particular talent that is really hard to find and replace. Great thoughts. He was able to use language in a way other people couldn’t. He could use Maori language and English. That’s not easily just found. If someone walked in our door with that sort of skill, we would probably publish them,” Ms Bargh says.

The funeral starts at one this afternoon


The national sprint waka ama championships are done and dusted, but the country's top paddlers aren't putting away their paddles just yet.

Hoturoa Kerr says the focus now is on the world waka ama sprint championships in California in August.

He says the question is whether to send the top club crews to Sacramento or pull together a national team.

“The selection panels will start looking at what the best outcomes are because often pulling someone out of one team and putting them in another doesn’t make it better, it doesn't work,” Mr Kerr says.

East Coast clubs Horouta and Mareikura dominated the regatta on Lake Karapiro which ended on the weekend, with Te Aurere from Roturua also taking home some medals.


Auckland War Memorial museum is trying to let people into the secrets of the meeting house.

The museum held the first in a series of wananga last Saturday at which Maori educator Kepa Rangiheuea showed people how to read a wharenui.

Geraldine Warren, the museum's Maori librarian, says he explained how what appears a dense mass of carving has its own language.

“He looked at the wharenui, the pataka, discussing how they are ancestors and how they are related to each other. He also talked about the tokotoko and about how the carving notches were used as memnonic aids to recall whakapapa,” Ms Warren says.

The next wananga is on February 2.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Little hope for UN probe

A Maori Party MP is conceding a United Nations investigation into last October's anti-terror raids in the Bay of Plenty will have little effect.

UN officials have sent a "please explain" letter to the government asking for information whether there were human rights breaches in the way people were treated.

Te Ururoa Flavell says the government will probably ignore any report which comes out of the UN about the issue.

He says its defence always seems to be to point to human rights abuses by other UN members.

“If there are any issues with respect to human rights for indigenous peoples in Aotearoa, then the Government doesn’t give too much credit to the United Nations, even though we’re very quick to stand up and come to the defence of the United Nations should it be looking at other countries, so we don’t hold out too much hope,” Mr Flavell says.

He says the government is earning a shocking record overseas for its treatment of the indigenous peoples of Aotearoa.


The Federation of Maori Authorities is picking an increase in investment activity this year by its members.

Paul Morgan, the federation's executive vice chairperson, says the Maori trusts are diversifying their portfolios so they are not too dependent on the farming or forestry sectors.

He says the 10 largest authorities would between them have more than $2 billion invested in commercial property.

“There's more and more investment in commercial property, and it can be from bulk store retail areas, shopping malls, commercial buildings, large scale retail outlets, so it’s happening and continuously happening,” Mr Morgan says.

Many authorities, especially in the central North Island, are investing in geothermal or wind energy projects.


He was right up there with the literary greats.

That's the tribute the Prime Minister has paid to Hone Tuwhare, whose tangi is going on at Kaikohe.

Helen Clark says the Ngapuhi poet was an incredibly significant figure in New Zealand literature, despite having little formal education.

His 1964 collection No Ordinary Sun was the first book by a Maori poet published in English, and he went on to win national and international recognition.

Ms Clark says when she instigated the Prime Minister's awards for literature in 2003, there was little debate about the initial line up.

“Hone was one of the three great firsts to be nominated. And I presented him with an award in Parliament in 2003 for his lifetime achievement in poetry. The two other people who got awards were Michael King and Janet Frame. Doesn’t that tell us where Hone was - right up there with the literary greats,” Ms Clark says.

Hone Tuwhare's funeral will be held at one tomorrow at Te Kotahitanga marae in Kaikohe.


Labour's Taitokerua candidate has indicated the gloves are off for his election year contest with Hone Harawira.

Kelvin Davis will kick off his campaign on February 5 at his home marae at Karetu in the Bay of Islands.

But the former Kaitaia Intermediate school principal has already come out fighting, accusing the Maori Party MP of failing to deliver for Maori voters in the north, despite his high profile.

“Hone is a master of self promotion, and I’m not trying to denigrate him, he’s the master of it, he’s a real politician and he’s made a noise, he’s done a lot of things that have grabbed publicity and good on him. I just still ask the question, where are the real tangible results for Maori in the last three years since the Maori Party has been a force,” Mr Davis says.

He's taking to heart Mr Harawira advice that if he was polite, no one would listen.


A Maori academic is warning that tighter access to mainstream universities could have negative consequences for wananga.

Rawiri Taonui, the head of Maori studies at Canterbury University, says the changes, which are driven by new funding rules, will affect Maori, who are more likely to be second chance learners.

He says the challenge for Maori tertiary institutions will be to maintain the quality of their specialist degrees, rather than allowing themselves to be seen as a soft option for Maori students.

“In the future places like Auckland, University of Canterbury, Victoria, they’ll become places for Pakeha people and middle class Maori people, and the degrees will carry some status, and the wananga and the kura kaupapa sorts of things will be seen as sort of ethnic and inferior, and that’s a real concern,” Mr Taonui says.


Numbers were up again at this year's Waka Ama nationals at Lake Karapiro.

Organising committee member Hoturoa Kerr says more than 2500 paddlers took to the water during the five day event.

Horouta from the East Coast again showed its dominance of the sport, grabbing 18 gold medals.

Its 6-strong young women's crew, the Hinerupe Maidens, won the 500 and 1000 metre titles for a fourth straight year.

Mr Kerr says the growth of the sport is driven by rangatahi.

“They tell their parents they’re coming to waka. Then their parents tell someone else and their kids turn up. You end up with a waka that’s half of one family and half of another. Everyone’s down there having a good time, and then the parents jump in and start paddling too,” Mr Kerr says.

The next major sprint event is the World Championships in Sacramento, California in August.

No ordinary son back home

Hone Tuwhare is back in his home town Kaitaia, where arrangements are being made for his funeral at Te Kotahitaga Marae tomorrow.

The 85 year old poet died in Dunedin last Wednesday after a long illness, and has been lying in state in the city.

Labour MP Shane Jones says Tuwhare had inspired generations of young Maori, particularly his anti-nuclear poem No Ordinary Sun, first published in 1964.

“That particular poem and the fact it was put together by a Maori was a revelation. The way he used English language didn’t seem to accept that poetry should be bound by all sorts of conventions. He managed to evoke the Maori spirit. He talked about the Hokianga, he talked about death, he talked about life, he talked about the slap of the canoe paddles. All of these things brought Maori culture and Maori identity to a broader audience,” Mr Jones says.

He says Tuwhare had a healthy sense of irreverence, and his poetry can be seen as an antidote to the calcification of Maori culture.

Hone Tuwhare’s funeral will be at 1pm on Tuesday.


Liaison officers will this week start working with Maori wardens in six regions.

Te Rau Clarke from Te Puni Kokiri says the appointments are part of a programme to strengthen the wardens organisationally and improve the effectiveness of their community work.

“Never before have Maori Wardens had paid staff focused only on wardens’ mahi, so they’re used as a resource to help them administrate themselves, improved ways to help them manage meetings, how to plan, all those sort of things that have been missing and they’ve done it on their own,” Mr Clarke says.

The wardens have operated under the New Zealand Maori Council, but there was minimal funding until a $2.5 million dollar boost in last year's budget for uniforms, vehicles, communications equipment and training.


Maori operators are looking at how they can give tourists more for their dollar.

A Tourism New Zealand visitor survey has found an increase in the expectations travelers have of the country's core strengths - scenery, security and Maori culture.

Bryan Hughes, the Maori deputy chair of Tourism Rotorua says operators find visitors want to interact with locals rather than just watch performances.

“Somehow we have to rise to the expectations international tourists are now having where they do with to engage with local cultures whenever they travel, but they don’t want to do this in a way where they feel it has been turned on specifically for them,” Mr Hughes says.

One approach is to make use of existing programmes, such as an a new tour of Mokoia Island by iwi-owned company Wai Ora which includes a look at the work Mita Mohi does training rangatahi in Maori martial arts and culture.


A Maori academic says a call by former prime minister Mike Moore for a constitutional review are unlikely to find much support from Maori - this year.

Rawiri Taonui, the head of Maori studies at Canterbury University says any discussion about New Zealand's constitutional arrangement will need to focus on the place of the Treaty of Waitangi.

There has also been talk of a Maori representative body or parliament.

“Some impetus has been added to that with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples being passed last year. Having said that, it does seem that Maori have been sitting back in ’08 and and looking forward to the election and seeing what happens then,” Mr Taonui says.


The gap between Maori and non-Maori students is continuing to frustrate those charged with eliminating it.

Doug Hauraki from the Maori Education Trust, which hands out more than a million dollars a year in financial aid to Maori students, says the number of Maori who make it to university or polytechnic is still too low.

He says over its 47 years the trust has helped more than 150,000 students who have gone on to graduate, but more needs to be done.

“The disparities in achievement at tertiary level between Maori and Pakeha, while it has improved for Maori, the gap still exists between Maori and non Maori,” Mr Hauraki says.

Maori students wanting secondary or tertiary scholarships should check out the trust's website at maorieducation.org.nz


The author of a report on Maori in Australia says chain migration by whanau is helping boost the number of citizens crossing the Tasman.

More than 27,000 New Zealanders shifted to Australia last year, the largest number since 1988.

Paul Hamer, a former Te Puni Kokiri policy analyst, says there appears to be a 10 year cycle, which is currently nearing a peak.

He says individuals usually go for economic reasons, and then encourage whanau to follow.

“They secure a kind of base in Australia and then they’re followed by immediate family, by cousins, by aunties, so I’ve certainly come across situations where one persons movement has led to 30, 40, 50 people relocating to Australia so that whanau can stay together, because obviously that’s so important to so many Maori,” Mr Hamer says.

He says many Maori in Australia discover how much they have taken their culture for granted, and they work hard to maintain it over there.