Waatea News Update

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Marae still not safe for PM

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is backing the Prime Minister's decision to again stay away from the lower Te Tii Marae at Waitangi.

Mrs Turia says Helen Clark has a right to feel safe in Maori settings, and if that can't be guaranteed don't expect her to attend.

The Prime Minister hasn't been back to the marae since the rowdy reception she got in 2004, the same year Don Brash had mud thrown at him.

“That's not the only incident that happened to her. She was also confronted the year before in the whare which reduced her to tears so she had the courage to go back once but doesn’t feel safe to do it again so I don’t hold that against her,” Mrs Turia says.


If you have ever wanted to taste dried shark, then head for Kawhia this weekend and the Maori Kai Festival.

It's the fifth year the Waikato township has celebrated Maori food from the land and sea including whitebait, mussels, paua and fermented corn prepared in the ancient ways.

Organiser Lloyd Whiu says all 10 marae from round the harbour take part, with whanau coming from as far away as Australia and the South Island to help collect and cook the food.

“Whether it's from the bush, or whether it’s from the moana itself, and there’s a whole range of food we’ve had from the past four years or so that a lot of people are coming back to learn. Some family come back to wananga. Some family just come back to wananga on the kono we use in the hangi, we try to get away from the plastic and the tinfoil,” he says.

Mr Whiu says the festival is leading to long term employment oportunities for Kawhia people.


Bowlers from around the country are heading for Kaipara this weekend for the 34th Aotearoa Maori Bowls Tournament.

Myna Bristow from the Ruawai Bowling Club, says it's the first time Kaipara has hosted the tournament.

It's always been a popular sport among Maori, and the number of younger people playing is on the increase, and need to be supported.


Voluntary community wardens could soon be patrolling the streets of Manurewa to put the lid on tensions in the south Auckland suburb.

More than 400 people turned out for a hui at Manurewa Marae today called by the marae, the Maori Wardens and the Maori Women's Welfare league.

Community worker Tu McLean says there was representation from the Maori, Pacific Island and migrant communities, government and voluntary agencies, Black Power and Mongrel Mob, and Manukau mayor Len Brown.

He says there was a feeling the community needed healing after last month's two homicides, and it needs action.

“There are some things we could action. For example, street wardens. People that could look after their street. There was a strong feeling at this meeting that they didn’t just want to be neighbourhood watch but they wanted to be actually be part and parcel of activities in the streets,” Mr McLean says

There will be another hui next week to develop some of the ideas further.


More Maori ancestors are returning home.

Oxford University is to return four sets of human remains from its Museum of Natural History.

Te Herekiekie Herewini, Te Papa's repatriation manager, says since the national museum started an intensive campaign, many overseas institutions had started reviewing their holdings and questioning why they hold Maori bones.

“There's been a lot of good work happened over the last three years and now the fruits of the mahi are taking place where institutes are agreeing for the repatriations to take place,” he says.

The koiwi were acquired by Oxford during the 19th century and include two Maori skulls, a half pelvis and a female Moriori skull from Chatham Island.


Christchurch has been enjoying an unfamiliar banquet of Polynesian culture this week.

The eighth Waru Pacific Arts Festival has featured work by Maori and Pasifika fibre artists, weavers, photographers, fashion designers, poets, writers and musicians.

It's winding up with a family day at the Christchurch Arts centre tomorrow.

Maria Ifopo, the visual arts coordinator, says it has brought Maori and Pacific Island people into the hub of the city.

“There are festivals that do occur around Christchurch but they’re more in the suburbs around where you’ll find the brown populations living. This one’s right in Christchurch. We quite like it like that, bringing it out. It also allows the Pakeha Christchurch to see this other element that is a little bit underground really in Christchurch,” Ms Ifopo says.

One festival that's not underground is Te Ra o te Raukura at Te Whiti Park in Lower Hutt on Sunday.

It's the 13th year that the community around Waiwhetu Marae has held the celebration, and 20 thousand people are expected to catch legendary dance band Ardijah, sample the traditional kai and check out the traditional arts & crafts on display.

Youth on Manurewa agenda

Maori in Manurewa meet today to discuss what they can do about the surge of violent youth crime in the sprawling South Auckland suburb.

Dick Waihi, the police iwi liaision officer for the Counties Manukau region, says social trends within the Maori community have a lot to do with the problem.

That's why youth and community programmes, such as one running in Clendon, are the best hope for calming things down ... and they need more resources, staff and community backing.

“There's a lot of single parent families out there and there’s no role models, especially the boys tend to go out and do their own thing, and I think if they put the kids on the programme, brought in some role models, I think those kids will start to turn around,” Mr Waihi says.

He says the increased use of knives in disputes has increased the risk of serious injuries and even fatalities.


Te Tai Tonga MP Mahara Okeroa is off to France this month to mark the contribution of a select group of Maori in the First World War.

The associate minister of culture and heritage will attend the opening of the Tunnelers Museum in Arras, near the Belgian border.

That's where members of the Pioneer Battalion and more than 400 Maori working for the New Zealand Quarrying Company fought an underground battle against German tunnelers, creating a 24 kilometre network of tunnels between the town and the front line.

“What we're doing is opening the part where the New Zealand forces were. It’s called the Wellington Cavern and it could hold 4000 troops in relative comfort underground, with all the facilities like a hospital operating theatre, the whole facilities that are necessary for a reasonable standard of living underground,” Mr Okeroa says.

France has spent more than $7 million creating the memorial to the New Zealand war effort.


A Ngati Awa man joins a small but closely knit club today.

Eddie Paul is being sworn in as a judge at Whakatane District Court, followed by a hui at his home marae, Wairaka.

He's worked for 20 years in the law, the last 10 as a public defender, and says he's valued the support of Maori in the sytem, particularly the judges.

I've received a great deal of support from my whanaungas on the bench, form the district court, Maori land court, High Court. We’re well supported, although small in number,” Mr Paul says.


A Northland iwi hopes a report on the country's environment will help its effort to clean up the region's waterways.

The 450 page document highlights the negative effects of agriculture in many regions, and threats to fish, birds and plants.

Te Tui Shortland from Ngati Wai says none of the northern coastal areas monitored were considered safe for swimming, which means they are probably not safe for gathering kai.

She says iwi within the whole catchment must work together.

“Other iwi and hapu are talking about catchment management planning. Definitely something we’ll be doing. Ngati Wai has the capacity to do freshwater monitoring. That’s part of the reason we are trying to encourage that to happen within the resource consent process. But I think it is something we will need to do with other stakeholders, with the councils, because it will be such a big job to fix up,” Ms Shortland says.

Northland has the highest number of threatened indigenous plants and animal species, so Ngati Wai wants developers to include wetlands and margin planting in any new projects.


The New Zealand Electronic Text Centre says if it doesn't put Maori content online, someone else will.

The centre has just posted a collection of documents about ta moko, including Horatio Robley's 1896 text Maori Tattooing.

Director Alison Stevenson says after consultation with Maori, illustrations based on moko mokai and other human remains were left out.

She says it's important Maori have a say in how matauranga Maori or knowledge is spread digitally.

“There's a risk that in New Zealand organisations don’t take on these projects and try to understand the issues around them, that global corporations like Google will simply come along and digitise huge swathes of this sort of information and put it all up on line with no restrictions as to access and no sensitivity towards the suppression of some of this content,” Ms Stevenson says.

As a result of the project, the Electronic Text Centre removed pictures of preserved heads already on its site.


Auckland will play host to a musical menage a trois tonight.

The Feel the Seasons Change concert includes traditional Maori instrumentalists alongside dance musicians and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Richard Nunns, who'll play taonga puoro, says it's an ambitious project.

“The symphony orchestra are playing arrangements of Salmonella Dub pieces and Salmonella Dub are sort of in there as well. It’s called feel the Seasons Change and I think symbolically they think it’s the old and the new world and of course the climate seasons as well. And I have the privilege of being, along with Whirimako Black, we are the voice of the past,” Mr Nunns says.

After Auckland the ensemble heads to Christchurch for a show next Friday.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Leaders whistle up the dogs

Dog whistling - that's Sue Bradford's tag for this week's speeches by John Key and Helen Clark.

The Green MP says the coded language the party leaders are using to appeal to their supporters blames all society's ills to the actions of young people.

She says by attacking people who can't speak back, they sidestepped the underlying social and economic factors affecting places like South Auckland.

“I think this is another generation of trying to find a group in society who don’t have a strong voice. The last time we saw it happen with Maori big time. We’ve also seen a lot of it aimed at beneficiaries and unemployed people. This time it appears that it’s young people who are being targeted and demonized,” Ms Bradford says.


The number of Maori doing apprenticeships is lagging their representation in the population.

The Maori Affairs Minister, Parekura Horomia, says the September quarter statistics show more than 14,400 young people had signed on to the modern apprenticeship scheme, well ahead of Labour's target.

He says more than 1500 of them are Maori.

Manukau Institute of Technology director of Maori Wiremu Doherty says because of the relatively young age of the Maori population, the number of Maori apprentices should be closer to 3000.

He says the wrong signals are being sent to rangatahi.

“Far too long there was this drive and this passion that the only thing that led to employment was a university tertiary education and somewhere along the line we lost sight of our trades,” Mr Doherty says.

He says the industry training organisations need to lift their preformance in building relationships with Maori communities, schools and wananga.


A key document in the revival of ta moko has been put online.

The New Zealand Electronic Text Centre has made available a copy of Horatio Robley's 1896 book Maori Tattooing.

Alison Stevenson, the centre's director, says there were concerns about Robley's use of preserved heads for some of his research.

The project generated debate about the digitisation of matauranga Maori, and the centre consulted with ta moko artists and other Maori on what sort of Maori knowledge should be made available.

“As a result of that consultation work, we decided to go ahead with the digitization work, but suppress from the online edition any images of mokomokai or ancestral remains. We felt that it would be disrespectful to include those in a freely available online version,” Ms Stevenson says.

Other moko-related texts have also been posted, including a contemporary essay and a 19th century manuscript written by Wiremu Maihi Te Rangikaheke for Governor Grey.


The organiser of treaty commemorations at Waitangi says the flag activists want flown on the Auckland Harbour Bridge isn't the Maori flag.

Pita Paraone from Ngati Hine, who is also a New Zealand First MP, would like to see a flag representing Maori fluing from the bridge on Waitangi Day.

But the black and red flag, which came out of a competition run by a sovereignty group, doesn't have his support.

“It's become common for many people to perceive the tino rangatiratanga flag as being the Maori flag. There hasn’t been a general discussion that that is the Maori flag. Until that discussion takes place and there is general agreement that yeah, that’s our flag, I fo not believe we have a flag that represents Maori,” Mr Paraone says.

A stronger contender for a Maori flag would be the white New Zealand ensign flown at Waitangi.


The minister of Maori Affairs is defending the government's record on trade training, despite Maori being under-represented on the modern apprenticeship scheme.

Parekura Horomia says the government has exceeded its target of 14,000 modern apprentices with a year to spare, and more than 1500 of them are Maori.

That's only about half of what could be expected, given the relative youth of the Maori population.

But he says the important thing is those young people now have a more secure future ahead of them.

“That 1500 families will look after themselves for a long long time because of their ticket, because of their qualification, and because staying in the education forum and that’s really where we’re going. Educate the whanau and they’ll look after themselves,” Mr Horomia says.

The government is keen to keep young people in school or training.


A three-year study into a virus which causes bronchiolitis, croup and pneumonia has found Maori children are more severely affected.

Most children under two have Respiratory syncytial virus, but a study found a disproportionate number of Maori among the infants hospitalised with bronchiolitis during the study period.

Joanna Kirman from the Infectious Diseases Group at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research says the number is high even when known risk factors... such as smoking rates... are taken into account.

She says the next stage of the research will be to look at nutrition factors.

“One thing we’re looking at in particular is vitamin D because deficiencies in vitamin D have been shown to be linked to severe respiratory diseases so that could give us a clue and it’s very easily treatable as well,” Dr Kirman says.

The team has funding from the Lottery Health Research to continue its research.

Foreshore deal stirring up Coast

The Government's plan to sign an agreement on foreshore and seabed rights with the Ngati Porou Runanga is stirring up long standing splits on the East Coast.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Michael Cullen met runanga leaders at Tokomaru Bay on Monday to finalise some of the details, and he'll be back on the coast next Tuesday to sign an agreement in principle.

According to material previously on the runanga website, it is seeking recognition for the iwi in regional plans and other statutory documents, and it wants coastal hapu to develop management regimes and set bylaws.

But Lou Tangaere, from the Ruawaipu people of Rangitukia and Tikitiki says the runanga has a history of riding roughshod over the iwi who make up the wider tribe.

“All the meeting houses along the coast, they have always been a whanau or hapu organisation, and they are the guardians of those seafood areas from Potaka, Hicks Bay, Te Araroa, Reretukuia, Tikapa right through to Gisborne,” Mr Tangaere says.

He says the government shouldn't be going ahead with the foreshore deal when Ruawaipu and other iwi are also challenging the Ngati Porou Runanga's bid to enter direct negotiations on East Coast land claims.


The Maori tertiary students association says high debt levels are forcing some Maori to drop out.

Victor Manawatu from Te Mana Akonga says Maori students often start later, when they've already started families.

This means they're more likely to have dependents than younger students, and their debt levels can reflect that.

“They do have to put food on the table for their children. They do have a life outside of tertiary education, and they all impact on their life style, impact on their study, so you’ll see quite a few that actually drop out of tertiary study because they just can’t afford to live, put food on the table and study,” Mr Manawatu says.

The debt burden also affects the ability of Maori graduates to buy homes, which could have a long term impact on the Maori economy.


Former rugby international Eric Rush is joining an elite group of Maori players.

It's the team that's moved from grass to groceries.

The South Auckland lawyer is packing supermarket shelves as he learns the ins and outs of the trade.

He decided to become a supermarket owner-operator after talking to longtime friend Robin Brooke.

“Rob's got a supermarket of his own and Michel Scott, used to platy halfback for the New Zealand Maoris, he’s got a New World down in Taumarunui, and they’re doing really well. They’re two of the guy’s along with Vern Hayden, my boss at Manukau, they encouraged me to get into it and have a go,” Mr Rush says,

He says the first lesson he learned was no discounts, even to old teammates.


This year's deadline for submitting historical claims to the Waitangi Tribunal could add extra spice to tonight's treaty debate at Te Papa in Wellington.

First up are Mason Durie, head of Maori studies at Massey University and an expert in Maori health and development, and former Victoria University law professor Matthew Palmer, who has been studying and teaching constitutional issues at Cambridge and Yale universities.

Claudia Orange from Te Papa says the debates tend to focus on issues which have become topical in the current year.

She says even if historical claims are resolved, there will be continuing work for the tribunal in advising on relationships between Maori and non-Maori, the sharing of power and the ability of Maori to have input into decision-making processes.

“This is going to be an ongoing matter for us getting our heads together and considering new ways of looking at things. And certainly the constitution and issue arising form a possible new constitution would bring those issues to the fore. We’re not right up against those right at this time, but it would be interesting to see what Matthew Palmer has to say,” Dr Orange says.

The debate starts at 6.30, and it will be broadcast by Radio New Zealand National.


The Ngapuhi claims design team is trying to draw all hapu around the Hokianga into its Waitangi Tribunal process.

Some of the marae on the north side of the harbour are caught up in the Te Rarawa Runanga's proposed settlement, even though their claims have not been heard.

Design team chair Rudy Taylor says a series of hui late last year had succeeded in shoring up support for those hapu to have their stories told.

“Our hapus are waking up now that they need to have a voice for them to stand on and relate to what the hapus are thinking. Having a strategy of runangas talking for everybody is that some hapus don’t even know what is going on, and that’s why we have these problems with communication,” Mr Taylor says.


While south Auckland has been boiling this summer, previous trouble spots like Wainuiomata and Wairoa have been relatively quiet.

That could be because they're running a new holiday programmes under the banner Tamaiti Whangai.

It's the brainchild of Kara Puketapu, a former head of Maori Affairs.

He says the programme takes a whole of community approach, and it's being embraced by Maori.

In Wainuiomata it's run out of the former high school.

“We're up to 300 children a day. The shopping malls are empty immediately. The kids are positive and doing, they run from five years to 16 or 17 with tutors, they might have creative art, music, dancing, sport, whatever, They’re knocking on the door at bloody half past eight in the morning to get in,” Mr Puketapu says.

Tamaiti Whangai isn't restricted to holiday programmes, and it's proving an effective way to deal with a wide range of problems.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Life experience needed for social work

The head of one of the country's most successful Maori social service providers says outsiders can't do the job.

John Tamihere from West Auckland's Waipareira Trust says the current spate of youth crime is going to need some specialist intervention in dysfunctional families, many of them Maori.

He says it's not a place for do-gooders, who may impose their own values systems on a completely different environment.

“They then look at a lot of our people, who are failing people, and treat with them with their values. Well, there’s a values clash, not just a culture clash, not just a Maori Pakeha things. And unless you have people who come from that background worked in that background, have salvaged themselves and are the best workers to relate to these people, you’re not going to get through to them,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says a plan to test pre-school children for anti social behaviour is a good idea, as long as the proper early intervention programmes are developed.


The high New Zealand dollar and rising production costs are hitting Maori orchardists hard.

Maanu Paul, who grows organic kiwifruit near Whakatane, says the once lucrative industry is in crisis.

He says Maori produce around 40 percent of the kiwifruit crop, and are now getting a meagre return on investment.

“There is very little profit now in kiwifruit growing. Five years ago we were getting abut $10 a tray and it was costing us about $2 to produce it. Now we’re getting $6 a tray and it’s costing us $4.50 to produce it,” Mr Paul says.

He says the strict quality control demanded by overseas buyers has pushed up costs.


Maori performers have been given the chance to shine at the Festival of LIghts in New Plymouth.

Emere Wano of Titi Event Management approached the city council with a Sounds of Aotearoa programme because of concern the long running festival had little Maori content.

The programme, which finishes this Sunday, showcases performers like The House Of Shem, Krumping, Toni Huata and her jazz band, Boss Heke, Morgana Watson and the Paatea Maori Club.

She says it was a new experience for the city.

“Sometimes councils in cities, we tend to forget pockets of our community that do exist and want to have the same experiences as others and encourage them to just get out and be seen and be involved in their community,” she says.

The Festival of Lights runs through until March 16th at Pukekura Park.


The Greens Maori spokesperson believes Transit have blown an opportunity to celebrate the country's unique history.

Metiria Turei says the roading body should have let the tino rangatiratanga flag to fly alongside the national ensign on Auckland Harbour Bridge on Waitangi Day.

Transit stopped flying any flag but the New Zealand flag after a similar controversy last year.

Ms Turei says that response only fuels the debate.

“The debate about the flag flying becomes an us against them debate as opposed to if they had just agreed that on Waitangi Day, one day a year, it would be appropriate to fly it, then it would be a unity debate,” Ms Turei says.

She says flying the flags would be a symbol of the way Maori and Pakeha work together.


Maori parents are being told to make their children play sport.

Former All Black and sevens player Eric Rush says too few Maori are getting to the top levels of their sports.

He says parents don't push the issue when rangatahi say they're not interested in competing, resulting in too many young people lacking direction in their lives.

“I think there's a lot to be learnt from playing sport,. All this crap that’s happening on the street nowadays, those fellows are just bored, they’ve got nothing better to do than get into trouble. Kids will have a go at anything if they’re pushed into it It’s just not PC to do that any more and I think that’s wrong. Kids need to be told this is what you’re doing and this is when you're doing it,” Mr Rush says.

He says parents need to accept they need to make a commitment to their children's sport, even if it means taking them to training.


Aspiring Maori writers have been meeting in Rotorua to hone their craft.

Tutor Brian Potiki, a poet and playwright, says new writers need to understand not only the mechanics of the writing process but how to get their work published.

Some of those on the three day workshop at Waiariki Polytechnic have a clear idea of how they want to use their new skills.

“There are a couple of young Maori there who are wanting to go further. They’ve made the start, they’ve come along, they’re quite confident in what they want already. They’re starting to read around and look for models and look for mentors. These ones who’ve come to this class want to expand their work,” Mr Potiki says.

Atiawa lodges claim for water

A top of the South Island iwi wants the Waitangi Tribunal to weigh in on its fight for the region's water.

Te Atiawa Manawhenua Ki Te Tau Ihu and the Wakatu Incorporation has been fighting the Tasman District Council over a policy which gives water use rights to land users rather than landowners.

Harvey Ruru, the tribe's chairperson, says he's lodged a claim because the council is ignoring its treaty right to water.

He expects other Te Tau Ihu iwi to join in.

“Once other iwi start moving towards their meetings beginning this year and becoming more aware of what the situation is we’re certain, like we have been in many issues including the foreshore and seabed issue, that they will come on board and support us,” Mr Ruru says.

Maori landowners in Motueka can't guarantee supplies of water from under their land, because it's being pumped up and sent off to new housing developments at Mapua.


Maori are missing out on the full benefits of Kiwisaver.

A study by Waikato University's Management School and the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research found the tax incentives in Kiwisaver favour rich white males with degrees.

Co-author John Gibson, a professor of economics, says Maori are joining at a lower rate than non-Maori, particularly those in self-employment, and because their average pay is lower, they will get less over the life of the scheme.

“If you think of a comparison of size of population and share of tax incentives, the Maori and Pasifika in the same group are about half of the share you would expect based on their population size,” he says.

Professor Gibson says it's the tax free component of Kiwisaver which creates the greatest inequality.


A call for Maori to focus on the rangatahi.

Former MP John Tamihere from west Auckland's Waipareira Trust in West Auckland says many Maori leaders have put their energies into treaty settlements, while their young people slip through the gaps.

Too many rangatahi leave school without qualifications, they lack self-esteem and they don't feel part of the community.

That's a recipe for trouble.

“Whilst we have got one part of our Maori society screaming ahead out of treaty settlements and all the pretty ones that have got to university and gone through, we’ve got this huge burden and huge anchor at the bottom end of Maori society and New Zealand society, and we really have to now concentrate our minds on just how to fix it,” Mr Tamihere says.


There's one roopu heading for Waitangi next week which has no intention of celebrating.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says Waitangi Day is a reminder of how Maori are being starved of the resources guaranteed in the treaty which they need to address their social problems.

She says the reality for many Maori families isn't the picture of positive development painted by the government.

‘The government’s crowing about how many people are in emplymewnt but our people are the working poor If we had our land, if we had our resources, our people would be fine, because we would be able to take care of our own, but we can’t. We simply don't have the means to do it," Mrs Turia says.


A veteran Maori community worker says too much wasted effort is put into dysfunctional Maori families.

Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, who was a Maori welfare officer before heading up Kohanga Reo, says current approaches to community problems are often uncoordinated and inefficient.

She says a plan to test preschoolers for anti-social behaviour, and give support to their parents, will only work if it's done in a coordinated and culturally appropriate way.

“It's no use seven or eight agencies going in. Yu have to have someone going in and can deal with the whole family situation, not just the child abuse, not just the drugs,” Mrs Tawhiwhirangi says.

She says kohanga reo succeeded because it adopted a whole of whanau approach.


Rugby League's governing body is coming under fire for not reflecting the players.

Commentator Ken Laban says the bulk of players are Maori and Pacific Islands - but they get little say in the way the game is run.

And he says anyone south of the Bombay Hills doesn't get a look in.

“The Auckland dominance of the game may well see those people closer to the game in Auckland get first preference to a lot of those positions but I do have some severe doubts as to whether or not the governance and administrations of New Zealand rugby league is in touch with the grass roots of the sport,” Mr Laban says.


Organisers of a Pare-Hauraki wananga are bouyed by support for maintaining the confederation's unique reo, kawa and history.

The hui at Ngahu-Toitoi marae in Paeroa over the long weekend attracted almost 100 people keen to learn some of the skills of whaikorero and waiata required on the marae.

Korohere Ngapo says the wananga was called because of concern the ranks of kaumatua in the region are getting thin.

“The consensus was these wananga must carry on for the betterment of reo and tikanga and issues relating to kawa for Pare Hauraki,” Mr Ngapo says.

Smaller wananga will be organised in Auckland and Hamilton so groups can learn the iwi's traditional waiata.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Key strategy out of step

Boot Camp is not what it used to be.

That's the view of Malaya veteran Jim Perry, who still has whanau serving in the army.

National leader John Key has proposed young offender get up to three months residential training with the army as part of a year long Fresh Start Programme.

Mr Perry says the modern army has to take account of the soldiers' human rights and other employment legislation, so the old style toughening up most people consider to be boot camp no longer exists.

“John Key will pick up support for his get tough army boot camp idea as part of the fresh start programmes, but, boot camps are no longer the epitome of disciple they once were. The leniency exercised today is the equivalent of being hit over the hand with a wet bus ticket,” Mr Perry says.


The Greens will be making a play for the Maori vote this election.

Metiria Turei, its Maori spokesperson, says as a Pakeha organisation the Green Party has been doing its best to understand treaty issues and better meet Maori needs.

She says it has developed a good relationship with the Maori Party, but it has more to offer Maori in exchange for their party votes.

“The demographics of the Maori population is changing. It’s younger, it’s better educated, regardless of the issues around student loans. People are really questioning and analysing what politics and politicians are really saying, whether it really does affect them or not. And so there’s a shift away from our traditional support for Labour and more a questioning of other political parties and what they offer,” Ms Turei says.

She says Maori are looking for policies which are socially fair and environmentally sound.


One of Tuhoe's top composers is being honoured almost 20 years after her death.

The whanau of Kohine Ponika is preparing a docudrama about her life and a CD of some of her most famous songs.

Producer Ngahuia Wade says her grandmother started composing songs as a teenager in the 1930s, writing Maori words to popular tunes of the day, but quickly developed her own voice and sound.

She says many of the songs were picked up outside Ruatoki, as Maori of the day recognised their quality.

“Their hit parade, they didn’t just turn on the radio. Their hit parade was a at big Maori events all over the country that they traveled to. I find that people who attended those remember her songs quite distinctly,” Ms Wade says.

Filming for the Maori Television docudrama starts in Ruatoki next week.


Maori in Manurewa will meet later this week to discuss ways to heal their community.

The South Auckland suburb has been rocked by a series of violent crimes over the past month.

Tu McLean, a local community worker, says there's a desperate need more for resources from central government.

Apart from a small boost for Maori wardens, there's been little support for the sprawling suburb, which has one of the largest concentrations of Maori in the country.

He says Friday's hui will be chance for residents to come together.

“We've had a bit of korero amongst ourselves and we want to look for a way of bringing some wairua back to the community of Manurewa and look at ways of how we can heal our community and our whanau that live in Manurewa,” Mr McLean says.

The hui at Manurewa Marae will be hosted by the Manurewa Maori Wardens and the Maori Women's Welfare League.


Expect some fireworks at Waitangi this year.

That's the warning from Pita Paraone, who chairs of the Waitangi Day organising comittee.

He says Waitangi is traditionally a place for Maori to air their grievances with the Crown, so he says it's unrealistic to expect calm given October's police raid on Ruatoki.

“We would certainly be pushing the imagination to see a so called trouble free commemoration at Waitangi, and that’s usually determined by the political events during the year and I suspect that the terrorist raids on Ruatoki may have some impact as to how the day goes,” Mr Paraone says.

The formal programme includes a church service, sports tournament, a concert, 14 waka and contributions from the Navy frigate Canterbury.


If your moko comes home with a moko after the holiday break, be comforted that they're not alone.

Christchurch tatooist Riki Manuel says there's growing acceptance of traditional moko, even in mainstream society.

He's been working in ta moko for the past decade, as well as carving in wood.

He says more New Zealanders, Maori and Pakeha, are getting a Maori-flavoured tattoo.

“Sometimes it's just a matter of national pride for them, especially a lot of people who move overseas or traveling. They want to be recognised as kiwis and I think the moko art represents that better than any other,” Mr Manuel says.

If customers don't want to know about the meanings of the ta moko designs, he won't tattoo them.

Tertiary study low earning

The Greens' Maori Affairs spokesperson is attacking government politicians who claim credit for more Maori studying a tertiary level.

Metiria Turei says those same politicians have done little about the burden of Maori student debt, which has ballooned out to more than $2 billion.

She says changes in the labour market means qualifications are increasingly important for getting jobs, but they don't offer value for money.

“A certificate or diploma isn’t going to get you the job with the big money that’s going to help you pay back the debt. You really need to go back and do a degree or postgraduate education after that in order to attract the income and it’s putting Maori in a terrible position of increasing their debt levels but not getting the advantage of getting a tertiary education that is going to make a difference for them,”
Ms Turei says.

She says the student loan system works against many Maori students, who start their study later and often on a part time basis.


Meanwhile, a private sector company is taking the lead on getting Maori into the IT industry.

The New Zealand arm of global IT services giant EDS has announced it is partnering with the Maori Education Trust to offer four undergraduate and one post-graduate scholarship.

Te Puni Kokiri has put up matching funds, doubling the positions on offer.

Steve Murray of Ngati Kuri. the chief executive of EDS, says he decided on the initiative after looking at the composition of the company's 24-hundred strong New Zealand workforce.

“In our workplace Maori are definitely underrepresented and we can do something to change that. I guess if you look at Maori individuals, they’re a talented innovative group of people, and we want them as part of our diverse tapestry of our workforce,” Mr Murray says.

As well as study grants, the scholarship winners will get holiday work, mentoring, and a fast track into EDS's graduate recruitment programme.


The former head of Kohanga Reo fears a programme to screen pre-schoolers won't have the resources needed to tackle the problems it uncovers.

The Education Ministry is working with the ministries of Health and Social Development to test 4-year-olds for anti-social behaviour, and offer help for parents when problems are identified.

But Iritana Tawhiwhirangi says there aren't enough people with the skills to work with Maori families, if issues are identified with their tamariki.

“Now I don't think testing should take place without taking place within the bosom of the whanau so that everybody understands what the results of these are and how many people arte skilled enough to know hopw to deal with whanau, how to get into those homes,” Mrs Tawhiwhirangi says.

She says Maori children showing early signs of anti-social behaviour probably face many problems in their homes.


A tough response to youth crime.

That's the response of a former Maori Affairs community officer to a spate of killings in South Auckland.

Dennis Hansen says bringing back Maori community officers is one way to get young people and their families the help they need.

Another option is to bring back military service.

“Put them in the army and the navy and the air force. If they don’t want us to handle them in their own society, well let them be handled the same way in the army and the navy,” Mr Hansen says.

He says the old community officers had skills and cultural understandings which modern social workers seem to lack.


One of the country's newest judges is encouraged by the number of Maori gaining legal qualifications.

Craig Coxhead was sworn on to the bench of the Maori land court at a ceremony at Rangiaowhia Marae in Hamilton on Friday, alongside former colleague Stephen Clarke.

The former president of Te Hunga Roia Maori says when he started his career, Hamilton's Maori legal community could meet for lunch... all five of them.

It's a different story now.

“What's pleasing is there are more and more people, not only in practice but more and more Maori people with legal skills going off into a whole range of areas, lecturing, into policy, going to work for their runanga or trust boards, so he pai rawa,” Judge Coxhead says.

He will be based in Wellington, while Judge Clarke will remain in Hamilton.


The life of a prominent Tuhoe composer is the subject of a new docu-drama.

Kohine Ponika began writing waiata and moteatea at the age of 12.

Songs such as Karanga Karanga, Toia Mai Ra and E Rona E are still sung on marae today.

Her granddaughter, Ngahuia Wade, is directing the documentary, with filming due to start in Ruatoki next week.

She says one of the scenes will recreate Ponika's meeting with an important mentor.

“Sir Apirana Ngata, during one of his many trips to Ruatoki and to the Ureweras, was welcomed on to one of the marae there and noticed how beautiful the songs were, and at that stage my grandmother would have been about 20, and he asked her father who wrote these songs, and her father said ‘Well Kohine did, my daughter,’ so after that he proceeded to advise her on composition,” Ms Wade says.

A CD of Kohine Ponika's songs performed by whanau members will be released later in the year.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Couple ordained together

In what is believed to be a first for New Zealand, a Maori couple has been ordained together as Anglican priests.

Te Kitohi Pikaahu... the bishop of Tai Tokerau... presided over the ceremony at Whakamaharatanga Marae in Waimamaku on Sunday.

Piitotori Naera and his wife Marina Fong Naera will serve as full-time priests in Kaikohe, covering the Waimate-Taumarere area
Hone Kaa, who tutored the couple at St John's Theological College, Te Rau Kahikatea in Auckland, says they'll be an asset to the church.

“They were the first Maori couple to graduate together with the bachelor’s degree in theology and they must be the first husband and wife couple to be ordained priest together on the same day in the same place. One comes from Waimamaku and the other comes from Opononi.” Dr Kaa says

Bishop Pikaahu also ordained Beverly Crowther from Waikara marae at the edge of Waipoua Forest, who will work part-time in the ministry in Auckland.


A call to bring back Maori community officers to tackle youth crime and escalating violence.

Dennis Hansen, who was a community officer for the Department of Maori Affairs in the 1980s, says he and his colleagues knew where the trouble spots where and how to tackle them.

He says an expert network could be quickly activated, based out of the country's 11-hundred marae.

“All the communities by doing that are able to concentrate on who is breaking the law, who is not going to school, and also you can see hasn’t got any kai in their cupboard, who is gambling, who is going out drinking, but you‘re doing it in a more respectful manner,” Mr Hansen says.

Maori leaders warned 20 years ago that abolishing the Community Officers would lead to chaos.


A Springbok Tour protest leader who turned down an award from the South African Government says he has Maori backing for his stand.

John Minto was nominated for a Tambo award, the highest honour given to non-South Africans, in recognition of his role in the anti-apartheid protests.

He says a South Africa where the number of people living on less than a dollar a day has doubled over the past decade isn't what he was fighting for back in 1981.

Others in the movement expected regime change would bring more for the black majority.

“The Maori people who I know who were active in 1981 who I’ve spoken to about this have said yep, things haven’t gone the way we hoped they were going, and in fact share the disappointment that I do and I think we have to be really frank about that,” Mr Minto says.


EDS got more than it bargained for when it launched five information technology scholarships for Maori today.

The Maori Affairs Minister, Parekura Horomia, announced the Government would put matching funds into the Maori Education Trust - so EDS now has 10 students to mentor and find holiday work for.

Chief executive Steve Murray from Ngati Kuri says as the country's largest IT services company with 2400 staff, that shouldn't be hard.

He says Maori are under-represented in the industry, so EDS wanted to do its bit to boost numbers.

“The term IT can be a bit misleading. There’s a broad spectrum of capability and competency that we’ll be looking for and that we can put to work within EDS, being a global entity. Anything for cutting code through to managing accounts through to finance and business acumen etc etc,” Mr Murray says.

The former Tainui Group Holdings chief executive says experience with a global company is good grounding for Maori who may want to go on to work for tribal or Maori land-based corporates.


The Treaty Negotiations Minister and his two associates have been in Tokomaru Bay today trying to put the finishing touches on an agreement with Ngati Porou over rights to the foreshore and seabed.

Negotiations have dragged since 2003, but have quickened since Michael Cullen took over the portfolio.

The deal now on the table will give the East Coast iwi recognition in regional plans and other statutory documents, allow coastal hapu to develop management regimes and set bylaws, and gives veto powers over aquaculture developments in their rohe.

A spokesperson for Dr Cullen says today's trip is to acknowledge the progress being made on recognising Ngati Porou's enduring mana over the foreshore and seabed.

He says a public announcement is expected shortly.


With Anniversary day out of the way, Auckland iwi Ngati Whatua is getting ready for the next big public holiday.

It's hosting a Waiatangi Day celebration on its ancestral whenua at Okahu Bay in Orakei.

There will be music from House of Shem, Che Fu and Cornerstone Roots and other bands.

Coordinator Teri Davis the historic significance of the day won't be forgotten.

“For our powhiri we’re going to do the reenactment of the arrival of Governor Hobson so we’ve got sailing yachts and waka and whatnot coming ashore into Okahu Bay and the host tribe or hapu is going to do a big powhiri,” Ms Davis says.

Whangaroa dissenters can't see wood for trees

Members of Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa are fed up with a small splinter group which wants the benefits of $30 million treaty settlement for itself.

The group, with outside supporters, disrupted a settlement signing ceremony before Christmas, and last week it chopped down shelter belts on the farm which is due to be returned to the wider iwi.

Ella Henry, a claim negotiator, says the group is threatening an extraordinarily good settlement.

“Over 15 percent of our lanill be returned to us. I mean if 15 percent of Kaitahu or Tainui had been returned to them, it would be a completely different landscape for those iwi, so we are getting substantial land back, plus a working farm, and over a million dollars worth of stock and plant. This is the basis for our small tribe to really build for the future so it’s incredibly depressing when there is a raruraru, especially because I know it is between cousin and cousin, uncle and niece,” Ms Henry says.

The Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa Trust Board has asked the Office of Treaty Settlements, which is still the owner of the farm, to call in the police.


A Maori Party MP is trying to encourage other Pacific people to throw off the yolk of colonialism

Pita Sharples is in Hawaii running seminars at the Kamehameha schools, which were founded by descendants of Hawaiian royalty.

He says its a longstanding relationship and there are many similarities with what Maori have done in taking control of their education.

While their heart is with their culture surviving and their language and so on, they are very much under the America first. I teach them to make a stand on issues relating to justice, relating to language, their culture and tino rangatiratanga, just how we do it at home,” Dr Sharples says.

The Kamehameha schools have 5000 students on their three main campuses, as well as another 23,000 in community programmes and 1500 preschoolers.


Good weather and a full programme attracted 20,000 Ngapuhi home to Kaikohe this weekend for their third tribal festival.

Master of Ceremonies Julian Wilcox says the festivals have contributed to the growing sense of pride among members of the country’s largest iwi.

He says despites Ngapuhi’s reputation for confrontation, the event was relatively incident free.

“The festival just seems to get bigger and better. Everyone seems to be on the same buzz of just coming home and seeing each other and having a good time with the stages and having a look at the art exhibition and going to the wananga. We’re coming away from this festival really hoping it’s not going to be another two years before we have another one back in Kaikohe, but that’s the way it’s going to be I think,” Mr Wilcox says.

The success of the festival means marae and other groups in the north are starting to organise complimentary activities around it.


The Maori tertiary students association is warning that Maori students are racking up debt for courses which won’t increase their earning power.

Victor Manawatu, the kaituhono of Te Mana Akonga, says Maori student debt now stands at more than $2 billion – twice the sum budgeted for treaty settlements.

86 percent of those students are only doing diploma or certificate
courses, which will bring little boost to earning capacity.

He says Maori need to make it an election issue by backing parties
which will tackle student debt.

“You may be only one person but every single vote counts in this election and this election is going to be very important, particularly for the Maori Party and the Green Party. They are going to have a major influence on the makeup of the next government, and so we need to get our people out there to vote,” Mr Manawatu says.


Politicians are being told they should stay away from Ratana until they fulfill some of their promises.

The Maori Party has been critical of the annual migration of MP's to join the celebrations for the birthday of church founder Tahupotiki Ratana.

Pita Sharples says when Labour first courted Ratana in the 1930's there was a symbolic exchange of gifts, and if the MP's knew their history they would be too embarrassed to turn up.

“One of the gifts was a broken watch, symbolizing the broken promises. Now these have never been fulfilled, so I wonder why they keep going back there. Every year the government and the major parties talk of these things without fulfilling those promises so I think the time has come now for the Ratana people to insist that we parliamentarians look into those broken promises,” Dr Sharples says.


A central North Island hapu is keen to see the lower reaches of its awa restored.

Today contractors move in to remove sediment which has built up into islands in the Tongariri River between Tokaanu and Lake Taupo.

Huia Paki, the head of Ngati Turangitukua’s environment committee, the Tokaanu power project reduced volume of water in the river, so it can no longer carry the sediment into the lake.

There is also a sand bar growing at the river delta.

The next job that we want to do is to remove that sand so that the water has a place to go when iut builds up during flood time, because if we don’t, we have flood issues both sides of the river. The deal for us is to ensure the river is healthy and people are kept safe,” Mr Paki says.