Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Friday, March 07, 2008

No link between claims and seats

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says National's leader is making no sense when he links the Maori seats with treaty claims.

John Key says he will move to scrap the seven seats once historical claims are settled, which he believes will be in six years.

Dr Sharples says that shows he understands neither the treaty process nor the reason the seats exist.

“The claims are a question of justice, raupatu and measily repayments and compensation for the iwi. The Maori seats are an entirely different thing. They were seats provided to allow Maori to have a voice in the whare,” Dr Sharples says.

Any party which wants to form a coalition or a political partner with the Maori Party will need to understand the concept of tino rangatiratanga and what it means to be tangata whenua.


Mighty River Power is pushing aheads with plans for a $450 million geothermal power station just north of Taupo.

It's the second power joint venture the company has in the Rotokawa steam field with the Maori landowners, the Tauhara North No. 2 Trust.

Carole Durbin, Mighty River's chair, says a final decision will be made later this month once procurement contracts are completed.

The 132 MW Nga Awa Purua station will be more than four times bigger than the existing Rotokawa station and will connect into the transmission lines which run directly over the field.

Mighty River also has joint venture geothermal projects with Maori owners at Kawerau, Mokai and Nga Tamariki.


Maori have their own area for the first time in the world's largest celebration of Pacific culture.

Pasifika opens in Auckland tonight with a free concert, and more than 100,000 people are expected tomorrow at Western Springs.

One of the organisers, Ole Maiava, says to show how the different cultures link together through their stories, the event will have a theme, which this year is the eel or tuna.

“And that's based on the Maori name for Western Springs which is Te Puna o Te Wai Oria –TeWai Oria is the lake of eels. Because of that we also have an inaugural tangata whenau village, part of the 10 Pacific villages that will be linked with their stories around the eel,” Mr Maiava says.

A highlight of the music will be a rare appearance of Herbs for a short unplugged set tonight and a longer set tomorrow.


Nelson iwi Ngati Tama is challenging the sale of a council camping ground.
Chairperson Fred Te Miha says when the Tasman District Council started selling off camping grounds, he demanded a title search.

That revealed a quarter of the Collingwood Motor Camp at the mouth of the Aorere River is on Maori land.

He says the owners, descendants of three rangatira, deserve compensation for the half century the council has made money off their land.

He says the Maori owners are unlikely to want to sell the land, so the council should talk to them and the other owners about future plans.

“We could look at a partnership or a joint venture, but I don’t believe in leasing – we’ve leased too much of our land in years previous and only got minimal return on it,” Mr Te Miha says.

The land was once the site of a pa and the first church of the district.


The latest crop of academic high fliers will bring their achievements back to the marae tonight.

35 postgraduates from the country's universities are being honoured at the Te Amorangi National Maori Academic Excellence Awards at Turangawaewae in Ngaruawahia.

Herearoha Skipper, the University of Waikato's awards manager, says a wider range of subjects is being studied than when the awards were started six years ago.

“Some of them we can’t even pronounce because just the subject areas are quite amazing. You have anything from psychology to neurology to Maori and indigenous studies,” Ms Skipper says.

There is a special lifetime achievement award for former Labour MP Koro Wetere.


Women's Refuge wants Maori men to mark International Women's Day tomorrow by making a personal commitment to curb violence towards women.

Heather Henare, the chief executive of the national collective of independent Women's Refuges, says on average 14 women a year die in New Zealand from domestic violence, and countless others are badly injured.

She says men should remember the important roles women play in their lives.

“They're their mothers. They’re the mothers of their children. They’re their partners. They’re their lovers. They deserve more. They deserve respect and they deserve to live in an environment that is free from violence and harm. And the only way that’s going to stop is if men step up to the plate and say we don’t want to do this any more and we’re going to take responsibility and stop the violence in our whanau,” Ms Henare says.

Seat plan shows ignorance of Maori

The Maori Party says National's leader needs to learn more about Maori before he talks about abolishing the Maori seats.

John Key says National will move to scrap the seven seats once historical treaty claims are settled ... which he believes will happen in six years.

Peter Sharples, the Maori Party co-leader, says separate Maori representation goes to the heart of what makes New Zealand unique.

“It's very difficult for many of the MPs who are not Maori to understand the concept of tangata whenua, and what it means to be tangata whenua. It simply means a thousand and a half years of living in this place, adapting to it, having a relationship, spiritual, cultural and physical, with the environment here and growing up with the forests and everything, and knowing your whakapapa, knowing your ancestors, knowing the battles, knowing all the things about your history which is unwritten, untaught in the schools, but we have that whole heritage,” Dr Sharples says.

He says there is no connection between historical claims and the Maori seats.


A scholarship for young Maori artists is being credited with accelerating the careers of many rangatahi.

The Maori arm of Creative New Zealand is seeking applicants for the $4000 dollar grant, which in the past has gone to visual artists like Israel Birch, Amy Ratana and Shannon Wafer.

Haniko Te Kurapa, the Maori arts advisor for Te Waka Toi, says while it's not a big sum, the scholarship gives them valuable recognition.

“It's bringing the emerging artists into mainstream galleries whereas once upon a time you probably wouldn’t even consider them as being up and coming artists. Also the opportunity for them to go overseas to seek out professional development in their artform,” Mr Te Kurapa says.

The two scholarships can go to rangatahi involved in a wide range of arts or art support.


A Rotorua tribal farmer is breaking new ground....literally.
Ngati Whakaue Lands Trust has 4000 oak trees to encourage truffle growth.

The rare fungus fetches up to $3000 a kilo in Europe and the United States.

Rick Vallance, the trust's chief executive, says truffle production could be an environmentally friendly way to use land next to the region's lakes.

“If it goes as well as we hope, it will be way better than sheep and beef faring for sure, and probably at least as good as dairy farming, maybe a bit better,” Mr Vallance says.

The fungus can take years to emerge, but Ngati Whakaue believes it has the right soils and expertise to succeed.


A former minister of Maori Affairs is being honoured for his contribution to Maori in a ceremony in Ngaruawahia tonight.

The Maori academic excellence awards at Turangawaewae Marae brings together outstanding scholars from all the nation's universities.

The lifetime achievement award, Te Tohu Whakamaharatanga ki Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu, will go to Koro Tainui Wetere, who held the Western Maori seat for Labour from 1969 to 1996.

The awards manager, Herearoha Skipper, says it's a reminder that Maori don't just measure achievement in academic terms.

“The lifetime achievement award goes to someone that’s done just as much commitment and sacrifice and dedication, not only in education excellence but also within the community and iwi,” Ms Skipper says.

Mr Wetere was nominated for the award b King Tuiheitia.


The head of a Bay of Plenty Maori trust says managers of iwi assets must constantly review their returns.

Rick Vallance from Ngati Whakaue Lands Trust says there are now many alternatives for Maori landowners to the traditional sheep and beef farming.

Ngati Whakaue has planted 4000 oak trees with the intention of growing truffles to feed the European gourmet market.

He says all options need to be on the table ... including housing developments when the need is there.

“There are opportunities in real estate. New crops say. There are opportunities in high quality dairy farming and sheep farming. The trick is to try and optimise it for your particular land and climate and topography understand what you’re trying to achieve and then set about achieving it. I think there is absolutely no reason why real estate development should not be in that mix,” Mr Vallance says.


Wellington theatre company Taki Rua is celebrating its 25th year by touring one of its most successful plays,

Strange Resting Places by Paolo Rotondo and Rob Mokaraka was first performed to critical acclaim last year.

Now it's to be presented at more than a dozen rural towns.

Artistic director James Ashcroft says Taki Rua backed the writers to go to Italy to research the Second World War story, a move that paid big dividends.

“They got as many stories as they could from people who were at Monte Cassino, who fought with the Maori Battalion or were family members of Maori Battalion members and that’s how the work originated and then you add in a director from Texas, it’s a real diverse mix of cultures in there,” Ashcroft says.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Burial disputes vexing iwi cops

The top Maori cop wants procedures put in places to handle disputes over where people are to be buried.

Iwi liaison officers were called in this week when a Taumarunui woman removed the body of her mother from a Hamilton funeral home, but they were unable to stop the tupapaku being taken south.

Wally Haumaha, the manager of Maori, Pacific and Ethnic services, say's it's the third such case this year where officers have been caught in the middle of difficult family situations.

“Something's got to be sorted. I think our people have to come to an agreement or work through the issues. We’ve got enough legal minds out there in the Maori world to be more constructive about what this means for us and how we can avoid these conflict situations arising, which as I say are becoming all too regular,” Mr Haumaha says.


National's leader says getting rid of the Maori seats will improve the way Maori issues are handled in Parliament.

John Key has reiterated his policy that the seats will go once historic claims are settled ... which he now says will be done by 2014.

Mr Key says the seats have not delivered for Maori, which is why he favours the mainstreaming approach which was National's policy towards Maori affairs in the 1990s.

“It's incumbent in my view that every member of Parliament takes and interest and has a position on issues that relate to Maori and it’s my view that the separate Maori seats sort of discourage that general participation, involvement from all MPs. So that’s the driving rationale behind our view,” Mr Key says.

National is also opposed to Maori seats on local bodies.


A veteran photographer's new show is raising discussion about souvenirs and stereotypes.

Toy Land by Ans Westra at Auckland's FHE Gallery features photos of toy dolls in Maori costume, sheep and kiwis found in garage sales and op shops.

She says there are some strange combinations.

“To find a little toy woolly sheep in a Maori costume is such an irony really. To think back, Maori didn’t even know sheep. It’s just trying to roll different elements of the souvenir market into one. It's quite bizarre,” Westra says.

She considers the show just one more chapter in her half century of documenting Maori and their place in New Zealand culture.


The door may be open to Maori appointing members to a new governance body for the Maori Trustee.

The Maori Trustee Amendment Bill now before Parliament will put some of the trustee's assets into a statutory corporation, overseen by a board appointed by the ministers of finance and Maori affairs.

The Maori Affairs Minister says that is because the Crown pays the trustee to perform services, such as managing land and collecting rent on behalf of Maori owners.

But Parekura Horomia says the idea of an electoral college of iwi and national Maori organisations has bee used for appointments to Maori fisheries and broadcasting bodies.

“We're pretty flexible about that. We did that with Maori Television where we gave the majority of the board to Maoridom, and the other issue in here is it is explicit in the legislation that those appointments are to be made in conjunction with the partners and the leaders who are the contributors,” Mr Horomia says.


A snapshot of the tourism industry has highlighted the crucial role of Maori operators.

Nanaia Mahuta, the associate minister of tourism, says Rotorua retains its status as the capital of Maori tourism, but there is increasing demand around the country for authentic Maori product.

She says grassroot whanau tourism ventures can get support from Te Puni Kokiri's Maori business facilitation service, and from groups such as the Maori Tourism Council and its regional affiliates.

“Once they know their product has value and can contribute to a broader network, say in the tourism industry, then it’s a matter of linking up with other operators because you can always gain a lot more knowledge and expertise from the sector itself,” Ms Mahuta says.

She says the New Zealand Tourism Strategy puts a high value on manaakitanga and kaitiakitanga.


A famous haka is proving the framework for a new play about New Zealand soldiers in Vietnam.

Jim Moriarty from Te Rakau o te Wao Tane Productions is working with 15 at-risk rangatahi to develop the play the Tribute 08 event for Vietnam veterans in Wellington at the end of May.

It's written by by Helen Pearce Otene, from Ngapuhi and Ngati Kahungunu.

“Her father was a Vietnam vet, so she’s writing the play and we’re calling it Ka Mate Ka Ora and we all go ‘Whoa, we all know that particular language’ and the metaphor of the haka, going from dark to light, overcoming adversity, doing your best to achieve, so we’re using that as our metaphor which also works for the journey of our rangatihi,” Moriarty says.

He says Tribute 08 should allow the veterans, and his rangatahi, a chance to start a new chapter in their lives.

False criticism earns rebuke

The Minister of Maori Affairs has lashed out at critics of his reform of the Maori Trust Office.

The Maori Party joined National in opposing the Maori Trustee Amendment Bill, because they say it will take away money which belongs to the 186,000 Maori the trustee administers land for.

But Parekura Horomia says the $35 million to fund a new Maori economic development agency comes from the trustee's profits from its trading activities and investments.

“Generally the Maori Trustee would invest money at 8 to 10 percent, hand back 3 percent to the beneficiaries and the rest went into shares or hotels or whatever else. All we’re trying to do is ensure that there is transparency, that there is a report back annually and that at the end of the day there is a pool and a resource that Maori people get,” Mr Horomia says.

One result of the reform is owners will get higher interest from the money the Maori Trustee holds on their behalf.


A Green MP is backing a Greenpeace campaign to highlight what is says are flaws in the Government's carbon emissions trading scheme.

Its flagship, Rainbow Warrior, is in the country for six weeks.

Meteria Turei says the fails to address the damage being done to the environment by dairy farmers, who are getting a five year break from the emissions regime.

“At some point they’re going to have to bear the full cost of what it is they subject the rest of us to which is that most of our rivers, you can’t swim in, you can’t drink from, most of them are causing high levels of pollution further downstream and it’s affecting things like our eels and other freshwater fish species, so it’s great that Greenpeace is doing it,” Ms Turei says .

Maori farmers make up a big part of the dairy sector.


Tairawhiti wants its own anniversary day.

Mike Spedding from Te Unga Mai Trust, which educates New Zealanders about Maori and European voyaging traditions says the current date is overshadowed by Auckland's anniversary falling on the same day.

He says an October date would be more appropriate.

“Gisborne being the site where that first formal meeting took place between tangata whenua and Captain Cook in 1769, which happened in early October, so the suggestion we put to council was they may like to think about changing their day from the Auckland anniversary to the Tairawhiti anniversary and have that some time in early October to coincide with that anniversary,” Mr Spedding says.

Gisborne District Council will look at the issue at its next full meeting.


Waipareira Trust wants an overhaul of the way Maori children are taught by mainstream schools.

Its chief executive, former MP John Tamihere, says an education summit in April is just the start, and the urban Maori trust will make direct contact with all 93 schools in West Auckland.

He says Waipareira is developing programmes to address the needs of the small minority of Maori students whose family background makes it hard for them to get ahead - but schools could do a lot more for the rest of Maori students.

“We can not as leaders in our community accept that 54 percent of Maori boys failing the secondary school system because by the time they get to secondary school they’re not geared up to participate in the curriculum, so they’re streamed into the dummies classes and streamed out of the schools into low skilled jobs or crime, because there’s only two options for them,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says the education system only seems to respond to confrontation rather than cooperation.


A painting up for sale in Auckland this month unlocks some important history for Ngati Paoa.

Sleep Tis a Gentle Thing by Charles Frederick Goldie is a painting of Hori Te Ruinga Pokai.

Glen Tupuhi, the chair of Ngati Paoa Trust Board, says many tupuna sat for Goldie to help pay for accommodation during lengthy land court cases in Auckland.

He says Hori Pokia was one of the leading rangatira of the late 19th century, whose name appears on many land records.

The painting's value for Ngati Paoa is in the subject rather than the artistic merit of the composition.

“Whilst we can from hindsight look back and critique Goldie’s license he exercised and the romantic titles he gave these tupuna, were it not for people like Goldie, these paintings and this part of our history, whilst there are records of it, there would not be pictures of our tupuna to be able to put a face to the korero,” Mr Tupuhi says.

The painting will be auctioned at the International Art Centre on March the 19th.


A Hawkes Bay hapu is fighting a planned 1000 home development on its front door.

Ngati Mihiroa has lodged its opposition to an application for a plan change by Hill Country Corporation, which wants to build 1000 homes at Ocean Beach.

Mike Mohi, the chair of Waipuka Incorporation, says that's right next to two Maori owned blocks.

He says the intense land use will affect the character of the area, damage heritage sites and could close off access to the beach by members of the 1000 strong hapu.

“You've got as lot of houses that are envisaged next door, a lot of people. You can’t get away from that fact, that it will impact, it doesn’t matter what you say, it will impact on the environment,” Mr Mohi says.

Ngati Mihiroa has its own plans to lease sections to hapu members for housing.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Trustee stays under Crown thumb

National is questioning what independence of the Maori Trustee will have if an amendment bill now before Parliament is passed.

National and the Maori Party voted against the bill when it came up for first reading last night.

The bill will split out the Maori Trust Office from Te Puni Kokiri and use some of its accumulated profits to create a new Maori development bank.

Georgina te Heuheu says National is concerned at the governance proposed for the new bank.

“The Government calls it independence but of course that’s questionable as well because of course it’s set up by the Government, and the Government appoints the chair, appoints the board so that’s not necessarily independent as far as Maori people are concerned,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

National believes the profits being used to set up the bank should instead go to beneficiaries of the 100,000 hectares of Maori land the trustee administers.


Most marae have got the messages about healthy eating... now its time to tackle the home.

Chad Paraone from Let's Beat Diabetes says a Counties Manukau District Health Board survey identified some of the factors driving the increase in type 2 diabetes among Maori in south Auckland.

He says Maori are getting the message about exercising and cutting back on fat and sugar ... but too many still eat more than they need.

Mr Paraone says cutting down on portion size will help cut waistlines and cut the diabetes which is reaching epidemic proportions.

“It impacts on that individual, impacts on the whanau, impacts on their work behaviour, and if diabetes is not managed well, there are some quite traumatic things that can happen. You may have limbs amputated because of damage to nerves. Blindness can occur, heart disease and things like that,” Mr Paraone says.

Initiatives to tackle diabetes include putting kaiwhakahaere into marae communities to encourage physical activities.


An Irishman's fascination with traditional Maori instruments is behind a collaboration now in rehearsal at Raglan.

Donal Lunny, a renowned musician and authority on traditional Irish instruments, has been matched up with a group including singer Whirimako Black and taonga puoro expert Richard Nunns.

Bronwyn Christianos, the organiser of the Greenfire Islands project, says it's sounding good for the premiere show in Wellington this weekend.

“It's kind of electrifying because we talked about, by keeping these two traditions, honouring them both and working with them in dialogue together, something completely new was likely to be created. Something unknown, something completely magic. And it’s already starting to happen. It’s quite spine tingling actually,” Ms Christianos says.

After its Wellington International Arts Festival show, Greenfire Island will play at Womad in Taranaki and Auckland's Aotea Centre on St Patrick’s Day.


The Maori Party is justifying its about face on the Maori Trustee Amendment Bill.

The party had told the government it would support the first reading of the bill, which will split the Maori Trust Office out from Te Puni Kokiri and use some of its assets to create a new Maori development bank.

But last night it voted against the bill going to select committee.

Co-leader Pita Sharples says the decision was made at caucus on Tuesday.

“We had intended to send it to select committee and let all this stuff come out but I guess it’s about making a stand when you have to and just the idea of that taking $35 million of the beneficiaries money and lumping it with trustee money and saying ‘here’s the new project’ was just something we couldn't do,” Dr Sharples says.

A spokesperson for the Minister of Maori Affairs says the $35 million for the new statutory corporation comes from accumulated profits from the Maori Trustee's 80 plus years of operations, and not from the money held in trust for Maori landowners.


Marae trustees from Whakatohea now have a clearer understanding of their responsibilities.

A governance seminar was held today in Opotiki in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, involving marae trustees and representatives from both local and central government.

Dave Herewini from Opipi marae says the hui was a valuable opportunity to discuss environmental issues, council planning requirements, and tax obligations faced by marae.

He says the trustees were left with plenty to think about.

“It always came down to the charter – the charter that the trustees had to work in with the committee and the rest of the hapu, and how they have to come to an agreement within that charter. We all decided when we came out that we were so glad we came along to be informed because we really haven’t had this information come our way in a collective group like this for all these authorities,” Mr Herewini says.


The Maori Arts Board of Creative New Zealand has putea for post-secondary Maori art students.

Te Waka Toi's Maori arts advisor, Haniko Te Kurapa, says over the past decade the $4000 scholarships have helped artists like Nigel Burrell, Shannon Wafer, Amy Ratana and Israel Birch to make the leap to mainstream and international success.

He says people working in music, fashion and film can also apply.

“I've been looking at all the past recipients and it’s very heavily visual arts so it would be great to hear from musicians coming through, more weavers, opera singers, and theatre people too. Because I know there’s a lot of our young Maori in the theatre arena,” Mr Te Kurapa says.

Applications for the scholarships close at the end of the month.

Lack of representation growing problem

The race relations commissioner says continued Maori under-representation on local councils and other governance bodies is a significant problem.

The Human Rights Commission has released its annual overview, which says that overall New Zealanders are optimistic about the state of race relations.

But commissioner Joris de Bres says Maori, Pacific Island and Asian people still can't get elected to councils and boards.

He says people should be tackling the issue now, rather than waiting for the next election cycle.

“The population shift that is taking place is such that the balance of representation in our population is becoming different, much more diverse, and I think our local government, as our central government, has to reflect that change so people have a say in the running of their communities,” Mr de Bres says.

The report shows Maori representation in the media is also far too low.


Labour's newest MP may find her job tougher than she expects, according to one of her main political rivals.

Louisa Wall made her maiden speech yesterday, after entering Parliament on the party list after the retirement of Anne Hartley.

Come the election later this year former Silver and Black Fern will be trying to return as an electorate MP by beating Pita Sharples in Tamaki Makaurau.

The Maori Party co-leader says he counts Ms Wall as a friend, but he thinks she may be in the wrong party.

“Yeah man she's going to find it really hard because she’s so Maori that when she sees how she has to vote on some of these issues, it’s going to be really hard for her. I just know her,” Dr Sharples says.

Prime Minister Helen Clark says Louisa Wall has absolute dedication to get to the top in whatever she does, and she'll be an asset to Labour.


A Maori musical icon will be laid to rest on the East Coast today.
Missy Teka died on Friday when her car collided with a truck at Mangatawhiri. She was 53.

Missy was best known for her work with her late husband, Prince Tui Teka, whose biggest hit, E Ipo, was written by Ngoi Pewhairangi so the boy from Ruatahuna could court the girl from Ruatoria.

John Tamihere from Te Whanau o Waipareira says after Tui's death, Missy became a familiar face in the West Auckland Maori community through her subsequent relationship with Henare Peke and his whanau.

“There were a lot of connections here and Missy also worked with Auntie Mavis Tuoroa who started off Rautahi kapa haka and all those sort of things. She’s been round here a long time with us out west here, and I just want to acknowledge all the whanau at Whanau Waipareira who have muscled up to support her tangi and are all down now in Tokomaru Bay,” Mr Tamihere says.

The funeral is at Pakirikiri Marae in Tokomaru Bay.


A Labour Maori MP says Maori Party supporters need to be a lot tougher on their elected representatives.

Nanaia Mahuta says a Marae Digipoll showing the Maori Party winning all seven maori seats isn't credible.

She says a lot will depend on the turn-out on election day, and whether Maori voters take account of Labour's record of slashing Maori unemployment and increasing educational opportunities for rangatahi.

Voters also need to ask how the Maori Party will use their vote.

“It's certainly my understanding that Labour has a strong Party vote out there across all the Maori electorates, and people need to know if they are going to support the Maori Party, who will the Maori Party support. They cannot be a Trojan horse to deliver a National Government. That just will not work for Maori,” Ms Mahuta says.


Some top Maori jockeys will be battling it out in today's Auckland Cup.

Michael Walker will try to repeat his Wellington Cup victory on Young Centaur, and the pair will be up against veteran Noel Harris on Genuine Offer.

The 3200 metre race will be called by George Simon from Ngaruawahia, who was just 17 years old when he threw in a job at the Horotiu Freezing Works to chase his dream of race commenting.

He's become a familiar voice from all the country's tracks, as well as stints in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Mr Simon keeps the words of his dad in mind when he gets to the booth.

“I remember my late father told me many many years ago, he said ‘just pretend you’re painting a picture or telling a big man what is happening,’ and that’s something I never forgot. All we do is associate the colours the jockeys wear with the names of the horses and we tell a story as it is unfolding,” Mr Simon says.

The Auckland Cup is run at ten to six.


Many museums have wharenui inside their walls, but Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts in Pakuranga has gone one better.

As part of its international exhibition Land Wars, it has a meeting house built like a bouncy castle.

Artist Inez Crawford from Te Whanau a Apanui says her Bouncy Marae was inspired by childhood memories of her home marae in Te Kaha, and how she thought it was like the castles she read about in fairy tales.

She says the sculpture, which is brown on the outside and pink on the inside, has a range of feminist and cultural connotations.

“When I first did it it was about cultural consumption and how indigenous culture just ends up becoming entertainment, and my bouncy is all about the signifiers and devoid of any cultural content so you don’t get any carving, you don’t get welcomed on, and it’s just my way of engaging in the discourse of what’s going on with Maori, Maori art in New Zealand today,” Crawford says.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Race relations seen as positive

New Zealanders are optimistic about race relations.

That's the finding of a new report issued by the Human Rights Commission.

Five years ago relations between the races was the top negative in the commission's annual survey of what issues are concerning New Zealanders, but this year it's the top positive.

Joris de Bres, the race relations commissioner, says it's a good result.

“The mood of the nation poll indicates that in 2007 it wasn’t an issue that was causing great anxiety and in fact it was an issue that people were optimistic about. The most optimistic of the issues listed. And that doesn’t mean that people are complacent. But it does mean they have confidence that things are heading in the right direction and things are getting better in race relations,” Mr de Bres says.

There are still significant problems with under-representation of Maori and Pacific Island people in governance bodies such as councils, health boards and school boards.


A big thumbs up for Labour's newest MP from the top.

Louisa Wall from Tainui and Ngati Tuwharetoa took her seat in Parliament today, replacing retiring list MP Anne Hartley.

Prime Minister Helen Clark says the grit she showed representing New Zealand in Netball and Rugby as a Silver and Black Fern will be an asset to Labour's team.

“She brings those qualities of absolute dedication to getting to the top of whatever she does and I’ve known her for a number of years because she’s been a member of the Labour Party in my own electorate and I know that she’s just got a great sense of humour, a good work ethic, and she’s passionate about what she believes in,” Ms Clark says.

Lousia Wall will contest Tamaki Makaurau at this year's election.


Part of the early heritage of a Taranaki iwi is now on public display.

A mauri stone uncovered in 2004 during the building of a by-pass at Bell Block has been placed beneath the Te Pou-Tutaki pole in Fitzroy.

A viewing shaft allows people to see the 50 kg stone, which archaeologists say was beleived to preserve the welfare of the occupants of a house.

Grant Knuckey, from Puketapu iwi, says several houses had been built on top of the mauri.

He says it revealed itself.

“It was certainly found in a way that it kind of uncloaked itself when they were excavating. Directly on top of it was a hole that I suppose was where the centre post of the meeting house came out of,” Mr Knuckey says.


A Ngati Whatua director says the iwi sold Mai FM because of the failure of a management buy-in to turn around the station's fortunes.

The station, which uses an FM frequency reserved for Maori under the broadcasting claim settlement, shocked the Auckland market when it topped the ratings in 2002 with its youth-oriented music format and its message of it's cool to korero.

But it was never able to translate ratings into advertising dollars, and competitors like Niu and Flava chipped away at its young brown audience.

Now it's sold the brand to CanWest MediaWorks, owner of TV3 and several national radio brands, for an undisclosed sum.

Russell Kemp from Mai Media says CanWest has been trying to buy in for some time.

“About a year and a half ago we wanted to sell half of it off to CanWest. The management of Mai FM or the staff thought they could put a package deal to present to us. They did that. We accepted it. And then another eight months down the track they decided to pull back. So we went back to CanWest and did a counter deal,” Mr Kemp says.

The Ngati Whatua Runanga will retain its frequencies and lease some to CanWest.


The Prime Minister is dismissing the latest in a string of bad polls as complete nonsense.

A Marae Digipoll showed the Maori Party would hold all seven Maori seats after the next election, with candidates getting support on average from 56 percent of voters.

Helen Clark says she's not taking it seriously.

“They had 665 people they said were on the Maori rolls. They then put those people into seven seats. That’s an average of 95 voters per seat. The margin of error would be, I’m told, at least 11 to 19 percent. At that point, you don’t have a poll. You have a nonsense,” Ms Clark says.

She says the only thing clear from the poll was that the majority of Maori voters are still satisfied with Labour's performance.


A Nelson-based Maori trust is crediting its success on staying close to home.

Wakatu Incorporation's 3200 shareholders are descendents of Ngati Koata, Ngati Rarua, Ngati Tama and Te Atiawa.

Its chief executive, Keith Palmer says it understands the needs of the top of the South Island well, and it has developed its businesses to fit.

He says its latest plan, a lifestyle subdivision for over 60s, fits in with that philosophy.

“We started off by subdividing our own land. Then we bought other land to put into residential subdivisions. We bought a freezing works and made and industrial subdivision from that, and then from there we’ve just competed an office building. Now the lifestyle is just another stage in that evolution as we build up our expertise in property development,” Mr Palmer says.

Mai FM sold to CanWest

Canwest MediaWorks has bought the assets of Auckland radio station Mai FM from station management and Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua for an undisclosed price.

The Maori and Pacific Island youth oriented station had a controversial beginning because it uses a valuable Auckland FM frequency, secured as a result of the Maori broadcasting settlement.

Mai Media director Russell Kemp says the runanga will continue to own the frequency.

He says the station was sold because while ratings were good, cash flow was poor.

“One radio station battling on its own is very hard these days. Commercially we found it tough. We have found it tough for a while but we’ve managed to survive. But the way we were going we found it easier to sell out to MediaWorks. We tried to do a joint venture but they wanted most of the station so we sold it to them. We’ll get an income for the next 20 30 years off them,” Mr Kemp says.

Mediaworks, which owns TV3 and C4 television and several national radio brands, has assured staff there will be no redundancies and no change to the product.


Labour's newest MP gets a chance to lay out her political philosphy today.

Louisa Wall from Tainui and Ngati Tuwharetoa comes on the list to replace Ann Hartley, who has retired.

She's represented New Zealand with both the Silver and Black Ferns, completed a masters degree in social policy, and worked for the Health Research Council and the Human Rights Commission.

She says her maiden speech will focus on how Labour's social-democratic principles sit well with Maori aspirations and principles such as manaakitangi.

“It's going to be about some of the values I hold dear and some of the principles Labour ascribes to that I believe in. That is, that the Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of our country, and secondly that we as a civilized society have a responsibility to protect those vulnerable members of our society,” she says.

Ms Wall intends to wear a whanau korowai that her grandmother has kept for just such a special occasion.


For Ngapuhi artist Darryn George, finding his Maori heritage has meant huge changes in his art.

The Christchurch-based painter is opening exhibitions today at opposite ends of the country - Pukapuka at the Gow Langsford gallery in Auckland and PULSE at the William A. Sutton Gallery in his home town.

He says Pukapuka's fusion of Maori art forms with Western abstraction draws heavily on his recent exploration of his roots.

“At the moment I’m forming a vocabulary, almost like a language, and I’m taking aspects form all over the place so I am taking it from European traditions but a lot of what I’m doing now is actually looking into the Maori traditions of art and how they told stories and basically try to brig those together to tell my own story,” George says.


The Ministry of Treaty Negotiations says the Crown can do what it likes with its central North Island forests.

The government is talking to several groups in the central North island about how Kaingaroa Forest can be used to settle historical treaty claims.

The plan is opposed by the Kaingaroa Forest Cluster of iwi whose traditional areas include the forest, because they say the Crown has yet to prove it has clear title, as required by the 1989 Crown Forest Assets Act.

But Michael Cullen says he can't accept that position.

“Legal advice I have is that we have absolutely clear legal title to those lands but of course ever since the passage of the Crown Forest Assets Act in 1989, the assumption is that all or a very large part of those lands will be transferred eventually into Maori ownership. To some event we’re holding that in trust pending the outcome of settlements,” Dr Cullen says.

He says the ideal outcome is for Kaingaroa to be kept together as a single forest, with shares held by the various iwi in the region.


A Nelson Maori trust believes its planned lifestyle village for over 60s will create long term jobs for iwi members.

Keith Palmer, the chief executive of Wakatu Incorporation, says the Motueka development would include community recreation facilities and other features which would appeal to the target buyers, who have different needs than younger homeowners.

He says the village would create service jobs for the community.

“When you just build a house you build it and fine you employ people when you build it but after that you leave it and have nothing more to do with it whereas we are looking at servicing the body corporate, the grounds, the roads, the community centre, providing services if it be meals or care that anyone wants so that opens up opportunities for people to continue to be involved in it,” Mr Palmer says.

He says Wakatu's senior's village would allow kaumatua to live independently but still close to whanau.


A leading ta moko artist says he would rather work on old skin than famous skin.

Gordon Toi studied whakairo at the New Zealand Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua before turning to ta moko.

His tattoos are worn by hundreds of people, including singers Ben Harper and Robbie Williams.

But he still gets a thrill drawing on kaumatua who have dreamed about getting a ta moko.

“For a lot of our Maori people, this is a whakaaro they’ve had for years, some of our kaumatua and kuia. When they get to their 60s and 70s, they feel they have the right to initiate something like that. To awhi them through that process, that for me is more famous than doing the so called famous people,” Hatfield says.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Poll not fazing Labour's double fern

Labour's newest MP is unconcerned by a weekend poll showing the Maori Party winning all seven Maori seats.

Louisa Wall is set to give her maiden speech in Parliament tomorrow as she replaces retiring list MP Ann Hartley.

The former silver and black fern is challenging Pita Sharples for the Tamaki Makaurau seat in this year's election.

She says it's too early in the political year for the Marae Digipoll to give much of an indication of the final result, especially once Labour starts campaigning in earnest in the Maori seats.

“Some of the Maori Party candidates haven’t even been announced so obviously it doesn’t even matter to some Maori Party voters who those people are but Labour’s in the race and we will continue to be in the race. I think it’s good for democracy that Maori have a choice. Secondly I think the most interesting vote is who Maori want to govern the country,” Ms Wall says.

She'll push hard for Tamaki Makaurau and for the party vote in that seat.


The Treaty Negotiations Minister is calling the Maori Party mealy-mouthed over its attitude to treaty settlements.

Michael Cullen says the party has found something to niggle about in every treaty deal, without offering any alternatives to the current regime.

He says its response to last week's foreshore and seabed agreement with Te Whanau a Apanui was just the latest example.

“I think it's actually very mealy mouthed and completely unfair, not least to Te Whanau a Apanui. If people like Tariana and Te Ururoa want to take seriously tino rangatiratanga, then they’ve got to recognise seriously the right to iwi and hapu to make their own decisions and have someone from outside, whether it’s from Rotorua or Whanganui telling them what to do,” Dr Cullen says.

He says last week's agreement doesn't hand back anything to the eastern Bay of Plenty iwi, but rather recognises its unbroken mana over the foreshore and seabed and gives it a positive way to express than mana in a way that wasn't available before.


There a call for more resources to address the mental health of Maori stroke victims.

Rukingi Richards from Rotorua stroke support group Awhi Mai says the hardest part of recovery is often finding the courage to get out of the house.

Many Maori stroke victims become too shy or whakamaa to go out in public.

He says the problem isn't being addressed by health providers.

“Nobody really has the role to try and get people to step out the door. The providers all try to look after the physical issues, but it’s the mental issues where the whakama sits and nobody really deals with that,” Mr Richards says.


Pita Sharples isn't rating the Maori Party's chances as highly as the pollsters.

A Marae Digipoll this weekend found support for his party averaging among Maori voters 56 percent and predicted it would win all seven Maori seats.

He says the result is a tribute to the work the Maori Party has put in over the past two years, but he's not underestimating incumbents like Parekura Horomia and Nanaia Mahuta.

“It's always going to be tough to win thew Waikato seat and the one on the East Coast. They’ve got ministers who have been given very prominent roles and they have been given a lot of time out of the house to go around the people so they’ve got quite a following so it will be a really big battle.” Dr Sharples says.

At the moment he favours staying out of a coalition so it can push all parties to improve the lot of Maori.


Waikato University is trying to encourage Tainui rangatahi to take up careers in science.

It's just run a two day wananga for secondary students with Tainui links.

Facilitator Aereka Hopkins says he noticed a distinct lack of fellow Maori while he was studying for his masters in science at Waikato.

He says the iwi needs its own scientists to help it manage the Waikato River.

“They can't talk too much about restoring too much because they don’t have the expertise just yet. The Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust is going to have to call on government agencies. So that was another factor in the mix as well, to somehow figure out a programme so they can build on their science knowledge by having these kids become scientists,” Mr Hopkins says.

During the wananga the 28 students collected water samples from rivers and streams and analysed them in the university's laboratories.


Wrestle steers or join a gang.

New Zealand's newly crowned king of the rodeo knows which one is tougher.

Clarry Church from Te Arawa won his second all round champion title at the nationals in Urenui on Saturday.

He's still got a way to go to catch his father Merv and brother Dion - they've each held championship 15 times.

The farming tutor says when he was growing up, the gang lifestyle had no appeal - something he thinks rangatahi these days struggle with.

“Lot of the young ones, they more appeal to the Mongrel Mob way of looking at things. You try to steer them away from that and just liook into the eye of a biull or test their skills or their strength or how tough they are. When we were young that’s how we would see if we were tough. It wasn’t to hop in a gang or nothing. It was to get on the wildest horse or the wildest cow,” Mr Church says

Ngati Porou shearer golden

Ngati Porou shearer John Kipkpatrick has booked himself a place in the New Zealand team for the world championships in Norway later this year.

He won the open shear against top class opposition at the Golden Shears held in Masterton over the weekend.

Koro Mullins, the commentator at the event, says although Kirkpatrick’s form in the two weeks prior to Saturday’s shear was scratchy, he regained his touch on Saturday night.

“He's dominated the domestic New Zealand scene this year. He’s won every show on the East Coast, went across to Australia, won their big crossbred show over there, South Island shearer of the year, he’s dominated the shows down there, but Johnny Kipkpatrick blitzed everybody, 20 sheep in 15 minutes, fantastic,” Mr Mullins says.

Maori woolhandlers Joanne Kumeroa from Wanganui and Cherie Alabaster from Taihape also made the 10-strong New Zealand team.


Remote communities have human rights too.

That's the word from Karen Johansen, the newest member of the Human Rights Commission.

Ms Johansen, who affiliates to Rongowhakata, Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki and Ngai Tamanuhiri, is the principal of Gisborne Girls' High and a member of the Tairawhiti Trust.

She says living on the East Coast makes her aware of how public services like hospitals, roads and communication are vital to the health of a community.

“I think everybody's got a right to have decent housing and to be able to get to a medical centre when they need to and not get whiplash when they ride down the road to get a bottle of milk because the roads are full of potholes,” Ms Johansen says.

She'll try to develop resources on human rights for schools.


Two new scholarships will honour the work of kaumatua in Maori health.

Rangi Pouwhare from the Ministry of Health says the Te Apa Mareikura scholarships will be part of the Hauora Maori Scholarships, which target Maori doing undergraduate and postgraduate health courses.

She says the new $10,000 awards recognise the contribution to the sector made by community leaders like Rongo Wirepa, Anne Delamare, Denis Simpson and Bill Katene.

“Those people who are working with health in the communities and are able to show some leadership with a view that it’s to help our Maori people in the end, we believe that they should be assisted and rewarded, and what better way that through modeling those tupuna who have done it before for us,” Ms Pouwhare says.

She says the scholarships are needed to build up the Maori health workforce.


The Minister for Youth Affairs wants rangatahi to have the chance to enter apprenticeships younger.

Nanaia Mahuta says schools are positive about the Gateway programme, which links students with businesses prepared to take on apprentices.

She says it needs to be widened to cater for those who show interest in trades in their early teens.

The Tainui MP says there are tremendous opportunities both here and offshore for entrepreneurial Maori tradespeople.

“They will get a trade, they’ll want to work in a business for a while and then they will want to own their business. In this day and age when there is such a skill shortage you can pretty much call your dollar as a tradesman and the same skill set is in demand in other countries, they’re facing the same issues as us,” Ms Mahuta says.


Maori shearers are being forced to look for work offshore as a result of the dry summer.

Koro Mullins, from Paewai Mullins, one of the biggest Maori shearing contactors based in the Waiararapa, says with less work, shearers are heading to Australia, the UK and America.

He says areas of the Wairarapa are bone dry and it's not much better further north.

“We’re probably down 2 million lambs not born on the East Coast because of the drought last year. At this time of the year or in the last six weeks we would normally be running abut 28 shearers and because of the dry drought conditions we’re down to 18 so the weather is we’re very dependant on that nice rain and unfortunately it hasn’t come yet,” Mr Mullins says.


An artist whose work is a centerpiece of the Wellington International Arts Festival says traditional and contemporary forms of Maori art can work well together.

Rachael Rakena from Ngai Tahu and Nga Puhi works in digital media, including video and music.

She teamed up with Brett Graham to produce Aniwaniwa, an installation which combines digital and sculptural elements to give viewers the feeling of being submerged.

It was shown at last year’s Venice Biennale and is on at the Wellington City Gallery until June.

Ms Rakena says the collaboration is an example of the way a blend of modern and traditional forms can create something completely new.

“To me it seems like a natural progression. The range of Maori art being produced or created today is really diverse from stuff that wouldn’t necessarily be recognisibly Maori straight off to the beautifully carved works. I just think it’s all important.