Waatea News Update

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

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, May 30, 2008

Dolphin decision has views for and against

A west coast hapu is backing tighter restrictions to protect one of the world's rarest dolphins.

Maori commercial fishing interests are opposed to the decision by Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton to create new sanctuaries in Southland, Marlborough and the North Island west coast, where a ban on set nets has been extended from four to seven nautical miles.

But Davis Apiti from Ngati Te Wehi says his hapu has been trying for years to get a sanctuary for Maui's dolphins in Aotea Harbour, near Kawhia.

He says the restricitions, which also cover Hector's dolphins, will help.

He says it's also positive the plan will restrict sea-bed mining in dolphin habitats


Murihiku Marae near Invercargill is this weekend celebrating not only its first 25 years but the previous quarter century of work that led up to it.

Organiser Cyril Gilroy says whanau from Kai Tahu, Kati Mamoe and Waitaha will mark the event with a church service, history display and a party.

There will also be input from other whanau whose move into the area from the 1950s to work at Ocean Beach freezing works eventually led to the marae being built.


A student from a small East Coast kura has walked away with the top prize for Maori Language learning.

Marcia Lavinia Jaine Pohatu-Brown from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Waiu o Ngati Porou got her award from the Governor General this afternoon at Government House.

The tertiary scholarship is worth $2000 a year for three years ... as long as she maintains a B average.

Ms Brown says coming from a class with only three students, winning the award was a surprise.

She is studying teaching at Waikato University... and hopes to eventually teach back on the Coast.


Maori mums and dads will be offered a new vaccine when they take their tamariki to the GP.

Prevenar protects children from pneumonia, meningitis, ear and sinus infections caused by pneumococcal bacteria.

Pat Tuohy, the Ministry of Health's chief advisor on Child and Youth Health, says Maori are twice as likely to get pneumococcal disease... and between two and three times as likely to end up in hospital as a result of it.

“In young babies it spreads very quickly from the lungs into the blood and from the blood it can go to the brain and cause meningitis, but it’s a different sort of meningitis than we got with meningococcal. The meningococcal vaccine doesn’t work with this. That’s why we need a new vaccine,” Dr Tuohy says.

The Health Ministry is aiming for an immunisation rate of 95 percent by 2012, which would put a serious dent in the disease.


The largest Maori commercial fishing company says closing parts of the west coast will harm to Maori fishers with no benefit to endangered Maui and Hector's dolphins.

Jeremy Fleming, the chief executive of Aotearoa Fisheries, says the company believes a four mile set-net ban and one mile trawl ban, introduced by Government and the industry in 2003, provide the necessary separation between commercial fishing and the dolphins.

He says extending the set net ban to seven miles and the trawl ban to three miles along the North Island west coast aren't backed by the facts.

“From what we understand the main cause of dolphin mortality is not fishing. It’s just natural causes, so they do suffer from predation and disease, also a bit from pollution like plastic contamination. Any attempt to control mortality has to address those issues as well as commercial fishing,” Mr Fleming says.

Aotearoa Fisheries wants to know how the Fisheries minister, Jim Anderton, will compensate the companies and communities who will carry the cost of his decision.


Percussion ensemble Strike takes on the elements in a new show playing in Napier over the next three nights.

Member Tim Whitta from Ngati Kahungunu says Earth, Fire, Water and Air all play a part in Elemental ... as well the different rhythms of our shared heritage.

The former rock drummer says it's a big change from what he's used to, and it's more than just keeping time.

Tim Witta says there's even a Bedford truck in the line up at Napier's Century Theatre.


Also this weekend the Copthorne Hotel and Resort in Paihia is hosting the fifth Matariki Art Exhibition.

It features painting, photography, flax and sculpture from established Northland artists as well as local schools

Organiser Stephanie Godsiff says there are also activities to mark the Maori new year, including kite and kete making workshops.

Ngati Manawa readies for Treelord

Iwi belonging to the Central North Island collective are fanning out round the country consulting members on the proposed half billion dollar Treelord settlement of historic claims.

Ngati Manawa wrapped up its consultation in Auckland last night.
Bill Bird, the chair of the Ngati Manawa runanga, says what's on the table is a population-based settlement.

The issue of who owns the land under the Crown's central North Island forests will be determined during the term of the current forestry licences.

“This is only one element of the comprehensive settlement package, the quantum and financial redress. The cultural and historic are still being done. People understand that. It is only the commercial and quantum part of the settlement that is spoken about during these consultation meetings,” Mr Bird says.

The iwi is conducting a postal ballot to determine support for the proposed settlement.


A Maori public health worker says it will take years to gauge the success of current anti smoking campaigns.

Ameria Reriti says World Smokefree Day tomorrow is a chance for Maori to consider how many of their whanau have lost their lives to smoking related illnesses.

Nearly one in two adult Maori still smoke, but she says rangatahi are growing up exposed to anti tobacco campaigns.

Ameria Reriti, the Maori development manager for the Auckland regional public health service.


It's Queens Birthday, so on the East Coast that means it's the Wairoa Maori Film Festival.

Film buff Leo Koziol started the festival three years ago to promote Maori cinema.

He says this year's event features old and new films from Aotearoa as well as indigenous efforts from Australia, the United States and Canada.
There are tributes to some great New Zealand actors who are no longer with us.

The festival opens with Came a Hot Friday, featuring Billy T James and Don Selwyn, and closes with Utu with Anzac Wallace and the late Bruno Lawrence.

The films will show at the Gaiety Cinema and Taihoa Marae in Wairoa as well screenings in Wellington and Auckland.


Many community leaders and MPs may look a little casual today.
If so, it's because they're wearing hoodies as a way to encourage people to look beyond a young person's clothing.

Jono Cambell from Te Ora Hou, a youth development service, says Hoodie Day is a Youth Week initiative to celebrate the achievements of youth rather than get hung up on the anti-social behaviour of a few.

Hoodie-wearers today will include MPs Nanaia Mahuta, Metiria Turei, and Hone Harawira, children's commissioner Cindy Kiro and writer Patricia Grace.


A Waikato artist is tracing themes of whakapapa and migration as a way of exploring what brings people together.

James Ormsby's new work is now on show at Whitespace gallery in Auckland.

His large pencil drawings draw in symbols from Chinese culture, Tainui tradition, Christianity and natural forms.

Ormsby is also taking part in The Artists Room show at Whitespace next week as part of the Auckland Photographic Festival.


West Aucklanders can watch their faces on the screen tonight at a showcase of Maori film.

The event at Henderson's Corban Estate Arts Centre is a complement to the Wairoa Maori Film Festival, which also starts tonight.

On show will be short films by Tearepa Kahi, Garth Watene, Apirana Ipo Te Maipi, Candida Keithley and Quentin Parr.

Curator Leo Koziol anticipates a good response.

He says a highlight will be Kahi’s Taua, which was shot in west Auckland.

The showcase will get another Auckland run next weekend at Awataha marae on the North Shore.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Te Roroa joins settlement queue

The Te Roroa claim is back on the table as the Government cranks up the pace of settlements.

An agreement in principle was signed with the Northland hapu on the eve of the last election.

But the settlement has gone nowhere over the past three years because of concern by some of the minor parties that the quantum was set too low for the post-settlement organisation to be financially viable, and that some important waahi tapu around the Waipoua forest wouldn't be included.

The Minister of Maori Affairs, Parekura Horomia, says it's one of a number of claims where rapid progress is now being made.

“Getting close with Te Pumautanga. We’ve certainly been working on Whakarewarewa and a host of others like Pahauwera and CNI of course, up north on Te Roroa, pushing on with the Tenths Trust, getting very close with the joint committee on Waikato and next month I think will be a great time for a lot of people,” he says.

Mr Horomia says claimants are putting internal wrangling aside so they can focus on the future.


National’s plans for a referendum on MMP are being viewed skeptically by the Green's spokesperson on Maori Affairs.

Metiria Turei says while there could be ways to make MMP more effective, and review must be conducted on a level playing field.

She says before the original referendums on electoral reform, advocates for MMP were running cake stalls to fund their awareness campaigns while National’s backers were pumping millions of dollars into urging people to stick with the first past the post.

“As long as there’s some equity so the real issues can be put out there and not distorted by either side, that would be a really important thing to do. But I think MMP is working really well for all of us who’ve never had proper representation in here, and I’d hate to see that go,” Ms Turei says.


The Maori love affair with reggae shows no signs of abating.

Far North whanau band 18-14 is on a nationwide tour to promote its new album, Jah Rydem.

The eight-piece ensemble includes bandleader Patu Colbert, two of his sons, a niece and a nephew.

Mr Colbert says the name comes from the year when Samuel Marsden first brought the gospel to Oihi in the Bay of Islands.

“We started in church in Kaeo. I wrote some songs and the community started to like listening to our music so it sort of grew from there,” he says.

1814 play Mount Maunganui tomorrow and Auckland on Saturday.


Maori whanau are still feeling the effects of the Vietnam War decades after the fighting stopped.

Ngaroimata Reid... whose uncles served in Vietnam.... says soldiers returned home changed men.

She says it affected the leadership in many Maori whanau and communities, as veterans like her uncles Witi and Andrew McMath made it home but died young of cancers and other diseases.

“We lost our uncles back then. Although they were still living, they had in effect died back there in the war. Their character had changed, their mood had changed, and that had significant impact on our whanau, our whanau leadership, with them dying really young it meant our younger men had to step up and fill the void that they'd left,” Ms Reid says.

While yesterday's Crown apology to Vietnam Vets was a good start, more needs to be done for the widows and whanau of servicemen.


Public consultation has started on the $500 million Treelord settlement of central North Island claims.

A meeting is going on now at the Wairakei Resort near Taupo, addressed by officials from Treasury and the Office of Treaty Settlements and representatives of the Central North Island Iwi Collective.

The deal will put 90 percent of the Crown's forests in the region into a company owned by the collective.
The government says it is keen to hear from members of iwi who claim an interest in the forests, but are not part of the collective.

Maanu Paul, who is opposing the package, says the first meeting in Rotorua last was short on detail, but what did come out doesn't look good for his Nga Moewhare hapu, which he claims has title to about a third of the Kaingaroa forest land.

“Who in their right mind would forsake $71 million and accept $14 million for their share of the accumulated rentals that came off their lands. Who in their right mind would exchange title in their land for shares. And who in their right mind would go into a system which gives them 6 percent rather than 30 percent of the assets that will be in this holding company,” Mr Paul says.

He says people are being asked to support the settlement without getting the full facts about what's in it.


Environmental films fill the big screens in Palmerston North from tonight in the fourth Reel Earth fourth film festival.

More than 50 independent films from 33 countries will make their New Zealand or world premiere.

Director Brent Barrett says one of the New Zealand entrants is KaiMoana, which looks at how after 20 years of the Quota Management System, three companies hold the bulk of the quota, and several fish species are in decline.

He says there are many films with a Maori or indigenous perspective.

“When you start to talk about issues of environmental justice, you are also caught up with issues of social justice and very quickly you do move into that sphere where you are dealing with content coming from indigenous filmmakers talking about issues those indigenous communities are facing in the environment,” Mr Barrett says.

There will be a nationwide Reel Earth Festival highlights tour from June.

Raids expose size of illegal paua market

Maori fishing interests are looking closely at what emerges from the Operation Paid paua poaching crackdown.

Over the past year an undercover fisheries officer has bought more than 9 tonnes of paua and on-sold it to buyers within illegal networks, resulting in dozens of arrests over the past two days.

Peter Douglas, the chief executive of Te Ohu Kaimoana, says paua is the most valuable quota species, and the size of the total allowable commercial catch is a constant source of concern.

He says while estimates of the illegal catch are taken into account when quota is set, it's good to have hard data.

“The sort of impact these poachers are having on it is quite significant and up until now it has been difficult to quantify what the damage has been in terms of how much paua was being taken by these poachers week to week,” Mr Douglas says.

Operation Paid has revealed the huge scale and sophistication of the illegal market.


A Maori Party co-leader is accusing the government of neglecting the Maori education initiatives it has taken over.

Before entering Parliament, Pita Sharples helped spearhead the development of kura kaupapa Maori and developed plans for a wananga.

He says the budget failed to address many problems in Maori medium education, particularly the shortage of trained Maori-speaking teachers.

“All those Maori initiatives that we broke our backs to establish, stayed outside the system to establish and gone poor to establish and have had to do it through the back door, then got legislated for, now government owns it, they don't back it,” Dr Sharples says.

Money is also needed for wananga development.


A Flaxmere artist is putting ta moko on the old masters.

Pita Kire has just finished his first solo exhibition at the Clearview Estate Winery in the Hawkes Bay.

Past and Present featured biblical figures done in the style of masters like Picasso, Monet, Caravagio and Leonardo Da Vinci.

He says the work came out of his studies for a bachelor of arts from Eastern Institute of Technology.

“I did a lot of research on the renaissance and I just love the emotional outtake you can get from just looking at that kind of work and I thought if I could produce that but take it from a Maori angle, there would be a good market there. I’m finding out now that yeah there is,” Mr Kire says.

He is planning to exhibit in New York later this year.


A programme to tackle youth gangs in south Auckland has won the supreme prize in the first Institute of Public Administration awards for public sector excellence.

The four-year, $10 million dollar action plan led by the Ministry of Social Development pulls together youth workers, social workers, government agencies and community services.

One of those services is Mangere's Tamaki Ki Raro Trust, which tries to keep rangatahi out of gangs by giving them classroom support or apprenticeships.

Sharon Wilson, the trust's chief executive, says many children in the region feel they have limited options.

“Many of them come from broken homes, all sorts of homes, and it’s no wonder why many of our kids are in the raruraru they’re in today. Now you work with them, you pull back the layers, and you build trust and respect and let them know that they’re valued and they all have something to offer and you get a whole different attitude and aahua in these kids,” she says.

Ms Wilson says young people need to feel they are valued.


National's Maori affairs spokesperson says this week's select committee trip to Australia will benefit Maori.

National MPs boycotted a justice committee trip across the Tasman last year because he says there wasn't enough value in it.

But Tau Henare says the Maori affairs committee has a full workload, and it's keen to see how the government there, and Aboriginals themselves, are dealing with Aboriginal problems.

“I think it benefits us by just having a look and seeing what people are up to. I mean you never know. You might see something over here we had never even thought about. So it’s always good to make not too much of a comparison, I don’t like the word comparison, but just have a look what the neighbours are doing,” Mr Henare says.

The Aboriginal health organisation the MPs visited this week during the Cairns leg of the trip seemed to be working on a similar model to New Zealand's public health organisations.


An East Coast kaumatua wants to see the whole region become smokefree.

Amster Reedy, and expert in tikanga Maori, says he's trying to spread the message in advance of World Smokefree Day on Saturday.

He says it's one clean breath at a time.

“We've put a sign up in our neck of the woods inviting the whole valley to go smoke free, rather than just marae. So from marae to valleys to farms, we’d like to see the smoke free philosophy take hold but also become practical,” Says Mr Reedy, a kaumatua for the Maori smokefree coalition Te Reo Marama.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mangere sculptures destroyed

A leading Maori sculptor is wary of installing his work in Mangere Bridge after the destruction of a colleague's works.

Gordon Toi Hadfield and George Nuku were commissioned by the Mangere Bridge Business Association and Manukau City Council to produce works for their south Auckland suburb.

Mr Hadfield says Mr Nuku's two works have already been smashed.

He says it appears there are people who don't want the pieces with strong Maori themes on display.

“It really is just a small ngangara that’s chewing away at the core there so I think once these people can grow some nuts so we can talk to them and try and discuss some sort of outcome the better but as far as I know they’re quite happy to stay inside and voice their opinions in the darkness rather than come out in the light,” Mr Hadfield says.

His work is still sitting in his driveway ready for installation, and is attracting favourable interest from many non-Maori residents.


Throw the book at them.

That's the response of the head of Aotearoa Fisheries' paua operations to the arrest of dozens of people involved in paua poaching.

Two dozen Mongrel Mob members and associated as well as business people and restaurateurs in Wellington and Auckland were arrested yesterday, and at least 10 more people were arrested today in what Fisheries Ministry enforcement is calling Operation Paid.

Dean Moana says in previous such cases, the courts haven't treated poaching as seriously as the industry and the ministry do.

“Most people who have been charged, especially from an organised ring like the one that has been busted here, have generally got away with very light penalties, so the action the ministry has taken needs to be backed up by some quite strong enforcement by the law, imprisonment and maximum fines up to $200,000. We need to send a strong signal,” Mr Moana says.

The illegal activity threatens the livelihood of legitimate quota holders such as Aotearoa, which manages Maori fishers settlement assets.


An exhibition in Whangarei is trying to turn around negative stereotypes about teenage mums.

The Real Story at the Old Library features photos taken by teen mums of their children and family life.

Lily Mokaraka, a student at He Mataariki School for teen parents who has a 19 month old boy, says it has given the young mothers a lift in confidence.

She says it's a daily struggle for them to be good parents, get an education and make ends meet.

“It was helping to prove our point as teen parents that we are responsible and that we are like other parents, no matter the age difference, what other people go through, we go through. We’re showing the stories of what goes on behind the scenes instead of people judging us by what they see,” Ms Mokaraka says.

The Real Story was organised by Manaia Primary Health Organisation and Te Ora Hou for Youth Week.


Winter has come early to the Counties Manukau District Health Board.
Bernard Te Paa, the DHB's general manager of Maori health, says the presure usually comes on in July and August.

But Middlemore and other hospitals are already full to capacity with winter ailments, and there's no sign of demand abating.

He says whanau could help by using general practitioners and primary health care services, rather than putting off treatment until people are so sick they need to be admitted to hospital.

An Otago University study has found an increases in preventable circulatory and respiratory illnesses and infectious diseases causes an increase of 1600 deaths in the four winter months, one of the highest seasonal variations in developed countries.


The designer of a programme to improve knowledge of Ngai Tahu history says it's hitting the mark with Christchurch students.

Melanie Riweai Couch developed Kahukura with help from the Ngai Tahu Fund.

The former teacher says so far three schools in the city have adopted it as a way to teach Maori history and encourage students to research Ngai Tahu-related topics.

“All of the content relates to Ngai Tahu culture and identity. It’s a programme that we’ve put together for schools and whanau to give them some solid resources but it is all Ngai Tahu centric. So it’s appropriate for Ngai Tahu students, but it’s also appropriate for Maori students and other non-Maori students who are living in Ngai Tahu,” Ms Couch says.

The Kahukura programme can be adapted for use in other rohe.


A Taranaki hiphop artist is rejecting the gangster tag that comes with much of the music.

Ash Hughes is calling himself MC Ethical, and says he lives by the three words ethics, honesty and loyalty.

The former Taranaki Young Achievers Award winner and has just released his first album, recorded over the past two years in New York.

He says it was a great place to hone his craft.

“I'd get up in the morning and get set for the day and I’d be walking around Brooklyn with my ipod on listening to a lot of East Coast hip hop and you really get a true understanding of where their lyrics come from. It was an amazing feeling, especially for a Maori boy from back home,” Hughes says.

The Ages Turn album was a tribute to a close friend who committed suicide.

Brass gets serve for sandbagging inquiry

The Prime Minister is blaming defence brass for the time it took to address problems among Vietnam veterans caused by exposure to Agent Orange defoliant.

Helen Clark will today make a formal Crown apology for the way New Zealand's troops were treated when they came back from the war.

It precedes a three day commemoration in Wellington this weekend, including a whakanoa or tapu lifting ceremony for the 37 New Zealanders who died in Vietnam.

She says it took far too long to address the needs of veterans and their families, and it's now taken from granted that certain illnesses were probably a result of their service in South East Asia.

“Governments had always been told troops hadn’t been exposed to Agent Orange. Finally when it got to a select committee inquiry in Parliament, out came the files, and the Ministry of Defence/ Defence Force admitted that their had been exposure to Agent Orange. Now it beats me quite frankly how that silence could have been maintained for so long. It leaves governments in a very difficult position,” Ms Clark says.

The Tribute 08 commemoration will not be the end of the veterans' struggle - Maori veterans are also taking a Waitangi Tribunal claim about their treatment.


King Tuheitia has chosen to give his first in depth interview to veteran Maori journalist Derek Fox.

It's the cover story in the latest issue of Mana Magazine out this week.

Mr Fox, who is a familiar face at Turangawaewae marae, also interviewed King Tuheitia's mother Dame Te Atairangikaahu shortly before she died.

He says readers will find the king to be a very down to earth man.

“There’s some good little insights into him growing up. He’s done things that many people in our society have done. He’s worked at a freezing works, he’s worked on a farm, he enjoys tinkering with vehicles, something both his father and his grandfather used to do,” Mr Fox says.


The return of a rare native parrot to an island on Auckland's doorstep could bring back some stories from the past.

31 kakariki are being moved from Hoturu-Little Barrier to Motuihe Island, which is now predator free.

Luis Ortiz-Catedral, who is leading the project, says their numbers have declined over the years because of the effects of humans, rats, cats and dogs on their habitat.

He says scientists are interested not only in their physical survival, but in finding more about their importance to Maori.

“What we are lacking now is an integrated study about the way kakariki were present for Maori. They are considered a part of the mana of the land, they are a treasure and they enrich to dawn chorus as well so bringing them back to motuihe as well as tui and bellbird and all the other species there, they certainly create a more complete cultural experience,” Mr Ortiz-Catedral says.

Maori valued the red feathers on the kakariki's rump, which were believed to be the blood of Tawhaki, the demigod responsible for thunder and lightning.


Today's the day for the official apology to New Zealand's Vietnam veterans, but one soldier turned politician still holds a grudge.

Ron Mark had just joined the army when troops started coming back from the war, but he remembers the treatment soldiers got from some sections of the public at the time.

He also witnessed the fight the veterans and their families waged to get the army to acknowledge they had been exposed to the defoliant Agent Orange, which contained traces of dioxin.

He says New Zealand First leader Winston Peters negotiated a full inquiry as a condition of the 1996 coalition agreement, but it was undermined once Jenny Shipley became National's prime minister.

“Many of those people who were in that cabinet who sat on the front bench of that government and did that appalling injustice to Vietnam vets are still on the front bench of the National Party hoping to get back into government as cabinet ministers again. God forbid that some of them should ever get anywhere near the Ministry of Defence or the veteran’s affairs portfolios. Their records are appalling and people shouldn't forget it,” Mr Mark says.

Today's apology is a prelude to Tribute 08, a three day commemoration in Wellington this weekend.


An archaeogical study on an offshore island may give Northland iwi Ngati Wai some closure on a past tragedy.

James Robinson from Otago University spent three years researching Tawhiti Rahi, the northernmost of the Poor Nights group off the Northland coast.

It's been virtually untouched since December 1823, when it was declared tapu after a raiding party slaughtered the inhabitants.

Mr Robinson says while life on the New Zealand mainland was starting to change by the 1820s because of contact with Europeans, Tawhiti Rahi was still a traditional Maori society.

“It hadn't got any metal or glass or ceramics or anything like that that was associated say in the 1830s and 40s so what it’s sort of giving us a snapshot of sort of what Captain Cook would have seen and reported of an indigenous society that had developed in New Zealand from its Polynesian ancestry,” he says.

Mr Robinson says until now Ngati Wai has remembered the island because oif the battle, but another story can now be told.


Moana and the Tribe has added to New Zealand's environmental reputation and to its carbon footprint.

The band is just back from Bonn in Germany, where it played a short set some of the 5000 delegates attending a United Nations conference on biodiversity.

Backing singer Amiria Reriti says it was one of five indigenous bands chosen to perform, and the invitation came because of this country's green image.

“They were enamoured with our nuclear stance and investments in diversity, the whole sustainability environmentally as well so we were seen as a green attraction. It was really bizarre because you travel for 30 hours for a 25-minute gig,” Ms Reriti says.

Moana and the Tribe will return in July for shows in Germany, Italy and Poland.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mobsters in paua poaching crackdown

Mongrel mob members are among those rounded up today in a crackdown on the illegal paua trade around Wellington's south coast.

Shaun Driscoll, the Fisheries Ministry's national investigations manager, says an undercover officer identified the syndicates responsible for an increase in poaching in the area, and about 60 people were spoken to today.

A lot of the paua ended up in Hong Kong, where it sells for up to a thousand dollars a kilogram.

Mr Driscoll says like past crack-downs, there was a strong gang element.

“The central figure that we’ve identified here in Wellington organises individuals to dive for him, collect paua, and he clearly organises networks into which he can sell the paua but the people who are doing the diving are predominantly acting as individuals albeit that a large number of them do have gang affiliations and in this occasion it has mainly been into the Mongrel Mob,” Mr Driscoll says.

The ministry has had support from Te Atiawa and Ngati Toa in its enforcement.


The government will tomorrow apologise to Vietnam veterans, but one Vietnam-era soldier believes other people should have apologies ready.

The official apology will acknowledge veterans were not treated fairly when they returned to New Zealand from the war.

New Zealand First MP Ron Mark, who joined the army in 1970, says as a young soldier he saw the hostile way veterans returning from Vietnam were treated by the public.

He still holds a grudge against past ministers of defence and army brass who refused to listen to veteran's complaints about what exposure to toxic chemical like Agent Orange were doing to them and their families.

“I still can't get my head around the fact there’s a whole bunch of people at Defence headquarters who knew the exposure levels to dioxins, who knew that there must have been intelligence available, who knew that there were maps available and for whatever reason never ever thought to go digging for it or find it,” Mr Mark says.

There might never have been a proper inquiry into Agent Orange if retired artillery officer John Masters hadn't found a map which contradicted the official story about chemical defoliation in areas where New Zealanders served.


A programme to return kakariki to Hauraki Gulf islands is being hailed as having cultural as well as scientific merit.

Project head Luis Ortiz-Catedral says 31 of the native parrots have been trapped on Hauturu-Little Barrier for relocation to predator-free Motuihe Island, which adjoins Rangitoto.

He says as the birds come back, so will the stories around them.

“These animals are a treasure that form part of folk tales and myths in Maori culture so we’ve done now our part of bringing them back to this site and now it’s up to those people who know about these tales and folk tales to bring their children to see them in those sites and explain the importance of them in their cultural vision of the world,” Mr Ortiz-Catedral says.

More kakariki will be released later this year on Tawharanui and Rakino islands.


Waikato and King Country secondary school students are getting help to chart their way through some difficult years.

As its project for National Youth Week, Waikato District Health Board is distributing a whanau pack developed by iwi health provider Te Ngaru o Maniapoto health services to 44 secondary schools.

Spokesperson Kingi Turner says its contains bilingual information on parenting in the 21st century, drugs and alcohol, sexual health, nutrition and truancy.

“Often what happens is the parents have difficulty giving that awhi, giving that manaaki to their tamariki, and sometimes we need something like the whanau pack just to give them some guidelines around what could be a good way to approach subjects that they didn’t have to talk about before,” Mr Turner says.


The Prime Minister is dismissing Maori Party criticism of the tax cuts.

Party co-leader Pita Sharples says the budget had little in it for Maori.

But Helen Clark says Maori have been huge winners under the Labour led-government, with lower unemployment and a big boost from the Working for Families initiative.

She says a single earner family on the average income of $45,000 will get $30 a week more in the hand from the first tax cut installment.

“Now that $30 on the first of October is equivalent to getting a 3.7 percent increase in your take home pay. I know there will be workers listening to this who think ‘gee, I wouldn’t mind a 3.7 percent increase in my wage negotiations.’ So that’s how important it is for people, and I just don’t know what planet some of this Maori Party criticism's on,” Ms Clark says.

The budget also included specific Maori spending such as increased support for Maori wardens.


A rare snapshot of traditional Maori life has been revealed on an island off Northland.

James Robinson, an Otago University archaeologist, has conducted an extensive survey of Tawhiti Rahi, the northernmost of the Poor Knights group.

He says it was extensively settled from the 1500s to December 16, 1823, when a raiding party from Hikutu hapu slaughtered its Ngati Wai inhabitants.

Ngati Wai never resettled, leaving in place an intact archaeological landscape of life as it would have been when James Cook first visited Aotearoa.

“There was a very complex and intensive settlement on these islands that reflects to the nature of Maori society just at the time of European contact and as such I think that’s very important. Important for Ngati Wai, important for New Zealand, and I think when we go to the World Archaeology Congress we will show that it’s important tio the world’s understanding of how people, he tangata, have settled the world,” Mr Robinson says.

He will reveal his findings to the New Zealand Archaeological Society conference on June 4 and the World Congress in Dublin at the end of the month.

Sharples pushing no-tax first step

The Maori Party says the Budget was a missed opportunity to reform the tax system.

The party is pushing for a tax-free first step - similar to what New Zealand First advocates.

Co-leader Pita Sharples says Michael Cullen's ninth shot at a Budget still hasn't got it right.

“I'm saying one there's not enough for Maori and two, they missed a real chance to do something for the poor, the lower income people and the benefit people, and that could have had good spin offs for everybody, and I’m talking about a tax free threshold and we’ve set it pretty high at $25,000,” Dr Sharples says.


But the Finance Minister says Dr Sharples seems out of touch with where Maori are going.

Michael Cullen says the Maori Party's tax cut plan floated before the last election would have delivered most of its benefits to the rich.

He says during the time of the Labour led Government Maori median income has risen more than 60 percent, Maori unemployment has dropped to 8 percent and Maori are taking advantage of opportunities in education and economic development.

“I'm interested to see the Maori Party fall back into the perspective that the things you need to do for Maori are the things you need to do for beneficiaries, that you identify Maori with a beneficiary population, not a working population, not a participating population in full. I actually think that’s a very bad stereotype to fall into,” Dr Cullen says.

Despite its criticisms, the Maori Party voted for the Government's tax cuts.


Maori entertainers on the Gold Coast met over the weekend to pay tribute to a former member of the Maori Hi Fi's and Maori Castaways.

Danny Robinson, who died earlier this month, became a popular figure in the Gold Coast music scene after moving there in the early 1970s.

Fellow entertainer Toko Pompey says Robinson toured the world with Maori showbands and supported some big international acts including Tom Jones, Matt Monroe, Cilla Black, even a Singapore appearance by the Rolling Stones.

He says Mr Robinson, from a musical Ngati Whatua whanau, joined the Maori musical diaspora to Australia in the 1960s.

Musicians are also mourning Martin Kini, lead singer of sixties starts the Kini Quartet, who died in Auckland at the weekend.


One of the Fisheries Minister's strongest critics says he's finally got something right.

The Maori Caucus has repeatedly fronted up to Jim Anderton in recent years to put the Maori position on policies like shared fisheries, which could have resulted in valuable quota being taken off Maori commercial companies to swell the recreational take.

But Dave Hereora, the chair of the caucus, says the minister's veto of a giant marine reserve off Great Barrier Island was a good call.

He says it reflects the huge effort various government agencies, and iwi like Ngati Wai, have put into the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

“On one half we're looking at the conservation efforts required to maintain that environment and on the other hand making sure we’re not encroaching on customary take, and in doing is making available the stocks to those traditional hapu and iwi that have fished there, It’s a good move by the minister. He has taken those issues on board and that is reflected in his stand over Great Barrier,” Mr Hereora says.


National's Maori spokesperson says the Budget figures shows a record of failure for the Ministry of Maori Development and its minister.

Georgine te Heuheu says she'll be trying to find out what Parekura Horomia asked for this time round, since it's difficult to see any new money for Maori in Michael Cullen's ninth budget.

She says Te Puni Kokiri can't even spend the money it does get.

“The department was under spent by $4.3 million in the current year, and given the huge need in our communities, I would have thought well here we go, Maori have missed out again TPK has under delivered again,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

She says Maori are increasingly asking what a John Key-led National government would do for them.


A concern for her environment has unlocked the weaving talent of Whakatohea wahine.

Uhengaparaoa, an exhibition of raranga by Tangimoe Clay, opened at Objectspace on Auckland's Ponsonby Road over the weekend.

The show was curated by Mick Prendergast, who has written extensively on Maori and Pacific weaving traditions and encouraged Ms Clay to explore many traditional forms as well as develop her own contemporary style.

She says her favourite material is a rare dune grass known for its strength and intense golden colour.

“Ten years ago I grew pingao and now I harvest it and reap all the rewards that she has to give me. It’s a beach plant so it thrives on the foreshore and it’s a binder for the dunes. I started helping plant it with council over 10 years ago just for that purpose, to bind the dunes,” Ms Clay says.

She doesn't like waving for commercial production, so she runs a craft shop in Opotiki to promote other artists’ work.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cullen: Plenty in boil-up for Maori

The finance minister says his ninth budget contains a lot for Maori, if they know where to look.

Michael Cullen says increased operational grants will help low decile schools, where there is a higher percentage of Maori students, and the money going into community service groups, health programmes and insulating state housing will also help Maori.

He says during the term of the Labour-led Government Maori median income has risen more than 60 percent, and the Budget will put even more cash in Maori pockets.

“The tax cut package is actually geared a lot more to the low end than I think people thought we could do. Compared to say what the Nats were proposing in 2005, there are bigger tax cuts up to a level of about $40,000 a year. So quite significant, given that Maori tend to be concentrated among lower income earners,” Dr Cullen says.

He says over the past eight years the funding for Te Puni Kokiri has more than doubled.


He may not be the associate minister of tourism any more, but Dover Samuels is still pushing the cause of Maori tourism.

The Labour list MP is joining Minister Damian O'Connor in Rotorua tonight to open the annual Trenz tourism industry showcase.
He says Maori operators must keep putting their products in front of the industry at venues such as Trenz, where 1500 exhibitors hawk their wares to a huge audience of international travel wholesalers.

“When I first went to Trenz, I think it was in the early 90s, you’d be lucky to find a Maori stall there. Right now we have got many of our Maori tourism organisations. This is where we’ve got to take the bull by the horns and get out there and promote Maori as a unique part of the overall tourism product that New Zealand has to offer,” Mr Samuels says.

Last year's Maori tourism delegation to China confirmed the interest visitors have to interact with New Zealand’s indigenous culture.


A Rotorua whanau is generating international interest in its colourful jewelry.

Too Lucious is the Maori design business run by Aroha Armstrong, Tawa Hunter and Inez Crawford.

Ms Crawford says traditional forms like heru and tiki are finding a new audience when they're produced in contemporary materials like brightly-coloured resin.

“We don't have access to poumanu or whalebone. It’s about using what material is available and being smart with it and it’s sort of like there is no value in a piece of resin but there is by the time we've finished with it,” Ms Crawford says.

Too Luscious is taking back Maori culture from the souvenir industry in a fun way.


The Maori affairs select committee is in Australia this week.

Dave Hereora, the chairperson, says the committee is working on a report on early childhood educaiton, and it will visit Aboriginal early childhood centres in Brisbane to see if there is anything that could be useful in Aoteroa.

He says it will also go to Canberra to talk to an Australian parliamentary committee which has been investigating disparities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

“They've just completed the hearing of that evidence and we’re keen to talk to them about their findings. Obviously it does have an impact on their way forward, given their recent national apology (to Aboriginal people), and we see that as a positive move,” Mr Hereora says.

He expects MPs to stick with the programme, rather than skive off to Alice Springs like Maori Party MP Hone Harawira did from a justice select committee trip last year.


Throw out your calendars and clocks. Matariki is here bringing with it reminders of older ways of keeping time.

The star cluster Matariki, also known as Seven sisters or the Pleiades, came over the morning horizon last Friday.

That means the Maori New Year will begin the day after the first new moon - on June 6.

Richard Hall, an astronomer at Stonehenge-Aotearoa in the Wairarapa, says for ancient Maori Matariki marked a time when food was abundant.

He says today people forget the stars hold knowledge as well as beauty.

“We're so used to someone telling us what time it is and what day it is. You’ve got to remember there was a time when those things were not around. We didn’t have a calendar to look at to say in three months time the weather is gong to change, to expect the southerlies to come through. They depended on the rising of stars to tell them these events were about to happen,” Mr Hall says.

The Matariki cluster is not only important to Maori and peoples throughout the Pacific, but it was also a rich source of lore for the ancient civilisations of Europe and Asia.


Old time Maori musicians are mourning the loss of one of the great voices.

Martin Kini, the lead singer of the Kini Quartet, died in Auckland over the weekend after a short illness.

The family group from the East Coast recorded eight singles and one album for the Zodiac label.

They had a hit with Under the Sun, still a popular song at Maori gatherings.

Fellow showband musician Toko Pompey says Martin Kini's velvety voice reminded people of Nat King Cole.

At one memorable performance for the Maori Queen at the Auckland Maori Community Centre, he outshone other names on the bill like Frankie Rowles and Gugi Waaka.

Martin Kini will be taken back to Waihirere near Gisborne.

Takaparawha protest marked by friend and foe

Old friends and old enemies joined together yesterday to mark the end of the Bastion Point occupation 30 years ago.

More than 300 people gathered at Orakei marae to acknowledge what is now seen as a major turning point for Ngati Whatua.

Thirty years ago, Aucklanders were woken up to a long convoy of army vehicles rumbling through the city on their way to support 700 police surrounding a group which had occupied Bastion Point for 506 days.

The 222 people arrested that day included not only members of Joe Hawke’s whanau and his supporters in Ngati Whatua but other Maori radicalized by the 1975 Land March, clerics, communists, unionists, feminists, artists, musicians and others opposed to Prime Minister Robert Muldoon’s plan for an exclusive housing subdivision on Ngati Whatua ancestral land.

Many were back on the land yesterday along with the current Prime Minister, the commissioner of police and a slew of clerics.

The reading for the service of remembrance and reconciliation was the story of Naboth’s vineyard, taken with sleight of hand and violence by Jezebel for her husband King Ahab of Samaria.

It was, said Bishop Sir Paul Reeves, probably not a vineyard at all but a piece of valuable real estate with great views.


There's a renewed push for a wananga on land next to Hoani Waititi marae in west Auckland.

Pita Sharples, who set up the country’s first kura kaupapa Maori at the marae, says the project stalled two years ago because the government was not keen to see another wananga established.

He has met with Unitech representatives to discuss a partnership to run the wananga on traditional Maori methods.

Dr Sharples says he wants to see control in the hands of cultural experts of the caliber of Koro Dewes, Pat Hohepa and Katarina Mataira.

“They would be the whare and they would determine what is in the curriculum, who teaches it, and how it is examined. It’s really getting back to the old days where the experts defined the curriculum rather than some body who’s external,” he says.


The head of Maori health at the Canterbury District Health Board says Maori men and the government are failing tackle the challenge of prostrate cancer.

Hector Matthews says the government was able to fine $164 million in the budget for a vaccination programme to reduce the risk of cervical cancer.

But a major risk to men’s health was again ignored.

“We all want our mothers and our sisters and our kuia to remain well, but I think there’s an additional challenge there. Similar numbers of men die per annum of prostrate cancer as (women) die of cervical and breast cancer and yet little is done for them and that’s a challenge for our Maori men as well as the government to ensure that balance is given there as well,” Mr Matthews says.

He says the $12 million dollars in the Budget to boost the number of Maori nurses is very welcome.


Auckland hapu Ngati Whatua has thanked all those who stood by it during its long fight for its ancestral lands.

The hapu held a day of remembrance and reconciliation at Orakei marae yesterday to mark to 30th anniversary of the end of the Bastion Point occupation.

It was attended by many of the 222 people arrested on the day, by Prime Minister Helen Clark and police commissioner Howard Broad.

Occupation leader Joe Hawke told the hui he and his family had gone on the Maori Land March to Wellington with the slogan not one more acre of Maori land should be lost.

That's why in 1977, when work started on an exclusive subdivision on Takaparawha-Bastion Point, he put an action plan to elders.

“And we had a huddle and the kaumatua says, ‘well Hohepa, if you want to go and put your tent up on Bastion Point, don’t you stop until you have finished the job. And that gave me the encouragement. If you start it, don’t stop it until you have completed the mission until you have finished the job,” Mr Hawke says.

By looking back, Ngati Whatua is able to look forward to the better future it has built for its mokopuna.


A Maori social worker is welcoming a big boost for social services in this week's Budget.

An extra $446 million is going into the sector over the next four years.

Parekotuku Moore from the National Network of Stopping Violence Services says many Maori whanau feel isolated when they try to deal with with violence in their homes.

She says many don't know where to go for help.

“The greatest need for our whanau is to know what services are out there, who of our people are providing the work, who of Maori are working in the area of intervening and stopping and preventing family violence,” Ms Moore says.

She says some of the new money needs to go into workforce development, because there are not enough skilled people to work with whanau in need.


The Minister of Youth Affairs is urging Maori families to make more time to talk to their rangatahi.

Today is the start of National youth week, which this year is on the theme of relationships.

Nania Mahuta says rangatahi with supportive families and positive relationships at school are better positioned to go on to tertiary study and rewarding careers.

She says adults need to help them develop confidence.

“Talking to young people, being a mentor, at home if you’re a whanau having a sit down kai, asking how the day was, all those sorts of things that reinforce relationships matter and it’s really important too because it’s a type of relationships within a whanau, like our grandparents with our tamariki, they make a difference,” Ms Mahuta says.

A highlight of the week will be Wednesday’s Young New Zealanders Awards in Wellington.