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Friday, June 13, 2008

Whakaruruhau calls in cops

The umbrella group for iwi radio stations has called in the police after its former chairperson admitted the theft of $10,000.

Te Whakaruruhau o Nga Reo Irirangi Maori o Aotearoa has been in crisis mode for the past week as its executive tried to uncover the truth about two cheques signed by Te Maumoko August.

Willie Jackson, who was elected co-chair when the problem emerged, says Mrs August admitted the theft yesterday and her family made full restitution.

Te Whakaruruhau is funded through Te Mangai Paho, the Maori broadcast funding authority.


The Greens Maori Affairs spokesperson is feeling lonely.

Metiria Turei says there aren't enough Maori environmentalists active at a political level.

She says while there are plenty doing work at the grassroots level, there are not many who are available to help develop policy at a regional and national level.

"A Maori environmental lobby organisation of some kind would be enormously helpful because we don't have that here. You have to work enormously hard to get Maori environmental engagement so you make sure that policy makes sense from a Maori point of view and a lot of that gets missed out. But I do think it's because we're actually mostly busy doing the work rather than trying to mess with government," Ms Turei says.


Maori short films are getting a screening in Palmerston North tonight for Matariki.

Taiarahia Black, from Massey University and Kevin Reilly from the Manawatu Tenants Union will give commentaries on the films at the Square Edge gallery.

Professor Black says their korero will put the films in context and link them to traditional Maori concepts and contemporary Maori thinking.


Mourners have been flowing through the Christchurch Polytechnic marae to pay tribute its kaihautu, Monte Ohia, who died yesterday.

Mr Ohia, from Ngati Pukenga, Ngaiterangi, Ngati Ranginui and Te Arawa, was 62.

He had a long record in education, working not just in schools, wananga, universities and polytechnics but for the Education Ministry and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

Mr Ohia was making his second attempt to win Te Tai Tonga for the Maori Party.

"Monte's the kind of person you make a relationship with and it lasts forever. What a loss and what a loss to the Maori Party and what a loss to New Zealand, this great guy has gone," Dr Sharples says.

Monte Ohia's body will be taken tomorrow morning to Waikawa Marae in Picton, with the funeral on Monday morning.


The former chair of Te Whakaruruhau o Nga Reo Irirangi Maori o Aotearoa has admitted defrauding the umbrella group for iwi radio stations.

Te Maumoko August resigned after the organisation's bank queried signatures on two cheques totalling $10,000.

Willie Jackson, who was elected co-chairperson on Monday, says it's taken a week to get to the bottom of the matter.

"What she said was she defrauded the cheques to try and reimburse herself. What we were trying to do was find the evidence of that but we couldn't find the money in IRD, so we were just going through the process looking at everything when I sort of put the heat on her and then she woned up to her family and the family came up and gave me the news yesterday," Mr Jackson says.

He says Te Maumoko August's family has reimbursed the money, but the matter has been referred to the police.

Maori broadcast funding agency Te Mangai Paho suspended Te Whakaruruhau's funding when the potential fraud came to light.


Motueka Maori should benefit from an agreement signed today between Te Awhina Marae and the Tasman Regional Sports Trust.

Rochelle Curtis, Te Awhina's hauora services coordinator, says trust is keen to learn how it can improve services to Maori.

That fits in with the marae's desire to strengthen its sports programme, which is based around a small gym in the complex, and to address other health problems caused by lack of exercise and poor nutrition.

Te Awhina Marae is also trying to start a rangatahi waka ama squad.


The Maori new year could be a financial winner for some quick-witted poet.

The first Matariki poetry grand slam will be held at Auckland's Classic Theatre on Sunday evening.

Organiser Mei Hill says there's a $500 first prize to the poet who is able to wow the three judges and the audience in their three-minute time slot.

She was inspired to organise the poetry slam to remember Hone Tuwhare and Mahinarangi Tocker, who have both died in the past year.

Maori turned poachers

A far north iwi leader says the way fisheries are regulated has turned Maori into a nation of poachers.

Haami Piripi says that's the situation Te Rarawa wants to change by negotiating a foreshore and seabed settlement.

The iwi yesterday signed terms of negotiations with the Government under the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Mr Piripi says the cultural knowledge that coastal hapu can contribute should lead to better regulatory regimes, rather than the current compliance-based system.

“What it has done is turn us into a community of poachers when we really should be a community of gamekeepers. For years now we have had to operate within this regulatory environment which is compliance-driven. What we are looking for is to establish and environment in which we can manage this resource to the extent we don’t have to worry about compliance because everybody is educated into it, everybody is participating in it and everybody is benefiting from it,” Mr Piripi says.

The talks will cover Te Rarawa's coast from Hokianga to Hukatere on Ninety Mile Beach, even though the northern point is disputed by neighbours Te Aupouri and Ngai Takoto.


The Minister of Maori Affairs has paid tribute to a friend and political rival.

Monte Ohia, the Maori Party's Te Tai Tonga candidate, died suddenly yesterday in Christchurch.

Parekura Horomia says Mr Ohia made a huge contribution to education as a teacher, administrator and official, and his death comes as a shock.

“Monte's been synonymous with education development. That he was in a different political party is by the by. Monte was one of those battlers. He was always on about quality and he certainly will be missed,” Mr Horomia says.

Monte Ohia will lie in state in Christchurch before being taken to Wakawa Marae near Picton, where he taught for many years.


The Maori All Blacks will need to be on top of their game tomorrow to beat Fiji in Lautoka.

Whetu Tipiwai, the team's kaumatua, says Fiji always plays strongly on home ground, and the second round match in the IRB Pacific Nations Cup will be much tougher than last weekend's 20-9 win over Tonga at North Harbour Stadium.

He says expect a physical contest as Donny Stevenson's Maori team tries to live up to its reputation.

“Fiji's going to be hard as they always are on their home ground. Like Matt Te Pou always used to say, if you go there the Fijians fear one team, and that’s the Maoris and he says just don’t disappoint them,” Mr Tipiwai says.

Fiji beat Samoa 34-17 in the opening round.


A Maori historian says pressure to get rid of the Maori seats comes up whenever the right wing feels threatened by the Maori vote.

A paper prepared for the Business Roundtable by Canterbury University law professor Philip Joseph argued for the seats to go because Maori were now over-represented in Parliament.

National, United Future and New Zealand First are making similar claims.

But Rawiri Taonui, the head of Maori and Pacific studies at Canterbury, says if the aim is to restore proportionality to parliament, getting rid of the seven Maori seats should also mean about 20 straight Pakeha male MPs are shown the door.

“You know I can see the sense in that. It would mean we get more gay MPs, they dress better. More Asian MPs, we know they can really count so they’ll be good at budgeting. And we get more Samoan and Tongan MPs and those sorts of peolle because they’re really good at putting together a feed. All the arguments that are in that report have been leveled before, dating back as early as 1906,” Mr Taonui says.

He says axing the Maori seats would unleash the biggest protests the country has seen.


The Greens say Maori lack the resources to establish effective environmental lobby groups.

Meteria Turei, the party's Maori affairs spokesperson, says there is no shortage of Maori committed to environmental protection.

But there are few with skills to lobby at government level, and most prefer a hands on approach.

She says most Maori environmental work goes into restoration work on the time, and Maori don’t have the time to lobby politicians and government.

Maori environmental lobbying could be a way to make policy make sense to Maori.


The author of a new book on harakeke says the country needs more piupiu makers.

Leilani Rickard's "How to make a piupiu" covers flax preparation and the simple steps needed to make a garment.

The former guide at Rotorua's Maori Arts and Craft Institute makes up to 90 piupiu a year.

She says her jump from weaving to writing was prompted by her mokopuna, who told her of the interest of their schoolmates in being able to make the flax skirts.

Mrs Rickard says making piupiu is labour intensive, but once you've mastered the technique it has similar therapeutic qualities to knitting or crochet.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Maori Party candidate Monte Ohia dies

Rereamoamo Monte Ohia is being remembered for his contribution to education, and for the contribution he could have made to politics.

The Maori Party's Te Tai Tonga candidate died suddenly in Christchurch this morning.

He had a long career as a teacher and education official, and has been Kaiarahi for Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology since 2005.

Kaumatua Napi Waaka, who worked with Mr Ohia at Te Wananga o Aotearoa, says he made affected thousands of lives.

“Monte grew up as a humble person in a wonderful family. He grew up to be a fine totara, a totara whose leaves sheltered not just Maori but Pakeha and all peoples of the world. He was a man who looked for avenues to enable his Maori people, his friends, to enter into the world of education, because for him, that was the key to success to live in this revolving world,” Mr Waaka says.

Monte Ohia has been taken back to his home in Christchurch, and is expected at Waikawa marae in Picton on Saturday.


A Ngati Hine leader says people in Moerewa and Kawakawa need to ask themselves some hard questions about why drugs have been allowed to flourish in their communities.

The mid-north towns are in an uproar after a Moerewa dairy owner was found selling a common solvent used in the manufacture of illegal drugs.

Peter Tipene from the Ngati Hine Runanga says a working group is looking for long term solutions to the problem, rather than at a quick fix as some in the community are seeking.

“Here we are talking about kicking the Indian shopkeeper out of town. He is a very easy target when people selling the stuff and peddling it on our streets are known to all of us, so why aren’t we doing it to them. These are the sorts of hard questions we have to ask ourselves,” Mr Tipene says.

Any solution is likely to involve work in schools, so young people don't turn to drugs and gangs for a sense of involvement.


The national museum making its collections available online.

Images of Te Papa's humanities and art collections, including almost 700 taonga Maori, have been added to the museum's website.

Claudia Orange, the director of history and Pacific cultures, says new technology offers new ways to approach Te Papa's collections.

She says the museum plans to have its images of all items in its collections online within ten years.


The Crown has opened talks over the southern part of Ninety Mile Beach.

It today signed terms of negotiation under the Foreshore and Seabed Act with Te Rarawa, which claims the coast from the Hokianga Harbour to Hukerere, about a third of the way up the beach known as Te Oneroa a Tohe.

Haami Piripi, the chair of Te Runanga o Te Rarawa, says the iwi wants to have a greater say in coastal and fisheries management.

He says it has felt what little influence it had slipping away.

“We're in a situation where we have a lot of other New Zealanders who have been buoyed by the passing of the Foreshore and Seabed Act into the belief that we have no interest and that therefore the interest lies wit other communities and therefore we need to be able to reestablish our place in the fabric of our society in the far north,” Mr Piripi says.

He says current coastal management policies turn Maori into poachers rather than the gamekeepers they should be.


John Key is denying Labour claims the treaty settlement process will stall under National.

Ministers say the current rapid progress would be threatened by a change in government.

But National's leader says he has a plan to accelerate the process, starting with more resources for the Waitangi Tribunal.

“Secondly it's about the kind of quality of minister you have and almost certainly that will be Chris Finlayson who is well known to people and is a great barrister, represented Ngai Tahu for their settlement so knows this sort of space very well, but it will also include people of very high caliber that can ghave the confidence of Cabinet and also the confidence of Maori and one of those without doubt is Wira Gardiner,” Mr Key says.

In principal National will support the central North Island forestry settlement, which Mr Gardiner has been working on as a Crown facilitator.


A King Country land trust is looking at how to generate power while preserving environmental values.

Clearwater Hydro is considering building a one megawatt station on the Kokakotaia Stream in the Pureoroa forest.

It's on land belonging to Maraeroa C, whose spokesperson Glen Katu says modern technology means the full width of the stream doesn't need to be dammed.

“That means we can put in a weir that only gathers the water from half of the flow and channels that water into a penstock and then the power generated at the bottom and so one of the things we’re really conscious of environmentally is that we don’t ruin the habitat for our eels and other fish,” Mr Katu says.

Maraeroa C needs better power supply in the region for its timber processing business and for a planned papakainga housing development for shareholders.

Drug problem long term

Residents of Moerewa and Kawakawa are looking for long term solutions to drugs in their community.

A working party has been formed after a hui called by the Ngati Hine Runanga in response to revelations a Moerewa dairy owner was selling a solvent used in the manufacture of methamphetamine and cannabis oil.

Peter Tipene, a member of the runanga executive, says it's easy to focus on the shopkeeper rather than on people in the community known to be manufacturing and selling drugs.

He says a bigger problem is trying to find a way to get young people to develop positive aspirations, rather than find a sense of belonging through gangs and drugs.

“There's no silver bullet. If we are going to deal with it it will be really long term and that means an education strategy where our schools can work together with our community groups and parents and students, as well as to look to build an enterprise culture,” Mr Tipene says.

He says many of the young people in the area don't belong to their marae or even know where their maraes are.


The Maori arts and crafts institute is getting a new landlord - and maybe a new owner.

Three blocks in the Whakarewarewa thermal valley, including the land on which Te Puia stands, are among 19 sites of significance included as part of a comprehensive settlement of Te Arawa historic claims.

Negotiator Rawiri Te Whare says they will go back to the traditional owners.

“Those lands are shared by Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao and Ngati Whakaue. Through the Pumautanga settlement, the Whakarewarewa thermal valley will be vested in a joint trust of those three groups and then they will work out how they will manage the land together. There’s also the hope they will secure Te Puia, the business arm,” Mr Te Whare says.

The revised deed of settlement signed yesterday by the Crown and Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa will give the iwi a greater role in the economic and political life of the Rotorua region.


Sitka in Alaska may be an ocean away from the Wellington waterfront, but a group of contemporary Maori artists are heading there after their latest exhibition closes.

Bloodlines, featuring the work of 17 artists who came out of Tairawhiti Polytechnic's Toihoukura art school, opens today at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts.

Curator Kaaterina Kerekere says the multi-disciplinary group is keen to continue its studies with Dave Galanin, a silver carver from the Tlingit people of Southeast Alaska who has just returned home after three years in Gisborne.


The Kohanga Reo National Trust hopes a new 25 year strategic plan will lure kaumatua back into the pre-school language nests.

Chairperson Timoti Karetu says the review was prompted by concerns some kohanga were straying too far from the movement's kaupapa of teaching children through immersion in a Maori-speaking environment.

He says the mana of each kohanga's whanau needs to be upheld.

“This is not like a teacher with a class but it’s a family with its initiatives, its ideas and its input to the learning situation and that has to be the salient difference between us all the time. We must not forget that it’s a family initiative with family input and they have as much right to tell the kohanga what direction to go in as the teacher himself or herself,” Professor Karetu says.

The Te Ara Tuuapae strategy should help refocus the energy of kohanga supporters.


A King Country Maori land trust is is considering putting a hydroelectric power station on its awa.

Maraeroa C is working with Clearwater Hydro, a subsidiary of Te Kuiti-based The Lines Company, on the feasibilty of a one megawatt station on the Kokakotaia Stream, which comes out of the Pureoroa forest.

Spokesperson Glenn Katu says it could be ideal for the trust's plans, which include housing for owners and further value add processing of its forests.

“Where our forest is and where we’ve got some business facilities being created, we’re finding it difficult to get reliable power sources if we are going to build considerable facilities in our area which is why we’ve been looking positively at establishing our own hydro power generation plant,” Mr Katu says.

The station can be built without damming the complete width of the stream, so the habitat for eels and other fish will be protected.


Seven glass kumara etched with words about peace, healing and spiritual ties to the land have won an Auckland artist a national Matariki art award.

"Ko nga hua o Rongomaraeroa" uses the humble vegetable to explore re-generation, re-birth and whakapapa - which all fit nicely with the celebration of the Maori New Year.

Claudine Muru, who affiliates to Ngati Kuri, Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa, Tapu Ika, Te Arawa and Ngai Te Rangi, says the work was inspired by her uncle, artist Selwyn Muru.

“He's the one that actually told me the stories around kumara plots up north and how the communities planted them together and the significance overall so I’m quite grateful to him,” Muru says.

The enamel paint used to write on the glass is the same high temperature paint used by NASA to coat space ships.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pumautanga deal signed

Te Arawa tribes are celebrating the first stage of the comprehensive settlement to their historic land claims.

More than 300 people were on hand at Te Pakira Marae in Whakarewarewa this morning for the signing of a revised deed of settlement.

It includes a formal apology for historic treaty breaches, transfer of 19 land blocks including three in the Whakarewarewa thermal valley, and more say in the management of Crown-owned land in the region.

Negotiator Rawiri Te Whare says Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa agreed to modify its deal so forestry aspects are included in a comprehensive settlement with other Central North Island Iwi.

That should be finalised by the end of the month, bringing Te Pumautanga affiliates $42 million in accumulated rentals and $2 million a year in income.

“The cash component is linked with the forestry settlement and so our own Te Pumautanga settlement relies on the forestry settlement being agreed and signed between the Crown and CNI iwi in order for the cash component of it to come across to Te Pumautanga,” Mr Te Whare says.

He says a lot of the division and rancour which surrounded the 2006 deed of settlement has gone away because of the progress made on the wider CNI settlement.


Meanwile, one of the leading critics of the earlier settlement proposal is endorsing today's deal.

Te Ururoa Flavell, the Maori Party MP for Waiariki, says there have been significant changes in the process over the past year and a half, in particular the actions of new Treaty Negotiations Minister Michael Cullen in driving a wider settlement of central North Island forestry claims.

He says members of Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa are going in with their eyes open.

“There has been enough debate, discussion and whatever I might say about it is probably a little too late other than the sense that we have to support iwi where they believe they’re going ahead with the best deal they can get and under the conditions now that it has been coupled in the with biggest CNI claims, there are some benefits that will come to iwi,” Mr Flavell says.

He still has major concerns over the way Ngati Whaoa has been included in the settlement, and hopes a side deal can be done to give the iwi fair treatment.


It's back to basics for kohanga reo.

The National Trust has launched a 25 year plan to revitalise the movement.

Chairperson Timoti Karetu says the plan will strengthen the fundamentals of whanau and te reo Maori, while still giving individual Maori language nests the leeway to tailor the curriculum for their areas.

He says Maori should be the only language spoken in kohanga reo.

“The initiative is going to be that there will be kura reo for those whose language is minimal but even though they may not be able to serve in the kohanga proper, they can be sort of adjuncts to the kohanga, they can provide food services, cleaning services, all those other things that are necessary also for the smooth running of a kohanga, and thoe ones who have the language will go into the kohanga proper and use the language while they are with the children,” Professor Karetu says.


Second time round could be the trick for Te Arawa.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Michael Cullen today signed a revised deed of settlement with Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa covering the historic claims of 11 of the Bay of Plenty confederation's iwi and hapu.

It includes an apology, cultural and financial redress and the return of 19 land blocks including parts of the Whakarewarewa thermal valley.

Negotiator Rawiri Te Whare says Te Pumautanga will also participate in the Central North Island collective forestry settlement, which is due to be signed in two weeks.

He says much of the opposition around the original deed signed in 2006 has died away.

“The issues and the tensions that existed then don’t exist now. There’s been a lot more mediation going on and the CNI has provided a lot more opportunities for all of the iwi within the central North Island, including those hapu of Te Arawa who sat outside Pumautanga,” Mr Te Whare says.

Over the past six months all claimants within the central North Island have been much more willing to work together and take into account each other's interests.


Northlanders are being warned their love for kaimoana could put their health at risk.

Jonathan Jarman, the Northland medical officer of health, says more than half of the region's 22-thousand strong Maori population have at least one feed of collected shellfish every two weeks.

But a Northland Regional Council study shows only three of the 17 Northland sites regularly tested for contamination are consistently safe.

“We're talking about traditional shellfish collection sites. These are areas that have provided a food basket for centuries and more and more people are looking at these food baskets because of the costs and the pressure on families,” Mr Jarman says.

He'd like to see iwi given resources to test sites so they can impose local rahui when shellfish is unsafe to eat.


Seventeen contemporary Maori artists with international profiles have joined for a special exhibition to mark Matariki.

Bloodlines opens at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts on the Wellington waterfront tomorrow.

Kaaterina Kerekere, one of the curators, says most of the artists know one another from their days as students at Toihoukura in the Gisborne polytechnic, and if they’re not already whanu, they feel like whanau.

Kaaterina Kerekere says the artists will run workshops for rangatahi during the show.

Pumautanga deal set for signing

The Minister for Treaty Negotiations will today sign a revised deed for a comprehensive settlement of Rotorua land claims.

Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa, representing 11 Te Arawa iwi and hapu, will get a package including, cash, forestry assets and some iconic sites.

The ceremony at Te Pakira Marae in Whakarewarewa this morning should end years of wrangling.

The original 2006 deal involved a complicated arrangement giving Te Pumautanga some forestry land and allowing it to buy a lot more, boosting its value well above the sticker price.

Other central North Island iwi protested that the Te Arawa affiliates were getting special treatment, and the government opened talks with what's known as the CNI iwi collective.

Now the two settlements are being dovetailed together.

Te Pumautanga will get 15.6 percent of the 90 percent of the Crown's central North Island forests going into the CNI Treelord settlement, as well as $42 million in accumulated rentals.

The ownership of the underlying land will be sorted out later.

The Whakarewarewa Thermal Springs Reserve and the Te Puia Maori arts institute will be vested in a joint trust representing Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao and Ngati Whakaue.

Postal voting on the deal closed on Monday, and meetings were going late into the night trying to sort out final details.


A West Auckland Maori Public Health Organisation is targeting working men who won't visit a doctor.

Waiora chief executive Simon Royal says many men claim they can't get away from their jobs to get to the surgery.

They only seek help when they get really sick, and they won't change their lifestyles for the sake of their health.

He says the Make a Stand pilot programme will send medical staff into workplaces to test for early signs of heart disease and diabetes.

“If our Maori, Pacific Island and low income populations aren’t gong to come to our general practice clinics, we’re going to go to them to provide and in reach service into workplaces, give everybody a full health assessment and provide a report back on everyone’s individual health status directly back to the worker,” Mr Royal says.


The Maori showband tradition is being dusted off for a celebration of the Maori new year in west Auckland.

Legendary singer Rim D Paul will be joined at the Titirangi War Memorial Hall on Saturday week by other musicians from the era including Rewi Greening, Gary Ruka and steel guitarist Ben Tawhiti.

Waiora Spraggon, Waitakere's community arts co-ordinator, says the showband format of musical virtuosity and versility mixed with generous dollops of Maori humour has proved popular over the decades.

He says Showband Aotearoa band know there’s an audience for their act and want to take the show on the road.


Iwi and marae are being urged to take possession of their names in cyberspace before someone else does.

Chris Rennie, a Christchurch public relations consultant, says a search on behalf of a Maori client found the .com version of their iwi name was held by an individual in Texas.

Cybersquatters who buy up Maori words and ancestral names typically demand $1000 to transfer them to the rightful owners.

He says iwi authorities should check their name through a domain name company, and spend the $30 or $40 a year needed to secure their corner of the Internet.

“Many of them are completely unprotected, the whole range of .com, co.nz domain names for many iwi have simply not been registered and sooner or later someone is going to discover that, kidnap it, and you are going to have to pay the ransom,” Mr Rennie says.

Owning the .com version of a name could be important if an iwi wants to establish international credibility for a New Zealand-based tourist, food or souvenir businesses.


A Massey University researcher says simple changes in the way health services deal with Maori women could make a big difference in health outcomes.

Denise Wilson from Ngati Tahinga has been looking at the significance of culturally appropriate heath services.

Giving the annual Oteha lecture at the university's Te Mata o Te Tau Academy for Maori Research and Scholarship, Dr Wilson said Maori women felt they weren't treated with dignity and respect by mainstream services.

That meant many did not get the treatment they need.

“There's a real need for Maori women to be able to have effective access to health services; being able to get greeted in a pleasant way that’s going to make you feel welcome; to being able to understand the language being used; to having the time to digest what’s being said the them so they can ask questions,” Dr Wilson says.

Maori women need to be encouraged to look after their own health, instead of always putting the needs of their whanau first.


A social history of tangata whenua the top of the South Island has made the finals of the Montana New Zealand Book awards.

It's the second volume of Hillary and John Mitchell's monumental Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka, which draws on the material they collected for claims to the Waitangi Tribunal.

Mrs Mitchell says first volume focused on the histories of the eight tribes of the region, settler occupations and land dealings.

Te Ara Hou: The New Society deals with the social impact of colonisation.

“We are thrilled because it is a different sort of history and it is great to get recognition that it is a valuable history, and the other person who should be acknowledged if Brian Flintoff who did beautiful illustrations including the cover,” Mrs Mitchell says.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tarawera eruption anniversary

Rotorua is today remembering the natural disaster that shaped the region 122 years ago.

More than 150 members of Tuhourangi lost their lives when Mt Tarawera erupted in 1886, covering the Pink and White terraces and the villages of Te Wairoa, Moura and Te Ariki.

Pam McGrath says staff at her Buried Village tourism venture are marking the anniversary by dressing up in Victorian outfits and explaining the tragic event to visitors.

She says many of the villagers were away at Whakarewarewa when the eruption happened, and some of those who survived took shelter Guide Sofia’s whare nearby.

Entry to the Buried Village will be free this weekend so locals can explore the history of their region.


It's a time a sharing at Auckland University's Waipapa Marae.

More than 200 tangata whenau from Aotearoa, Australia, Pacific Island nations and Great Turtle Island are attending the third international traditional knowledge conference hosted by Nga Pae o te Maramatanga, the Institute for Maori Research Excellence.

Opening speaker Moana Jackson says it's a rare chance for Maori to see what other indigenous nations are doing.

He says Maori don’t have all the answers and sharing of ideas is beneficial.

The conference is covering everything from health and education to new models of economic development.


A Te Kuiti couple is turning a traditional Taranaki paua recipe into a successful business.

Glen and Kristin Katu make abalone pickles and chutneys under their Toku Gourmet label and export it to the world.

Mr Katu says the business started after one of their children suggested they start bottling the family's special sauce.

He says they're using farmed and wild paua and locally grown vegetables to create a versatile food product.

“When we were brought up we used to have it on bread and butter and take it with our lunches to our schools. If we were lucky enough to have meat around, we would have it with our meat sandwiches. It went with our boil ups, it went with hangi. It goes with range of food. We’ve found it quite versatile, from the number of chefs that have given it a go,” Mr Katu says.

Now they have proven the business in the commercial kitchen they installed on their farm, they are looking for investors to expand the business.


The Prime Minister seems resigned to the fact one of her confidence and supply partners is lining up with National.

Peter Dunne from United Future is proposing a series of constitutional referenda, including one on the future of the Maori seats.

Helen Clark says Labour's position is clear, that the seats remain as long as Maori keep enrolling on them.

“He's lined himself up with the National Party which a big priority for them is to get rid of the Maori seats. Well that’s not our policy. That’s why I think Maori are looking at this election with a lot of interest,” Ms Clark says.

She says the government is getting huge traction on treaty settlements, which would be put at risk by a change of government.

The Minister for Treaty Negotiations, Michael Cullen, will be in Rotorua tomorrow to sign a revised deed of settlement with Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa, which is a precursor to the Treelord forestry settlement with the Central North Island iwi collective.


Maori woman are urged to become the kaitiaki for their own health.

Denise Wilson from Ngati Tahinga, a senior lecturer in nursing at Massey University, delivered the annual Oteha lecture to the Maori Academy of Research & Scholarship on culturally appropriate health services for Maori women.

She says many mainstream services don't take Maori norms and attitudes into account, leading to lower outcomes.

Maori woman need support to keep themselves healthy and to access to health services in a timely manner.

“Maori women are strongly socialised to put others ahead of themselves and often when they need timely intervention or to go and see a doctor or a nurse, they usually put themselves at the end of the line and put their tamariki or their partner or other whanau members ahead of themselves,” Dr Wilson says.

Even simple things like making women feel welcome in a clinic, and giving them time to understand the information they are given, can make a big difference to outcomes.


Ngati Hine has had enough of drugs in its communities.

Members of the Northland tribe are meeting in Moerewa tonight to discuss the widespread access to drugs.

Community worker Peter Tipene says revelations the town's dairy was selling a chemical used in the manufacture of methamphetamine and cannabis oil has fired up the community.

“We said we've had enough and we know that everyone else in the Moerewa Kawakaewa community is saying enough. This is really about the Ngati Hine leadership after having met with other community leaders and looking to galvanise our collective commitment towards improving our own community,” Mr Tipene says.

The incident with the shopkeeper is only a symptom of a deeper problem in the community which needs addressing.

Tohourangi remember eruption

Today the Tuhourangi people remember the day they were forced to flee their ancestral home around Lake Tarawera.

The eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886 destroyed not only the famed Pink and White Terraces but the homes and cultivations of the people on the lake's shores.

Kaumatua Anaru Rangiheuea says June the 10th is a reminder of not only how much the iwi lost, but also of the generosity of whanaunga and neighbouring iwi who took the survivors in.

He says the Crown profited from the eruption by taking Tuhourangi land, which the iwi is still trying to get back.

“We lost a lot of our lands around Tarawera, around our lakes here, and they’re now held in the Crown agency of Department of Conservation and I think that’s really sad and wrong of the Crown not to consider returning most of those lands back to us,” Mr Rangiheuea says.

He doubts the Pink and White Terraces are still intact.


The winners of the Maori farm of the year say getting a deep understanding of their business helps lessen the inevitable risks.

Dean and Kristen Nikora entered their Mangatewai Station dairy operation near Takapau into the Ahuwhenua Trophy so they could benchmark it against other successful organisations.

The chief judge, Doug Leeder, says the couple built a thriving business by balancing high-risk investment with disciplined risk analysis.

Mr Nikora, who is from Ngati Tama and Maniapoto, says it never felt risky.

“We understand dairy. We understand if we hit some rough times, what we are going to do about it. We understand the business. We understand the science involved and the risks involved in our minds are not too great. To get ahead you’ve just got to understand the road map very well, understand what to do if things, go wrong, and understand opportunities when you see them and grab them,” Mr Nikora says.

He says one of the strengths of the business is its Maori cultural values, which stress the importance of people.


As sequels go... this one is something special.

Vincent Ward has incorporated footage from his 1981 documentary In Spring One Plants Alone into a feature which fleshes out the story of Puhi, a kuia living in Te Urewera with her schizophrenic son.

Rain of the Children stars Waihoroi Shortland, Rena Owen, Temuera Morrison and a several of Puhi's descendants.

Mr Shortland says the award-winning director interviewed dozens of Puhi's relatives and called on his big-budget experience to recreate moments in her life such as the police invasion of Maungapohatu in 1916.

He says the untold story of New Zealand history got a great reception at its premiere at the Sydney Film Festival this weekend.

Mr Shortland says new technology makes film production more affordable, opening up possibilities of more untold Maori stories making it to the screen.


United Future wants all voters to have a say on the future of the Maori seats.

Labour's policy is the seats should remain until Maori say they don't want them any more.

The Maori Party says it wants them entrenched so they can't be scrapped by a simple majority of Parliament, and National says that's exactly what it will eventually do if it becomes government.

Now United Future leader Peter Dunne is proposing a series of referenda on constitutional issues, including one of the future of the Maori seats.

“The Royal Commission way back in the 1980s recommended they should be done away with once MMP was put in place. I think it’s time to test that proposition, particularly since we now have a viable voice of Maori in Parliament that has been able to gain significant representation. I think it’s time to give everyone the chance to determine what the future shape of our electoral system should look like, including where the Maori seats fit,” Mr Dunne says.

He says the Maori seats are unfair to Maori because they restrict the influence of Maori.


Manuhiri from eight countries have gathered in Auckland to talk about how tikanga can tackle modern problems.

Laiana Wong from the Hawai‘inuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawai’i says the traditional knowledge conference is a chance for indigenous people to look critically at themselves.

It's organised by Nga pae o Te Maramatanga, the Institute for Maori research excellence based at Auckland University.

Dr Wong says academics need to remember the communities they come from.

“We tend to focus on external factors such as foreigners who have come and occupied illegally our place and have imposed their values on us. Sometimes we focus too much on that and less on what our responsibility is to retain our own values and try to live by those values,” Dr Wong says.

He is addressing the conference on the theme: Attend to your fellow humans lest your love be wasted on dogs


One of Maoridom's leading blues guitarists has released his second album.

Billy Tekahika says Presenting Billy TK Jr better reflects his skills as a guitar player.

Those expecting the psychedelic freakouts of the other Billy TK, the legendary Human Instinct axman, better look elsewhere.

Billy TK Jnr says he didn't meet his father until he was 16, and the old man refused to teach him to play because he believed he needed to develop his own path.

Monday, June 09, 2008

No future for seats under United Future

Maori seats are in the gun if United Future gets the constitutional overhaul it's asking for.

Leader Peter Dunne has given his wish list for the next election, including referenda on continuing the Mixed Member Proportional system, keeping the Queen as head of state and what to do about the Maori seats.

The Maori Party wants the seats entrenched so they can't be scrapped by a simple majority of Parliament, but Mr Dunne says they hold Maori back.

“So long as we have the Maori seats in place, we are effectively saying to Maori and to New Zealanders as a whole, that’s the only place that Maori fit. I think that Maori are a critical and vital part of our society and I think what we need to be doing is encouraging full participation right across the spectrum, and I don’t think we’ll achieve that by saying ‘you’ve got your little corner over there, stay in it and don't ever move out of it,’” Mr Dunne says.

He says if the Maori electorates were removed, the Maori Party is likely to retain its place in Parliament through a jump in its party vote.


Massey University researchers want to know why Maori women are more likely to die from breast cancer than non-Maori.

Lis Ellison-Loschmann from the Centre for Public Health Research says the three year study will track more than 2000 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, to see whether their interaction with the health system accounts for the different survival rates.

She says they're casting a wide net in their search for answers.

“We're going to collect information on a whole lot of things including socio-demographic factors, and the sorts of things that may hinder or may help people going through cancer treatment services as a way of finding out why Maori and Pacific people are experiencing lower survival from breast cancer than non-Maori, non-Pacific people,” she says.

Dr Ellison-Loschmann affiliates to Te Atiawa, Ngati Raukawa and Ngai Tahu.


The Maori farmer of the year says being Maori is a big part of success.

Dean Nikora and his wife Kristen won the Ahuwhenua Trophy for their work on Mangatewai Station in the central Hawkes Bay, where they milk about 1000 cows on their 342 hectare block.

The judges said as well as being a financial success, the Nikoras had incorporated Maori cultural values in the company from the way it managed the business and the environment to the use of te reo in its operations.

Mr Nikora says he's never forgotten a lesson from his childhood.

“People matter. If we are to get ahead, there is a sharing that is required. We’re not going to do it individually. That’s in our culture and the way we do stuff. I think that’s come through into our business and it’s made out business pretty special. They talk about emotional intelligence being 90 percent of success. Well, that’s Maori culture and it intrigues me they are teaching it in universities now, but it's how we are,” Mr Nikora says.

As well as the Ahuwhenua Trophy, Dean and Kristen Nikora took home $40,000 in cash, products and services.


The Maori Party is being accused of taking a leaf out of National's campaign playbook.

Former Labour cabinet minister John Tamihere says the party is polling well among Maori, despite its lack of specific policies.

The outspoken head of West Auckland's Te Whanau O Waipareira Trust says it's hard to tell what the Maori Party stands for, apart from a fuzzy sense of standing for Maori.

“I don't understand what they want out of education. I don't understand what they want out of health. I don't understand where they want to position us economically at this stage. I understand what they stand against – anything they don’t agree with. They’re worse than John Key. They seem to be doing well just on a brand rather than on any substance so they’ll have to come up with some substance shortly I’d imagine,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says knowing what policies the Maori Party stands for will make it clearer whether the party can work with a National-led government.


Meanwhile, the Maori Party co-leader, Pita Sharples, is joining in the tributes for a prominent Auckland kaumatua.

Ngati Whatua yesterday held a special dinner at Orakei Marae for Takutai Wikiriwhi, to celebrate the Queens Service Medal he won in the New Year's honour list.

The dinner also marked Mr Wikiriwhi's his long service to the iwi in Tamaki Makaurau and the Kaipara.

Dr Sharples says when the iwi started taking a more prominent role in Auckland affairs in the late 1980s, the kaumatua was one of the few available with the language and cultural knowledge to hold the paepae.

“When the other elders died off, he was the authority here and he was so good. Second to none for his karakia and his tikanga and carrying out the duties of a tangata whenua here,” Dr Sharples says.

He'd have like to see Mr Wikiriwhi awarded an even higher honour for his contribution.


An ope from Ngai Tuhoe crossed the Tasman this weekend to support a film shot in their midst.

Rain of the Children is a revisiting by director Vincent Ward of the territory covered in his first feature, In Spring One Plants Alone.

That film, shot over 18 months in the early 1980s, documented the daily life in Te Urewera of kuia Puhi, who lived with her schizophrenic son in a house with no electricity or running water in a remote community in Te Urewera.

The new film, which premiered at Sydney Film Festival, delves deeper into her life.

Waihoroi Shortland, who plays one of Puhi's sons, says it's an extraordinary view of history.

“This is a very ordinary person who had an extraordinary life. Not the kind of life you’re going to find in history books or couched with the kind of heroism that one would say you make movies out of, but it’s certainly one hell of a story,” he says.

Rain of the Children will have its New Zealand premiere in the Auckland Film Festival at the Civic Theatre in July.

Two ticks to triple vote

The president of the Maori Party is counting on a tripling of the party vote in this year's election.

The party is a dust up with the Greens about where Maori should put their party vote.

Green MPs says there's no way the Maori party will pick up enough party votes to match its gains in the Maori electorates, so it might as well direct them to a supportive partner.

But Whatarangi Winiata says his target is all seven Maori seats and a matching six percent of the party vote.

He says before the last election the public did not know how Maori Party MPs would perform in Parliament.

“This time around is a very different scene. What was a major unknown is now not an unknown. We’ve seen how well the four members performed and how well the seven could perform and more,” Professor Winiata says.

He says the Green Party is not the Maori voice in Parliament, even if it often votes on similar lines.


You may not want to hear this as you head into work this morning, but your job could kill you.

The Health Research Council is putting nearly $2 million into studies on occupational illnesses in Maori.

Lis Ellison-Loschmann from Massey University says it’s estimated that each year there are 20,000 new cases of work-related illness and up to 1000 premature deaths.

She says it’s an area of study that has been neglected in the past

“We don’t have any information at the moment about occupational exposures or the burden, how much disease related to occupation there is in Maori,” Dr Ellison-Loschmann says.


Indigenous academics from around the Pacific are gathering at Auckland University to explore and celebrate indigenous knowledge.

Balanced relationships is the theme of the biannual forum hosted by Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga, the national institute of research excellence for Maori development.

Speakers include kamatua Huirangi Waikerepuru on non-violent resistance in Taranaki, Franciscan friar Paul Ojibway on Native American peace ceremonies, and Irene Watson from the Tanganekald and Meintangk peoples of South Australia on Aboriginal women’s law.

Institute spokesperson Joe Te Rito says the forum will also look at the family group conference system, which is a Maori way of conflict resolution adopted by the mainstream.

“We know it has taken off in other countries as a method and this is indigenous people promoting a means of dealing with conflict situations,” Mr Te Rito says.

The conference at Waipapa Marae runs until Wednesday.


A Ngati Kahungunu leader says the annual Maori farming awards highlights the need to get more young Maori onto the land.

The Ahuwhenua Trophy was won by Dean and Kristen Nikora, who run Mangatewai Station near Takapau.

Runners up were Parekarangi trust from near Rotorua and Hauhungaroa Partnership’s Taupo dairu unit.

Ngahiwi Tomoana says it’s great a Hawkes Bay operation won the prestigious award, which will help encourage other young Maori to consider a life on the land.

“One of the concerns we have in most iwi is that we are getting land back through claims and through the retirement of leases and there are not many of our young people there to run them, to manage them or to do the forensic research, scientific research, so this event is a great model,” Mr Apanui says.

He says the dairy farming sector still has huge potential for Maori.


The president of the Maori Party is telling the Greens to back off from Maori voters.

The Green’s co-leader, Jeanette Fitzsimons, and its Maori affairs spokesperson, Metiria Turei, have both made the case for Maori to give them their party vote because of their record of support for the Treaty of Waitangi and Maori.

But Whatarangi Winiata says the Greens are over-reaching.

“There is no doubt who is the Maori voice, and it’s not the Greens. You can’t rely on the greens. We shouldn’t rely on the Greens. We have to build that base ourselves and we have to control that base. We’ve said to out people, ‘vote for the waka, not for the individual paddler,’” Professor Winiata says.

The Maori Party is aiming to not only win all seven Maori seats but to get enough party votes for a list MP or two.


The life expectancy of Maori women with cancer of the womb is the subject of a new study.

The Health Research Council is giving Beverly Lawton from the University of Otago $700,000 to find out why Maori women are more likely to get uterine cancer than non-Maori, and are more likely to die from it.

Dr Lawton, from Ngati Porou, says uterine cancer has a pre-cancerous stage.

“If you're Maori you’re less likely to be investigated – this is the theory – and you’re less likely to end up with a hysterectomy and then you’re more likely to go on to cancer, so we’re looking at these pathways that might be preventing us getting detected early,” Dr Lawton says

The three year study will involve interviews with Maori and non-Maori women their access to specialist assessments and subsequent treatments.