Waatea News Update

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Election date gives Maori clear choice

Former Mana Motuhake leader Sandra Lee says the Prime Minister gave Maori a clear choice with today's announcement of the election date.

She says Helen Clark gained a jump on National by emphasising her government's record and points of difference before revealing the November 8 poll.

Ms Lee, a cabinet minister in the Labour-Alliance coalition government, says many of those differences, such as privatisation, are critical for Maori.

“Historically the effects of privatization impacted very adversely on Maori in terms of employment and assets. Kiwisaver, benefits of family, education, health, all of the social areas are areas that have a significant bearing on those in the so called socio-income bracket, and that includes our people so she’s setting a very clear agenda of a history of social delivery and a commitment to the continuing of that,” Ms Lee says.

She says the speech gave Maori voters, and the Maori Party, a clear choice about where they could put their support.


A new study is using a Maori workforce to see if being made redundant is more unhealthy than long term unemployment.

Mauri Tangata is a project of the Eru Pomare Research Centre looking at the long term health effects of involuntary job loss among the former workforce at the Oringi, Tomoana and Whakatu freezing works.

Researcher Jordan Waiti says some workers go through the ordeal of redundancy more than once

“It's a loss of your relationships, social network, your status, your income, your workmates, and those can lead to depression which can lead to other health complications. That’s the idea around multiple redundancies compared to someone who just has the one,” Mr Waiti says.

A similar study in 2002 found higher rates of serious self-harm among those made redundant.


A long-serving Maori policeman says he was duped by his whanau in joining the force 35 years ago ago.

Senior Constable Paddy Whiu's contribution to the force and to the people of Taitokerau was celebrated today at Kaingahoa Marae near Kaikohe.

Pieri Munro, a long time colleague and now Wellington District Commander, says Mr Whiu's experience and judgment were invaluable during the policing of the Foreshore and Seabed hikoi in 2005 and in the protests around the building of the northern regional Prison in Ngawha.

He says Mr Whiu was always destined not just for community policing but to be the first kaitakawaena or iwi liaison officer.

“Interesting about Paddy is even he will say he wasn’t recruited, he was hoodwinked. It was the people, it was his parents, it was also the community who wanted him to go into the police to use that as a vocation,” Superintendant Munro says.

Commissioner Howard Broad took time away from the Police murder investigation in Mangere to pay tribute to Paddy Whiu.


A former Alliance deputy leader says the furore over donations to Winston Peters is unlikely to be a major election issue.

Sandra Lee says today's announcement of a November 8 election set the scene for an issues-based election.

She says National and Act tried to use New Zealand First's funding to undermine the Government, but the public is switching off.

“Give it another two weeks and people will be quite jaded by that whole Winston thing. It’s going to be a thing of the past and more specific political issues are going to be thrown up as a result of this election campaign.

“Helen Clark is basically snatched the camera today in announcing the election in the way that she set the agenda, she’s taken the initiative. It’s almost like she’s saying to the media ‘you’ve had your fun, this has gone of for weeks and weeks and weeks and now we’re going to get on with the real issues and agenda at hand, and that is a political election campaign,’” Ms Lee says.

The outcome of the election will be critical to Maori because of the significant differences between Labour and National on the economic and social issues which affect the bulk of Maori people.


Maori exporters have been meeting in Wellington to compare experiences and pick up tips for future business.

Panelist Manuka Henare from Auckland University's business school says the Tekau Plus symposium at Te Papa has attracted many iwi-based businesses in the primary sector, rather than people trying to break in.

He says cultural relationships are a point of difference, as was shown by the large number of Maori business people who traveled to Shanghai for the signing of New Zealand's free trade agreement with China.

“They had private meetings with Chinese trade unionists and Chinese entrepreneurs and business people away from other New Zealand companies. They ended up having heart to heart cultural discussions about economics and business, maintaining cultural values, family values, tribal systems, kinship groups, all that sort of stuff, and these are the extra outcomes people want from business activity, not just profits,” Mr Henare says.

The tribal and whanau businesses at the symposium emphasised Maori are in business for the long haul, not just the next quarterly result.


Longevity was a point broadcaster and publisher Derek Fox reinforced to a mainstream business audience this week.

Mr Fox told the Business New Zealand conference that the business community ignores Maori success, even though Maori are the biggest shareholders in the meat, wool and dairy industries.

He says none of the 10 biggest companies on the New Zealand sharemarket in the 1980s are still going, but all 10 of the largest Maori ventures survive and prosper.

Derek Fox says Maori investment in the New Zealand economy is long-term and long-lasting.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Committee head explains Maori bank veto

The chair of Parliament's Maori Affairs select committee is critical of the way the Minister of Maori Affairs tried to ram through plans for a Maori bank.

The committee has stripped out sections of the Maori Trustee Amendment Bill which would have put $35 million dollars of the trustee's accumulated profits into a new statutory corporation, Maori Business Aotearoa New Zealand.

Dave Hereora says while there was extensive consultation on the bulk of the bill, which aims to give the Maori Trustee independence from Te Puni Kokiri, the bank idea was slipped in later.

The committee wasn't convinced it would work.

“If we're considering the intentions around it, and that’s to enhance Maori economic development, the proposed financial benchmark for the corporation, some people felt it wasn’t quite enough, and if that was going to be the case, we need to give serious consideration to how sustainable the corporation was going to be,” Mr Hereora says.

The amended bill will be reported back so it can be considered by the next Parliament.


Wellington's Eru Pomare research centre is looking at the effect of job-loss on health among a predominantly Maori workforce.

Researcher Jordan Waiti says the study is comparing mortality rates, hospital admissions and cancer registrations among those made redundant from the Oringi, Whakatu and Tomoana Freezing Works with those who stayed employed.

He says the works are vital to their communities.

“Oringi freezing works closed two or three months ago. The earlier closers of Whatakatu and Tomoana, those little towns were built around those freezing works so your uncles, your koro, and for a lot of families there would have been three or four generations running through those freezing works,” Mr Waiti says.

Earlier studies have shown sudden job loss can lead to the stress of closures and unemployment can lead to mental health problems and an increase in self harm.


A Ngai Tahu man has been selected to boost the presence of the Human Rights Commission in Te Waipounamu.

Richard Tankersley, who has a background in mental health, now leads the team at the Glenelg Children's Health Camp, as well as being an Anglican lay minister.

He's the first South island-based commissioner, and says the networks he has built up among both Maori and Pakeha in the region will be valuable in his new role.

He's been given his riding instructions by the chief commissioner, Roslyn Noonan.

“She was hoping that the issues of South Island people would be easier to bring to the commission table with there being a commissioner based in the South Island, and I look forward to that,” Mr Tankersley says.

He's looking forward to developing projects at the Human Rights Commission which draw on his background and skills.


Nelson-based Wakatu Incorporation is planning to take a leadership position in the aquaculture industry.

Chief executive Keith Palmer says it's bought 80 hectares at the Glen just east of Nelson, on which it intends to build a $10 million dollar complex of hatcheries for finfish and mussel spat, research laboratories and education and tourism facilities.

It's seeking to get the National Institute for Water and Atmosphere and the Cawthorn Institute involved, as well as other commercial operators.

Mr Palmer says despite government pledges that it become a billion dollar industry, aquaculture has stalled at about $300 million.

“Someone's got to get in and give it a push. Also you’ve got the government’s Fast Forward scientific grant, you have to be organised on an industry basis to access that, so we feel if we can get the industry together, give it the leadership, create a tangible base which is the land with water and access, then we’ve got a good chance of getting those research funds we need to move forward,” Mr Palmer says.

It will probably take two or three years to get resource consents for what Wakatu is calling the Horoirangi Project.


Auckland Maori are gearing up to show their tribal pride in the Iwi of Origin series.

The one day sports event in Northcote at the end of the month will pit teams from 13 iwi in touch rugby, netball, golf and waka ama.

Wiremu Mato, the kaiwhakahaere of Harbour Sport, says a new event this year is the amazing race, which involves teams of six navigating around North Shore City and completing tasks like spinning potaka or tops and performing hand games.

He says Iwi of Origin is an urban variant of the increasingly popular Pa Wars concept.

“For people like myself from Ngati Porou licving in Auckland, you travel back a long way to go to those pa wars, and so I talked to a few people about how we could bring it here to Auckland, and hence the first Iwi of Origin which was last year,” Mr Mato says.

Harbour Sport is passing the baton to Counties Manukau Sport to host next year’s iwi of Origin in South Auckland.


A Maori rugby league legend is praising Warriors’ utility Lance Hohaia ahead of this weekend's play-off clash with the Melbourne Storm.

A loss to the minor premiers playing at their home ground in Melbourne would end the Warriors’ season.

Richie Barnett, a former Kiwi captain, played at fullback in both the NRL and the UK league.

He says the Waikato player has stepped up to whatever challenge the Warriors have thrown at him this season, including at fullback, where he has no previous experience.

Barnett says Lance Hohaia has been very tidy at fullback since the New Zealand franchise lost Wade McKinnon to injury and then suspension.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Policies could go for coalition deal

National Party leader John Key is indicating he is willing to drop National's plan to ax the Maori seats if that's the price of Maori Party support after the election.

Political columnist Jane Clifton this week floated the idea that if the Maori Party demanded a review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act and of the Maori seat policy, National would play along.

Mr Key says while getting rid of the seats is long-standing party policy, it's not an issue New Zealanders go to bed worrying about.

“If we're in a position to put together a deal with potentially the Maori Party, then we’ll sit down and talk to them about those issues and I have no doubt they’ll raise those kinds of issues with us and MMP is a world where you have to live with compromises and things,” Mr Key says.

He says there are many areas where National is in agreement with the Maori Party.


The Minister of Maori Affairs says Joe Williams will bring a rare mix of skills to the High Court.

The current Maori Land Court chief judge will be sworn in to the court next week, and he'll be based in Auckland.

Parekura Horomia says Justice Williams has made major contributions to both the Maori Land Court and the Waitangi Tribunal, which he chairs.

He will bring a bicultural dimension to the High Court.

“He's steeped in his tikanga, his language. He’s lived it. He’s practiced it. He’s defended it, and he also brings the upper level skills, the rare ability in the international field to have somebody who is steeped and skilled on both his own culture and the law of the land,” Mr Horomia says.

Judge Wilson Isaac will take over as Maori Land Court Chief Judge.

National's Maori Affairs spokesperson Tau Henare, who was Maori affairs minister in 1999 when Justice Williams was made a judge, says the appointment is tainted because it was made too close to the election.


A song written in anger about the Seabed and Foreshore Act has won the top Maori honour at the APRA Silver Scrolls.

Rere Reta Rere Rata by Ruia Aperahama won the Maioha Award at last night’s presentation.

Aperahama says the traditional Maori way to mark an historic occasion is through waiata.

“That song is highly political. I hold no punches, and in the song it says ‘he nga tonu Roopu Reipa,’ that was the sentiments of our people out there when 20,000 marched on Parliament and the feelings I felt out there was Labour, you are going to fall,” Aperahama says.

He has since softened his views about Labour's performance.


Simmering tension over the harvest of mussel spat on 90 Mile Beach has led to the Minister of Fisheries agreeing in principle to a taiapure in the waters surrounding Te Wakatehaua Island or the Bluff.

Louise Mischewski, the secretary of Te Aupouri Fisheries Trust, says the local fishery reserve will allow the iwi to sit down with the commercial harvesters to discuss bylaws for the area.

She says the waters around Te Wakatehaua are an important food basket for te Aupouri, but they have come under pressure from the mussel spat industry.

“The mussel spat by nature will attach itself to the Bluff and as part of the life cycle it provides a food source for the fish and the fish get drawn into the bluff and then that supplies the food source for our people, so we just want to make sure that that continues,” Ms Mischewski says.

Spat harvesting is unlikely to be prohibited, but it may be more regulated.


National's Maori affairs spokesperson is crying foul over the appointment of a Maori to the High Court.

Joe Williams from Ngati Pukenga and Te Arawa, who's currently chief judge of the Maori Land Court and chairman of the Waitangi Tribunal, will be sworn into his new job next week.

Tau Henare says the Government is ignoring a political convention that major appointments not be made within three weeks of an election.

“I think Joe’s a fantastic choice but it would have been better done a while back outside that three month period. Any appointments that are made within that three month convention look very much like political appointments and I’m afraid it sort of taints the reputation of those who have been appointed quite frankly,” Mr Henare says.

Judge Wilson Isaac will replace Justice Williams as chief judge of the Maori Land Court.


Budding Maori writers are encouraged to attend a series of Maori writers' workshops being held across the country to celebrate New Zealand Book Month.

Organiser Michelle Powles says the aim is to build the number of Maori submitting work to publishing houses.

The success of veteran writers like Patricia Grace, Kerry Hulme and Witi Ihimaera is inspiring a new generation of scribes, and the workshops will help them refine their craft.

David Geary, Aroha Harris, James George and Apirana Taylor will take the workshops, starting this Sunday morning at Manurewa marae.

Mahuika defends Ngati Porou support

Ngati Porou's chairman is dismissing an attempt to block his iwi's foreshore and seabed settlement.

Two East Coast hapu, Ruawaipu and Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, have asked the Waitangi Tribunal for an urgent hearing into the deal, with spokesman Darrell Naden claiming the iwi is split over the issue.

But Api Mahuika says his runanga's ratification hui are going well, and he's confident it will be able to report overwhelming support by the September 19 deadline.

“The meeting that he attended, we had 45 for and 15 against. We had a meeting in Te Araroa Tuesday night where we had 99 percent, one opposed. The same in Hicks Bay where we had 100 percent support. I don’t know where the split is in terms of those statistics,” Mr Mahuika says.

He says other iwi are looking at the Ngati Porou deal as the template for their own foreshore and seabed settlements.


Child welfare agencies are making a new Maori group feel welcome.

Hone Kaa from Te Kahui Mana Ririki says the trust, which was set up to address disproportionate abuse rates among Maori, has been able to make a real contribution at this week's Every Child Counts conference in Wellington.

The hui brings together organisations like Barbadoes, Plunket, UNICEF, Save the Children and the Institute of Public Policy at AUT University.

“There's a great sense of equity and equaity in their relationships with us. I guess for a long time they’ve been waiting for a Maori body to step out and join them. We need to work together on this issue and our advice and our input is sought in order to make our environment better for our tamariki,” Dr Kaa says.

The Every Child Counts conference is calling on government to create a Minister for Children.


Experienced Maori writers are helping to bring on the next generation of authors.

Aroha Harris, James George and others are taking part in workshops around the country this month to help novice writers gain the confidence needed to tell their own stories.

Michele Powles, the director of New Zealand Book month, says there is an increase in Maori writing fiction, inspired by the success of authors like Witi Ihimaera, Kerry Hulme and Patricia Grace.

“Those guys are probably the pioneers of building confidence and now there are younger writers in terms of really relishing the opportunity to have their say and it may be that they’re writing fiction in a contemporary setting or it may be that they’re combining historical and current fiction topics but those are the things that people are starting to get very excited about,” Ms Powles says.

She says Maori writing seems to be going from strength to strength.

The first workshop is this Sunday at Manurewa Marae in Manukau City.


The elevation of Joe Williams to the High Court is being called a loss to the treaty claim process.

Justice Williams is currently chief judge of the Maori Land Court and the chair of the Waitangi Tribunal.

Before being put on the bench, he was the lawyer responsible for guiding the Muriwhenua land claim through the tribunal, which was then chaired by chief judge Eddie Durie.

Rima Edwards, the chair of Te Runanga o Muriwhenua, says he did an outstanding job.

“He was perhaps the only lawyer in the country, apart from Judge Durie himself, who could understand where Maori was coming from in the presentation of their culture, their tikanga before the tribunal. I think the claims process will miss him dearly in that respect,” Mr Edwards says.

Te Runanga o Muriwhenua is confident Justice Williams will do an extremely good job on the High Court.


The Greens Maori Affairs spokesperson is welcoming the impending passage of a bill which will allow women who give birth in prison to keep their babies with them for up to two years.

Metiria Turei says it will be a boon for Maori, who make up a disproportionate percentage of the prison population.

She says the previous policy of separating mothers and babies at six months left many mothers feeling depressed and helpless.

“Prison is a punishment. It doesn’t mean they should be bereft of every aspect of what it is to be a woman or be a mother. This is a basic human rights approach to treating women and children like they actually mean something, even if they are in jail,” Ms Turei says.

She says separating Mothers from their babies damaged the bonds needed to keep the whanau healthy.


A traditional weaver is hitting out at the way tertiary institutes charge to teach the art of raranga.

Aroha Puketapu-Dahm is a niece and student of the late Erenora Puketapu-Hetet and exhibited alongside her.

She says Te Wharepora or the House of Weaving is dying within hapu, because institutions are undermining the transmission of skills by women within their own hapu.

“When there's an exchange of money, there’s almost an expectation you come up with the goods. When there’s no exchange of money, there’s a different expectation, and expectation given from the whanau that you make them proud. There are just different values there with regard to what the institutes are doing, and leaning in an iwi-based capacity,” she says.

Puketapu-Dahm is part of Earth & Spirit, an exhibition of contemporary indigenous art from Australia and New Zealand, which opens next week in New Hampshire in the United States.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wait for vote count says PM

The Prime Minister is warning Maori not to be fooled by suggestions National might abandon its plans to scrap the Maori seats in exchange for Maori Party support.

Political columnist Jane Clifton has also suggested National could bow to the Maori Party's demand for a review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Helen Clark says National is not a natural partner for the Maori Party and lacks sincerity on Maori issues.

She says coalitions can't be negotiated before the votes are counted.

“What you have to do is get out there with your policies and campaign for the best possible support you can get. That’s what we’re doing. We’ve got very strong campaigns round the Maori electorates right now. We’re out there campaigning for as much strength as we can get. After the election, we sit down and look at what the possibilities are,” Ms Clark says.


Children's advocacy group Te Kahui Mana Ririki has joined a chorus of welfare agencies calling for a minister for children.

Chairperson Hone Kaa says the call came out of this week's Every Child Counts conference in Wellington, which has brought together groups like Barnardos, Plunket, and CCS Disability Action.

The Children's Commissioner is currently attached to the Ministry of Social Development.

Dr Kaa says Maori know it takes senior ministerial muscle to get results.

“You compare it with what happened to Treaty of Waitangi Settlements. It didn’t take off until Dr Cullen took over, a senior Cabinet minister, because that’s where the power is, it’s in the senior cabinet ministries ad if children are to be given the kind of opportunities we need in this country, that’s the only way to do it,” Dr Kaa says.

Te Kahui Mana Ririki was set up last year to tackle child abuse in Maori families.


Visitors to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup will be encouraged to get a pocket guide to the best of Maori.

Developers of the Manaaki card have been at the Maori Tourism Conference in Rotorua, trying to encourage vendors to offer discounts or incentives for the next season of the card.

Dawn Muir says by the time the 2011 event rolls round, she hopes the $30 card will be in wide use - and in the visitors’ packs for the expected 60,000 overseas rugby fans.

They will be traveling through parts of New Zealand, but the challenge for these big events is to try and get them out of the rugby stadiums and in communities and to leave money. The Manaaki Card offers an opportunity to include a whole lot of te ao Maori so people really get that opportunity,” Ms Muir says.


The Maori Affairs Select Committee has ruled out a plan to use the Maori Trustee's accumulated profits to create a new Maori development bank.

Green MP Metiria Turei says Green, Maori Party and National MPs on the committee united against the proposal put up by Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia.

She says the final blow was a submission by the Maori Trustee, John Paki, that he'd prefer to see a much larger, better funded organisation with a clearer vision of helping Maori get better value from their resources.

“It was persuasive from the person who has to administer the find and who knows most about it. If they say it isn’t sufficiently certain how the money’s going to be used, then that’s advice you really have to take seriously If the government wants to do something like this, if they bring back a better plan that’s clearer about how they are going to use that money and where the other money is going to come from, the MPs will look at it again,” Ms Turei says.

The select committee split the Maori trustee Amendment Bill because it wants the Government to push ahead with a plan to give the Maori Trust Office, which looks after more than 100,000 hectares of Maori land, independence from Te Puni Kokiri.


An East Coast Maori group is accusing Te Runanga o Ngati Porou of gagging the iwi rather than addressing long-standing issues.

Darrell Naden from Ruawaipu and Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti says ratification hui for the Foreshore and Seabed deal negotiated by the runanga have become heated, with one hui at Whangara shut down because of a dispute within the hapu.

He says the runanga has given too much away, but the people are feeling helpless.

“We're wondering if the hui has satisfied the puku riri of our people because they’ve gone quiet since then, but the issues remain. The raupatu is still upon us. The oil and mineral wealth in the seabed off for example the east coast of the North Island is incalculable,” Mr Naden says.

Ruawaipu and Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti want the Waitangi Tribunal to step in and recommend the process be halted.


The race relations commissioner says New Zealand is streets ahead in diversity compared with other nations.

A national statement on race relations was launched last month as a checklist of issues for groups and business to monitor their progress.

Joris de Bres says the Treaty of Waitangi has been a foundation for racial equality and multiculturalism.

“New Zealand is a more tolerant society than some, perhaps many. We actually have quite a long history of significant groups living together. For many nations it’s a much newer phenomenon to have even a bicultural or a multicultural situation. That’s something we’ve learnt to live with over a long period and we’ve learnt the hard way,” Mr de Bres says.

He says New Zealand can't afford to be complacent, as there are still underlying race issues to address.

Peters supported for Whakarewarewa help

A key person behind a Bill to return the world famous Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley to Maori is lending support to embattled New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.

Willie Te Aho... who helped negotiate the Whakarewarewa deal... also acts as legal counsel for Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa.

He says Winston Peters has been rock solid in his support of their treaty settlements and done a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure its passage into law.

“It's important that not only Maori but the rest of our community understand the huge support that he’s provided to ensure that key results are achieved,” Mr Te Aho says.

The New Zealand First leader was also instrumental in promoting Maori cultural arts, securing $1 million a year to support kapa haka.


A Maori authority on the godwit or kuaka says global warming can't be discounted as a reason the birds, which migrate annually from Siberia, have arrived early this year.

Kingi Ihaka from Te Aupouri, who has made a television documentary on godwits, says Maori have traditionally watched the migration closely as kuaka was a rich source of food up until the mid 1950's when the harvest was banned.

“You can never predict what day they are going to leave. It depends on the temperature, the wind, they’re the elements that impacted on them arriving early here in the South Island and of course leaving earlier from their habitat in Siberia,” Mr Ihaka says.

Godwits were an important food source for his Te Aupouri people in the far north who traded them with other tribes.


A Maori Rheumatology worker says the foods Maori were brought up on is a key reason behind their high incidence of gout.

Vicki Harris says most people know that seafood and beer cause gout but many foods from the farm are also lead to the debilitating condition.

“They're kai that we’ve been brought up on, like offal, liver, kidney, tripe, tongue. I come from the Hokianga and I was brought up on the farm and that was what I was brought up on, and all those kai are high in purines, so we’ve got a double whammy of getting gout because fo genetics as well as the kai we’ve been brought up on,” Ms Harris says.

She will tell Maori with gout what foods they should eat at the hui at Whaiora Marae in Otara on the 20th of this month.


A Maori authority on the godwit or kuaka says kaumatua should be able to gather and eat the birds, which have returned to New Zealand in their thousands this week signaling an early spring.

Kingi Ihaka, who made a television documentary on godwit a few years ago, says until the middle of last century they were an important food source for his Te Aupouri people in the far north and the taste for them spread to other tribes.

“The reason the Department of Conservation has put a rahui, a ban on their hunting is because they’re an endangered species. Well not in the far north they’re not. They’re still there in their squillions. They come here to dine on the delicate substances they dine off on our shores and then they return and come back again. I think it’s about time they paid their dues, so to speak, and they should be allowed to be gathered,” he says.

Mr Ihaka says Maori gathering 10 or 20 kuaka would not have anything like the destructive effect that such things as airports built on their breeding grounds have had.


Maori men would appreciate the same sort of care taken with Maori women when it comes to their health.

Suzanna Pitama, the co-director of Maori Indigenous Health Institute, has done an in-depth study of the health of Wairoa community.

She says men are as embarrassed as woman when it comes to health check-ups but this is often overlooked.

For example, 70 percent of men chose to wear a specially designed gown when having an ECG or electrocardiogram rather than be topless.

“So often we do all this stuff about women’s self care and many men also wanted to have that same sort of service offered to them because we don’t often talk about men’s health,” Ms Pitama says.

A Men's Health Challenge was launched on Father's Day urging men to take better care of their health.


After four years of research a French anthropologist has reconstructed the perfected recipe for kokowai.

The red ochre paint was used by Maori on traditional artworks including cave paintings.

Yann-Pierre Montelle says recreating the process was a matter of trial, error, and shark oil.

“Now that the recipe is more or less reconstructed, now is the fascinating time of going into Maori communities to discuss this,” he says.

Dr Montelle, who presented his findings to last week’s Nga Kete A Rehua Research Conference in Christchurch, the process will be used by the Ngai Tahu Maori Rock Art Trust to conserve some older artworks, and the colour should remain vibrant for a hundred years.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Whakarewarewa Bill could cause eruptions

Another step in the battle to have world famous Whakarewarewa thermal valley returned to Maori was played out in Wellington today when the Whakarewarewa Vesting bill was tabled in parliament.

But Willie Te Aho who has helped negotiate the return of the valley doesn't expect the bill to have a smooth ride ... he's predicting a challenge from opponents of the deal who believe they have a dominant interest in the valley.

“But there were a number of court cases in the 1800s that vested the land now held by the Crown in hapu of Ngati Whakaue and accordingly we’ve established a process by which Ngati Wahiao, along with Tuhourangi and the hapu of Ngati Whakaue can work on a mana whenua process to determine who holds the interests in the valley,” Mr Te Aho says.

Elders from Ngati Whakaue, Tuhourangi and Ngati Wahiao met with Michael Cullen and Parekura Horomia ... as well as Damien O'Connor and Nanaia Mahuta who hold the tourism portfolios ... before the Bill was introduced.


The new head of taonga Maori at the Auckland Museum says relationships with iwi are crucial.

Antoine Coffin of Ngati Ranginui, Ngaiterangi and Ngati Raukawa is the new Kaitakawaenga Pakihi, Maori partnership and development executive.

Mr Coffin is excited at the prospect of telling stories through taonga, but only through maintaining relationships with iwi.

“It's critical in terms of your credibility as an institution that’s communicating stories about our taonga, if you don’t have the iwi on board for that, you’re in big trouble. It’s about giving credibility and also giving meaning to make sure those stories are relevant, are really interesting and are based on the tika,” Mr Coffin says.

Working through the issues following Auckland museums restructuring will be important in moving forward once he formally steps into the position in November.


The kuaka or godwit is back.

Thousands of the amazing migratory birds, which fly 11,000km non stop, have started arriving in the north of New Zealand, two weeks earlier than expected.

Kingi Ihaka from Te Aupouri says the godwits were a source of fascination to Maori because they could never locate their nests, and have even been immortalised in song.

“Of all the many other things that Maori sing about and grieve, and compose extended songs about in their oration, the only bird that is not native to New Zealand is the godwit, the kuaka,” he says.

Mr Ihaka says the bird was a significant food source, especially among Muriwhenua iwi, until it was declared an endangered species in the 1950s.


The first Polynesian navigator to discover the islands of New Zealand may have been part of a larger group.

Rawiri Taonui of the University of Canterbury has studied the oral traditions about Kupe for the past 10 years.

He says while early Pakeha accounts depict Kupe as a sole navigator, many iwi believe they had their own discoverers.

“Kupe is part of the cultural group that probably came from the Leeward Islands of the Tahitian archipelago. The earliest centres for the Kupe traditions are probably Northland and Taranaki. The Kupe traditions had a single ancestor, but within that tradition there are probably accounts of multiple migrations, so the people who originally came from Polynesia to New Zealand settled Northland, Taranaki, and then traditions about people who broke off from those groups and settled other parts of the island,” Mr Taonui says.

Oral traditions pre-dating European contact are important in forming a non-Pakeha perception of Maori creation and migration mythology.


Addressing gout among Maori needs to start at marae.

Maori Rheumatology worker Vicki Harris says the acutely painful metabolic arthritis is rampant within Maori communities.

However she says although gout is manageable, the message isn't reaching Maori and it had to be taken to where they are.

“My mahi is linking people up to their GP. Gout can be managed and controlled. There’s no need for out people to end up in Middlemore Hospital. It’s all about education and awareness, and that’s what my mahi is. It’s amazing the response, they say ‘now I understand.’ It’s just giving them those key simple messages, but at the same instance you’ve got to go where the whanau are, and that’s marae based.
Ms Harris says.

While foods like seafood and beer are blamed for causing gout, other foods are also high in the purines which spark gout attacks.


A Maori fashion designer is taking her work to America.

Thirteen dresses from the Charmaine Love Collection have been picked up by Ambrosia, which has showrooms in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta.

Ms Love says Ambrosia is confident the gamble of her unique designs will pay off.

“Because the Charmaine Love label is so different and focuses on Maori design, it’s certainly going to be interesting to see if the Americans pick up on it and we’ll be stocking that full range in the shops as well, so we’re really trying to get the fashion label out there,” Ms Love says.

Ambrosia will show the collection during October by appointment only to buyers from high end retailers like Sachs and Neiman Marcus.

Tikanga-based research gives stronger outcomes

A Maori health worker wants to see tikanga-based practices from research to treatment.

Hector Matthews, the manager Maori for Canterbury District Health Board, gave a paper on Connecting research to Maori health delivery at last week's Nga Kete a Rehua Maori research symposium in Christchurch.

He says there's an extraordinary amount of in-depth research being done, but researchers need to find the right way to approach Maori communities.

“Maori individuals and whanau are far more open to engaging with a research project if they trust the people that are doing it and if they trust the processes that are being done, if it’s coming from a kaupapa Maori perspective.

“they’re not going to engage with just anyone that rocks up and says ‘can you fellows help us out.’ Just little things like meeting with people and doing a karakia and respecting the processes of the marae, balancing all thing those things Maori along with the clinical and academic imperatives,” Mr Matthews says.

Using the right tikanga means it's more likely academic findings can affect clinical treatment in ways that benefit the Maori community.


Rugby league legend Howie Tamati says the authors of A 100 years of Maori Rugby League have done an excellent job, despite not being Maori.

The book was launched in Wellington yesterday.

Mr Tamati says John Coffey and Bernie Wood were already experts on the game in this country.

“What they had to be open to, as some authors aren’t, is some advice to ay ‘No, this story doesn’t read right, you’ve written too much about this player, because it focuses on his Kiwi career, Let’s focus on what he does as a Maori rugby league player,” says Mr Tamati, who commissioned A 100 years of Maori Rugby League.


An authority on traditional Maori kai says the emerging ecotourism sector is opening doors for people with a knowledge of wild foods.

Rotorua chef Charles Royal says there was keen interest from operators at last month's ecotourism conference in Greymouth who want to incorporate traditional kai into the experiences they offer clients.

“Oh there's a huge interest from non-Maori tourism operators as well as Maori tourism operators and what they’re looking at is trying to incorporate young people who want to be in the hospitality tourism industry into their businesses,” Mr Royal says.

The arrival of spring sees an abundance of food in the ngahere, with pikpiko, hakeka, pirita and many types of traditional mushrooms ripe for the picking.

Traditional kai will also be discussed at this week's Maori tourism conference in Rotorua.


A former Treaty Negotiations Minister is happy with the pace of settling claims.

Sir Douglas Graham held the portfolio from 1991 to 1999, with the Ngai Tahu, Tainui and the Sealord Fisheries settlement among those done on his watch.

He says recent progress means the target of all historical claims being settled by 2020 now seems achievable.

“I think there was a bit of a slow period from 2000 to 2005 or thereabouts, there didn’t seem to be much action, and that was a bit of a concern because I thought those who had settled already were getting well ahead, and those who hadn’t were being left behind, but since then the pace has picked up and in recent times there have been quite a number of settlements and large ones at that, so I’m very satisfied with the pace of progress and hope it continues, I’m sure it will,” Sir Douglas says.

He is confident both Labour and National have the will to get the settlement process finished by 2020.


A study of Maori health in Wairoa has shocked reseachers.

Suzanne Pitama from Hauora Manawa says despite the northern Hawkes Bay town not having fast food outlets, there was still a high risk of heart disease and strokes particularly among Maori men.

She says cholesterol was a big issue.

“Where we would have predicted those high rates of cholesterol would have been in the higher age group, we found for women the cholesterol rates gradually rose for women but with the young men, right from the age of 20 through to 64 there was consistently high cholesterol rate, which was a little bit of a shock for us,” Ms Pitama says.


The winner of the Style Pasifika supreme award winner credits her grandfather with inspiration.

Kiri Nathan's grey organza, wool and cotton creation was what she calls a feminine version of her grandfather's 28th Maori Battalion uniform.

She says although her grandfather is no longer living, he was still a part of her thoughts.

“The inspiration of the military uniform and the Maori Battalion and just the respect of all those men, and also my grandmother. It just came quite easily. I think my grandfather might have been giving me a few ideas in different ways,” Ms Nathan says.

The highlight of the night was sharing the award with her whanau in the crowd, including her 86-year-old grandmother.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Settlement target needs to be flexible

Former Treaty negotiations Minister Sir Douglas Graham says 2020 may not be realistic for settling all claims.

The deadline for lodging historical treaty claims closed last Monday, with the aim that all claims be settled by 2020.

Sir Douglas, who was appointed by National as Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister in 1991, says Maori more than any group want to move on to the post-settlement phase.

However if it takes longer than 2020 there's nothing that can be done about that.

“I would certainly oppose that there’s a cut off date for settling. That would be most unfair if someone proved their claim in front of the tribunal and then ran out of time because the Crown wasn’t in a position to negotiate for something like that. You just to just work through them, and if it takes longer than that, well so be it,” he says.

Sir Douglas says both National and Labour at this stage show the level of dedication needed to reach a satisfactory result in settlements.


Tourism wholesalers and marketers will be looking for new and innovative products at this week's Maori Tourism Conference in Rotorua.

John Barrett, the chair of the Maori Tourism Council, says the hui is a chance for operators to network, learn new skills and ideas and consolidate on the gains the sector has made in recent years.

He says while it's important to demonstrate professionalism and a solid track record, there is always room for new entrants.

“Overseas buyers can be stunned by a brand new Maori product. One or two come along now and then. Like there are one or two which have come onto the market quickly, and they’ve captured the imagination pretty quickly,” Mr Barrett says.

Maori operators need to learn not to undersell themselves or their products.


The contribution of Maori to the game of rugby league is celebrated with the launch of the book "A 100 Years of Maori Rugby League" in Wellington today.
Former Maori rugby league super star Howie Tamati says the book by John Coffey and Bernie Wood tells the story of Maori rugby league and not just Maori who have played for the Kiwis.

“They've done it really well. They took advice really well. They carved off something like 40,000 words and focused on what we thought was important. The quality of photographs they have been able to unearth, the little sidebar stories about Maori rugby league players and administrators, they’re all in the book. It’s not just about games played, but it’s about the history and commitment we’ve made as a people to the game,” Mr Tamati says.

He says everyone who has played for New Zealand Maori Rugby league over the 100 years is in the book.

Today's launch of a book celebrating 100 years of Maori Rugby League started with a short ceremony to remember one of its greatest stars.

Steve Watene captained the New Zealand team in 1936 and 37, the first Maori in that role, and later became MP for Eastern Maori, dying on the job in the Maori Affairs committee room in 1967.

About 50 guests, including former chairman Bob Tukiri and current chair Howie Tamati, were welcomed by the Minister for Maori Affairs into Matangirea, the Maori Affairs Room in Parliament, where karakia acknowledging the taonga was performed before everyone went over to the offices of Te Puni Kokiri for the official launch.

The book by John Coffey and Bernie Wood tells what was until now an untold story starting with the first Maori to tour Australia 100 years ago.

It chronicles the efforts of generations of Maori in the game, including the endorsement of the Kingitanga, when King Koroki declared rugby league the game for all Maori.

Tamati says the book allows young Maori players of today to acknowledge those who set the platform, and the book will be a taonga on the coffee tables of hundreds of whanau throughout the country.


A former treaty says the cut off for historical claims is right on time.
Maori had until September the first to lodge their claims from Crown breaches of the treaty up to 1992.

Sir Douglas Graham developed many of the settlement processes still used by the current government.

He says the fourth National government looked at the question of a deadline during its second term, and considered a 1996 cut off date.

“But at that stage we’d only been going in the settlement process for about five years, Maori had been waiting for 100, and it seemed to be a bit tough to me so we didn’t do it. But that was 10 years ago. It’s not 30 years since the tribunal started hearing the claims and receiving claims, and I think it’s probably appropriate it’s done now,” Sir Douglas says.


Maori with high levels of physical activity are still at risk of heart disease.

Suzanne Pitama of Hauora Manawa says research in Wairoa last year found people living in the area were at risk of heart disease and strokes, despite their access to good food and open air..

“There’s no KFC or McDonalds or anything like that there and people are really active, so that’s raised a lot of other questions. It’s also raised some questions around rural services and what is available to Maori who do live rurally and are so far away from their central hospital and their DHB,” Ms Pitama says.

Tour fee a necessity

The chair of the Maori Tourism Council says many operators are undervaluing their product ... and themselves.

More than 150 delegates are expected at Rotorua this morning for the annual Maori tourism conference.

John Barrett says it's a great opportunity for Maori operators to network and develop consistency through the industry.

Mr Barrett, who runs an ecotourism venture on his family land on Kapiti Island, says Maori tourism has huge potential, but operators must get pricing right.

“I was in that position a few years ago, a bit frightened to ask for he money. I know a colleague sometimes didn’t even ask for the money, he’d have such a good time with his guests and visitors he wouldn’t even charge them. But I think pricing is an issue for us, setting the right level. A lot of our people undervalue their product and themselves,” Mr Barrett says.


Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira is welcoming a proposal to increase the powers of the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

The authority, which replaced the much-criticised Police Complaints Authority in November, is headed by Justice Lowell Goddard from Ngati Te Upokoiri, Ngati Kahungungu and Tuhoe.

It can only recommend police lay charges - and rely on them to make arrests.

Under the proposed changes, the authority could be given the power to arrest and charge police who break the law.

Mr Harawira says police don't like arresting each other.

“That's why they had that big (Margaret) Bazley report last year which highlighted all this stuff going on like cops hiding information under the table and hiding evidence and badgering witnesses and all that sort of stuff so this is really good, not just for Maoris always being banged around by police but also for the credibility of the police themselves,” Mr Harawira says.

He says police must be seen to be answerable to the law.


Veteran actor George Henare is humbled by an award acknowledging his contribution to Maori theatre.

The 63 year old Ngati Porou man is this year's winner of Te Waka Toi's Te Tohu Toi Ke, which recognises an individual making a significant positive difference to the development and retention of Maori arts and culture in their chosen field.

Mr Henare, who grew up on a farm inland from Te Aroroa, has starred in numerous stage shows, television and film productions, and was awarded an OBE in 1988 for services to theatre.

“It's been the most enjoyable job I’ve ever done. It’s been the only one I’ve done, for 43 years. I feel really humbled for being recognised for doing something I really enjoy doing,” Mr Henare says.


Ngapuhi's chairman says the English translation of the Treaty of Waitangi is responsible for a century and a half of havoc and dispossession for Maori.

Sonny Tau says the Ngapuhi claim design group wants to open its hearings by putting on record the northern iwi's understandings of the treaty, passed down from the ancestors who were first to sign in 1840.

He says they signed the Maori version, but the Crown has pushed its understanding of the English version, that sovereignty was to be transferred from Maori, rather than shared.

“The Crown has full and final control over everything in this country including the laws that confiscated our lands, the laws that continue to suppress us as a people, and the position we’ve found ourselves in through the promulgation of those laws,” Mr Tau says.

A decision on whether the claim got to a hearing should be made at a Waitangi Tribunal judicial conference in Waitangi on September 25.


The warmer weather is a boon for people interested in collecting traditional Maori kai from the bush.

Rotorua based chef Charles Royal, an authority on traditional foods, says there is kai in abundance in the ngahere at the moment.

But it's not for the novice gourmet ... it's easy to make mistakes, and some of the fungi around now are particularly poisonous.

“Pikopiko's out now. Hakeka, the ear fungus. Pirita’s out, which is the supplejack vine. You look for the end bits, break off about two inches, three inches. When you eat it, it’s like a cucumber, beany flavour so that’s out at the moment. Boletti mushrooms, which grow on the edge of the pine or in the pine,” Mr Royal says.

He warns that people keen to try the age old delicacies should either refer to books or get someone who knows which plants are edible.


The co-author of a centenary history of Maori rugby league says it was a privilege to be asked to put the book together.

John Coffey, a Christchurch-based sports journalist and rugby league historian, teamed up with Wellington League stalwart Bernie Woods to compile a definitive record of Maori involvement in the thirteen man game, at the invitation of Maori Rugby League chairman Howie Tamati.

They'd previously collaborated on Kiwi, a history of the national team.
Research started across the Tasman.

“There were three early tours to Australia before the second world war, so we had to go over to Australia to research all that in the State Library of New South Wales. We researched the rest around the North Island mainly and have ended up with a book of which both of use are extremely proud,” Mr Coffey says.

The book will be launched this evening in Parlaiment's Maori Affairs committee room.