Waatea News Update

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Cheeky launch upsets Tainui MP

Cheeky is how Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta is describing the Maori Party's launch of its national election campaign in the heart of her Waikato-Hauraki electorate.

She says the launch at the Frankton Markets last Saturday was nice to watch but nothing of substance, and studiously avoided acknowledgement of how Maori in the electorate have benefited from Labour's policies.

“It's led to increased support, especially in the social services area. More players are participating in the provision of Maori healthcare. We’ve had really good outcomes in education. The wananga is here in this electorate, and the Labour-led government settled with Te Wananga o Aotearoa to make sure we could increase the number of Maori participating in tertiary education, and there are a whole lot of other gains,” Ms Mahuta says.

She says the Waikato River settlement is extremely progressive for the region, and the Hauraki side will benefit from this week's $97 million dollar commercial aquaculture settlement.


A Manawatu education group is reviving its plans for a remote learning centre now the threat of a wind farm on neighbouring land has been lifted.

The Environment Court has ruled that the limit for wind turbines in the northern Tararua Ranges has probably been reached ... lifting a shadow that has lain over He Kupenga Hao i Te Reo.

Kaimahi Ian Christensen says the group bought land in the ranges five years ago, and has planted 2000 trees as well as harakeke, toitoi and a maara kai.

It can now go ahead with building an eco-retreat on the elevated site.

“We can look out from this piece of land out to Taranaki in the west, the maunga Ruapehu in the north and the whole of the Manawatu plains in between, the establish a place where te reo Maori would be paramount,” Mr Christensen says.

The retreat will be a place were people can study traditional aspects of Maori culture and matauranga.


Uncovering Te Aro Pa in downtown Wellington has been hailed as a one in a million find.

A permanent heritage display incorporating a part of the 180-year-old pa will be unveiled at the Taranaki St site tomorrow.

Associate Culture and Heritage Minister Mahara Okeroa says the area was settled by Ngati Mutunga when the iwi migrated from Taranaki in the early 1820s.

Remains of the pa were found during foundation work for an eight-storey apartment complex.

Mr Okeroa says it was a major achievement to save the site.

“Its preservation is a sense is quite historic in the ability to negotiate with a developer that has sunk a considerable sum of money only to accidentally uncover the site and having the ability to negotiate with the developer, councils and other groupings, we have this outcome,” Mr Okeroa says.

Showing the small fragment of the pa that has been uncovered may help people visualise what else lies under buildings in the Taranaki St-Courtney Place area.


Labour's Waikato-Hauraki candidate is accusing the Maori Party's Hone Harawira of giving deliberately confusing messages to voters in her electorate.

Nanaia Mahuta says the Taitokerau MP told this week's Kingitanga poukai at Waahi Marae in Huntly that voters could get two MPs by giving their electorate vote to Maori party candidate Angeline Greensill and their party vote to Labour.

She says that's at odds with the two-tick message the party is giving elsewhere.

“It's not like he’s going around in Taitokerau sauying ‘give your electorate vote to Kelvin (Davis) who’s standing for the Labour Party because he’s a little way down on the list and give your party vote to Hone because he’s number three on their list.’ Hone’s not doing that in the north but he comes down to Hauraki Waikato and promotes just that scenario in our patch. I don’t think that’s on. I think they're inconsistent,” Ms Mahuta says.


A Christchurch treaty educator wants November the 5th marked as Parihaka Day.

Robert Consedine says after the Taranaki township was sacked in 1881 to end a campaign of passive resistance to land confiscation, many of the inhabitants were imprisoned without trial in the South Island.
He says New Zealanders need to be more aware of significant dates in their history.

“To try and bring New Zealand history more into the consciousness by commemorating some of the big events of New Zealand history and perhaps slowly moving away from celebrating colonial events, and down here in Christchurch of course, Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi were jailed in the Addington Jail,” Mr Consedine says.

A permanent exhibition about the two prophets wil be installed in the jail over the next year.


A Maori musician says his visit to the home of the late Bob Marley was a dream come true.

Ruia Aperahama was in Jamaica to film a documentary on the influence of reggae music on Maori.

The crew visited Nine Mile... where Marley was born and raised.
Mr Aperhama says when he visited the Bob Marley museum in one of the singer's former homes, he presented gifts including his CDs of Marley's songs in te reo Maori, a waka huia, and a covenant.

“As a Ratana we have a tradition of covenants and the similarity I could see between Ratanas and Rastafarianism, born out of poverty and crushing circumstances. Also during the 1920s and 30s and the rise of Ratana, there was also the rise of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, who was (considered) a prophet in Jamiaca,” Aperahama says.

A personal highlight was singing No Woman, No Cry in te reo Maori at the government yards in Trenchtown, where Bob Marley wrote the reggae classic.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Environment Court limits wind farm expansion

A Manawatu iwi group is welcoming an Environment Court decision allowing Mighty River Power to put four extra turbines on its Motorimu wind farm.

The court said the 79-turbine farm was probably all that part of the Tararua ranges could sustain, and other proposals were unlikely to get approval.

John Procter from Tanenuiarangi Manawatu Incorporated, which represents Rangitane interests in the region, says the state owned company consulted the iwi on how it could protect significant sites like waahi tapu, bush and historic pa from the effects of the development.

“From the outset of the project we were given the opportunity io protect our sites and gave greater recognition to some areas and the project of the Motorimu company also encourage that and gave us greater recognition in some of the areas up there,” Mr Procter says.


John Key says National's proposed tax cuts will be a big help to Maori workers.

The party has unveiled a $16 billion package to be funded by changes to KiwiSaver and the removal of some business tax credits.

Mr Key says he is aware a lot of Maori are in the lower income bracket, but they will still get something.

“A lot of those people will be on the minimum wage. They’re working 20 hours a week, earning just under $25. They get $15 a week under us. Now that’s a lot I think when you consider we’re doing our best. We couldn’t have done that under a tax cut. We’ve done that through a rebate, so I think that’s very important. If you add it to the $12 they got a few weeks ago, all of a sudden their income’s up $27 a week,” Mr Key says.

He's heartened by a Maori Television poll indicating up to 15 percent of Maori were considering giving National their party vote - a big jump from the 4 percent it got in the Maori seats last election.


A Bay of Island kuia says the Waitangi National Trust is more concerned with its commercial activities than fulfilling its commitments to heritage or the tangata whenua.

Emma Gibbs is challenging the trust's right to stage a theatre piece based on the life of Maikuku, an ancestress of associated with a cave below the Treaty Grounds.

She says the trust didn't consult with Maikuku's descendants, Ngati Kawa and Ngati Rahiri, and its priority seems to be the proposed visitors centre to be built behind the historic Whare Runanga.

“They want this big visitor centre. It’s just a big shop. They don’t even care about the aesthetic environment that a lot of our Pakeha relations want as well. That open space is just so beautiful and this big shop stuck ion our faces is not going to help. And it does not acknowledge the values of the Treaty of Waitangi which that particular trust are supposed to be promoting the relationship between the people, and here we are being treated with utter disdain,” Mrs Gibbs says.

Pita Paraone, the vice chairman of the trust, says Mrs Gibbs was given the opportunity to talk to the trust this week, but she walked out of the meeting.


A Maori education group is praising the Environment Court for putting the brakes on wind farms in the Manawatu.

Palmerston North based He Kupenga Hao i Te Reo bought land near Te Mata ridge in the northern Tararua range five years ago to build an eco-retreat for running total immersion wananga.

Kaimahi Ian Christensen says the development stalled because of concern over the proposed Tokomaru wind farm, but could resume now the court has ruled Mighty River Power's Motorimu wind farm may be all the region can take.

“The closest turbine was to be 600 metres away. In terms of the noise generated by the turbines as well as the visual effect above you, proposed to be 125 metres high, building a retreat, a place of peace and tranquility, that was pretty much going to be devastated,” Mr Christensen says

The Motorimu decision should spell the end of He Kupenga Hao i Te Reo's three-year fight against the Tokomaru wind farm.


Labour leader Helen Clark says National's prison policy ignores the chance of redemption.

National wants to build a new 300 million dollar prison to house the extra 500 prisoners who will be caught by its proposal to deny parole to anyone convicted of a second violent offence.

Maori groups have decried the plan because of the disproportionate number of Maori prisoners and the shortage of rehabilitation programmes.

Ms Clark says it's a callous and short sighted policy.

“They want to ignore any remorse, any repentance, any redemption, and conversion, being highly religious, as many of our prisoners do convert over time, not of that matters to the National Party. As far as they are concerned, you can be convicted of a second violent offence at the age of 17 and stay in jail until you die. Well I think ridiculous,” Ms Clark says.


One of the pioneers of iwi radio was laid to rest today.

John Maketu Simpson, the former station manager of Ngati Awa's Whakatane-based Sun FM, died earlier this week on his way to the annual hui of Te Whakaruruhau, the iwi radio umbrella group. He was 56.

Wiremu Pryor, Sun FM's current manager, says after a career which included spells at Tasman Pulp and Paper and the Health Ministry in Wellington, Mr Simpson return to Whakatane to assist in iwi and hapu affairs.

He was brought into the new iwi station in 1993 after it encountered teething problems.

“He managed it. He’s also chaired the board and he’s been very active in the radio station. He’s very passionate about his Maori, to try to recoup the loss of ground for the Maori language which has occurred, and he was a hard worker for getting that back, and he's done a good job,” Mr Pryor says.

John Simpson was buried today after his tangi at Taiwhakaea marae next to Whakatane airport.

Treaty troglodyte gets theatrical treatment

The deputy chair of the Waitangi National Trust is defending the trust's right to use the love life of a Ngapuhi ancestress for a new theatrical attraction on the Treaty Grounds.

Maikuku: Maiden of the Weeping Waters is based on the life of a woman who lived in a cave on Waitangi foreshore 150 years before the treaty was signed.

Members of Ngati Rahiri and Ngati Kawa say the hapu were not consulted about the play, and their ancestress is not for sale.

But Pita Paraone says the trust is free to use local histories in its attractions.

“The issue here is do we require everybody’s consent or otherwise to tell the local history. Now I could understand some disquiet that people might have if in fact the story that we’re telling is incorrect. We have never been alleged of that,” Mr Paraone says.

He says rather than discuss the issue, Ngati Rahiri and Ngati Kawa walked out of a hui with trust staff this week.


A new families commissioner says many of the problems he has had to tackle in his career were a result of family dysfunction.

Kim Workman from Ngati Kahungunu was appointed to the commission after stepping back from a hands on role at the Prison Foundation.

His career also includes time with the police, Maori Affairs and as head of the prison service.

His new role will give him a change to promote good family life.

“There are a lot of vulnerable families, a lot of people struggling to keep their relationship together. I felt this was a really good opportunity to get involved in developing positive policy, advocating in a strong family and whanau lives and providing independent policy and advice on those issues to government,” Mr Workman says.

He's keen to see the Families Commission adopt social marketing campaigns to address some of the issues facing Maori families.


Planning is underway for the Kawhia Kai Fest in early February.

Last year more than 7000 people descended on the small Waikato coastal settlement to sample traditional Maori delicacies like dried shark, huhu grubs and fermented corn.

Organiser Hinga Whiu says even more interest is expected next year, after the Lonely Planet guide gave the festival the big thumbs up.

“The Kawhia Kai Festival is mentioned as one of the top 10 Maori events to attend so that was something big for us because you have no idea who is coming to these events so somebody must have been there and they really enjoyed it so that was a plus for us as a committee, and it puts Kawhia on the map,” Mrs Whiu says.


Rangitikei iwi is preparing to restructure itself to take delivery of its 16 million dollar treaty settlement.

The deed of settlement was signed off yesterday at Whangaehu Marae, ending a 150 year old grievance over the dispossession of the tribe through the Crown's purchase of the 260 thousand acre Rangitikei-Turakina Block in 1849.

Chairperson Adrian Rurawhe says when the settlement legislation goes through sometime next year, the 3000-strong iwi will need to manage its share in three former Crown forests, other land blocks including Marton Golf Course, and papakainga housing developments around five of its marae.

“We'll be setting up our new structure, post-settlement entity, and going through a process of transferring what we currently have in our current structure into our new one and preparing for the receiving of the settlement asset,” Mr Rurawhe says.

As well as the business aspects of the settlement, Ngati Apa will be forming new partnerships with resource management authorities.


Winston Peters says the Maori Party is wasting its time talking to National.

While John Key has ruled a Peters-led New Zealand First out of post-election consideration, he has not ruled out some alliance with the Maori Party.

Mr Peters says the Maori Party still has got to learn about politics, and it needs to know where the best interests of its constituents are.

“The National Party is diametrically opposed to their interests in every way. I was a former National Party member, and for years, long before anybody in the National Party right now even joined the party I was a member, but I saw what they were about. They were not about a great single nation with a developing culture. They were about the new National Party, not the old National Party I used to belong to hey (Keith) Holyoake was the leader, and (Rob) Muldoon was the leader. The new National Party became elitist, and it’s sad, so what the Maori Party is doing talking to them I don't know,” Mr Peters says,.

He says even though the Maori Party stabbed him in the back over the Owen Glenn donation, he could work with it in the future.


Members of two Waitangi hapu are angry about the Waitangi National Trust's new theatrical production, which is based around the love life of an ancestress who lived in a cave below the treaty grounds 300 years ago.

Maikuku: Maiden of the Weeping Waters runs five nights a week at a $25 dollar ticket price.

Emma Gibbs from Ngati Kawa and Ngati Rahiri says the hapu have kept the stories of Maikuku to themselves, and it's not the place of the trust to tell them.

“We were never approached. We cannot sell our ancestress because we have no right to belittle her mana. She is a woman of mana and to sell stories about her to me bastardises her trueness for the well-being of her descendants,” Mrs Gibbs says.

The hapu walked out of a hui with trust staff this week because they didn't consider their concerns were treated seriously.

Pita Paraone, the trust's deputy chairperson, says as long as the correct story is told, the trust has a right to tell it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Algae bloom closes Bay of Island fishery

A toxic algae bloom in the Bay of Islands is intensifying debate over local control of the fishery.

Northland Health has banned shellfish collection in the lower Bay of Islands and Waikare Inlet after high levels of a Diuretic Shellfish Poison was detected in water off Tapeka Point near Russell.

The closure comes as Ngapuhi hapu are trying to get a 26 kilometre mataitai or Maori-controlled fishery covering the northern Bay of Islands.

Emma Gibbs from Te Pataka Matauranga Trust says local control is a way to stop poaching in the area by outsiders, which is rampant.

“If you steal the seafood and you don’t know there is toxic bloom you could be killing your kaumatua and your mokopunas. DSP is diuretic shellfish poisoning. It simply means diarrhea, dehydration, all those sorts of things that give you a very sore puku and it’s very very dangerous,” Ms Gibbs says.

DSP outbreaks are often followed by even more toxic algae blooms.


A Maori political commentator says the Maori Party should heed a poll showing a majority of Maori will throw their party vote to Labour.

The Maori Television/Baseline Consultancy poll of 420 Maori voters, done for last night's Kowhiri 08 show, showed 52 percent would give their party vote to Labour, 20 percent to the Maori Party and 15 percent to National. The margin of error was 4.8 percent.

Former MP Sandra Lee, one of the panelists on Kowhiri 08, says it shows Maori voters aren't being swayed by the Maori Party's two tick campaign.

She says they will be disillusioned if the party helps National form a government.

“The Maori Party has become sophisticated enough in the parliamentary arena to recognise that numbers count in politics. The old saying is learn how to count and they are going to have to learn where their support base sees in a coalition environment, their best friends,” Ms Lee says.

The poll did show the Maori Party still has strong support from Maori.


The Greens Maori affairs spokesperson says National's prison reform plan will divert scarce resources into a very small section of the inmate population.

National is promising to deny parole to anyone convicted of a second violent offence, and it will spend more than $300 million on a new prison to house them.

Metiria Turei says about half of prisoners are Maori, and there is no investment in their rehabilitation.

“Forty percent of prisoners are only in there for six months. It’s only like small crimes but they aren’t entitled to any rehabilitation programme because they’re only in for six months or less but if you put rehabilitation programmes in for them you would be able to shift a lot of them out of reoffending,” Ms Turei says.


More than 400 members of Ngati Apa and neighbouring iwi were at Whangaehu Marae today to witness the signing of the iwi's deed of settlement for historic treaty claims.

Chairperson Adrian Rurawhe says in the 16 months since the signing of an agreement in principle, Ngati Apa has negotiated up the quantum from $14.2 million to $16 million, and it will now receive interest backdated to the AIP, rather than the deed signing.

The settlement also includes the transfer of a dozen sites in fee simple title, including Marton Golf Course, and the opportunity to buy parts of the Santoft and Lismore Crown licensed forests.

Mr Rurawhe says as part of a cultural revitalisation package, the 3000-strong iwi is getting land to build papakanga housing round five of its marae.

“Our hapu have asked for land to attract our people to come back home, and of course they won’t do it if they can't build here,” Mr Rurawhe says.

Legislation implementing the settlement should be introduced in the New Year.


The Maori Women's Welfare League could be fingered for a greater service delivery role under a National government.

Maori affairs co-spokesperson Georgina Te Heuheu accompanied party leader John Key to the league's conference in Auckland at the weekend.

She says it is an influential organisation in the Maori world.

“National is not averse to having government services being delivered by non-government agencies and looking at their strength in numbers at the weekend, it did seem to me and in fact John Key did indicate as much that we would be looking to organisations like theirs to help lift the prospects of those Maori families who aren't doing well,” Mrs te Heuheu says.


A Kawhia whanau which tours schools promoting a smokefree kaupapa is taking its message south.

The Whiu whanau has developed a theatrical presentation based on tales of the demigod Maui.

Hinga Whiu, husband Lloyd and their tamariki will perform their latest production, Maui Tamatoa, at seven schools in Te Wai Pounamu next month.

She says being a growing family, line-up changes are inevitable.

“We have eight and three have left home so we’ve still got the other five at home that are still performing.. There’s the whole auhi kore kaupapa but also there’s the whanau aspect of it as well,” Mrs Whiu says.

While the theatre is a great way to see the country, it's always a relief to be able to come home to Kawhia.

Deal restores certainty to aquaculture

The Fisheries Minister says an accelerated settlement of Maori commercial aquaculture claims should restore certainty to the industry.

Jim Anderton says the government has agreed to pay iwi at the top of the South Island and Hauraki $97 million dollars.

That equates to the value of the 20 percent of existing aquaculture space they were due to receive in 2014.

He says the deal was done because there is little prospect of developing new aquaculture space in those regions, which account for 92 percent of the current industry.

“I offered the tribes the opportunity to come to an arrangement and get a cash settlement if they wanted to take that option. Then they could invest in aquaculture in their own right or whatever they wanted and then that would give a lot more stability to the industry going forward, because if we didn’t know what was happening until 2014 things would be a bit more fluid than we'd like,” Mr Anderton says.

The deal should be signed off in Wellington next Monday, weather permitting.


The chair of the Maori Tourism Council hopes the unique cultural product offered by Maori operators will help them offset the negative effects of a global financial downturn.

John Barrett says estimates tourist numbers may fall by 20 percent means Maori in the sector need to watch their fiscal management.
His increased costs are unlikely to stop international culture seekers traveling.

“Although the economic environment is going to be tight around the globe, people will still earn money and people will still travel. They won’t be traveling to Aotearoa in such huge numbers I don’t think but I really believe our offering is so good and our cultural offering is so good, we won’t suffer as much as some international markets,” Mr Barrett says.


A Maori academic says Maori boarding schools have been an important source of Maori leadership.

Taiarahia Black from Massey University will present a paper to a Maori education conference in Auckland today on his research at Turakina Maori Girls College.

The number of schools has been falling, with St Stephens School and Queen Victoria School shutting their doors at the turn of the decade, and rolls down at the remaining six.

Professor Black says despite the closures, the schools continue to be relevant.

“When we think about things like tradition, these schools present a special type of education for our rangatahi. I’m thinking about Queen Victoria, St Stephens, Te Aute, St Josephs, Hukarere, all of those schools are linked to one forum weaving away to create our own platforms,” Professor Black says.


A negotiator for top of the South island iwi says a $97 million aquaculture settlement should lead to a surge of investment in the industry.

The Government has agreed to bring forward a deal settling claims Maori had been shut out of the sector, and because most available space in the main aquaculture areas of Marlborough, Nelson and Hauraki is spoken for, it is offering cash in lieu of the promised 20 percent.

Richard Bradley, the chair of Rangitane and the Kurahaupo claimant group, says the settlement should remove uncertainty and barriers to entry.

“In most cases the iwi have been quite keen to get into aquaculture for some time. My own iwi’s got some water space in Port Underwood and we’re busy talking with our partner about trying to get more, using their rules, so I think in most cases they have been keen to participate in the industry since it first started,” Mr Bradley says.

The settlement includes a robust valuation model for marine space, which should help iwi who do choose to invest in the sector.


The new president of the Maori Women's Welfare League says its survival depends on the way it can adapt to the times.

Megan Joe of Ngati Kahungunu, Tuwharetoa and Tuhoe first joined the Otatara branch in Taradale at the age of 13.

As the daughter of a founder member, Marj Joe, she has been around the league all her life.

Ms Joe says while its primary focus remains on the whanau, the organisation needs to use its networks in new ways.

“The way that we further the aims and objectives of Te Roopu Wahine Maori o Toko i te Ora are different today and the circumstances that existed in the 50s and 60s are still the same but now the solutions are different and my job is to encourage and influence the membership,” Ms Joe says.

The Maori Women's Welfare League is involved in a number of social programmes including immunisation and and consumer affairs.


A Christchurch treaty educator says demand for workshops is strong, with participants now coming with a positive attitude.

Robert Consedine, a Pakeha of Irish extraction who stood for the Maori Party in the last election, says resentment about the treaty settlement seems to be dying away.

People want to know more about the Treaty of Waitangi, and he's heavily booked over the next year.

“That demand has certainly increased but certainly the atmosphere is different to what it was five or 10 years ago when people were turning up to workshops often very angry and often hostile to many of the things that were being done,” Mr Consedine says.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

$97 million for aquaculture settlement

The Government has pulled $97 million dollars out of the hat to bring forward the Maori aquaculture settlement.

The signing of an agreement in principle with top of the South Island and Hauraki iwi was delayed because of the tangi of Parliament's kaumatua, Rangitihi Tahuparae, who sat on the Waitangi Tribunal hearing the Te Tau Ihu claim, but it should go ahead next Monday.

Richard Bradley, the chair of Blenheim-based Rangitane, says it means the iwi in the areas where most of the country's aquaculture industry is based don't need to wait until 2014 to get the 20 percent of pre-existing space promised to them in the 2004 deal.

He says Te Tau Ihu along with the Marlborough District Council went to fisheries Minister Jim Anderton with to make the case there was no more available space at the top of the South Island.

“It was their considered view that all the available space under the current regime is gone so in order for iwi to pick up their entitlement of 20 percent you’re into a situation of willing seller, willing buyer or you’ve got to change the plan, so let’s sort the past out and then look to the future,” Mr Bradley says.

It was the drive by top of the South Island iwi to get into aquaculture that sparked the whole foreshore and seabed controversy.


Labour leader Helen Clark says she's picking up conciliatary voices from the Maori Party, despite National's attempts to line it up as a potential coalition supporter.

Ms Clark says she's heartened by recent statements from Tariana Turia, given their long political relationship.

She is less impressed with the performance on the campaign trail of co-leader Pita Sharples, who claimed John Key told him National would not scrap the Maori seats without Maori agreement - something Mr Key has denied saying.

“There's no doubt in my mind that Maori voters overwhelmingly want our Labour-led government back. They’d be terribly disappointed, I think betrayed, if the Maori Party didn’t help make that happen,” Ms Clark says.

She says the media is overhyping the prospects of a relationship between the Maori Party and National.


We told you so.

That's the response of the Far North District Council's iwi liaison officer to subsidence problems at Ngawha prison which will need expensive repair work.

Ted Wihongi says the Corrections Department refused to heed warnings from kaumatua and local hapu about the consequences of building the $137 million Northland Correctional Facility on a swamp in an area known for its geothermal activity.

“You had a conflict between engineering information and cultural information of the local iwi, the ahi kaa who knew the history of that place. The warning signs were always there. The consequences of that is tangata whenua kaumatua saying it’s not a surprise,” Mr Wihongi says.

He says the Corrections Department needs to sit down and talk to Ngapuhi about ongoing concerns about the future viability of the prison.


A panelist on a new politics show hopes Maori apathy over elections will be a thing of the past.

Former MP Sandra Lee will join political scientist Ann Sullivan and other commentators on Kowhiri 08, which will screen twice-weekly on Maori Television until the election.

She says during the years of first past the post many Maori became cynical about the value of their vote, and Maori registrations and turnout have consistently lagged the general population.

But MMP and the rise of the Maori Party has sparked new interest.

“The more the political debate gets up, not just on Maori Television but across mainstream media, the more opportunities there are for Maori politicians whatever their political colours to get out on the hustings and broadcast their positions and their platforms, the more likely there is to be an increase in voter interest and therefore registration,” Ms Lee says.

Tonight's Kowhiri 08 opener features the Ikaroa Rawhiti contenders Parekura Horomia and Derek Fox, and includes the release of a poll done in the electorate for Maori Television.


Almost 400 warranted Maori wardens have gone through specialist training by police since the programme started in the middle of last year.

Jadine Buckey, the manager of the Police Maori wardens national project, says the courses aren't designed to turn wardens into police officers.

Instead they give the wardens more skills to deal with people with drug and alcohol problems or family violence issues.

“There's also training that Te Punk Kokiri have sourced in terms of conflict and negotiation training, advocacy when dealing with children under the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act, first aid training and defensive driving training,” Ms Buckey says.

Numbers attending the training courses will increase as the programme is rolled out to 14 regions nationwide.


A Maori academic wants the government to put more money into Maori boarding schools.

There are now six boarding schools, after the closures of St Stephens School and Queen Victoria School in Auckland at the start of the decade.

Taiarahia Black says the schools have a proud history of fostering Maori learning and leadership, and the government needs to offer the support needed to realise their potential.

“What we have at the moment is that with Maori boarding schools that are functioning, we should be putting more and more effort, and I do hope the government and our Maori ministers and people in the knowledge and economic society should be putting more and more effort into growing stronger the potential of those boarding schools,” Professor Black says.

He will present a paper on the boarding schools at The Toi Tauira mo te Matariki Maori tertiary education conference, which starts tomorrow at Waipuna lodge in Auckland.

Prison schemes need support

A recently appointed Families Commissioner is calling for Maori to play a stronger role in the prison system and methods for dealing with prisoners.

Kim Workman, a former head of Corrections and at times strong critic of sentencing decisions as head of the Prison Fellowship organisation, says Maori generated solutions to address high rates of incarceration among Maori have been stonewalled by a lack of government support.

“People are grappling with the issue and they need to an Maori in particular have really positive ideas, I believe. I’ve seen some wonderful Maori programmes. They’re not being funded adequately and they’re not being recognised adequately,” Mr Workman says.

He says National's call to make it tougher for prisoners to get parole which will require the construction of a new prison is predictable and politically inspired when what is needed is rehabilitation programmes to curb re-offending.


Nelson based taonga Puoro expert Richard Nunns is hoping he won’t have problems at border security when he leaves for Europe next week.

He says after two years of discussions he now has European Union dispensation to take his traditional Maori instruments across borders despite a convention aimed at protecting endangered species.

The musican, who along with Hirini Melbourne is credited with sparking a revival in the interest in traditional Maori instruments, says because many of the taonga are made from whalebone he has to get special certification of his instruments.

“Sadly the agreement for this trip is a one off. You’ve got to do the whole business again if we want to do it again, but it’s been a huge learning curve as a lot of my trips overseas have been with the puoro, you only need one person at a border control and they have absolute power,” Mr Nunns says.

He will play seven concerts with the New Zealand String Quartet and record works with Persian and Turkish musicians.


An exhibition of Maori art in the United States will open doors into the American market for Maori artists according to one of the organisers.

Toi Maori operations manager Tamahou Temara says the Small Treasures exhibition in San Francisco this week is showcasing the best Maori art has to offer.

“The best of our art from the best of our Maori artists from all corners of this country and we’re pushing their art into that market there so if their art is that good and people buy it over there then than might open a market for our artists to deal directly with museums and galleries over in America,” Mr Temara says.

Artists including Derek Lardelli, Edna Pahewa and Turumakina Duley are attending the two-day event.


Political commentator John Tamihere says there is a misguided public perception that the Maori party will choose whom it will do business with after the election.

He says that decision will be made by others.

“See Maori people don’t make that decision. We’re a minority. By and large other populations make the decision as to who the Maori Party is going to have to negotiate with and do a deal with, And so it’s no longer a two horse race. It’s actually a three, four, could be even a five horse race, and the key to that is where in the quinella and the trifecta maybe does the Maori Party run,” Mr Tamihere says.

The former Labour MP and head of Te Whanau O Waipareira Trust says the Maori party are playing the right strategy by leaving the door open for post election discussions with both major parties.


Meanwhile National's co-Maori affairs spokesperson Tau Henare has defended the party's policy of getting rid of the Maori seats saying they ghettoise Maori.

This is expected to be a major point of discussion if National and the Maori party do get into post-election discussions to form the next government.

Tau Henare says that while many Maori want to retain the seats because of the voice its gives them at the same time the seats have their drawbacks.

“I personally think we should stop ghettoizing ourselves and also I think we should stop letting off the hook all those MPs down there in Wellington that because you’ve got Maori seats they don’t have to worry about Maori issues. Every MP should have to worry about Maori issues just as they worry about other issues in their areas,” Mr Henare says.

As an MP he wants to be involved with issues of a general nature and not just Maori issues.


Taonga Puoro expert Richard Nunns says more work needs to be done to safeguard passage for iconic Maori traditional instruments.

The Nelson based musician who is off to Europe for seven concerts with the New Zealand String Quartet to perform original compositions by Maori composer Gillian Whitehead says there is an ongoing problem transporting his instruments.

He says this is especially so for those derived from whalebone, as it contravenes an international convention to protect the exploitation of endangered species.

“They want to stop poaching and they want to stop killing of these creatures for bone and perfumes and all the things and I agree with that but it also locks up all our taonga and prevents them traveling and moving and I think they do understand now these are inalienable treasures of this country of ours, Aotearoa and they’re like children, we would never give them away, we would never attempt to sell them, we wouldn’t smuggle them, they’re coming back here,” Mr Nunns says.

He says while there is dispensation for this trip the same time consuming process of gaining endorsement from kaumatua and providing detailed photographic catalogues to gain EU approval will have to be undertaken again in the future.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Dream of kotahitanga in party

Maori historian Dr Ranginui Walker says the Maori Party represents the closest Maori have come to unity.

Dr Walkers says the Maori Party came to parliament with the support of all hapu to represent them on the foreshore and seabed issue and hapu should now treat them as the nearest thing to unity for Maoridom.

“Now that they’re firmly established as a party, they hold the four seats and might end up holding the balance of power, then it is beholden to the hapu to treat them as the nearest we’ve come to kotahitanga or unity to deal with tauiwi on the basis of the treaty,” Dr Walker says.

He says the Maori Party does the right thing by always going and talking to the people and talking to hapu about what they are doing and will do.


A Walters Prize nominee says the use of digital materials in reenacting marae creates a psychological view of the community hub.

Lisa Reihana who is one of four nominees for the Walters Prize award for outstanding contribution to contemporary art in New Zealand describes her 'Digital Marae' as a stylized reenactment of creation stories.

“Rather than that sense you’re going to look at paintings placed on a wall, this is really creating a whole psychological space. Even as a child I was always enchanted by our Maori histories, our legends, stories, as a homage to the work some of our amazing carvers have done in the past and continue to do in the present,” she says.

Reihana says drawing on traditional methods of recording whakapapa was her inspiration.


Meanwhile one of the country's leading tourism operators has also turned to electronics to enhance its activities.

Rotorua based Tamaki Heritage Tours are using an electronic travel buddy so visitors to the country can form a record of their visit to New Zealand.

Director Mike Tamaki says using a handheld Personal Digital assistant tourists will be able to access the whakapapa within a 1.5 kilometre radius of the location, giving an audible commentary.

"What ever they point the PDA at, after they track down 12 satellites, gives them audible commentaries about what they can see. We’ve zoned New Zealand into seven zones. They’ve got video cameras and still cameras so as people take photographs right down New Zealand, it electronically creates a diary at the end of their trip," Mr Tamaki says.

The PDA will link back to www.globalstorytellers.com allowing people to leave comments on the areas they have visited.

As well as the visitor moves throughout the country the electronic buddy will send information on the traveler to booking offices allowing them return welcome messages and offers.


National's co-spokesperson on Maori Affairs Tau Henare says his support for the party's tough line policy on violent offending should not be seen as turning his back on Maori.

He says the policy does not mean that Maori with needs will not be looked after.

“What we are saying is ‘look, if you want help, we will be there to help you, we’ll be in to rehabilitation, like so many in our community we’ll help you, but if you are going to reoffend and you’re a violent offender, I’m sorry mate, I think New Zealand’s had enough of it,'" Mr Henare says.

He says National said the same thing last election and it is just not a reaction to the present violence or the coming election.


The chair of national collective of Maori weavers says the future of weaving is in safe hands.

Edna Pahewa, the daughter of the late Emily Schuster, is on her way to the Celebration of Maori Art and Culture at San Francisco's de Young Museum.

Mrs Pahewa says Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa was established to revive the art of weaving and it has succeeded.

“Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa was formed by mum and Auntie Digger (Te Kanawa) and Te Aue (Davis) and them that could see the art dying. The revival is so strong we have over 350 registered and looking at what is being produced by the younger weavers, it’s in safe hands for the future,” she says.

This week’s event will showcase the best of traditional Maori art including ta moko and carving.


Maori broadcaster turned parliamentary hopeful Derek Fox has joined the chorus of mourners marking the death of John Tahuparae, the kaumatua of parliament who will be buried today.

The Nuhaka based editor of Mana Magazine says he has known Mr Tahuparae for many years but it's been in more recent times that he has been reminded of his depth of knowledge of the Maori world.

“He was able to exercise those duties as a tohunga for opening ceremonies, traditional sort of tikanga person. People like him are getting far too few on the ground and so it’s with a great deal of sadness that I mark his passing,” Mr Fox says.

Party usurps iwi role

One of Labour's Maori MPs says the Maori Party is usurping the role of iwi in its claim to be the Crown's treaty partner.

Mita Ririnui, who is trying to regain the Waiariki seat from Te Ururoa Flavell, says the basis for Labour's relationships with Maori is still the compact it formed with Ratana in the 1930s ... which focuses on the social and economic needs of Maori people and the rights and privileges guaranteed under the Treaty of Waitangi.

He says the Maori Party's call that it wants a treaty partner rather than a coalition partner flies in the face of sense and tradition.

“They are elected representatives. They aren’t the treaty partners. That role remains with iwi. The way they’ve expressed it, it seems obvious to me they’ve usurped the role of iwi in terms of that relationship. They are the conduit, we all (MPs) are the conduit between the Crown and Maori and iwi, and we should never forget that,” Mr Ririnui says.

The Maori Party launched its campaign for all seven Maori seats at its annual conference in Hamilton this weekend.


The Ngapuhi Runanga wants to help Maori landowners move into orcharding.

Relationships manager Allen Wihongi says it is forming a joint venture with Omapere Taraire E and Rangihamama X3A Ahu Whenua Trust to look at what fruit crops can offer continuous year-round employment.

Kiwifruit, avocado, feijoas and berry species are being considered.

“We have a lot of whenua up there that is under-utilised and what we are hoping to do is take what we’ve learnt from this research and development and transplant it to whenua throughout Taitokerau, throughout Ngapuhi. The whole focus is to lift hapu, for people to become self-sustaining. The two resources we have most of is whenua Maori and people,” Mr Wihongi says.

The Ngapuhi Runanga is talking with Northland College about a horticulture training scheme to tie in with the venture.


A great migration story has been set off on another journey.
Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre is touring the United Stage with Waka, a theatrical spectacular based on the story of the Takitimu.

Its creator, Tama Huata, says it encompasses the whole of the Pacific.

“We tell of its origins from the Pacific out of Samoa through the many islands of Tonga, Fiji, Tahiti, all the different name changes of the waka to its arrival at Rarotonga and finally to Aotearoa some 300 years after it was built,” Mr Huata says.

The 20-strong group performed Waka last month at a Pacific Festival in San Diego, and it's now headed for New Hamshire, Boston, Washington DC and Alaska.


The Maori Women's Welfare League has wound up its 56th annual conference in Manukau City with a review of what it can do to address Maori social problems and support families through any tough times ahead.

Long time member Pae Ruha from Wellington says younger women are taking their places in the organisation.

Meagan Joe, from a well-known Hawkes Bay whanau was elected president in a keenly-contested battle, with Jane de Feu from Te Tau Ihu voted in as her deputy.

Both have experience working with iwi and government departments.

Mrs Ruha says there is still a place for the skills and knowledge of the older members... especially as families come under increased economic pressure.

“I think we're going to come to a time when we go back to growing things, making things like jams and preserves and so on which is what the league used to do once upon a time to help the mothers in the cities,” Mrs Ruha says.


A group representing 10 Northland marae wants to turn 26 square kilometers of the northern Bay of Islands into a mataitai or hapu-controlled fishery.

Chairperson Judah Heihei from Te Tii says hapu in the region have been trying to get some kind of local control for more than a decade.

He says the Ministry of Fisheries has been unable to control poaching in the area, and it's up to local people to restore stock of scallops, paua, crayfish and other species.

“Mataitai is not a closing. Mataitai is allowing us to take part in their regrowth and to ensure that shellfish continue to prosper in our area,” Mr Heihei says.

Anyone with concerns about the proposal is welcome to come to a public meeting tonight at Whitiora marae in Te Tii.


Hundreds of people passed through Putiki Marae over the weekend to pay tribute to Rangitihi Tahuparae, who died on Thursday at his home in Whanganui.

Mr Tahuparae was one of a select group trained in the traditional arts of the Whanganui River, and he was known for his cultural skills and his commitment to tikanga.

In later years he became Parliament's first official kaumatua, providing advice on protocol and acting as spokesperson on official occasions.

Te Tai Hauauru MP Tariana Turia says her relative had links to all the major houses in the lower North Island, so there was considerable debate about where he should be laid to rest.

“The tono went for him to go back the Ruaka where our whanau has connections and to Maungarongo. To Ngati Rangi, but Tahu grew up, one of our kuia brought him up, kuia Wiki Pumipi, and the people of Putiki felt that because he has lived down there for much of his life, that they would like him to lie there and be buried there,” Mrs Turia says.

The funeral service for Rangitihi Tahuparae will be held tomorrow morning.