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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Harawira giving voice to anger
A leading Maori Party member in the far north is defending local MP Hone Harawira over his support for the men on trial for attacking the Prime Minister at Waitangi.

Hone Harawira was at the Kaitaia courthouse this week to hear his nephews John and Wikatana Popata plead not guilty to assaulting John Key of February 6.

Labour list MP Kelvin Davis says Mr Harawira is trivialising what happened.

But former Te Rarawa chairperson Malcolm Pere, who at one time sought selection as the Maori Party's Taitokerau candidate, says Mr Harawira's job is to be a voice for Maori.

“There's many shades in being Maori today and a lot of them is anger, and you can’t address anger by just telling people off. You’ve got to be with them, and I think that’s what Hone, Hone will go down the road to actually pick people up,” he says.

Mr Pere says by working with National, the Maori Party may be able to address the root causes of Maori anger.


As Maori Television celebrates its fifth birthday, there is a warning the Auckland-based service can't be the only outlet for Maori on the small screen.

An audience at Parliament's great hall last night was told MTS now reaches one and a half million New Zealanders every month, including half of all Maori over five.

According to a study done for the service by Business and Economic Research, 84 percent of New Zealanders believe it should be a permanent part of New Zealand broadcasting, and 46 percent believe it makes a valuable contribution to the country's sense of nationhood.

But veteran broadcaster Derek Fox, Maori Television's founding chairman, says many iwi still want a channel of their own.

“They want their brand of the reo to be heard and they want things to be done about their rohe which of course MTS has not been able to do and probably doesn’t need to do, although there’s no reason why something that might be shot in the rohe and used in the rohe might not then be broadcast on MTS,” Mr Fox says.

Such local programming could be done through digital technologies and the UHF frequencies which Maori Television has access to.


The family of the late Hone Tuwhare want to turn the poet's final residence into a retreat for Maori writers.

Son Rob Tuwhare says the house at Kaka Point south of Dunedin is an inspiring place on the edge of the southern ocean.

He says despite the tough economic times, the whanau is trying to raise money for a trust to buy the house.

“It's going to be a wonderful opportunity to set up something like the other artists’ houses that have been set up round the country, people like Michael King and Colin McCahon, Janet Frame, people of that recognition, to have particularly a Maori artists and writers place set up in this country. To our knowledge it hasn’t happened before and we’d like to see that happen,” Mr Tuwhare says.

He's approached arts funding organisations and MPs, but has so far been unable to raise the funds needed.


In the wake of this week's lethal biker brawl at Sydney Airport, the top Maori cop says liaison work among Maori gangs has lessened the chance of such incidents on this side of the Tasman.

Inspector Wally Haumaha, the national manager of Maori, Pacific and Ethnic Services, says over the past few years there has been extensive contact between police and leaders of gangs like Black Power and the Mongrel Mob.

He says while there is no tolerance for crime committed by gang members, the police detect a desire by many older members for a change.

“Those who have been in the system for 30-odd years have talked about their families, and how do they reengage back into the iwi or of the hapu or how do they reengage with Maori leadership so that their families don’t have to inherit the lifestyle that they have led, and of course we have been in those discussions for the last two of three years. That’s led to a whole lot of deescalation in some key centres,” Inspector Haumaha says.

By working alongside gang leader, police have been able to stop recent incidents in places like Wanganui, Tokoroa and the Bay of Plenty from escalating out of control.


Organisers of the Wairoa Maori Film festival have unveiled their largest programme yet.

Director Leo Koziol says filmgoers in the northern Hawkes Bay town will get a chance to see 40 homegrown and international films over June, including Vincent Ward's retelling of the Rua Kenana story, Rain of the children.

He says there has been a huge response from Maori filmmakers wanting to showcase their work, but the crowd favourite is likely to be Moko the Dolphin by Wairoa director Ian Brownlys.

“Moko's this amazing character who has emerged at Mahia this past two years. He’s been swimming out there and he’s really become quite a local celebrity,” Mr Koziol say.

In keeping with its midwinter timing, the theme of the Wairoa Maori Film festival is Matariki.


And to another sort of moko.

Traditional tattooists have gathered in Hamilton this week to swap techniques and assess the state of the art, which is going through a revival.

Brad Totorewa, the regional manager for te Wananga o Aotearoa, says there are public sessions today at the wananga's Te Rapa campus.

He says rangatahi from 30 high schools have been invited along today to learn about ta moko from experts like Richard Francis, Pat Takoko and Rania Takiaria.

“Ta moko has actually come into the rangatahi realm now, more so and we just want to promote the fact that there are health and safety issues round it. We’re promoting thje whkapapa behind it. We’re ensuring all our rangatahi are well informed of the processes of receiving a ta moko,” Mr Totorewa says.

There will be public demonstration at lunchtime and from 6 to 8 pm.


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