Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sudden storm washes out Matatini

High winds and torrential rains forced the postponement of all today's performances at Te Matatini, which is being held at Baypark Stadium in Tauranga.

Organisers have rescheduled the remaining 28 kapa haka groups over the next two days.

There will be no separate final, so the teams have one chance to impress the judges.

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, the chair of Creative New Zealand's Maori are, Te Waka Toi, says it's a disaster for the organisers and the teams.

It's also a blow for the Maori businesses who prepared goods for sale in the festival market, which was also unable to open because of the conditions.


While the National Government has used its first hundred days to introduce a raft bills getting tough on criminals, Maori party co leader Pita Sharples is pushing for the establishment of alternative rehabilitation centres for Maori prisoners.

He says high reoffending make it clear the current monocultural approach isn't working.

Maori make up half the 5000 strong prison population.

Dr Sharples says Maori should have more say not just in the ownership and management of prisons but in finding viable alternatives.

“We are really keen to develop some rehabilitation centres quite alternative to the prison system. I’ve spoken to a panel of judges. They think this is a brilliant idea. I’ve spoken to Corrections. They see it as a good idea. They’re a little bit frightened about making that leap, but I think that time has come. So yes, prisons, we’ve got people in there, we’ve got to do something about it,” Dr Sharples says.


The Race Relations Conciliator has written to South African authorities saying the Maori All Blacks are an expression of ethnic diversity rather than racial discrimination.

The South African Rugby Union has indicated a tour of the republic by a Maori team might breach a South African presidential ban on South African teams playing racially selected teams.

Joris de Bres says the rule reflects South Africa's desire to put the years of apartheid and racial segregation behind it, and there was no thought of its impact on the New Zealand Maori team.

“There is a certain irony in the fact that after all those campaigns No Maori No Tour going back decades, that this should be an obstacle to a New Zealand Maori team playing the Springboks. I think the concept of a game between New Zealand Maori and the Springboks is awesome. I’m sure it will be great and the fact it is planned to be in Soweto. I think it would be supported by the people of Soweto, the people of South Africa and the people of New Zealand,” Mr de Bres says.

He has no problem with ethnic teams as long as national and provincial representative teams remain open to all.


Many of the 55 surviving members of the 28 Maori Battalion have gathered in Whanganui today for their annual reunion.

Among the old comrades remembered at the hui was the man expected to host the reunion, Whanganui elder and battallion association president Jim Takarangi, who died last month.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says it's an emotional hui, and it's important the soldiers know their service will never be forgotten.

“Oh it's a real honour for me to be associated with these guys because there were three of them on the plane with me and you could just feel their magic,” Dr Sharples says.

His kapa haka roopu, Te Manutake, will include a tribute to the 28 Maori Battalion when it takes the stage at Te Matatini on Sunday.


Over at the national Maori performing arts festival in Tauranga, every team is suddenly a finalist.

High winds this morning blew over marquees and stalls at the Baypark Stadium and drove the heavy rains into the electrical system.

Organisers evacuated the venue and rescheduled performances over the next two days.

Instead of having the top nine teams from the three pools battle it out on Sunday, all 36 teams will be judged on a single half performance.


If it's too wet for kapa haka, it may be time to switch to waka ama.

Hoturoa Kerr from Nga Kaihoe o Aotearoa says January to April is the peak period for the sport, as thousands of young and old paddlers try to get the most out of the traditional outrigger canoes.

He says its popularity is increasing, particularly among Maori communities.

Paddlers are practising for regional secondary school Waka Ama championships next weekend in Auckland and Rotorua.


Efforts to find games for the Maori All Blacks this year have taken another twist, with the South African Rugby Union saying a proposed match up against the Springboks in Soweto could fall foul of that country's rules against playing racially-selected teams.

The latest setback follows the New Zealand Rugby Football Union's stomping on a proposal by former All Black Bill Bush for a privately-organised tour of Europe.

National list MP Paul Quinn, the Maori representative on the NZRFU, says the union had been trying to keep the talks with the South Africans secret until there was something tangible to announce, but Mr Bush's stunt drew unwanted attention to the team's empty schedule.

“My friend Billy comes out with these off the wall ideas and what he isn’t going to do to Maori rugby is not worth doing which is all a bit sad really because all it’s done is created a feeding frenzy of people who bounce around ideas that in the end they will never be able to implement,” Mr Quinn says.

NZRFU management is optimistic the South African concerns about the Maori team can be overcome.

Education survey shows reo complacency

The Maori Language Commission is warning people are getting complacent about learning te reo.

Chief executive Huhana Rokx says the annual report on Maori education confirms Te Puni Kokiri's 2007 survey on the health of the Maori language, which showed a drop in the number of tamariki getting the foundations of the language at early childhood level.

She says despite the increased use of Maori greetings and simple phrases, too few people are pursuing their studies to the level the language needs to survive.

“We're about Maori language regeneration. That’s about kia korero he a te reo i nga waahi katoa i nga waa katoa, and it’s also about proficiency, kia matatou i te reo Maori, and the research is telling us the sooner you begin the journey, the easier it is,” Ms Rokx says.

She'd like to see Maori parents getting their children into Maori language pre-schools, to give them a chance to become native language speakers.


The iwi responsible for one of Taranaki's most historic waahi tapu says it can't clean up the site until its ownership is confirmed.

Turuturu Mokai reserve near Hawera is considered one of the best examples of a pre-European Maori pa in the country, but it is covered in rubbish, graffiti and burnt-out buildings.

Ngati Ruanui chairperson Ngapari Nui says the iwi was given the reserve in 2001 as part of its treaty settlement, but it needs to be devolved further to the Ngati Tupaia hapu.

He says in the interim the iwi should have asked the council to continue maintaining the reserve.

He the Ngati Ruanui has to get total support from trustees before passing on the reserve to Ngati Tupaia.


All Black and Chiefs centre Richard Kahui says making the New Zealand Maori team made him more aware of his taha Maori.

The Ngati Maniapoto man says since he made the team in 2006 he's been motivated to learn tikanga and some reo.

He's also become aware of the expectations rangatahi have of him as a role model.

The Chiefs take on the New South Wales Warratahs in Sydney tonight.

Labour is languishing in the polls ... but Maori voters still seem to love the party.

Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Parekura Horomia says that's the good news he's taking out a TV3Baseline poll which shows National at 60 percent support and Labour slumping to 27 percent.

He says Labour's Maori support is holding up well, and more will return to the party once the inevitable tensions between National and the Maori Party emerge.

“Still in the honeymoon. We know we’ve got a lot of work to do but we also know as the journey goes along people will start to differentiate for themselves what our edict is and what the Maori Party-government’s is,” Mr Horomia says.


Directors of a stalled housing development near Turangi are confident a revised project can succeed.

Te Whenua Ventures, a joint venture between several Tuwharetoa trusts, Auckland property investors Jon Spencer and Steve Hawkins, and former cabinet minister Richard Prebble, planned to build more than 2000 homes, a fishing lodge and golf course on a former Landcorp farm on the eastern side of the Tongariro River.

Director Dickson Chapman says when the state-owned farmer sold the 650 hectare block to Mr Spencer, Tuwharetoa approached him with a commercial proposal to regain a stake in the historically significant land.
He says changed market conditions means the joint venture needs to change its plans.

“Are we going to pursue the extent of development that was envisaged. The honest answer would be no. But we will be looking at something that makes it commercially viable to continue to secure the interest in the block,” Mr Chapman says.

While Westpac Bank has brought in receivers to collect rent on the land, Te Whenua Ventures can keep on trading.


The competition gets serious today at Te Matatini, as the country's top kapa haka battle it out to find the country's best Maori performing arts group.

Twenty teams are set to perform through the day at BayPark Stadium in Tauranga.

There are 36 teams in total, the most for a long time, in three pools of 12 teams. The nine finalists are drawn from the top three teams in each pool.

The competition today will see defending champion, Whangara Mai Tawhiti open up the day.

Around 30,000 people are expected at Baypark Stadium of Ohutu a Taiiti, but there could be more because of the returning teams from Te Arawa, who haven’t been at the nationals since 2002.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Maori more exposed to international economy

The Prime Minister says the Maori economy stands to be hit twice as hard as the general economy by adverse overseas conditions.

John Key says the Maori economy is estimated to be worth about $25 billion dollars, compared with $180 million overall.

But almost 65 percent of the Maori economy is exposed to international markets, compared with just 30 percent of the general economy.

“Now the reason for that is there is a lot of exposure in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, you’ve got a big exposure, tourism all sitting in in there, so it’s important we get the summit right, come up with the right solutions, try to take the rough edges off the recession, particularly for Maori New Zealanders because they are more exposed than the overall economy," Mr Key says.

Several iwi leaders along with the Maori Party have been invited to next week's job summit.


Maori Party MP Hone Harawira says whanau need to take on the task of stopping drug abuse by members.

An International Drug Policy Symposium in Wellington has heard about problems throughout the world.

Mr Harawira says the symposium heard about the damage drugs are doing to some Maori communities.

He says it's an area politicians could find cross-party agreement on, but the hard part is finding the right resources to tackle the problem.

“The question is, is there the money to do it? And the answer is no, with the economic squeeze on, no there ain’t, so it’s about being clever, being focused, and being more innovative about how we address this problem. If at the end of the day the whanau don’t own the solution, nothing’s gonna change,” Mr Harawira says.


This morning's powhiri at Tauranga's Baypark Stadium for Te Matatini competitors had a special resonance for Te Arawa roopu.

The region boycotted the last two biannual kapa haka competitons because of policy differences with organisers.

Broadcaster Scotty Morrison, a member of Nga Uri o te Whanoa, says the return of four Te Arawa teams gives this year's competition a real national feel.

And after six months of intense rehearsals, he's ready to take to the stage.

Up to 30,000 performers and spectators are expected over the four day event.


Tuwharetoa shareholders are being reassured the shelving of a project for a 2000-home development adjoining Turangi does not spell the end of efforts to secure the land for the iwi.

Westpac has put a receiver into Te Whenua Ventures, a joint venture between several Tuwharetoa trusts, Auckland property investors Jon Spencer and Steve Hawkins, and former cabinet minister Richard Prebble.

Te Whenua director Dickson Chapman says the receivership is unusual, in that the bank is collecting the grazing rent on the former Landcorp farm, while allowing the company to remain in business.

He says the tribe's intent remains to find a commercial way to secure an interest in the land, which Landcorp sold behind its back to Mr Spencer.

“The reality is the full scale of commercial development originally envisaged cannot go ahead in today’s financial environment. It’s a done. So what’s happening consequently is looking at measures to restructure the financing of the project which might involve more financing or interests from within or without being involved in the project,” Mr Chapman says.

The block, on the eastern side of the Tongariro River, is of considerable historic and cultural value to Tuwharetoa hapu.


A former youth affairs minister says the government's boot camp scheme is the wrong approach for young Maori offenders.

Nanaia Mahuta, Labour's Hauraki-Waikato MP, says better results can be had by funding new and existing community programmes, especially those run by iwi and Maori trusts.

She is asking Social development Minister Paula Bennett to look at all options, including groups with drug and alcohol, parenting and mentoring programmes.

The bill providing for military-style "boot camps" for 40 of the country's worst youth offenders passed its first reading this week.


Rising unemployment and increased interest in higher education among Maori are boosting demand for Maori studies and trades training at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology.

Chief executive Neil Barns says enrolments at its Maori studies department, Te Puna Wanaka, has doubled this year.

The polytech is offering a Bachelors degree in Maori for the first time.

“What the drive is for us is to develop specialization in the language at the higher level. We really want to develop people who can get onto the paepae and speak fluently, and we think there’s quite a demand for that so what there is now is quite a large nase of people with a reasonable amount of reo and we are starting to see people now who want to take that further,” Mr Barns says.

Christchurch Polytechnic is trying to support Ngai Tahu's drive to get 10,000 speakers of Te Reo in homes.

Divide and rule in Ngati Apa settlement

Claimants from a Whanganui hapu are seeking an urgent hearing to stop part of the Lismore Forest being included in Ngati Apa Settlement.

The Waitangi Tribunal is holding a judicial conference next week to determine whether a hearing is needed.

Ngati Apa bypassed the tribunal to negotiate directly with the Crown, and last year signed an agreement in principle.

WAI 655 claimant George Matthews says even though the 5000 hectare forest northeast of the city is outside the Ngati Apa claim area, half of it has been included in the proposed deal.

He says the Crown is exploiting a difference of opinion in the iwi.

“Some of the iwi of Ngawairiki, which is the affected iwi, have mandated Ngati Apa to settle for us. Others of us, mainly the Whanganui side, are saying we will rewrite the history of Ngawairiki and a lot of us are Ngawairiki through our Whanganui whakapapa and not through our Ngati Apa whakapapa,” Mr Matthews says.

The WAI 655 claimants are keen to resolve the issues with their relatives without going through the full hearings.


The Public Health Association says Maori need a better safety net against the current economic crisis.

Executive officer Gay Keating says Maori tend to be affected more than other sectors when the economy turns down.

That is reflected in an increase in illness and deaths.

Dr Keating says the Government can limit the damage.

“Treating people equally and ensuring people have the basics that you need for health and well being – warmth, shelter, food, making sure that those things are available all the time to all of the population in a New Zealand that particularly means low income families and it particularly means Maori,” Dr Keating says.

Positive measures could include continuing income related rents and more support for families with dependent children.


Fans of Maori Television will now have online access to material from other indigenous broadcasters.

The channel is joining with other members of the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network to create an international current affairs programme.

Chief executive Jim Mather says it is developing a shared website which will be a hub for the new service.

“Each organization, Maori Television included, will put the key stories that have occurred in our nation on the website, and we will be looking at the websites of all the other indigenous broadcasters, picking out the stories that we feel we want to packaged into this weekly programme,” Mr Mather says.

The network will also allow Maori Television to adopt and adapt programme ideas which have worked for other indigenous broadcasters.


ACT's three strikes and you're jailed for life bill has been labelled a deliberate attack on Maori.

The private bill by ACT list MP David Garrett passed its first reading in Parliament last night and was referred to a select committee with National Party support.

Labour MP Shane Jones says the former legal advisor to the Sensible Sentencing Trust is sensationalising a significant social issue by promoting a solution that will have no impact on violent crime, but will blight the lives of many whanau.

Currently one in two prison inmates are Maori.

“David Garrett knows that the three strikes bill is going to have a disproportionately negative effect on young Maori men. Not all of them are incorrigible but he is condemning them to a life of hopelessness because of mistakes they might make. Now some of them are serious but the reality is he as a very impoverished and quite frightening view,” Mr Jones says.

Because of the way the bill is structured, it would be 20 years before it started having an effect.


Canterbury's medical officer of health is warning another epidemic of whooping cough is on the way.

Ramon Pink says epidemics of the infections disease happen every three or four years.

He says Maori children are at greater risk because of lower immunisation rates and poor housing conditions which lead to an increased incidence of respiratory diseases.

“Particularly in the first six months of life, parents can take baby along to the doctor for their six week, three month and five month vaccine and that’s when they will be getting the vaccination against whooping cough and other things, and also it’s the most vulnerable time for baby to catch whooping cough,” Dr Pink says.

Adults get a less severe version of whooping cough, but it is easy for them to transfer it to babies.

Meanwhile, medical officers of health are also warning people to get influenza jabs before winter, because of the emergence of a virulent new Brisbane strain.


Kapa haka roopu are being welcome to Tauranga's Baypark Stadium this morning for Te Matatini, the biannual Maori performing arts festival.

New rules and a narrower focus should remove some of the controversy of recent events, which critics say were dominated by extraneous events such as hip hop demonstrations.

Chairperson Selwyn Parata from Ngati Porou says a new judging system should eliminate any bias.

Each specialty will be judged by four of the 29-strong judging panel, who are picked by the 13 rohe for their knowledge of the traditional arts.

Selwyn Parata says an expected highlight of the three day event will be the appearance of Maori Party co leader Pita Sharples with Te Roopu Manutaki, marking an unbroken record of competition at the event.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More disciple needed at violence courses

The head of Women's Refuge wants action taken against offenders who drop out of court-ordered anti-violence programmes.

Heather Henare says often providers don't report drop-outs, and even if they do, police don't follow up all reports.

About a quarter of those subject to protection orders are Maori.
She says the moment offenders feels they are off the hook, they stop attending.

“The greater issue is the consequence to the family by not attending and the consequence of losing your partner and your children by not attending, because even she doesn’t leave this time, the reality is if he continues to beat her, she will leave and she will take the children,” Ms Henare says.

Although attempts have been made to tighten the system, the results are yet to be seen.


The director of the New Zealand Drug Foundation says Maori need a bigger voice on drug policy.

An international symposium on Healthy Drug Law is being held in Wellington this week in preparation for next month's meeting of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, which will set the direction of global drug policy for the next 10 years.

Ross Bell says Maori communities have been hard hit by the impact of drugs, but they don't have a seat at the table where decisions are made.

“When we're making decisions about where health resources go or the way the police do their jobs or all of these bigger issues, Maori need to be at the policy table so that’s why we’ve ensured at this symposium that the Maori voice is here so we are talking about global issues, we are talking about national issues and we are talking about things that are of direct relevance to whanau across the country,” Mr Bell says.

He says Maori aren't getting the drug treatment services they need at the grassroots level.


Indigenous television broadcasters have a new way of sharing their stories.

Maori Television has joined other nine other broadcasters to create a website.

Chief executive Jim Mather says the site is one of the first major projects put together by the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network, which includes members in Australia, Canada, Britain, Norway, South Africa and Taiwan.

“We wanted to give those that may be interested confidence that this was going to be a network that was going to do some positive things and provide some tangible benefits to its members, so we thought it was important to have a professional web site and one that was easy to use, simple but also was functional and focused on holding a lot of information and video content as well,” Mr Mather says.

All the broadcasters have similar histories and face similar challenges, so they are able to work together effectively.


Te Ohu Kaimoana is looking for young Maori who want to turbocharge their careers in the fishing industry with a year in Japan.

Peter Douglas, the chair of the fisheries settlement trust, says the global fisheries training programme offered by Sealord shareholder Nippon Suisan Kaisha is building up the pool of young Maori who will lead the industry in the future.

He says it gives them a rare perspective on the industry, and on the needs of a major export destination.

“Fish is a bigger part of the diet in Japan than it is in New Zealand so they have a far more comprehensive approach to how they manage their fish catches, how they manage their marketing and what they do with all the waste, because they waste very little. Those sorts of things are valuable insights into how we can improve the way we do things in years to come,” Mr Douglas says.

If candidates can't afford to take a year away from their jobs or whanau, the Global Fisheries Training Programme can be compressed into a more compact form.


The Greens' Maori spokesperson says Maori organisations should stay clear of any investment in the prison system.

Tainui chair Tukoroirangi Morgan says his iwi is keen to join public-private partnerships to build or run prisons, if the government goes down that track.

Meteria Turei says the proposal adds an unhealth profit motive into the corrections system, and does nothing to address the disproportionate number of Maori in custody.

“We know that international corporations are just interested in profits and those profits grow because you have more bodies in the jail so our people become a kind of profit motive for corporations who are running these prisons,” Ms Turei says.

She is surprised any iwi would seek to profit from locking up its own people.


The Northland District Health Board is concerned Maori in the region could be particularly vulnerable to the new Brisbane flu virus.

Medical officer of health Loek Henneveld says the virus has already killed six children in Australia.

He says Maori are susceptible to respiratory disease, so they need to get immunised before winter.

“If you look at past epidemics Maori have certainly suffered worse than other community groups so in that sense immunization is not a bad idea. It gives quite a good protection and reduces the risk,” Dr Henneveld says.

The vaccine available this year will contain three different strains, including one to combat the Brisbane flu.

Violence programmes need shake-up: Refuge

New Zealand Womens Refuge is backing a call for domestic violence programmes to be redesigned to better address male Maori offenders.

Principal Family Court Judge Peter Boshier told an anti-violence hui this week that a one size fits all approach to domestic violence programmes is not working.

Women's Refuge chief executive Heather Henare agrees.

“Maori need to be meeting the needs of Maori and they need to be doing that in the best way they can to ensure full participation so whether it’s marae-based programmes or whether it’s Maori service providers or iwi providers that I think there needs to be recognition it’s not a one stop shop. One size doesn’t need to fit everyone so we need to be thinking who our target audience is and what is available for them,” Ms Henare says.

She says such an approach would help change the situation where a Ministry of Justice survey in 2007 found that only 58 percent of offenders had completed their programmes.


Performers at this weekend's national kapa haka festival, Te Matatini, will have to obtain copyright permission if they want to use modern tunes in their performances.

This is being supported by a long time supporter of Te Matatini, Trevor Maxwell, who will be returning to the festival after boycotting it for five years because of things like its emphasis on hip hop.

“Many of our composers get offended if they are not acknowledged or permission is not sought and so it’s only right and proper when any of our groups do any tunes that belong to someone else, get permission, simple,” he says.

Mr Maxwell, who led two-time Te Arawa champion group Ngati Rangiwewehi, says they are returning to the festival expected to attract more than 30,000 competitors to Tauranga this weekend because this year it is getting back to basic cultural values.


A book to be launched at the end of the month will provide an in-depth look into the history of one of Aotearoa's largest iwi Te Arawa.

Historian Vincent O'Malley's says his book, The Beating Heart, outlines the cultural resilience of Te Arawa people and its history steeped in commercial success.

“Tourism for example where Te Arawa go from being owners an controllers of tourism industry to losing control because of Crown actions in the 1870s and 1880s and more recently coming back to that in a major way through the Tamaki Brothers and other thriving Maori owned and run tourism industries in Rotorua,” he says.

Dr O'Malley plans to write more books on iwi from around the motu.


An expert in addressing youth offending believes the heavy disciple aspect of boot camps should not be over-emphasised.

The co-founder and CEO of the Foundation for Youth Development Joanne Wilkinson says with many young offenders being Maori such things developing cultural awareness and mentoring are equally if not more important.

“We know as everyone understands boot camps, they actually don’t work. It needs to be working with the young people, setting parameters for them so they understand their actions have consequences, but it’s also not about ‘do as I say, or else.’ It’s more about working alongside the young person to get them into a space where they see they can make a shift in the way they have been acting,” Ms Wilkinson says.

She says boot camps are only the first part of programmes the Government is supporting in legislation being introduced to parliament this week to fight youth offending.


The head of Veteran Affairs is calling on veterans not to be shy in claiming war pensions due to them.

This week a veteran with the 28th Maori Battalion Tini Glover said he believed many Maori in particular were not claiming the up to $182 war disability pension they were entitled to due to embarrassment about coming forward.

The general manager of Veteran Affairs Rick Ottaway says veterans should not be shy about getting what they are entitled to.

“They've given their time and energies in the service of their country and that’s something they don’t necessarily need to be humble about and I know in all the areas the 28 Maori Battalion Association are active, there are people who will assist those people and we are aware of the hesitancy not only Maori veterans have, this is a common characteristic of people of that generation irrespective of whether they are Maori or Pakeha,” Mr Ottaway says.

As well as the 28th Battalion Association welfare advisors who are very familiar with entitlements and processes for getting benefits the RSA also has dedicated advisors.


A Maori heritage advisor with the Historic Places Trust says a lot of younger people are interested in learning the traditional ways of making tukutuku.

Jim Schuster who is organising a three day workshop on tukutuku which begins in Tauranga today says the desire for the old ways and materials is most welcome.

“They like to create new styles in fashion things but they like to include the old materials and it’s great and if I can be a help to them, it’s what I try to do as part of my job,” Mr Schuster says.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Boot camps can work says Boxer

The organiser of boot camps which have had a 58 percent success rate in reducing reoffending is supportive of a bill the government is introducing to parliament tomorrow to deal with serious young repeat offenders.

Former soldier Steve Boxer says the 20 week Auckland boot camp programme works with 14 to 17 year old males who are typically Maori or Pacific Islanders with convictions for crimes from burglary and tagging to wounding with intent to injure and grievous bodily harm.

He rejects criticism of boot camps because of their hard discipline.

“It does work as long as it’s resourced properly and you have the right staff with the right skill sets and experience. We were one of the first to put it together and we learnt a lot through collaboration with the different services like police, Child Youth and Family since 2002,” Mr Boxer says.

He says hard discipline is only one part of the programme with mentoring and counseling also being highly important.


The group behind an application to the Geographic Board to have the letter 'h' included in the name of the city of Wanganui says governments for more than 100 years have neglected Maori desires.

Ken Mair of Te Runanga o Tupoho hopes the board will this time rectify the grievance despite a referendum in 2006 which showed the majority of residents in the city opposed the change.

“Its very clear the spelling of our name should be corrected. Without the ‘h’ it doesn’t mean anything. It’s an attack on our language, it’s an attack on our name, and it’s an attack on our people and therefore it needs to be corrected. It’s been going on far too long and the Crown and the Government have allowed this to happen over the last 100 or so years,” Mr Mair says.

He says the 2006 referendum was a political stunt by the mayor Michael Laws allowing the enforcement of cultural dominance.


The man who led two-time Te Matatini champion group Ngati Rangiwewehi says he is pleased with the management changes which have led his group to return to the kapa haka festival in Tauranga after a five year boycott.

Te Arawa's Trevor Maxwell says they opposed the way Te Matatini was run, including the large amount of hip hop entertainment at past events.

“Were very pleased the new chair Selwyn Parata and new organisation being so welcoming and gone back to the core values we believe in,” Mr Maxwell says.

More than 30,000 are expected at the four-day Tauranga festival, which starts on Thursday.


Tainui chair Tukoroirangi Morgan says Tainui will put its hat into the ring to run private prisons.

Tuku Morgan says the government's announcement to allow private companies to run prisons will offer Maori opportunities to invest, manage and own infrustructural development.

He says this is something Tainui believes is critical for long term sustainability and a matter he has personally taken up with prime minister John Key.

“At Waitangi I was part of the presentation to the Prime Minister including the deputy PM pushing the issue of public private developments. We think it is an intelligent approach by iwi to get involved in important infrastructural development,” Mr Morgan says.


Former Maori MP now broadcaster Willie Jackson says the decision to sell Auckland based George FM to Mediaworks Radio is a positive one for Auckland's Urban Maori Authorities.

The Manukau Urban Maori Authority chief executive admits the dance music station had been struggling financially for sometime.

Willie Jackson says he and longtime associate Waipareira Trust CEO John Tamihere joined forces in 1998 to successfully tender for the George FM frequency, becoming the first group to win a radio frequency outside of traditional Maori iwi.

“We still hold the frequency rights but we lease it to them and see if we can get some real gains for us as Maori so the commercial deal really supports what Waipareira and MUMA are doing. The real gains are for us,” Mr Jackson says.

The undisclosed price includes transmission equipment for a number of low powered FM frequencies throughout the motu and will take effect on 28 February.

Mediaworks Radio purchased the Ngati Whatua hip hop music station Mai FM last year.


Maori and Pacific island literacy workers have spent the past two days at a hui at Manurewa Marae developing strategies to improve literacy among adults.

Tumuaki of literacy Aotearoa Bronwyn Yates says they have been looking at the ways literacy is taught with an emphasis on seeing content is relevant to the needs of individuals.

“What we know is that literacy issues can be intergenerational and so if we can work with parents to improve their literacy skills and equally they are in a position where they can support their children’s learning then we are going to be working on a different kind of basis. We will have parents more actively involved in their children’s learning,” Ms Yates says.

Old soldiers miss out on pensions

A Maori battalion veteran believes many war veterans are not applying for benefits and pensions they are entitled to because they are embarrassed to do so.

Tini Glover - who is chairman of Nga Taonga a Nga Tama Toa Trust, an entity made up of Maori Battalion C Company veterans and relatives says he is not surprised by the estimate by an RSA advisor that as many as 15,000 of those who served in wars and emergencies are missing out.

Tini Glover says Maori are particularly prone to embarrassment.

“It’s a bit better now but some of the old chaps are embarrassed to ask for money. Some of them say ‘I’ll be able to manage with out that’ and they don’t apply for it,” Mr Glover says.

He knows of one Maori Battalion veteran who is 100 years old who had has never received anything.

War veterans could be entitled to a war disablement pension of up $182 a week on top of their New Zealand super depending on their level of disability.


Maori are planning to take an Appeal Court decision they do not own Nelson's Wakapuaka estuary to the Supreme Court.

Huria Matenga Trust member John Mitchell says the trust is applying to appeal the Court of Appeal's judgment last December which ruled against Maori ownership of the area but at the same time did not vest ownership in the crown either.

“We believe it is a raft of totally unsatisfactory circumstances about this whole business and we want to continue to have it examined,” Dr Mitchell says

The Appeal Court's decision was not unanimous which increases their confidence in taking the Appeal Court decision to a higher authority.


The Maori fishing industry has some fresh Japanese influence in its ranks, with the return of two Te Ohu Kaimoana scholars.

Hohepa Rauputu, and Ronni Symon have spent 12 months in Japan as part of the company's Global Fisheries Training Programme.

Mr Rauputu, although based in Tokyo, spent time traveling the country's ports and aquaculture sites learning about how the Japanese run their fishing industry.

His trip exposed him to the vast scale of the Japanese industry.

“Their scale is lie 100 times bigger than anything we have in New Zealand and so it’s not so much in terms of what we can copy from them but just the exposure. We go over and get to see the massive world of fisheries from a Japanese perspective which is a much larger perspective that an lot of Kiwis have. Our fish get exported and we don’t do a lot with our fish in terms of making products, and the Japanese are just so much more advanced,” Mr Rauputu says.

He is now working for an Aotearoa Fisheries’ subsidiary in Auckland.


The chairman of Ngati Kahungunu believes that if the community of Bridge Pa in the Hawkes Bay was not a Maori one the water supply problems which have plagued it for the past 20 years and are doing so again this summer, would have been fixed long ago.

Ngahiwi Tomoana says the Hawke's Bay Regional council's neglect means that members of the 70-household community on the outskirts of Hastings are having to bucket water and use long drops while neighbouring horticultural blocks are drawing off all the water.

“If it was a Pakeha community they’d have a new well drilled straight away. It’s about access to capital too. Because the community is basically in the low decile group they haven’t got access to capital. When the council says ‘If you only bore a well costing $10,000 to $15, all your problems will be solved. Not one of those houses can afford $10, let alone $15,000,” Mr Tomoana says.

Ngati Kahungunu is looking at the possibility of a claim to the Waitangi tribunal.


A Maori battalion veteran believes that Maori will be highly represented among war veterans not getting the war pensions they are entitled to.

Tini Glover who is chairman of Nga Taonga a Nga Tama Toa Trust, an entity made up of Maori Battalion C Company veterans and relatives, says he is not suprised by estimates that as many as 15,000 who served in wars could be missing out on war pensions.

“You know what annoys me so much. Every two years it comes up for review. Damn it all, you decline more than you get and I said if you don’t apply for your pension or reapply for it we’ll dock it. They’ve got that attitude. I suppose they think we’re like those young people, wanting to put it across them, and I think is it worth bloody well going and getting a pension, but what am I going to live on?” Mr Glover says.

Depending on their level of disability war veterans could be entitled to $182 a week on top of their super.


The discovery of artifacts from a pre-European Maori village on the New Plymouth foreshore at Ngamotu Beach is helping towards greater understanding of what went on in earlier times in the wider area.

Archeologist Ivan Bruce who was called in during the construction of an office block on the site says what remains is a small remnant of a much larger pa site.

“I think what tends to happen is we only get a small part of the site is recovered so when we work on one site we dion’t get an idea of what the entire site looked like but over the past five or six years we’ve worked on a number of sites in Taranaki so we’re building up a jigsaw of what these sites do look like,” Mr Bruce says.

The most remarkable thing about the Taranaki is its strong concentration of Maori Pa sites showing the area was heavily populated in pre-european times.

Monday, February 16, 2009

New push to add h the Whanganui

A smoldering dispute over whether Wanganui should be spelt with an "h" or nor not is coming to a head with local Maori applying to the New Zealand Geographic board to have the city's name changed.

Southern Whanganui Iwi Cluster communications co-ordinator George Matthews says while local mayor Michael Laws has said a name change would be fiercely resisted by the local community it is backed by local MP' Turiana Turia and Chester Burrows.

“We can gnash our teeth and rant and rage about the cost of changing stationary but the fact of the matter is Whanganui without an ‘h’ means nothing and to give it some true meaning and to be respectful to others, it’s got to have the ‘h’ in with it,” Mr Matthews says.

The application by Te Runanaga o Tupoho will be the first time in 63 years the geographic board has been asked to change a city's name.


Tainui's executive board, Te Ara Taura, will benefit from the experience of Te Ohaaki marae representative Taitimu Maipi.

Board elections were held at the weekend and Taitimu Maipi is the only member of the 10 strong board to serve on the former Tainui Trust board under the leadership of the late Sir Robert Mahuta.

Maori broadcaster and son of Taitimu Maipi, Potaka Maipi, says his father remembers a time when the tribe had no money compared to its current asset base of $700 million.

Potaka Maipi says a mixture of young and old will enable the board to see issues from new perspectives.

“There are quite some young members on Te Ara Taura so it will be interesting to bering a kaumatua view to Te Ara Taura board,” Mr Maipi says.


Organisers of next month's Polyfest want improve the kai available at what is billed the world's largest Maori and Pacific Islands cultural festival.

Director Tania Karoria says the annual Auckland secondary schools competitions are expected to attract more than 90,000 spectators and participants to the Manukau Sportsbowl.

She says high rates of obesity among Maori and Pacific populations sparked a call for action, and she has asked vendors to cut down on fats and sugars and instead offer water or low-sugar drinks and menus that are low in fat and contain more fruit and vegetables.

“Primarily the festival is about our young people and giving them a stage to perform and be who they are, but it is also a prime time to bring some opportune messages about our health,” Ms Karoria says.

Next week's Te Matatini kapa haka national's in Tauranga is also encouraging fast food vendors to cut down the fat, and the Pasifika festival next month is also discouraging sales of deep fried foods.


The Minister of Maori Affairs says competition from public sector agencies and the Maori media is affecting the number of maori going into teaching.

The latest annual report on Maori in education, Nga Haeata Matauranga, identifies the importance of having teachers who can engage effectively with rangatahi to lift their academic performance.

Pita Sharples says such inspiring teachers are hard to find, especially those with skills in te reo Maori.

“The opportunities for Maori speakers across industry and everywhere else is quite enormous at the moment, so we are losing a lot of potential and past teachers of Maori in Maori to media and to industry,” Dr Sharples says.

The report says one in two Maori students is in a decile one school, and 35 percent will leave school with no qualifications, as against the national average of 12 percent.


Whanganui Maori who have been adding the letter "h" to their address for some years says they have not been losing mail because of their defiance and they want the 'h' to be formally added.

George Matthews who is communications co-ordinator with the southern Whanganui iwi cluster group which is supporting an application to the New Zealand Geographic board to have "h" included in the city's name says to do so won't cause problems.

“What is surprising a lot of groups in this town is the number of organisations that are putting the ‘h’ in. We’ve got an ‘h’ in the river, and ‘h’ in the national park, and probably the most significant school in this city is Whanganui Collegiate, it’s run by the Whanganui College Board of trustees and they’ve got an ‘h’ in there name. My mail doesn’t get lost. I’ve been using the ‘h’ for many years now, just to be defiant,” Mr Matthews says.

Mayor Michael Laws says a name change would be fiercely resisted by the community which voted overwhelmingly in 2006 to keep the spelling as it was.

However, local MPs Turiana Turia and Chester Burrows are supporting the application by Te Runanga o Tupoho.


An intellectual property law expert says last week's signing of a treaty agreement between the crown and Ngati Toa acknowledging the haka - Ka Mate - to the iwi is highly significant.

Kim Connelly-Stone from the law firm Kensington Swan who is working on the Ngati Toa claim says moves to protect ka mate under existing property rights have been on hold pending redress through treaty settlement.

“The letter of agreement that was signed last week is really significant. It does acknowledge the significance of Ka Mate to Ngati Toa and is now going to set in place a process where the Crown will sit down with Ngati Toa and think through how can we protect this very important haka,” Ms Connolly-Stone says.

She says Ka Mate cannot be protected by existing intellectual property law is because something can only be protected for 50 years after its author has died.

However this could be changed by the government to give protection in perpetuity or there could be a new law to protect cultural expressions using guidelines

NZ First can’t forget Maori voters

A former New Zealand First MP says the party needs to appeal to Maori voters if it’s to find its way back into parliament.

They party met in Auckland over the weekend to discuss how to rebuild itself in the wake of last year’s election loss where it failed to reach the 5 percent threshhold.

Pita Paraone says there"s still widespread support in the party for leader Winston Peters.

He says the party can't afford to forget its Maori supporters who at one stage delivered 5 Maori seats into its hands.

“Without exception the New Zealand First Party received in excess of 5 percent from each of the electorates of Maori support both in the Maori electorate and Maori voters who remain in the general roll,” Mr Paraone says.

The leadership issue will be considered at New Zealand Firsts AGM in September.


The primary teachers union says new literacy and numeracy standards won't improve the performance of Maori students.

Releasing the annual report on Maori education last week, Education Minister Anne Tolley said she expected the new national standards to lift Maori educational achievement.

But NZEI president Francis Nelson says that's not how education works.

“They are not the answer at all. What they give is an opportunity to report on the progress we make, so the focus on a set of national standards isn’t going to change things on a day to day basis for Maori students or any other students. Teachers practice will do that,” she says.

Francis Nelson says the emphasis should be on improving training and support for teachers, and addressing the socio economic issues that result in 50 percent of Maori students being taught in decile 1 schools.


A documentary maker with a cross cultural background is looking at the pros and cons of marrying outside the Maori culture.

Nevak Ilolahia says her programme Skin to Skin features well known and not so known Maori sharing personal stories of their cross cultural relationships.

She says a common theme was whanau boycotting weddings because their relatives were marrying someone from another culture ... which her own parents avoided with a bit of misdirection.

“My dad's Tongan and my kuia were telling people my dad was from up north which he is. They assumed Ngapuhi and ‘No, no, further up. Tonga. There was all this negative attachment round these things and it’s good to see it changing and it’s more acceptable. It makes for a more interesting world,” she says.

Skin to Skin will screen on Maori Televison next month.


Tainui has opted for continuity, returning seven previous members to its executive board Te Ara Taura.

Some members of the previous executive were unable to stand again in yesterday’s election because they failed to retain their seats on Te Kauhanganui, the tribal parliament which chooses the powerful executive from among its members.

The three new members on the 10-strong board are well known Huntly identity and health manager Timi Maipi, accountant Maxine Moana and Robert Tukiri Junior.

Outgoing chair Tukoroirangi Morgan, says there are still major tasks on the table, including completion of the Waikato river settlement.

“The bill is in the House. It will go through the parliamentary stages. Both Lady Raiha and I are working closely with ministers to ensure we tie up any outstanding issues, and there are outstanding issues, to be sorted and that’s part of the co-management relationship. There are a number of things to be done that haven’t been done yet,” Mr Morgan says.

The chair will be decided at a meeting of the Te Ara Taura executive in a fortnight.


A shadow has been cast over Te Uri o Hau's multi-million dollar Northland coastal development after trustees dumped directors including Sir Graham Latimer from its commercial arm, Renaissance Group.

Hearings for an amended resource consent for the Te Arai Point development south of Mangawhai are due to start early next month.

Te Uri o Hau chair Russell Kemp says a faction of trustees led by deputy chair Rawson Wright voted to reduce the number of Renaissance Group directors from five to two, sacking Sir Graham, Whangarei mayor Stan Semenoff and Ngati Wai elder Laly Haddon of Pakiri.

Mr Kemp says it's a short-sighted approach to managing the tribe's treaty settlement assets.

“If things don't happen, then things will dry up. By putting credible people to one side you shut a few doors that were always open and you were allowed to talk to them. But some of those doors have been shut,” Mr Kemp says.

Rawson Wright says the trustees wanted to establish whether the tribe's commercial arm was healthy, and they weren't getting the information they wanted out of the former Renaissance group directors.


Maori Muslims will soon be able to read teachings from the Koran in te reo.

Dr Mohammed Shorab, the president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama of New Zealand, says the project to translate holy book has instigated during a 1989 visit to New Zealand by the late Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the fourth Head of the International Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

He says there has been extensive consultation with the Maori Language commission, Waikato University’s Maori department and kaumatua to make sure the translation of the ancient teachings is correct.

“We strongly believe that the Mori language will be spoken to the day or judgment or the end of time, no matter hope many thousand years that is, and the law book being the last law book for mankind, it was essential it be translated into the Maori language of the current time the Maori language,” Dr Shorab says.

The first half of the Maori Koran will be launched in April during a visit to New Zealand by his group's fifth head, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, when he visits in April or May.