Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

My Photo
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Affirmative action job plan call

Maori attending today's jobs summit want to see public and private sector employers make a deliberate effort to employ Maori.

Business Roundtable chair Rob McLeod from Ngati Porou says the public has to get over its sensitivity to affirmative action.

He says continuing a situation where the Maori unemployment rate is more than twice that of the general rate is bad for the country's long term prospects.

“In the private sector the reality is affirmative action is alive and well particularly around things like gender, so most companies these days have deliberative policies that are designed to fix up the imbalance between women and men in the workforce. The view here essentially is they should take on that same challenge with respect to ethnicity. If you get it down to the level of policy like that and it manifests itself in particular rules of employment or engagement, then it will make a difference over time,” Mr McLeod says.

He says locking Maori out of the workforce is a recipe for more crime and welfare spending.


The Minister of Maori Affairs, Pita Sharples, says a smarter approach needs to be taken to the unemployed in the current economic crisis.

The former Maori Affairs community officer says the country must not repeat past mistakes in dealing with any large increase in jobless numbers, such as make-work work schemes.

“A lot of the programmes that develop are strung up with rules that make them impractical to work. For example the TOPS programme is based on bums on seats and often given to organisations, PTEs who don’t have a big amount of money to cover themselves, retrospective payments, you’ve got to have a cleft palate or something before you are allowed on the programme so they’re really really difficult criteria, and those who have run them have done a good job to stay in the game,” Dr Sharples says.

He was impressed at today's Prime Minister's jobs summit how people were prepared to set aside their own sector barrows and work with others on finding solutions.


Tukoroirangi Morgan is back at the helm of Tainui.

At their first board meeting today, the 11 members of the new Te Ara Taura executive re-elected the Former New Zealand First MP and television journalist for a second term in the chair.

Patience Te Ao was elected deputy chair.

Mr Morgan says the mandate reflects the iwi's desire for stability.

“Today is a signal to myself and the other two senior executives of the board to provide the leadership so we can address some pressing issues of future proofing our organisation, of building a much more robust strategic plan in terms of the social, cultural and economic responsibilities that we have towards our people. All of those things hugely important as we sit in tough economic times,” Mr Morgan says.

The Tainui board will be looking at its businesses to see if there are opportunities to create employment for its people.


A $600 million fund for Maori development is one of the ideas to emerge from today's jobs summit in South Auckland.

Maori Party president Whatarangi Winitata says a lot of money is spent by government on Maori, but little of that is under Maori control or direction.

He says directing 1 percent of the government's total budget to a special fund would improve the quality of spending.

“The departments, the ministries from whence the money comes are to continue with their programmes, not cut back on the Maori ones because they are losing 1 percent, but they must continue with their programmes, and then a special group with the 1 percent which would be $600 million, use that for Maori development which is looking at crisis areas,” Professor Winiata says

He says the current crisis should be seen as a real opportunity for Maori.


Associate Maori Affairs minister Georgina te Heuheu says today's jobs summit has highlighted the need for Maori to up their educational performance.

There was a strong Maori contingent among the 200 business, union and community sector leaders gathered at the Manukau events centre.

Mrs te Heuheu says Maori will play an important role in getting the country through the economic crisis.

“The workforce of tomorrow is brown, it’s Maori and Pacific, and therefore starting from early childhood education right through to the tertiary sector is to recognize that. Basic things like literacy, numeracy, making sure our children do better at school, because a lot of them are lagging, making sure they stay at school longer, making sure they all get the opportunity to do some form of tertiary training,” Mrs te Heuheu says.


A suggestion former treaty negotiations minister Michael Cullen could switch sides and advocate for Ngati Tuwharetoa have been dismissed by the iwi.

Spokesperson Dickson Chapman says the tribe has had no discussions on the matter with Dr Cullen, who is being tipped to leave Parliament as early as May.

Mr Chapman says apart from finalising the details of the Central North Island forestry settlement, Tuwharetoa is not currently in negotiations.

“We haven't got our organisation for our claims up and running yet so an announcement we’ve selected someone to head our claims, let alone Dr Cullen, would seem very premature I would say,” he says.

Mr Chapman says the tribe has a huge respect for Dr Cullen because of the way he drove through the $400 million Treelord settlement.

Dr Cullen refused to comment.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Bridge Pa bucket crisis brings water action

Ngati Kahungunu is considering an urgent claim over water allocation in its rohe.

Chairperson Ngahiwi Tomoana says he's calling a Wai summit next month to discuss water quality issues from the Wairarapa to Wairoa.

He says local and regional councils need to be taken to taks for the way they are managing the region's streams, rivers and aquifers.

Mr Tomoana says one Maori community, Bridge Pa, has been without water for three months.

“Surrounding them water is used to irrigate sweet corn and pumpkins and everything else. Everyone is taking advantage of the manaakitanga of our local hapu, Ngati Popoto, and we’ve got horticulture, silviculture, viticulture, but no one is giving two stuffs about Maori culture and so we are still getting people bucketing water to their houses every day,” Mr Tomoana says.

Attention is given to power stations and irrigation rights, no one has been standing up for the rights of individual hapu to streams, wells and traditional fisheries.


Outgoing Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons is challenging the Maori Party to prioritise environmental issues.

The Coromandel-based MP says both parties share similar values, including the need to protect papatuanaku.

She says the emergence of the Maori Party resulted in the Green share of the Maori vote, but the two parties can still work effectively to get environmental issues the attention they deserve.

“They've made some very good speeches in Parliament about the importance of the environment but I do note when you look at their agreement with the National Party, there’s no mention of the environment. I know that fundamentally most of them do care but it’s a question of what priority they give it and it would be nice if they and we together could exercise some influence on the National-led government to give the environment greater priority generally,” Ms Fitzsimons says.

She says Te Tiriti O Waitangi is at the core of the Greens' constitution.


Manukau Mayor Len Brown is hoping today's prime ministerial jobs summit in his city will boost prospects for its 45,000 Maori residents.

The presence of business, union and community sector leaders will bring national attention to a city which is not always in the media for the right reasons.

Mr Brown says many south Auckland residents are skilled labour workers, and his focus at the summit will be on education and training.

“When the chips are down, this is when you really get people stepping up and encourage people to learn more, to stay longer in school and in tertiary education and either get academic or trade training skills upgrades so when the next boom comes through, they're ready,” Mr Brown says.


The Council of Trade Unions wants today's jobs summit to come up with ideas to help Maori and other low paid workers weather the economic storms ahead.

CTU president Helen Kelly says 12 union representatives are among the 150 people invited to the Manukau events centre.

She says their focus will be economic stimulus, job retention and transition initiatives for people who lose their jobs

“We want to see initiatives that build the economy and a lot of those are in the Maori economy. We’re hoping to see proposals around the utilization of Maori assets and helping those be developed to their full potential but also areas where there are large groups of Maori workers, we want to see initiatives around retention that support firms to retain workers in jobs,” Ms Kelly says.

Whatever comes out of the summit, workers will have to face the reality that from Sunday they face a new work probation system which allows employers to sack them without reason in the first 90 days.


Meanwhile, Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Parekura Horomia is welcoming discussions by smaller iwi about creating an investment fund.

The former Maori affairs minister says the initiative could improve job opportunities for Maori.

But he says individual Maori need to step up and get the education and training they need to benefit from a post-settlement environment.

“We need to be realistic about the labour market. It’s about skill sets, it’s about getting our people in there and it’s about making sure they are well trained so they can help their own and I think it’s a good idea. Any idea where iwi can come together and collectivise their assets is a good idea,” Mr Horomia says.

It is critical Maori workers are trained not just for labouring jobs but for management and administration.


The first specialist degree for Maori nurses is trying to fill its seats before classes start next month.

Te Ohanga Mataora is a three year degree in health sciences delivered by Te Wananga o Awanuiarangi in partnership with the National Council of Maori nurses and the Maori Health Providers Collective.

Programme manager Hineroa Hakiaha from Ngati Awa and Tuhoe says about half of the 30 places are taken, and it's still looking for students who are passionate about Maori health and wellbeing.

She says the three year degree will give graduates all the clinical skills of a mainstream qualification, as well as an extra dimension.

“The ingredient that is added to that is te Ao Maori, nga tikanga e paneke te reo, nga tikanga e paneke te whanaungatanga me te ahuatanga e paneke te tangata. It’s very much Maori concepts that will drive the kaupapa and ensure students that come through are very strong in tea o Maori but also very very strong in the clinical aspects of tauiwi,” Ms Hakiaha says.

Te Ohanga Mataora is being delivered at Te Wananga o Aotearoa's Mangere campus, and it will also make use of facilities at Unitec, Middlemore Hospital and with Maori health providers.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Work stream on Maori economy for summit

The Prime Minister expects tomorrow's jobs summit will throw up some useful ideas to help the Maori economy.

John Key says there is positive work coming out of the stream headed by former Te Puni Kokiri chief executive Ngatata Love.

He says talk of post-settlement iwi pooling equity to invest in major projects shows people are open to innovation.

“There's also options around Maori land. There’s issues around whether we can speed up some of the consents. There’s some really specific aspects maybe in relation to forestry, some ideas around agriculture, tourism’s another one, so I think you are going to see some initiatives come out, some opportunities coming out which have a lot of potential,” Mr Key says.

While only a handful of Maori have been invited to the summit, the aim was to achieve outcomes rather than have too many people and see the event become a talkfest.


Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia says its vital more Maori are working in the health sector.

Mrs Turia has announced a continuation of the successful Hauora Maori scholarships, which will help up to 500 Maori students with their studies this year.

She says they are helping with the long term objective of building up a Maori health workforce which is able to maintain tikanga Maori values in hospitals and other parts of the system.

That should mean better cultural understanding of Maori patients, who often present a challenge for medical staff recruited from overseas.

“It's very difficult for them to get any understanding of the culture before the are put out into the wards or put out into the health system,” Mrs Turia says.

The scholarships are for undergraduate and postgraduate studies in medicine, nursing, midwifery, pharmacy, physiotherapy, health management and dentistry.


Preparations are underway for the celebration of the relationship between Maori and Croatians forged on the gumfields of the North and the vineyards of west Auckland.

Dianne Tuari from Te Whanau O Waipareira Trust says Tarara Day at Te Rangi Hiroa Park in Massey next month will feature not only a giant hangi but a spit roast of 30 lambs to feed the thousands expected.

There will also be live entertainment, a shantytown, gumdiggers' quarters, and shows of Maori and Croatian art.

Mrs Tuari says many prominent Maori families have Croatian whakapapa.

“Everything on the day is shaped so it does represent the relationship and the traditional cultural values both these parties have so it’s about celebration that historical friendship in New Zealand between the Maori and Croatian people,” Ms Tuari says

Northern Maori in the early 1900s dubbed the new migrants from Croatia's Dalmatian coast "Tarara" in reference to their rapid speech patterns.


The chief Human Rights Commissioner is encouraging government agencies to use the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ... even though New Zealand is one of only a handful of countries yet to sign the document.

Rosslyn Noonan says the declaration is not a covenant or a treaty, so it does not need to be formally ratified.

She says it provides a useful set of principles which are directly relevant to New Zealand.

“It helps to explain the rights, particularly in article two of the treaty, which is a very brief, succinct statement but which covers a huge area. The declaration really says what are the taonga that indigenous people have to be protected, what is the decision-making they are entitled to in terms of their own area, their own people, and then in terms of article three of the treaty when we say equal rights, what does that actually mean,” Ms Noonan says.

The Human Rights Commission has translated the declaration into Maori and already distributed hundreds of copies in Maori and English.


Te Tai Hauauru MP Tariana Turia has taken Wanganui mayor Michael Laws to task for claiming the city's name is not Maori.

Mr Laws' council this week voted 8-5 to tell the New Zealand Geographic Board it did not support returning the missing 'h' to the city's name.

The mayor said while the city and district's name is derived from a Maori word, 170 years of usage has given the name an identity and mana of its own.

Mrs Turia says Mr Laws is making the issue about Maori versus Pakeha, rather than doing the right thing.

“What he's doing is an absolute denial of our genealogy, our genealogical links to that area, he’s denying the rights of our tupuna to have named those places, and that’s very colonising behaviour,” she says.

Mrs Turia says Mr Laws refuses to accept Maori as equal treaty partners.


South Aucklanders are getting sportier.

That's the conclusion Counties Manukau Sport is drawing from a national survey of physical activity.

Kaiwhakahaere Carla Matua says in the past five years the region has jumped from second last to sixth.

She's crediting free access to community swimming pools, interest in gardening, as well as a range of unstructured activities such as touch, which can be played at any park, and fishing, which reflects the large Maori and Pacific population in the region.

Ms Matua says walking is by far the most popular physical activity among Counties Manukau residents.

Taupo land trust eyes former land

A trustee for Maori land beside Lake Taupo says the actions of a group of occupiers will make no difference to a long-standing effort to get some council land returned.

The Taupo District Council this week evicted three adults and several children from a former rowing club headquarters.

The council says the land is a legal road, and the shed has been removed to give the public better access to the water.

Tom Walters, the deputy chair of the Paenoa Te Akau Trust, says the protesters were part of a group which has been occupying different land blocks around the lake, to the annoyance of the majority of landowners.
He says the issue can't be reduced to simple slogans.

“It wasn't confiscated. It was an agreement with the owners at the time and it’s something we’ve got to deal with. Hopefully we can get the land back but for the time being to the best of our knowledge Taupo District Council weren’t involved in any confiscation. It was an agreement with the previous trustees at that time I guess,” Mr Walters says.

The Paenoa Te Akau Trust is seeking a meeting with the council to discuss the future of the land.


Maori culture expert Timoti Karetu says standards are slipping in the national kapa haka championships.

Professor Karetu, who chairs Te Kohanga Reo National Trust chair, says the widespread use of borrowed melodies makes a mockery of efforts by iwi like Ngati Toa who are trying to protect Maori intellectual property rights.

He says Te Matatini organisers need bring the competition back to its original intention, which was to promote original compositions.

“For the first time in Matatini there were a lot of tunes which were obviously borrowed from tin pan alley. The rules of Matatini when I was chair was you could use one of those tunes for the entrance or the exit, but you couldn’t use iit for the main body of the performance. In other words, your action song had to be an original tune, and your poi had to be an original tune, but I noticed it wasn’t happening in this particular Matatini, so I don’t know how they judged that,” Professor Karetu says,

A spokesperson for Te Matatini says the organisation will enforce copyright procedures for the next festival in two year's time.


The death of another veteran of 28 Maori Battalion has brought a call for the old warriors' stories to be captured.

Patrick Tiaki Te Wheoro from Ngati Kahu, thought to be the last survivor of the 28th Maori Battalion from Tauranga Moana, was laid to rest at Wairoa Marae in Bethlehem last week. He was 88.

Former battalion association president Noel Raihania says the publication of Nga Tama Toa collection of oral histories from the Cowboys or the East Coast C Company, has encouraged other companies to following suit.
But he says it's too late for many.

“We've missed all the stories from those who went earlier. There’s only really the younger ones, and I’m the youngest at 82,” Mr Raihania says.

Many of the 50 or so surviving Maori Battalion veterans made it to last weekend's reunion in Whanganui, but Mr Raihania says a dozen members have died since last year's reunion.


Council of Trade Unions warns Maori are more likely to be targeted under the new 90 day work probation law.

The Act comes into force on Sunday allowing businesses with less than 20 staff to sack workers in the first three months without needing to offer a reason.

Helen Kelly says it's likely to have a bigger impact in low paying jobs, where Maori are over-represented.

The Government has argued Maori could benefit because the Act allows employers to take greater risks in hiring people, but Ms Kelly says it's more likely to encourage some disturbing practices.

“The real risk for Maori workers is that this will be applied to them than to other workers simply because there’s a presumption, an inherent racism I guess, that might shine through and you actually might find more Maori workers are offer a 90-day probation period than Pakeha workers,” Ms Kelly says.

She says the law encourages employers to treat people unfairly.


The Human Rights Commission wants the public to contribute to a report on New Zealand's human rights priorities.

Chief commissioner Rosslyn Noonan says under a new process, governments must make a 20 page report to the United Nations Human Rights Council - including commitments for what improvements they want to achieve over the next four years.

The Government has identified six priorities, including realising Maori potential and continuing the momentum of treaty settlements.

Ms Noonan says her commission would also like to see measurable improvements in economic, social and cultural wellbeing.

“We've specifically said we’d like to see the government develop a plan to tackle poverty, focusing on reducing poverty of children and young people so with targets, a timeline and clear indicators, particularly in relation to children and also Maori and Pacific people. Poverty undermines human rights across the board,” Ms Noonan says.

The public has until March the 17th to make submissions to the paper, which will be presented to the UN in May.


Hawkes Bay Maori are using steaks and sausages to promote an anti-violence message.

A $10,000 grant from line company Unison to Flaxmere's Te Aranga Marae has allowed the creation of Tunutunu, a mobile barbeque which will be used as a focus for community gatherings.

Hastings District councilor Henare O'Keefe says Tunutunu came out of community discussions after last year's "enough is enough" hikoi against gang violence in the region.

“The idea is we are going to take it around Flaxmere and the wider Hastings district midnight, 3am and we are going to engage with our rangatahi in their own back yard so to speak over a chop and a sausage and a bit of bread and tomato sauce in an attempt to stem the ever flowing tide of domestic violence,” Mr O'Keefe says.

Sponsorship of the project should be a valuable learning experience for Unison Networks, which has just lost a five year fight to build a wind farm in the Hawkes Bay against strong Maori objections.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Council ends Taupo occupation

Owners of lakeside land at Taupo are welcoming the eviction of a protest group from a council-owned building at Acacia Bay.

Taupo District Council and police yesterday removed three adults and several children from a shed that had been leased to a rowing club.

The building has since been removed from the site, which is a council road reserve.

The group claimed the council took the land from the Rauhotu hapu in the 1930s.

But Tom Walters, the deputy chair of the Paenoa Te Akau Trust, says the council was given the use of the land by an earlier generation of trustees, and his trust still owns the adjoining block.

He says some of the protesters may have a small shareholding, but they don't represent the majority of owners.

“You know the same family I understand were asked to leave Pukehina Beach so they’ve gone from Pukehina to Hiruharama to Paenoa Te Akau and I guess our question now is where are they going to go next,” Mr Walters says.

The trust will meet the Taupo District Council next week to discuss the future of the land.


Hawkes Bay hapu Maungaharuru - Tangitu are celebrating the Environment Court's rejection of a 34 turbine wind farm on their sacred maunga.

Spokesperson Tania Hopmans says after five years and nearly half a million dollars fighting Unison Networks' three attempts to build on Te Waka Range, the hapu might at last get some rest.

She says the mountain is important to the identity of the two hapu.

“To build a wind farm on it and have these massive structures that are about 33 storeys high coverg the tip of the mountain was just unacceptable to us as the local tangata whenua,” Hopmans says.


The ranks of Maori Battalion veterans has shrunk further, with the death last week of Patrick Tiaki Te Wheoro at the age of 88.

Mr Te Wheoro fought on the frontline at Monte Cassino in Italy.

After being wounded there he became a driver, and after demobilisation continued as a school bus driver around tauranga Moana.

Ngati Kahu kuia Minnie Rangahora Gotz, who grew up with Mr Te Wheoro at Bethlehem's Wairoa Marae, says he made a valuable contribution to his community after he came back from the war.
Patrick Te Wheoro's tangi was held at Wairoa Marae.


The Greens' Maori spokesperson says the exclusion of community groups from Friday's Employment Summit is a mistake.

Metiria Terei says jobs are generated at the grass roots level and not just from big business.

And she says while she can accept the absence of the Greens and the Labour Party from the invitation list as politics as usual, the lack of substantial Maori representation suggests the Government doesn't take Maori business seriously.

“There are very few from the community economic development sector or from the Maori community economic development sector. That’s a much bigger gap than the political parties. We don’t need to be there but those people do,” Ms Turei says.

There are 18 Maori invited to the summit, including Business Roundtable chair Rob McLeod, Mark Solomon, Wally Stone and Rangimarie Parata from Ngai Tahu and three representatives of the Maori Women's Welfare League.


Like a taniwha that keeps coming back, Hawkes Bay hapu cluster Maungaharuru Tangitu hopes Unison networks will finally give up.

The Environment Court has again refused to grant a resource consent for the lines company's proposed wind farm on the Te Waka range.

Hapu spokesperson Tania Hopmans says it's the third time the lines company has come back with a slightly modified proposal, forcing objectors back into the fight.

“The courts have upheld it for the same reasons each time, finding for tangata whenua values over the need for renewable energy. We hope this is the last court case we will be involved in. We hope the message is now very clear to the developers, Unison Networks, that this is not a place to put a wind farm,” Ms Hopmans says.

Maungaharuru Tangitu is now focussing on its next battle, seeking the authority of its people to enter negotiations with the Crown on the Napier inner harbour, Mahaka Waikare Confiscation and Ahuriri Purchase claims.


Kapa haka legend Ngapo "Bub" Wehi is going out on a high.

Te Waka Huia's fourth national title picked up at last weekend's Te Matatini will be the last under his leadership.

Mr Wehi and wife Pimia are stepping down from the Auckland roopu, ending a 57-year career that started with Gisborne culture group Waihirere.

He says while kapa haka is about whanau, Maori also love to compete.

“ To win is great. This is our sixth win. We had two at Waihirere in 1972 and 1979 and four with Te Waka Huia, so those are the highlights, and I think the first one is always the best one,” Mr Wehi says.

At this stage no clear replacement has emerged as yet.

Whanganui vote two short of h

Wanganui Maori are surprised by the close nature of a vote on the question of adding the letter "h" to the city's name at a special meeting of the Wanganui District Council yesterday.

Local iwi group Te Runanga o Tupoho spokesperson Ken Mair who has led an application to the Geographic Board to have the "h" included against the wishes of Mayor Michael Laws says he was very heartened by the voting even though the council voted against including the "h".

“From our point of view we were surprised five councilors stood up and voted to have the ‘h’ returned to our name. It was a close decision, 7-5, if you count the mayor,” Mr Mair says.

Previously the iwi would have been lucky to get one council supporting them so to get the support of five was a tremendous feeling.


Green party co-leader contender Metiria Turia says a Maori perspective would be part of the skill set she would bring if elected to replace Jeanette Fitzsimmons who has announced she will be resigning at the party's annual meeting in June.

Metiria Turei says one of her contributions to the party has been bringing a Maori perspective to political issues such as the seabed and foreshore debate, privatisation of prisons and Maori development.

“One of the skills I bring from my Maori background to the co-leadership is understanding the importance of the group as being the primary driver of policy but also of power, and co-leadership in the Greens, very much like leadership in Maoridom, is about facilitating the group to be the leaders. In the Green Party, our leaders aren’t our bosses. Our leaders serve us, and I think I Maoridom that is the case as well,” Ms Turei says.

She would expect to attract maori voters to the party if elected as a co-leader.


A bastardisation of the haka Ka Mate by one of the world's most renowned theatre companies the Stratford-upon-Avon Royal Shakespeare company has sadden Maori.

Ngati Toa spokesperson Matiu Rei says if reports of the company's production of Taming of Shrew which opened in London last week are correct it is deeply insulting.

Matiu Rei says there is little the iwi can do other than expressing its disappointment and concern to the company which it will be doing.


Green party co-leader contender Metiria Turia says she has been flooded with support particularly from Maori since she announced she will be seeking the position vacated by Jeanette Fitzsimmons who has announce she will be stepping down in June.

Metiria Turia says she would bring a Maori perspective to the leadership which she feels would be of appeal to Maori voters.

“I've had a great deal of support, heaps of emails, and also a lot of support from Maori saying they’d really like to see me taking on that role as a Maori woman. Doesn’t qualify me for the job but it is a skill set I bring to the role. It’s really helpful knowing that there is very little resistance to the Maori women being the co-leader of what is primarily a Pakeha membnership based party,” Metiria Turia says.

If elected as a co-leader she would be the first Maori woman to co-lead a non-Maori party

Metiria Turia says while being Maori isn't her key qualifier for the position the election of a relative young Maori woman to the leadership would say a lot for the party.


Wairarapa Maori say they are totally opposed to a planned $21 million sewerage plant which would pump Masterton and the surrounding districts discharge into the Ruamahunga River.

Iwi spokesperson Haami Te Whaiti says they are making their views known at hearings by a sub-committee of the Greater Wellington Regional Council which began in Masterton yesterday.

“We’ve got a problem that’s been round for a long time and is going to take more than us and thank goodness we’ve got some local Pakeha people who are as keen to see their sewage in a lang based option, irrigated to land rather than being discharged into the river,” Mr Te Whaiti says.

Local people are calling the river the sewer mahunga rather than the Ruamahanga.


Whanganui Maori are commending five district councillors for their courage in standing up and supporting tangata whenua in having the letter "h" included in the city's name.

Te Runanga o Tupoho spokesperson Ken Mair, who has led an application to the NZ Geographic board to have "h" included, says he was surprised and heartened by the support even though a vote on the matter was lost 8 to 5 at a special meeting of the council yesterday.

He says the fact that the councilors supported the iwi against the wishes of mayor Michael Laws has left local Maori with a tremendous feeling of support that they have not known previously.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Whangarei council sells disputed land

Northland iwi Ngati Hine are up in arms over the Whangarei District Council's $6.1 million sale of harbourside real estate to private interests while the land is part of a treaty claim still before the Waitangi Tribunal.

Spokeperson Mike Kake says the sale of the Kaituna Block on Whangarei Harbour is cheeky.

He says the block adjacent to other Maori land was confiscated under the equivalent of the Public Works Act and should be returned to Maori.

“The deal is done as far as local council is concerned but the deal is not done as far as tangata whenua are concerned, because our grievances are still to be heard. There are several hapu and several WAI claims around these whenua, so the deal might be done as far as the council is concerned but the tangata whenua are still waiting for the Waitangi Tribunal,” Mr Kake says.

A council spokesperson says appropriate legal advice was sought which clearly identified Kaituna Block as Council-owned land.

The land has been bought by two private companies, Culham Engineering and Norsand.


Research has found that non-indigenous species like barnacles, oyster and crabs are flourishing in marine reserves at the expense of native species like paua and kina.

However Danielle Fox whose research is based around Goat Island near the Leigh Marine Reserve north of Auckland, Tawharenui, Cathedral Cove off Coromandel and the northern Gisborne coastline says the invasive species are not likely to completely wipe out the natives.

“They are not in danger like they won’t necessarily get killed by those non-indigenous species, but I guess it’s all about compensation for those organisms when there’s not enough space,” she says.

Ms Fox received a Te Tipu Putaiao Fellowship from The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology towards her year long study.


The performances of last weekends Te Matatini national kapa haka festival have been put to paper as a record for generations to come.

Festival chairman Selwyn Parata says 11 groups agreed to put their waiata and haka into Nga Tatangi a Te Whare Karioi so that aspiring composers and those dedicated to te reo Maori and Maori performing arts have a lasting record.

He says the book will be a valuable reference.

“Back in 1936 at the opening of a meeting house in Taranaki, they put out souvenir booklet and the tribes that went to that opening and the songs and haka they sung there were all recorded, and we thought well, in 1936 they could do that so we would have a go doing it here in 2009,” Mr Parata says.

Nga Tatangi a Te Whare Karioi is available through Te Matatini office in Wellington.


Whangarei iwi Ngati Hine, are confident harbourside land sold by the council for $6.1 million dollars will one day be returned to Maori.

Ngati Hine spokesman, Mike Kake, says the sale of Kaituna Block was done inspite of pending claims before the Waitangi Tribunal or the grievances of local Maori.

Mr Kake says the Kaituna Block is next door to Maori freehold land.

“History tells you that if we are Maori freehold of one block, we are obviously Maori freehold of a lot of other land that was taken,” Mr Kake says.

He says the Kaituna Block on Whangarei Harbour was confiscated under the equivalent of the Public Works Act and should be returned to local Maori.

A council spokesperson says appropriate legal advice was sought on the transaction, which clearly identified Kaituna Block as Council-owned land.


Ko Hanga Reo national trust chair, Timoti Karetu, says the organisers of Te Matatini need to examine what the national kapa haka festival stand for, performance or te reo.

Timoti Karetu says while the standard of performance by the 36 competing roopu was excellent, the reo was disappointing.

“The language would still have to be correct because without the language there is no performance and what’s the point of performing to your heart’s content if the lyrics are incorrect, that are nonsensical, or that aren’t appropriate to the occasion.” Professor Karetu says.

He says the organising committee needs to be more specific about their judging system so roopu can match their composition and performance accordingly.

Tamaki makaurau roopu, Te Waka Huia won Te Matatini, Te Kapa Haka o Whangara mai Tawhiti came second and Te Whanau a Apanui third.


The near disappearance of one of Maoridom's most important plants has prompted a Kawerau researcher to delve into its workings and whereabouts in the hope of restoring its use.

The poroporo, a relative of the tomato, was used by Maori over 50 years ago to treat rheumatoid arthritis, skin disorders and as a hormonal contraceptive until land clearances, pests and urbanisation led to a decline of the species.

Graeme Weaver has spent a year locating the plant, and is now working on its genetics and connecting populations between different areas.

“Tangata whenua don’t use it any more. They use other plants they call poroporo which aren’t native and my concern was it might get lost or it might get snapped up under bio-prospecting so part of that cultural chapter is to try and reawaken that his is a native plant that had powerful rongoa in the old days and might be reconsidered to be used again,” Mr Weaver says.

Graeme Weavers was given a Te Tipu Putaiao fellowship to research the poroporo plant by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology as part of its drive to enhance Maori involvement in scientific study.

Rahui closes Aotea Harbour to pipi gathering

Iwi have placed a rahui on pipi collection at Aotea harbour to help stem the plunder of the depleted shellfish.

Ngati Te Wehi kaitiaki Davis Apiti says the accessibility of the pipi bed has made it too easy for up to 40 people a day, mostly holidaymakers, to come and ravage more than their share, including juveniles.

He says the rahui on the harbour, which has mataitai reserve status, will initially last for eight months.

He says as the Aotea Harbour had mataitai reserve status, and the iwi decided to act rather than waiting for the Ministry of Fisheries to deal with the situation.

“We don’t mind people coming. The resource is there to be shared. But it just can’t sustain the sort of punishment it’s had over the last two years. The rahui was put on to counteract. We need a management structure in so people can start to understand there will be management of these things in this area.
Mr Apiti says.

When the pipi beds were depleted in 1996 they took four years to recover.


A leading Maori rights lawyer says he is not surprised that the media has been keen to protect the celebrity system by employing broadcaster Tony Veitch while he is facing charges of assaulting his former partner.

Moana Jackson says the decision by Sky Television to employ Tony Veitch as a panelist is in sharp contrast to the way Maori are treated.

“The media itself was always anxious to protect one of its own, to protect the so called celebrity system, and Maori would simply not be given the same alleged understanding were they in a similar situation, and lest people question that statement, one can just point to appropriate research,” Mr Jackson says.


A bicultural collaboration between a choral singer and a taonga puoro artist is coming to a town near you.

HAUnt Wind Stories is the brainchild of Virginia Jamieson and Warren Warbrick who decided, after years working in museums, to explore their different perspectives on art, history and life through music.

Ms Jamieson says their collaboration began while working at Te Manawa in Palmerston North, and discovered Warbrick’s playing worked well with her choral-trained voice.

The pair is traveling with the John Bevan Ford art show nationwide.


Ngati Maniapoto is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Kingitanga with a monument on the very site of the marae where the iwi first mandated the Maori king.

Nick Tuwhangai, the chairman of the organising committee, says recognising the spot where the first Maori king Potatau agreed to be the king is especially significant for the iwi.

“After the hui at Pukawa, Potatau said he must come back into Maniapoto to his senior cousins, and there he would put the thing to his cousins whether he should be the king, so it was 1857 that they had that hui at Haurua, and it was there that his cousins supported him, Potatau, to be the king,” Mr Tuwhangai says.

Today's kawe mate and flagpole unveiling at Rereamanu Marae in Otorohanga would start proceedings, with King Tuheitia arriving on Wednesday.

The iwi recently discovered the long-dormant site where Haurua Marae stood, on the boundary between Otorohanga and Waitomo.


Creative New Zealand wants to know why some traditional arts are flourishing in some areas but almost forgotten in others.

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, the chair of its Maori arts board Te Waka Toi, the Maori arts board of Creative New Zealand, says it's the first national overview of arts like toi whakairo, kowhaiwhai, tukutuku, tarai waka, taonga puoro and ta moko.

She says the research could bridge the gaps on the resurgence of Maori heritage artforms.

An example is the way some marae stil produce whariki or mats, whereas at others the skills have been lost within the whanau.

The research will assist institutions and networks who want to revitalise traditional arts.


The Otaki Maori Racing Club has honoured a legendary family of Maori jockeys by dedicating last weekend's raceday to the Harris Whanau.

One of New Zealand's best known hoops, Noel Harris, who is one of just five jockeys to win 2000 races in New Zealand, says the meeting paid particular tribute to his father Jock Harris, also a famous jockey in his day.

“There was six of us, four boys and two girls, all followed his footsteps, and it’s a bit like the Skelton family. Very proud of my dad. It was a great honour for Jock and he’s 79 this year and fit as ever and does a bit of line dancing Fridays,” Mr Harris says.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ngai Tahu business head ousted

Ructions have broken out among Ngai Tahu following the apparent sacking of the head of the iwi's business arm and plans to spend $52 million on a cultural centre and office block in Christcurch.

Robin Wybrow, the chair of Wairewa Runanga one of the 18 Ngai Tahu papatipu runanga, says he is most unhappy about the sacking of Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation chair Wally Stone.

“I've fielded lots of calls from other runanga and other iwi members and everybody is expressing the same level of concern, that it just seems completely at odds with good governance and unfortunately it would appear that the politics of personality once more take precedence over the well being of the tribe,” Mr Wybrow says.

He is concerned Mr Stone's firing occurred after the decision to spend $52 million on the cultural centre in Christchurch which will mean selling down 10 percent of the tribe’s assets - something he is sure Wally Stone would not have been happy about.


However the iwi's central Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu (TRONT) committee is highly critical of the criticism of its decision made behind closed doors by the committee last night.

Tront Kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon would not comment on the exact reasons for Mr Stone’s removal but says the vote was strong enough to support the change.

Mr Solomon says this is purely business and he is saddened by runanga members commenting on this situation through the media.

“One of the overriding philosophies of Ngai Tahu is you keep things in house, you don’t go rushing to the media, and I always thought it was the way Maori operate that is you have an issue you discuss, it, not through the media, but kei te pai,” Mr Solomon says.


Broadcaster Willie Jackson is continuing his attack on mainstream media accusing it of huge hypocrisy and racism.

Last week on his talkback show Willie Jackson said the appointment of sports journalist Tony Veitch as a panelist by Sky TV while he is facing charges of assaulting his former partner was disgraceful, prompting Veitch to threaten defamation proceedings.

Willie Jackson has continued his criticism saying the hiring of Veitch is in stark contrast to the way Maori are treated by mainstream media when they face similar or lesser charges.

“But one of their own is hurt of one of their own is in trouble and they offer him a job so I think there is huge hypocrisy and contradiction happening in terms of mainstream media and there’s a racism there they refuse to acknowledge,” Mr Jackson says.

He wishes Tony Veitch no ill will but believes if he was Maori he would have probably been thrown in jail rather than be back on the airwaves as a broadcaster.


About 50 iwi organisations from the eastern side of the North Island are looking towards setting up a shared equity fund in a bid to turn themselves into an economic powerhouse.

Te Runanga o Ngati Awa chief executive Jeremy Gardiner, who hosted a hui of iwi organisations in Tauranga at the weekend, says by combining resources the organisations, which did not have the financial might of Tainui and Ngai Tahu which combined were worth more than a billion dollars, could find collective strength.

He says the idea came out of discussions within Ngati Awa and investments the tribe made last year bringing together some of its trusts and incorporations.

“From that it sparked the idea that there may be other opportunities out there as well so there are a lot of iwi and probably trusts and incorporations who are thinking about these sorts of things and we are looking now at talking to those and bringing them all together,” Mr
Gardiner says.

He hopes to see the idea of a shared equity fund progress within the next year.


Ngai Tahu iwi has agreed in principle to the development of a $52 million cultural centre and office block on the former King Edward Barracks site in Christchurch.

However Mark Solomon, the chair of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, says there is al ot of water to go under the bridge before the project gets the final go ahead.

“We agreed to it in principle. There’s a long way to go before we would actually get to the stage of when we would start. There’s resource consents etc to go through. And the final decision of whether it’s a goer or a non-goer is the economy, and that decision will be made in about two years time,” Mr Solomon says.

He says the iwi's business arm Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation, whose chairman Wally Stone was replaced at the meeting which made the decision to proceed with the cultural centre, had been working on the proposal for a number of years.

Wally Stone's apparent sacking has come in for criticism from a number of runanga leaders within the iwi along with questions about the decision to proceed with the cultural centre made behind closed doors yesterday.


It's four times lucky for Auckland kapa haka roopu Te Waka Huia, who claimed the title of winners at Te Matatini 2009.

Thirty six roopu competed in the national kapa haka festival with Te Kapa Haka o Whangara mai Tawhiti placing second and Te Whanau a Apanui finishing third.

Te Matatini chair Selwyn Parata says all the groups performed to high standard with Te Waka Huia having the complete performance on the day.

“The level and the standard of all the groups that performed at the festival has move to an extremely high level,” Mr Parata says.

Climate change needs careful lobbying

A Maori climate change negotiator is concerned policy changes by the new National Government could reverse Maori gains.

Willie Te Aho says the Maori Climate Change Reference Group and iwi leadership forum will meet MPs later this week.
He says the concentration of Maori assets in the primary sector means any changes in the emissions trading scheme must be closely watched.

“The effects on Maori as a whole is around $1 to $2 billion so we need to be aware of these issues and we need to make submissions and follow those up after next Friday when the select committee actually hears submissions,” he says.

Mr Te Aho says badly crafted policies could be a disincentive to develop Maori land.


More Maori are being sought for a national study on motherhood among for women with disabilities.

Investigator Deborah Payne says the Health Research Council-funded study being done jointly by UNITEC, AUT University and the University of Auckland focuses on mothers with physical or sensory impairment.

It is intended to address a shortage of information the type of services and care that can be offered during pregnancy and motherhood.

“We're very aware that the experiences of Maori women haven’t been captured and it’s important we do as much as we can to include them in our study,” Ms Payne says.

Maori women with disabilities identify as being Maori first, and many may also be concerned about the stigma of being disabled.


Porirua's Pataka Museum of Arts and Cultures is turning the focus on ta moko.

it's just opened a show by Serena Giovanna Stevenson of photographs and short films tracking the stories of six people going through the process of getting and living with the traditional tattoos.

The multimedia artist, who has Italian, Scottish and Portugese whakapapa, says the projects gave her a greater insight into the culture she grew up alongside in south Auckland.

Pataka Museum is also showing photographs of Asian Muslims living in New Zealand by Ans Westra, who is better known for her photographs of te ao Maori.


A new study on "Growing Up in New Zealand" is looking for 2000 Maori children.

The Auckland University research project will track 7600 children born this year in Auckland and Waikato.

It will document their health, cultural and educational behaviour for their first 20 years.

Project director Susan Morton says it's the first time such a large Maori sample has been included in a longitudinal survey.

She says such surveys contribute to the direction of public policy, so it's important they reflect the diversity of New Zealand's current population.

“Our population now is very different than it was in the 1970s, so if we really want to create a good policy for our children and making their lives better, we really do need to understand what it’s like for our children in New Zealand and of course our Maori children are a particularly important group,” Dr Morton says.


A Maori man who made international headlines for surviving three days adrift off the Kapiti Coast is warming to a new challenge.

Rob Hewitt has taken over the reins of the Taranaki Rugby League Academy.

The former navy diver says sport is a way to get students thinking about their futures, and to learn how to be successful on and off the field.

He says it was a nervous start, but after a week on the job he loves the challenge.

Rob Hewitt will also continue his work as an ambassador for Water Safety New Zealand.


Photographs of Northland Maori churches have been captivating visitors to Russell Museum over the summer.

Curator Marsha Davis says Laurence Aberhart's pictures capture an important part of New Zealands history, the influence of Missionary Christianity on Maori in the North in the 1800's.

Many of the churches have been lost to fire or storms or fallen into disrepair in the two decades since Mr Aberhart first starting seeking them out.

The exhibition runs till March the 7th at Russell Museum.