Waatea News Update

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Chief Operating Officer quits Ngai Tahu Holdings

Monday March 30

There's more disruption at the top of Ngai Tahu's commercial arm.

Ngai Tahu Holding's Corporation's chief operating officer Andrew Harrison has announced his departure after six years with the South Island tribe.

It comes just weeks after Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu sacked Wally Stone as chair of the business.

Interim chair Linda Constable says as far as she's aware the events are not linked, although after Mr Stone's departure and the leaking of an internal runanga report describing the behaviour of Holdings Corporation executives as inadequate, the board issued a statement expressing confidence in Mr Harrison.

“No doubt all of that would have had some impact on Andrew, nobody likes to be part of media speculation and for that reason I won’t speculate any more about what that meant to Andrew or the organization,” Ms Constable says.

The search is now on for someone with the skills to run a $600 million business.


A survey commissioned by the Health Research Council has found many Maori have such negative experiences of their health services that they are unlikely to return.

Peter Jansen from Mauri Ora Associates, who conducted the research, says about 20 percent of Maori reported negative attitudes from health professionals and hospital staff.

He says that affects their response to treatment.

“Whether somebody follows the recommendations of the healthcare provider depends for the most part on the respect and trust that’s developed in the relationship, so if we are going to improve Maori health we have to make sure the healthcare provider and the Maori patient are on the same wavelength,” Mr Jansen says.

He says more work is needed to improve cultural awareness in the health system.


The head of the Health Research Council says the Maori Experiences of Care survey will make a valuable contribution to health policy.

Robin Olds says why many people think the cure for problems in the health system is obvious, it's important to ask Maori themselves what their perceptions are.

“You need that king of solid evidence, good research leads to good evidence and if you’re going to make changes to the system or make changes to policy, make changes to the way healthcare is delivered, then you need that evidence that comes from high quality research,” Dr Olds says.


The Internet has given a tetraplegic Ngati Hine man the opportunity to create a new career.

Mosiah Cooper broke his spine when he was 12, diving into a river and hitting his head on a rock.

That was 21 years ago, and it took him six years just to regain the power of speech.

Now he uses a pen in his mouth to tap the keys of the computer he uses to create dorave.co.nz, a web site which allowed visitors to rate consumer products.

He says the Internet has helped him create a new life.

“Having the disability that I have, the Internet and the ability to trade things on there really provides that bridge so people can have access to a new world,” Mr Cooper says.


Supporters of Te Aute College are making a fresh attempt to resolve a long-standing injustice over the Hawkes Bay Maori boarding school's endowment.

Negotiations with the previous government broke down just before the election, with the Te Aute Trust Board saying its concerns over historic losses were being ignored.

When the school was founded in 1854 Ngati Kahungunu hapu Te Whatuiapiti gifted 7000 acres of land, which the Crown has subsequently sold off or leased in perpetuity at peppercorn rents.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says he received a delegation from the school community and tribal elders to reopen the talks.

“The local farmers who lease the land have got quite rich in there assets and the school’s got poor and yet the school owns the land and so it’s something the Government is going to take up,” he says.

Because as an old boy Dr Sharples might be seen to have a conflict of interest, Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson will handle the claim.


Ngai Tahu is looking for a new chief executive to oversee its $600 million investment portfolio.

It follows the resignation of Andrew Harrison from Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation.

Interim chair Linda Constable says the performance of the group under Mr Harrison's leadership had been outstanding, and included a strategy of partnering for growth with organisation like Christchurch City Council and Talley's Group.

She says the board is looking for a mature commercially-focused chief executive.

“Ngai Tahu always looks for the best person for the job, whether it’s an employee or a director, and we will be doing that, and if a good Ngai Tahu person turns up, so much the better,” Ms Constable says.

As far as she is aware Mr Harrison's resignation was not linked to Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu's sacking of Holdings Corporation chair Wally Stone.


The Health Research Council is celebrating its success in creating links between researchers and communities.

The council has just held its annual Hui Whakapiripiri, allowing Maori researchers to share their findings.

Chief executive Robin Olds says carefully targeted funding in recent years has produced a wealth of high quality research that is improving Maori health outcomes.

“One of the benefits of the processes the Health Research Council uses is it establishes the links between the people doing the research, between the communities who want the research, and then between the service providers and the policy makers, so the whole process is joined up,” Dr Olds says.

Building a Maori health research workforce is one of the council's funding priorities.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Maori miners facing redundancy

The Maori workforce has suffered another blow with today's announcement of 50 redundancies at Solid Energy's Rotowaro mine near Huntly.

Subcontractor HWE Mining is going from a seven day a week operation to a Monday to Friday roster.

Former mine worker Robert Tukiri says the majority of mineworkers in the area are Maori.

He says while cost cutting seems inevitable in the recession, it's going to have a big impact on the community, and especially on the younger workers.

“Some will be reaching the age where ‘goodie, at least we’ll get a redundancy cheque but there’s another section of our community where they’re just young teenagers and can’t go on super so they’ll be on the unemployed list,” Mr Tukiri says.

Huntly has been hit by mine closures before, and the town has always bounced back.


The Tairawhiti District Health Board has voted down a proposal to create a taskforce on Maori heath.

Board member Atareta Poananga says she put up the idea because the East Coast region has some of the worst health statistics in the country, including the highest mortality rate for Maori.

She says the board isn't taking the issue seriously.

“We do have funding for inequalities projects but whatever’s happening isn’t happening fast enough. If we had a dedicated group of people pushing this kaupapa, I’m not saying we could change things overnight but we would have a focus on what should be the priority of this board which is Maori health,” Ms Poananga says.

She says the board has been warned the economic downturn will make health problems in its region even worse and undo many of the board's initiatives.


But the Tairawhiti District Health Board says its focus is in the right place.
Chief executive Jim Green said the district annual plan includes a focus on Maori health inequalities.

He says the board was not indifferent to health disparities.

“Reducing inequalities is right up there with our priorities as a DHB along with reducing ill health and supporting whanau ora as a model of doing that so it was really a feeling that the work that’s currently going on is being effective and strengthening that rather than setting up another function,” Mr Green says.

He says the board is seeing improvements in Maori health in Tairawhiti.


The Maori representative on the New Zealand Rugby Union, Paul Quinn, says a shadow test against the Springboks could give more Maori players a chance to shine their way into the All Blacks.

The South African Rugby Union has accepted a recommendation it accept matches against any teams sanctioned by national governing bodies, clearing a hurdle to playing the New Zealand Maori team.

Paul Quinn says last year's Pacific Nations tournament gave Piri Weepu a chance to show he was back in top form.

“Then other players like Cory Jane and Hosea Gear played in the Maori team at a higher level than they had previously played and that exposed them to international rugby and they’ve gone on to become All Blacks so there’s no question assembling the Maori team and having them play at the next level up gives not only an extra incentive to the players themselves but also gives them exposure to international rugby and the All Black selectors,” Mr Quinn says.

The Maori-South Africa game will be played between the
Super 14 season and this winter's Lions tour of the republic.


Hauraki Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta says Helen Clark has made a huge contribution to Maori development and will be remembered as one of New Zealand's finest prime ministers.

Ms Clark is off to New York to head the United Nations Development Programme.

Ms Mahuta says that's a testament to her leadership and capabilities.

She says Ms Clark focused on outcomes that made a real impact on people's lives, rather than political spectacle, and Kiwisaver will be remembered as her legacy in creating a savings and investment culture.


Northland iwi Ngati Hine is celebrating its identity as a separate part of Ngapuhi this weekend.

Te Ahureka o Ngati Hine festival in 15 years starts tomorrow with a powhiri at Otiria Marae in Moerewa, followed by kapa haka, wananga on tikanga, stalls and traditional kai.

Festival director Pepi Walker says the essence of the day is whakapapa and whakawhanaungatanga, and there will be people there to help people make the links to their relatives.

She expects at least 3000 people to attend.

Whanau of disabled need state support

Tariana Turia wants Maori looking after disabled family members to get some state support.

The Maori party co leader attended a conference in Whangarei this week that highlighted the difficulties faced by those with disabilities.

She says there is a need for Maori-specific advocacy services, as many Maori find it hard to access the services the need from a range of government agencies.

Mrs Turia says the anomaly remains that people being cared for by non-family members can get funding, but those relying on whanau, as many Maori prefer, are ineligible.

“After all these people are saving the state a huge amount of money and while I accept that all of us in whanau have a responsibility to take care of our own, there’s got to be also some resource available to help them buy in some of the support they might need,” Mrs Turia says

She will look further into the issue.


Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta says the future of Maori television lies in more production houses rather than more broadcasters.

Former Maori Television Service chair Derek Fox has floated the idea of encouraging iwi to set up their own television operations, so they can ensure their own distinct reo and stories are told.

Ms Mahuta says existing regional television operations struggle for funding, and more Maori operations would face similar barriers.

“The easy answer would be to say regional TV like we’ve got regional iwi radio stations. The more sustainable answer is to get more of our people into the industry making programmes, being in front and behind the camera, and making sure we’re actually providing the cover of programming in all broadcasters,” Ms Mahuta says.

There are also opportunities for Maori to work more closely with Pacific island broadcasters and programme makers.


Maori graduates from Massey University met in the capital last night to aknowledge the achievements of tauira since a Maori studies department was established in the early 1970's.

Tu Matukuru, the manager Maori of the Wellington campus, says the wananga made a point of attracting Maori students.

It currently has 3000 Maori students, including 80 at doctoral level.

He says last night's alumni celebration co-incides with the 10th anniversary of Massey opening a campus in Te Whanganui a tara.

“Massey's been proactive with its strategies for Maori under the stewardship of Professor Mason Durie, the assistant vice chancellor, and the event we hosted last night was one aspect whereby we were able to engage with the Maori community down here in Wellington,” Mr Matakuru says.

Similar alumni celebrations are planned for the Manawatu and Albany campuses.


A leading Maori health researcher says support from Pakeha has helped advance Maori medicine.

Maori health researchers have gathered in Auckland for the annual Hui Whakapiripiri, where they share findings and discuss culturally effective methodologies.

Clive Aspin, the former chair of the Health Research Council's Maori health committee, says the council's investment in Maori research is paying off.

He can't see any similar momentum in Australia, where he now works as research director for the Menzies Centre for Health Policy at Sydney University.

“Aboriginal people are fine, they’re all on board, but it’s their non-Aboriginal colleagues who often act as gatekeepers or who act as barriers, who don’t really work in a collegial way with Aboriginal researchers to move things forward, and I see Maori and non-Maori here in New Zealand working together to move things forward for Maori research,” Dr Aspin says.

Research topics today include the future of rongoa Maori, the quality of public hospital care for Maori and whether cultural assessment helps prevent suicide.


The Geographic Board will decide today whether Wanganui will get its H back.

Wanganui mayor Michael Laws wants the board to be guided by a 2006 referendum which found 82 percent of the city's residents wanted the name to remain H-less.

But Te Runanga o Tupoho has asked for the original spelling to be restored.

Green MP Meteria Turei says the time has come for Maori to have their reo spoken and spelt correctly.

“The opposition by the council there is ridiculous and shows how entrenched in their prejudice and failings they are, but if the Geographic Board makes the sensible decision then the Green Party will celebrate along with Maori across the country for what is quite a small victory but nonetheless Maori have a right to have our own words spelt properly, said properly, and treated with respect,” Ms Turei says.


Whanau in Tamaki Makaurau are being encouraged to give waka ama a go this weekend.

Counties Manukau Sports Foundation is offering free lessons at Onehunga reserve tomorrow as part of its breast and cervical screening awareness day.

Kaiwhakahaere, Karla Matua, says it's about getting the message of wahine health to whanau ... and having a bit of fun too.

Counties Manukau Sports Foundation joins with Te Whanau o Waipereira, Raukura Hauora and Breast screening Aotearoa each year to provide the day's events.


The Prime Minister says he has no interest in meeting the brothers who attacked him at Waitangi.

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira hosted John and Wikatana Popata at parliament this week, and had sought a meeting with John Key.

But Mr Key says that would be in breach of their bail conditions and thoroughly inappropriate.

“I personally thought they were a couple of glory seeking guys looking to get on tv on the day they did it. Fortunately it didn’t spoil my Waitangi Day, it’s not going to stop me going back and it’s a bit of a storm in a teacup really,” Mr Key says.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Te Aho steps aside from mud pool battle

The negotiator for Tuhourangi-Ngati Wahiao is stepping aside with the warning a settlement over the Wharewararewa thermal valley is at risk because of the actions of Maori Party MPs.

Willy Te Aho spoke out against the decision by associate Treaty Negotiations Minister Pita Sharples to ask Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell to mediate issues within the hapu raised at a Parliamentary select committee last month.

He says that put him in conflict with elders, and while they asked him to stay on, his aim all through has been the return of the land and the Te Puia Maori arts and crafts institute.

“I'm of the view that looking at the actions of the Minister for Maori Affairs, Dr Pita Sharples, that that is no longer going to happen and that is the reason why I personally don’t want to expend any further energy on this issue because I have no faith whatsoever in Dr Pita Sharples and to a certain extent the Maori Party to be able to find pragmatic solutions in very tough times,” Mr Te Aho says.

He says without the economies which would come through a merger with Te Puia, the tourism ventures in the Whakarewarewa Village will struggle to survive in the current economic downturn.


Maori health researchers have gathered in Tamaki Makaurau to share their findings and discuss how best to work with Maori communities.

Facilitator Clive Aspin, the former chair of the Health Research Council's Maori health committee, says the council has made a considerable investment in finding kaupapa Maori solutions.

He says Maori communities are more aware of the importance of health research and are keen to be involved from beginning to end.

“If you involve communities you are much more sure of identifying problems that affect those communities, the solutions that are acceptable to those communities and then the uptake of those solutions is likely to be much greater if the communities are involved from the very beginning and they feel part of the process. If they feel ownership they are more likely to take onboard what the research comes up with,” Dr Aspin says.


A South Auckland Maori health provider has offered Waitakere City advice on reducing the harm caused to Maori by gambling.

Rangi McLean from Hapai Te Hauora Tapui joined Problem Gambling Waitakere to present 6000 submissions to the council.

He says Manukau identified the proliferation of pokies as a major factor in the increase in gambling and adopted a sinking lid policy where if a gambling venue closes, the machines can’t be replaced elsewhere.

Mr Mclean says the number of submissions highlights the community's desire to reduce problem gambling.


The Maori Party is playing down talk of a rift over Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira's support for two men charged with assaulting the Prime Minister on Waitangi Day.

Co-leader Tariana Turia has been fielding media calls all week over rumours Mr Harawira is on the verge of breaking away.

She says that's unlikely, and expects the outspoken MP to be part of the caucus for a lot longer.

“Everybody knows he’s a wild card, he revels in being a wild card, and we accept that, that this is his nature, these are the things he will say or do. At this age, I hardly thing someone like Hone would want to be micro-managed and in fact he would 
resist it hugely,” Mrs Turia says.

She says Hone Harawira knew when he got into politics that the environment could prove frustrating.


The Prime Minister has promised Maori Television is safe under his watch.
The service last night celebrated its 5th birthday with a party in Parliament's great hall.

John Key says while he was skeptical when Maori Television started, its professional approach and creative approach has brought a fresh perspective on events.

He says it has drawn an audience outside its Maori base.

“Yeah we're committed to continue to fund it and that’s a result of its success and the fact its done well, plays and important role. Preservation of the language is a treaty right and that’s important as well so Maori Television and Maori broadcasting in general helps the Crown fulfill its responsibility in that regard,” Mr Key says.

He says the advent of digital television creates challenges for television companies.


The city without a museum is sending its artefacts to schools to give students a hands on approach to history.

Dean Flavell from the Tauranga Heritage Collection says among the 30 thousand items in the collection are 200 in a separate education collection which can be touched.

He says combined with a new website, handsontauranga.co.nz it gives teachers a way to illustrate their lessons with physical objects.

The collection includes a number of Maori artefacts like patu and toki or adzes.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


And to another sort of moko.

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Iti letting law take its course

Tuhoe artist and activist Tame Iti says he still believes in the rule of law, despite his current legal difficulties.

Lawyers for Iti and 17 others were in the High Court at Auckland today arguing over the venue for their trial on firearms and criminal conspiracy charges in connection with alleged gatherings in Te Urewera two years ago.

The lawyers' submissions. along with evidence put before the pre-trial hearing, remains suppressed.

Iti says he has to wait for everything to unfold.

“I'm always a great believer in the rule of law and let the law deal with it, ma te ture ano te ture ae ake, so I leave it to the capable people who are dealing with those professionally and always remain to be innocent of these matters and these matters are being dealt with in a court of law and maybe in time to come we can talk about the real story,” he says.

Iti says there are fights on three fronts: the charges faced by 18 individuals, the legal action the Ruatoki community is taking over the police raid in October 2007, and the talks Tuhoe leaders are having with police over their relationship.

The judge will release her decision on a trial venue on Friday.


The Waihopai Runaka is looking closely at Meridian Energy's plans for a wind farm near Bluff.

Kaiwhakahaere Michael Skerritt says the company has a resource consent to put a wind monitoring mast on Flat Hill, which is historically significant to Murihiku Maori.

Data from the mast could determine whether the project goes ahead.
Mr Skerrit says the runaka will be using the time to assess the project's possible effect on waahi tapu.

He says any proposal will involve extensive consultation with local people.


Rangatahi from 30 Waikato high schools will this week learn the risks and deeper meaning of ta moko.

The schools have been invited to a special session tomorrow of a tattooing symposium which is running all week at Te Wananga O Aotearoa's Te Rapa campus.

Brad Totorewa, the wananga's regional manager, says practioners like Richard Francis, Pat Takoko and Rania Takiaria will share their knowledge and experience.

“They give advice on design, on application, on the hyealth issues, genealogy, design like this is a Tainui design, this is a Ngati Porou design, this is whakapapa, this is how it links to you, these are the different types of tohu, so it’s an educational forum for our rangatahi,” he says.

Mr Totorewa says young people are fascinated by ta moko, so they need to be well informed before they make the decision to mark their bodies.


Maori Television's original chairperson says the future could lie in thinking small.

The channel is celebrating its fifth birthday this evening with a presentation at Parliament's grand hall.

Veteran broadcaster Derek Fox says during his time in charge he considered the possibility of using the low power UHF frequencies allocated to MTS for youth-oriented city channels or for iwi-run channels.

He says cheaper equipment and digital technology has opened up new possibilities, including his dream of treating every marae as a studio.

“There's no reason why you have to stick up a whole pile of buildings round the place. You can actually get what in effect is like a van with some gear in it, your recording equipment and cameras, and you can go to all of these places. You can record programmes. You can put a stick up and bounce them off the satellite back into MTS or back into a main studio. All these things are possible,” Mr Fox says.

A Business and Economic Research study of Maori Television has found it is creating up to 600 full time jobs directly or through independent production companies, and its total economic impact has risen from $25 million in 2004 to $41 million last year.


South Auckland Maori health providers are using a programme developed for Aboriginals in Australia's Northern Territory to address issues in their rohe.

Bernard Te Paa from Counties Manukau DHB by using local providers returns power to communities and leads to a greater success rate.

He says under Mental Health First Aid, providers are now training Maori to assess mental illness and assist in treatment.

“Our target in the first year is 240 Maori people either in the community or as part of community organisations, get them trained up to provide some assessment skills but also some brief or early intervention skills as well,” Mr Te Paa says.

Initial providers are Manurewa marae, Turuki Health Care, Mahi Tahi and Raukura Hauora o Tainui.


The whanau of one of New Zealand's best loved poets is fighting to save the house where he lived during his final years.

Hone Tuwhare's family wants to turn the house at Kaka Point, an hour south of Dunedin, into a writer's retreat.

Son Rob Tuwhare says that will take funding, but so far there has no help from arts organisations or government ministers.

“It's a beautiful place. It’s a really inspiring place to be down there at Kaka Point. His house is just across the road from the beach and it’s just stunning looking out into the Southern Ocean, and he loved it there, he loved sitting writing and he was able to have his privacy and wonderful people down there in the South Island who looked after him and helped him continue living there for so long,” Mr Tuwhare says.

The house is likely to be sold if funding can't be found.

Hone Tuwhare died in January last year.

Maori Television takes on tuakana

A war of words has broken out between the state broadcaster TVNZ and new boy on the block Maori Television.

At the weekend Maori Television chief executive Jim Mather called for his service to get all the funding available from Te Mangai Paho to make Maori programmes, which could then be redistributed to other channels.

TVNZ's head of Maori programmes Paora Maxwell accused him of a lack of respect, saying the state broadcaster remained the tuakana.

Mr Mather says he wasn’t trying to be disrespectful of the Maori department at TVNZ.

He says Mr Maxwell is being overly sensitive about the matter.

“I don't agree with this tuakana-teina thing Paora is espousing, the older and the junior whanau members, and we are a relatively new arrival on the broadcast scene but I don’t think that should stand in the way of exploring other more innovative ideas and solutions,” Mr Mather says.

He says it makes sense that Maori TV should be the sole commissioner, sole acquirer and sole in house producer of Maori programming because of its lower cost structure and primary focus on Maori programming.

He says for a number of years Maori TV capped its programming at $40,000 per hour which was very cost effective compared to the average costs at TVNZ of $120,000 an hour.


Labour leader Phil Goff is predicting the ownership of water will become an important issue for discussion between Maori and the Crown in a similar way that the foreshore and seabed issues have has been worked through.

A weekend hui of Ngati Kahungunu decided that ownership of water has never been ceded to the Crown by Maori.

Phil Goff says issues such as ownership of water can be worked through to get a win win situation.

“The best thing to do on all of these issues is to sit down. Talk through the issues, try to find some common ground, try to sort out the uncertainties, and try to reach a resolution that is fair to both sides In the end with foreshore and seabed’s, we have the certainty now of access, but we also have the mechanism for negotiation s customary rights can be recognised and recognised in a stronger way than in earlier legislation,” Mr Goff says.


Speculation that outspoken Maori Party MP Hone Harawira will quit the party and stand as an independent at the next election has been squashed by the Tai Tokerau MP.

Earlier this week TV3 political commentator Duncan Garner suggested that Mr Harawira's backing of his whanau members who have been charged with assaulting Prime Minister John Key at Waitangi would get him offside with the party's caucus.

However Hone Harawira says there is absolutely no truth to the speculation that he is considering becoming an independent.

“I am a happily focused member of the Maori Party caucus. Sure we have differences of opinion, and those won’t change today or tomorrow or the week after or the week after that,” Mr Harawira says.

He says supporting whanau is one of the major planks of the Maori Party, and the internal criticism was not about of his seeking a meeting between the brothers and John Key but not following the due process of the law.


Maori television is keeping up to date with the way people access their programming.

The broadcaster is launching an upgraded website today at its fifth birthday celebrations in Wellington, along with the release of its economic and social research report.

Chief executive Jim Mather says enabling up to 330 hours of programming on demand to web viewers is a way of recognising that viewing habits are changing.

“We're endeavouring to ensure our programming is accessible to as many Maori, as many New Zealanders, and in fact as many other people as we can get to watch Maori Television via different types of platforms, and its clear that over time the Internet will become even more pervasive,” Mr Mather says.


And Labour leader Phil Goff says across town the government's dropping of TVNZ's charter runs the risk of New Zealanders not getting quality programmes and a Maori perspective in broadcasting.

Phil Goff says the charter introduced by Labour was about more New Zealand programming so that we could emphasis New Zealand's identity rather just importing programmes from elsewhere.

“What this does is decrease the quality of New Zealand programming and decrease the quality and effectiveness of our news and current affairs services and I think that’s a real pity. We need to emphasise our identity. We need to have a strong news and current affairs network so the Government can be subject to scrutiny, can be held to account,” Mr Goff says.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ngati Hine harvests controversial forests

Its harvest time for Ngati Hine's forestry arm, and the iwi is focused on training its people to stand at the helm.

Ngati Hine began harvesting its 5600ha pine forest last week, the culmination of decades of work since Ngati Hine lands were amalgamated in the 1970's and planting began in 1981.

Forestry Trust chairman Pita Tipene says their biggest priority is to ensure local people get access to the work that will be available, and those people have to have the skills to work safely onsite.

“We are doing out utmost to work with our forestry partners and see how we can provide training for those people so they can take their place and carry out not only the harvesting, our vision is our people are employed across the whole spectrum of jobs including marketing overseas, exporting, the full range of jobs that are part of the forestry industry,” Mr Tipene says.

That is expected to take about 10 years to complete.


It’s a big week for Maori Television as it celebrates five years on air, and the first birthday of its Te Reo channel.

Chief executive Jim Mather says the growth of its audience to 1.5 million viewers monthly, marked the credible progress the broadcaster has made.

“After five years Maori Television feels we have good solid foundations laid, we’ve had opportunities to explore the best methods and procedures that work for Maori Television and we’re feeling we’re coming of age,” Mr Mather says.

Maori Television will acknowledge its fifth on-air anniversary with a presentation hosted the Minister of Finance, Bill English, and the Minister of Maori Affairs, Dr Pita Sharples at Parliament tomorrow night.


Ngati Porou Hauora is bringing back a tradition Maori approach to curb obesity related disease.

Sports psychologist, Ihirangi Heke, has developed a programme which has participants hiking their local maunga Hikurangi, running alongside their awa, and learning the legends of their whenua as they excercise.

He says giving exercise a cultural connection for Maori, like playing pre-European games tapuwae and kio rahi, is as beneficial as going to the gym.

“We're not limited to just waka ama. We're not limited to kapa haka. We're not limited to playing rugby or netball. We can play any kind of physical activity or sport choose, and what the hauora is doing up here via the work I do is providing a really wide range. They choose, and then we change the reasons for being involved in that sport,” Mr Heke says.

He also encourages his 20 members to eat a balanced diet but the emphasis is on exercise for life and for fun.


Arguments about whether forestry was the best thing to do on land owned by a Northern iwi are still going on 28 years later as harvesting of the pine plantation begins.

Ngati Hine Forestry Trust Chairman Pita Tipene says the decision to amalgamate Ngati Hine lands and plant 5600 ha in pines was a controversial one, as the land parcels were small and landowners were under pressure to pay rates.

“There are still people who think that forestry wasn’t the way to go and considering the downturn in the economy and the poor state of the forestry industry, those conversations are still surfacing even now,” Mr Tipene says.

The decision to replant is on hold until the future shape of the emissions trading scheme becomes clear.


An East Coast iwi is helping Hawaiians fight obesity.

Ngati Pourou Hauora's Sports psychologist, Dr Ihirangi Heke, took his programme to the University of Hawaii in Hilo last week.

He gets participants using their maunga, awa and whenua to keep fit as well as playing traditional Maori games like tapuwae and kio rahi,

“Part of what we’re trying to do is move away from diet, move away from the perception of need to exercise for exercise’s sake. We’re doing it for other reasons, and then the adherence to it is heaps better,” Dr Heke says.

A cultural and holistic approach has worked well for his Maori clients and believes this will apply to the Hawaiians.


The challenge to publish stories from wahine in your own whanau has been laid down by author Kerensa Johnston.

Her new book Iti Taonga: Taranaki Women Speak, is a collection of ten stories which Ms Johnston, of Ngaruahinerangi and Te Atiawa, says was a privilege to compile.

The Auckland university lecturer says the inspiration to write the book came from a desire to preserve what can so easily be lost.

Her subjects include mothers, grandmothers, a nurse, a lawyer, a teacher, a healer and others like the late Mahinekura Reinfeld.

“In the past our stories have been told by others or worse, they haven’t been told at all so there is a perspective that often is not made public so it was really important for me, translating the interviews into the book, that we kept the words exactly as the women said them,” Ms Johnston says.

She hopes her book encourages other iwi to collect and tell their stories.

Monday, March 23, 2009

New Plymouth hapu occupies site to stop drilling

A north Taranaki hapu blockading the work of an oil and gas drilling company on their waahi tapu say they were left with no choice.

Around 50 members of Otaraua hapu and their supporters are protesting at Greymouth Petroleum's new well site at Tikorangi, as they apply to the Environment Court for an injunction to stop the drilling.

David Doorbar says the hapu was disappointed the company failed to consult before it started to drill on the sacred site.

He says the hapu felt backed against the wall.

“It’s certainly very hard on the spirit to have to resolve things this way. I guess that’s how it always works for us Maori. People come along and take us for granted. They have no real understanding of the cultural significance of these places to us or how far we are prepare to go to look after and defend these places,” Mr Doorbar says.

Tikorangi, an old pa site, was also a source of healing water for surrounding whanau.


An expert on prisoner rehabilitation says the way Bailey Kurariki has been treated since his release from prison last year highlights major problems with the parole system.

Kurariki became the youngest person in New Zealand's to face murder charges in connection with the 2001 slaying of pizza delivery worker Michael Choy.

He was eventually found guilty of manslaughter,

Last week Kurariki was back in court for breaching parole by drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana.

The director of Rethinking Crime and Punishment, former prison service head Kim Workman, says the Community Probation Service has switched from helping parolees with work, accommodation and relationships to enforcing parole conditions.

“In the absence of any positive support what happens is the probationer develops a really negative attitude and for that reason often, and the research in the UK has shown, those sorts of controls actually encourage the probationer to become anti-social and defiant,” Mr Workman says.

He says Bailey Kurariki is a bright guy with the equivalent of a university entrance qualification, but the Probation Service’s stringent supervision is undermining all the good work done while he was in prison.


A renowned authority on Maori potatoes has decided not to go to a conference of potato farmers from around the world being held in Christchurch this week.

Nick Roskruge who heads Tahuri whenua, the Maori organic growers collective, has decided instead to sit on a board that distributes the Ministry of Agriculture’s sustainable farming fund.

He says it's important to maintain a Maori perspective on the board and he's pleased to see a number of Maori applying to the fund.

“The applications for funding are 10 times what the fund can offer but there’s a good number of Maori applications. It’s one of those funds where people have to represent a community of interest and that fits with kaupapa Maori quite well,” Mr Roskruge says.

His staff will attend the 7th International Potato Conference and host a field trip to Lincoln University to view a riwai Maori seed bank.


Ngati Kahungunu have put together a task force to investigate ways for taking back control of water in the Hawkes Bay - Wairarapa region.

Runanga chair Ngahiwi Tomoana says the region has the same problems as others with the over allocation of water rights and pollution and a hui at the weekend decided it was time to re-establish rangatiratanga over all rivers and lakes.

“There was unanimity that our future depended on water, wai ora, wai tuhi, that or future was written in the water, and unless we were good kaitiaki over it and exercised rangatiratanga we would stuff it up for everybody, here, now and in the future,” Mr Tomoana says.

He says Maori will be seeking ownership of all lakes and waterways, will be looking at High Court action to establish their mana where the Crown has failed to protect Maori interests, and will be developing customary rights through co-management.


The bones that prompted the North Canterbury Regional Council's to review its protocols for human remains have been relocated.

Pre-European koiwi tangata found last week at a sewage-treatment plant undergoing an upgrade near Amberley, a year after a skull was uncovered at the same site, led to an agreement to have a Maori cultural monitor onsite for future earthworks.

Te Marino Lenihan, Ngai Tuahuriri cultural advisor, says a sewage treatment plant was not an appropriate burial spot.

“The oxidation ponds, we don’t consider that’s an appropriate place to leave our people. Our preference is to leave our burials where we find them unless there is good reason to shift them and we believe there is good reason this time because of that location so the bones have been lifted and we are currently looking after them in preparation for reinterment,” Mr Lenihan says.

The mayor has committed to a series of meetings to negotiate the ongoing relationship between the Hurunui District Council and the Tuahuriri and Kaikoura runanga.


A stalwart of Maori health and the Methodist church, reverend Morehu Buddy Te Whare, was farewelled by friends and family at Kirikiriroa Marae today.

He died at home last Thursday after a long illness.

Kingi Turner, the pou herenga of the Maori unit at the Waikato District Health Board, worked with Reverend Te Whare when he was a kaumatua for Waikato Hospital and on the ethics committee of the DHB's diabetes prevention strategy for Maori.

Mr Turner says his friend had a profound effect on him.

“He was a person that could cross iwi and cultural boundaries with ease. He was quite and amazing cross cultural person. We’ve been close mates in friendship and ministry for over 46 years so I knew him fairly well,” Mr Turner says.

Rev Te Whare received the Te Amorangi award for 2005 in recognition for his community service, and was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1998.

Key seeking independent voices

The Prime Minister says a new taskforce on the Maori economy should generate fresh ideas.

The seven-member panel reporting to Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples has caused disquiet among some Maori who see it undermining the Ministry of Maori Development, Te Puni Kokiri.

But John Key says independent task forces are a deliberate government strategy to draw on expertise outside the bureaucracy.

“Ultimately whether it's in areas like reform of the Resource Management Act or the health sector, we’ve chosen to go out there and say ‘give us your assessment of what’s going on.’ It’s obviously a pretty independent, for obvious reasons, point of view, and I think that helps in the decision making,” Mr Key says.


The director of the Christchurch Health and Development study says there is no evidence that Maori for Maori programmes are the solution to problems with Maori youth.

Professor David Fergusson presented current findings from the 30-year study to last week's behaviour summit in Wellington.

He says parenting programmes like Early Start and Incredible years are as effective for Maori and non Maori, so developing specialist Maori programmes is a poor use of resources.

“My belief is if the mainstream can develop proper programmes they should serve the needs of everybody and that Maori providers would become therefore part of a general service, not a separate service,” Professor Fergusson says.

He fears resources which should go into proven parenting programmes may instead be diverted into fads like boot camps, which aren't based on sound evaluation of evidence.


But the coordinator of a Maori parenting programme says many whanau want a culturally safe option.

Huhana Wilson Roland works with Parent Inc's Manaaki Whanau progamme, which uses entertainers like Pio Terei to get good parenting messages out to whanau.

“I know that a lot of Maori people don’t like stuff from mainstream given to them. And a lot of programmes are from overseas, when we have some amazing stuff in New Zealand that can help our Maori families,” Ms Wilson Roland says.


The matua takawaenga for primary teachers' union NZEI says a new Maori curriculum will encourage teachers in mainstream schools to boost their reo skills.

Laures Park says the framework launched in Rotoiti last week raises the status of Maori in schools.

She says there are a lot of useful resources in the document.

“This set of guidelines starts from level one and moving up rapidly so you don’t necessarily have to be a fluent speaker of te reo Maori. You can take it half a step in front of the children really,” Ms Park says.


A Ngai Tahu shareholder says instability in the South Island tribe will continue until it reforms its voting system.

Richard Parata, who maintains a web site on the tribe's activities, says kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon has beaten off his critics, and the tribe needs to move on.

Mr Solomon fronted up to a hui at Rehua Marae in Christchurch on Friday to counter charges of secrecy and mismanagement which have circulating in the media since the start of the year.

Mr Parata says the tribe's complicated voting system, which allows people to vote at multiple marae for electoral panels which appoint representatives to Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, has allowed a small group to stir up mischief.

“There should be one person, one direct vote, at one marae and I expressed this at the afternoon. If you have difficulties wondering which marae you should vote on, just consider which marae you are going to be buried. That’s probably where the answer is,” Mr Parata says.


A proposed law allowing parents to again smack their children has alarmed a Maori anti-violence campaigner.

Hone Kaa, the chair of Te Kahui Mana Ririki Trust, says the private member's bill from ACT MP John Boscawen threatens to undermine existing gains.

He says maltreatment of children is a long standing problem for Maori communities, but the education work being done by groups like Te Kahui Mana Ririki is having an effect, with many marae positive about becoming papa ki kore or smack free.

“This is from parents who themselves, in many instances, regret the actions they took. They know what they did was wrong because they now see that one of the results of what they did was that other people felt it was their right to smack their kids and go even further,” Dr Kaa says.

He says it's irresponsible for people in power to put out the message that violence against children is acceptable.


This week's seventh international potato conference in Christchurch has given a Maori potato expert a chance to talk about tuakana strains.

Nick Roskruge from Massey University met the Peruvian delegation over the weekend to finalise plans for his trip to South America for this year's harvest season.

He says the Peruvians take seriously their role preserving the birthplace of the humble tuber.

“It's about aligning ourselves to the bigger picture, where there are similar varieties they grow to ours and they’re looking at the language connection with the names and looking to find that common ground which in some ways is a form of rangatiratanga because it gives those cultures over there some confidence they’re not the only people that live on these crops,” Mr Roskruge says.

As the chair of Maori organic growers collective Tahuri Whenua, he says Maori growers can learn a lot from the Peruvians.