Waatea News Update

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Priest and actor Eru Potaka-Dewes dies

Ngati Porou is today mourning a firebrand Anglican priest and sometime actor.

Ruatoria-born Eru Potaka-Dewes, who died yesterday, attended Waiomatatini Native Primary School, Gisborne Boys High and Otago University, where he gained history and teaching degrees before training for the pristhood.

After a spell working in Australia, he returned to New Zealand in the mid-1980s to become involved in the ferment of Maori radicalism, mounting protests on issues like immigration and often challenging the Anglican church on its history and current policies towards Maori.

He also got screen work, with credits including The Maori Merchant of Venice, The Rainbow Warrior, The Piano and Rapa Nui, which was shot on Easter Island.

Ngati Porou kaumatua Koro Dewes says his first cousin stuck up for the rights of the underpriviliged, and also challenged the way Maori custom was used, such as his protest at a Maori welcome when the remains of champion trotter Cardigan Bay were repatriated.

Eru Potaka-Dewes is lying at Mataikotare Marae in Rotorua before travelling to Rauru Marae in Te Tairawhiti this weekend.


Descendants of veterans of the 28 Maori Battalion have a new way to ensure their tupuna's stories are not forgotten.

Parliament's grand hall was filled to capacity last night for the launch of the battalion website, which has been put together by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Te Puni Kokiri, the National Library and the Ministry of Education.

Pita Sharples the Minister of Maori Affairs, says it was an honour to have 19 of the 50 surviving members on hand, representing all the companies that made up the battalion.

He says it's an amazing site.

“There’s 3600 men who served in the Maori Battalion. Each has a page and you can add stuff to it so nobody is left out or forgotten from the Maori Battalion.

The site is at <28maoribattalion.org.nz.


The coordinator of Waikato's Te Mura Haka Ngahuru Super 10 competiton says the event show a huge appetite for hapa haka in the region.

Ten teams of 10 performers gave their best shots in Waiata a ringa, Haka and poi, with Nga Takere Nui o Nga Waka taking away the $1000 prize.

Maria Huata says the format allows roopu to push the boundaries further than the main Te Matatini contest, which involves 40-strong teams.


Rotorua' deputy mayor says Maori tourism operators will directly benefit from bi weekly direct flights from Sydney.

Trevor Maxwell from Ngati Whakaue says the town is fizzing with the news Air New Zealand has picked up the run, starting in December.

Direct international flights have been a boon for the Queenstown economy and Mr Maxwell expects the flights will create the same spinoff for New Zealands most favoured tourist centre.

Trevor Maxwell says Rotorua already hosts more than 200 thousand Australian visitors a year.


A Kawhia hapu is disappointed at the failure of a Green Party bill which aimed to protect marine mammals and seabirds from fishing.

National MPs voted against the bill continuing on to a select committee.

Davis Apiti from Ngati Te Wehi says that makes the extinction of species like the Maui's dolphin and beach-nesting fairy tern more likely.

He says the hapu has been trying for years to make Aotea Harbour a sanctuary for Maui's dolphins.

There are believed to be only about 100 Maui dolphin left in their range along the coast between Whangaroa and Taranaki.


Maori filmakers showed they are a force for the future at at the Aotearoa Women in Film and Televison awards last night in Auckland.

Chelsea Winstanley, the director of Maori Television series Kaitiakitanga and Te Kete Aronui, was voted the woman to watch.

The entrepreurship award went to Janine Morrel Gunn, who with husband Jason Gunn has just opened a 7 million dollar film and television production facility in Christchurch.

Wift Board member Ella Henry says there was also a lot of Maori support when the Topp Twins' Untouchable Girls was named best movie, because of the twins’ supprt for Maori cuases and kaupapa.

Ella Henry says the celebrations were tempered by news of the death of Eru Potaka Dewes, who made a huge contribution to Maori film and television.

SILNA lands' regime reviewed

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is going out to owners of land covered by the South Island Landless Natives Act to discuss ways to protect some of New Zealand's oldest forests.

The 57,000 hectares of Silna land in Southland, Otago, the West Coast and Nelson was handed over to landless Maori in 1906.

Because of its remoteness, owners have struggled to get an economic return.

Mike Jebsen, MAF's natural resources director, says because of the high conservation value of many blocks, since 2002 the government's policy has been to negotiate conservation covenants or develop sustainable management plans.

“That policy has been running for some time. The funding for that policy runs out next year so the issue for the government is to review where we have got to, the extent the current policy worked or did not work and consider the way forward,” Mr Jebsen says.

The hui will be held at Invercargill, Dunedin, Christchurch, Nelson and Wellington at the end of the month.


An opponent of the Kawerau paper mill's discharge right says the mill has done enough damage and should close.

Norske Skog Tasman and Carter Holt Tasman want to renew their resource consent to dump wastewater into the Tarawera River.

Maanu Paul from Ngati Awa says the plant has degraded the river for over 50 years and denied generations access to traditional food sources.

His iwi is sick of paying the price for the mill's profit sheet.

“We can't exercise our right to our foreshore and seabed because where we used to get hapuka is now full of stinking mud. We can’t put up a mussel farm, an oyster farm or whatever we want to do, so we have to suffer so one fellow called Graham Hart makes all the money,” Mr Paul says.

He will state his case at next week's Environment Bay of Plenty’s resource consent hearings.


A Maori tourism development officer says looking after the environment is good for business.

Henare Johnson from Tourism New Zealand conducted workshops on kaitiakitanga at this week's national Ecotourism conference in Nelson.

He says adding Maori values to the tourism industry gives mana to the tourist as well as sustaining the land.

“Kaitiakitanga is not separating us as tangata or human beings from the environment. We’re part of the environment and in fact we’re probably one of the youngest children of tane mahuta, all the trees, the manu, the environment is older than us so with that comes the element of respecting your elders.” Mr Johnson says.

It adds value to the visitor experience if operators can explain what makes the environment special.


Maori unionists are looking at what Maori organisations and communities need to do to help whanau affected by the economic downturn.

The latest household labour force survey shows Maori unemployment at 12.6 percent, more than double the national rate.

Syd Kepa, the convenor of the Council of Trade Unions’ runanga, says the National Distribution Union has set up regional satellite office to help laid off workers.

“You know after a couple of weeks it hits home you haven’t got a job so the offices we’ve developed there with our delegates in it, they come trying to look for jobs, even looking if they haven’t got enough food, so we see our job as going further than the plant gate after they're made redundant,” Mr Kepa says.

He's still waiting for the jobs promised from the government's Maori economic taskforce earlier this year.


The chair of the Whakatohea Trust Board says any environmental damage caused developing the world's largest mussel farm will be offset by its economic and social value to the iwi.

Resource consent has been granted to enlarge the entrance to Opotiki Harbour, so boats can service the 3800ha marine farm the board is building 6 km off the coast.

Robert Edwards says the work may affect some birds, including a threatened dotterel.

“There's a lot of talk about bird life but the area the construction will be going on wouldn’t be a great area really and after everything is finished the birds can come back and resettle again. I think the requirements of our district and work for our people far outweighs that little bit,” Mr Edwards says.

If the channel is not widened, the mussels would need to go to Tauranga for processing.


Maori parents are being warned their children are at a particularly high risk of contracting measles.

The number of cases in Christchurch and Auckland have soared over the past month, prompting public health warnings.

South Auckland general practitioner David Jansen says measles can cause serious side-effects, and Maori in particular should be wary.

“Because our immunization rates are lower and also because we probably have more social contact and that will put us at higher risk terms of the spread,” Dr Jansen says.

Maori don't seem to be aware of the importance of vaccinations for their children.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Budget knives hitting Maori programmes

Pressure from the government to stay in budget has forced a South Auckland DHB to trim a million dollars off its Maori health programmes.

After reviewing contracts with non-government health providers, Counties Manukau district health board slashed funding for its Health Through the Marae contract, a smokefree health promotion and for social marketing for its Lets Beat Diabetes scheme.

It also cut internal staff and administration costs.

Maori services manager Bernard Te Paa says its priority is maintaining front line services like GPs, nursing services and community health workers.

“We're disappointed we’ve had to make cuts in services because we’ve been growing, particularly our Maori services, over the past few years, but when you get a directive or really clear messages about reining in budget and you don’t have the sort of resources that may have been available to us previously, so you have to cut the cloth to fit the economic times,” Mr Te Paa says.

He says Counties Manukau DHB can no longer afford Auckland University's annual evaluations of a scheme to reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes.


Tourism operators are being urged to tap into their local iwi for advice on tikanga Maori.

Henare Johnson, a Maori development manager from Tourism New Zealand, says kaitiakiatanga and manaakitanga should be part of any successful tourism strategy.

He says tourism businesses need to understand what they mean.

“If people are looking to get an in depth understanding of what manaakitanga and kaitiakitanga are then the best people to talk to are their local iwi. We really encourage operators, whether they be Maori or non-Maori, to make contact with their local iwi or even the Maori regional tourism organization,” Mr Johnson says.

He held workshops at this week's Ecotourism New Zealand Conference in Nelson, on how kaitiakitanga can add value to a business.


Taranaki youth organisations say many Maori high-school dropouts are becoming homeless.

Lynette West from the New Plymouth's Young People's Trust says because of dysfunctional family situations, many young people become disengaged from school.

She says schools try to follow up by sending letters which may go to parents who can't read, leading to a downhill spiral.

Ms West says many of the young people are concerned are about keeping warm and eating rather than education or jobs.


Whakatohea's radical new mussel farm has come a step closer, with approval being granted to enlarge the channel into Opotiki Harbour.

Whakatohea Trust Board chairman Robert Edwards says larger boats now need to wait for almost full tide to come through.

The new channel at Te Ngaio Beach means boats will be able to service the 3800 ha marine farm 6km off the coast and bring back mussels for processing in the town.

“Without deepening the harbour mouth we would have to take everything over to Tauranga to be processed and that will not be economic. Not only that, we want to put a processing plant in Opotiki to create more work for our tangata o te kai,” Mr Edwards says.

Trial mussel lines will be set up by the end of the year.

Whakatohea Trust Board has a 54 percent stake in the farm.


Mangere's Turuki Maori health centre hopes Maori mothers will help break New Zealand's breastfeeding record.

The Big Latch On breastfeeding awareness campaign happens nationwide tomorrow at 10:30am.

Health promoter Mikaera Pau says the number of Maori mums who consistently breastfeed has plummeted.

“The rates are really low but times change. Mothers don’t want to be stuck at home breastfeeding baby. There’s so much pressure on our mums, our families to get out there, get a career, live a life,” Mr Pau says.

To counter that social pressure, mothers need reminding that breast milk is the best milk for babies.

The Women's Health Trust hopes to break last year's big latch on record of 1111.


Maori operators have made a splash at the New Zealand Ecotourism conference in Nelson.

Maori Tourism Council chair John Barrett says the small group of operators was able to demonstrate manaakitanga or hospitality and kaitiakitanga or care for the natural environment in their products.

He says the cultural dynamic gives Maori operators an edge in the ecotourism market.

“I think it's made for us. It’s a sector of the business our guys excel in. The whole kaitiaki kaupapa, ecotourism fits into it naturally,” Mr Barrett says.

The Ecotourism conference brought together stakeholders including the operators, Qualmark, and officials from the Tourism and Environment Ministries and the Department of Conservation.

Research looks at workplace codes

Researchers at Victoria University are looking at ways Maori and Pakeha can feel more comfortable with each other in the workplace.

With a grant from the Marsden Fund, they have been comparing language used by Maori and Pakeha leaders in different workplaces to find how ethnicity and culture influence work interactions.

Project director Janet Holmes says Maori often look for cues from their own culture, such as they might expect in a marae setting.

“When Maori work in European workplaces, we perhaps take more account of the fact that individual criticisms are not a familiar way of doing things for many Maori people or that opening a meeting with a very casual ‘okay, let’s get started’ is very uncomfortable for many Mari people who feel it ought to have a bit more ceremony attached to it, it should at least be a bit more formal,” Professor Holmes says.

The research by the team from Victoria University's Language in the Workplace will be included in a book to be published next year by Oxford University Press.


A longstanding member of the National Party is disappointed at the party's failure to elect Sir Wira Gardiner to its governing board.

The former army officer and Te Puni Kokiri head mounted a high profile campaign for the party presidency, but his ambitions were swept aside by an Auckland push to secure the job for lawyer Peter Goodfellow.

Hikurangi Cherrington, who chairs National's Tai Tokerau electorate organisation, says the result exposes a deficiency in the party at a time it needs to attract more Maori votes to consolidate its hold on power.

“One of the questions that was put to John Key when he came to the Otiria Marae was there is just no Maori voice on the board. We’ve got nine board members which are all non-Maori,” Mr Cherrington says.

He says Wira Gardiner may not have been a big vote winner in the wider Maori electorate because many of his past actions have upset sections of the Maori community.


A Ngati Kahungunu artist is translating the sounds of taonga puoro into art.
Israel Birch grinds patterns into stainless steel and then builds up layers of pigment and lacquer.

He's called the show Te Kauru O Te Rangi, after an ancestor in a well known Ngati Kahungunu narrative.

Mr Birch, who has a Master's degree in Maori Visual Arts from Massey University's Te Putahi-a-Toi, says the work was influenced by making and playing traditional instruments.

“I tend to anchor my work in kaupapa Maori but at the same time modernise it or push it to the next level. I’ve gone back to the essence of sound or looked at it in terms of anything that moves vibrates and anything that vibrates causes sound so I’m looking at repetition of patterns to reflect this vibration,” he says.

Te Kauru o Te Rangi will be at Page Blackie Gallery in Wellington until the end of the month.


Former Maori affairs minister Tau Henare says whanau and communities need to join with government to create a strong work ethic among rangatahi.

The National list MP says the $40 million Community Max scheme, which aims to get up to 3000 unskilled youth into community projects, is a way to instill the right attitudes needed for a strong future workforce.

He says it will benefit rural areas like Northland where there is high youth unemployment.

“They're the ones who are going to be looking after us when we are 60 or 70 and if we don’t get them into a work ethic and work experience now they never will. I think it’s a huge opportunity for our Mari communities to rally around, get our young people back on the wagon,” Mr Henare says.

The Community Max scheme will be managed by Work and Income.


An Auckland kaitiaki says the death of dogs on North Shore beaches is a symptom of long term abuse of the environment by local government.

Biosecurity scientists are trying to find what killed dogs on Browns Bay and Cheltenham Beaches, and is killing fish further up the coast.

Pita Turei from Ngati Paoa and Ngai Tai says the fact there are 24 outlets which tip raw sewage into the harbour after heavy rains must be a factor.

“We're getting indications we are putting too much crap into our water systems. Cheltenham Beach has always been a measure of the amount of crap that comes out of the harbour every day that sweeps around there. If the dogs die, we are likely to die as well,” Mr Turei says.

He says local authorities treat consultation with tangata whenua as a token exercise, rather than working with iwi to find solutions.


A tohu is to be erected in an Otara park to honour the work of a local kuia.

Minnie Mariu has lived in Firth Crescent since 1961 and is known for keeping the park across from her home free of grafitti and keeping rangatahi off the streets.

She says the park is for tamariki, so if wayward rangatahi drink or causing trouble she asks them to move on ... which they do so respectfully.

She is honoured by the Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust's plans to to put a seat in the park with her name on.

Ngati Rangitihi fighting paper mill pollution

Ngati Rangitihi from the Eastern Bay of Plenty is fed up with continued pollution of the Tarawera River by pollution from the Tasman paper mill at Kawerau.

Spokesperson Tipene Marr says it will ask commissioners considering renewal of the plant's resource consent to impose strict conditions requiring owners Norske Skog and Carter Holt Harvey to cut solid waste discharges into the river to zero within 10 years.

Ngati Rangitihi also plans a Waitangi Tribunal seeking compensation of $50 million.

Mr Marr says that is a fraction of what whanau have lost over the past half century by being unable to gather watercress, eels and other kai from the awa, and no figure can be put on the cultural loss.

“We aren't able to go and teach our kids how to hinaki for tuna, stuff like that we could pass on to our kids because we have been deprived of our river. Culturally, the tikanga and kawa of the river, I would never even try to put a price on it. That is priceless,” Mr Marr says.

He says the claim is against the Crown, which invested in building the mill and passed special laws exempting it from pollution control.


Heavy storms have left ancient bones scattered over a remote Northland beach.

Marara Te Tai Hook from Ngati Kuta's resource management unit says the koiwi on Elliott Beach on the eastern side of the Rawhiti peninsula came from a former pa, Te Pahi.

They have since been reburied in the hapu's urupa.

She says it was a sobering experience.

“We just stood in reverence while they were unearthing them. We felt sad and aroha because it could have been one of our tupuna. Our kaumatua did the proper karakia to protect the koiwi and further koiwi we might find and to protect us in the work that we were doing,” Mrs Hook says.

There are many ancient fortified pa sites in the area, and finds of koiwi are common.


Ancient rock art sites in north Otago are becoming more accessible, while remaining protected.

Transit New Zealand is making a car park and picnic area beside the Takiroa and Maerewhenua rock art sites near Duntroon.

The Ngai Tahu Maori Rock Art Trust and Te Runanga o Moeraki have also built infrastructure around the sites.

Curator Amanda Symon says there has been a drive to improve safety.

“Those sites are the most heavily visited rock art sites in New Zealand so it’s important the interpretation is good and the sites are well protected and managed,” she says.

Construction is expected to take ten weeks.


Taranaki ki Poneke kaumatua Sir Paul Reeves is urging other iwi to complete their settlements as fast as they can.

The Port Nicholson Block Settlement was passed into law last month, 25 years after the claim for Wellington lands was first lodged and after five years of intense negotiations.
Sir Paul says the time it has taken has made him aware of the challenges other iwi face if they are to build a stable economic base for their people.

“We certainly hope this will encourage them because the more they delay the Less the settlement is worth in today’s terms,” Sir Paul says.

He says Taranaki Whanui is keen to build a strong post-settlement relationship with the Crown.

Meanwhile, nominations have closed for five seats on the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust, with chairman Sir Ngatata Love facing some stiff competition if he is to retain his seat when votes are counted at the end of September.


A central North Island Maori trust says Maori can establish themselves as leaders in sheep milk production.

Waituhi Kuratau Trust is trying to establish an Australasian sheep dairying association to encourage growth in the fledgling industry.

Trustee Graeme Everton says production of ewe's milk would add another dimension to the large sheep operations run by many of the larger Maori incorporations.

“It can make a farm that is marginally profitable very profitable, so it has a chance to enhance income off the farm for a better return to beneficiaries. It also brings a lot of new skills, it is not dominated by anybody, so Maori have the opportunity to very much invest and shape it to the demands it has,” Mr Everton says.

Waituhi Kuratau Trust is building a factory to produce sheep's milk cheeses for the New Zealand market.


A renowned weaver says Maori arts are in safe hands.

The death last of master weaver Diggeress Te Kanawa has led to an examination of her legacy in reviving traditional arts and training a new generation of weavers.

Fellow Ngati Maniapoto weaving expert Te Aue Davis says that generation has the skills to keep raranga skills alive.

She says many now weave to make a living, rather than for the marae, but they have a depth of knowledge and skill.

Te Aue Davis the fact there is now a commercial market for high quality weaving is a tribute to Diggeress Te Kanawa's mahi.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Hui calms climate change fears

Maori are comfortable with the approach the government is taking on climate change following a hui in Wellington yesterday attended by a range of government officials.

Mark Solomon, the Ngai Tahu representative on the Climate Change Iwi Leaders Group, says those present were pleased with what they heard from the officials in advance of the announcement of New Zealand’s Emissions Target for the year 2020 next Monday.

“It was a pretty good hui. We had about five of the Crown officials there just updating us on where the Crown was at, what they’re likely to be negotiating for when they go over to Copenhagen. They are being a bit stauncher than Labour was. I don’t think National wants to be world leader but we will certainly play our part in all this but overall we were pretty comfortable with the approach the government was taking,” Mr Solomon says.

The government is listening to all the issues for Maori including the possibility of Maori being disadvantaged including the impact of forest clearing for farming.

International negotiations to address climate change are reaching a critical point, leading up to a major United Nations conference in Copenhagen later this year.


Labour leader Phil Goff says rejection of Sir Wira Gardiner as party president shows that the National party leopard has not changed its spots as far as race relations go.

Phil Goff says that political commentor Chris Trotter was probably right in saying that one of the reasons Sir Wira was not acceptable to National was because with his wife MP Hekia Parata he had walked out when former leader Don Brash made his infamous Orewa speech seen by many Maori as racist.

“Not withstanding all the fine words being spoken at the moment, this is the National Party that backed Don Brash to the hilt over the Orewa speech. This is the National Party that went into the election campaign on the basis of scrapping the Maori seats. People are probably justified in thinking a leopard doesn’t change its spots,” Mr Goff says.


The chair of Northland's Te Runanga o Te Rarawa says the $40 million Community Max initiative will help to curb high youth unemployment rates in rural areas.

Haami Piripi says rangatahi in his area want to work however a lack of resources has in turn created a lack of interest, drive and motivation.

“We can get double whammies out of these sorts of situations by providing cultural strength and some infrastructure to make sure the thing happens properly so in my experience yeah it’s been that they are just looking for something better to do, these kids, and they will do it,” Mr Piripi says.

The Community Max scheme will support up to 3000 places on community projects for young people.


The chairperson of the Maori trust which owns 20 percent of New Zealand's third mobile network 2 degrees launched yesterday says it is a major milestone for Maori.

Mavis Mullins says the launch of 2 degrees is putting Maori at the forefront of technological development in New Zealand.

“It is a significant step. The launch of the commercial entity and the success of the commercial entity is gong to enable us to get more Maori involved in this sector, and that is going to be great,”

Mrs Mullins says 2 Degrees which is offering pre-paid mobile calls at half of what customers can get from the incumbent operators the will benefit all New Zealanders and not just Maori.

Mavis Mullins chairs the Hautaki Trust, a pan-Maori investment trust which was allocated rights to a share of the radio spectrum during the Government 3G auction in 2000.


A Maori trust in the heart of the North Island sees ewe’s milk as a way to make the most of this country's large sheep population.

Graeme Everton of the Waituhi Kuratau Trust, which milks 2500 sheep, says as the market matures there as a huge potential for the trust and other Maori landowners to take advantage of the fledgling industry.

“Forty million sheep in New Zealand. Out of that, 8000 to 10,000 will be milked a year. We have the capacity to produce very good high quality milk. Ewe’s milk is better for you, it doesn’t get stored as fat for instance, if you can’t drink cow’s milk, you potentially can drink sheep’s milk. It has a higher quality of minerals. It’s more designed for human systems,” Mr Everton says.

The trust has invested in a milking platform and cheese factory in Matatoki to produce cheese, ice cream and beauty products.


The Tairawhiti District Health board which has some of the worst health statistics in the country is not resting on its laurels, despite meeting its target to increase its Maori workforce.

Chief executive Jim Green says the board has established new positions and services in a bid to reduce these inequalities.

But more work is needed in encouraging access to further training in order to bridge the gap.

“Back in 2006 18 percent of our staff were Maori and now we are up to 25 percent so that’s been a slow and steady increase, not fast enough, but one of the issues around of that is Maori access to and graduation from clinical courses,” Mr Green says.

The DHB is working with the Tairawhiti Polytech to bring midwifery training to the district from the end of this year which will further improve Maori employment rates.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Not just Maori flag up for debate

Labour leader Phil Goff has suggested that discussion around whether we should have a Maori flag is only part of the question and the debate for the future will be what sort of flag will bring all New Zealanders together.

Commenting on Maori party MP Hone Harawira's claim that the next big issue for Maori is constitutional reform Phil Goff says he sees issues such as unemployment, health care and education as more pressing.

However he agrees we need to start having discussions around constitutional change.

“There will debate and discussion around what sort of flag New Zealand should have as our current flag, appropriate for the needs of a 21st century nation, but maybe the debate around whether we should have a Maori flag or not is only part of the question. The real question might be what sort of flag for the future would bring all New Zealanders together,” Mr Goff

He agrees with Hone Harawira that adoption of a written constitution and with it what flag the nation should have will take considerable time as it will be important to get broad consensus among New Zealanders.


The former CEO of Te Taura Whiri says last week's Maori language week was by far the best he's seen.

Haami Piripi says the language commission has worked hard in getting whanau, communities and businesses on board to use te reo Maori.

Mr Piripi says despite a drop in fluent Maori speakers in the last 35 years, Te Wiki o te reo Maori showed the language is alive and thriving in Aotearoa.

“Ten years ago we were trying to stimulate organisations like television stations, radio stations companies, law firms, to pick up language projects, and it seems to me now these organisations are doing it themselves and I think that’s a very good sign, a sign of health, and I think this week has been the best Maori language week we have had for a long time,” Mr Piripi says.

He says the drop in fluent speakers is because of the deaths of an older generation of te reo speakers.


This year marks the 25th anniversary since the Te Maori exhibition toured the United States and Tainui kaumatua Tui Adams remembers how a twist of fate got him to Chicago.

Dr Adams is one of two surviving kaumatua from the touring party but says he was not an original delegate.

Maataamua kaumatua, Henare Tuwhangai, who led all the ceremonial karakia was unwell by the time.

“I was the one at time being taught those particular karakia and certainly he did run out of breath a couple of times and I just took over the karakia as it happened and he joined back in again. That was the reason he wanted me to come," Dr Adams says.

The other surviving kuia is Marjorie Rau-Kupa from Te Atiawa.


Maori investors in a new mobile phone company can now see the results of their efforts.

2 Degrees launched this morning with a pre-pay offer half of what customers can get from the incumbent operators.

A decade ago the Maori Council challenged the then-Labour Government’s sell-off of spectrum suitable for telecommunications.

As a result some spectrum was reserved and Te Huarahi Tika Trust was set up to find a use for it.

The trust found a business partner and spent the next nine years overcoming regulatory obstacles to building a network.

Some $250 million dollars later and Maori interests including the trust have a 20 percent stake in 2 degrees.

As the third player, 2 degrees is out to disrupt the market. The wero it laid down today was calls at 22 cents to landlines or other two degrees mobiles and 44 cents to Vodafone and Telecom mobiles.

It wants customers talking, not texting, as it challenges what it calls a broken market with the highest prices and lowest usage of any comparable country.


Labour leader Phil Goff says a renaissance in the learning of Maori should be celebrated.

Commenting at the conclusion of Maori Language Week says there is however a long way to go and efforts must be maintained to support te reo.

“Both the Maori and in the wider Pakeha community we need to make sure that the effort is going in, that we have sufficient people that will keep the language alive and vibrant, but also that we try to build the speaking of at least some Maori language into the day to day business of our society,” Mr Goff says.

There are still a huge number of families whose forebears would have spoken Maori fluently but today still haven't had the opportunity to acquire those skills.


A Maori educator says in spite of the current Referendum on Child Discipline, proactive behavior management should start now, to stop the cycle of physical violence for future generations.

Aroaro Tamati from Te Kopae Piripono in New Plymouth says acknowledging the mana of the child ensures children can determine their own destiny.

“We're viewing them as they would be at age 21 and we’re thinking about what do we want as their conflict resolution when they are 21 years old, when they are 30, what skills do you want them to have? Do you want the to resolve an issue physically? Or do you want them to resolve it with words and negotiation, so where does physical behaviour management fit?” Ms Tamati says.

She says the age-old adage of children being seen and not heard should be dropped.

Climate change cost for Maori $5 billion

A new report estimates restrictions on their forestry land because of climate change could cost Maori $5 billion.

Willie Te Aho, one of the negotiators of the Central North Island forestry settlement, says the figure is contained in a report the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research has prepared for a hui called by the Climate Change Iwi Leadership group in Wellington today.

He says before emission control measures came into force earlier this year, many private forestry owners switched to dairy farming, which is more profitable.

Maori owners did not have the same option, because of existing leases or because of the terms of the forestry settlements.

“So what we are saying to the Government is don’t make things flexible for your mates now, then close the door and we are left with an inability to be able to achieve our economic goals just like these people are doing, so that’s one of or major challenges. Just looking at the figures, it’s a $5 billion issue for us,” Mr Te Aho says

“Rather the reacting to calls by organisations such as Greenpeace for a 40 percent cut in emission by 2020, he says Maori should be making their own case for what happens.


West Auckland based community organiser John Tamihere has come out in support of the Minister for Social Development Paula Bennett, and predicts a bright political future for her.

Ms Bennett, the National MP for Waitakere has come under critism recently from privacy watchdogs for releasing details of benefit amounts received by two solo parents.

Mr Tamihere, a former Labour cabinet minister, rates Ms Bennett highly and personally relates to her as someone who has come through the school of hard knocks, and has had the son in law from hell.

He says Ms Bennett isn't bland like most of the politicians in Wellington and John Key was savvy to give her such an important portfolio.

“I think it was one of the most ballsy decisions we have seen from a Prim Minister for a long time in appointer her to run welfare. Huge portfolio. Very complex. Been in the parliament two terms so quite new to it, but I really like the new energy and the new look of it. I think she’s in for a very good ride there,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says Paula Bennett will be part of the political scene for many years to come.


Whirimako Black’s new manager says the Tuhoe born singer is a household name in New Zealand and deserves global recognition.

On Friday the multi award winning Maori singer and composer launched her own website at Te Manukanuka Marae in Auckland.

Jamie Bull, whose other clients include taonga puoro expert Richard Nunns, says Black’s distinctive style and combination of reo and traditional Maori instruments has wide appeal.

“You say Whirimako and everyone knows who you are talking about. We know her here in Aotearoa. The rest of the world needs to know what it is she brings and it will be great fun exploring the offshore possibilities,” Ms Bull says.


Maori MP and Maori activist Hone Harawira says a constitution is a priority for the Maori Party and the Maori people.

The MP for Te Tai Tokerau says constitutional reform which is the big kaupapa on the horizon for the Maori Party is important so previous documents are protected.

“Every piece of legislation in the country has to give due recognition to the declaration of independence, and the Treaty of Waitangi. If we’re going to have a constitution, we want to make sure that those previous documents are going to be wrapped up in there and are going to be protected in there, and the principles our tupuna signed up to are going to be recognised forever,” Mr Harawira says.

He says adoption of a written constitution could be ten years away.


Political commentator Chris Trotter says the failure to elect Wira Gardiner to the National party executive reflects anti-Maori conservatism within National.

He says despite the National Government's relationship with the Maori Party, the delegates’ preferences suggest support of Maori kaupapa would only go so far.

Mr Trotter says while there have been patches in history when the National Party have worked well with Maori such as the treaty settlement work done by Jim Bolger and Doug Graham in the 1990's National has a sporadic record of backing Maori.

“The National Party remains a very conservative organization, particularly when it comes to race relations. It has never been at the forefront of affirmative action when it comes to Maori candidates and promoting Maori within the ranks of the party organisation itself,” Mr Trotter says.

He says Mr Gardiner's chances were derailed by a backlash against him for walking out on the party following former party leader Don Brash's Orewa speech which was seen as Maori bashing.


A Maori small-town company says bilingual diary/organiser it has developed is helping increasing numbers of people in their personal and professional lives.

Matakite co-founder Ana Turua says the dairy Orua: He Maramataka Maori has become ever more popular since it was launched in 2002

Ana Turua says Matakite also produces other products which complement the Orua diary/organiser.

Monday, August 03, 2009

New skin on Project Green could help brown youth

The Council of Trade Unions says the government's new Community Max scheme, which could provide iwi with opportunities to hire youth for environmental projects will be a boost for unemployed Maori says.

The $40.3 million scheme will see the Government subsidise the wages of each youth on the unemployment benefit who works on a local community or environmental project for up to 30 hours a week, for a duration of up to six months.

CTU President Helen Kelly says these projects could be run by iwi organisations and would have far reaching benefits.

“Community groups have got work they want to do sitting out there so these will be a real opportunity for them to create new jobs. It will connect those young people into their community so if a Maori community organisation set up schemes they can connect with their young people, and obviously the community get a payback by getting some of their work done as well,” Ms Kelly says.

The Government has pledged $152 million to create work, education and training opportunities for unemployed youth, to address the rise in numbers from 4000 last June to 17,000 this June of young people on the dole.

Helen Kelly says the initiatives are a good but moderate start.


A Ngati Porou butcher who is heading to Iceland to wield his knives says the cold European country is a home away from home.

Huka Takurua is travelling with a contingent of Maori butchers from the Bernard Matthews meat processing plant in Gisborne to work in Iceland.

He says despite their country's climate and the colour of their skin, the people of Iceland have many similarities to Maori.

“The food they eat, a lot of the things they do, home things, very similar to Maori. As people they are very open, very giving, they like to share their culture, especially with Maori. I don’t know why. It must be the colour of the skin that appeals to them. And I suppose the way we react, we are open people, we like to meet different cultures too,” Mr Takurua says.

There are 43 Kiwis going to work in Iceland at one of nine meat-processing factories during Iceland’s six to 12 week killing season.


A filmmaker whose film about the Treaty of Waitangi has won acclaim around the world, says the story is universal.

Richard Green's film Te Whare has been awarded a commendation from the North Hampton International Community Film Festival in Britain and has been picked up by four other international festivals.

Mr Green, who also runs treaty workshops, says his film, about three young men who share a house in Grey Lynn, was written to engage people in New Zealand with the Treaty of Waitangi.

But he says the story has also struck a chord internationally.

“When someone comes in and takes over your house or your land or whatever without even acknowledging what they are doing, and then in the name of democracy says ‘you’re kind of outnumbered now so tough!’, that’s happened all over the world and still happens today. It resonates with people because they see it happening at different levels of society internationally and nationally,” Mr Green says.

He has started work on a feature film based on Shakespeare’s Othello, set in pre-colonial New Zealand and presented in te reo Maori.


Its a good start, but the Council of Trade Unions say the government's package to address youth unemployment does not go far enough.

CTU president Helen Kelly says while the $152 million initiatives will particularly benefit Maori and Pacific Island youth who make up almost half of all youth on the unemployment benefit it only scratches the surface.

“There are 58,000 young people out of work. There are only 17,000 of them on the dole because so many people are not eligible for the dole, and 48 percent of those young people are Maori or Pacific so if you look at the scheme which is targeting around 7000 people per year, that’s a very small number out of 58,000. But nevertheless it’s a good start,” Ms Kelly says.

National is also introducing legislation before the end of the year ending the unemployment benefit for school-leavers under 18.


A Maori breastfeeding advocate says current social issues means that Maori now have the lowest breastfeeding rates in the country.

Breastfeeding advocate Raylene de Jour says the National Breastfeeding Authority is supporting various initiatives to restore breastfeeding rates as a cultural norm.

She says Maori once thrived on good breastfeeding practices but social issues have changed that.

“Unfortunately there's a whole lot of things that have impacted on our breastfeeding rates. Being away from our tribal role rohe, not having a role model, not having our nanny and kuia around us supporting us any more. However, there’s a whole lot of social issues that has them dropping off in that first four to six weeks They turn straight to formula feeding, and I guess that’s abut getting back to work and facing all those social issues that our whanau have,” de Jour says.

Speaking at the start of National Breast Feeding Awareness Week Raylene de Jour says good breastfeeding and child-rearing practices enhance the sustainability not just of the mother and child, but of the whole whanau.


Sports commentator Ken Laban says the All Blacks’ management paid the price for their decision not to give Maori player Luke McAlister more game time in last Saturday's All Black test.

Ken Laban from Sky Sport says the 25-year-old 25-test veteran was brought on too late to have a major influence on the outcome of the game, won by the Springboks 31-19 in Durban.

“If we can learn anything out of the hopeless performance on the weekend is that we need to do some serious thinking about who the long term plans are for New Zealand rugby in that number 10 jersey and I certainly hope Luke McAlister is an important part of that mix,” Mr Laban says.

He says the specialist number 10 has the skills, composure and international experience missing from the All Blacks inside backs in Saturday's loss.

New Zealand rates high in green fisheries

The chief executive of Te Ohu Kaimoana says Maori should take heart from a new study showing New Zealand's fisheries are among the healthiest in the world.

The Rebuilding Global Fisheries report published in the international journal, Science gave only New Zealand and Alaska the top "green" rating.

Peter Douglas says Maori have a major stake in the industry because of Sealord fishing rights settlement two decades ago, which embedded New Zealand's quota management system.

“It's encouraging for people to know we’re involved in the sort of foresight that this sort of work indicates. Most people make changes to their fishing regimes when there’s a disaster or a collapse of a fishery. I think we’re lucky to live n a country where that made decision about this 25 years ago, about better ways to manage things before there was a crisis,” Mr Douglas says.

He says the fishing industry is as much about marketing as harvesting, so the endorsement of New Zealand's green credentials should give Maori companies an edge in global markets.


Software giant Microsoft has released a pack allowing users of its Windows Vista operating system to display menus, dialogs and messages in Te Reo Maori.

Spokesperson Anne Taylor says the free download includes grammar and language updates from the Maori language commission Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori.

She says it's a way for learners and speakers of Maori to stay ahead.

“It's hugely valuable for the continued preservation of the language, to grow it, to get more people using it, to get more people familiar with it, and it provides those people who want to use it and want to learn the ability to do that within their technological environment, so within their computers,” Ms Taylor says.

Microsoft Te Reo language packs are also available for Windows XP and Office 2003 and a pack is being developed for Office 2007.


A Massey University Maori lecturer hopes his new fantasy novel written in te reo Maori will be the first of many in the genre.

Hewa by Darryn Joseph is set for distribution among the 116 Maori immersion schools.

Mr Joseph says he has aimed it at 11 to 14 year olds, but it could find a wider readership.

“I'm basically filling a gap where Maori writing is at a really young phase so there will be a next wave or generation of writers writing in Maori,” Mr Joseph says.

Successful learning is helped by children having course material that resonates with Maori values.


The funeral of weaver Diggeress Rangituatahi Te Kanawa will be held this morning at Te Tokanganui a Noho Marae in te Kuiti.

The Ngati Maniapoto mother of 12, and her mother Rangimarie Hetet, are credited with the revival of traditional raranga, particularly the weaving of kakahu or cloaks.

Mrs Te Kanawa died on Thursday at the age of 89.

Bentham Ohia, the chief executive of Te Wananga o Aotearoa, says she played a major role in setting up weaving classes in the early days of the wananga, and was still teaching a year ago.

“She in essence was the backbone and her daughters and family have been the reason the wananga has been able to support the arts and produce a programme that allowed it to come out with a bachelor of raranga so words cannot express the depth of our aroha and gratitude to whaea Diggeress Te Kanawa and her contribution,” Mr Ohia says.


A Ngai Tuhoe educator wants to create a language retreat near Whakatane.

Taiarahia Black, who holds the chair of te reo at Massey University, says Ohinemataroa, the ancient name for the Whakatane Rriver, is an ideal place to focus on the protection of the language.

The proposed retreat would target both competent speakers and learners.

He says it should be popular with city dwellers returning to an area where Maori is still widely spoken.

“This language retreat will serve that purpose, and when the language experts are in residence, then we can share in the delights of our language for day to day communication,” Professor Black says.

He got the idea after visiting Gaelic language retreats in Ireland.


Meanwhile, a Tuhoe singer-songwriter has taken her reo and waiata to cyberspace.

Whirimako Black has launched an official website, whirimako dot org.

She says it's a way to make her music more accessible to fans, particularly the new audience she has picked up with her recent jazz influenced efforts.

It's also a way to control the information that goes aroung the world about her.

Whirimako Black will be experimenting with releasing her music by download from the site.