Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hot air deal down to CPI inflation

The Prime Minister says most of the benefit increase the Maori Party claims it won for support for National's emission's trading scheme was due to happen anyway.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says he pushed for an increase to allow people on benefits to cope with new expenses brought about by carbon charges on petrol and power.

John Key says the question is how to compensate people who may be out of pocket

“I mean generally speaking you want them out of pocket because you want them to change their behaviour, that is the whole purpose of this thing, but where somebody can’t afford do that, obviously you have to think again. So as long as the inflation adjustment took account of the fact their income is being reduced because they don’t have as much, all you need to do is neutralize it and that’s the bit that we’re looking at and working our way through. CPI adjustment should take care of it but Bill English is doing a bit of work on it so Pita’s not 100 percent right but he’s not 100 percent wrong either,” Mr Key says.


A Hamilton urban Maori authority has lodged a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal which could open the way for Maori representation on all local authorities.

Matiu Dickson, the chair of te Runanga o Kirikiriroa, says while the claim targets the Hamilton City Council, it was lodged when it became clear that Maori were not going to get seats on the Auckland super city.

The Waikato University law school lecturer says mechanisms in the 2002 Local Government Act to allow Maori seats aren't working.

“We claim the legislation has done absolutely nothing for Maori. Maori representation on councils is extremely low and therefore the Maori voice on councils is also very low to non existent and so we are saying the legislation is inadequate to meet our needs and our rights under the treaty,” Mr Dickson says.

He is disappointed the tribunal refused to grant the claim urgency, because the Kirikiroa runanga wanted action before next year's local body elections.


The girls shone at this year's Maanu Korero national secondary school's speech competitions in Rotorua, winning three of the four major prizes on offer.

The Pei Te Hurinui Jones prize for senior Maori went to Te Wairere Ngaia from Waikato kura Nga Taiatea.

Keria Paki from Rotorua's Te Kura o te Ahorangi took the Rawhiti Ihaka prize for junior English.

The Korimako senior English trophy was taken home to Gisborne by Karli Rickard from Lytton High School, and Taylor Taranaki from Te Wharekura o Nga Tapuwai in South Auckland won the Sir Turi Carroll junior English category.

One of the judges, Jim Perry, says the competition shows the language is in good hands with a very high standard of performance.


A West Auckland Maori provider says the Government's whanau ora strategy is a much needed evolution in the delivery of social services.

Hauora groups from the Waikato to the far north met in Tamaki yesterday to hear from associate health minister Tariana Turia, Health Ministry officials and leading Maori providers on how changes to the way the government intends funding primary healthcare will affect Maori.

Arohia Durie from Waiora, a health joint venture between the Waipareira Trust and the Engineers and Service Workers unions, says whanau ora will allow Maori providers to move families forward together.

“Instead of the whanau going to individual services, we meet with the whanau first, we identify a future mapping process, a future plan that’s identifies what are the outcomes we want to achieve, positive outcomes rather than focus on what’s wrong with the whanau first and then look at a plan and a map to help provide those support services to them,” Ms Durie says.

The last of the four Maori health providers' hui will be in Christchurch next week.


One of the judges of this week's Nati Awards says the East Coast institution shows how technology is helping rangatahi in the remotest places realise their creativity.

Pita Turei from Nga Aho Whakaari, the association of Maori in film and television, says Ngati Porou is on to a winner with the annual film and digital media awards for East Coast schools.

He says Nga Aho Whakaari will encourage other tribal areas to take similar initiatives.

“The digital revolution is one we can drive ourselves from wherever we are and what Ngati Porou is doing ids making Ngati Porou digitally literate. We’re seeing the voices coming through rangatahi. These are the people who will drive the digital revolution,” Mr Turei says.

Improving broadband services to rural communities will give young Maori a chance to set their sights on careers in career digital media.


An south Auckland kapa haka is reforming this week to celebrate the 30th year of its founding.

Te Kupenga Maori club from Otara hasn't performed for 15 years, but original member Takurua Tangitu says Auckland members have been practicing hard for four months.

He says those from round the country and from across the Tasman will also be keen to show they haven't forgotten the old moves.

The group was started in 1979 by Hillary College Maori language teacher Henare Mahunga, but it quickly became a community-based group with a young but keen membership.

“Most of us grew up in this kapa haka roopu so it’s a big weekend for us celebrating our 30 year reunion,” Mr Tangitu says.

The Te Kupenga reunion is tomorrow at Whairoa marae in Otara.

Turia spells out healthcare changes

Associate health minister Tariana Turia wants to see more integration of the Maori health sector.

Mrs Turia attended the third Maori health providers hui in Auckland yesterday, where hauora serving more than half the Maori population gathered to hear how they could be affected by the government's changes to primary healthcare.

She says while many providers are concerned about their existing contracts, she wants to see a shift to a whanau ora model where the health of the whole family is taken into account.

“This isn't about providers. It’s about whanau, doing the best we can for families and we want integrated care for our families. We want them to have health services but we want education, social justice the whole range of services to be available to them without having 10 different agencies trotting down their pathway,” Mrs Turia says.

Her own experience running a Maori health organization taught her the way government funding agencies measured outcomes had little to do with the health of the people treated.


Upper Whanganui River iwi Ngati Rangi today releases its strategic plan on the best ways to survive and thrive in the shadows of Mount Ruapehu.

Chairperson Che Wilson says the immediate focus is on the sort of assets the tribe should push for in its treaty settlement, with Crown holdings in the area including the Waiouru army base, forestry land and the Turoa skifields.

He says the strategy also takes a long term view.

“The long term vision is that we still exist in 1000 years and it’s about equipping our people to have the opportunities to maintain and develop ourselves as a people so there’s some huge aspirations there but people tend to forget there are many iwi who have faded into history and we don’t want to be one of those in a thousand years,” Mr Wilson says.


The newest member of the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame says people are hearing his music all the time without knowing it.

Richard Nunns and the late Hirini Melbourne were honoured at last night's
APRA Silver Scroll Awards in Christchurch for their work reviving taonga puoro or traditional Maori instruments.

He says samples from their 1993 taonga puoro album Ku Te Whe are turning up everywhere from movies to All Black games.

Mr Nunns says while it's a battle getting people to pay for using the material in new ways, the samples means the music is being embraced.

“The music's out there. People are hearing it an using it and I would venture to think that the New Zealand population are hearing taonga puora seven or eight times a week through radio, tv and film and while they may not know exactly what they’re hearing they know those vopices could come from nowhere else, they are voices of this land,” Nunns says.


Nelson's Wakatu Incorporation has spoken out in favour of a bill which would require land not used for the purpose it was taken to be offered back to its original owners.

Chairperson Paul Morgan says the issues in Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell's Public Works Act amendment bill are so important to Maori, they should be picked up for a full government bill.

He says Wakatu has had to go to court to stop government agencies and local bodies chipping away at their remaining estate for some supposed public good.

“And we've actually accommodated the public good aspect for instance by leasing them land for roads but we’ve done it on a commercial basis so what was initially a bad position we’ve been able to negotiate and I would expect the law to be amended to take no more Maori freehold land. It’s really actually unnecessary,” Mr Morgan says.

Wakatu is also fighting an attempt by the Crown to hand over education land taken from it under the Public Works Act to another iwi to settle treaty claims.


With the government denying Maori seats on Auckland super city, a Northland council has unanimously embraced the idea.

Far North mayor Wayne Brown says his council wants local authorities north of Auckland to form one unitary council ... and they've voted unanimously for three of the nine seats on the new entity to be for Maori.

“We want to have a unitary council up here because the regional council in Whangarei is ineffective and remote and we have offered to have three direct Maori representation seats on our council when we become a unitary authority, hopefully before the next election if I can get Hide to get his head up and look beyond the super dumb city,” Mr Brown says.

Having Maori inside the tent will allow them to understand what councils do, and they may be more inclined to pay their rates.


A Ngati Whatua kapa haka group has been invited to perform at a festival in Finland.

Kahurangi ki Kaipara is a whanau group with the youngest member 5 years old and the oldest is 20.

The invitation to the Tampere Folk Festival next June came through iwi member and photographer Margaret Kawharu, who met the festival organisers during a visit to Finland.

She says it was too good an invitation to turn down.

Ms Kawharu hopes to arrange performances at other festivals so the children can make the most of their trip.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Emissions trading scheme changes a con

Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson says the Maori Party is trying to con its supporters about the deal it's done on changes to the emissions trading scheme.

Parekura Horomia says the main effect of the deal will be to pass the cost of emissions on to taxpayers, rather than penalising polluters, as the Maori Party had been promising to do.

He says claims the deal protects low income households from the full effect of the policy change don't stack up.

“One of the co-leader’s statement that the deal is really in the increase in the benefit payments to our people, but there’s always a seasonally-adjusted payment that’s made every 18 months and that’s what’s going to kick in anyway so it’s a bit of a sorry state,” Mr Horomia says.

He says given the Maori Party's failure to deliver to its constituents, it's time for Labour to up the ante in parliamentary debate on jobs, education, families and whanau development.


Te Tai Hauauru MP and Wanganui resident Tariana Turia has welcomed the restoration of the H in the river city's name as the right thing to do.

The Geographic Board voted unanimously for the change, which will now go for public consultation before the Minister for Land Information makes the final decision.

Mrs Turia says she's pleased for all the people of the river who have been fighting to correct a historical spelling mistake,

She says it won't affect the way the name is pronounced.

“Whanganui, that’s been another misleading thing, that people would have to say fih … they don’t. Other iwi will because that’s their dialect and they’re entitled tO say fih because it’s spelt wh and dialectically that’s how they would pronounce it, but back home, and in Taranaki as well, we say wih,” Mrs Turia says.


Meanwhile, an exhibition of photos of Maori life on the Whanganui River at the turn of the 20th century is about to close.
Te Pihi Mata, the Sacred Eye, has been on display in the Wanganui Museum for more than a year.

Co-curator Che Wilson says the show is based around a collection of work by William Partington, which the iwi helped buy after stopping their sale at auction several years ago.
He says it's proved a wise investment for the museum and the iwi.

“It's a exhibition that received a number of awards, it increased visitor numbers and got a lot of rangatahi, young uri looking for their tupuna photos, into the museum which they’ve generally not been interested in doing,” he says.

Te Pihi Mata closes tomorrow.


There's a cautious welcome from Whanganui iwi to a recommendation the H be restored to the city's name.

Because there were objections lodged to the iwi request for the spelling change, the Geographic Board has referred its spelling recommendation to Land Information Minister Maurice Wiliamson to make the final decision.

Gerrard Albert from the Whanganui River Maori Trust Board says he's still apprehensive because of that step.

“The decision of the board goes to the minister and I think there’s going to be lobbying for Mayor Michael Laws and his council to have those recommendations rejected. We’re just apprehensive about the final outcome,” Mr Albert says.

If the spelling isn't corrected this time, it will be back on the table for the Whanganui treaty claim negotiations which are going on now.


Former Maori affairs minister Parekura Horomia says iwi leaders aren't doing enough about child poverty.

Iwi leaders were notable for their absence from yesterday's Every Child Counts summit in Auckland, which called for higher welfare benefits and clear targets to eradicate child poverty.

Mr Horomia says benefits are only part of the answer, and it bugs him that iwi leaders are more focused on enterprise development and growing treaty settlements than the social needs of their people.

“If we don't concentrate on this end to ensure our children aren’t left in poverty for whatever reason I think progress has slowed alarmingly and it is a wake up time for iwi leaders and other people to make sure they are in on that. That’s the beginning of the rot if there is a rot amongst our people,” Mr Horomia says.

He says the previous Labour government took a huge number of children out of poverty with its working for families package, but it clearly wasn't enough with the recession driving more than one in four Maori kids into poverty.


A 20-year collaboration between a Pakeha jazz musician and a Tuhoe primary school teacher is being honoured as one of the great musical partnerships.

Richard Nunns and the late Hirini Melbourne will be inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame at the APRA F awards in Christchurch tonight.

Working with master carver Brian Flintoff, the pair built traditional Maori instruments ... based on originals that had been lying silent in museums for decades.

They set worked out how the instruments had been played ... taught countless others ... and wrote songs using the taonga puoro.

“For Hirini and Brian and I, we’d call it passion. Our spouses would call it obsession. It’s been an extraordinary decision and I miss Hirini wildly and still,” Nunns says.

Maori bar will push dissent on to MPs

A former local government minister says the exclusion of Maori from the Auckland super city council will create continuing headaches for central government.

Sandra Lee's reforms of local government in the Labour-Alliance government included mechanisms for councils to bring in Maori representation.

She says because the Government rejected the Auckland Governance Royal Commission's treaty-based advice, Maori will be forced to fight on an issue by issue basis.

“The effect of the disenfranchisement of Maori in the case of this new constitutional model will be to see Maori forced to have to deal directly with the Crown over a raft of issues that ordinarily they would have been able to their council, and in fact if the (Royal) Commission’s words had been accepted to advocate on that council,” Mrs Lee says.

She says the size of Auckland's new wards mean even non-Maori are likely to feel unrepresented and turn to their MP rather than their councilor.


The Minister of Housing expects many Maori families will jump at the chance to buy the state houses they currently rent.

The offer is open to tenants currently paying market rents, involving just under 4000 houses.

Phil Heatley says new state houses will offset those sold.

“Those Maori families who have been in their state house for a number of years, where their circumstances have changed and perhaps they’ve got to a position where they can buy their state home and they’d like to have that opportunity now to do that and if they do purchase a house, we’ll use the proceeds to get a replacement house for someone on the waiting list,” Mr Heatley says.

The tenants who take up the offer can get their loans underwritten through Housing New Zealand's mortgage insurance scheme.


Pirates are plaguing Maori working in the rag trade.

Christine Panapa from Papakura sportswear and apparel company Supaprints regularly spots copies of her unique Maori designs for sale in south Auckland markets.

The copied clothing is imported by the container load from China, but the cost of prosecuting those responsible is prohibitive.

“Probably four or five designs done by my business had gone overseas, were copied, and have come back on track pants, they’ve comeback on T shirts and sweatshirts. In New Zealand we work very hard and you set a price, and when you see your stuff being sold for half that price, it’s quite disheartening,” Ms Panapa says.


Labour MP Shane Jones says National MPs Tau Henare and Simon Bridges have betrayed the Maori who made submissions to a select committee on the
Auckland super city bill.

Mr Jones says the final bill being debated under urgency shows the Maori subcommittee chaired by Mr Henare had no effect on the Government's plans for the country's largest city.

He says Mr Bridges, the MP for Tauranga, was particularly dismissive of those who put the case for separate Maori representation.

“Mr Simon Bridges, despite the fact that he’s a lawyer, has an acidic quality to him. When you go ion the marae, you don’t get acidic to people. You sit and listen. The more acidic he became, the more he became regarded as a cultural truant. I think both of those people, if they are going to be stewards for Maori interests inside that party, have got to actually improve their connections with the people they purport to represent, ie, the slender Maori wing of the National Party,” Mr Jones says.

He says the Maori case was undermined by the Maori Party's push for a complicated mana whenua representation system which would have denied co-leader Pita Sharples a seat if applied to parliamentary electorates.


Child advocates are optimistic yesterday's Every Child Counts summit will lead to positive change.

The hui at a Mangere marae brought together 150 people working in poverty prevention, social services, Barnardoes and iwi development.

Tau Huirama, the head of strategic relationships for the Jigsaw national child abuse prevention service says there are few opportunities for those working in the sector to meet together.

Mr Huirama says the hui was more than a talkfest, and some insightful strategies will be presented to the government.

“The workshops were really good. I was in the Maori workshop and it was great that we were able to go back to the wellbeing of tamariki and what that means. Form our discussions it is to inform government around what we think should be happening,” Mr Huirama says.

He says iwi need to become involved in developing strategies to assist Maori families struggling to support their tamariki.


Far North mayor Wayne Brown wants to make Kaikohe a te reo Maori town.

He says making Maori Kaikohe's first language could make the town a tourist attraction, as has happened with some Gaelic-speaking towns in Ireland.

Wayne Brown says some business people are likely to oppose changing all the signs to Maori, but they may eventually see the benefits.

“Well I think it would do great things for it. It’s not much further from Auckland than Rotovegas, they’ve made a lot out of commercializing their Maori culture but they’ve taken it almost to the Disney levels whereas this would be in a core Maori town, the heart of Ngapuhi, one of the major tribes in the country,” Mr Brown says.

He says Kaikohe has to do something new because it's going backwards.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pressure on Tamaki Maori to defend hau kainga

A former minister of local government says having no seats on Auckland super city will force Maori back to the barricades.

Sandra Lee, who reformed local government during the Labour-Alliance government, says iwi and hapu have a long history of fighting councils over sewage outfalls, Public Works Act land grabs and environmental issues.

She says if Maori are disenfranchised by Rodney Hide's radical constitutional model for Auckland, they will take their concerns direct to central government.

“To have no one at all is a travesty and what it i9s going to do is force our people back to the barricades to fight on a cas by case ssue all of the things that a local government and now a super city with even more greater powers deal with that have a direct impact on our daily lives,” Mrs Lee says.

When the Royal Commission recommended three seats for Maori on the super city, her first instinct as a former Auckland City councilor was to pity whoever would have to carry the baton for Maori.


Former governor general Sir Paul Reeves says being Maori helps him deal with Fijian coup leader Frank Bainimarama.

Sir Paul was in the island state last week with a delegation from the Commonwealth to discuss the timetable for Fiji's return to democracy.

He says the place of Fiji's indigenous people is less of a factor than previous coups, but there is still has a sense of being in the shadow of colonialism.

He says there are lessons in leadership which can be taken from New Zealand.

“We in Aotearoa New Zealand have a distinctive form of what I call peacemaking and that is this whole treaty negotiation. If we didn’t have it, I think it would be very uncomfortable in this country at the moment. In fact I feel quite proud at the fact Maori are popping up in all sorts of place, those places where decisions are made for the community or for the nation,” he says.

Sir Paul is preparing a report for the secretary general of the commonwealth.


A traditional door lintel has become the jumping off point for John Walsh's latest paintings.

Pare to My Place is the centrepiece of the show which opened last night at John Leech Gallery in Auckland.

Walsh, who used to work at Our Place, Te Papa, as the museum's first curator of contemporary Maori art, says viewers need to get past the figure on the pare to get to the landscapes behind.

The Aitanga a Hauiti and New Zealand Irish artist says rather than illustrate known legends and stories, he invents his own characters.

“In some ways I have no control of it. It just pours from the end of my brush. I’m watching New Zealand society evolve and develop and I feel this is the way I can make comment on current issues, by reaching into the past that I understand,” Walsh says.


Maori attending today's Every Child Counts summit in Auckland want to see more government investment in the heath of communities.

Ani Pitman from the Northland-based Amokura Family Violence Prevention Strategy says child poverty is a major issue, and the recession is making things worse.

She says the summit called by child protection and welfare groups is looking for ways to put the needs of children higher up the national agenda.

Ms Pitman says Maori communities have unique concerns which need addressing.

“What we're dealing with is the intergenerational effects of colonization and its impact on our communities and our ways to be culturally connected, our opportunities to demonstrate manaakitanga to each other and kaitiakitanga of our resources and what we want to see is government to invest in our communities and invest in our future. For us, it’s what we want out mokopuna to look like in the future,” she says.

The summit prepared an action for Housing Minister Phil Heatley, who is there representing the government.


Principals around the country are welcoming the decision to add the Te Kotahitanga programme to another 17 secondary schools.

The Governemnt is putting an extra $20 million over four years to bring to 50 the number of schools using systems developed at Waikato University to improve the interaction between teachers and Maori pupils.

Nigel Hanton from Flaxmere College in Hawkes Bay says 73 percent of the 340 pupils in his decile one school are Maori.

He says while the school has used a number of strategies to boost its NCEA level one pass rate above the national average, getting its staff trained up in the new techniques should allow further improvement.

“All the evidence that’s available shows that Te Kotahitanga with its particular focus on developing an effective pedagogical profile among staff is the way to go forward so we are very keen we’ve had the opportunity to be part of Te Kotahitanga because of that very important professional development focus and the outcomes it delivers for students,” Mr Hanton says.

Flaxmere College hopes to increase its pass rate by 15 to 20 percent.


Maori asset managers are giving the Government's revised emissions trading scheme the thumbs up.

A deal with the Maori Party gives the Governemnt the votes to push through a scheme which offsets the effects of related power price rises on low income households and gives polluting industries longer to adjust to higher carbon prices.

Federation of Maori Authorities spokesperson Paul Morgan the Maori Party have clearly listened to his organisation's concerns.

“We felt there should be a more managed transition. The risks associated with the economy, the issues of competiveness, we wanted those managed in a much more risk-averse basis. National agreed with us. We’re going down this path, and most of the issues we advocated have been picked up,” he says.

Mr Morgan says forestry land and agriculture still need to be addressed.

Recession cause for child poverty summit

Child welfare agency Barnados says the recession is biting hard on Maori families.

Chief executive Murray Edridge says a third of Maori children are living in poverty, nearly double the rate of children generally.

He says the Every Child Counts summit in Auckland today will allow Maori and community welfare organisations to offer the Government practical ways to tackle the enormous challenges facing many children,

“Some of that's about the recession. Some of that’s about family dynamics and parenting and levels of violence and abuse. Unless we do something specifically for children as part of our policies of economic and social renewal and sustainability, then we will find ourselves in crisis,” Mr Edridge says.

The 150 experts expected at Te Karaiti Te Pou Herenga Waka Marae in Mangere will design an action plan to be offered to the government.


Otaki-based Ngati Raukawa is trying to use knowledge held by iwi to improve water quality in the south Horowhenua.

It's part of the $6.6 million Manaaki Taha Moana project funded by the Foundation for Research Science and Technology, which brings together Raukawa and Tauranga Moana iwi, the New Zealand Centre for Ecological Economics and the Cawthron Institute.

Research leader Huhana Smith, the chair of the Tai o Raukawa Trust, says it starts with iwi doing a baseline survey of freshwater and marine systems in their rohe.

“Bringing all those iwi and hapu and be involved in the coastal stretch to be involved, raise their capacity research to actually start affecting some better projects right along that coastline,” Dr Smith says.

The project will aim to develop tools and methods which can be used by other iwi around New Zealand.


Paddles made during a night course in Whangarei may hit the water at the world waka ama champs in New Caledonia next year.

Ian Swindells, the programme manager for engineering at North Tec, says some of the students learning to make hoe by laminating native timbers are headed to the national championships in January, in the hope of scoring a trip across the Pacific.

The sport is popular in the north, and the four paddle-making courses run so far have filled quickly.

Mr Swindells says most of the students are women who are relishing the chance to work with power tools.

North Tec is considering including waka ama in its boat-building programme.


The swine flu pandemic hit Maori and Pacific Islanders particularly hard.

Epidemiologist Michael Baker from Otago University's Wellington school of medicine says while the pandemic is now virtually over in this country, Maori have been three times more likely to get swine flu than average, and Pacific Islanders were almost seven times more susceptible.

They also got sicker, with more Maori and Pacific Islanders needing hospital care.

Dr Baker says not enough is being done to control infectious disease among those groups.

“Not only with this pandemic but also with our other very serious infections, we see markedly higher rates for Maori and Pacific people, particularly for children and the most extreme case is probably rheumatic fever where over 90 percent of cases now are in young Maori and Pacific children,” he says.

The higher swine flu rates among Maori and Pacific Islanders can be put down to things like overcrowding and the fact that they are more likely to be suffering from other illnesses such as diabetes and asthma.


A summit in Auckland today will consider an action plan to head off a crisis among Maori kids as the recession bites.

Murray Edridge, the chief executive of Barnados, says Maori are particularly vulnerable to the effects of recession, with a third of Maori children now living in poverty ... nearly double the rate for kids generally.

He says the Every Child Counts summit at Te Karaiti Te Pou Herenga Waka Marae in Mangere will aim to come up with practical solutions which draw in the children's whanau, hapu and iwi.

“The summit has people from Maori communities all around New Zealand coming together for the sole purpose of thinking about how we make life better for Maori children in the current recession, in the current environment,” Mr Edridge says.

At the end of the summit proposals will be put to Housing Minister Phil Heatley, who is representing the government.


Storytelling and Ngati Poroutanga will be on show in Ruatoria today at the fifth Te Rangitawaea ICT Festival

Sue Ngarimu-Goldsmith from Hiruharama school says students from 18 East Coast kura have used computers to put together animations, short films, advertisements and the like.

The aim is to use children's interest in technology to explore the region's traditions and stories.

She says the children get the opportunity to be creative, work collectively and develop IT skills,

The exhibition at Ngata College will be followed by the Nati Awards, Ngati Porou's version of the Oscars.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Emissions trading switch has a price

Labour leader Phil Goff has says the Maori Party's about face on the Emissions Trading Scheme will cost the country dearly.

The Maori Party agreed to support National's scheme after changes were made to reduce the impacts of power and petrol price charges on the public, and to subsidise the Maori-dominated fishing industry.

Mr Goff says just two weeks ago the Maori Party opposed the scheme becauseit didn't make polluters pay.

He says now it's going to pay polluters.

“They've just reached an agreement with the National Party that will put a huge burden, the National Party says $400 million over the next three years, on ordinary New Zealand taxpayers. We think it could easily be three or four times that amount. Here we are the government saying they’re cutting services because they can’t afford it and here they are going to be spending we think as much as $1.6 billion subsiding the heavy polluters,” Mr Goff says.

He says the polluters are being told they don't need to clean up.


Members of a Rotorua hapu whose land is being used for a new residential youth justice centre are being urged to seek jobs there.

On Saturday Tuhourangi-Ngati Wahiao laid a mauri stone underneath the foundations of the 30-bed facility going up on part of the Parekarangi Trust's farm south of the city.

Anaru Rangiheuea, the kaumatua for the Child, Youth and Family Service in Rotorua, says as well as the 90 jobs which will need to be filled when construction ends in 12 months time, the hapu is looking for other ways to get the kids back on track.

“We've offered our services as kaumatua to counsel them or give them some insight into our tikanga, take the out onto our marae, and also our polytech has offered them course if it's required,” Mr Rangiheuea says.


Te Papa's senior Maori curator says protection of nga taonga tuku iho means protecting the living environment, as well as what ends up in museums.

Huhana Smith last night delivered the Mina McKenzie Memorial Lecture at Te Manawa Museum in Palmerston North, given annually to honour the first Maori to head a New Zealand museum.

Dr Smith says as one of Ms McKenzie's students, she had drummed into her the importance of seeing curatorship as kaitiakitanga.

“I've particularly picked up on the notion of active kaitiakitanga so we can look after the land base and the water base, cultural treasures that are in great need of rehabilitation, that’s where I’m moving to now, not just those treasures I’ve been dealing with in museums like Te Papa but what needs to be done on the ground to effect and drive change,” Dr Smith says.

Mina McKenzie opened doors for iwi and individual Maori to become involved in museum work.


A Maori academic says Maori need to speak out when bad science is used against them.

Gary Raumati Hook has penned an attack in MAI Review, the journal of the centre for Maori research excellence, on the idea Maori have a warrior gene which leads to aggression and violence.

He says the idea of the warrior gene is based on shaky evidence and flawed scientific reasoning, but it is becoming part of public consciousness, and a part and parcel of the Maori stereotype.

“There are a number of serious disadvantages which could occur. What woud happen for example if the insurance industry got hold of the idea and believed Maori people were high risk. They could turn around and charge higher insurance premiums or they could deny a request for insurance,” Professor Hook says.

He says under the warrior gene thesis being Maori could be classified as a disease.


Labour leader Phil Goff says the Maori Party's about face on climate change crated a serious obstacle to his party's hopes of building a closer relationship.

Labour came out of its annual conference this weekend with senior figures saying Labour and the Maori Party were natural allies who needed to build bridges before the next election.

But Phil Goff says that will be hard when the Maori Party is supporting
National policies which harm the interests of Maori people.

“We can't be silent when they support an emissions trading scheme which is going to put them weight of the cost of pollution on the taxpayer rather than those causing the pollution. That’s even in contradiction to what they were saying a fortnight ago,” Mr Goff says.

He says there is scope to work together with the Maori Party on other issues.


The organiser of the first awards for published Maori authors says they were inspired by the way mainstream awards treat Maori writing as an afterthought.

Nga Kupu Ora is done under the umbrella of Massey University, with awards based on Internet voting.

Spencer Lilley, the university's Maori library services manager, says there are challenges in publishing Maori material which means it can get overlooked when prizes are given out.

Nga Kupu Ora winners included Ranginui Walker for his biography on master carver Paki Harrison, Malcolm Mulholland for a history of Maori rugby, Deidre Brown for her book on Maori architecture, Dr Merata Kawharu for her collection of Tai Tokerau sayings, and Monty Soutar's Maori Battalion history Nga Tama Toa.

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku and Linda Waimarie Nikora's Moko: The World of Maori Tattoo was judged Maori book of the decade.

Labour a bridge too far for Turia

The woman who broke with Labour to form the Maori Party is concerned talk of reconciliation could threaten her party's independence.

Labour president Andrew Little has called for bridges to be built between the parties, suggesting it's a more natural fit than the Maori Party's current support agreement with National.

But Tariana Turia says Labour MPs have to put the Labour Party first and being Maori second.

“Our people have to decide whether they want their independence, whether they want an independent voice and it’s far safer sitting in the middle where you can at least keep your own mana intact and negotiate on a case by case with the Government. Much easier to be outside of the tent actually,” Mrs Turia says.

When she talks with iwi leaders as an independent they know she is able to represent the Maori viewpoint.


But Labour MP Parekura Horomia says the Maori Party's supposed independence is limiting its ability to influence decisions.

The Ikaroa Rawhiti MP says Tariana Turia's party is achieving little for Maori, with its failure to get Maori seats on the Auckland super city council as an example.

“You know you can sit out and talk about mana enhancing,but if you ain’t in that cabinet you ain‘t in there, and when I went into Parliament the minister of Maori affairs’ role was down at 22. I got it up to seven. It’s now back at number 22,” Mr Horomia says.

He says many Maori are becoming disillusioned with the Maori party's lack of achievement.


An award ceremony to encourage new Maori writers has taken time out to acknowledge someone who laid a foundation for today's Maori literature revival.

Katerina Te Heikoko Mataira was given a lifetime achievement award at the Pikihuia Awards presented last weekend at Te Papa in Wellington.

Robyn Bargh, the managing director of award organiser Huia Publishers, says Mrs Mataira was a popular choice for the new award.

“She's been writing for about 50 years and most of that in Maori and she was one of the few writers in Maori to have so many works published. She can’t even remember how many of her works had been published,” Ms Bargh says.

Gisborne writer Morehu Nikora won Te Pakiwaitara i te Reo Maori Award for best short story in Maori, while Tina Makereti from Kapiti took the English short story prize. Porirua grandmother K-T Harrison won the best novel extract.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says the Maori Party's agreement with the Government on the Emissions Trading Scheme does the opposite of what the party set out to do.

The Maori Party will support the ETS legislation through to the select committee in exchange for changes including halving the impact of the scheme on power and petrol prices, boosting the amount going into home insulation for low income households, adding a Treaty clause and recognition that some previous treaty settlements may be worth less because of new rules to discourage deforestation.

Ms Turei says it appears the Maori Party is buying into the Government's plans for an intensity targets which give the biggest polluters the most public money.

“The Maori Party did say they wanted the polluter to pay. Now they’re saying the polluter should get paid. It begs the question of when are they going to stand up for what they believe in,” Ms Turei says.


Waiariki MP te Ururoa Flavell says corporate opposition to his bill to amend the Public Works Act hasn't swayed his conviction the current regime is a source of injustice to Maori.

Submissions on the bill have closed, with Telecom, Kiwirail, the New Zealand Transport Agency and others objecting to his bid to block land taken for one purpose being used for another.

The Waiariki MP is also concerned at the price demanded of Maori when land is returned, such as a block taken for a beacon for Rotorua airport.

“They confiscated this land and took it under the Public Works, put a beacon up and gave some compensation which I think was a couple of hundred dollars at the time. They no longer need it and they offered it back to the people at $124,000 or something in that vicinity plus gst . You’ve got to as yourself ‘jingers, it was their land for goodness sake, they should have the right to it,’” Mr Flavell says.

The bill before the Local Government and Environment Committee also covers general land taken under the Public Works Act.


Pokai Marae at Tikapa on the East Coast is getting its hands dirty this week

The marae on the mouth of the Waiapu River is planting a traditional medicine garden to mark conservation week.

Awhina White from the Department of Conservation says DoC is helping out with fencing material, fertilizer, and plants.

She says rongoa such as korimiko and tawa make a great addition to any first aid kit.

“We've only picked up the ones that aren’t poisonous in their preparation so they’re for things like antiseptics or cuts, things if you have a stomach ache or a toothache, just those real minor things,” Ms White says.

If the trial goes well DoC hopes other marae on the Coast will start medicine gardens.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Turia reconsiders retirement plan

Tariana Turia is considering another run for Parliament.

The Maori party co-leader had indicated this term would be her last, but she says a change in family circumstances gives her more options, with husband George moving to Wellington with the eight year old granddaughter they look after.

Tariana Turia says she'd like to see through her whanau ora health reforms, giving Maori responsibility for their own health.


The Government has once again brought together the roles of chief judge of
the Maori Land Court and chair of the Waitangi Tribunal.

New Zealand First tried to split the roles, unsuccessfully putting up a private members bill to the last parliament.

But now Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples has confirmed Wilson Isaac, who was sworn in as chief judge last Friday, will chair the tribunal for the next five years.

Tracey Tangaere, the court's new national director, says chief judge Isaac had ample preparation for his twin roles, working for 17 years in a Gisborne law firm, Barnard and Bull, before being appointed to the court in 1994.

Chief Judge Isaac has whakapapa links to Ngati Porou, Tuhoe and Ngati Kahungunu.


Maori publisher Robyn Bargh says the scripts are there if Maori filmmakers are given a chance to make movies.

Last weekend's Pikihuia awards brought forward a new crop of Maori writers hoping to follow previous winners like James George and Paula Morris into a successful career as published authors.

The Te Pakiwaitara i te Reo Maori Award for best short story in Maori went to Morehu Nikora of Gisborne for his message to an unborn child, He Reta ma Taku Huia Kamanawa.

Tina Makereti from Kapiti Coast won the English short story prize for Skin and Bones, a retelling of a classic Maori legend, while Porirua grandmother K-T Harrison took out the award for best novel extract with A Song for Jimmy.

Ms Bargh says there was also a high standard of entries in the short film script category, which was won by Wellingtonian Nathaniel Hinde with 10 Cent Life.

“That category is quite important because in the past some of those short film scripts have been made into films,” she says.

A previous winner of the script category, Warbrick by Meihana and Pere Durie, was released as a 12 minute short earlier this year.


Maori Television has scored a New Zealand coup - an extended interview with the military leader of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama.

Carmen Parahi from Native Affairs, says the opportunity came through the head of Fiji Broadcasting, who had been in New Zealand checking out the MTS operation.

At some stages in the interview she feared interviewer Julian Wilcox and his crew were about to be thrown out of the commodore's office ... and the country.

“When he was asked about poverty in the country, that things have gotten worse since the military took over, it became very personal. Whenever Julian quoted other Fijians opposing what the new military regime is doing, he would take it personally and get angry and raise his voce and stutter and throw things back at Julian so it was very good, it was very interesting to watch,” Ms Parahi says.

Native Affairs' interview with Fiji's interim prime minister Bainimaram will screen tonight at 8pm on Maori Television


Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia says her plans to make Maori responsible for their own health is creating nervousness in the Wellington establishment.

The Maori Party co-leader says the chance to push through her whanau ora reforms will play a major part in any decision she makes about standing for another term in parliament.

She says it's seen as a major policy shift, rather than being a better way To ensure the huge sums going into Maori health are used effectively.

“What we're doing no is failing. Essentially you’ve still got the state prescribing what needs to be done with that money,”
Mrs Turia says.

She says trusting that communities know best will require a major shift in thinking by the bureaucracy.


Manukau Institute of Technology is dropping its Maori department.

Acting Maori head Tony Spelman says while 20 percent of the South Auckland polytechnic's 20 thousand students are Maori, few of them are doing courses through the department.

He says after consultation with the community the decision was made to develop strategies to improve the way mainstream departments managed their Maori students.

Specialist Maori language and tikanga courses will in future be offered through a partnership with Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

“It is a bit of a challenge to the staff to te tari to take this course but this initiative is about the students and we have to address the question of the need for tertiary education amongst Maori communities,” Mr Spelman says.

Retention levels for Maori students at Manukau Institute of technology is consistently high.

Little wants movement on Maori rift

Labour president Andrew Little is calling for bridges to be built with the Maori party.

Labour held its first conference since the election in Rotorua over the weekend, with party leaders attempting to draw the line under last year’s loss.

Mr Little says many who voted for Maori Party candidates gave their party vote to Labour.

That indicates the despite current alignments, the parties need to find ways to work together in future.

“I am not surprised that the Maori Party MPs came to an agreement with the National Party in Government because they want to influence what’s going on but I think they’re finding in the first year of government that actually they don’t have a lot of influence and that they are being shacked up to policies that otherwise they wouldn’t have had a bar of,” Mr Little says.


A former Massey University social work lecturer says Maori grandparents raising mokopuna are struggling to make ends meet.

A study by Jill Worrall of grandparent caregivers found 53 percent of Maori children in care are with whanau, often grandparents.

That compares with only 31 percent of Pakeha children in care placed with extended family.

Ms Worrall says less than half the Maori grandparents surveyed had total family income over $30,000, and the money they can get from the Unsupported Child Benefit doesn’t match benefits available to unrelated foster parents.

“If the children are related to the caregiver they don’t get all the extra costs like clothing, medical care, education costs, all those that an unrelated caregiver gets so these grandparents do face a lot of costs,” Ms Worrall says.

Many grandparents caring for children are getting old, and need more access to respite care.


Tainui is looking for jobs, housing and business opportunities from a new 50
year growth strategy for the Waikato.

The strategy, put together by Tainui and Waikato’s local authorities, was launched last week by Prime Minister John Key and king Tuheitia.

Nanaia Mahuta, the MP for Waikato – Hauraki, says Maori are the biggest ratepayers in the Waikato and want a say in the way the region grows.

“We want to make sure that when growth does occur it creates opportunity at the basic level more jobs for our people, more opportunities for housing, home ownership hopefully and at another level the opportunity to get engaged in some of the new growth ventures that are around the place,” Ms Mahuta says.

She says the strategy’s aim to make Ngaruawahia the cultural capital of the Waikato is one that’s dear to the heart of Tainui.


South Auckland's Manukau Institute of Technology is scrapping its dedicated
Maori Department

Tony Spelman, MIT’s acting Maori director, says Maori courses are being mainstreamed as part of a review of how all departments at the polytechnic attract and teach Maori students.

He says most Maori students are enrolled in business courses rather than Maori-focused subjects.

“The Maori department offers nothing in that areas so actually what we thought was we need to work and open up and change the whole of the institute so that it is more open, receptive and competent to work with tikanga Maori in business, in horticulture, in the maritime school and other parts," Mr Spelman says.

Next year te reo and tikanga classes on the MIT campus will be offered through a partnership with Te Wananga o Aotearoa.


The editor of an academic journal which has debunked the warrior gene thesis says it’s important Maori use good science to defend their interests.

Les Williams from Rongowhakaata commissioned former Te Wananaga o Awanuiarangi head Gary Hook to review a paper which alleged criminality among Maori was due to the high occurrence of a particular gene sequence.

He also asked other academics to contribute to the debate in the latest issue of MAI Review, the online journal of Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga, the centre for Maori research excellence.

Professor Williams says the scientific reasoning behind the warrior gene theory was flawed, and it had contributed to a media climate which promoted negative stereotypes of Maori.

“Science is self-correcting. We comment on our work. We do some more work. We straighten it up, But in this one, because it’s been sensationalised by media, by film, by radio, by novels. It’s taken on that kind of a life as well,” Professor Williams says.

The MAI Review gets about 3000 hits a day.


A volcanic eruption is brewing in the world of Maori showbands.

The Maori Volcanics have been around the international circuit since 1966 with a changing cast of musicians, but always including leader Mahora Peters.

Now her former husband and band co-founder Nuki Waaka has formed his own Volcanics to play some Auckland dates.

Australian-based Mahora says that’s not on.

“Public knows who we are. Nuki has never used the name. Don’t ask me why all of a sudden it’s the big rangatira bit, he’s wanting to take back this group he’s put together and use the name and I said ‘How can you do that? You’ve had no contact with this group for 40 years,’” Peters says.

She holds copyright over Maori Volcanics’ name and has put the matter in the hands of lawyers.