Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, October 09, 2009

Night class cuts could cripple Maori institutions

A long established Maori language teaching network is counting the cost of Education Minister Anne Tolley's 80 percent cut in funding for adult education.

Neria Mataira from Te Ataarangi says night classes have provided a convenient way to teach Maori to tens of thousands of Maori and other New Zealanders over the past four decades.

Three out of four schools have dropped their community education programmes because of the funding cuts.

Ms Mataira says Te Ataarangi has played a major role in ensuring there are enough Maori-speaking kai ako for kohanga reo, kura, as well as speakers for marae and other Maori institutions.

Neria Mataira says Maori language skills learned through Te Ataarangi have led thousands of people into jobs and new careers.


A master carver says marae are falling into disrepair, because pakeke have failed to teach the next generation how to maintain their tribal centrepiece.

James Rickard, tumu whakairo at Te Paia Maori Arts and Crafts Institute at Whakarewarewa, is restoring Kaiaua Marae on the western shore of Tikapa Moana, or the Firth of Thames.

He says the refurbishment is near completion, and he's now working with Ngai Paoa on a capacity-building strategy to ensure the marae is cared for well into the future.

He says children are being taught to do kowhaiwhai and tukutuku, building a sustainable future for the marae.

He says skills count for more than money in building and maintaining marae.


The opening of the Maori Art Market in Porirua last night saw a coming together of Maori artists spanning the generations.

The biannual showcase features the works of more than 200 contemporary artists.

Darcy Nicholas, the director of Te Pataka Museum and a renowned artist in his own right, says having senior Maori artists like Selwyn Muru, Fred Graham and Arnold Wilson adding their mana to the opening made it a special event.

He says it's been all go since then.

The Maori art market at Te Tauparaha Arena ends on Sunday.


The country's top kapa haka teams are taking to the stage this weekend in Wellington.

Te Waka Huia, Whangara mai Tawhiti and Te Kapa Haka o Te Whanau-a-Apanui will be showing the moves that won them honours at the national Te Matatini competitions in January.

Te Matatini chair Selwyn Parata says there will also be sets from solo artists Katarina Walker, Te Hamua Nikora, Ria Hall and a kapa haka supergroup... when all 120 performers come together.

Te Matatini koanga at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington is a celebration of the 25th anniversary of Te Maori.


Also on Saturday night and just across the way at the Wellington Town hall, tamariki from a Seatoun kura will be singing out with a string quintet drawn from members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Huia Ihakara from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Nga Mokopuna says the school was approached by concert master Donald Armstrong after he saw them at a local singing competition.

The choir will perform Hine e Hine... Swing Low Sweet Chariot... and Kiri te Kanawa's Tarakihi in what will be a new experience for the children.

The concert is to raise money for children's charity Barnardos


A benefit match for victims of the Samoan tsunami gives former New Zealand Rugby League captain Ruben Wiki the chance to fulfill a lifelong ambition.

The South Auckland-raised international with the dual Maori and Samoan whakapapa will take the field at Mt Smart Stadium tomorrow in the Samoan team against a New Zealand selection.

He says that's something he never managed in his 300 game professional career.

Ruben Wiki says the tragedy in the islands has galvanised all New Zealanders irrespective of their cultural backgrounds.

Night class cutbacks cripple reo learning

A Maori language educator says Education Minister Anne Tolley's cutbacks to funding for night classes will set back efforts to revitalise te reo.

Neria Mataira says over the past four decades thousands of people have learned Maori using Te Ataarangi method, which uses coloured rods to generate simple conversations.

It has led many into jobs in kohanga and kura... in broadcasting... and in government agencies.

She says the massive reduction in the number of schools where night classes are held will affect those who are critical for maintaining the culture.

It affects “those who have an obligation to their marae in terms of being a potential speaker or a kuamatua kuia on the marae who is being asked to look after the putanga of that marae and are wanting to develop their language skills in order to meet that sort of commitment,” Ms Mataira says.

Te Ataarangi is also popular with parents in full time work who want to keep up with their tamariki going through kohanga and kura.


If night classes are cut, more people may be looking to learn te reo online.
Waikato University te reo and computer sciences student Paora Mato is working on more effective ways of to teach Maori remotely.

He says most web-based learning systems are tailored towards mainstream thinking.

That's why he's looking at how open-source digital library software can be used to develop Maori language learning resources.

“For learning te reo you need to design a whole lot of activities that are purely focused on a Maori way of doing things. It’s like the difference between mainstream schooling and kura kaupapa. You need to apply that to computing,” Mr Mato says.

His masters thesis project was inspired by Waikato University's Flexible Language Acquisition (FLAX) project, which uses digital library software to present practical exercises for overseas students who are learning English.


Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia says plans to spend $3 million of Maori development funding supporting Maori Television's Rugby world cup coverage is drawing fire from Maori ... but it's the right thing to do.

She says the party has been getting emails from Maori saying Te Puni Kokiri should be helping people get through the recession, rather than broadcasting sport.

But she says there are long term benefits in the deal, under which the ministry would buy programming around the channel's free to air coverage which highlights Maori language, culture and business success.

“It’s very important to Maori to be showcasing the cup but more importantly to be enabling of those who would want to get involved in showcasing what they’re doing as well,” Mrs Turia says.

She was not involved in the decision to back Maori Television's bid.


In a move that harks back to his days as a Maori Affairs community officer during the Tu Tangata era, Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples plans to fund social workers through his Te Puni Kokiri budget.

Dr Sharples and Prime Minister are at Waipatu Marae in Hastings this morning to launch a scheme to fund marae to grow vegetable gardens.

He says it's the first of a number of innovative programmes he's intending to launch out of the ministry's baseline funding, which he can spend without Cabinet approval.

“Later on in this month and next month I’m launching programmes to put community workers out in the community groups, not with TPK, but TPK’s helping them become established, and they will work amongst dysfunctional families, they will work amongst pregnant mothers who might needs helps, they will work amongst truant kids and so on and get into the families and help make those families strong,” Dr Sharples says.

The programmes will be under the umbrella of the whanau ora policy developed by Maori Party co-leader and associate health and social development minister Tariana Turia, who is also a Tu Tangata-era Maori affairs community officer.


A South Auckland midwife says a lot of Maori first-time mothers are going into births under-prepared.

Turuki Health Care in Mangere are running a series of Wahine Waananga to help women have healthy pregnancies with a focus on drug-free, natural births.

Facilitator and midwife Gaelene Lovell says, a lot of Maori don't like going to mainstream antenatal classes, and usually think they are good birthers.

“Our midwives are finding our mothers are going into their births and they weren’t informed not just about what was happening in their birth but what their options were while they were birthing. There has also been an increase in the number of first time mothers who end up with medical interventions, and some of that is because they are not well-prepared,” Ms Lovell says.

Most Maori women in South Auckland don't consider attending antenatal classes is a priority with everything else going on in their lives.


A Maori artist and educator says breaking into overseas markets has helped Maori artists recognise their true worth.

Derek Llardelli is in Porirua for the Maori Art Market, where Maori painters, potters, weavers, carvers and glass blowers have been joined by indigenous artists from North America.

He says the market grew out of trips Maori have been making to North America to establish bonds with indigenous artists and galleries.

“What we realised out there was it also needs to come home so our own at home can get the same experience. We probably don’t realise our worth as a country and what we have to offer the wider spectrum of art in the world until we go overseas and come home again. Then we begin to realise yes we do have something to offer,” Mr Llardelli says.

More than $3 million of work by 200 artists will be on display at Te Rauparaha Arena until the Maori Market closes on Sunday.

World Cup winner endorses Maori TV bid

All Black legend Michael Jones has endorsed Maori Television's bid for free to air rights of the Rugby World Cup.

Jones first donned the black jersey at first World Cup tournament in 1987, when the New Zealand brought the trophy home.

He scored the first try of the 1991 World Cup, but was dropped in 1995 because he refused to play on Sundays.

He subsequently coached Manu Samoa through two world cup campaigns.

Michael Jones says Maori Television can provide world class coverage of the 2011 event.


Meanwhile, the government will tomorrow launch a scheme to grow vegetables on marae around the country using the same pool of money used to provide Maori TV with $3 million for its Rugby World Cup bid.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples, who has apologised to the Prime Minister for keeping him in the dark over funding MTS, says John Key will be with him at Wai Patu Marae in Hasting to launch the Mara kai programme.

“This is a programme where any marae can apply for us and get up to $2000 to help establish gardens there where they can grow food and feed people and how they do that and their rules for it and so on is really up to those marae. These are programmes where I think yeah, that’s good for our people, we’ve got the money in my baseline funding. Let’s go and do it,” Dr Sharples says.

He also intends to use his baseline funding to put community workers in community groups workings in areas like dysfunctional families, antenatal care and truancy prevention.


Te Rauparaha Stadium in Porirua is the place to be over the next three days if you have any interest in contemporary Maori arts and crafts.

The biannual Maori Art Market has brought together more than 2000 works by 200 artists working in everything from paint to pounamu, glass, flax, stone, bone and skin.

Artist and educator Derek Llardelli says the event is growing from strength to strength, and the standard of work on show is extremely high.

“What you're seeing is an explosion of creativity. It really is quire outstanding and not necessarily just Maori. We have our Pacific brothers here and Dempsey Bob from Canada who are exhibiting and also workshopping, and those workshops are also outstanding,” Mr Llardelli says.

The Maori Art Market was launched Thursday evening with a tribute to the late baritone Inia Te Wiata by singers Aivale Cole, Frankie Stevens and Wiremu Winitana.


Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia says sending former MP Taito Phillip Field to prison is an indictment of the justice system.

On Tuesday Justice Rodney Hansen gave her former Labour colleague a cumulative sentence of six years for bribery, corruption and attempting to pervert the course of justice, in relation to his dealings with Thai immigrants.

Mrs Turia, who is community and voluntary sector minister, says Field is a person of high integrity who has more than paid for what happened with the loss of his reputation.

“I'm really sad. I don’t believe Taito Field deserved to go to prison. There was somebody sentenced the next day for a serious violent offence that got three years. What’s wrong with us in terms of our justice system that we would give someone who doesn’t pose any risk at all six years in jail,” Mrs Turia says.

She says MPs are placed under huge pressure by migrants prepared to go to extreme lengths to stay in New Zealand.


Tauranga iwi Ngaterangi is taking healthcare to the streets.

In partnership with a public health organisation it has created a mobile health service based in a caravan staffed by a GP, nurse and social workers.

Iwi operations manager Paul Stanley says the HBU team - text speak for How About You - offers a late night service four nights a week in poor neighbourhoods between Katikati and Papamoa.

He says a priority target is young Maori men... the group least likely to visit a doctor, but its open door policy means anyone who comes along is treated, including parents bringing children and people being patched up in the middle of gang brawls.

Ngaiterangi is considering expanding into dental services and into mobile kaumatua care.


Tangata whenua are reaching into their pockets for victims of last weeks's tsunami in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga.

Former All Black and Manu Samoa rugby rep Michael Jones, who is helping co-ordinate the relief effort in Auckland, says while all sectors of the community are being generous, the Maori effort is totally overwhelming.

Tthe priorities are first aid and building supplies.

People are invited to join the Samoan community at a memorial service at 6pm Sunday at Waitakere Trust Stadium

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Racism to fore in TV debate

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says the furore over Maori Television's bid for Rugby World Cup broadcast rights shows racism is alive in Aotearoa.

His ministry is backstopping the MTS bid with a $3 million package buy of programming arouind the broadcasts.

He says the channel has the technical ability to do the job, and it's a great chance to expose a large number of people to a relatively modest amount of Maori language and culture.

“The reality there are people who are taking offence that there might be the odd Maori word used or Maori phrase and it just smacks of racism, ethnocentrism, monoculturalism and all those isms we have fought against for so long and we’re not going to stand for that,” Dr Sharples says.

He says the only reasonable ground for criticising the bid is MTS's coverage footprint, and by cup time that footprint should extend throughout the country.


The government believes teaching Maori prisoners to read and write will cut reoffending.

Corrections Minister Judith Collins launched the Prisoner Skills and Employment Strategy yesterday at the Auckland Region Women's Corrections Facility in Manukau.

She says 98 percent of Maori prisoners, who make up more than half the prison population, have literacy problems.

“I am quite happy to accept that Maori are totally overrepresented in the prison population and I am happy to accept that they are totally overrepresented in the illiteracy area as well so I think we have just got to fix it and the only thing to do is accept it and deal with it,” Ms Collins says.

She says former prisoners with improved literacy should find it easier to get work and stay out of prison.


International buyers at tonight's gala opening of the Maori art market in Porirua will be looking for the very best of contemporary Maori art and fashion.

Organiser Garry Nicholas from Toi Maori says the event at Te Rauparaha Arena includes a fashion show and a tribute to Inia te Wiata, with Sun Aria winner Aivale Cole and Frankie Steven's singing some of the great baritone's favourite waiata.

He also expects to see key dealers from the United States who will be making a beeline for the galleries, which feature the work of 200 artists.

“They are very clear. They only buy the best so on the opening night their focus is n getting the latest work coming out of our top artists,” Mr Nicholas says.

Because Maori Art Market is only held every two years, it gives artists time to develop new directions in their work before putting it up for sale.


Top defence lawyer Peter Williams QC says Maori and Pacific islanders cop tougher sentences than Pakeha.

He says Taito Phillip Field would not have been jailed for six years if he had white skin.

On Tuesday Justice Rodney Hansen sentenced the former Mangere MP to four years in prison on bribery and corruption charges in relation to getting Thai tradespeople to work on his properties in exchange of immigration help, and another two years for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

“There's no doubt when it comes to sentencing and other factors as well there’s a bias towards the person with the coloured skin and there’s no use people trying to deny it because it does exist. I’ve been round for a long time and I’ve had opportunity to see the whole system. Six years was just absolutely excessive in this case,” Mr Williams says.

He says New Zealand is going prison-mad and no purpose is served by locking up a family man who is not a risk to anyone.


But Police and Corrections Minister Judith Collins refuses to accept race is a factor in sentencing.

Ms Collins says as a minister she can't comment of sentencing decisions.

But she says there are other explanations for the problems identified by criminal lawyer Peter Williams.

“I think that it’s pretty clear that there are massive recidivism rates, particularly amongst Maori, and it won’t simply be that people are being sentenced more heavily because of their race but in addition to that it could be there are certain offences that are more likely to occur that in fact when you’ve got families that have been in difficulty for some generations, the fact is this is what happens. I think really we should be saying there’s a problem, let’s try and fix it, and at least accept that rather than attacking the judges,” Ms Collins says.

Yesterday the minister announced a scheme to address reoffending rates by teaching prisoners to read and write.


Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says Maori Television's rugby world cup coverage will be a great opportunity to promote Maori business as well as Maori language.

Te Puni Kokiri has committed to buy $3 million in programming if the MTS bid for free to air rights is successful.

Dr Sharples says that will be of huge benefit to Maori development.

“Instead of all your silly ads about this and that, they will showcase in the build up and in the side programmes, Maori businesses Maori opportunities, Maori infrastructure and all the things we are doing in industry right now and we are pumping,” Dr Sharples says.

He's also talking to Maori boradcast funding agency Te Mangai Paho about broadcasting commentaries of World Cup games through iwi radio.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Sharples to apologise for MTS bid secrecy

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples will apologise to the Prime Minister and deputy Prime Minister for keeping them in the dark about Maori Television's rugby world cup bid.

Pita Sharples says as a new Minister he was naive to not discuss his ministry's commitment of $3 million towards the bid for free to air broadcast rights.

“I should have discussed it in more detail. I did write a letter to Minister English and outlined the fact Maori TV was going to bid for it and TPK might be supporting them but the detailed conversation with the Prime Minister and the deputy Prime Minister I did not and I regret that. But that’s me. I’ve only been a minister for a year and I’m still learning what you don’t do and I will apologise to them for that error,” Dr Sharples says.

Te Puni Kokiri is buying programming to encourage viewers to use Maori words and phrases, which will wrap around rugby broadcasts during the two years of build-up as well as the live games.


Meanwhile, National MP Tau Henare says he can see no benefit to Maori from Te Puni Kokori funding Maori Television's world cup bid.

The former Maori affairs minister says government money to help Maori should go on providing jobs, but the money going to MTS won't create one new job.

“It is absolutely wrong for the government to subsidise what is essentially a commercial bid. If you agree with this, then we are going to go back to the days of subsidising and subsidies just do not work. I think we will do more damage to MTS by allowing them to dip into the government putea every time they want to make a commercial decision,” Mr Henare says.

He is a big supporter of MTS.


Patrica Grace has made the shift into non-fiction to capture a story more strange than the stories she invents for her novels.

Ned & Katina: A True Love Story is being launched about now at Porirua's Pataka Museum to mark the start of this year's Maori Art Market.

The book is about the love between Ned Nathan and the woman he met as a Maori Battalion soldier in Crete, and whom he later brought home to the Hokianga settlement of Waimamaku.

Patricia Grace says when Ned and Katina's sons, Alex and Manos Nathan, asked her to write the story, she was intrigued by the letters and photographs they brought with them.

“I'd heard a little bt about the love story that is at the core of it. I knew Ned and Katina, not very well, but I had met them. I realized there was a lot more to it. There was a story of war and heroism and a full range of themes really,” she says.

Ned and Katina is published by Penguin.

And Manos Nathan is one of the featured artists at the Maori Market, which runs from tomorrow night until Sunday at Te Rauparaha Arena.


Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says Maori Television's bid for Rugby World Cup broadcast rights needs to be judged on its merits.

Te Puni Kokiri has committed to buy programming around the broadcasts, which gives MTS $3 million to put towards its bid.

Prime Minister John Key says if taxpayer money is involved, he expects Maori Television to ensure its free-to-view broadcasts can be seen nationwide.

Dr Sharples says MTS should have no trouble doing that.

“Maori Television's track record is brilliant in terms of producing nationwide coverage of things as well as worldwide so they cannot fault Maori on technology and expertise. If they do, then it’s a racist call,” Dr Sharples says.

He will apologise to John Key and fellow shareholding minister Bill English for not keeping them informed about the Maori Television bid.


Maori health needs in the south should be better served under a new governance model adopted by the Otago and Southland district health boards.

Tahu Potiki, a member of both boards, says representatives from iwi runanga will join a Maori subcommittee which can make funding decisions.

They will also serve on a Maori advisory group to the chief executive.
Mr Potiki says with a smaller Maori population, Maori health needs in the south are different than in other parts of the country.

“We've suffered a little from being carried along by national Maori health initiatives which have in some instances worked very well for us and in others painted with such a broad brush they miss some of the local needs,” Mr Potiki says.

The four DHB seats on the iwi governance subcommittee will include the boards' Maori members, so the weight of numbers will be favour Maori.


A national gathering of gay Maori has stressed the continuing importance of practicing safe sex in the face of record levels of HIV infection.

The Hui Takaatapui at Te Mahurehure Marae in Auckland over the weekend drew more than 150 people to talk about issues affecting gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender Maori.

The hui included a fashion show and a 'Tiki Toa' bus tour to parts of the city which feature in camp history.

Organiser Jordan Harris says it was a chance to emphasise healthy communities and healthy individuals.

“The rates of HIV are high among Pakeha and non-Maori in particular, Maori tend to have some of the lowest HIV rates. However, it’s still an issue for our community,” Mr Harris says.

Next year's Takataapui hui will be in Wellington.

Pariroa Pa unveils Waionui monument

Ngati Ruanui today celebrates its oldest pa and the tupuna who created it.

Pariroa Marae spokesperson Debbie Ngarewa-Packer says a monument will be unveiled to Tutange Waionui, who started the pa 115 years ago as a way to rebuild a Ngati Ruanui presence in south Taranaki after three decades of war, land confiscation and exile.

She says Waionui was credited for killing flamboyant Austrian mercenary Gustavus Von Tempsky at the battle of Te Ngutu o te Manu, but it was his diplomatic and political activities after he returned from imprisonment in the South Island that laid the foundation for the tribe's survival.

“I believe that he was round at a time he could see what these changes were going to mean for us culturally, for us as whanau and hapu, and he preserved a lot of whakapapa. He’s documented in the Maori Land Court and all those sorts of things as recording how we got to this stage and who this land belonged to and which family whakapapa was here and all of that was really significant,” she says.

Guests at Pariroa Marae this morning include Prime Minister John Key and Te Tai Hauauru MP Tariana turia.


Maori Language Commission chief executive Huhana Rokx says Pakeha New Zealanders have nothing to fear if Maori Television wins the chance to air rugby world cup games.

MTV says if it secures free to air broadcast rights in 2011, up to 10 percent of the commentary could be Maori terms and phrases.

Ms Rokx says this would be a great way to promote te reo.

“The incorporation of any phraseology may occur at the beginning, the end, and sprinkled through the game itself we might have some exciting phrases go through, where the way you might explain things the listener is involved in the flow of the discussion, the korero,” Ms Rokx says.

Visitors will be coming for more than the games and would greatly enjoy the unique broadcasts incorporating Te Reo Maori.


The president of Golden Shears says Maori women play an essential role in the profitablity of the wool industry.

Mavis Mullins from shearing contractor Paewae Mullins says the dominence of wahine Maori in last weekend's South Island Merino Shears event is a sign of their importance.

Tina Rimene took the open fine woolhanding title, while Ngahuia Thwaites from Masterton was top junior woolhandlers.

Ms Mullins, a former champion woolhandler, says their job is to remove any faults from fleeces and class the wool as it comes off the sheep at speed.


Tauranga Moana iwi Ngaiterangi is concerned at the high level of depression and suicidal tendencies it has detected among Maori teenagers.

The iwi's new mobile health unit, which includes a doctor, nurse and several social workers, has been traveling the city in a caravan offering services to rangatahi.

Manager Paul Stanley has been shocked by what the late night consultations have uncovered.

“The single issue young people present with is depression and on a weekly basis we deal with at least one potential suicide case a week. It’s devastating, the amount of sadness that’s happening with these young people and it’s certainly consistent with other research around the country but I didn’t know it would be that bad,” Mr Stanley says.

Three quarters of the unit's clients are young Maori men, who typically are least likely to visit a GP.


The Maori Language Commission says use of Maori phrases during broadcasts of the 2011 rugby world cup would greatly enhance the experience for New Zealanders and visitors alike.

Chief executive Huhana Rokx says indications up to 10 percent of the commentary will be in te reo if Maori Television wins the free to air rights is exciting.

She says it will be loved by visitors who want to see what makes New Zealand different in the world.

Pakeha will also benefit by having Maori put before them in an accessible manner.


Young Maori playing their rugby league across the Tasman have forced their way into the new look Kiwi team to play Tonga next week.

Selector Tony Kemp says Australian-born Bulldogs' winger Bryson Goodwin qualifies through his grandmother's Waikato whakapapa.

Warrior Kevin Locke of Hauraki and Ngapuhi and Manly Sea Eagles back rower Jared Waerea-Hargeaves are also in the 23=man squad.

“He's a big raw boned Maori from Rotorua, someone who the selectors saw as having a bright future for New Zealand.

“The other one is Kieran Foran, he moved away from Auckland when he was 12, he is seen as one of the best halfback prospects we’ve seen come out of our country for a long time,” Kemp says.

Maori returning to the squad include captain Benji Marshall, Greg Eastwood, Lance Hohaia, Isaac Luke and Sam Perrett.

The Kiwis go into camp in Auckland today before moving to Rotorua on Saturday to prepare for a one-off Test against Tonga before flying to England for the Four Nations competition.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Police delays irk land protester

A Northland man arrested at a land occupation near Kaeo says police have failed to disclose information he needs for his defence.

Allen Heta was arrested last month during a protest against Juken Nissho's plans to log a Crown-owned block near Omahuta forest, and spent five days in jail.

Heta says his Te Whanau Pani hapu never ceded the land and retains aboriginal title.

He says the Human Rights Rights Act and the Official Information Act require the police to say on whose authority they were acting.

“It’s three weeks now. Police are acting in ignorance of the law. As far as those acts go, the law requires them to give full disclosure at the time of arrest or operation and none of that has happened. We are now asking them, was the operation lawful. Was the arrest lawful,” Heta says.

The officer in charge was unavailable.

Allen Heta reappears in the Kaikohe District Court on a wilful trespass charge on October 27.


The author of a history of Maori rugby says calls for a breakaway from the NZRFU will grow if the Maori team isn't given top class games in 2010.

Malcolm Mulholland says supporters are concerned no fixtures have been confirmed for next year's centenary.

He says that leaves the door open for iwi to take a more active role in Maori rugby.

“There is becoming more opportunity for iwi to be involved, provide some financial backing. I guess the crux of that discussion is how much control and leverage would iwi want for their investment. I certainly think there is room for movement. NZRFU and iwi should at the very least be talking about it,” Mr Mullholland says.

Some players may turn down a chance to join a rebel Maori squad because it could hurt their chances of making the All Blacks.


Waka builder Hekenukumai Busby is racing the clock to get Taitokerau's two historic war canoes back in the water by Waitangi Day.

Mr Busby is restoring the 30 metre Ngatokimatawhaorua, which is housed at Waitangi, and a 16 metre waka with the same name which has been on land at Otiria since it was used for the 1940 New Zealand centennial celebrations in the Bay of Islands.

He says there was a small amount of rot in the larger waka where water leaked through the roof of its storage shed, but the smaller waka was quite badly affected by spending its first 30 years in the open.

“We've taken all the rot out of the gunwales and we had to cut the front part of and replace them. All the rot’s been taken out of that,” Mr Busby says.

Restoration should be finished by November, so crews can practice over the summer.


Two Degrees chair Bill Osborne says Maori land-based organisations need to widen their investment horizon.

Through Hautaki Limited, the commercial arm of Maori spectrum trust Te Huarahi Tika, the new mobile phone operator is raising more capital from Maori to fund the roll out of its network.

Mr Osborne says Maori have the right to own up to 20 percent of the company, but many of the trusts, incorporations and iwi groups approached so far have trouble seeing the opportunity.

“Maori in general have been really focused on land based assets. This radio spectrum is the land of the future and it’s the stuff that modern platforms of technology and communications are going to be built on. I think it’s good for Maori to be involved in this asset class which is about the future and is about enhancing communication in a modern environment,” Mr Osborne says.

The Maori investment is helping to give Two Degrees a uniquely New Zealand culture.


Maori women took top honours at the 48th New Zealand Merino Shears in Te Wai Pounamu over the weekend.

Tina Rimene pulled off a notable double... having already won the Golden Shears open fine woolhanding title in Masterton earlier in the year.

Ngahuia Thwaites from Masterton took the junior woolhandlers title.
Mavis Mullins, the president of Golden Shears and a former champion woolhandler herself, says Rimene's win was expected.

“She knows her stuff. She is a wool classer by trade so she knows the intricacies of wool,” Ms Mullins says.

The New Zealand competitions are qualifiers for the upcoming World Champs in Wales next July.


An original member of the Maori Volcanics says he registered the name in New Zealand so he could give a nostalgia show for returned soldiers.

That's sparked a fight between Nuki Waaka and Mahora Peters, who kept the band going after their divorce in the 1960s.

He says he invited his Australian-based former wife to be involved in the Labour weekend concert for the Malayan Veterans Association, but she declined.

“She really didn’t want us to use that name because she still operates under that name even though I don’t think she had registered it for all those years for 20 years, so o decided we better register it so we can use the name. There’s still a little bit of raruraru going on abut it but we’ve decided we’ll go ahead and use it, but I did give her the opportunity to be part of it in the beginning,” Waaka says.

Political tit for tat in TV bid

A Labour Maori MP says Maori party co-leader Pita Sharples is using his ministerial budget to score political points against the National Government.

Shane Jones says spending $3 million of Te Puni Kokiri's money to back Maori Television's bid for free to air broadcast rights to Rugby World Cup games isn't a sensible use of Maori development funding.

But he says it gives Dr Sharples a chance to look like he's in charge, after the Maori Party's humiliation over the Auckland super-city and its botched response to National's emissions trading scheme.

“There is a disconnect between what Pita Sharples is up to and what the rest of the Government is doing. I rather suspect that Pita Sharples is showing John Key ‘you didn’t give me my Maori seats, well I’m taking this, and if you don’t give me my Maori TV bid then I’m not going to give you your ETS.’ I think what we’re seeing now is tit for tat politics,” Mr Jones says.

He says Tourism Minister John Key has failed to ensure Maori are part of New Zealand's response to the World Cup.


Commentator Ken Laban says Saturday's bout between David Tua and Shane Cameron was like watching the Melbourne Storm playing Wainuiomata at League.

He says the Mountain Warrior from Rongomaiwahine was never in the hunt against Tua, who used experience gained from a decade fighting in the United States to outclass Cameron at Mystery Creek In Hamilton.

He says Cameron should take a lesson from a second round knockout.

“He's a powerful boy. He just had the wrong programme, the wrong strategy, and to be honest, he’s been in the wrong country. I hope he can recover from this and then in a month or so jump on a plane, head over to the states and start again and see if he can get a good eight or nine years. I’m sure he can. He looks to me to be in great shape,” Mr Laban says.


For the first time Te Puia arts and crafts institute in Rotorua is bringing together jade and wood carvers.

The institute yesterday opened a pounamu development and training unit, headed by master carver Louis Gardiner of Ngati Pikio and Ngai Tahu.

Chief executive Te Taru White says Mr Gardiner and four other greenstone carvers will work alongside Te Puia's kaimahi whakairo rakau.

“There's a wonderful synergy between out wood carvers and jade carvers. Some whakairo carvers will spend sme time now working with our jade carvers to learn carving in the medium. Likewise there could be reciprocity the other way. We have two master carvers in Clive Fugill and James Rickard who have been at Te Puia for 45 years, since it first started,” Mr White says.

Te Puia is investing in growth despite a downturn in visitor numbers caused by the recession.


International buyers are queuing up for Maori Television's new 13-part children's drama.

Kaitangata Twitch by Margaret Mahy was launched at the MIP junior film and television festival at Cannes at the weekend.

Speaking from France, director Yvonne Mackay said the Te Mangai Paho-funded series caught the attention of buyers from many countries, keen to see what the acclaimed children's writer had come up with.
“It's the very first stepped into the world of Maori and she’s done that very tentatively, with great respect, and I just think maybe the world was looking for something a wee bit exotic from downunder and they’re really responding well,” Ms MacKay says.

Kaitangata Twitch, which will screen on Maori Television towards the middle of next year, has already been bought by Australia's ABC TV.


The first ever hui for iwi radio programme directors aims to boost professional standards in the far flung network.

Reno Wilkinson from Nga Iwi FM in Paeroa says the hui this week in south Auckland allows the people who oversee what goes out on Maori radio to share ideas and discuss new technologies.

He says Maori stations need to cater for audiences right across the age spectrum, from kohanga kids to kaumatua, and do it in two languages.
Many of the attendees are relatively new to the role, and are keen to learn.

Maori radio umbrella group Whakaruruhau wants the hui to be an annual event.


Te Puia institute of Maori arts and crafts has broken away from the Creative New Zealand-backed Toi Iho scheme to launch its own mark of authenticity.

Chief executive Te Taru White says the Te Puia mark will guarantee items sold at the Rotorua tourist attraction are made by craftpeople on site or trained by the institute.

He says since the institute was set up in the 1960s, expanding the carving school established by Sir Apiranga Ngata in 1926, it has trained more than 100 carvers and carved more than 40 ancestral meeting houses for hapu around the country.

“With 45 odd years as an institution and 600 years of legacy since we arrived behind the mark, we’re pretty excited about the mark. We think it’s about time. It augurs well for our traditional art form to be given an authority it richly deserves,” Mr White says.

The launch of the mark coincides with opening of a pounamu carving school on the Whakarewarewa site, which will allow Te Puia to upgrade the quality of greenstone souvenirs in its shop.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Language excuse for entrepreneuship

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says a Maori Television broadcast of the Rugby World Cup can be justified if the coverage is used to promote Maori language and culture.

Maori Television submitted a bid for the free to air broadcast rights for up to 16 of the 48 matches, based on getting additional funds of up to $3 million from the Ministry for Maori Development, Te Puni Kokiri.

Prime Minister John Key told breakfast television today that if there was a taxpayer subsidy involved he'd expect the broadcasts could be viewable by all New Zealanders - something Maori Television can't currently deliver on,

But Dr Sharples, who has been working on the bid for several weeks out of sight of his fellow ministers, says that's not something his ministry needs to be concerned about.

“Te Puni Kokiri has the responsibility to protect Maori language and it does so thorugh Te Taura Whiri I Te Re, the radio stations television, all this things, and this is probably just another opportunity to promote Maori language and Maori culture,” Dr Sharples says.

Maori Television has had to fight perceptions it is a second class service.


The chair of Two Degrees says the company's international shareholders are keen to retain Maori investment in the insurgent mobile phone business.

Maori trusts and iwi are being offered a chance to buy shares to keep the Maori stake at 20 percent.

Current investors include the Maori spectrum trust, Te Huarahi Tika, which has also provided radio spectrum to the venture, and two central North Island land trusts.

Mr Osborne says sales have been slow because it's a new type of investment for Maori, but the other shareholders are giving them time to buy in.

“The other Two Degrees investors really value Maori participation in this network. They say it gives a really uniquely New Zealand flavour to the business. And they think it’s really important that cultural values like that exist in the Maori culture are somehow engrained in the value f the network, so I think that’s particularly important,” Mr Osborne says.

Two Degrees is exceeding its targets for acquiring customers, and it's studying use patterns to see where it should build out its network.


Greenstone carvers have been welcomed on to the staff of Te Puia Maori arts and crafts institute in Whakarewarewa.

Chief executive Te Taru White says the new pounamu development and training unit will be open to the public later this month.
He says it adds a new dimension to the historic institute.

“It marries very with our whakairo school, our carving school, and also our weaving school traditions. It’s another opportunity to extend and build the profile of our wonderful traditional arts so we are pretty excited about that,” Mr White says

He says all items made at the institute will carry a Te Puia mark of authenticity, replacing the Toi Iho mark promoted by Creative New Zealand's Te Waka Toi.


Labour MP Shane Jones says Maori shouldn't have to buy their way into the hosting of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

A row has broken out over Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples using his budget to subsidise Maori Television's bid for free to air broadcast rights, with Prime Minister John Key saying he'd be unhappy if the taxpayer-subsidised broadcasts couldn't be seen across the whole country.

But Mr Jones says Dr Sharples' bid points to deeper problems with the tournament preparations.

“The rugby union in New Zealand does not have a flash reputation in respect of Maori rugby, the National Government has not made much of an effort to elevate the Maori personality in preparing for the world cup. It’s just astonishing the Maori affairs budget is being used to ensure Maori aren't left out,” Mr Jones says.

He says Pita Sharples needs to prove how a $3 million gift to the International Rugby Board is the best use for funds set aside by parliament for Maori development.


A Starship hospital cardiologist wants action to fight alarmingly high levels of rheumatic fever among Maori.

Nigel Wilson says Maori contract the illness, which can lead to heart problems later in life, at 10 times the rate of Pakeha.

He says rheumatic fever can be prevented by the timely application of antibiotics to bacterial throat infections.

“The government have been saying mot sore throats are viral, which don’t respond to antibiotics, therefore don’t give antibiotics to people who come along with sore throats and that’s fine in some communities but it’s not fine where people are at risk of rheumatic fever,” Dr Wilson says.

Doctors in upper North Island areas where rheumatic fever should take swabs when Maori and Pacific Island children present with sore throats.


A Maori touch is being credited for giving the Melbourne Storm the extra edge needed to put the Parramatta Eels in the hinaki on the weekend.

Commentator Ken Laban says assistant coach Steve Kearney from Te Atiawa and Ngati Toa was critical in the Storm's National Rugby League premiership win for the way he has managed the increasingly diverse cultural makeup of the Melbourne team.

He says when Kearney eventually moves on to a head coaching role, Storm coach Craig Bellamy has a replacement in mind.

“He fully intends to replace Ste en Kearney with another Maori or Pacific Island coach because he said (Kearney) has got a way about the players, a lot of the other clubs have had trouble with their Maori or Pacific Island boys but with Steen their, the influence of our Maori boys over there is not going to decrease, it’s only going to increase,” Mr Laban says.

The Storm has more Maori players in its development ranks ready to join Adam Blair from Ngapuhi in the top team.

Sharples ready for flak on rugby rights

The Minister of Maori Affairs says he always expected to cop flak over his backing for Maori Television's for the 2011 Rugby World Cup's free-to-air broadcast rights.

The millions of dollars needed would come out of Te Puni Kokiri's Maori development budget and does not need Cabinet approval.

Pita Sharples says the best way for Maori Television to fight the perception it is a second class service is by innovative programming such as its Anzac Day broadcasts and its sports cover.

“I'm really in favour of Maori Television growing because it will give us a chance, if we get in on that bid, to show Maori talents. It will give us a chance to show Maori businesses and our products. Our language will be right up there. It can be in two languages. I just think there’s every advantage in Maori Television taking that up,” Dr Sharples says

Te Puni Kokiri has a responsibility to support Maori language and culture, and support for Maori Television is part of that.


The head of the Auckland Tobacco Research Centre says Maori are blamed for their high rates of smoking while outside influences escape criticism.

Marewa Glover says the inquiry into the tobacco industry to be held by the Maori affairs select committee next year should bring some long overdue scrutiny to unscrupulous industry practices.

She says for generations Maori have been manipulated by those who profit from tobacco sales, including government.

“It’s just such a great Maori-bashing football this one for all the racists out there to use against us but if you know the inside story you know how little dedicated funding has gone that has gone to develop Maori-specific programmes that will actually work for Maori,” Dr Glover says

She says average New Zealanders continue to invest in tobacco companies.


The captain of the national ki-o-rahi side is in Europe negotiating rules for next year's first ever international tour of the traditional Maori ball game.

The game, which is played on a circular field by teams of up to 50 members, was taken to Europe by the Maori Battalion during World War II.

Coach Harko Brown says up to now teams have agreed on the rules before kick off under a process called tatu.

“We’re just trying to standardize the rules so when we go to Britain it will be the same as France and Germany and Holland. But there’s always that process of tatu. No country has to say they have to go along with standardization. They can say ‘we want to play our rules,” Mr Brown says.

Many schools are now fielding ki o rahi of teams for either the tackling or touch versions of the game.


Maori organisations have been given extra time to invest in new mobile phone company Two Degrees.

The company has been raising extra capital from shareholders to fund its rollout, which includes a process to allow the Maori shareholding to remain at 20 percent.

Chairman Bill Osborne says the Maori shares are currently held by Hautaki limited, the commercial arm of the Maori radio spectrum trust Te Huarahi Tika, and two central North Island land trusts, Tuaropaki and Pouakani.

He says other trusts and iwi have been cautious about investing in a type of asset they are unfamiliar with, but the United States and European shareholders are giving them more time to do due diligence.

“If Maori don’t invest the money the other shareholders will so we have already got that commitment. What they are doing is giving us more time to keep our proportional share of the business up. We’re very grateful for that opportunity,” Mr Osborne says.

Hautaki and Te Huarahi Tika Trust are considering changes to their structure to make it more attractive for other Maori investors to come on board.


While Maori Television is preparing to spend millions of dollars on broadcast rights for the 2011 rugby world cup, a rugby historian says little is being done to mark next year's centenary of Maori rugby.

Malcolm Mulholland, the author of Maori rugby history Beneath the Maori Moon, says the window is closing for the NZRFU to line up the talent for a suitable celebration.

“We know that Ireland and Wales are coming next year so you would think NZRFU would be talking to them. The longer they leave it, the less likely t is that NZ Maori are going to be playing some top level opposition, and that saddens me,” Mr Mulholland says.

Meanwhile, Maori Affairs Minister is defending his support for the Maori Television bid as in line with Te Puni Kokiri's mandate to promote Maori language and culture.


A leading Maori policeman says lack of funds is preventing development of an iwi strategy to fight Maori crime in Auckland.

Wally Haumaha, the national manager of Maori, Pacific and ethnic services, says iwi want to get involved in crime prevention.

He says Auckland University's James Henare research centre has been on stand-by for two years to write a strategy that would identify whakapapa patterns among offenders and set up support systems to discourage criminal activity.

“The difficulty that we face is the funding and the resourcing. Talks we are having at the ministerial level, it’s talks that we have had with different government departments but I think at the end of the day we are going to have to rely on our own people, on iwi, being the drivers of this programme in getting it off the ground,” Mr Haumaha says.

Statistics out last week show a slight drop in the level of overall crime in Auckland, with the district's crime resolution rate remaining steady on 39 per cent.