Waatea News Update

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Maori want chance to own Fonterra dry shares

Taranaki Maori farming interests are challenging diary giant Fonterra to broaden its capital restructuring proposals.

Ranald Gordon, the general manager of Parininihi ki Waitotara Incorporation's dairy farms and a Fonterra shareholder in his own right, says the plan to be considered by shareholders next month will disadvantage Maori landowners.

That's because it ignores the interests of those who by choice or historical circumstance must lease out their land.

“Where perhaps you've got an ahu whenua trust which is leasing its land to a lessee, under the current rules they wouldn’t be able to participate in the dry share proposal because they’re not deemed to be the supplying shareholder,” Mr Gordon says.

Farmers who have retired and are leasing the farm to their children are also excluded as are many sharemilkers.


People from around the motu have been streaming through Tapuaeharuru Marae by Lake Rotoiti to pay tribute to Ngati Pikiao leader Arapeta Tahana, who died on Wednesday aged 64.

Eru George, the chair of Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa, says his organisaiton's settlement of Te Arawa's land and forestry claims relied heavily by the unity built up by Mr Tahana during the decade he led Te Arawa Maori Trust Board's claim for the Rotorua Lakes.

He says in the Labour Department, the trust board and in his seven years as chief executive of Waiariki Polytech, Mr Tahana battled to lay the foundations for the tribe's future.

“A unique feature of Arapeta was making the move now to influence and put in another generation who can make decisions while an older generation is still around to give that guidance,” Mr George says.

The funeral for Arapeta Tahana will be at 11 on Sunday at Tapuaeharuru Marae


A trade union educator says Maori should use Labour Day to celebrate their contributions to workers' rights.

Helen Te Hira of Unite says the day marks the world-leading efforts of workers in this country for the eight hour working day, starting with carpenter Samuel Parnell's protest in Petone in 1840.

She says the momentum grew through the 19th century, and Maori were attracted to the collective nature of unions.

The first recorded wages dispute happened in the Bay of Islands in October 1821, when Maori sawyers went on strike for the right to be paid in money or gunpowder.


A Maori member of the Creative New Zealand board says the $320,000 a year spent maintaining the Toi Iho mark was unsustainable.

Creative New Zealand is dropping its support for the trademark, which cost a million dollars to establish in 2002.

Erima Henare from Ngati Hine says it only had a limited take-up, as many senior and successful Maori artists did not feel they needed an outside agency to attest to their mana or the quality of their work.

“In the minds of those who believe in Toi Iho it definitely wasn’t ill conceived and it wasn’t a failure but I think if we view these things as we do in hindsight and in the recession that we’ve been in I think the money could have been better prioritised,” Mr Henare says.

Creative New Zealand is looking for an appropriate body to administer the mark for those artists who want to continue using it, but the funding will go back to Te Waka Toi for other funding categories.


The director of a taskforce on sexual violence says the Maori tradition of manaakitanga could leave whanau open to abuse.

The government-backed group found Maori may be twice as likely to suffer from sexual violence as non-Maori.

Kim McGregor says it doesn't mean the offenders in those cases are Maori.

“A lot of people are duped by people who want to get access to children to sexually abuse them and it may be because Maori are very hospitable that they open their homes up and their trust is betrayed by people who are looking for opportunities to get access to children,” she says.

The taskforce is recommending a national plan to address sexual violence, including programmes specifically for Maori.


A core of Maori players hopes to lead an under strength New Zealand league team to victory in the four nations tournament which starts this weekend.

The Kiwis have been hit hard by injury, losing Warriors Manu Vatuvei, Sam Rapira and Simon Mannering as well as former national captain Roy Asotasi.

Manager Gordon Gibbons says those left from the side that won the World Cup winning side have moved into senior roles... including Adam Blair from Ngapuhi, Thomas Leuluai from Te Taitokerau, Lance Hohaia from Tainui, and Benji Marshall from Tuhoe.

He says Marshall has developed into the role of captain.

The Kiwis begin their Four Nations campaign against the Kangaroos at the Stoop Stadium in London on Sunday morning.

Friday, October 23, 2009

FOMA members looking for weather clues

Members of the Federation of Maori Authorities are hoping for some clear indications of government policy today when Environment Minister Nick Smith addresses their annual meeting at Pipitea marae.

Chief executive Rino Tirikatene says FOMA's 150 members between them manage more than $10 billion dollars in assets, mainly in farming, forestry and fishing.

He says while they are in a better finacial situation than many other New Zealand corporates, they still need certainty to rin their businesses.

“Maori are inherently very conservative in the nature of their businesses because they have to be kaitiaki and mangers of their asset bases. So it doesn’t help when the policy arrangements concerning some of the big issues impacting on those assets are still under development as well, and climate change and the ETS is a classic example there,” Mr Tirikatene says.

Nick Smith is talking to the hui about climate change and freshwater policy.


Labour MP Kelvin Davis says the deal between National and ACT over Accident Compensation spells disaster for Maori workers and whanau.

The Northland-based Maori list MP says the radical nature of the deal shows the Maori Party was foolish to back the introduction of the Government's ACC legislation.

National has agreed to look at opening the workers' account to competition.

Mr Davis says that would be a disaster for Maori, who are concentrated in industries with high injury rates.

“Let's stop referring t the competition side of things. That’s just political spin. The reality is this is privatization. Maori families and Maori companies aren’t going to benefit from it,” Mr Davis says.

He says the what the government is proposing amounts to a huge wealth transfer from New Zealand taxpayers and whanau to Australian insurance companies.


Former Kiwi coach Brian McLennan is crediting whanau for the Leeds Rhino's third win in a row of the Challenge Cup, the United Kingdom's top league trophy.

Mr McLennan, who's back home visiting family, says the Rhinos include a mix of English, Australian and New Zealand players, including Maori prop Kylie Leuluai.

That makes working on unity important.

“The Leeds team I've got is a close knit as any I’ve coached and we base our concept around whanau, whanau first, you look after one anther and have a bit of selflessness and do what’s right for your teammate,” Mr McLennan says.

Meanwhile, the Kiwis open their Four Nations rugby league campaign against the Kangaroos at the Twickenham Stoop in London on Sunday.


A government backed task force is recommending a Maori approach to preventing sexual violence.

The taskforce of government and voluntary sector representives was set up after the public backlash at the acquittal of former assistant police commissioner Clint Rickards of historic sex charges.

Director Kim McGregor says the task force wants a national plan which would include allowing Maori to address sexual violence in their own communities.

“There are very different needs for Maori survivors of sexual violence. Maori have a much more holistic approach to the problems of sexual violence in comparison to tauiwi so the responses required are quite different,” Dr McGregor says.

The government should also fund a pilot programme for Maori offenders.


One of the founders of Kohanga Reo says giving formal recognition to elders is rejuvenating the Maori language pre-school movement.

Hundreds of kaumatua and kuia who work in kohanga have been given honorary Tohu Whakapakari, the movement's specially-developed teaching qualification, which has equivalent status to a mainstream early childhood diploma.

Iritana Tawhiwhirangi says it's the way Kohanga Reo has got around restrictive Education Ministry conditions which were driving elders out of the movement.

“All districts this year have acknowledge their elders right around the country and there’s been a wonderful return of the joy and spirit and excitement of kohanga,” she says.

Iritana Tawhiwhirangi says without the wisdom, experience and knowledge of reo and tikanga only kaumatua can bring, the kohanga reo movement will wither and die.


Lincoln University scientists have found puha contains 1080 poison.

But don't stop the traditional boil-up - three tonnes of the Maori delicacy would have to be eaten in a single sitting for it to kill.

Shaun Ogilvie, the university's senior lecturer in wildlife management, says tests also found watercress contains minute traces of 1080 ... but 9 tonnes would need to be consumed before it had an adverse effect.

He says 1080's naturally occurs in some plants to stop them being browsed by animals.

Dr Ogilvie, who's of Te Arawa and Ngati Awa descent, says he won't be giving up his pork, puha and watercress boil ups as a result of the findings.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tribesmen sign on to Murupara truce

A rahui against gang violence in Murupara seems to be working even before it starts.

Tribesmen president Peter Hunt told a hui of iwi representatives yesterday his chapter would accept a truce with the Mongrel Mob.

The hui was called after kaumatua last week refused to allow patched members to attend a tangi, following months of increasing tension between the gangs which has led to two deaths in in the central North Island forestry town.

Murupara school principal Pem Bird says Mr Hunt's bombshell shows the gang has been doing some serious reflection.

“All kudos to that man. It’s a chiefly way of responding so he’s taking responsibility for his gang and an instant instruction to observe a period of peace leading to the outcome we all want here, rongomau, permanent peace,” Mr Bird says.

The hui decided to go ahead with formally declaring the rahui or ban in two weeks.


Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says Maori should be ready to fight for the retention of the MMP voting system.

The Government has announced a referendum on the electoral system to run alongside the 2011 election, and a binding one on any replacement system will be held the election after.

Ms Turia says MMP has delivered real benefits for Maori with more Maori in Parliament across the political spectrum.

That's why a targeted information campaign is needed where Maori can access information from trusted source and talk to each other


The author of a book on Maori cannibalism is inviting his critics to hear him out.

Auckland University of Technology professor of history Paul Moon is crossing the road to Auckland University next Tuesday for a seminar on the book This Horrid Practice.

Professor Moon says since the book was published a year ago he's received threatening letters and even a human rights complaint.

He says rather than rebut his argument Maori cannibalism was about post-battle rage rather than food, critics have attacked the book based on rumours about what's in it, without bothering to read it.

“As recently as last week there was a conference where someone who was a keynote speaker was condemning the book and he obviously hadn’t read it so it’s frustrating, Hopefully you will be able to explain the book and answer questions. People will have a much better impression of what it's about,” Professor Moon says.

He says it's a challenge to write history in a climate of censure.


A champion of the Toi iho trademark says Creative New Zealand is shortsighted to scrap it.

The arts funding body says the mark, which is supposed to reassure buyers they are not buying fakes or foreign-made replicas, has not delivered on its aim to increase sales for Maori artists.

Publisher Ata Te Kanawa says she backed the decision by Te Waka Toi, Creative New Zealand's Maori arts board, to spend a million dollars setting up the trademark six years ago.

But she says it hasn't had the official support it needed.

“Our intention from the beginning was for the benefit of generations to come, that there would always be this striving for excellence in art and how dare they, it’s still in its initial stages, decide they will end this right now,” Ms Te Kanawa says.

She says because of the lack of promotion, only 15 of 200 artists at the recent Maori Art Market in Porirua were using the mark.


The chair of the Maori spectrum trust says uncertainty over the Government's changes to the emissions trading scheme is hampering efforts to get Maori investment in mobile phone company Two Degrees.

Mavis Mullins says Te Huarahi Tika Trust wants to keep the Maori stake at 20 percent, but its Hautaki subsidiary has so far failed to find organisations willing to sign up for the minimum $500,000 share buy.

She says trusts and iwi are being extra careful with their cash.

“With Maori having a heavy stake in the primary sector, the whole area of climate change and the ETS and potential liabilities are just making people a little more careful than they normally would have been with such a new investment,” Mrs Mullins says.

She is hoping investors will come forward after Two Degrees chief executive Eric Hertz speaks to this weekend's Federation of Maori Authorities conference.


Kohanga Reo National Trust believed giving its kaumatua honorary diplomas will stem the exodus of expertise from the kohanga reo movement.

Around 60 Wellington kaumatua were today awarded the Tohu Whakapakari, Kohanga Reo's highest qualification.

Spokesperson Iritana Tawhiwhirangi says the pre-school movement relies on the expertise of elders to pass on not only language but tikanga and tribal traditions.

She says the Ministry of Education agreed to the qualification, because its requirements were driving kaumatua out the door.

“And so you found what was being imposed was an early childhood regulatory system that tended to undermine, not deliberately, but it happened, to undermine the position of kohanga, the role of these leaders and the paramount importance of having them there,” Mrs Tawhiwhirangi says.

Hundreds of kaumatua round the country have so far received Tohu Whakapakari, with only Tairawhiti still to go through the process.

Maori spectrum trust considers rematch

Te Huarahi Tika Trust may go back to the government to seek help maintaining the Maori stake in mobile phone company Two Degrees.

The trust's annual meeting this week hear there is a risk the Maori shareholding could fall below 20 percent if buyers can be found before the end of the month for $20 million of new shares.

Chair Mavis Mullins says the trust, which was formed after national Maori organisations challenged the sell off of spectrum suitable for third generation mobile phone networks, says the deal done a decade ago doesn't meet the needs of Maori today.

“People made a big deal at the start of $5 million being given to Maori to undertake this work but the reality is there’s been an excess of $200 million invested to date to get it where it is so underfunding yes, absolutely, but we’ve made the best of it and there is still a lot of work to do,” Mrs Mullins says.

Maori organisations may be unwilling buy Two Degrees shares because they're not as comfortable with technology investments as they are with putting their money into farming or forestry.


Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia says a succession plan will be put in place to find a replacement for the party's founding president.

Whatarangi Winiata had indicated before last weekend's conference he wanted to retire, but delegates could not reach agreement on the three people who out their names forward for the post.

Mrs Turia says delegates were aware Professor Winiata's term doesn't actually expire until next year.

“What they asked him was whether he would see his term through and in the meantime that he begins to look at developing these people,” Mrs Turia says.


Tainui's ambition to clean up the Waikato River should get a boost today as farmers, scientists and regulators get together for the second Waikato agricultural summit.

Alan Campbell, the sustainable agriculture co-ordinator for Environment Waikato regional council, says a balance is being sought between economic, environmental and community values.

He says the pastoral industry has in the past been a major contributor to river degradation, but farmers have been tackling issues like protecting stream banks, erosion control and improving effluent control.

“Despite the fact there are still problems, lots of progress has been made. Our challenge is to continue that progress and step it up, and out pathway forward is to do it collectively,” Mr Campbell says.

Today's summit will hear about steps to halt the increase in nutrients and sediment getting into the river


Ngati Pikiao and te Arawa are mourning the death of former Te Arawa Maori Trust Board chair Arapeta Tahaha.

Mr Tahana, who was in his 60s, had a heart attack at a Rotorua gym yesterday afternoon.

As well as playing a prominent tribal role in negotiations over compensation for the Rotorua lakes, Mr Tahana was a former president of Mana Motuhake and a former chief executive of Waiariki Polytechnic.

Labour's Maori Affairs spokesperson Parekura Horomia says his former Labour Department colleague was dedicated to improving the situation of

“And he was really one of those people who pushed the barriers to make sure Maori had a clear say in education and he was really keen on doing things Maori for Maori and by Maori. That was Albie and he will be sorely lost by Ngati Pikiao and Te Arawa whanaui,” Mr Horomia says.

Arapeta Tahana will be taken to Tapuwaeharuru Marae on Lake Rotoiti this morning.


Tariana Turia says the Maori Party is backing National's changes to Accident Compensation because the Labour government left the corporation in crisis.

Labour has slammed the Maori Party for agreeing to vote for the introduction of a bill that will gut entitlements and open the door for privatisation.

It says the Government is creating an imaginary crisis, and problems with ACC's balance sheet can be fixed by delaying by five years the deadline for forward funding all potential claims.

But Mrs Turia says the crisis is real.

“They left the ACC in huge debt. I’m not an economist but my understanding is that it was $2.2 billion the year before they went out and in the year they went out of power it had gone up to $4.7 billion so that’s a lot of money,” Mrs Turia says.

The Maori Party is also backing National's plans to cut up to 500 administrative jobs in the health sector, because it believes it will lead to better services for Maori patients.


Organisers of the first Taranaki Maori festival says the event may eventually move around the rohe.

Descendants of the eight Taranaki iwi are being invited to Waitara on November 13 for three days of kapa haka, sports and debate.

Co-ordinator Emere Wano from Tu Mai Charitable Trust says it's a cautious start, but it’s a big kaupapa to coordinate eight iwi.

Meanwhile up the road in Te Kuiti the six day Maniapoto festival is well under way, with today's activities including hunting, fishing, and eeling as people get ready for a weekend of sports and celebratio

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Court clears objections to Opotiki fish farm

The High Court has cleared the way for an iwi-led initiative to create the country's largest mussel farm.

The court rejected fisheries giant Sanford's claim commercial fishing would be harmed by Eastern Sea Farms' plan to develop 3800 hectares off Opotiki in the Easter Bay of Plenty.

Whakatohea Maori Trust Board owns 54 percent of the company, with the rest held by Sealord and New Zealand Sea Farms.

Director Ian Craig says the victory was eight years in the making.

“We're very happy with it. We put everything on hold pending the court decision. Now it’s gone our way we can start planning for the future,” Mr Craig says.

Shareholders will meet in November to map the way forward.


The head of Maori Television is defending what's seen as a close relationship between the channel and the Maori Party.

Party co-leader Pita Sharples last week referred to a revised bid for Rugby World Cup broadcast rights as a Maori Party-led bid, and while it may have been a slip of the tongue, the Maori Affairs Minister worked closely with Maori Television on its initial bid.

MTS chief executive Jim Mather says Maori TV is not aligned with any political party, there is a close affinity with the Maori party which came to the fore during the rugby coverage saga.

“The Maori Party and Maori Television will probably have a greater level of affinity because of our shared understanding of te ao Maori and also because both organisations have a strong underlying kaupapa Maori foundation that certainly guides the way our organisation develops and progresses,” Mr Mather says.

He was disturbed by the behaviour of senior government ministers, and praised Prime Minister John Key for stepping with the solution of a joint bid with TVNZ and TV3 ... even if it means Maori Television will no longer get the exclusive free to air rights it was seeking.


Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says the Maori Party is abandoning its constituents by backing National's changes to Accident Compensation.

Maori Party support will allow a bill cutting ACC entitlements to get to a selection committee, and Tariana Turia has indicated her party could even consider opening up parts of the corporation to competition if it believes it would be good for Maori.

Ms Turei says the changes flagged so far indicate the opposite will be the case.

“A $100 excess payment you would have to make before you get access to treatment simply means those n the lowest income won’t get the treatment they need to get back to work,” Ms Turei says.


The chair of Maori technology investor Hautaki limited says Maori will never get a better opportunity to invest in mobile phone company Two Degrees.

Brian Leighs yesterday reported to Hautaki's parent body, Te Huarahi Tika Maori spectrum trust, on efforts to raise about $20 million from Maori.

This will maintain the Maori stake in Two Degrees at 20 percent, but the option is set to expire at the end of the month.

Mr Leighs says it's hard to find Maori organisations willing to consider investments outside traditional areas like property, farming and natural resources ... but they could be kicking themselves in future.

“Getting in now at the ground floor, the price these shares are being offered was set back in January, February 2009 which was six months before launch. Now the company has launched successfully, it’s operating and it’s generating revenues so the execution risk is considerably less so the next time any shares come round available to Maori, they will probably be at a significantly higher price,” Mr Leighs says.

Maori organisations are required to invest at least $500,000 if they want to be in.


Tariana Turia says the Maori Party is backing the introduction of National's Accident Compensation reform bill to prevent ACT having a bigger say in its composition.

The Maori Party co-leader says it doesn't mean the MPs will back fee increases and entitlement cuts once the bill gets to the select committee.

But she says the risk was ACT using its relationship with National to drive through its privatisation agenda.

“My concern is they’ll sell off the workers’ account and it’s the only part of ACC that’s making a profit. They’ll sell it off to an insurance company because insurance companies will not take an parts of ACC that are not earning a profit,” Mrs Turia says.

Taxpayers would be left with the non - earning parts of ACC which would mean fee increases.


The mountain and the river were out in force today to see Te Atawhai Taiaroa of Tuwharetoa and te Atiahu a Paparangi made a knight commander of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

More than 600 people gathered at his old school, Hato Paora in Feilding, to mark the occasion.

Naida Glavish from Ngati Whatua, who served with Sir Atawhia on Te Ohu Kaimona, says he has highly developed skills which he brings to chairing the fisheries commission and other Maori organisations.

“He's an amazing facilitator who has the ability to see two sides of a story and of course he’s absolutely having been raised by the grandparent generation, the ability to develop reconciliation in conflict between parties,” Ms Glavish says.

Sir Atawhai is also known for his knowledge of tikanga, and his deep humility.

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Hundreds expected at Kaiwai tangi

Hundreds of mourners are expected in Ruatoria over the next few days to pay their respects to Mate Kaiwai who died yesterday aged 94.

Writer Keri Kaa, who was taught by Mrs Kaiwai at Rangitukia Primary school, says Aunty Mate was known for her deep knowledge of te reo Maori, and her willingness to help those seeking proficiency in their native tongue.

The youngest daughter of Ngati Porou leader Sir Apirana Ngata was an accomplished writer, poet and composer and recorded many waiata for East Coast iwi station Te reo Irirango O Ngati Porou in Ruatoria.

“Most beautiful simple elegant prose, all in Maori, and you didn’t dare ask for an explanation of her songs, you had to work it out for yourself so she provoked people into thinking of the language,” Ms Kaa says.

Mate Kaiwai is lying in state at Mangahanea marae just out of Ruatoria.


Labour leader Phil Goff says proposed ACC changes will hit Maori seasonal workers hard.

The government yesterday gained the support of the Maori Party to introduce a bill which will cut some entitlements and extend the time before ACC must be fully funded.

Mr Goff says the changes will be a blow for people who are struggling in the recession.

“It all looks pretty unfair. If you’re a seasonal worker in the freezing works, you have a serious accident, they base your pay not on what you were getting at the time of the accident but if you average that out over the full year, including when you weren’t able to work because those works were closed. All of those things are tremendously unfair. They’ll impact on Maori,” Mr Goff says.

He says National’s handling of the issue is a shambles, and there is no need to make any cuts if the move to forward funding is pushed out five years.


Commentator Ken Laban says new Bll Black recruit Tamati Ellison can go all the way.

He says the utility back has shown his class in the Wellington and Hurricanes teams, the New Zealand Sevens and the Maori squad.

Like his great great uncle Thomas Rangiwahia Ellison, who captained the New Zealand team to Australia in 1893, Ellison has the right pedigree and attitude to eventually fill the All Blacks top job.

“He's fluent in the reo. He’s doing science up at Victoria. He was head prefect at Mana College so he’s got leadership and captaincy written all over him. The only problem is that jostle of players in midfield but I have no doubt he’s a potential All Black captain in the making,” Mr Laban says.


Gang liaison worker Dennis O'Reilly is confident New Zealand can beat the P epidemic.

The veteran Black Power member says the community based approach promoted by Maori Affairs minister Pita Sharples is working.

Dr Sharples is under fire for meeting gang leaders to ask for their support in the fight against amphetamines.

Mr O’Reilly says New Zealand appears to be moving from an epidemic where more people are using P to an endemic stage where those already addicted are using more.

“I gave the keynote address to the Australian drug conference a couple of weeks ago and they really have a problem and they’d give their eye teeth for the sort of community-based approach we’re taking in Aotearoa,” Mr O'Reilly says.

Reasons for optimism include the Mongrel Mob and the Salvation Army working together on a P recovery centre.


Labour Party Maori Affairs spokesperson Parekura Horomia says the Maori Party’s support for the Government’s ACC reforms will hurt Maori.

The Maori Party will support the first reading of the bill cutting Accident Compensation entitlements.

Mr Horomia says the changes will Maori families hard, because they include savage cuts to what’s paid to casual and seasonal workers if they get injured.

“It just seems to be a continuum of supporting things that will hurt our people and you don’t have top be a rocket scientist to understand what the implications are in relation to the large number of Maori who are working class and how this will affect them,” Mr Horomia says.

He says the ACC changes go against what the Maori Party’s whanau ora health and welfare policy is supposed to achieve.


Former Labour MP John Tamihere says a referendum on MMP carries a high risk for Maori.

Justice Minister Simon Power yesterday announced the referendum will be held alongside the 2011 general election.

Mr Tamihere, who represented the seats of Hauraki and Tamaki Makaurau, says mixed member proportional voting has increased Maori representation, not just through the emergence of the Maori Party but in the mainstream parties.

“MMP has meant the Maori constituency has some significant leverage and significant opportunities so in the event people were disinclined to support the referendum, that’s a risk,” Mr Tamihere says.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mate Kaiwai dies aged 94

Ngati Porou is today mourning Matehuatahi Kaiwai, the youngest daughter of Sir Apirana Ngata, who died aged 94.

Writer Keri Kaa says Auntie Mate was a renowned poet, writer and composer known for her forthright manner and unwavering support of te reo Maori.

She taught Maori into her mid-80s, including doing advanced courses for Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori.

Her last public engagement was attending the Maori language awards in Porirua last Friday.

“She was the pou pou of our language school and we're absolutely shattered because she was linguistically the model of what a good speaker, writer and thinker is and any time we asked for information we got a thoughtful and sometimes thought provoking answer,” Ms Kaa says
A service was held for Mate Kaiwai in Gisborne today, and she is due about now at Mangahanea marae, just out of Ruatoria.

E Kui moe mai moe mai moe mai.


Whanganui Maori say the council chambers is a better place for a statue of former premier John Ballance than ancestral land at Pakaitore- Moutoa gardens.

The Ulster-born Ballance founded the Wanganui Herald newspaper, and entered Parliament in 1875, eventually holding a number of portfolios including native affairs.

The new bronze statue was unveiled yesterday, replacing one beheaded during the occupation of the gardens in 1995.

Occupation leader Ken Mair says while Ballance is regarded as the representative of a colonial regime which stole Maori land, the iwi agreed to the council-commissioned statue being erected outside the civic chambers.

“There's still some strong gripes and anger about John Ballance being celebrated in any forum, whether that be down by the council, in the museum etc, but our position at the end of the day is it’s not about erasing history, it’s about acknowledging that history in its context and we said as long as it’s not down by us at Pakaitore, that’s the end of the matter,” Mr Mair says.

He says it is time for the people of Whanganui to move on.


A Waikato University lecturer who is being internationally recognised for her work in adult education says the government’s cuts to continuing education are short sighted.

Sandy Morrison of Tainui and Te Arawa will be inducted into the Association for Continuing Higher Education’s hall of fame at its conference in Philadelphia next month, for her work in Asia and the Pacific.

Ms Morrison, who’s from Tainui and Te Arawa, says the May budget cuts will have long term consequences, with most schools unable to offer night classes next year.

“The government is being very short sighted in the reduction of funding which is going to change adult and community education forever. I guess all of what they call the soft targets are not validated as much as the economic agendas that are in place,” Ms Morrison says.

Maori have effectively used the night class system to develop distinct Maori styles of education.


Labour leader Phil Goff has slammed Maori Affairs minister Pita Sharples for meeting gang leaders.

In March Te Puni Kokiri paid $6000 to bring 16 gang leaders to its Auckland office for the meeting on ways to stop escalating violence caused by the P trade.

Mr Goff says while Dr Sharples may be well intentioned, the guest list included convicted criminals who are still in the drug trade.

“Look, they’re not going to say a cup of tea with the minister and some nice words from him abut how we shouldn’t be bad, that’s not going to make the real difference. The people who are organising this traffic are making literally millions of dollars out of people’s misery,” Mr Goff says.

He says it doesn't look like a co-ordinated response to crime when one week the Prime minister is declaring war on gangs and the next the Minister of Maori Affairs is meeting with gang leaders.


Gang liaison worker Dennis O'Reilly says Pita Sharples is showing inspiring leadership on the gang issue.

The veteran Black Power member, who was at the meeting, says Dr Sharples asked the gang members to use their influence for positive rather than negative ends.

He says the Maori Affairs Minister should be applauded for trying to turn the gangs leaders away from drugs and crime.

“I’ve never heard him endorse gangs. I think it was hypocritical of the Labour guys to bag him for that. Every government I’ve known in the past 30 years are quite prepared to speak to gang leaders. Whether hey do it publicly or privately, they’ve all done it,” Mr O'Reilly says.


The eight Taranaki iwi are making plans for the first Taranaki Festival in Waitara next month.

Emere Wano from the Tu Mai Charitable Trust says kaumatua see the three day event as a way to encourage the next generation of tribal leaders.

It’s modeled on the biannual Tuhoe Ahurei, which includes sports, debates and kapa haka.

Ms Wano says the region has a busy events calendar with its annual Rhodendron Festival, the Womad world music festival and visits by international artists, but for Maori the calendar was light apart from the Parihaka Peace Festival.

The Taranaki Maori Festival starts on November 13.

Seven seats the first focus

Former Alliance president Matt McCarten says the Maori Party needs to focus on winning all seven Maori seats rather than make a play for the party vote.

The party came out of its annual hui last weekend with its leadership intact, with co-leader Tariana Turia confirming she will see another term and founding president Whatarangi Winiata staying on with no sign of a suitable successor.

Professor Winiata whipped up the faithful with an eight years pl00an to get the party vote up to the Maori share of the population, which would give it 18 seats.
But Mr McCarten says the former accounting professor's skill with numbers seems to disappear when it comes to counting votes.

“Organisationally the party has struggled to put the strategy in place in the seats so when they talk this weekend about 18 seats by 2017, why not 20? Why not 15? It’s just a number drown from out of a hat. The first thing is to win the seven seats,” Mr McCarten says.

He says the 75-year-old president is not able drive the organisational effort the party needs to improve its prospects at the next election.


A Waikato University Maori development lecturer has won international recognition for her work promoting adult education in the Third world.

Sandy Morrison of Tainui and Te Arawa will be inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame at next month's conference of the Association for Continuing Higher Education in Philadelphia.

She says working in marginalised and illiterate communities in Asia and the Pacific, she saw how a little learning could be a dangerous thing.

“Through being in a village helping promote literacy programmes you can make a difference in some people’s lives but more than that. You can start to hold their governments accountable for what they are doing in adult education or for what they’re not doing,” Ms Morrison says.

She’s the first New Zealander to be inducted into the hall of fame.


What New Zealand is doing to help young Maori into work will be highlighted at the International Careers Conference in Wellington next month.

A capacity crowd of 800 delegates from around the world has booked for the event.

Linnae Pohatu, the general manager Maori of government agency Careers Services, says innovations like including whanau in career decisions has sparked widespread interest.

“The rest of the world views New Zealand as real leaders in terms of indigenous development. We might think we’re not going as quickly as we could but certainly from the perspective of other career practitioners across the world, the look to us for leadership in terms of indigenous development,” Ms Pohatu says.

University of Waikato pro vice chancellor Maori Linda Tuhiwai Smith will deliver a keynote speech to the conference.


A Murupara leader says a rahui on gang activity round the central North Island forestry township has little chance of success, but the gangs need to know their actions are unacceptable to Maori society.

Pem Bird says kaumatua last week ordered gang members to take off their patches before coming onto a marae because they were fed up with escalating conflicts between the Tribesmen and Mongrel Mob which have resulted in two deaths.

He says going back to tikanga or customs could offer a way forward.

“We use this tikanga based on knowing our chances of pulling it off are pretty remote but giving it a go anyway. The law doesn’t appear to be working so we’re going to complement that with our law. We’re taking back the turf we’ve got mana over. We’re bold enough to say mana whenua is a bit more than this abstract thing, we want to exercise it,” Mr Bird says.

Ngati Manawa will work towards a truce between the gangs.


One of the developers of the Google translation toolkit says it will greatly help those who want to use te reo Maori.

Waikato University computer science lecturer Te Taka Keegan has spent six months at Google’s California headquarters working on how the translation technology can help minority languages.

Dr Keegan says the company's original focus was on the world's top 10 languages, but the technology is readily adaptable to smaller languages.

“It will allow people to start sharing and using each other’s translations and right across our country, right across our language, we will start getting a uniformity of our terms and it’s going to make our language simpler, easier and move it forward into the next generation of tools,” Dr Keegan says.
Maori was one of 284 languages added to the Goodle translation toolkit last week.


If your workmates seem to be starting their Labour weekend early, it could be because they're Maniapoto.

The King Country iwi starts its six-day festival in Te Kuiti today.

Taonui Campbell, the chair of Te Kawau Maro o Maniapoto, says the programme includes wananga, sporting contests, tree planting, kapa haka, a hikoi round the marae in the rohe and a kaumatua ball.

He says the festival, now in its 16th year, is a positive way to bring iwi members back home, rather than just seeing them at tangi.
For those Maniapoto unable to make it to Te Kuiti for the festival, some events will be streamed online at the tribe's website.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Maori Party has succession headache

A seasoned political strategist says the decision by Maori Party president Whatarangi Winiata to stay on is a sign of failure.

Matt McCarten, the former president of the Alliance, says the 75-year-old was asked to stay on because the party could not build a consensus around the two other contenders for the role.

He says the president's role includes building a party machine to contest the Maori electorates, and creating a succession plan - and Professor Winiata has failed on both counts.

“It's a worry. You haven’t got any obvious contender in pace so you’re asking someone in their 70s to stay at the helm of the party which really needs somebody, if Whata as the president can’t do it, a good secretary to organize it and get a machine on the ground because they are going to go through another election of potentially not winning those two seats again,” Mr McCarten says.

He says Professor Winiata's target of having 18 Maori Party MPs by 2017 is just picking numbers out of the air, and the priority should be winning all seven Maori seats.


Meanwhile, rangatahi within took time at the Maori Party annual hui at Mahurehure marae in Auckland to talk about strengthening their voice.

Spokesperson Haimona Gardiner says the Young Maori Party is working on a constitution which will set the rules for electing a leadership group.

He says with 50 percent of Maori aged under 26, it is important rangatahi have a voice in the party's policy development.

“It is important we bring rangatahi into the party. We need to groom future leaders. At the moment our youngest MP is 51 which is still pretty young but we do need to build our leadership within the party,” Mr Gardiner says.


Ngati Manawa has declared zero tolerance of gangs,

The central North Island forestry township of Murupara has been wracked by violence between Tribesmen and Mongrel Mob members, culminating in two deaths in recent months.

Kaumatua Pem Bird, the principal of Murupara School, says the iwi has banned patches and gang colours from the marae.

“You cannot be Ngati Manawa and be a gang member of gang sympathiser. Take your pick. You’re welcome back on if you make the right choice. If not, then accept the consequences of your actions. We‘re going as far as tangihanga in saying if you are a gang member belonging to my marae, you die, we’re not going to have you back on the marae, because the fact is they will bring in the hordes and endanger the wairua, the lives, our pakeke, We’re not going to have that,” Mr Bird says.

Ngati Manawa is holding a hui on Wednesday to encourage neighboring iwi to join in the rahui and ask the gangs to renounce violence and.


The Raukawa Trust Board has been honoured for its efforts to revitalise te reo Maori.

The south Waikato iwi picked up the Supreme Award, Te Tohu Huia Kaimanawa, at this year's Te Taura Whiri Maori Language Awards.

Charlie Tepana, the pouwhakahaere for Raukawa's reo team, says the priority of its Whakareia te Karaka o te Hinu Raukawa five year strategy is supporting marae, which are a barometer of the language.

“We're seeing every year the diminishing number of capable kaumatua speakers and the next generation following that kaumatua have very little fluency so we’re trying to put in place steps to ensure our marae will always have capable speakers and our kawa and tikanga, law and customs are forever upheld,” Mr Tepana says.

Language learning network Te Ataarangi and former Maori language commissioner Timoti Karetu were also honoured for their contributions.


A Waikato university scholar says it's vital to research traditional understanding of the Maori way of death before those with the knowledge die themselves.

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku of the School of Maori and Pacific Development is heading a three year project which has won $950,000 in funding from the Royal Society of New Zealand and $250,000 from Nga Pae o te Maramatanga, the National Institute of Maori Research Excellence.

Professor Te Awekotuku says it will include recording the chants and karakia still actively performed at tangi by learned people.

“It is vital that while they are still with us we take the opportunity and request the privilege from them of extending our knowledge and of enriching the canon of actually learning more, reading between and behind the layers within those chant traditions,” Professor Te Awekotuku says.

While Maori talk about death all the time, there has been little formal research into tangi customs.


There are two new Maori faces in the All Blacks for the test squad which will face Japan, Britain and France.

Coach Graeme Henry picked Hawkes Bay winger Zac Guildford from Ngati Kahungunu and Wellington utility back Tamati Ellison for the six game tour.
That makes a total of nine Maori in the squad.

Ellison says his whanau's association with rugby dates back to great great uncle Thomas Rangiwahia Ellison, who captained New Zealand's first official rugby team on its tour of Australia in 1893.

Apart from making the ABs, one of his ambitions is to keep building his skill in te reo.