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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Te Aue Davis straight talking inspiration

Te Tai Hauauru MP Tariana Turia says the late Te Aue Davis was an inspiration not only as an artist but as an advocate for Maori.

The Ngati Maniapoto master weaver died on Sunday aged 85, and she has been taken back to Tokikapu Marae in Waitomo.

Mrs Turia remembers first meeting her at a wananga in Whanganui on making the traditional hieke or rain cape.

“She was very direct, Te Aue, never left you in any doubt about what she thought about things, and I did love that in her,” Mrs Turia says.

Te Aue Davis contributed not only to Maori arts organisations but through service on the New Zealand Historic Places Trust's Maori Heritage Council, the Conservation Department 's Maori Heritage Board, and a Parliamentary Commission for the Environment research team that developed environmental performance indicators.


A spokesperson for a new Maori women's organisation says the group intends to challenge the National government's attacks on the well being of whenua, whanua and hapu.

Denise Messiter says Te Whaainga Wahine was formed at a national hui at Matai Whetu marae near Thameson the weekend.

She says the 60 women who attended felt wahine were still being excluded from national, regional and Maori political forums, and Maori women needed a new voice.

“Te Whaainga Wahine is a platform where women can come together, identify their concerns, to look at solutions on issues like foreshore and seabed drilling, conversations that John Key and others are having about selling off more of our resources to multinational companies, down to how do we support our whanau on a day to day basis with issues like benefit reform,” Ms Messiter says.

Te Whaainga Wahine also has the self-appointed Iwi Leaders Group in its sights.


Ngati Wai is supporting a resource consent application by a Russian billionaire to build a concrete path and jetty along part of the Northland coast.

Resource management co-ordinator Clive Stone says agents for Russian steel magnate Alexander Abramov consulted iwi about the 250 metre path at Otara Bay, near Helena Bay, which is opposed by the Department of Conservation and the Historic Places Trust but supported by Northland Regional Council.

He was the project will provide public access, help with search and rescue operations and allow restoration of the reef.

“Before we okayed it, it had to be culturally acceptable, it needed to be environmentally sustainable and it had to be socially responsible, and I think it ticked all the boxes for us,” Mr Stone says.

Ngati Wai will work with the Abromov Family Trust to protect the area which is rich in kaimoana.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says Don Brash was happy to court her party's votes when he was National's leader, but he's changing his tune now.

At a speech in Orewa on the weekend, Dr Brash slammed the Maori Party for being race based, and said people would be rightly upset if there were European or Chinese political parties vying for seats in parliament.

Mrs Turia says that's not what he was saying when he though he might need the Maori Party to form a government in 2005.

“I have no time for any politician or ex politician who deliberately divides New Zealand by playing the race card. One of the comments that he made was about ‘we’d be upset if they had an all-European party.’ Well, quite frankly many of them did for years and years and years,” Mrs Turia says.

She says Pakeha politicians never seemed to complain about Maori representation when the only Maori in Parliament were the four who held the Maori seats.


Ngati Awa treaty claim leader Professor Sir Hirini Moko Mead has been appointed the inaugural professor of a new Institute for Post Treaty Settlement Futures.

Jeremy Gardiner, the chief executive of Te Runanga o Ngati Awa, says the Whakatane-based institute is a joint development of the runanga and Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi.

He says it will be a place iwi and scholars can share ideas on the sorts of organisations iwi need to develop, how settlement assets can be used, and how iwi Maori can influence the policy the Crown develops around the treaty relationship.

“The first chair position was looking for someone who has a deep knowledge of the treaty settlement process, who has impeccable standing in the academic community and was ideally Ngati Awa, so fortunately we found a candidate who had all of those three things,” Mr Gardiner says.

The institute's first symposium, Te Pourewa Arotahi, continues today at Te papa in Wellington with contributions from treaty negotiations minister Chris Finlayson, Waitangi Tribunal deputy chair Judge Stephanie Milroy and a range of iwi leaders.


Ngati Porou tenor Will Martin hopes his new collection of contemporary songs will match the sales of his classical debut.

A New World went straight to number one on the UK classic charts when it was released there in 2008 and also made the top 20 in the pop charts.

The 26-year old says he's gone for the same big sound on the new album, Inspirations, using orchestras in London and Prague, and singing his favourite songs like Crowded House’s Don’t Dream It’s Over in the classical style.

Will Martin says he's been inspired in his career by another Maori singer, Kiri Te Kanawa


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