Waatea News Update

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Community Max giving hope to rangatahi

Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira has welcomed news of extra funding for Community Max in the far North and other regions.

The short term work scheme was axed in this year's budget, but Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has found $17 million to bring it back in provincial areas with high Maori unemployment.

Mr Harawira says the scheme is giving community groups a chance to spruce up infrastructure like marae and community centres, and it's also also offering hope for eligible rangatahi in the 16 to 24 age range.

“I know a lot of young people have missed out and done it tough these last few years and don’t see much hope. I’m not saying Community Max is the answer to everything but it is an opportunity for our kids to lift their sights again,” Mr Harawira says.


Taranaki whanui have been gathering at Owae Marae in Waitara to remember those who have died over the past year and look forward to the year ahead.

The Harimate marks the start of the annnual commemoration of the legacy of physician turned politician Sir Maui Pomare, who died 80 years ago.

Marae member Ruakere Hond says it's a chance for the iwi of Taranaki to achieve a common direction.

“This year being the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of war here in Waitara makes it particularly relevant to talk about the long history of Taranaki iwi seeking ways to redress that grievance so we’re definitely in that part of the process but at the same time it’s appropriate to hear the korero of other people’s perspectives of the 150 years,” Mr Hond says.

Pomare Day tomorrow will include a speech by Te Atiawa kaumatua and former governor general Sir Paul Reeves on how to look back at the past but go forward in peace, and the launch of the marae-based youth court on the marae.


There will be a lot of hot air at tomorrow's Matariki celebrations in Flaxmere.

Te Aranga Marae chair Des Ratima says the marae has bought together seven hot air balloons to simulate the seven stars of Matariki.

A ceremonial hangi opened at dawn, with the steam rising to represent the connection between Papatuanuku the Earth Mother, and Ranginui, the Sky father.

“We'll open the hangi at 6am and in the hangi will be seven woven kono, each with a riwai and a kumara. Each will be taken to a balloon so each balloon will have an offering to Ranginui from Papatuanuku. Then they take to the sky and I think it will be quite moving really,” Mr Ratima says.

The ceremonial hangi will be followed by a traditional breakfast and a matariki carnival in the afternoon.


The judge who will be conducting youth court sessions on Waitara's Owae Marae says rangatahi engage more with the judicial process in that environment.

The initiative will be launched at tomorrow's Pomare Day commemoration on the marae, which will be attended by Attorney General Chris Finlayson and senior members of the judiciary.

Judge Louis Bidois says rangatahi attending court sessions on other marae show more respect and interest and listen harder.

He says that will make the whole process work better.

“It's about monitoring what has been agreed to at the family group conference, to ensure that the tasks that were agreed to were complied with but there’s also going to be an added dimension of having kaumatua there, there may well be additional tasks that are required of the youth, some cultural aspect to it like learning a mihi, learning a whakapapa, making some connections to their own tribal area,” Judge Bidois says.

He expects there will eventually be about a dozen cases dealt with at each monthly session.


Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira says this week's testimony by whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand demonstrated the value of the Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry.

The former American industry executive told the committee the government should require disclosure of all the additives that go into cigarettes to make them more palatable and addictive, especially to young people.

Mr Harawira says Dr Wigand reinforced how the industry targeted indigenous communities, and his testimony will add weight to the committee's final report.

“We're doing this through the Maori affairs select committee and we are doing this for Maori because the health select committee had constantly refused year after year after year to deal with this issue. We know if there are positive outcomes for Maori in terms of getting rid of tobacco, those positive outcomes will be for the whole country,” Mr Harawira says.


A ceremonial waka being launched tomorrow at Aurere in the far north will be a vessel to promote Maori art and and culture in Europe.

Tamahou Temara, the operations manger for Toi Maori, says the waka built by master craftsman Hekenukumai Busby is destined to be a working exhibition at the Volkunkunde Museum in Leiden, Holland.

A team from Aotearoa will train paddlers from the Njord Royal Rowing Club to use the waka and help museum staff maintain it.

“In terms of legal ownership it will still be owned by Toi Maori so as long as we still have the mana over that waka, in terms of our international promotional strategy around Maori art and what have you, we can use that waka as a vehicle to promote not only our art but our culture throughout Europe,” Mr Temara says.

The waka will be handed over to the Volkenkunde Museum in October

Community Max returns in regions

The head of a south Auckland social services agency says the limited return of Community Max is bizarre.

In this year's budget the Government axed funds for the job scheme for 16 to 24-year-olds, but social development and employment minister Paula Bennett now says she's found $17 million to fund positions in Northland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato and East Coast.

Peter Sykes from the Mangere East Family Service Centre says it reeks of politics rather than policy.

“Garnering favour in the rural areas or the communities that maybe didn’t get the funding in the first place. To say that it’s too costly, too expensive and not effective and then to roll it out again, there has to be some other agenda,” Mr Sykes says.

He says Paula Bennett is doing nothing to help young Maori in Mangere who lost their Community Max positions after the budget.


Organisers of next year's Maori Art market in Porirua are planning to include a wananga on the role of the haka in contemporary Maori society.

Creative director Darcy Nicholas says the market will be on during the Rugby World Cup, and could appeal to some of the thousands of international vistors who will be in the country.

He says they might learn there's more to the haka than they see at the start of a rugby game.

“Is it all about aggression, is it challenge, is it expression, is it a mark of respect? I had originally conceived of small teams of say about eight coming in and then having an in depth discussion of their views of the haka, both male and female,” Mr Nicholas says.

Next year's market will be the biggest ever showcase of Maori art.


A select group of kaihoe will be chosen to deliver a new ceremonial waka to its home in Holland.

The 14 metre kauri waka, the 32nd built by tohunga Hekenukumai Busby, will be launched tomorrow at Aurere in the far north.

It will then go on permanent loan to the Volkenkunde Museum in Leiden, where it will be used by the Njord Royal Rowing Club as well as visiting Maori crews.

Toi Maori operations manager Tamahou Temara says the chair of the Aotearoa Nga Waka Federation, Robert Gabel, will be casting a critical eye over the paddlers tomorrow.

“He will be selecting a crew from here to be actually go up there just before the handover of the new waka to train them and work alongside them. We’re also looking at exchanges that can happen between the Njord Royal club and the Nga Waka Federation based here,” he says.

The launch will feature the premiere of a special haka composed by waka historian Tepene Mamaku


A short film based on the 1888 New Zealand Natives rugby tour of Great Britain has won second prize at the Montreal First People’s Film Festival in Canada.
Warbrick, by brothers Meihana and Pene Durie from Rangitane, tells the story of how captain Joe Warbrick inspires his physically exhausted teammates to take the field against England.

Meihana Durie says the film seemed to strike a chord with the jury, despite differences of language and sporting code.

“Resilience was a word they used to describe the typical experience many first nations people have in lots of different areas and in this particular case it was rugby and there’s not too much rugby over there but the theme of resilience and commitment to the kaupapa was something they talked about,” Mr Durie says.

The award came as a surprise, so the brothers made their acceptance speech via Skype.


A far north claim negotiator says Muriwhenua iwi have one of the strongest cases in the country to customary ownership of the foreshore and seabed.

Haami Piripi from Te Rarawa says the actions of elders in the 1950s to have Te Oneroa a Tohe or Ninety Mile beach classified as Maori land have provided a solid base for today's negotiators.

He says far north iwi have never given up the struggle, and the outcome could be better for everyone.

“This is the kind of new institutional arrangement the country needs if it is move on to our next phase of maturity. Same for conservation estate land. You can’t have a whole forest or foreshore full of Maori nomenclature and run on a Roman paradigm, it doesn't fit,” Mr Piripi says

Far north negotiators have been using some of the models already established by Ngati Porou and te Whanau a Apanui to advance their case.


A former head of the Maori lawyers association is being remembered as a gifted and passionate advocate who in her short career was able to get courts to give weight to Maori principles.

Jolene Patuawa-Tuilave of Te Roroa and Te Uri o Hau died in Tauranga yesterday at the age of 34.

Ms Patuawa's courthouse battles included stopping Unison Networks from putting a wind farm on an area of immense spiritual importance to Maori in the Hawkes Bay.

Her step-mother Jackie Patuawa says her daughter continued to fight, even when she was diagnosed for the second time with cancer.

“Jolene was a very principled girl and if she believed in it she would fight for it until the bitter end, it didn’t matter how tough that fight was, and I think her whole journey over the past eight months was testament to that again,” Mrs Patuawa says.

Jolene Patuawa will be taken back today to Taita marae at Mamaranui near Dargaville, with the funeral at 11 on Monday morning.

E hine, hoki atu ki a Matariki kainga kore, ki te huihuinga o Matariki.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Roia Jolene Patuawa dies at 33

Te Roroa and Ngati Whatua as well as the Maori legal fraternity are mourning former Maori Law Society president Jolene Patuawa--Tuilave, who died of cancer this morning in Tauranga.

Ms Patuawa graduated from Otago University in 2000 and quickly achieved distinction as a lawyer specialising in treaty, environmental and Maori law, first with Tauranga firm Holland Beckett and then as a senior associate with Kensington Swan.

She returned to her home town last year, but was diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer while she was carrying her second child.
Her stepmother, Jackie Patuawa, says Jolene made a significant contribution to Maori through her work.

“She rose up very very quickly, and I think that’s just her passion for her work and for Maori people in general She was very very proud of her Maori heritage and just wanted to do everything she could to help her people,” Mrs Patuawa says.

Jolene Pautuawa-Tuilave is survived by her husband Rob and children Rob, Vitolia and 10-week-old Lui.

She will be taken to Taita marae at Mamaranui near Dargaville, with the funeral at 11 on Monday morning.


The head of the Sawmill Workers Against Poison, Joe Harawira says a health support package offered yesterday is only the start of what former mill workers need.

Ministry of Health officials were in Whakatane yesterday to outline how workers affected by tanalising processes used at a former board mill could get services including a comprehensive health test each year.
Mr Harawira says it's better to have a little bit of something than a whole lot of nothing, but at least the workers are finally being listened to after more than two decades of campaigning.

“The biggest part for us is they’ve got my group there part and parcel of the decision making on all these issues. For a government agency to offer that to us, it has to be a big plus,” Mr Harawira says.


The coach of the Maori All Blacks puts last night's historic win over England in Napier down to the team's sense of collective responsibility rather than the many acts of personal brilliance.

Jamie Joseph says since the centenary squad was brought together earlier this month, its members have walked with a sense of pride in the achievements of past teams.

He says while wing Hosea Gear has won accolades for his hat trick of tries, it came on the back of a concerted team effort.

“You know in professional rugby a lot of it’s about the individual and the guys get contracted, they make money but in a Maori environment there’s something bigger than themselves, they’re actually playing representing and responsible for something a lot bigger than the individual. It was about our people. It was about 100 years. It was about those who had gone before and the guys really embraced that and played accordingly,” Mr Joseph says.


There was an impressive display of legal firepower in the Bay of Islands today to witness the elevation of the country's newest Maori judge to the bench of the district court.

About 20 judges from the district and Maori land courts, as well as Northland and Maori MPs, were on the Ngati Manu Marae at Karetu as District Court chief Judge Russell Johnson swore in Greg Davis.

They included brothers Kelvin, a Labour list MP, and Patrick, a Kawakawa police sergeant.

Judge Davis is the first Maori alumni of the Waikato University law school to sit on the district court bench.

His last job was leading the legal team for Ngapuhi’s historic claims before the Waitangi Tribunal panel headed by Maori Land Court judge Craig Coxhead, who was on hand to welcome Judge Davis to the Maori bench.


The Mental Health Foundation is encouraging the use of culture to counter low self-esteem.

Chief executive Judy Clements says today is International Self Day, when it's okay to think good thoughts about yourself.

She says low self esteem can lead to other problems, and many Maori have been helped by by programmes like the foundation's Manawa ora o nga Taiohi youth programme that focus on positive aspects of culture as an antidote to negative media images.

“To actually learn about their own history, to understand tikanga made a huge difference to their self esteem. It was a really good set of results from exposure to their own culture, their history, and to leaders that respected them,” Ms Clements says.


And a leading Maori artist says rugby is Art when it's played well.

Darcy Nicholas from Te Atiawa is planning for next year's Maori Art Market in Porirua, which will co-incide with the Rugby World Cup.

He says the market could be an opportunity to promote Maori artistic expression to rugby fans - who may have an appreciation of the finer things in life, such as the flair displayed in the New Zealand's Maori team's 35-28 rousting of England at Napier.

“Sport at its best is art and that’s when emotions, intelligence, physicality, everything is moving in harmony with itself and we saw some of that last night. That’s what I loved about the game,” Mr Nicholas says.

Miraka creates outlet for Maori milk

The chair of a company building a $90 million milk powder plant at Mokai says it will offer an attractive alternative for Maori-owned dairy farms in the Taupo region.

Miraka is a joint venture between Wairarapa Moana Incorporation, which runs more than 8000 cows at Mangakino, and Tuaropaki Kaitiaki, which is supplying the land and geothermal energy as well as milk.

Kingi Smiler says when the GEA-built drier goes into production in a year's time, it can process up to 1 million litres of milk a day for export.

He says a more sustainable model for the shareholders and other Ngati Tuwharetoa trusts and incorporations than continuing to supply Fonterra.

“We will have a much more efficient plant with a mush tighter supply circle and therefore from a cost perspective we will certainly be very cost effective. Price wise, we would expect to match Fonterra and even do a little better by having close relationships with our particular customers,” Mr Smiler says.


The Greens are backing Hone Harawira's objections to the way police are building up their DNA database.

The Maori Party MP has accused the police of "nazi-style" tactics in persuading rangatahi to give DNA samples.

Metiria Turei says the Greens unsuccessfully opposed a relaxation of the law around sampling from people who have not been charged with a crime.

She says the changes, which come into force next month, will unfairly affect Maori youth.

“Hone's typically dramatic in his language but the point is right. Our people, our kids in particular, our young Maori boys are being targeted like this. It’s absolutely wrong and the police have to stop and there should be an investigation in to it,” Ms Turei says.

She says while the police have done a lot of work in recent years to improve their relationship with Maori, including recruiting more Maori officers, the underlying culture which results in a disproportionate emphasis on Maori offending hasn't changed much.


A return to traditional ways is improving the health and behaviour of tamariki and their whanau at an Invercargill kohanga reo.

Kaiako Debbie Kuti says four years ago Kimihia Te Mataurangi o Nga Tupuna developed an edible garden and started teaching the children and their parents traditional methods of growing, harvesting, preparing and storing food, using a pataka or storehouse.

She says their diet changed, and so did their behaviour.

“The boys weren't as well behaved as they are now because we haven’t got tomato sauce, we don’t serve up noodles, they’ve all gone off our kids’ lunches. In doing that, they’ve all settled down. It’s all very interesting,” Mrs Kuiti says.

As well as learning healthy eating, the children go through a six month Sport Southland Active movement In-Depth programme.


The kohanga reo movement has been challenged for focusing on Maori language at the expense of other aspects of a child's development.

Tiahuia Abraham, the head of the Whanganui branch of the Maori Women's Welfare League, has 40 years experience as an early childhood educator.

She says the Maori immersion preschool movement has short-changed Maori children because its adherents fail to understand the role of play in the education process.

“I will challenge Kohanga Reo National Trust. While we may have te reo me ona tikanga, we don’t have enough of child development training coming through, learning about the ages and stages of our children,” Mrs Abraham says.

She says many Maori now in prison may be there because their educations starting at kohanga reo level was deficient.


Haka, classical and electric boogaloo moves are all part of the mix for Kowhiti festival of contemporary Maori dance starting today at Wellington's Te Papa museum.

Organiser Merenia Gray says over the next four days dancers and audience can experience workshops, lectures, performances and film screenings.

She says it's a chance to celebrate the contribution Maori are making to the art in this country.

“At the moment the sector is full of beautiful work. You’ve got Tai Royal’s work with Tane Mete, you’ve got Atamira, Moss Patterson, Charles Koroneho, all these amazing artists whose work isn’t being seen enough and we went, if you guys support it and come on board, we’ll put it together, so here we are,” Ms Gray says.

Kowhiti may allow directors of other festivals here and overseas to pick up on some unique acts with a strong Maori brand.


The chair of Kahungunu Tourism says an exhibition of Maori rugby memorabilia held to coincide with last night's Maori All Black match in Napier against England has been a big hit with Maori.

The show at Kahungunu's Marine Parade visitors centre includes photos of past Maori rugby greats, programmes and other items.

Marie Edwards says it met an urge among Maori to connect with each other, and people have been bringing in whakapapa to connect it up with some of the photos.

Mrs Edwards, or Carlos Spencer's cuzzie as she's now known, says the exhibition will stay up until July 10.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Health help for Whakatane mill workers

The Greens are welcoming the announcement of a support package for former Whakatane Board Mill workers who were exposed to the toxin pentachlorophenol or PCP.

Under the deal announced by the Health Ministry in the Bay of Plenty town today, workers who were in the job for at least a year back in the 1970s and 80s will get special access to the health system including primary mental health services.

Greens co-leader Metitia Turei says the party has supported the Sawmill Workers Against Poisons group since the 1980s, and it's good their concerns have finally been acknowledged.

“There was of course that big investigation and report about Paratutu on the other side of the island but they never took the same kind of notice to what was going on in Whakatane and it was always my concern that was always a concern of mine that it was a predominantly Pakeha population in Paratutu and a predominantly Maori population in Whakatane and why weren’t they being treated the same,” she says.

Ms Turei says because PCP can find their way into the food chain, it's good that the package includes research on inter-generational effects.


Prime Minister John Key says the proposed reform of the Foreshore and Seabed Act will offer real change, even if only a few iwi and hapu are likely to benefit.
Labour leader Phil Goff has called the reform a con because the tests for customary rights remain the same.

Mr Key says there is no question the test will be met by iwi like Ngati Porou and Te Whanau a Apanui on the East Coast, which have already negotiated conditional settlements.

They will get a title acknowledging their mana and the right to extract minerals like sand and gravel, but not allowing the land to be sold.

“Customary rights will be a lot easier to achieve. Ultimately customary title is not necessarily going to be easier to achieve because you have to exclusive use and occupation since 1840, but as I’ve said to a number of groups, it’s not the government’s job to necessarily make the tests easier. It’s to make the process fairer and I think in that regard we've done that,” Mr Key says.


Kai kanikani and choreographers from around the country were welcomed in Wellington today for the Kowhiri Festival of Maori contemporary dance.

The four day event, which is part of Matariki celebrations at Te Papa museum, includes performances, workshops, lectures and dance films.

Dancer and teacher Tanemahuta Gray says it's an opportunity for choreographers to see the new dancers coming through from places like the School of Dance and Whitireia Polytechinic, which is presenting a bracket at the Te Papa marae before heading off on its annual tour to folk festivals in Coatia, Slovenia and Germany.

He says Kowhiri is a chance to see the work of Maori artists whose work is often overlooked on the mainstream dance festival circuit.


A Tauranga district court judge says marae-based youth courts are forcing whanau to reconnect with their rangatahi who have gone off the rails.

Judge Louis Bidois will oversee a monthly youth court session at Owae Marae in Waitara.

That brings the total number of marae holding sessions to five, with Orakei launching its service yesterday.

He says in the marae setting the offender is not alone.

“Too often we see a single parent, mother usually, appearing in support, no one else present, because it’s the youth court and usually because they’re too whakama to tell others about the trouble their child has been in or their youth has been in. By going to the marae, I see a real need for those single parent mothers and families to get family support because they are going to need it themselves,” Judge Bidois says.

Marae courts are used to oversee the accountability and rehabilitation processes agreed in the family group conference, which is held after the initial Youth Court appearance.


Prudence Stone, the director of the Smokefree Coalition, says the Maori focus of the select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry has proved to be a master stroke.

The committee is nearing the end of its hearing and will soon start finalising its report back to parliament.

Dr Stone says that report will get world attention, because Maori make such a poignant case study.

“They're an indigenous population and tobacco is written into the very story of their colonisation here in Aotearoa so the imperative to rid the whanau of tobacco is a passionate one for the storytellers of this inquiry and then an inspiring one for anyone listening and so New Zealand has started to listen,” Dr Stone says.

She says it's unfortunate the Maori smoking rate continues to rise while other New Zealanders are breaking the habit, which could indicate the success of the industry in targeting Maori.


A leading archaeologist says New Zealanders need to think carefully about what parts of their past need to be protected.

Nigel Prickett has just completed an 18-month long project for the Department of Conservation cataloguing New Zealand War fortifications around the country.

He has also contributed a chapter to a book marking the 150th anniversary of the start of the taranaki wards, Contested Ground.

He says many battle sites are coming under pressure from development.

“I mean Waikato and Taranaki and the north and Bay of Plenty, these places are now coming under threat and it’s terribly important we make up our minds which are the really important ones and we make sure they’re preserved for the future because they have got a big story to tell. There’s nothing like actually standing there where an event took place to make sense of it rather than just getting it out of a book,” Dr Prickett says.

He says people can't make sense of what's happening in Aotearoa today without knowing about the New Zealand Wars.

Perception and reality meet at tide line

Labour leader Phil Goff says reform of the Foreshore and Seabed Act could cost the Maori Party votes once its supporters realise they've been had.

Mr Goff says the so called agreement between National and the Maori Party to let Maori go to the High Court to prove customary title is just two sides posturing to save political face.

He says perceptions need to line up with reality at same stage.

“When they don't, then people both feel angry because they haven’t got what they wanted, and feel angry that the wool has been pulled over their eyes and people don’t know what the difference between Crown ownership and public space is because there is no difference, they know that the same criteria for customary rights will apply as applied before the courts for decades and actually was being applied in the negotiations between iwi and the Crown under the existing act,” Mr Goff says.


The author of a book celebrating a hundred years of the New Zealand Nurses' Organisation says she's discovered some larger-than-life Maori characters in her research.

Mary Ellen O'Connor says the rigid and regimental nature of the profession in its early years put off many Maori women, who were more likely to go into fields like mental health care.

But she says there were women like Marika Wehipehana who persisted and also practiced what is now called cultural safety, especially in strongly Maori areas like the East Coast.

The book is Freed to Serve, Proud to Care.


The organiser of today's Port Waikato Matariki Winter Olympics says the Maori new year celebration brings out the competitive spirit in the region's kaumatua.

Livane Ratu from Huakina Development Trust says kuia and koroua from Waiuku to Mangatangi will get advice on health eating and ways to avoid falls, which are the main cause of injury among the elderly.

They will also engage in some age-appropriate games like giant ball soccer, indoor bowls and darts.

A lemon tree will be planted, with due ceremony, to mark the day.


Tobacco industry whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand says high levels of tar and nicotine in New Zealand cigarettes could be one reason the addiction hits Maori so hard.

Dr Wigand, who went public in 1996 with documents showing the industry was covering up its knowledge of the risks of tobacco, is in the country to give evidence to a Maori affairs select committee inquiry.

He says while factors such as family pressure to smoke and the lack of effective cessation programmes may contribute to the fact almost one in two adult Maori are addicted to tobacco, the way the industry concocts its products here is causing extreme harm.

“The high level of nicotine, the high level of tar could go to explaining partially the reason why there is such an issue among the Mori. You have a nicotine level that’s substantially higher than (brands in other countries). You have a tar level that is directly related to the illnesses associated with tobacco use, the morbidity and mortality, and I think that’s part of the equation,” Dr Wigand says.

He says as more affluent societies step up the pressure to go smokefree, the tobacco industry is shifting its focus to marketing in the developing world and to lower income communities such as Maori.


The consultant behind a 10-year public art plan for Hamilton is denying he left Maori out of the picture.

Some Hamilton City Councilors have complained Rob Garrett's $20,000 report ignored important themes like heritage and Maori.

But Mr Garrett says his intention was always to involve tangata whenua in the detailed planning which follows the initial document.

“You can't tell the stories of Hamilton and you can’t engage the communities of Hamilton without giving consideration to the Maori stories, both the vibrant, living ongoing stories of today as well as the heritage,” Mr Garrett says.

The four themes he identified for the council to focus on are the river, arrivals, innovation and people.


Playwright Albert Belz wants today's audiences to experience some of the excitement generated by the Maori showbands of the 1960s and 70s.
His Raising the Titanics premieres tonight at TAPAC theatre in Auckland's Western Springs College.

The 37 year old from Ngati Porou, Ngapuhi and Ngati Pokai says he wanted to write a play which put Howard Morrison, Billy T James, Prince Tui Teka and Kiri Te Kanawa on the same stage.

That was put in the too hard basket, and instead he came up with the story of a fictitious showband called the Maori Titanics.

“Encompassed all the good times, the best things, the innocence, the romance, the adventure of that period. It’s about making people walk out of that theatre with the biggest smile on their face and walk down memory lane, having experienced for the first time the beauty that was the Maori showbands,” Mr Belz says.

This week's TAPAC season of Raising the Titanics is sold out, but it gets another run next month at the Taonga Whakaari: Maori Playwrights Festival in Papakura.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Spectrum talks leaves parties split

Maori broadcasters, iwi and spectrum claimants meet in Taranaki next week to get an update on talks with the Crown over how Maori might benefit from frequencies freed up in the switch from analogue to digital television.

Piripi Walker from Nga Kaiwhakapumau i te Reo, the Wellington Maori language board, says there was broad agreement at a hui in Mangere in February to make a fresh claim, based on a 1999 finding by the Waitangi Tribunal that Maori must have hands-on ownership and management of spectrum if they are to foot it in the "knowledge economy".

He says officials are preparing a paper to present to Cabinet next month, but there is still a lot of distance between the two sides.

“Similar to a lot of resource issues, a lot of treaty issues, a lot of article two issues, the Maori view as perceived within iwi and hapu and expressed on the marae is going to be very different from that espoused by both of the main political parties.” Mr Walker says.

The hui at Kairau Marae near New Plymouth on June 29 and 30.


Researchers from Otago University's department of medicine are asking why Maori and Pacific Island children have among the highest rates in the world of admission to hospital for the serious lung disease bronchiolitis.

Dr Tristam Ingham, who is heading a $1.5 million project funded by the Health Research Council, says there is no clear explanation why the disease hits those children at five times the rate of non-Maori.

He says a number of factors have been suggested, including the low levels of Vitamin D caused by skin pigmentation screening out sunlight.

“Factors such as household crowding and socioeconomic status do play a role, but the aim of this study is to further investigate exactly what is going on and why Maori and Pacific are so disproportionately affected,” Dr Tristram says.

If a cause is found, more research may be needed to identify the best way to tackle the problem.


The Maori Language is considering ways to teach New Zealanders the Maori version of their national anthem.

Wayne Ngata, the acting chief executive, says having crowds or players mumbling along because they don't know the words won't be a good look on global television during the next year's Rugby World Cup.

He says people should know their anthem regardless of what language it's in.
The commission is considering producing booklets with the anthem to distribute through supermarkets, and of making the world cup the theme of next year’s Maori language week.


Tobacco industry whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand says Maori smokers shouldn't feel guilty about their addiction ... but they have a right to feel angry they are addicted.

The former industry executive, who is in New Zealand to give evidence to the Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry, says he was alarmed at reports the cigarettes sold here have higher rates of tar and nicotine than most other countries.

He says that, and targeting from an early age, could explain why almost one in two Maori adults still smoke.

“I would urge them not to feel guilty. The primary responsibility, I believe, belongs with the tobacco industry because they have knowingly produced a product that is higher in nicotine, higher in tar for this marketplace, that they know and have evidence in their own records that when used as intended, it kills,” Dr Wigand says.

He says there are significant differences between the evidence given to the committee by the two tobacco companies operating in New Zealand and what's contained in their internal documents.


Despite demoting two of his Maori caucus for misusing credit cards while they were ministers, Labour leader Phil Goff says the party still has the people and policies to win back Maori voters.

He says Shane Jones has a lot to contribute to the party and will come back as a force.

He says other MPs like newcomer Kelvin Davis and Nanaia Mahuta are also stepping up to the plate.

“Kelvin is the newest member of the caucus. He’s very able, very well qualified, very well experienced, and committed to working hard on behalf of his people. You’ve got Nanaia coming forward again now. She took a time out for the birth of Waiwaia she’s ready to come back, she’s ready to put the time into that,” Mr Goff says.

He says in contrast, the Maori Party's co-leaders are both approaching retirement and are in perpetual conflict with maverick MP Hone Harawira, and National is also failing to attract talented Maori.


The author of a book on Maori architecture says she's humbled by the reaction to her work.

Deidre Brown's book subtitled From fale to whare and beyond has been named a finalist in the New Zealand Book Awards, which will be announced in August.

The Auckland University art and architecture historian says there hasn't been a comprehensive book on Maori buildings for more than half a century, and she relished the opportunity to bring a Maori perspective to the task.

“The book has been really well received and I’m humbled by the way it has been received. It won a Maori book award last year and a few weeks ago it won an award from the Instotute of Architects so it was really lovely on one hand that our community has received it so well but also that the profession of architecture has received it well,” says Dr Brown, who's from Ngati Rehia and Ngapuhi.

She is now working on history of Pacific architecture.

Gang women’s story wins first book prize

A book about a work co-operative for gang women has won writer Pip Desmond the New Zealand Society of Authors E.H. McCormick award for best first non-fiction book.

Stephen Stratford, the convener of judges for the New Zealand Book Awards, says Trust: A True Story of Women & Gangs is a potent combination of oral history and memoir.

He says it was an extraordinarily hard topic to write about, but Desmond, who had been a member of Wellington's Aroha Trust during its three-year existence in the 1970s, Aroha Trust, had exceptional access to the women.

“I don't think anyone will again be in a position to write a book with such inside knowledge of what the life is like. She’s known these women for years and they obviously trust her a lot and shared things with her they wouldn’t with anyone else, so it’s a real one of a kind, this book,” Mr Stratford says.

Titles shortlisted for the New Zealand Book Awards, which will be announced in August, include Dame Judith Binney's history of Te Urewera, Encircled Lands, and Maori Architecture: From fale to wharenui and beyond by University of Auckland art and architectural historian Deidre Brown from Ngati Rehia and Ngapuhi.


Maori Party co leader Tariana Turia says Attorney General Chris Finlayson's willingness to strike a deal on reform of the Foreshore and Seabed Act is indicative of his positive attitude towards treaty settlements.

She says Mr Finlayson, who is also Minister for Treaty Negotiations Minister, is a straight shooter.

“He knows that for our people to progress and move forward, settlement is a must. We only need to look at those iwi who have settled to see their growth, their development, their participation within their tribal boundaries. That’s what Chris Finlayson wants for the whole country and of course I support that,” Mrs Turia says.


Organisers of next weekend's Miromoda Fashion Design Awards in Wellington are looking for more Maori men to play clothes horse.

Project co-ordinator Katrina Matete of Nga Puhi and Ngati Porou says 17 Maori designers are showing their work, with the winners getting a spot in the Air New Zealand Fashion Week.

She says the model search wraps up today, with spots still open.

Katrina Matete says models who make a splash at Miramoda could find it opens doors internationally.


The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services says Maori continue to be hard hit by the recession, despite a small drop in unemployment.

The council's fifth vulnerability report predicts the situation will get worse, as small increases in benefits and wages are offset by increased GST and energy costs.

Executive officer Trevor McGlinchey says more than one in four young Maori is jobless, and the fact the majority of those are not involved in training or education could lead to long term problems.

“As our tamariki and rangatahi grow, if they grow without skills and without knowledge of the working world, they’re not going to be able to contribute to a healthier positive New Zealand, let alone a healthy positive Maori community,” Mr McGlinchey says.


Two books which have been snapped up by readers with an interest in Te Ao Maori have made the shortlist for the New Zealand Book Awards.

Encircled Lands, Judith Binney's history of Te Urewera, is a finalist in the general non-fiction section, while Deidre Brown's Maori Architecture: From fale to wharenui and beyond is a contender for best illustrated non fiction title.

Stephen Stratford, the convener of judges, says Dr Brown's combination of words and pictures has opened many eyes to what's out there.

“The images are just enlightening about the history and development of architecture. I mean it’s interesting to look at the old buildings from an architectural point of view rather than just interesting old buildings so you’ve got a trained architectural mind appreciating these things and also bringing us up to date with contemporary architecture by Maori and to what degree that is Maori architecture. It’s quite an interesting discussion,” he says.

Other finalists include Anne Salmond's history of the discovery of Tahiti, Aphrodite's Island, books on Marti Friedlander and Milan Mrkusich, and chef Al Brown's Go Fish collection of recipes.


A 19 year old Whanganui rower has won a sports scholarship at the University of California in Berkeley.

Paparangi Hipango will study sports psychology, design and photography when she's not working the oars.

The nearly-six foot rower has been competing since she was spotted by coach Fiona Symes in her first year at Wanganui Collegiate.

She says she's had great support from her whanau and the people of Whanganui, and she's also picked up valuable experience through competing in China, Austria and France.

Paparangi Hipango leaves for California in August.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Turia promotes possum kill job scheme

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is advocating people power rather than poison to combat possums.

Te Tai Tonga MP Rahui Katene is proposing a members bill to ban the use of 1080.

Mrs Turia says the Party doesn't believe government claims the poison is the most effective form of possum control, and it sides with rural people concerned at the damage aerial drops do to other species.

She says possum control can boost regional economies.

“We know how valuable possum fur is. This is something that those who live in the isolated areas, this is the kind of work they can do and will go given the opportunity and to be paid for it,” Mrs Turia says.


The author of centennial history of the Nurses Organisation says the profession's rigidity in its early years drove away prospective Maori nurses.

Freed to Care, Proud to Nurse was launched last week at Pipitea Marae in Wellington.

Mary Ellen O 'Connor says while many Maori were attracted to nursing, many found it a hostile environment to work in.

“The origins of nursing in New Zealand, it’s very empire and very military and very Christianity, that’s the origin, so it was never a profession that appealed to Maori. It was kind of rigid and a lot of Maori actually ended up going into psychiatric nursing rather than general nursing,” Ms O'Connor says.


The father of All Whites defender Winston Reid says his son also excelled cricket and golf when he was a youngster.

The scorer of New Zealand's first goal in the 2010 Football World Cup was on hand again this morning to glance a header to striker Shane Smeltz, who slotted it into the net giving the All Whites a 1-all draw against world champions Italy.

Lyle James from Tainui says soccer was a family tradition for the Port Waikato-based whanau, and Winston was kicking accurately with both feet by the time he was 3.

Reid moved to Denmark when he was 10 and become a professional at 18 after rising through the Danish Age Group reps.

He says the whanau are pleased Reid, who moved to Denmark when he was 10 and rose through the Danish age group reps, chose to play for New Zealand rather than his adopted homeland.

“He could have gone over as a reserve but I don’t think he would have got much playing time. He would definitely have been going with the Danish under-21s to their world cup. I think he did the right thing. He hummed and hahed and rung me up twice and I was quite surprised he was thinking of coming back to his roots and playing for New Zealand,” Mr James says.

Winston Reid's mother Prue is from Ahipara.


A star witness to this week's hearing of the Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry is being described as a translator of industry double-speak.

Shane Bradbrook from Maori smokefree group Te Ao Marama says whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand was a key witness in anti-tobacco litigation in the United States,

He says the former tobacco executive will serve as a counter to British American Tobacco general manager Graeme Amey, who denied the company had a strategy to market smoking to young Maori.

“The industry are there to lie and deceive and that is just part and parcel and I think part of the frustration for people like Hone (Harawira) and other MPs is that they were not getting a straight answer. Ask Wigand and he will be able to tell you what that double speak actually means,” Mr Bradbrook says.

Dr Wigand, who has been brought to New Zealand by Action on Smoking and health, will also give public lectures.


The chair of the Public Education Coalition says Maori will miss out on opportunities for tertiary study if universities restrict entry.

Auckland, Massey, Victoria and Otago universities have indicate they are capping courses or raising enrolment thresholds to bring student numbers within government funding limits.

Former Labour MP Liz Gordon says Maori have been drawn to tertiary training in increasing numbers over the past decade, but that momentum could stall, with long term consequences.

“There's a huge Mari design out there which is creating huge wealth. If you cut off those opportunities, then you actually affect the economy of the nation. Those who are defending the reduced numbers in tertiary education are really short sighted,” Dr Gordon says.

She says the way the universities are approaching the problem smacks of educational elitism.


A Wellington Maori art gallery is getting it in the neck this week.

Hei at Iwi Art features neck ornaments by 10 artists, including Lewis Gardiner, Stacey Gordine and Whiu Waata.

Curator Tia Kirk of Ngati Porou and Ngati Awa says the artists have taken a range of approaches to the theme of adornment for Matariki, using traditional forms like reiputa and manaia and materials like pounamu, silver, concrete and bone.

Iwi Art is also holding an auction on Trade Me this week to raise funds for television personality Te Hamua Nikora.

Money and conservation ethic behind Koha relaunch

Maori business magazine KOHA has been relaunched with new backers including the Federation of Maori Authorities, Investment New Zealand and Greenpeace.

Editor Mere Takoko says the magazine will highlight issues like sustainability and clean technology.

She says it will also be guided by Native trade protocols based on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which bring social and cultural values into decision making.

“It’s time for Maori to be more responsible in the way we decide to develop our resources. We don’t have to follow mainstream. I mean it’s a $7 trillion industry we’re looking at and so Maori, if we move quickly, because the rest of the country is going to be slow, we can get an edge in terms of getting some of that investment into our country,” Ms Takoko says.


A south Auckland marae is encouraging whanau to grow and eat healthy kai as a way to counter the region’s diabetes pandemic.

Valerie Te Raitua from Papatuanuku Kokiri Marae in Mangere says it held a wananga over the weekend with Maori organic farming group Te Waka Kai Ora to show basic gardening techniques.

She says there will be a follow-up workshop on preparing healthy kai using traditional methods.

“We're trying to move our whanau and beat diabetes, growing healthier kai, eating healthier, using Maori values, and that’s for everybody here in Mangere,” Mrs Te Raitua says.


Playwright Albert Belz is confident audiences will warm to his tale about Maori showbands era is confident the audience will warm to the tale.

Raising the Titanics premieres at on Wednesday night at TAPAC Theatre in Auckland’s Western Springs College.

Mr Belz says it’s nothing like previous plays like Awhi Tapu and Yours Truly, but it was still penned with the audience experience at the front of his mind.

“For me this is definitely new ground and Raising the Titanics will be premiering at TAPAC. I’ve seen a run through of the first act and it struck all the right chords and I think there will be a lot of happy people in that theatre,” he says.

Albert Belz, who is from Ngati Porou, Ngapuhi and Ngati Pokai, is currently playwright in residence at the University of Waikato.


Kawerau 8AD Trust is teaming up with native-Hawaiian company Innovations Development Group, and an as yet unnamed partner to build a $200 million geothermal station on the trust’s land next to the Kawerau pulp and paper mill.

Mere Takoko from Maori investment company Fomona Capital, which is holding seminars for Maori interested in the sector, says it will be an example of how Maori can get a better deal from their geothermal resources.

She says the landowners will hold substantial equity and be represented on the board.

The deal is structure according to what it’s calling Native Trade protocols, based on the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“There’s monopoly in this country when it comes to geothermal power and we really want to say to our people, hang on, there’s actually other international players coming into the scene now and Maori don’t need to follow the old royalty schemes. We can actually get equity interest and more control over our businesses,” Ms Takoko says.

FOMONA Capital is holding a workshop in Rotorua this week for Maori interested in developing their geothermal assets.


A Massey University communications’ lecturer says exposure to Maori spirituality is allowing non-Maori New Zealanders to discuss their attitudes to religion more freely.

Heather Kavan, who did her doctorate in religious studies, is part of an international research project gauging attitudes in 45 countries on economic, environmental and social issues, including religion and spirituality.

She says a third of New Zealanders say they are not religious but believe in spiritual forces … and Maori practices played a part in that.

“The visibility of Maori spirituality has freed a lot of Pakeha up to speak about similar things and I think that’s a very good thing because religious intolerance is usually considered to be one of the five main problems threatening the plant, so the more openness and discussion and the more free people feel the better,” Dr Kavan says.


Organisers of this weekend's kapahaka regional competitions in Tai Tokerau says the standard indicates the strength of the cultural renaissance in the north.

Fourteen groups took part, giving Tai Tokerau four finalists in Te Matatini national championships next February.

Haatea from Whangarei was first, followed by Muriwhenua from the far north and two first time entrants, Te Puu Ao, and Te Whare o Puhi.

Te Whare o Puhi’s Tumamau Harawira was also judged first equal male leader.

Master of ceremonies Pene Henare says the line-up should give Taitokerau the best chance in years of taking a national title.