Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

My Photo
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, July 09, 2010

Tracey Tawhiao second in Gobi run

Ultradistance runner Lisa Tamati says she's glad to be back home in one piece after completing the absolutely brutal Gobi March.

The Taranaki woman took second place in the female section and 20th overall in the seven day, 250 kilometre race through Gobi Desert in northern China, across some of the lowest and hottest parts of the planet.

One of the other runners, a 31-year-old American man, died on the race of dehydrtation and heat exhaustion.

Lisa Tamati hopes her feat will inspire other Maori to get out of their comfort zones and try to do the best they can in their chosen fields.


The annual hui of Maori health and science researchers in Rotorua has unveiled a new ethical framework for people engaging in research among Maori.

Maui Hudson from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research says the Hui Whakapiripiri is a chance for Maori to discuss how methods like the use of embryos or brain tissue in research fit in with the way Maori approach knowledge.

He says the framework is based on the sort of questions communities might ask anyone who wants to come in and study them.

“So we've got four questions this kaupapa is based around – he aha te whapapa o te kaupapa, what’s the genesis of this project; kei a wait e mana, who is going to have the control; me pehe te tika, how do we know the project will produce what you say it will; and ma wai i manaaki, who is looking our for the interests of the people,” Mr Hudson says.


A last minute change of line-up for tonight's Native Noise concert shouldn't stop fans enjoying what's become a fixture on the Auckland music scene.

Organiser Renata Blair from Ngati Whatua O Orakei sayss tickets to the Auckland town Hall sold out weeks ago.

He says the late withdrawal of headline act Kora because of family issues was unavoidable, and they have been replaced by the Black Seeds, who bring a more reggae flavour to the evening.

Other acts on the bill are 1814 and Six60.


The head of an umbrella group for Maori medium schools says Maori teachers in mainstream schools should learn to work with national standards rather thing fight against them.

The annual hui of the NZEI's Te Reo Areare Maori section this week called for the new assessment framework to be trialed, rather than imposed nationally as is happening now.

But Pem Bird from Nga Kura a Iwi, a former college of education lecturer now teaching in Murupara, says kura are embracing their version of the standards.

He says a standard is just a way to characterise what a child of a particular age should be capable of.

“All that requires then is for teachers to plan accordingly and the activities and the strategising and the fundamental function of teaching to ensure that the pupils’ learning is aimed at achieving those characteristics, and it’s all good stuff, it’s what we should be doing anyway,” Mr Bird says.

He says the NZEI's campaign against national standards isn't in the best interests of Maori pupils.


A manager from listed healthcare company Abano Healthcare says the rate of brain injury among Maori is high because many young Maori are more likely to engage in risky behaviour.

The company this week opened a new residential rehabilitation facility in Hamilton, Pumau O Te Aroha.

Judy Green-Philpott says the most common cause of brain injury is falls, followed by motor acccidents, drug and alcohol abuse, and daredevil feats.

She says the fact about one in two people hospitalised with brain injury are Maori says more about behaviour than race.

“Brain injury is not something that picks out one ethnicity over another. It simply picks out the people who are perhaps greater risk takers than others.
Ms Green-Philpott says.


When artist Tracey Tawhiao invited taggers to contribute to her Matariki installation in west Auckland, she didn't expect so many blue spraycans.

Ms Tawhiao says her assigned space at the Corban Estate was so big, she invited contributions from a group of rangatahi who had been expelled from school for graffiti.

The result wasn't quite what she or the organisers expected, with a lot of swearing committed to the black plastic.

Tracey Tawhiao from Ngai Te Rangi, Whakatohea and Tuwharetoa.

The exhibition closes on Sunday.

Maori health research rules sought

Maori health researchers are examining ways relationships between Maori communities and the health sector can be improved.

Kahu McClintock from Auckland University says it's a major theme of the Health Research Council's annual Hui Whakapiripiri in Rotorua this week.

She says as Maori research capacity has grown, people have given a lot of thought to ethical processes and the sort of questions that need to be asked even before projects start.

“Who do you go to in a community if you want to talk to them about research happening. How do you approach and what kind of work might you do before you approach them? How do you connect to this kaupapa and why would you be working in a community, you might have to find your connection to that community and you just don’t go into areas that … you know it’s our whanaungatanga,” Ms McClintock says.

She says the aim of much Maori health research is to enable communities to identify and implement their own solutions.


Wall Report Health Ministry's deputy director general of Maori health, Teresa Wall, says a new report showing alarming levels of infectious diseases among Maori will allow the sector to find solutions.

The report on ethnic inequalities in hospitalisations for close-contact infectious diseases found that over the past two decades Maori were more likely to end up in hospital with diseases like rheumatic fever, skin infections and ulcers.

Ms Wall says the conclusion that over-crowded housing and economic deprivation were to blame was being listened to.

“The close Contact Infectious Diseases Report will help us, that’s the ministry and the health sector more generally, focus on efforts to further improve disease prevention,” Ms Wall says.


There could be some scary moments on stage at Auckland's Te Unga Waka Marae tonight as finalists in the Get Mad on the Mic karaoke contest let rip.

The contest is organised by Maori public health group Hapai Te Hauora Tapui to promote mental well being and supportive environments for whanau affected by mental illness.

Co-ordinator Nelson Wahanui of Ngati Maniapoto says the finals dinner is alcohol-free, and that might give some nervous contestants a feel for the fear many people with mental illness feel when they go out in public.


The leader of a group formed to counter the Government welfare reform agenda says likely benefit changes would be a disaster for Maori.

The group includes representatives from Caritas, the Anglican Social Justice Commission and the Beneficiary Advocacy Federation.

Mike O'Brien, an associate professor at Massey University's School of Health and Social Services and a former chief social worker, says the group was formed because of concerns about the advice coming out of the welfare forum established by Social Development minister Paula Bennett.

He says the emphasis seems to be on time limits and shifting to an insurance based system.

“If there are changes that are made to delivery in welfare systems, which certainly seems to be the direction which government is heading, then given the Maori rates of poverty and benefit receipt, Maori will be more heavily affected by that than any other group in the community.
Professor O'Brien says.

Many Maori communities still haven't recovered from National's welfare reforms of the early 1990s.


A new brain injury facilty is factoring Maori cultural needs into its rehabilitation programmes because of the high number of Maori it is expecting.

Judy Green Philpott, the area manger for Abano Healthcare, says half of the 50 people going through Pumau O Te Aroha in Hamilton each year are likely to be Maori, because Maori appear to be more inclined to take risks than other ethnic groups.

The residential centre has a kaumatua, Rangi Manihera, to make sure the physical, social, environmental and spiritual needs on Maori clients are met.


A member of the team that put together a contemporary soundtrack for a 1929 silent movie says audiences may be surprised at the variety of instruments used.

New Zealand Film Archive staffer Himiona Grace joined Warren Maxwell from Trinity Roots and Wai's Maaka McGregor to write and perform soundscapes for Under the Southern Skies, which will screen as part of the New Zealand Film festival in Auckland on the weekend.

The tale of tribal conflict, which featured a Maori cast, was filmed at Rotorua and White island.

Mr Grace says most silent movies were accompanied by pianists, but the trio has thrown in bandsaws, synthesisers, taonga puoro and more conventional instruments.

“It is just an extension of playing the piano and you notice when people do a piano accompaniment, they do a lot of classic Maori ballads through the film. We do the same, include music contemporary Maori like, reggaes, funk and soul, and we also play a few old standards like Now is the Hour is in there as well,” Mr Grace says.

Maori ignored in Northland Block oil prospect

Northland-based Labour list MP Kelvin Davis says the Government hasn't done enough protect Maori interests as it seeks to open up New Zealand's offshore oil and gas reserves.

The Government has given companies until next month to bid for petroleum exploration permits for 100,000 square kilometres of the seabed off the west coast from Hokianga to Cape Reinga.

Mr Davis says it exposes reform of the Foreshore and Seabed Act as a farce, because the Crown insists it has the final say.

“I think Maori do have a stake. I think in good faith, if we’re talking abut the foreshore and seabed being public domain, nobody owns it, I don’t think then the crown ha a right to say nobody owns it but we are still going to decide what happens to it and I just think it’s about not repeating the mistakes of the past and making sure Maori are involved form the very start of this process,” Mr Davis says.

He says with estimates of a trillion barrels of oil, even a one cent a barrel royalty would deliver more to Maori than all the treaty settlements so far.


Maori health researchers are meeting in Rotorua to review the sector and look at the path ahead.

Auckland university doctoral candidate Kahu McClintock, who has been researching child and adolescent health services in the Midland Health region, says the aim is to support Maori communities to identify and implement their own health solutions.

She says researchers are building on the foundations laid by the likes of Peter Buck and Maui Pomare, and more recently Eru Pomare and Irihapeti Ramsden.

“Today we've got a critical mass of Maori heath researchers who are able tio for Maori by Maori. Some of them are in tertiary institutions. Some of them are in their communities, in non-government organisations, and some of them are in iwi so it’s a celebration of those and where we are going to be going for the next five or 20 years,” Ms McClintock says.


An award winning Maori playwright and novelist says she's not ready to give up her day job yet.

Whiti Hereaka's first novel The Graphologists Apprentice is being published by Huia this month.

Her play Te Kaupoi won the Maori section of the Adam New Zealand Play Awards, and it's just had a run at the Maori Playwights Festival in Auckland.
But she says her administration job at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage keeps her feet on the ground.

“There's something about having to work that makes the writing kind of precious and makes me appreciate it more and makes me work harder,” Ms Hereaka says.


Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson, Parekura Horomia, is wishing urban Maori authorities well in their collective bid to become one of the 20 whanau ora providers.

The National Urban Maori Authority, which represents roopu in Auckland, Hamilton, Porirua and Christchurch, yesterday filed their joint bid to provide integrated services under the new model.

NUMA argues many of the health, education justice and welfare issues that whanau ora is designed to address are urban problems.

Mr Horomia says the urban authorities have have a good track record of responding to the needs of Maori in cities.

He the government still hasn't spelt out how Whanau Ora will work in practice.

Wall heat
The Ministry of Health says a home insulation programme aimed at fighting high levels of infectious disease is ahead of target.

Otago University researchers have found while the rate of respiratory infection is falling among people of European descent, it is climbing at an alarming rate among Maori and Pacific Island populations, resulting in an increase in acute hospitalisations.

Theresa Wall, the ministry's head of Maori health, says inadequate housing has been identified as a cause, which is why the Governemnt set aside almost $350 million over four years to retrofit 180,000 homes with insulation and efficient heating device.

The first year target was 27,500, but more than 35,000 households have already signed up.


Taranaki iwi are encouraging as many of their people as possible to attend waananga to prepare for negotiation of their treaty claim settlements.

Te Atiawa and Taranaki tuturu signed deeds of negotiation with the Crown in March.

Coordinator Liana Poutu says the first wananga, on Sunday at Oakura Pa southwest of New Plymouth, will will focus on sharing information and picking up issues that may have been missed in the negotiation of other Taranaki claims.

The hui will feature negotiator Sir Paul Reeves and tribal historian Te Miringa Hohaia.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Sharples challenged to listen to teachers

Labour's associate education spokesperson says his Government counterpart should heed the concerns of the NZEI's Maori arm about the imposition of national standards.

About 200 Maori teaching in mainstream primary schools met in Rotorua this week and challenged the government's claim that the new testing regime will address Maori underachievement.

Kelvin Davis, a former intermediate school principal, says the teachers haven't condemned the standards out of hand, but they believe the system won't work in its current form.

“Pita Sharples being the associate minister of education, he needs to take a look at what 200 Maori educators are saying. They don’t think it’s going to be good for Maori kids. They’ve got a fair call that they should just trial them, in a group of schools, 50, 100 schools, trial them first, tinker with them to make sure they work well and them implement them across the country,” Mr Davis says.

He says the government doesn't have the mandate it claims for national standards, because it didn't develop them until after the election.


Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says a colony of weka in south Westland may have to die because the Government won't properly fund the Department of Conservation.

Tangata whenua have called for DoC to relocate the 100 weka off Open Bay Island, rather than cull them to stop them predating on the island's populations of lizards and nesting penguins.

Ms Turei says it's the sort of trade off the department is having to make more often.

“This minister and the government doesn’t prioritise conservation, and that makes most of the operations they do, they have to think very carefully about the cost,” Ms Turei says.


Ben Warren has a message that will sound like music to many Maori ... eating traditional foods like boil-up and hangi are good for you.

The Hawkes Bay health and fitness coach has been trialing his theory for the past 10 weeks on a group from Te Aranga Marae in Flaxmere.

They've cut out non-traditional foods such as refined grains but continued to eat the high protein and high fat kai of their ancestors.

Mr Warren says on average the 27 dieters lost 8.7 kg, with one dropping a staggering 16 kgs.

“The first week of the programme they pretty much ate boil up three times a day. They loved it and we had some of the best result that first week but for the rest we branched out into more westernized diets but essentially they were looking at vegetables, fruit and meat, so fats and protein,” he says.

Ben Warren was brought in to help Te Aranga Marae by former All Black captain Taine Randall, who has made Maori health a priority since moving back to the Hawkes Bay.


Taranaki's police prosecutor says research into differences in communication between Maori and Pakeha could improve the way police interact with Maori offenders.

A team from the New Zealand Institute of Language at Canterbury University is looking at how different groups use and interpret non-verbal cues like facial expression, posture and body language.

Senior Sergeant Malcolm Greig says when dealing with Maori, police can misconstrue actions like the hanging of heads or the refusal to talk, which may be an expression of whakamaa or shame.

“Some of our non-Maori diversion officers, they need to be aware of these factors, be more sympathetic and culturally aware of body language. Sometimes that can be misinterpreted as non-engagement with the diversion process,” Senior Sergeant Greig says.

In the past Maori haven't benefited as much as other groups from diversion, which gives first-time offenders the opportunity to avoid conviction.


The manager of Whangarei-based Ngati Hine Radio, Mike Kake, says holiday training will help fill a gap caused by staff moving into other areas of the media.

In conjunction with the New Zealand Radio Training School, the station is putting 10 Taitokerau students through the two-week course.

Mr Kake says the students, all fluent reo speakers, and being taught the basics of scripting, voicework, continuity announcing, copywriting and media law.


The Department of Conservation looking for someone to create a virtual representation of one of New Zealand's most famous battle sites.

Whangarei-based programme manager Sean Anderson says the department is working with the Ruapekapeka Pa Management Trust to raise the profile of the pa between Hikurangi and Kawakawa, which was created by Kawiti and Hone Heke as the set for a three-day battle in January 1846.

He says technology could reveal the pa's amazing construction.

“The engineering feat the Maori designed and implemented as a defence against British attack was the best of its time. It was reported by engineers back to England. People remarked on that. Basically it was trench warfare many many years before World War One. It was very innovative,” Mr Anderson says.

DoC holds a mass of geotechnical information which could be used to general 3D computer images.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Urban authorities make play for whanau ora

The head of west Auckland-based Waipareira Trust says urban Maori authorities are likely to be major providers of services under Whanau Ora.

John Tamihere is holding a hui tonight at Nga Whare Waatea Marae in Mangere to inform the community how the new integrated health and welfare service will be rolled out in south Auckland.

He says it's not a job that iwi groups should assume they have a monopoly on.

“We have always respected and supported mana whenua’s rights to look after their preferential beneficiary base. I’m not part of that. Tens of thousands of Maori in Auckland are not part of Ngati Whatua or part of Waikato. We have forged a new way of protecting our interests in town and good on the mana whenua people, but we have never given up our mana tangata and never will,” Mr Tamihere says.

A joint whanau ora bid by the National Urban Maori Authority will bring together groups like Waipareira, Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa in Hamilton, Te Runanga Awhina ki Porirua and Maata Waka in Christchurch, which already deliver services to more than 300,000 Maori,


Greens co-leader Metiria Turei wants the courts to determine whether Maori have customary title to seabed in New Zealand's exclusive economic zone beyond the 12 mile limit.

Ms Turei says the Government shouldn't be issuing permits to explore or exploit offshore oil and gas until the question is decided.

She says there are many iwi which would want to be party to such a case.

“There are no laws, New Zealand laws, that apply to seabed beyond the 12 mile limit. The Resource Management Act doesn’t apply. So the question becomes, was that ever extinguished? If customary title as determined under tikanga Maori before 1840 extended beyond the 12 mile limit, arguably those areas beyond the 12 mile limit have never been extinguished by an act of law, and therefore customary title exists,” Ms Turei says.


A south Auckland marae has become the first to get its kitchen certified as a commercial kitchen.

Manurewa Marae has been taking part in the New Zealand Food Safety Authority's Kai Manawa Ora project, which aims to prevent food-borne illnesses coming out of hui.

Project coordinator Raniera Basset says ringa wera are given training in food handling which can give them a basis for further accreditation.

“A lot of our people when they get this ticket, there’s an opportunity for them to work on their marae but also to go the local cafeteria or restaurant and say ‘are there any jobs going,’” Mr Basset says.

The Manurewa Marae kitchen has also earned an A rating from the Manukau City Council's food safety team.


Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says Maori teachers need to give national standards more time to work.

The annual hui of the NZEI Te Rau Roa's Maori arm called for the government to pull back on the new testing regime and run pilots to determine whether they will achieve the desired outcomes.

But Mr English says measuring every child against a national standard will ensure they get the teaching they need.

“Everyone has a common objective which is to raise the achievement of children. That’s particularly important for Maori children and there is I think basic agreement about the method which is find out what the child knows and doesn’t know and teach them what they don’t know and it’s just a matter of implementing that system and it’s going to be bit testing because some schools haven’t done this and it’s difficult for them,” he says.

Mr English says national standards will give parents the information they need to get more involved in their child's education,


Canterbury University researchers believe their work on Maori body language can help break down cultural barriers.

Project leader Jeanette King from the New Zealand Institute of Language says the project is looking at differences in the way Maori and Pakeha communicate, including not only oral language but facial expression, posture and body language.

She says the differences come through in both English and Maori.
“(That) te reo Maori is a language which uses this aspect of communication so richly is a wonderful source and inspiration for us because it’s full of all these gestural aspects,” Dr King says.

Her research will build on the Joan Metge and Patricia Kinloch's 1978 book Talking Past Each Other, which identified the cross-cultural difference.


The director of the Hawkes Bay Museum and Art Gallery says an $18 million dollar redevelopment will allow the institution to better display its nationally-significant collection of taonga Maori.

The government has announced it's putting $6 million into the project through the regional museums policy, with the rest of the money coming from Napier City Council and public donations.

Douglas Lloyd-Jenkins says the museum was founded in the 1850s by pioneer missionary and printer William Colenso, and was also associated with scholar Augustus Hamilton and premier Donald McLean, who between them laid the foundations for the largest Maori collection outside the main centres.

Among the treasures include 120 cloaks, including rare dogskin examples, which illustrate the depth and complexity of the collection.

The Hawkes Bay Museum and Art Gallery will close at the end of the month and reopen in 2013, with 15 new galleries.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

National standards’ shock hits home

The NZEI's Maori vice president says Maori parents are being told their children aren't meeting the government's new national standards, but they're not told what to do about it.

The annual hui of the union's Te Reo Areare Maori council yesterday condemned the way the standards had been imposed, and called for trials to assess their impact on Maori pupils.

Laures Park says many of the 200 teachers at the hui are also parents, and they are getting the first reports under the new system.

“The schools have said their children are not meeting the standard or are at risk and that I think is when it hit home for them. In talking to the teachers, they are uncertain what they are doing as well and the difficulty is no one has had that conversation with the teachers and with the whanau to support their tamariki through this whole exercise,” Ms Park says.

She says the Maori Party, which supports the national standards policy, needs to understand that measuring under-achievement isn't the same a doing something about it.


Veteran broadcaster Rereata Makiha says new technology will help people track down historical marae and pa sites.

Te Potiki National Trust, which was formed by Mr Makiha and former Auckland Museum Maori curator Paul Tapsell, has been given $44,000 by the ASB Community Trust to map all marae present and past in Auckland and Northland.

He says the resulting publication will include GPS coordinates, so people can find the sites, even if like many they are on the back of farms and hidden from view.

“The idea of mapping the marae was first of all as a road map to get young people home, whether it’s to do repairs, whether it’s to plant Maori trees around the marae for Matariki, all those activities the marae can decide on, so basically it’s to get our young people back to the marae,” Mr Makiha says.

He has already identified more than 100 marae sites north of Hokianga, and believes there are more than 1400 nationwide.


A campaign to stop the Department of Conservation culling weka on Open Bay Island off South Westland is picking up momentum.

The Minister of Conservation, Kate Wilkinson, says the colony of 100 weka are killing lizards and raiding penguin nests.

But Ngai Tahu man Rawa Karetai, whose family has traditionally harvested kai from the Open Bay and Mutton Bird islands, says the birds should be relocated, not killed.

He says a Facebook Page opposing the Open Island weka cull has already attracted more than 400 members.


Auckland's urban Maori authorities will reveal today how it intends to roll out whanau ora services in south Auckland.

Waipareira Trust chief executive John Tamihere says while the government is yet to approve a collective bid by the National Urban Maori Authority to be a provider under the new integrated social service delivery model, it's a kaupapa the authorities have been pursuing for years.

He says this evening's hui at Nga Whare Waatea Marae in Mangere will hear how collaboration and cooperation is the key to whanau ora.

“If people don't want to collaboration and cooperate, then they have to account for the dollars they get for the services they provide to our community and that’s everything from schools to health providers to welfare providers, education providers, justice providers, government as well as non-government. We want people to be accountable for the dollar values they achieve in our name but do not perform or account to us for the expenditure of those dollars,” Mr Tamihere says.

The hui starts at 6.


A Thames based Maori health trust has bought a set of 15 Boer War rifles for its art gallery.

Hugh Kinninmonth, the chief executive of Te Korowai Hauora O Hauraki, says the purchase was a way to encourage respect for the bicultural history of the region.

The Thames rifles are the only known complete set from the 600 rifles sent back from South Africa in 1904 to be displayed in public buildings around the land.

Mr Kinninmonth says the display at the trust's complex in the former Brian Boru Hotel draws attention to the achievements of Wata Te Huihana, who enlisted in the Boer War under the name Walter Callaway and became the first Maori to earn commission as an officer.

He says it’s a taonga for the whole community and a bridge between the Maori and European history of Hauraki.


The Film Archive's Maori project developer wants whanau to send in footage to ensure historical recordings are not lost.

Dianne Pivac says many film formats decompose over time, but the archive has the necessary temperature controlled storage to protect them.

She says whanau can avoid the heartbreak that comes with finding precious old footage has corroded.

“We're always very interested to hear from people who have film and we are also just at the beginning of a great big project called saving frames where the government has given us to some money to help us iun the urgent task of repairing and storing films properly, so the conservation side of our work is full steam ahead, Ms Pivac says.

A classic from the New Zealand Film Archive, the 1929 feature Under the Southern Cross, will get a run at this month's film festivals.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Rino Tirikatene seeks Labour nod

The grandson of the first Ratana MP is seeking the Labour Party nomination for the southern Maori seat held for 35 years by his grandfather Eruera Tirikatene and 29 years by his aunt Whetu Tirikatene Sullivan.

Rino Tirikatene will battle Christchurch trade union organiser Jo McLean for the right to take on incumbent Rahui Katene in Te Tai Tonga.

Labour leader Phil Goff says both are strong canditates.

“Rino is a guy I’ve known for some time. He’s got a law degree. He’s very well qualified. He’s been working on consultancy work up in Papua New Guiinea recently but he’s also worked very closely with Ngai Tahu on the fisheires issues. Jo works for the Engineers Union as an organiser for them,” Mr Goff says.

Labour is keen to win Te Tai Tonga back from the Maori Party.


The head of Te Hotu Manawa Maori says smokers need support, not censure.

Moana Tane says in the wake of the select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry, organisations are increasingly asking the Maori heart foundation for help to provide training around smoking cessation programmes.

She says pressure is coming on Maori smokers to quit, but treating smokers like outcasts ignores the value of manaakitanga in helping people get through a difficult addiction.

“All the smokers are socially stigmatized. They’re in the closets. They’re under the tables. Nobody is owning up to it. Why? Because we have made it so uncomfortable for them. Is this how we treat our people? I don’t think so. Not is we’re serious about improving the mortality rates of our people. We’ve got be a little bit more compassionate here,” Ms Tane says.

She says Maori need to have the process of quitting put to them in a simple, non-judgmental way.


The producer of a 24 hour drama challenge says the weekend event was a testament to what Maori playwrights and actors can achieve with limited resources.

Five playwrights were given 12 hours to write a 15 minute script, which was then rehearsed and performed over the next 12 hours.

Claire Noble says the challenge, which capped off the Taonga Whakaari Maori Playwrights Festival at the Hawkins Theatre in Papakura, was an amazing feat.

“The writers not only stayed up all night, they actually stayed for the entire day. They worked with their groups. Again the actors not only had this amazing task of remembering lines and doing costumes and so on, and they put their hearts and souls into it. Nobody was getting paid, It was just about celebrating Maori playwrights,” Ms Noble says.

The 24 hour challenge was won by Kath Akuhata Brown whose play Toroa was acted by Rob Williams, Veronica Brady and Amber Cureen.


A hui of Maori teachers working in mainstream schools says the government's national standards policy will damage the learning of tamariki Maori.

Laures Park, the Matua Takawaenga for primary school union NZEI Te Riu Roa, says the 200 teachers at the annual hui of the union's Te Reo Areare Maori council voted unanimously for the standards to be trialed rather than imposed unilaterally.

She says the teachers query the government's claim that the standards will address Maori underachievement.

“If they are concerned about Maori underachievement at the moment, we actually know that’s a fact so why not actually do something about that. What else are we going to find out but ‘yes we are underachieving,’” Ms Parkes says.

She says Maori parents are already getting school reports saying their tamariki had failed to meet the national standards, but there has been no advice or support on how to deal with that judgment.


Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell is calling for people charged with white collar crimes to be treated the same as Maori gang members.

The Waiariki MP says if it's OK for police to freeze the assets of his constituent, Maketu Mongrel Mob leader Pop Barclay, while they try to seize them under the proceeds of crime law, it should be okay to target business people facing criminal charges such as Bridgecorp executives Rod Petricevic and Rob Roest ... who the Serious Fraud Office has charged with using investors money to buy and maintain a luxury yacht while the company was sinking.

“If we are going to do it for some, let’s do it for everyone and follow that procedure through because I think a number of people that have been hurt by some of the white collar crimes, especially in terms of the investment companies we have heard about, so there is an issue there,” Mr Flavell says.


The Auckland-based Hindu Council has celebrated the Maori new year with a Matariki event bringing together more than 100 Indian elders and kaumatua Maori.

Organiser Pravin Patel says there is much to be gained from what has become an annual meeting of cultures.

It included karakia in both te reo and sanskrit, workshops on yoga and gardening, and a documentary on the stars of Matariki.

He says creating small changes can promote awareness and understanding of other cultures.


Film festival audiences will get the chance to see what Hollywood thought of Maori back in 1929.

Under the Southern Cross will play at Sky City Theatre in Auckland on Saturday, with a new soundtrack composed by Warren Maxwell, Maaka McGregor and Himiona Grace.

Dianne Pivac from the New Zealand Film Archive says the 57-minute long feature was thought lost until a copy turned up in London in 1980.

The tale of tribal conflict was shot on location at White Island, Rotorua and the Waitomo Caves, and starred an all-Maori cast.

“You get a very strong sense that these people are completely in charge of what they are doing and they are having a great time. I like to think about that because you could think ‘Here was this exploitative Hollywood director looking for exoticism and photogenic natives and all that carry on’ which is definitely true but you can also look at it and say ‘These guys know what they are doing and they are having a good time doing it,” Ms Pivac says.

Under the Southern Cross starred Whitarina Mitchell, who half a century later became the kuia for the Film Archive.

Marae role seen for sober environment

A south Auckland Maori leader has challenged marae in Manukau to provide a safe and sober environment for rangatahi.

Dame June Jackson was part of a delegation of high-profile New Zealanders who lobbied parliament last month to toughen up the liquor laws.

She says many Maori families are affected by alcohol abuse, so it's important the Maori community as a whole takes responsibility for showing rangatahi some alternatives.

“We need to be utilising everyone that has a presence to make a difference and I think that all of use who have marae in south Auckland should be encouraging our young people to come there and to have hui, to sleep over, just so that we can perhaps present another image of what being Maori is all about and it’s not about being drunks,” Dame June says.

Organisations like the Maori Women's Welfare League and the Maori Wardens had a historical role in tackling the booze culture, and have a role to play today.


Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia says it's important a proposed Maori youth council doesn't just become a talk shop.

Te Puni Kokiri is seeking rangatahi with strong leadership skills and active engagement in Maori communities to serve on the 15-strong council, which will advise Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples.

Mrs Turia says it will be up to MPs to make the council feel it is contributing to policy formation.

“Rangatahi do get kind of hoha with those of us who are members of Parliament when we seek their advice and then we actually are not able to take it anyway,” Mrs Turia says.


Environment Bay of Plenty paying Maori landowners to convert gorse-covered hills around Lake Rotorua into pines.

John Paterson, the council's sustainable farming advisor, says the 860 hectares of mature gorse in the catchment pumps about 40 tonnes of nitrogen a year into the lake.

He says the $145,000 pilot project on an 18 hectare block behind the airport will include a study on the best ways of converting land which is polluting the lake.

“It would be great to eliminate it. We’ve started some initiatives with private landowners to come up with win-win solutions where they get rid of their unproductive land which is covered with gorse and causing issues for the lake and we convert it to something productive which is a low-leaching land use which pines trees is,” Mr Paterson says.

If the conversion is successful the council will approach other farmers with gorse-covered land.


Recreating a 17th century kainga and replacing wharenui and wharekai destroyed by fire are among the $1.3 million in marae improvement projects approved by the ASB Community Trust.

A trust at Te Hana got the largest grant, just over half a million dollars to complete a contemporary marae and traditional complex so visitors can see both the old and the new world of Maori.

Another $44,000 is going to Te Potiki National Trust to map all marae in Auckland and Te Tai Tokerau.

Grants advisor Cyril Howard from Ngapuhi says the ASB Trust recognises the special role of marae both as the heart of communities and for the social cohesion of the wider community.


The author of a report showing high levels of infectious diseases among Maori says historical factors are at play.

Phillipa Howden-Chapman, the deputy head of Otago University's department of public health, says the rate of respiratory diseases like rheumatic fever is growing among Maori and Islanders, while almost disappearing in European populations.

She says overcrowding is a major factor, and that is in part due to restrictions on Maori access to housing finance in the decades after World War 2.

“The grand-children of those people who didn’t own houses, who rented, never inherited any money from their grandparents. They inherited a lot of cultural richness but not a lump sum of money and because we don’t have a capital gains tax in new Zealand, we are getting a lot of convergence between those who have a lump sum to buy a house and those who that don't,” Professor Howden-Chapman says.

High rents are forcing Maori into over-crowded housing, and the reduction in state housing stock means the problem is likely to persist.


A young tutor from West Auckland based Te Manuhuia says the whanau nature of the kapa haka roopu has helped members overcome difficulties in their lives.

Tuirina Wehi says the team has an open door policy, taking in anyone prepared to put in the work ... so members have included former street people or those in vulnerable situations at home.

It's a philosophy she inherited from grandparents Bub and Nan Wehi, the founders of Te Manuhuia's parent group Te Waka Huia.

“My koro would say that ‘he Maori ano’, inside of every Maori person is another Maori waiting to come out and so my job to help my koro and to give back to him and my nana is to feed this inside Maori person with the right kai, and that’s te reo, nga tikanga, te ihi, te wehi and all of that,” Ms Wehi says.

Te Manuhuia and Te Waka Huia are among the six groups chosen to represent Tamaki Makaurau at next year's Te Matatini festival in Gisborne.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Quinn keen to strip inmates of vote

National list MP Paul Quinn from Ngati Awa admits his private members bill to take the vote away from people in prison will disproportionately affect Maori.

Currently only prisoners serving a three year sentence or longer are barred from voting.

Mr Quinn's "Electoral Disqualification of Convicted Prisoners" bill would take away the vote from all people in prison on election day.

He says the fact one in two male and almost two thirds of female prisoners are Maori didn't affect his thinking.

“The issue of how they got into prison is quite a separate issue. My bill is not discriminatory on the basis if law and order. My blll sadly proportionately affects Maori simply because of what they have done,” Mr Quinn says.

Before offenders get their first prison sentence, statistics show 80 percent will have been convicted at least 10 times.

The bill is now before the law and order select committee.


Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says his proposed Maori youth council could be a source of advice for all Maori MPs.

Te Puni Kokiri is seeking nominations for up to 15 rangatahi who are active in their communities, interested in Maori affairs and have strong leadership skills.

Dr Sharples says with a high proportion of Maori 25, it's important their voices are heard by all MPs interested in Maori development

“I know the Maori members of parliament do want to work together. The parliamentary system is adversary and that’s why we are always scrapping in the House but the reality is we all have the same goal in mind, I know that, so I am hopeful this group can advice not only me, it can advise all Maori in parliament,” Dr Sharples says.


The winner of the first 24 hour Maori playwright's challenge says it was an amazing event to be involved with.

Kath Akuhata Brown had 12 hours to pen a script which was rehearsed and performed as the finale of the Taonga Whakaari Maori Playwright's festival -in Papakura.

She admits to feeling nervous when she was given the task of coming up with a 15-minute fairy tale, but she’s pleased with the result and what her team of director Jason Te Mete and actors did with it.

She says the audience enjoyed the five new short plays, and the contest deserves to be repeated.


The Maori Party representative on the Maori affairs select committee says the inquiry into the tobacco industry is under pressure to investigate other social harms.

The committee completed hearings last week and is now preparing its report for Parliament.

Hone Harawira says it has raised the profile of the committee, and it’s seen to be outside the normal loop.

He’d like the committee to look at alcohol next.


The chair of Tamaki Makaurau Kapahaka says the weekend's festival shows Maori performing arts remain powerful way to bring contemporary issues to the fore.

21 teams took to the stage of the Aotea Centre over the two days, with their compositions canvassing issues such as the lack of Maori seats on the Auckland super city and the risks of drilling oil off the East Cape.

Ope Maxwell says waiata and haka have long been used to draw attention to issues of concern to Maori.

The first four places were taken by west Auckland teams, Te Waka Huia, Tumanako, Te Roopu Manutake and Te Manuhuia, with Ngapuhi group Te Taha Tu and Te Tai Tonga from Manurewa also winning their tickets to Te Matatini national finals in Gisborne next year.


Sports broadcaster Ken Laban says Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic coach Noelene Taurua is getting the last laugh on her critics.

The former Silver Fern came under fire for her team's lackluster performances in regular season play in the Trans Tasman Championship ... including a media story slating her for dressing up in a bumblebee costume to motivate her team.

Mr Laban says yesterday's 54-49 semifinal win over the New South Wales Swifts in Newcastle shows the Ngapuhi wahine is far from a spent force.

The Magic face the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the final next Sunday.

Sharples calls for advice from youth

The Minster of Maori Affairs is looking to rangatahi to come up with fresh ideas.

Pita Sharples says he’s concerned the views of under-25-year-olds who make up a large proportion of the Maori population aren’t being heard.

He’s called for nominations for a 15-member council to reflect the views of young Maori.

“We're being guided by iwi leaders. We’re being guided by urban needs, by our National Government policy, and wherever the Maori Party can work hard and get some gains it’s fine but at the end of the day we’ve got to be working for the future and I think it’s time I was informed by the youth,” Dr Sharples says.

He says irrespective of political allegiance, all Maori MPs will value feedback from a Maori youth council.


The Mental Health Foundation has been forced to close a programme it believes cut Maori suicide rates

Chief executive Judy Clements says the foundation was unable to find an alternate funder after Te Puni Kokiri and the Ministry of Youth Development withdrew.

She says Manawa Ora o Nga Taiohi used cultural activities like marae visits, taiaha and kapa haka training to build confidence and cultural identity among rangatahi.

An evaluation by Te Rau Matatini, the mental health workforce development centre, said it was having a positive effect on the lives of young Maori men and women.

Canterbury and the West Coast have some of the highest suicide statistics in New Zealand, particularly for young Maori.


Fern fronds and tree fungus may get a burst of culinary popularity when a new cookbook hits the shelves later this year.

Chef Charles Royal from Te Arawa has just completed the manuscript for his book on how to source and prepare traditional Maori kai, to be published by Huia in October.

He’s collected the recipes over the years from kaumatua and from family.

Charles Royal says now is a good time to gather pikopiko fern tips from the bush.


Otago University researchers say infectious diseases caused by overcrowded living conditions, such as rheumatic fever, have reached extraordinarily high levels among Maori.

Phillipa Howden-Chapman, the deputy head of the university’s department of health, says while the rate of infection is falling among people of European descent, it is climbing at an alarming rate among Maori and Pacific island populations.

It has resulted in a 26 percent increase in acute hospitalisations for respiratory and infectious diseases over the past two decades.

She says the rate of rheumatic fever for Maori is 13 times that of European.

Professor Howden Chapman says the answer lies in improving the number and quality of houses.


Tuhoe scholar Rangi Mataamua says the way Matariki or the seven stars of the Pleiades constellation appeared in the dawn sky indicated a good year ahead.

Dr Mataamua, from Ruatahuna, is giving a public lecture on Maori astronomy at Massey University's Albany campus on Wednesday night.

He says while the European scientific worldview placed astronomy over astrology, for Maori the physical and metaphysical worlds are one.

If the stars were seen as spread apart and bright on first appearance, ra whitiwhiti, it would denote a good year. A hazy appearance would be he tau tupuhi, a lean year.

Dr Mataamua says Matariki was spread out this year, which he hopes augers well for the All Blacks in the World Cup.


Two new roopu are among the large contingent who will represent Tamaki Makarau at the national Te Matatini Maori performing arts festival in Gisborne next February.

Auckland’s Aotea Centre was packed over the weekend as 21 teams competed in the regional championships.

Four times national champion Te Waka Hui came out on top, followed by Nga Tumanako made up of former Hoani Waititi Kura Kaupapa schoolmates.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples led Te Roopu Manutake to third, followed by Te Manuhuia.

The final two spots to Te Matatini were taken by, Te Taha Tu, which has only been together for sixz months, and Te Tai Tonga, one of four Manurewa roopu competing.