Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, October 29, 2010

Goff concerned at kohanga decline

Labour leader Phil Goff says there needs to be major analysis of why the Kohanga Reo movement is declining and what can be done about it.

A new Waitangi Tribunal report says since its formation in 1981 the movement has provided a foundation in the language for thousands of tamariki, but over the past decade the percentage of Maori children attending has fallen off sharply.

Mr Goff says it's imperative everything possible is done to ensure the survival of the language in the only country where it is an official language.

He says if kohanga reo is not working as it should ways must be found to fix the problem.


The Medical Council says a long term fix is needed to get more Maori into the health professions.

The council's latest workforce survey found that while Maori make up around 15 percent of the population, the proportion of Maori doctors dropped in the past three years by point one percent to 3 percent.

Its chair, John Adams says the problem needs to be tackled at both the secondary and tertiary level.

“The issue starts well before medical school in secondary school in the subjects that Maori students are taking, in the expectations about whether they can get in to medical school and about what happens when they get university in their first year and both universities are doing quite a bit to try and understand, to try to change that and to try to increase the number of Maori not only in medicine but across the health sciences,” Dr Adams says.

Having more Maori doctors would improve healthcare outcomes for Maori people.


The head of the country's newest performing arts school expects major interest from Maori and Pacific youth.

David Coddington says he was inspired to join the project after four years teaching drama at Te Aute College, and other tutors include dancer Cat Ruka and singer Jason Te Mete.

He says the auditions for the first intake will be held over the next two months.

“South Auckland has a very large Polynesian and Maori base to it. We will be reflecting that. The scripts, the style of work we will be doing will be involving Polynesian and Maori,” Mr Coddington says.

The Performing Arts School which is a collaboration between the Manukau Institute of Technology and South Seas Film and Television.


One of the biggest critics of the Auckland super city's Maori statutory board has been appointed to it.

Waipareira Trust chief executive John Tamihere joins Tony Kake from Ngapuhi and ngati maniapoto as maatawaka representatives, there to give the views of Maori from iwi outside Tamaki Makaurau.

They were appointed by an electoral college of mana whenua iwi, who also chose the seven mana whenua representatives.

Mr Tamihere says while his preference was for elected seats on the council itself as recommended by the Royal Commission on Auckland governance, he put his name up for appointment to ensure the needs of urban Maori would be considered.

“As soon as the mana whenua group sold out, we were obliged to either go along or contest to the feeling in the National Urban Maori Authority grouping was ‘no, just get in there and get what you can for us in the meantime,’ and I’m there. Not voluntarily but I’m there under protest,” Mr John Tamihere says.

He says the board will be a work in progress.

Mana Whenua representatives include Glen Tupuhi and David Taipari from Hauraki, Anahera Morehu and Glen Wilcox from Ngati Whatua, James Brown and Wayne Knox from the Tainui waka and Patience te Ao from Ngati Wai.


The chair of a south Taranaki iwi says the government needs to let iwi say how money should be spent revitalising te reo Maori.

Esther Tinirau from Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi took part in consultation the week with the ministerial review panel looking at the Maori language strategy and sector.

She says iwi are the ones with the motivation and drive to sustain their own reo.

“We seek programmes that support our aspirations. We shouldn’t be going along to support other people’s aspirations. It’s our aspirations that count now. We have the most to lose as iwi. We have the most to lose if it doesn’t work. What more do you need with respect to motivation and commitment than that,” Ms Tinirau says.

She says only iwi and hapu can re-establish regional variations of te reo in daily life.


Maori in Queensland are hoping their sixth attempt at building a marae in their new home will finally bear fruit.

Don Rewita, who runs a successful tree-lopping business in Logan, halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, says there are thousands of Maori living in the area.

He says they need a place to look after tupapaku in an appropriate way, and the proposed Te Ramaroa marae will also be a place rangatahi can learn about their culture.

Te Ramaroa is kicking off its campaign tonight to raise $450,000 to buy a 9 acre site for the mare near Logan.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Compulsory reo would strain resources

Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson, Parekura Horomia, is warning that there could be resourcing issues which prevent making te reo Maori a compulsory subject in schools.

Educationalist Tamati Reedy, who is chairing a ministerial review on the Maori language strategy and sector, says he has long held that te reo should be part of the core curriculum.

But Mr Horomia says it has been a challenge to find enough teachers to service existing demand.

“I respect what Tamati says. I personally would be encouraged if we could do that but having been associate minister of education for nine years I know all the pressures and tensions and I want to make sure we get people who are good in their language and good in their English and neither half geared in both,” Mr Horomia says.

The Waitangi Tribunal says existing strategies aren't working, and the number of Maori children in Maori immersion schools and preschools is dropping.


The head of specialist services at the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind says more Maori need to take advantage of the foundation's services.

Veta Endemann says the foundation, which is celebrating its 120th birthday, has developed considerable expertise in finding ways blind or partially sighted people can increase their independence and self-sufficiency.

She says relearning small skills can make a huge difference in the lives of Kaapoo Kiwi, such as making a cup of tea without burning themselves, cleaning their house or catching buses.


The Medical Council's latest workforce survey has found the number of Maori and Pacific Island doctors has dropped over the past three years, from 3.1 percent of the total workforce to 3 percent.

Its chair, John Adams, says that's clearly not enough.

He says the health sector desperately needs a workforce that looks more like its client base.

“When a doctor is more comfortable with a patient, the outcomes are better. We are aware of the discrepancy between Maori health stats and European stats in New Zealand. We feel that not only do we need Maori doctors not only to be directly dealing with Maori patients but we need them to help the rest of us understand what we need to understand in order to treat all patients properly,” Dr Adams says

The Medical Council is continuing to look for ways to get more Maori into the profession.


The head of the ministerial panel reviewing the Maori language strategy says a strong message is coming from iwi and hapu that they should control how money is spent on te reo.

The panel has so far held six hui around the motu to gauge how effective government support for the language has been.

Professor Tamati Reedy says the hui all agreed more could be done with the estimated $226 million being spent now.

“It's a hard message for the Government to hear, particularly in this time of recession but I guess you can’t conduct the haka from Wellington and it’s being carried out in different parts of the motu. The haka is led on the ground where it is, and that’s what’s required in this instance in the revitalization of te reo Maori,” Professor Reedy says.

He hopes to speak to the Prime Minister after the panel reports to Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples.


Former Maori affairs minister Parekura Horomia is defending the Iwi Leaders Forum against an attack from Rotorua lawyer Annette Sykes.

Ms Sykes used the annual Bruce Jesson Memorial Lecture in Auckland to brand the forum as a self-appointed elite who have never sought a mandate.

She says the forum deliberately bypasses traditional Maori leadership structures and disenfranches the majority of Maori.

But Mr Horomia says the leaders are well representative of their iwi, although the debate on what leadership is in Maori is a valid one to have.


Taonga puoro revivalist Richard Nunns says the blend of traditional Maori instrumentalists and electronic beats he's putting together should be a crowd pleaser at the next Womad festival in New Plymouth in March.

Nga Tae, or the colours, will take to the Brooklands Park stages alongside other Maori acts Maisey Rika and Trinity Roots and world music stars like the Afro Celt Sound System and the Juan De Marcos Afro Cuban All-Stars.

Mr Nunns says Nga Tae brings together singer Waimihi Hotere and fellow taonga puoro player Horomona Horo, who have extensive experience with moteatea, and electronic musician Paddy Free from Pitchblack.

He says it will appeal to the populist thrust of Womad.

Nga Tae and Maisey Rika are also among the acts from Aotearoa heading for next month's Australian World Music Expo, where they hope to pick up more work on the festival circuit.

McCarten hale and hearty for Mana challenge

Mana by-election candidate Matt McCarten says he's confident his health will hold up under the pressure of the campaign.

The Unite Union leader says the contest between Labour's Kris Faafoi and National's Hekia Parata has been a snooze so far, and he intends to liven it up with his message of government support for job creation, a rise in the minimum wage to $15 and reversing the gst increase.

Mr McCarten revealed in a newspaper column last month that he was battling a serious cancer, but he now says the prognosis has improved.

“Between my western medicine and my acupuncturist and my naturopath and my kuias and kaumatuas all praying for me I think I’ve got my bases all covered but it seems to have stepped away from what they thought was terminal and they think it can be managed for many years yet so I’m feeling pretty good about it,” Mr McCarten says.

He's counting on getting the support of maverick Maori Party MP Hone Harawira on the campaign trail.


New Zealand's top Maori cop says the dramatic improvement in the relationship between Maori and the police over the past 15 years has drawn the attention of international police agencies.

Superintendant Wally Haumaha, the police national manager for Maori, Pacific, and Ethnic Services, says the number of iwi liaison officers has swelled to 70 since the first, Joe Diamond, created a bridge to Maori communities.

He says other police forces are looking at the model as a way to improve relationships with their indigenous people.

“Just look at how Waitangi has share up over the last four, five years and the Maori wardens working around the flagpole and policing their own communities in much the same way. All that has shifted with the support of our iwi liaisons being able to demonstrate to our organisation that there is another way of working with out people,” Superintendant Haumaha says.


East Coast elders have placed a ban on gathering kaimaona from the Waiapu River south to Port Awanui.

Morehu Te Maro from Te Wiwi Nati marae cluster says the rahui runs until the beginning of December.

He says the aim is to preserve fish stocks, in line with traditional Maori conservation practices.

“We are seasonal fishermen. Our people were always seasonal fishers. They don’t fish for the sake of getting there and having a fish. They fish when that certain fish is in its season and the only time it’s worthy of going out to fish for that certain type of fish,” Mr Te Maro says.

While there have been a few objections to the rahui, most Pakeha in the area have grown up close to Maori and understand the reasoning behind such conservation measures.


Maori lawyer Annette Sykes says the Iwi Leaders Forum is disenfranchising the majority of Maori.

Ms Sykes used the annual Bruce Jesson memorial Lecture in Auckland last night to deliver a stinging critique of the self-appointed forum, which she says is dictating policy to the Maori Party.

She says the iwi leaders have never sought a mandate for their actions, and they are deliberately bypassing traditional Maori leadership structures.

“What is happening is we have elite groups, an elite caste meeting amongst themselves, what for, so they can sit down like the Business Roundtable with the National Party-ACT coalition and plan new right strategies for this country, most definitely not strategies in the interests of Maori if we analyse them carefully,” Ms Sykes says.


Former Alliance president Matt McCarten is counting on Maori Party MP Hone Harawira to help him pick up some of the Maori vote in the Mana by-election.

The Unite Union leader says he's entering the race against Labour's Kris Faafoi and National's Hekia Parata because both major parties are still wedded to the view that the free market will deliver jobs and fair wages.

He says the seat has a large Maori population, many of whom are on the general roll.

“I will be wanting Maori support and Hone Harawira is coming to support me and coming to work with me so that will be good. We are going to do outreach to as many Maori electors as possible and I’m looking forward to it, because he is the man and what he says I think has a lot of following,” Mr McCarten says.


Educationalist Tamati Reedy says he'd like to see te reo Maori made a compulsory subject in schools.

Professor Reedy says that's a long-held personal view, and not one he is advocating as the chair of a ministerial review of the Maori language strategy and sector.

He says last week's Waitangi Tribunal report showing the number of Maori children in Maori language education shows that there is a disconnect between words and action when it comes to te reo Maori.

“If we view it as of great value, then it stands to be held in esteem like all the rest of the subjects we call the core curriculum our children go through in the schools of our country, right through from early childhood into the higher levels of education,” Professor Reedy says.

The message coming from the review panel's regional hui is that Maori language resources need to be devolved down to local level to be more effective.


World music fans at next year's Womad Festival will be treated to an innovative mash up featuring taonga puoro virtuosos Richard Nunns, Waimihi Hotere and Horomona Horo and electronic musician Paddy Free.

Other Maori who'll take to the stage at New Plymouth's Brooklands Park from the 18th to the 20th of March include Maisey Rika and the reformed Trinity Roots.

The festival is headlined by world music supergroup Afro Celt Sound System, who played the first New Zealand WOMAD in 1997, with other stars including blind Malian singers Amadou and Mariam and Trinidad and Tobago’s calypso ‘queen’ Calypso Rose.

Sykes slams iwi chairs' roundtable

The iwi chairs forum has been slammed as an unelected and unaccountable group which has no mandate to make major decisions on behalf of Maoridom.

In the Bruce Jesson Memorial Lecture being delivered about now in Auckland, lawyer Annette Sykes from Ngati Pikiao says the forum and its associated iwi leaders groups are exerting growing influence on Maori policy.

She says hapu round the country are becoming increasingly concerned at the activities of the self-selected group, which includes Ngai Tahu's Mark Solomon, Tukoroirangi Morgan of Tainui and Sonny Tau of Ngapuhi.

“There are these six iwi chairs who have been nominated to meet quarterly and have regular interface with the Crown. Now I don’t know any process which showed those six iwi chairs should be that which takes that interface. There was certainly no Hirangi hui, there was no Turangawaewae hui, and certainly at Waitangi or Pukawa where I’ve been at, there has not been a mandate of this kind,” Ms Sykes says.

She says while some of the convenors asked by the iwi leaders to take the lead on issues are highly skills, others have no discernible expertise in what they are being asked to comment on.


Labour leader Phil Goff says a vote in the Mana by-election for Unite Union boss Matt McCarten would be a vote for National.

Mr Goff says the former Alliance president hasn't got a chance of winning in what will be a two horse race between the main parties.

He says his presence as an independent can only help National's Hekia Parata by taking some votes from the left away from Kris Faafoi.

“A vote that's not for Labour is going to be a vote in favour of the National candidate so that’s just the nature of a by-election,” Mr Goff says.

He says the by-election is a chance for voters to send a message to the government about rising prices, unemployment and cuts in health and social services.


A Maori chef says the five years he took to research, refine and publish Cooking With Charles Royal has been worth the effort.

The Rotorua based, Army-trained chef aimed the book at the young adult market, but he says it will help any adventurous cooks who want to incorporate ingredients from the bush into their kai.

The recipes are all road tested, and many are learned from people familiar with the unique tastes and flavours of the ngahere.

“There's a lot of whanau that have secret little recipes. My mother, she’s a good cook as well so I started at an early age, learnt everything from munching on basic damper bread or takakau right through to flax seed muffins and smoking salmon with horopito and tomato over the open fire,” he says.

Charles Royal will be demonstrating and signing copies of the Huia-published book at this weekend's Rotorua Home and Garden show.


Independent candidate Matt McCarten says he intends to set the agenda for the Mana by-election.

The former Alliance president has the backing of his Unite Union to join the contest for the safe Labour seat, which Phil Goff's former press secretary Kris Faafoi is seeing to retain for the party against the challenge from National list MP Hekia Parata.

He says there's a lot to say before the November 20 vote.

“There's no campaign here. They’re just waltzing around and waiting to finish the election. Well, we’re going to give them a campaign and we’re going to make them address the three issues: Employment, the state’s got to do it, the free market ain’t going to do it; got to get the minimum wage up to $15, we’re never going to catch Australia unless we legislate for it; and the other one is I want a discussion about taxes because gst goes up to 15 percent, hits the working poor, yet all the rich got a big tax cut,” Mr McCarten says.

The cancer he has been fighting this year is no longer considered terminal, and he feels in good enough health to cope with the stresses of a campaign.


Labour leader Phil Goff says Hone Harawira's dumping from select committee considering the Marine and Coastal Area Bill shows a clear split in thinking within the Maori Party.

Maori Party leaders say the Tai Tokerau MP was campaigning against the bill in defiance of the caucus's support for it, so his place during the submission process would by taken by party whip Te Ururoa Flavell.

Mr Goff says Mr Harawira was voicing concerns that many in the Maori party feel about what their leaders have signed up to.

“This a power struggle within the Maori Party, and this is the end result of it,” he says.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says the large number of Maori who worked on Sir Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy deserved better pay and conditions than they got.

Ms Turei says while the actors' union is being cast as the villain in the row over whether The Hobbit will be filmed in Aotearoa, the truth is that film studio Warner Brothers is only interested in tax breaks and cheap labour.

She says filmmaker Sir Peter Jackson may have employed lots of people, he has not always employed them well.

“I knew quite a few Maoris who worked on those movies as extras, especially as orcs, because they’re big and dark, I’m not sure, heaps of them were working as orcs and they had a terrible time. It’s not actually a particularly pleasant job and they weren’t being paid huge amounts of money,” Ms Turei says.

She says the government seems determined to sell off New Zealand workers cheaply to the Hollywood studios, rather than let the workers bargain for a fair deal.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Harawira fate rests with electorate

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says he's copped a lot of flak over Hone Harawira's description of ACT leader Rodney Hide as a fat little redneck.

Dr Sharples says many of those who called or emailed contrasted his low key response to the Taitokerau MP's comments, compared with his call for former Television New Zealand Breakfast host Paul Henry to stand down for questioning whether Governor general Anand Satyanand was a New Zealander.

But he says there is a difference.

“I got slammed big time saying what a hypocrite I was and that’s fair comment in a way from their viewpoint, that here I am not doing anything about Hone, but my answer simply is Paul (Henry) is responsible to us in his role as a publicly funded broadcaster but Hone is responsible to his electorate,” Dr Sharples says.

The Maori Party puts great weight on the right of its electorates to elect who they want to represent them.


The opening of a dialysis treatment centre in Wairoa means the predominantly Maori patients will no longer have to endure day long round trips into Hastings for treatment, with the opening of a dialysis treatment centre in the northern Hawkes Bay town.

Gordon Preston from the Wairoa Dialysis Society says the society raised funds to secure a lease on the centre, with the Hawkes Bay District Health Board providing the necessary dialysis equipment.

He says it will make life easier for the 18 people needed regular dialysis.

He says 60 percent of people in Wairoa and 70 to 80 percent in the rural areas around it are Maori.


It's full steam ahead for Tauranga's first full immersion Maori secondary school.

The Environment Court decision has dismissed objections from neighbours to the building of the 350-pupil school at Bethlehem.

Iria Whiu, the chair of Te Wharekura o Mauao's board, says it's great news and should help lead to greater understanding and respect for cultures.

Construction will start early in the new year to be ready for year 7to 13 students at the beginning of the 2012 school year.


Police have served a trespass notice on a far north tourism operator who continues to drive across a Maori reserve without paying the requested fee.

Patau Tepania, the chair of Te Kohanga Trust, says Greg Hall uses the track onto Shipwreck Bay at the bottom of Ninety Mile beach for his all terrain vehicle tours.

The track is open for public access, but the owners want a contribution from commercial operators so they can pay rates.

He says after Mr Hall breached an earlier trespass order, the police researched the titles and confirmed it was a private road reserve.

“Greg Hall just walked in, came to the meeting, read the information that the police had, threw it on the table and walked back out again. So the police couldn’t talk to Greg and explain to him the situation that he was in so the police had to call around to his house and give him the trespass notice. If he should breach it, he will be arrested,” Mr Tepania says.

Meanwhile on the other coast, Far North mayor Wayne Brown says he won't issue a trespass order against foreshore and seabed protesters occupying a council reserve used by the Taipa Sailing Club, because it's a problem the government needs to fix.


The organiser of a forum discussing self determination and the liberation of women says Maori have learned a lot from cross cultural korero.

Helen Te Hira from Aotearoa Solidarity says Wise Women Speak will feature Coni Ledesma from the National Democratic Front of the Phillipines, a former political prisoner now in her mid-seventies.

She will share the stage with Titewhai Harawira and Annette Sykes.

Ms Te Hira says Maori have long standing links with the Philippines.

“Maori have been to the Philippines over the years, learnt and discussed about colonisation, militarism, deforestation, so this is women from different communities talking and exchanging their experiences and hopefully from that we will get s sense of where we have come from and where we're going,” Ms Te Hira says.

Wise Women Speak is at the Maori Studies Department of Auckland University at 10 on November the 10th


The head of Ngati Kahungunu's Kahu art gallery in Napier hopes whoever stole two kowhaiwhai panels from its Marine Parade entrance on Saturday night did so in a moment of exuberance and will return them.

Marie Edwards says the 3 metre green, red and white panels were donated by students of Hastings artist Sandy Adsett.

She says the gallery has had support from other retailers, as the gallery has been a real hit in the community.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Harawira talks way off foreshore committee

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says he had no option but to take Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira off the Maori Affairs select committee while it considers the new Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill.

He has been replaced by Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell.

Dr Sharples says Mr Harawira has made no secret that he is campaigning against the bill which the Maori Party fought for.

“Hone's decided to take a view contrary to the Maori Party caucus and if we are going to have the support evened up on that (select) committee and gong to have a hearing where the public come in and give their views, we have to have an open mind to receive them,” Dr Sharples says.

Mr Harawira will continue to sit on the committee while other issues are being considered, such as its inquiry into the tobacco industry.


Wet Auckland Maori leader John Tamihere says the National Kohanga Reo Trust needs a shakeup.

He say a Waitangi Tribunal report showing a 10-year decline in the number of children attending Maori language pre-schools is an indictment on the organization.

He says it has failed to develop resources that the regions need, so while kohanga numbers should be going through the roof, they're going through the floor.

“Out in the west we would like our share of the national fund devolved into our region, then put key performance indicators against us saying we will up the enrolment of Maori children in early childhood education and we will grow them but you can’t do that if someone out of Wellington, a new brown bureaucracy out of Wellington called the National Kohanga Reo Truest, is going to stifle all that,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says kura kaupapa immersion schools are also failing to live up to their potential.


Palmerston’s North’s Te Manawa museum and arts centre is being overhauled to allow it to tell the region’s Maori story better.

Chief executive Steve Fox says tangata whenua will play a vital part in the $3.3 million refit, which also includes the incorporation of the New Zealand Rugby Museum onto the site.

That includes input into the Manawatu River exhibition which opens in Aprl and the Tangata Whenua show which opens next August.

A highlight of the refurbished Te Manawa will be the pou whakairo carved by the late John Bevan Ford.


The negotiator for Ngati Kuia says the money is only a small part of the top of the South Island iwi's $24 million settlement.

Mark Moses says the signing on the weekend brought together iwi members from around the country in a spirit of whanaungatanga.

He says it's taken five years to negotiate the settlement.

“There are a number of points we were after, things like recognition, involvement in decision making, acknowledgement of things that had happened. For us it’s as much about our iwitanga and our relationships with the Crown as it has been about getting some compensation,” Mr Moses says.

While the other iwi in the Kurahaupo waka, Nga Apa and Rangitane, are due to sign their settlements in the next few days, the Government's suspension of talks with the Taranaki ki te Tonga group could slow up completion of claims in Te Tau Ihu.


But the chair of Wakatu Incorporation, Paul Morgan, says he's not prepared to see Nelson claimants short-changed by the government's treaty settlement process.

Attorney general Chris Finlayson last week suspended negotiations with the Taranaki Tainui ki te Tonga group of iwi because he said there was a risk some claimants would be paid twice for the same claims if Wakatu wins its High Court case.

He says Wakatu is undermining the talks and the Crown's general policy of negotiating with iwi groups.

Mr Morgan says the Crown is trying to impose a settlement that fails to honour the original 1845 deal that was supposed to reserve 10 percent of Nelson land for the Maori owners.

“It can be honoured because the Crown s in possession of significant land and I say possession within the New Zealand Company survey. It’s land it should not have in its possession because it hasn’t met not only its contractual obligations but we have title over that land that was issued to us in fee simple,” Mr Morgan says.

The high Court case starts on November 29.


Rangatahi Maori in Auckland are being urged to apply for a special Outward Bound Course that explores cultural development and diversity as well as the personal development of participants.

Christina Arathimos from Outward Bound says the 21-day Auckland Southern Cross course tries to involve young adults from the different ethnic communities in Auckland.

She says the collaboration with the Human Rights Commission gives it an extra edge to other courses, as a wide range of cultures come together.

Applications for the course in late January close at the end of next week

Classrooms at Hoani Waititi kura destroyed

Maori affairs minister Pita Sharples says a fire which destroyed to two classrooms at Hoane Waititi marae's kura kaupapa on Sunday night is shattering.

Police are treating the fire as suspicious, after reports a group of youths had been seen loitering in the area earlier in the evening.

Dr Sharples, who helped set up the kura, says he was devastated.

“I was down at the marae in the afternoon almost until evening and came home to get ready for my week and to get that pone call was devastating. It was the first kura, and it was one of our new buildings, two new classrooms, and it was just a tragedy,” Dr Sharples says.

Neighbours came out to console those connected with the kura.


The chair of Nelson’s Wakatu Incorporation, Paul Morgan, says he won’t be bullied by the Government into giving up the fight for his beneficiaries’ common law property rights.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson last week suspended talks with the four iwi in the Taranaki Tainui ki te Tonga group because of a legal challenge by Wakatu to the way the Crown administered its land for more than a century.

Mr Morgan says the Crown won’t negotiate in good faith with Wakatu, even though it lodged the original Waitangi Tribunal claim, so it is going to court to defend the individual rights of present and past owners.

“Under the Waitangi Act any Maori can make a claim but the Crown policy that’s been wrapped around this whole process, its strategy is to deal with a large communal group, they so happen to call it iwi, and that has management benefits and fiscal benefits for the Crown. It’s not a policy that necessarily delivers justice in terms of Crown breaches,” says Mr Morgan.


The designers of a reloading possum trap says Maori rural communities are embracing it.

The Department of Conservation had bought 10,000 of the traps, which use compressed gas to kill up to 12 possums before they need to be reloaded.

Robbie Greg, the co-director the Wellington based company Good Nature, says DoC's initial trials in the Urewera ranges proved highly popular with the community.

“The folk up in the Urewera have really worked over the last decade to include the community into these projects and if you look across the country, community groups now actually manage larger tracts of land than the department itself,” Mr Greg says.

DoC's $4 million purchase will allow the traps to prove themselves commercially.


The Police Maori strategic advisor, Wally Haumaha, hopes his return to Tuhoe territory with Police Commission Howard Broad at the weekend helped heal wounds from the controversial raids on Ruatoki three years ago.

The pair were at Ruatoki for the unveiling of the gravestone of Sir John Turei, who died in 2003.

Superintendent Haumaha says Sir John’s legacy as a peacemaker gave the gathering a special feeling.

“It went extremely well. I think it was totally dignified on both sides. Of course we were invited there for a completely different kaupapa. Having said that I think it was an opportunity for us to, and particularly for the commissioner to be there with the people of Ruatoki and from my engagement with a lot of our kaumatua, they were very complimentary of the fact they could see him face to face,” Superintendent Haumaha says.


Labour list MP Shane Jones says resources for Maori language revival need to be closer to the community.

The Waitangi Tribunal has identified a fall over the past decade in the number and percentage of Maori children attending kohanga reo and kura kaupapa Maori immersion schools, and pointed to what it calls policy failure by successive governments.

Mr Jones, who is seeking the Labour nomination for Tamaki Makaurau, says agencies like the Maori language commission Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Maori have become too caught up in the centralised Wellington bureaucracy, rather than addressing the needs of the main centres of Maori population.

IN: We should certainly have a taura whiri, I don’t want to diminish its status, but there should be one focused and working in Auckland,” he says.

Mr Jones says the money tagged for teaching and promoting te reo Maori isn’t being spent wisely.


A home town advantage put two members of the Santorik whanau in the prizes at this weekend’s Auahi Kore Maori surfing championships at Raglan.

Jessie Santorik won the women's open division and her brother Leon came second in the men’s open, which was won by Tim O'Connor from Mt Maunganui.

Their mother, Lyn, says her kids are proud of their Ngati Toa heritage and look forward to the annual event as a time to celebrate with other Maori surfers.

“It all about me, each other, whanau. There’s something really special. It’s quite tangible when you’re there and what I like to see is the people flushed out for this comp, you don’t see them at other comps,” Ms Santorik

Another Raglan homie, Daniel Kereopa from Tainui, came third in the men’s open, while Kelly Clarkson from Te Arawa and Renee Lee from Nga Puhi took the minor placings in the women’s event.