Friday, August 27, 2010

I'll tell you what is important to you

Isn't it the fundamental right of a child to be bought up within their culture. If māori birth parents adopt (foster or some other mechanism) the child to pākehā but then decide that it is important that their child be bought up within their māori culture what do you think the High Court should determine?
From NZH
"The biological parents of a two-year-old girl have lost a legal battle to have their daughter raised in a Maori family.
The biological father wanted the girl brought up in her own culture, but the High Court this week ruled in favour of the care couple.
They were granted primary care but must ensure the girl has continuing contact with her birth family and raise her to know her Maori roots."
I just can't see that being good enough.
"Justice Warwick Gendall said "As taonga, children are to be treated with respect, responsibility, love and care by all members of the group.The court had to consider what was best for the child now."
Which group? what does respect and responsibility mean when this decision, about māori, is made by a legal system that barely recognises māori values. How can pakeha decide what is best for māori?

The cost to the child and our communities by this decison really make me feel very sad.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

whales respected

Are the science and māori worldview compatible? I think they can be, notwithstanding definitions of what science actually is, compared to what people think it is, and defining a/the māori worldview. I'll just stick to massive generalisations - the major difference is the inclusion of a spiritual element in māori knowledge systems, including science.

Decisions about what to do with the whales that died in a recent stranding offers an example of the different worldviews. Scientists want to dissect the dead whales to help determine why they stranded and try to stop it happening and this is laudable. But how many whales have already been dissected and are we actually any closer to understanding these strandings? If pollution was found to be the direct cause does that mean that will stop people polluting? Or if something else, like a virus is found, will pollution reduce then?

I am not saying that there is no value in knowing causes but there is likely to be multiple causes from systemic breakdowns across and within the whole ecosystem. Thinking of the whales as a part of an ecosystem is holistic, and it can offer insights because you come from an angle of connection rather than difference.

The māori worldview is holistic and places importance on not violating the whale by dissection. Under many circumstances the māori view would be discarded out of hand and the dissection proceeded with. But we are making progress, because that didn't happen here...

From NZH
"Kaumatua Alan Hetaraka said scientists could take DNA samples, "but we don't want [the whales] to be chopped up. It doesn't fit with our culture".
The former marine biologist said his scientist head told him to let the experts take their samples, but his cultural heart told him to bury them intact."
Good on you Alan, it is good to have someone who understands both worlds considering these issues. Although the dissections won't be available, the DNA is, and understanding why these mammals strand can still be worked on. I think this was a good decision and it shows the value of the legislation that requires the intent of the treaty, and thus the māori worldview, to be considered.

Footnote - further information on the maori worldview and this situation.

From NZH
"Ngati Kahu kaumatua Alan Hetaraka said last week's mass stranding on the Karikari Peninsula was just a few hundred metres from a subdivision which the iwi was due to fight in the High Court in less than two weeks' time.
"It's ironic that these things turn up at that spot. You could say it's nature doing what nature does. But to us it's a sign ... It's a sign that they've come to support us."
The court battle centres on a former campground behind the dunes, where an American millionaire is creating eight sections. The 7km-long beach is so far untouched by development.
Mr Hetaraka said the developer wanted to build houses on a slight rise where burial caves were. The caves were used for the children of Ngati Kahu ancestor Kahukura; ordinary people were buried in the dunes.
The firm behind the subdivision is Auckland-based MBR Developments, while Carrington Farms is owned by American Paul Kelly, who owns the adjacent golf course, hotel and vineyard"
I tautoko the fight to stop this development. And it puts the decision around the dissection into perspective. Utu - reciprocity - the whales have supported the iwi, the iwi return the favour.

running free

Frog at Frogblog has some great news about the Nevis River.
"A special tribunal has agreed to a variation on the Kawarau Water Conservation Order that would prohibit the damming of the Nevis river , a tributary of the Kawarau. The variation was sought by Fish & Game back in 2008.
One of the key factors in the tribunal’s decision was the recent discovery of a rare species of galaxiid known as the Gollum Galaxias in the Nevis, the only place it has been found in Otago.
It has been eyed up for a hydro dam by Pioneer Generation for years, but now thanks to the efforts of Fish & Game, and of course the Gollum Galaxias, it will run free forever."
Thank you Fish & Game.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has given Iwi leaders a real tongue lashing but her attack is fake. Blaming maori for negaitive statistics, telling them to fix it out of tiny settlements (paid out as compensation for crown cheating and lying), and not providing any resources is just maori bashing and it deviates us from actually working on solutions.

From Radio NZ
"Maori leaders have been told to face up to the fact Maori babies and children are being beaten, abused and killed. They have also been told to pay up in order to help it stop."
"Ms Bennett told iwi leaders to put their hands in their own pockets and commit to a joint effort. Ms Bennett told them 'the Government does not have all the money right now.'"
Isn't it the job of the government to provide support and services to its citizens? Since when is it okay for the minister to say to a social group that it is your problem, fix it - and then not provide any resources to address the problem.

The negative statistics attributed to maori is a result of government policy not because of any 'lack' from maori. The child abuse statistics must be reduced for all groups in society but that won't happen by attacking particular groups. And it won't happen while tight resources are withheld. To say to iwi leaders that they should use additional parts of tiny settlements to do the governments job is untenable and unrealistic and is just politics - not actually addressing the issue - spin, a softening up... for what?

Saturday, August 21, 2010


No one gets worked up about a politician lying or spinning, but the public do frown upon complete incompetance and hidden agendas. So when brownlee said, (From NZH)
"the Government and Petrobras were aware of environmental concerns - particularly soon after the Gulf of Mexico industrial accident and oil spill - but he was comfortable with the company's "sensitive" approach to its work and legislation was being worked on in terms of environmental requirements needed to be put in place in New Zealand's exclusive economic zone."
what he really meant is the opposite because there was no work on safety or the environment - they weren't even considered and that fact, along with the non-discussions with maori, show the make up of the man brownlee. He is crudegerry.
"Documents obtained by Radio New Zealand under the official information show the decision to award the permit was made on technical and economic grounds and did not consider safety or environmental factors.
Petrobras was required to show it would use good oil field practices.
Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee said specific environmental requirements did not need to be considered until drilling began.
Lets get real - brownlee pimp's our country and its resources to anyone and everyone. He doesn't care about the environment or maori concerns - they didn't even enter his head. He cares about money - for himself and his mates - and the country can just be exploited and desecrated willy nilly. No one is going to forget your role in selling our futures - brownlee, don't worry about that crudegerry.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

sci fi colonisation

the first one arrived all
sun-spill and screaming
like a God. Somewhere
a parchment of pixels
was signed and they don't
talk to us anymore.

What have we loved?

To make ours into
theirs they came in numbers.

I know it's a bit indulgent putting up another visual poem but this photo, when I turned it around, just looked like clouds to me, then spaceships. Stephen Hawkings warnings about aliens...  my love of sci fi and the assignments that I have just finished on colonisation... an interesting mix and my response to the ansells of this world.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

visual poem

I'm restless as
traverse me. Their
touch a tingle, an
echo, a breath.

You sit still
letting me trace
across your back,
my finger flows.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Te Hononga - the joining

In an article entitled “Nga Pumanawa e Waru” written by Himiona Tikitu of Ngati Awa in 1897, and published by Elsdon Best, eight talents or pumanawa required and expected of chiefs were noted. Number 7 was, "He mohio ki te hanga whare rimu, waka ranei, clever at building houses, fortified sites or canoes." That pumanawa was intrepreted/modified as 'Talents for today' by Professor H. Mead for a scoping paper and number 7 became "The leader is able to lead the community to undertake and successfully complete big projects such as building a marae, a wharekai, a wharenui, or a waka ama, or a waka hourua, establish a kohanga reo, or a kura kaupapa."

Whichever way you look at it, our kaiwhakahaere can take credit as the leader who brought this project to completion.

From The Press
"The new Christchurch civic building was given its new Maori name at a dawn blessing ceremony this morning. The building was named Te Hononga. The literal translation of Te Hononga is "the joining". The name was chosen to mark the deal between Ngai Tahu and the Christchurch City Council to build the new civic headquarters.
I'm not sure about PPP's but i am sure that we need more joining and working together, where the maori worldview is respected.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

banning culture

Equating haka with violence and banning it so that it can only be performed in a dressing room is the wrong way to do things and insulting. This banning is not based upon knowledge of maori tikanga or kaupapa, maori were not asked. What messages are we sending to the young maori boy who is told his culture is worthless and is relegated to the dressing room. Who owns and is responsible for maori culture and the understanding around maori cultural items?

From Stuff
"Under-13 boys playing in the Roller Mills rugby tournament in Cambridge next month have been barred from performing pre-match haka because of fears they lead to violence and intimidation.
Dave Syms, the chairman of the northern regions junior advisory board, this week said the ban was put in place because some people did not have the maturity to cope with the emotions sparked by haka.
"We're talking 12-year-olds and for some of them the emotion of the thing is too much for them," Syms said.
"Haka are great but there is a time and a place. They are a special thing performed by special teams."
"They are not performed in the ITM Cup or at any other age group level ... To be honest I think their importance has been over estimated especially by parents and coaches," he said.
Sorry dave but you are talking rubbish.
"It is an absolute travesty to equate the haka with violence,'' Dr Sharples said.
''Violence does occur during rugby games, and other contact sports, but to blame the haka is ridiculous.
''The haka is performed to inspire enthusiasm and pride, to build team unity, and to lift the players’ mental alertness before the game,'' he said.
''It is a challenge, to your own team as well as your opponent, and teams need to be taught the full discipline of the haka, including respect for the other side.
That is what is all about dave.
"Dr Sharples said there was a culture of school students doing the haka, which was a fantastic way to incorporate tikanga Maori into the life of the school.
"The fact that school rugby teams want to emulate the All Black haka is great. But to confine it to the changing sheds is ridiculous, and defeats the purpose," he said.
''Coaches and managers must take a strong line and constantly remind players that violence is not acceptable.
''Coaches, managers and tournament organisers need to address the behaviour, not blame the haka, and I am disgusted that this ban suggests the haka is somehow bad, and should not be performed in public.
Pita is pretty upset over this, for me it is a slippery slope. Creating falsehoods around maori culture and using those falsehoods to help you achieve your goals is not on, even if the goals are worthy, like reducing the carnage at a age under 13 rugby tournament.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tau ke Whai Rawa

Good news that Whai Rawa, the Ngai Tahu saving scheme, is helping raise knowledge about money for Ngai Tahu whanui. This is a good example of maori creating solutions to help themselves. Well done Andrew Scott and the Whai Rawa team. I have a strong interest because I 'contracted my services' to Whai Rawa a few years ago. I believe in empowerment and empowerment around money is essential so that we can for instance, take the yoke of debt off.

From The Press
"A new survey shows that 36 per cent of iwi members belong to KiwiSaver, compared with 29 per cent of the general population.
And 43 per cent of Ngai Tahu members use the government-funded financial advice service Sorted, compared with 34 per cent of the general population.
The ANZ Ngai Tahu Financial Knowledge survey, released yesterday, is the first to canvass iwi members.
Our capitalist, comodification. individualistic society is not natural and we need to understand why, it certainly does not appear to follow maori values or be in alignment with the maori worldview - but we have to work with the system to get out of the system. Empowerment is one of the important stages of that process.

Monday, August 9, 2010

pickaxe diplomacy

Let us join with Te Whanau a Apanui to end these insane mining and drilling plans. 

From Waatea news
"An East Coast iwi is reaching out to other tribes and the wider public to fight oil exploration off its shores.
Te Whanau a Apanui hosted a hui in Auckland at the weekend to discuss its response to the Government’s invitation to Brazilian company Petrobras to prospect for oil and gas in the Raukumara basin.
Chairperson Riki Gage says it found common interests with other iwi and with environmentalists.
He says in its drive to encourage both onshore and offshore exploration, the Government is ignoring its duty to look after the environment.
Yes this government puts bogus economic development before everything. Value as dollars is first, and everything else is last equal. This 'structure' will need to be dismantled. Get your pickaxe and start dismantling.


Lots of discussion regarding race and identity (usually people telling maori what to think and who to be) and hone's comments, and trotter's revision of history regarding Tuhoe, and Professor Mutu's 'racism' in defending hone's statements. Enjoy.

lew sorts trotter out here
"These are people who claim to want to ‘move on’ from our colonial history, for Aotearoa to become ‘one nation’. But doing so on the basis of swordright cannot result in a nation of two people joining together as ‘iwi tahi tatou’, but of one people who set the rules and another who live by them; the former wielding the righteous sword of civilisation, the latter’s efforts to work with the former rather than under them cut down by it, and even their efforts to work within the rules viewed with eternal suspicion and distrust. This is beyond misery — it is ignorant, paranoiac hatred and fear of ghosts long passed..."
maps assists kiwiblog here
"The real change over the past fifty years or so, with the development of history as a professional discipline in NZ, is the disappearance of the completely one-sided views of the past which cast Maori as naturally inferior to Pakeha and presented Te Kooti, Te Whiti, and other rebels as nothing but fanatical terrorists with no legitimate grievances.
HORansome codswallops paul here
" This is made especially clear by the fact that the claim "Maori are suspicious of Pakeha" and "Maori form relationships with Pakeha" are in no way mutually exclusive. Both propositions can be true at the same time; the truth of one does not negate the truth of the other. Indeed, in some cases the truth of the former will result in the truth of the latter; Maori who partner up with Pakeha may come to distrust Pakeha for because of the results of such a partnership (for example, some of the land loss Maori suffered under colonial rule was due to Pakeha forming relationships with Maori and then "inheriting" land from hapu when such relationships came to an end (rather than accepting that the hapu granted land use rather than land ownership). There is an awful lot of literature on this.

Good debates - pity not many maori voices being heard but they don't seem like maori debates to me. 

visual poem

of me
of us
identity. a break

Friday, August 6, 2010


I am opposed to naming a ridge on Aoraki for ed hillary. Sorry, it is just not appropriate.

From NZH
"The Geographic Board has narrowed a list of several public proposals for honouring the New Zealand icon down to one - to rename the South Ridge of Aoraki-Mt Cook "Hillary Ridge"  ...While some might think Sir Ed's enormous contribution merits the naming of a whole mountain, or mountain range"
Ummm - what contribution did ed make to maori?

I tend to believe that everything should be renamed back to maori. Just think about the recent weather in maori- showing the correct names for each area - it didn't make anyone's head explode. We could double-name for a while, no problem. Consultation is important as this story shows.

From NZH
"Te Heipora Place, off Arataki Rd, was named after the principal wife of Te Hapuku, an important chief in the area in the 1870s. Te Heipora owned a large area of land there.
Residents objected at a naming and blessing ceremony yesterday morning because they had not been part of the naming process, saying the name was too unfamiliar and difficult to pronounce.
Oh dear - Te Heipora (tay hay-pora) - that's fixed.
"But kaumatua Jerry Hapuku said the name had great significance, and matched Karanema Drive, which was named after Te Heipora's son or grandson.
The iwi did not intend to compromise. "We want this name on this street. It is how we feel as descendants," he said."
and as Pukepuke Tangiora Huata, a descendent of Te Heipora says
"We have foreign tourists visiting who can say the words right but some people born in New Zealand don't want to."
Don't want to!

If we did go to maori names we would soon adjust. It would really help this country and create opportunities to move forward.

Bit more about names from Lew at Kiwipolitico

too far

The arguments put forward by mark solomon are strong in regards to Ngai Tahu rights to the foreshore and seabed.

From NZH
"In our land claim [settled in 1997] the Crown fully acknowledges that they took our lands under duress, that their actions were unconscionable. They furnish us with an apology over their actions but then they are going to use exactly the same [acts], put it on the table today and say the families ... have no rights. Where is the justice?
"What we want is a set of tests that aren't ... deliberately put in place to minimise the rights of Maori."
The tests (to meet the definition of customary title) say Maori must show continuous and exclusive use of an area under claim since 1840. Land ownership abutting the foreshore is a good indicator of where hapu or iwi will be successful in gaining customary title.
Maori own 278.8km, or 3.2 per cent, of 8832.9km of South Island coastal land.
The bar is set too high and deliberately weighted against maori - that is a fact. How many iwi or hapu will be able to get over the bar? Not many - if any. And that is just the way the gnats want it.

Of more concern is what solomon says about why maori should have their customary rights recognised
"Not qualifying for customary title would deny the tribe rights to mine minerals, whereas the repeal legislation, which is expected to be passed before the end of the year, would allow Maori with customary title to mine any mineral apart from Crown-owned petroleum, gold, silver and uranium.
"There is prospectively an opportunity for some iwi over minerals. I'd state ironsands as an example," Mr Solomon said.
This is too far. There is no mandate from Ngai Tahu to consider mining. Sure - everything needs to be in the pot but this is overreaching and by stateing it publically - it is not good tikanga IMO. After rereading this bit it seems that it could be a stretch to say he is talking about Ngai Tahu mining and it is too far for me to bring up tikanga.

Too much of our land and water have been sacrificed to the beast of 'growth' and 'progress' and 'money'. We have desecrated papatuanuku and diminished our mana because of that. Protection is the way to go not dredging up ironsands to send offshore so overseas businesspeople can make more money. Manawhenua is the way and it is a two way street.

unemployed maori - our shame

The facts speak for themselves and the facts show that maori continue to be at the bottom of the pile. This must be addressed, this is just not good enough.
Unemployment by ethnic group:

Pakeha: 4.4 per cent
Maori: 16.4 per cent
Pacific Island: 14.1 per cent
Asian: 10.5 per cent
Pita Sharples - don't worry about flying a maori flag over the prisons to improve morale (stupid idea) look to your Maori Job Summit - how many jobs for maori came out of that? None - waste of time.
"Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples said the Maori unemployment figures were shocking.“It’s terrible, that’s about all you can say really,” he told reporters. If there are no jobs there are no jobs.
That is all we are expecting from pita as supporters of this government - nothing.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

little bits

Life is very busy at the moment, but good-busy. I haven't been able to post as much as usual, but it's swings and roundabouts. I'm enjoying studying, and feeding the chickens and playing with my son.

Bit of a bummer about the light show not turning up.

A facinating post by maps here on hone's latest "I don't want a pakeha inlaw" outburst.
"By implicitly endorsing the view that the children of unions between Maori and non-Maori represent some sort of diminution of Maori identity, Harawira gives a boost to the sort of racism he has spent his career trying to defeat."
The comments, as usual are excellent. I can't be bothered with hone at the moment - less talk more action needed.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

big lights tonight

Ahhh - the sunspot cycle starting up. The sunspot cycle is around 11 years - from high to high. The souther you are, the better the view - wish i was deep south but top of the south is going to be great.

From Stuff
"Massive sun flares which have sent a wave of solar supercharged gas toward Earth are expected to reach New Zealand later today, NASA warns.
The first visual effects could be on display tonight with a display of Aurora Australis or Southern Polar lights."
Get ready for a light show - it will drag you away from the TV, it will drag you away from your light interiors, you will gravitate towards the dark, the night. And within the night many things become manifest. An opportune time to think.

Monday, August 2, 2010

dirty chainsaw

Respecting the death of a whale is important. Chopping the jawbone out with a chainsaw without respect is offensive. Stealing the jawbone via this method is low and is driven by greed and ignorance. Unfortunately there are always ramifications and sometimes they can take a while to manifest. I can fully understand why the local hapu are angry over the vandalism of this great whale.

From Stuff
"A Wairarapa hapu is furious after a sperm whale that washed up near the remote settlement of Ngawi was butchered for its jawbone.
The 15.5-metre carcass of the whale was then set on fire before a Conservation Department ranger arrived on Friday.
Haami Te Whaiti, kaitiaki or guardian of Wairarapa hapu Ngati Hinewaka, said what happened to the whale was outrageous and illegal.
"I think it's disgraceful, what's happened. It's an act of vandalism – both the way they've removed the jaw and also burning it."
Protocol would usually have seen the carcass buried and the jawbone removed after a ceremony involving songs, he said. The jawbone and teeth should have been the property of the hapu.
"The jawbone, from a cultural point of view, is the most significant part for producing taonga.
"DOC would consider investigating the incident, which he agreed was probably illegal under the Marine Mammals Protection Act. However, unless somebody came forward, "it's probably not going to be an easy thing to discover who's done it".
Is it likely to be a local or non-local? They had to wait for the whale to wash up and it was seen for some days before that happened. I don't imagine it would need one of these special investigation units from TV to work it out - just ask at the local pub.


Haere mai i ruka i te tuarā nui o Awatea