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On the Bright Side: Paenga Hihiko

Human Rights Commission
Te Kahui Tika Tangata
On the Bright Side: Paenga Hihiko
July/Hongongoi 2005

Kia ora. Anei te mihi ö te Kaihautu Whakawhanaunga ä Iwi, mo ngä mahi nui, mahi whakamana i te tangata i roto i ngä kaupapa Whakawhanaunga ä Iwi i Aotearoa. Here are this month’s acknowledgments from the Race Relations Commissioner for positive contributions to race relations in New Zealand.

Christopher Butler

For fostering understanding of Asian cultures and peoples in New Zealand. After three and a half years as Executive Director of the Asia New Zealand Foundation, Chris Butler this month headed off for a quieter life. He oversaw the major review of Asia 2000, Seriously Asia, which saw the organisation adopt a new name and a new strategy. Under Chris’ leadership Asia New Zealand has continued to be an incredibly effective public-private partnership in building relationships between New Zealand and Asia, as well as fostering appreciation of Asian cultures in New Zealand. Last month Chris updated Asia New Zealand’s 2002 background paper on the immigration debate – a timely resource as we go into the election period. The brief update is at www.asianz.org.nz . Chris will be replaced by John Austin, who commences work on October 3.

Mary Parker, Cast and Crew

For Kikia Te Poa, Bats Theatre, July 2005. Mary Parker’s production of Kikia Te Poa by Kiwi and South African Matthew Saville is a fascinating and challenging look at the relationship between New Zealand and South Africa, as illustrated by a Maori soldier, his Pakeha mate, their officer, and their Afrikaaner prisoner. Although Maori were not allowed to fight in the Boer War, many mixed blood men did and one of them was John Walter Callaway who wrote a haka for the kiwi troops called “Kikia te Poa” (Kick the Boer). The play uses the metaphor of a rugby game between Boer prisoners and Kiwi soldiers to explore the complex relationships of Maori, Pakeha and Boer. If it turns up elsewhere in New Zealand, go and see it!

New Zealand Diversity Forum: 23 August
A major national forum on the challenges of diversity will be held at Te Papa on 23 August. There will be keynote speakers, and a menu of concurrent sessions on diversity and the mainstream media, the challenges of religious diversity, diversity and public policy, a national languages policy, diversity in arts and culture, the school currirulum and cultural diversity, community dialogue, and refugee and migrant settlement. Details of the programme and a registration form are avaliable at www.hrc.co.nz/forum.

St Patrick’s Rest Home, Epsom, Auckland

For the Mini Cultural Festival, June 2005. Rest home propietor Annabel Couldwell bought the St Patrick’s rest home last November, and the home has a highly multicultural staff. She thought it would be good for the residents to learn more about the staff and their backgrounds and vice versa, so she organised a mini cultural festival at the home. Staff dressed in their national costumes, there was a kava ceremony, and a cultural feast, with lots of dancing and singing. Communities represented included Indian, Sri Lankan, Burmese, Samoan, Tongan, Ethiopian, Pakeha, and Filipino. A great time was had by all, and another festival is planned for next year.

Tractors for the Treaty Group, Hamilton

For the Tractors for the Treaty dialogue, Mystery Creek Field Days. A group of twelve treaty educators donned their gumboots and hoodies branded with “Tractors for the Treaty” and set off for the annual Mystery Creek National Agricultural Field Days. Their dialogue with over 300 stallholders and the farming public ranged from treaty information, to access to coasts and rivers, how to contact the local hapu about wahi tapu on farm land and how to get better resources about the Treaty for schools. The group was drawn from Network Waitangi and the Anti-Racism Coalition in Auckland and Hamilton, and had such a good time they are planning to go back again next year.

More books on race relations

The flow of new books on aspects of our race relations and national identity shows no signs of abating. In the past two months we have acknowledged six new books, and there are a further three this month, with even more in the pipeline. This month’s acknowledgments go to:

Daphne Bell and Ethnic New Zealand Trustees: For New to New Zealand: A Guide to Ethnic Groups in New Zealand. Diana Benfell, Mary Hayes and Lyn Pascoe have worked with fellow trustee and editor Daphne Bell to produce a new edition of this concise guide to the country’s mostly more recent religions, peoples and cultures. It has been sent to all schools in New Zealand by the Ministry of Education, as well as being available in bookshops.

Patrick Snedden: For Pakeha and the Treaty: Why it’s our Treaty too. After more than a year on the road talking to over 6000 people at 60 meetings about how he sees the Treaty of Waitangi, Auckland businessman Pat Snedden has now distilled his thoughts and his own personal story as a Pakeha New Zealander into this very readable book that deals with all the hard issues of the ongoing race debate. Gordon McLaughlin commends it as a “warm, personal and intelligent book”, and so it is.

Russell Brown: For Great New Zealand Argument: Ideas about Ourselves. For more Pakeha perspectives on New Zealand identity, Russell Brown’s collection of iconic essays and speeches is a rich source. The contents are nicely framed by the wonderful initial essay written by Robin Hyde in China in 1938 (The Singers of Loneliness) and Tze Ming Mok’s closing 2004 Landfall essay reflecting on contemporary race relations (Race You There). Russell promises a future collection by Maori writers.

Te Wiki o te Reo Maori

The big awards for Maori Language Week will come in September at the Maori Language Week Awards (there’s still time to enter) and no doubt the excellent contributions of some of the big radio and television players will be up there among the finalists. But the week is observed throughout Aotearoa in a myriad of ways, particularly in educational institutions, public libraries, museums and galleries, councils, government and private workplaces and on the internet. Here are a few things we came across during the week:

H.E. Dame Sylvia Cartwright, Governor General: For the press release in support of Te Wiki o te Reo Maori. You can’t get much higher support than this in Aotearoa. Dame Sylvia released a statement on 27 July which said, among other things, "I encourage all New Zealanders to support and engage in our uniquely indigenous culture and language. It is an important part of our identity. It is what helps make us who we are and marks us out internationally". The press release is at www.gg.govt.nz.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand: For Making Poverty History, New Zealand Style. Caritas consulted with Te Taurawhiri I te Reo Maori (Maori Language Commission) and got an official translation for the high profile international campaign to make poverty history. They made their own white wristbands, with the words Whakakorea te Rawakoretanga added. The bilingual bands can still be purchased from caritas@caritas.org.nz.

Manaaki Whenua, Landcare Research Ltd: For the July issue of Discovery in Te Reo Maori. Coinciding with Te Wiki o te Reo Maori, Landcare Research’s clients received the latest issue of the company’s Discovery magazine with a front page entirely in te reo Maori, followed by articles (in English) about a wide range of Maori research projects being undertaken. The magazine is available online at www.LandcareResearch.co.nz.

CPIT: Te Wananga o Otautahi: For the Pepeha Across the City project. Students and tutors at Christchurch Polytech worked with Ngai Tahu to design “Pepeha” for the Christchurch Arts Festival. Pepeha are traditional Maori sayings that are likened to proverbs or tribal boasts. Often referring to tribal history, pepeha embody the history of settlement and allude to the deeds of ancestors, tribal migrations, warfare and whakapapa. The Pepeha were displayed around Christchurch and in the Christchurch Press. Some of the designs are available as screensavers at www.artsfestival.co.nz/programme2005/screensavers.

Maria Wehi, Tolaga Bay Area School: For a Winning Te Wiki o te Reo Maori poster. Sixteen year old Maria was the winner of a Gisborne Herald competition for a poster design for Maori Language Week. Her computer graphic design poster featuring two young people was based on a whakatauki (proverb) Waihoa I te toipoto kaua I te toiroa – let us keep close together, not wide apart. The poster is reproduced in the Gisborne Herald’s July Te Ao Maori feature (www.gisborneherald.co.nz ) which also includes support for Maori Language Week from Gisborne’s Maori-speaking Chinese NZ mayor, Meng Foon.

Tauranga Intermediate School: For Tauranga Te Reo Cups. Made to raise money for the school’s kapa haka group’s trip to Thailand in November, these cups were on sale in Maori Language Week with all the schools, suburbs and communities in Tauranga that have Maori names, and the translations alongside.

Radio Niu FM: For an eight week celebration of Pacific languages. Pacific radio station Niu FM took the Maori Language Week concept seven steps further by extending the celebration of indigenous languages to include, for a week at a time, seven other Pacific languages, leading up to Maori Language Week. The promotion ran from 30 May to 31 July, and successively featured Fijian, Niuean, Tokelauan, Tuvaluan, Samoan, Tongan and Cook Island languages, culminating with te reo Maori.

For information about race relations visit the Human Rights Commission website www.hrc.co.nz.


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