Te Putatara

a newsletter for the kumara vine

Issue No 1/97 - 31 January 1997                   ISSN 0114-2097



Te Putatara is published monthly by email by Te Aute
Publications, P.O.Box 408, Wellington, New Zealand.
Edited by Ross Himona. It is also published on the
World Wide Web at the following URL:
Copyright: Ross Himona. Feel free to print, copy and retransmit
but please acknowledge source.

Putatara! Putatara!
Ki te whaiao, ki te ao-marama,
Tihei mauriora!
E nga iwi o te motu, e nga hau e wha
Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.
New Times, A New Style
Now I know that many of you are expecting me to take a poke and
a swing at a few people, the way I used to in the good old bad
old days. But times have changed and so have I, and I've learned
a few new things these last ten years. For one thing, I no longer
have to hit people over the head with a patu to get their attention.
The new Te Putatara will be a gentler, kinder publication, I think.
But don't shout your disappointment out there. I hope it will be
just as interesting and entertaining. I'm sure you'll let me
know if its not.
And so to Wellington. The Coalition Government is causing public
servants a lot of work as the two partners learn how to work with
each other, and as associate ministers from a certain party learn
that they are associate ministers, not real ministers. I guess it
will take some time for some of the new ones to realise that up
there at Te Whare Miere the honey of power is not only very very
sweet, but it can also be very very sticky as well. Unfortunately
Tukuroirangi Morgan and Tau Henare might be finding out about
that at the moment.
As to the breaking story scandal about Maori broadcasting, well
there's a lot more media mileage left in that one. And some
political bullets to be bitten. At least one politician is going
to carry the can for this one; might even be sacrificed by his
party, and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to work out who.
Mind you, I sit here, tempted to weigh in myself; but I hear in
the back of my mind the voice of one of my kaumatua telling me
that if I can't find anything good to say, then say nothing.
Just say a karakia for Maori TV.
I bet that has surprised a lot of you hasn't it? Well that's the
new Te Putatara. You've got more surprises coming your way these
next few months!
No reira, e hoa ma
kia ora koutou katoa.
February 6th approaches and we will soon once again celebrate or
commemorate or commiserate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
The Government will again play safe, lock itself away at Government
House in Wellington, where Ngatata Love (CEO of Te Puni Koretake)
will be the safe guest speaker. The iwi will once again head north
to Waitangi; or south for a few of you. I'll probably spend a day
in the sun with friends at Frank Kitts Park in Wellington. We'll
celebrate being Maori.
You all know the efforts that have been made over the years since
the signing of the Treaty to bring the tribes together in one
voice; Te Kotahitanga, Te Kauhanganui, Te Kingitanga, Ratana, and
latterly, Te Congress, and others. Te Kingitanga and Ratana have
survived having only partially achieved their goals. The rest have
failed for many reasons. One reason is that the authentic voice of
the people is yet to be heard above the clamour and cacophony of
a thousand would-be rangatira.
This technology, this Internet, it seems to me, has the potential
to allow those voices to be heard. At the moment those Maori on
the Net are mostly at Universities, Polytechs and Government
agencies, but the potential for the iwi is enormous, given time
and encouragement, and education, and the will to do it. It has
the potential to drown out the puny roar of the dominant stags.
But we have a long way to go. So far few Maori are using the
Internet for anything other than email on a one-to-one basis.
World Wide Web Homepages built by Maori about Maori can be
counted on the fingers of one hand. There are three people
publishing electronically about Maori issues. The other two
are Pakeha. There is little Maori participation in Newsgroups,
no specifically Maori newsgroup, and no open Maori listserv
subscription discussion group. We need to get into it. Is there
any university or polytech out there willing to host a Maori
Listserv discussion group?
For my part I plan to get one person/whanau/ropu onto the Net
each month. I'm behind on the numbers but I'm getting there.
Why don't you join the crusade.
Kotahitanga is about ordinary people communicating and sharing
across geographical, cultural, social and economic divides; and
across the tribal divides.
For a list of quite a few Maori on the Net go to my website -
see the URL address at the end of this newsletter.
Maori Policy
I hear on the kumara vine that Te Puni Koretake is running a few
millions over its budget and that there is a freeze on new
appointments in the policy area. Which is a bit disastrous for
them really, since their main kaupapa is to provide policy
advice to Government. Somehow in the last few months their focus
has wandered off their kaupapa and the budget has disappeared
But it does highlight something that has been in my mind for
months, and that is that Maori policy is too important to leave
to the politicians, and to public servants, even the Maori ones.
Some would say, especially the Maori ones. Joking, just joking!
For most of the last decade most of the iwi focus has been on
getting access to the resources controlled by Government, and a
relatively small effort has gone into getting control of Maori
policy. Some have tried, and an enormous amount of much needed
cash has been transferred to pakeha lawyers in the litigious
Much of the effort of Maoridom to influence policy has gone
into the political process, and we are left with a paucity of
intellectual underpinning for the cause. I can hear you academics
protesting from here at Island Bay, but you haven't really put
much scholarly effort into the cause. Too often what comes out
of your institutions is little more than propaganda and rhetoric,
and their intellectual counterpart, dialect.
In truth the intellectual running has been left to a few Maori
public servants, with a rather narrow focus on Treaty Analysis,
and there is no breadth at all to the policy we are governed by.
We get what we deserve you know. A while ago Eddie Durie, in an
article in Mana Magazine, lamented the lack of scholarship in
Te Ao Maori. He was absolutely right. So many Maori academics
and so little published scholarly output.
Having stirred you up and insulted some of you I'll leave it
there, but I'll write more about different analytical
frameworks next month. Other than Treaty Analysis that is.
Which brings me to the real point of this piece; that with this
Internet technology we have the opportunity to formulate Maori
policy together. At the moment Maori on the Net are mostly
academics and public servants; we're missing the vital iwi
contribution. However that is still a good starting point,
better than what happens at the moment.
In total I estimate that there would be about 400 of
us on email. I've found a few hundred, but I know there are
more. That could be an enormously influential mastermind group,
working together, communicating and sharing ideas. Just imagine
the impact of all those minds working together.
What we need is one of the institutions to host that Maori
Listserv online discussion group I wrote about earlier.
Te Aute, Te Aute, Te Aute
This story is dedicated to the memory of my Aunty Merituhi
who told me all about it, and who told us never to give up
on any of the causes she handed on to us.
E hika ma, some of you know that my hometown is Te Aute.
Well it would be if we had a town at Te Aute eh. But we
haven't even got a school at Te Aute any more. No we haven't.
We used to, and it was called Opapa School, only now its a
house. I went to Opapa School at Te Aute. And we used to
have Opapa  Railway Station at Te Aute, only now its a shed.
And we used to have Te Aute Store at Te Aute, only now its
a museum. But we've still got a bank at Te Aute, and its
called Te Aute Pub.
Some of you think that Te Aute College is at Te Aute don't
you? Well its not you know. Te Aute College is at Pukehou
just up the hill from Te Aute, and just across the paddock
from Pukehou School.
BP (before Pakeha) we in Ngai Te Whatuiapiti had our pa at
Te Hauke, and we had Te Aute just up the road, and Pukehou
just up the hill from there. Te Riu Kainga O Te Whatuiapiti.
Then along came Te Wiremu Te Mihinare and he built Te Aute
College at Pukehou. Then along came the railways fullahs and
they built a teeny little railway station, he teihana iti,
at Te Aute and they painted a sign on it saying "Opapa".
So the old people, they snuck up in the middle of the night
and they painted it out and they painted a sign saying
"Te Aute". Then the pakeha, he painted "Opapa". And the next
morning it said "Te Aute". Then "Opapa". Then "Te Aute".
E hoa ma, this story could go on for weeks, and it did, but
the old people they must have run out of paint, because it
said "Opapa" for a long time before I was born, and for 53
years after that.
After the railways came the Education, and they built a school
at Te Aute called "Opapa". Well you can guess the rest of the
story eh. Then along came the fullah who makes the maps and he
put "Opapa" on the maps at Te Aute, and Te Aute on the maps
at Pukehou. You try painting out "Opapa" on all the maps in
Aotearoa! You know, we're lucky that Te Hauke is still
Te Hauke.
Now today, I read in the paper that the NZ Geographical Board
is going to paint a new name on Opapa. Yep, the new name is
Te Aute. Man they're clever those pakeha.
A Poem for my friend Mike Smith
What I want to know
Mike, is when
and how our
became their
One Tree Hill?
What I want to know
Mike is just how
that one foreign tree
became so valuable
just how it came to be
six months' PD              (PD = periodic detention)
worth of tree?
What I want to know
Mike, is that value
or spiritual
Or is it just sentimental
value perhaps just
how dare that Maori do that
What I want to know
Mike is what
the Pakeha called it
before the one lone tree
came along?
Six Tree Hill?
Five Tree
Four Tree
Three Tree
Two Tree
One Tree Hill?
Well Mike nearly
Nothing Tree Hill eh?
Not to worry
Half Tree Hill
will have to do
'til you finish the job
What I want to know
Mike, do you still want me
to write a handbook for the Maori revolution? 
Should I have
a chapter perhaps on how to cut down trees?
Properly that is.

I hope that poem's formatting survived your email package, but if
it didn't you can read it at my homepage in a few days.
Kati ra mo tenei wa.


Email to the editor at editor@maorinews.com