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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Big Thursday draw: Matariki on hold

You would think that with little more than a hundred MPs in our system it would be a right of every MP to introduce one bill per term into the House. At 120 MPs (there are currently more due to the overhang) with maybe 2 or 3 hours debating time each would be about 80-100 odd hours a year. 10-15 working days to deal with all the private members bills introduction. Perhaps co-sponsorships of some legislation may take place with members who have already had a private members bill successfully pass, and some MPs won't put up any, so it might not be that burdensome... except to the government, and parliament is largely controlled by the government of the day to facilitate their executive agenda. Today's Private Members' bill ballot reminds us legislation from the backbenchers is up to random chance.Kiwiblog's private member's bills draw table. Just in from No Right Turn the results:

Today saw the first ballot for member's bills in 18 months. The following bills were drawn:

  • Sustainable Biofuel Bill (Jeanette Fitzsimons)
  • Customs and Excise (Sustainable Forestry) Amendment Bill (Catherine Delahunty)

    The Green ballot mojo strikes again! Though they did make their own luck, having 9 bills out of a total slate of 24.

    Matariki Bill is the one of the moment. It is the season - or at least very nearly. The Maori Party's Southern newbie, Rahui Katene, has not been lucky in the big Thursday parliamentary draw, so maybe next time. She says it should be a public holiday the next New Moon after May or June. From all I have seen about the dates there is a season and also a culmination event. I have no augernisational abilities in kumara planting so I'm not sure precisely when it should be. But as far as a form of national observation goes the last day of June as the evening event and a day off on the 1st of July (or observed on the Monday before as a public holday) to recover makes sense and seems to be at the point of maximum overlap in the current civic festivities.

    Ngati Whatua o Orakei. There's nothing on this Iwi's calendar about the New Year.

    The Auckland Council's Matariki programme.

    Matariki and the arts
    It’s a celebration of Maori customs, so art in its many forms is very important to Matariki. It is a time to share with each other skills, achievements and history through story telling, song and dance, carving and weaving, ceremonies and passing on of knowledge and history. Matariki is also a special time of year to celebrate being a New Zealander and showcase our unique Maori culture.
    The festival is brought to you by councils in the Auckland region, Toi Whenua and other partners collectively. We are delighted to bring you a month of events, art and ideas on how to celebrate Matariki.

    Toi Whenua
    Toi Whenua is an arts reference group consisting of arts advisors from Auckland, Manukau, Waitakere and North Shore City councils, Creative New Zealand and ART Trust.

    I can't find the group on the net.

    [UPDATE-- 3:00PM: A spokesman for Ngati Whatua says that they hope that they and other Iwi will assert more control over it next year. He was being polite. I'd call it Pakeha cultural hijacking. That's what it looks like. Using a Maori element without appropriate consultation. I was referred to the Maori language Commission:

    In 2001, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori began to reclaim Matariki, or Aotearoa Pacific New Year, as an important focus for Māori language regeneration in partnership with Te Papa Tongarewa and the Ministry of Education.
    The pre-dawn rise of Matariki can be seen in the last few days of May every year. The new moon can be seen for the first time on these dates:
    2005 Pipiri 08 June
    2006 Pipiri 27 June
    2007 Pipiri 16 June
    2008 Pipiri 05 June
    2009 Pipiri 24 June
    2010 Pipiri 14 June
    2011 Pipiri 04 June
    2012 Pipiri 21 June
    2013 Pipiri 10 June
    2014 Pipiri 28 June
    2015 Pipiri 18 June
    2016 Pipiri 06 June
    2017 Pipiri 25 June
    2018 Pipiri 15 June
    2019 Pipiri 05 June
    2020 Pipiri 22 June

    That's why I asked the question to the local Iwi concerned - a festival well into July does not match with the understandings of the Maori Party or the Maori Language Commission on when the Maori New Year falls - nationally (as a concept) or as far as Tamaki Makaurau goes (on an Iwi basis). The last Monday in June could be a modern fix, or the last day of June (as mentioned above). Some alignment with the financial/half year would highly desirable from a calendar perspective. As a season and as a tradition the New Moon must be important. Between these points it must be possible to construct both a public holiday and a festival season.

    Culturally Pakeha have adopted it as an arts calendar because it is handy branding for things they do at that time anyway - the film festivals and other events start happening into the start of Winter so it's an easy fix for the councils to roll these sorts of things up and call it a Matariki festival- regardless of when it occurs. If you look at the New Moon and the Auckland date it's a post-Matariki festival. Is that respect for Maori? You have to ask. From the Commission:
    They took a lead in this and they say:
    In our view, Matariki is much more than a festival-type event that welcomes in the New Year - we believe it is a way of thinking and planning leading up to the sighting of the stars followed by the next new moon.

    ADDITIONAL: Ngati Whatua o Orakei is involved in the Auckland Councils' festival programme. On the 26th of June at the Town Hall.- and on the 11th July - a date determined by Maramataka (lunar calendar). --UPDATE ENDS]


    At 18/6/09 7:04 pm, Blogger peterquixote said...

    Tim says

    "You would think that with little more than a hundred MPs in our system it would be a right of every MP to introduce one bill per term into the House"

    good idea Tim, but we NAT are doing the Auckland City mAYOR VOTES nat,
    then Canterbury,
    then the rest of nz,
    you don't really expect a Bill from Melissa Lee do you?


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