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Tamihere "arrogant

Tue 28 Feb 2006 In: New Zealand Daily News

Telling glbt Maori that they're "using" Maori culture to further a homosexual agenda is the height of arrogance, says the executive producer of Maori TV's Takataapui programme Claudette Hauiti. Ms Hauiti was responding to comments made by former Labour MP John Tamihere, who was offended by a new AIDS Foundation campaign featuring gay Maori men in warrior costume, under the heading Toa Takataapui – Gay Warriors For Safe Sex. As well as promoting a safe sex message, the campaign is designed to reassert the masculinity of gay Maori men within their own culture, as it often denied to them. But Tamihere told National Radio that the word "takataapui" had been "commandeered" by the gay community, and the campaign was an example of a minority group using Maori culture to advance its own agenda. Ms Hauiti says Tamihere's comments display both arrogance and ignorance because the campaign has been designed and fronted by Maori. "It's not as if they're taking from another culture, because this is our culture," she told "Two things that he tries to fight against is arrogance and ignorance within the Maori community and here's a standing indication of those two things he tries to fight against. When you tell Maori people that they can't do what they want to do in terms of their culture to develop it... how ignorant is that?" Tamihere believes the word "takataapui", which is defined as "intimate companion of the same sex", has never had any connection with homosexuality. Hauiti is also dismissive of these assertions, and says she has never received any complaints over the use of the word throughout Takataapui's two-year run on Maori TV. "First-language speakers, historians and linguists understand the meaning of the word, and the concept that is surrounded by the word," she says. "Many Maori first-language speakers have applauded the community and the programme for using the word." Hauiti says Tamihere's comments should be taken with a grain of salt. "What takataapui have to remember about John Tamihere is that he is a gentlemen who runs with the wolves," she says. "He's not a politician at the moment, but he is somebody that likes to be at the forefront of social commentary." She also wonders whether Tamihere's objections to the poster campaign, in which the takataapui warriors are seen performing a haka, have hidden motivations. "I don't think I've ever seen him do one," she says. "Maybe there's a bit of jealousy going on there. Those guys are very good-looking."    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Tuesday, 28th February 2006 - 12:00pm

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