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No. 43 (June 1963)
– 49 –

T.V. Comes
To The Pa

Throughout the Auckland Province, there are a number of small but progressive Maori settlements; among them is the pa—a typical one in many ways—which is the subject of this article.

With a population of less than 200, this village was a potential slum area five years ago. But as a result of assistance from the Department of Maori Affairs there are now 18 new semi-detached houses in the pa with others scheduled for construction.

In addition to these, a new whare runanga is planned to replace the present one which, for many years, has been used for meetings, dances and weekend movies.

Economic Improvement

Situated until recently on an unhealthy tidal creek that has since been drained, the pa also now has new approach roads and a regular bus service into the city. This means that for many in the pa, work is no longer restricted to employment in local market gardens or farms where wages are traditionally low.

Today, many in the settlement have found work not only in Auckland but also in suburban industrial areas like Otahuhu and Penrose. Consequently, with economic improvement, living standards in the pa have risen considerably and new needs created: among them, the need to own, among other things, television sets.

Whether this new need was inevitable or is justified under the circumstances is unimportant, compared with the problem of its effect upon the community in both children and adults.

Seventeen Sets

As recently as six months ago, there was not a single T.V. set in the pa. But at present, there are seventeen homes with them installed, with other households planning to buy them (on time payment or direct purchase).

Up till January of this year, Saturday and Sunday nights were spent in the village meeting house where movies were shown, concerts held and dances organised for the teenagers. Now, the weekend is spent viewing T.V.—there are no dances and only a short movie is screened for the children on Saturday afternoon.

Further, whereas the marae was the focal point for community activities in the evening, the front room has now replaced it. Instead of children playing outside in the open and adults sitting on the verandah passing the time with neighbours, or else gardening, for example, they all now huddle around family or friends' T.V. sets.

In regard to the children of the pa, their school work is naturally affected by their devotion to T.V. So too, probably is their health: there is no physical activity after 6 o'clock and no bed till 11 p.m.—every night of the week.

There has also been a noticeable effect on their relationship to each other. They now see less of one another during the week and consequently the close friendships that inevitably arose out of their group playing are in the process of being modified negatively.

Other Activities Go

As for the adults in the settlement, T.V. is somewhat more restrictive: it has almost cut out such activities as fishing, collecting shell-fish on the Manukau, football practice after work, vegetable cultivation, and, perhaps more important, social evenings in each others' homes.

Finally, television has possibly affected the pa more on a social rather than personal level. Recently, for example, two huis and a 21st party were cut short at 6 p.m., so that everyone in the settlement could go home to view T.V. As for the projected new whare runanga—it is only the old people who talk about it now.

A First World War Maori veteran, Tohu Adam Clark of North Hokianga, was honoured recently with the award of an R.S.A. Gold Star badge. Mr Clark is a foundation member of the Hokianga and North Hokianga associations, having 26 years' membership, including long service as an executive member. He has been a bushman and dairyfarmer in the districts but retired three years ago.

He is the second Maori in New Zealand and the first in Northland to be honoured with a Gold Star. The investiture took place on Mr Clark's 75th birthday.

Among his other community work, Mr Clark was an executive member of the Tautuiihiihi tribal centre (Kohukohu and Te Karae area) and the North Hokianga tribal committee for 25 years until 1959.