Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, August 24, 2006

CTU runanga celebrates Maori Party Mapp reading

The Maori vice president of the Council of Trade Unions says the Maori Party has finally learnt to listen to Maori workers.

Sharon Clair says the MP's seem to have admitted it was a mistake to line themselves up behind Wayne Mapp's Employment Probation bill, which would allow employers to sack workers without giving a reason within the first 90 days.

The Party said yesterday its four members will not support the bill when it comes back from the Select Committee, maning it is unlikely to get enough votes to pass.

Ms Clair says that took a lot of pressure from Maori.

“They got inundated by Maori workers letting them know what we had to say about it. As a consequence they read the submissions and made their analysis and came up with their decision on it. They learnt through the process we want to talk with them about issues affecting Maori workers and any issues that affect Maori,” Clair said.

Sharon Clair says the CTU's Runanga Maori was pleased that MP Hone Harawira came down to convey the caucus decision to it.

RAHUI PROPOSED FOR YOUTH DRINKING SPOTS

Manukau City Council's Maori advisor says a rahui may be the answer to a surge in aclohol-related gang violence in the city.

Turf wars among young street gangs are believed to be a factor in two recent murders in Otahuhu, and there have been disturbances in other parts of south Auckland.

Haare Williams says the council is considering imposing liquor bans in some areas.

He says that is in keeping with the Maori tradition of rahui.

“If we go back to tikanga Maori the rahui was used to put a ban on anythign that was in danger of being depleted or something that had been trampled on, so it’s to refocus spiritual aspects of it, and that’s probably th aspect that is missing here,” William said.

Haare Williams says drinking seems to inevitably lead to trouble,

KARAKIA IN SCHOOLS DEFENDED

The principal of a Maori boarding school is defending the use of prayer in schools.

The Education Ministry has prepared new guidelines advising schools to avoid religious activities, as they may put pressure on students to participate.

David McDonald, the principal of Hato Petera on Auckland's North Shore, says Maori believe the spiritual wellbeing of students is just as important as physical and academic
aspects of education.

“We're a school that says that the karaia, the religion, that your spirituality is extremely important, and you can’t separate them, you can’t compartmentalise them, so we would not agree with the Ministry of Education making that sort of stance,” McDonald said.

David McDonald says karakia or prayers can help set the tone for other aspects of education.

STUDENTS TO HIKOI TO PARLIAMENT

Maori tertiary students will hikoi to Parliament today to voice their dissatisfaction at the government's tertiary education policies.

Veronica Tawhai, the president of Maori students association Te Mana Akonga, says the government has attacked and defunded Maori tertiary institutions, and it scrapped the Manaaki Tauira grants which helped many Maori students get a head start in their studies.

Ms Tawhai says there are 300 students at the Te Mana Akonga annual hui representing the 88,000 Maori students now in some form of tertiary education.

“The purpose of the hikoi is to go down to p to present submissions written by Maori students so they have a clear picture of what our needs and aspirations are in tertiary education so that they can be better informed when they are making those policy decisions,” Tawhai said.

Veronica Tawhai says policy makers typicall ignore the voices of those who are young and Maori.

MANUKAU LOOKING AT COMMUNITY RESPONSE TO VIOLENCE

Manukau City Council Maori advisor Haare Williams says a whole of community approach is needed to tackle escalating gang violence in the city.

Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis has blamed Maori and Pacific Island youth between the ages of 16 and 24 for much of the recent violence which has left two young men dead.

Mr Williams says the council is reaching out to the communities so it can get a handle on what is happening.

“Council certainly believes in a strong stand by community groups, by Maori organisations, by churches and local authorities as well to work together with other organisations, including the police, to find a solution, a long term solution, for the offending that is taking place,” Williams said.

Haare Williams says the council is planning a series of hui around South Auckland to discuss solutions to the violence.

MANDARIN NOT SWEET FOR TREATY EDUCATOR

A Christchurch based Treaty educator says New Zealand colonial history should take priority over studying other cultures in high schools.

Robert Consedine says a call by the Minister of Tertiary Education, Michael Cullen, for a greater focus on Asian culture and languages could lead the greater ignorance of the place of tangata whenua in the country.

Mr Consedine says it would be a tragedy if economic motives meant a downgrading of the country's own whakapapa.

“This obsession with the economic, where are our trading partners, we need to learn Mandarin, that kind of obsession is obscuring the fact that first and foremost we have to learn to live together in this country. Of course there is value in learning about other cultures and they should be taught in the right place but not at the expense of learning New Zealand history,” Consedine said.

Robert Consedine says the most common companint he has heard two decades of running Treaty of Waitangi workshops is that people fell they should have learnt the material at school.

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