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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Iwi will help king plan future

Maoridom's leaders will gather on the shores of Lake Taupo later this year to discuss how they can support the new Maori king, Te Arikinui Tuheitia Paki.

Tuwharetoa paramount chief Tumu te Heuheu has invited the tribes to the opening of a new marae at Pukawa, where his ancestor Iwikau te Heuheu Tukino the third first offered the mantle of king to Potatau Te Wherowhero.

Erima Henare from Ngati Hine says organisations like the Maori Council and Maori Congress have been attempts to create bodies representative of Maoridom, but the Kingitanga has a different focus.

“It's less a political group, more one unifying the Maori people with its culture and its language and its support for tradition and tikanga as opposed to delving in the day to day politics of the country,” Henare said

Erima Henare says the tribes want to help King Tuheitia to put his own mark on the role.

ROTORUA BYLAW SLAMMED

The Rotorua District Council's Te Arawa standing committee has backed a proposed bylaw barring repeat offenders from the town centre.

The decision was not unanimous, with member Hawea Vercoe voting against it.

Mr Vercoe says it won't solve the problem of criminal attacks on tourists.

“I see it as a knee jerk reaction to some fairly bad stats that have come out regarding Rotorua. I don’t accept for one moment that the crime and various incidents are OK, but what it’s going to do is move that activity from the CBD out into the suburbs,” Vercoe said.

Hawea Vercoe msays the by-law is unlikely to be enforceable under existing law, so is likely to be dropped.

SAVINGS PLAN FOR CULTURAL CHANGE

Ngai Tahu chairperson Mark Solomon says the new Whai Rawa scheme aims to create a savings culture among younger memebrs of the tribe.

The scheme, which starts in October, will allow people to stave towards tertiary education, a first home or superannuation.

The tribe will pay $100 a year into every active account, with an additional dividend paid based on the performance of Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation.

Mr Solomon says a lot of children don't save.

“A lot of our kids coming up today have never had a bankbook, have never banked. New Zealand as a nation the worst savers in the western world. So we have started the Max Savings scheme. If a child can save $25 in a year, Ngai Tahu will match it with $100,” Solomon said.

Ngai Tahu Chairman Mark Solomon says costings for the scheme has been worked out based on a tribal population of 50,000.

NGATI WAI HOPING FOR CLAIM LEVERAGE

Ngati Wai chairperson Laly Haddon is hoping an end to the WAI 262 claim for fauna and flora might help iwi get more control over their ancestral areas.

Hearings on the long-running claim resumed at Te Puia Marae in Auckland today August 22.

Mr Haddon says Ngati Wai is struggling to have a say in the management of their traditional homelands like Hotoru or Little Barrier, but it is hard to get leverage.

“Government departments have moved swiftly to overtake us, and with the claim situation and this 262 claim, it’s just been held up. Ngati Wai has some difficulties with the Department of Conservation that we are trying to sort out, but we’re not making much progress,” Haddon said.

Laly Haddon says this week's hearing will be a chance to see where some of the new iwi joining the claim will fit in with claimants who have been pursuing the fight for the past 14 years.

PM BACKS CALL FOR ASIAN FOCUS

The Prime Minister has backed a call for more Asian studies in schools, but not at the expense of New Zealand history.

Tertiary Education Minister Michael Cullen says schools should encourage a better understanding of Asia and strengthen the teaching of Asian languages.

Helen Clark says in the past the education system focussed too much on English and European history and languages.

“Now that's changed but I’m not sure it’s changed in a way that is comprehensive enough. Here’s our neighbourhood, the Asia Pacific, the learning of Asian languages is going to be very important, understanding how those societies operate because we are going to be doing a lot of our trade and having a lot of our relationships there.” Clark said.

Helen Clark says students also need a knowledge of New Zealand history, because they need to know where they come from.

LITERACY PUSH FOR MARAE POSSIBLE

Marae-based whanau literacy programmes may be the way to improve literacy among Maori.

Dr Pushpa Wood, a funding advisor for the Tertiary Education Commission, says many Maori groups are unaware of funding available to improve literacy levels.

She says initiatives in the workplace or at the pa could qualify.

Dr Wood says tackling intergenerational illiteracy has positive impacts for the wider community.

“If you lift the literacy of one person in the family you are lifting the literacy of the whole family. There are some very innovative programmes are going on up and down the country that are addressing specifically inter-generational literacy issues, and we are trying to see what is appropriate in what particular areas in providing support for those,” Wood said.

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