Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Treaty taken out of curriculum

The Maori Party says the proposed new curriculum will greatly weaken Maori influence in the education system.

Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell says the draft has dropped the reference in the 1993 curriculum requiring schools to recognise the signficance of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Mr Flavell, a former school principal, says that acknowledgment gave Maori parents a way to hold the system to account and win some positive changes for their children.

“By taking it in this case out of the education system there is nothing left for holding the Education Ministry and schools to account, and that's a major move away from the whole recognition of the treaty and the relationship of tangata whenua to the treaty and of course our relationship with tauiwi,” Flavell said.


A Taranaki based Trust working with violent prisoners hopes for more recognition after a visit from Associate Minister of Corrections Mita Ririnui yesterday.

Te Ihi Tu chairperson Howie Tamati says the 13 week programme makes prisoners review their lives and reflect on how their actions affect their whanau and communities.

He says 73 percent of those who finish the course don't re-offend.

Mr Tamati spoke with Mr Ririnui about the trust's problems getting the Corrections Department to refer prisoners, and to fund the programme properly.

“We get about $13,000 cost per offender whereas Montgomery House ahas $22,000, Fosbury street has $23,000. That puts a lot of pressure on the trust. It seems to be a lot harder for a Maori organisaitnn that is kaupapa Maori based, that has such a good succcess rate, has to struggle like it does," Tamati said.


One of the leading figures in behind the far north Muriwhenua claim has been appointed to the Maori Heritage Council of the Historic Places Trust.

Cultural consultant and accountant Rima Edwards of Kaitaia has chaired Te Runanga o Muriwhenua for 18 years, and has also served on the Kaitaia Borough Council and the Tai Tokerau Maori Trust Board.

The council oversees what the trust does to protect wahi tapu and historic places of maori interest, and works with iwi to identify and conserve such sites.

Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard says Mr Edwards has a wealth of experience to contribute:

Maori Heritage Council deputy chairman Waaka Vercoe of Whakatane was reappointed for three years.


The Maori Electoral Option ends today, but it could be next February before the country finds out whether there will be an eighth Maori seat.

Electoral Enrolment Centre manager Murray Wicks says by the beginning of July there had been a net increase in the Maori roll of about 11 thousand electors.

If that trend continued, the final increase could be somewhere around the estimated 14,000 needed to create another seat.

Mr Wicks says that estimate was based on 2001 census data, and was only indicative.

The actual results will be based on 2006 census data, so it could be February before it is known how many Maori seats there will be for the 2008 and 2011 elections, Wicks said.

Murray Wicks says forms filled in at post offices or posted today will be accepted, as long as they reach the Electoral Enrolment Office by noon Thursday.


They may not be as spectacular as Christine Keenan, who gambled away $6 million dollars at the Dunedin Casino, but Maori women are over-represented in the ranks of gambling addicts.

That's the experience of Ruth Herd from Wahine Tupono, a support group for Maori women who keep trying to beat the odds.

Keenan's three year spree only stopped when she was arrested for stealing 470 thousand dollars from her employer to fuel her habit.

Herd says almost a third of the callers to gambling addiction help lines are Maori women.

She says the problem usually remains undetected until it is too late.


Prime Minister Helen Clark says it's not only new arrival migrants who have a poor understanding of the Maori culture.

Human Rights Commissioner Joris de Bres last week suggested Maori should open their marae to new migrants, so they can get a greater appreciation of tangata whenua.

Ms Clark says that's not a bad idea, but a it's clear Pakeha could also benefit from opportunities to interact with Maori, but at the moment most seem to live separate lives.


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