Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, August 07, 2006

Turia wants Census takers to sign voters

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the Maori Electoral Option should be run as part of the Census, rather than as a separate exercise.

The option which allows people to switch between the Maori and general rolls is run in the same year as the census, because census data is needed to determine whether any change in the Maori roll will affect the number of Maori electorates.

Despite the efforts of Mrs Turia's party, it looks like latest Maori Option failed to attract enough new Maori voters to create an eighth Maori seat.

Mrs Turia says both exercises should be run together.

“You have to be enrolled, that’s the law, and with the census they go door to door. I cannot see why an extra page could not have been put into the census as they go door to door for people to enroll, and they can fill in that form there and then,” Turia said.

Tariana Turia says it suits the other political parties to have significant numbers of Maori not registered as voters, because it reduces maori political influence.

MAORI ENCOURAGED ONTO SCHOOL BOARDS

The new president of the School Trustees Association says Maori parents need to have more of a say in their children's education.

Lorraine Kerr is the first Maori woman to fill the top role.

She says there are major challenges ahead of her, including finding ways for all parents and caregivers to have an active role in the future of their children.

“I know it won't be an easy road but I’m excited about the challenge, And that is one of the kaupapa I want to push. It doesn’t matter where you come from, have a say in your tamariki’s education, have the courage to stand up and have a say,” Kerr said.

Lorraine Kerr says the school system needs to allow children to become familiar with the nation's cultural heritage of Maori and other cultures.

REEDY PUT ON WANANGA BOARD

Te Wananga o Aotearoa's new troubleshooter says he is there to uphold the Government's commitment to raise the quality of tertiary courses.

Dr Tamati Reedy of East Coast iwi Ngati Porou has been appointed Crown representative on the wananga's board.

Dr Reedy, who is head of Waikato University's school of Maori and Pacific development, says his role is to support the Wananga council and provide advice.

“The government's new policy for tertiary education organisations is focusing on quality and retention and better outcomes for our people Maori. I hope that one can focus on bringing the experience from tertiary education institutions such as a mainstream university into that role,” Reedy said.

Tamati Reedy replaces former Te Puni Kokiri head Wira Gardiner.

JONES BLAMES MAORI PARTY FOR OPTION DROP

Labour list MP Shane Jones says by pushing too hard on the Maori Electoral Option, the Maori Party succeeded in pushing many Maori people away from the Maori roll.

While 14,000 Maori voters moved from the general roll to the Maori roll, 7000 voters switched the other way.

However, first time voters opted three to one to go on the Maori roll.

Mr Jones says that is because the Maori Roll is seen as a signifier of identity, which is important for many younger Maori but may not be such a big issue for their parents.

“The concerns of the garden variety Maori aren’t too different from the rank and file all the rest of all New Zealanders, other than language and culture and pride is very important to their identity, but their social and economic concerns aren’t vastly different, so I’m not surprised there is unlikely to be another Maori seat,” Jones said.

Shane Jones says the lack of an emotive issue like the Foreshore and Seabed Bill meant the Maori Party was unable to whip up enthusiasm for its option campaign.

QUALIFICATIONS SOUGHT FOR RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

There are moves afoot to create professional standards for people involved in restorative justice programmes.

June Jackson from the Manukau Urban Maori Authority, which runs a restorative justice programme in South Auckland, says providers are talking with the Auckland University of Technology about getting a training course for facilitators approved through the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

Mrs Jackson says a lot of Maori are involved in restorative justice, on both sides of the fence.

“Restorative justice is about victims and offenders meeting, andf to give the victim an opportunity to say how they feel about the fear that was in them when they were confronted by the offender, all those sorts of things, And there are a disproportionate number of Maori who are offenders,” Jackson said.

June Jackson says restorative justice processes can often be the first step towards rehabilitation of offenders.

TREATY INHERENT IN SCHOOL RUNNING

The draft curriculum means schools will need to be more committed to the Treaty of Waitangi and to Maori.

That's the response from Education Minister Steve Maharey to the controversy over the dropping of the treaty from the curriculum.

Mr Maharey says the new shortened curriculum is more practical than the old seven-volume document and requires schools to be more active in implementing the principles of the Treaty.

“It's much more practical. It basically binds it into how the curriculum runs. It requires schools to be doing things about the treaty. It requires them to commit themselves to ensure Maori can be Maori in school system. But beyond that, the National Education Goals still contain the treaty and so does the legislation,” Maharey said.

Mr Maharey says he doesn't expect many changes to the draft when it comes back in November.

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