Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Academic English too much for kura kids

A Tauranga speech teacher says most Maori immersion students don't have the academic English they need to excel at NCEA level.

Merle Braithwaite from the Tauranga Speech and Learning Centre says kura kaupapa students are usually fluent in conversational English, but they have missed out on the sort of English which is used in the classroom.

She says that puts them in a similar position to foreign students who need to take courses in English as a second language before they can tackle mainstream classes.

“We're finding a lot of the Maori students are in the same situation. They’re fluent in te reo and they have been learning their subjects in te reo, but when they get into the English mainstream, they don’t seem to have the academic language to deal with subjects like maths and science in English,” Braithwaite says.

Merle Braithwaite says the issue is becoming a matter of concern because of the large number of kura kaupapa students coming into the school system at secondary level.


Alcoholic liquor advisory council chief executive Sandra Kirby says Maori need to tackle a culture of binge drinking.

Ms Kirby says the way Maori drink is the biggest alcohol problem they face.

Alcohol abuse can lead to a range of other societal problems.
Ms Kirby says it's an alarming pattern.

“When you link it with those things like high unemployment rates, the pattern gets exacerbated, so what seems to be true for many Maori people, and it’s certainly not going to be all Maori people, is that you have long periods where they don’t drink at all, but when alcohol is available, there is drinking until the alcohol is gone,” Kirby said.

Sandra Kirby from says binge drinking has a cost not only to families but to workplace productivity.


A long-standing relationship between Tainui and Te Arawa will be further strengthened today during a visit to Rotorua by the new King Tuheitia.

Kingitanga spokesperson Moko Templeton says eight busloads of Kingitanga supporters travelled to the region yesterday, and were hosted by Ngati Pikiao at the Houmaitawhiti marae.

This morning the king will be welcome by the sulphur city by the rest of the Te Arawa Confederation at one of its main marae, Tamatekapua in Ohinemutu.

“There'll be full welcome for King Tuheitia from Te Arawa whanui, nga pumanawa e waru o Te Arawa, for them to then say to the king here we are, we’re open to options that might arise out of the Kingitanga movement now
under the new leadership, or there’s talk of the new pan-tribal roopu forming at Pukawa, there will be a bit of that discussion going on I'm sure,” Templeton said.

Moko Templeton says the Tainui ope will also attend the Te Wananga O Aotearoa kapa haka competitions at the Rotorua Girls' High School.


The Maori Party is celebrating its first year in Parliament, but veteran activist Mike Smith isn't joining in the party.

He says initiatives like co- leader Tariana Turia's members bill to repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act are doomed to fail.

Mr Smith says that as much as he likes the members personally, Maori party voters will become frustrated with how little the party can do in the existing political system.

“Huge expectations, little capacity to actually be able to deliver meaningfully. I think that’s going to become more and more apparent over time. I think the Maori Party will probably only maybe two or three elections before people realise there isn’t much they actually can do. I’m not blaming any individuals for that situation, it’s just a question of numbers,” Smith said.

Mike Smith says Maori unrest will continue to grow unless Maori concerns for social justice are properly addressed.


Maori health workforce development organisation Te Rau Matatini is holding a series of regional hui this week to discuss the priorities iwi want to set in the health arena.

Advisor Megan Tunks says it is now well established that many Maori people prefer dealing with Maori health providers, but there is a shortage of available resoureces in the area.

She says the hui will help health providers target their resources better.

The roadshow is at the Manukau Institute of Technology marae in Auckland today, Rotorua tomorrow, Christchurch on Thursday and the Te Rau Matatini offices in Wellington on Friday.


Maori musician and poet Hinemoa Baker has been chosen to attend the prestigious Ubud Writers Festiva in Indonesia next week.

The annual five-day Festival has become an important part of Bali's efforts to draw people back after the 2002 Bali bombings.

Ms Baker, who is of Ngai Tahu, Raukawa and German descent, is a late replacement for Ngati Porou writer Apirana Taylor, who couldn't make the trip.

She says she is looking forward to meeting writers from around the world, and hearing a multitude of different languages other than English.

Other writers at the festival include Anita Desai, Madhur Jaffrey and William Dalrymple.


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