Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, September 25, 2006

Ngati Pukenga house gutted by fire

Ngati Pukenga is determined to rebuild the meeting house at Whetu o Terangi Marae at Welcome Bay near Tauranga, which was gutted by a suspicious fire in the early hours of this morning.

Runanga chairperson Rehua Smallman says the fire inspector has ruled out an electrical fault as the cause of the blaze.

Mr Smallman says the carvings at the front of the wharenui and some in the mahau or verandah can be salvaged, but everything in the house was destroyed.

The building was moved to its present site around 1916.

Mr Smallman says the iwi is devastated by the fire, but it wants to rebuild.

He says the wharenui had no sprinkler system.

PORIRUA KURA DAMAGED BY FIRE

A supporter of a Porirua Maori immersion damaged by fire in the early hours of Saturday morning, says the school community will survive.

Tamati Olsen, a former member of the Board of Trustees says news of the blaze came as a shock to the 280 students and their families.

Two teenagers are facing charges over the fire, which gutted four classrooms and damaged other the buildings and resources at Te Kura o Porirua.

Mr Olsen says news of the fire spead quickly through the kumara vine, and hundreds of parents and children gathered for karakia.

Tamati Olsen says kura representatives will meet with Ministry of Education officials tomorrow.

MAORI PARTY HOPING FOR NATIONAL SUPPORT

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is confident National will support her bill to repeal the Seabed and Foreshore Act.

The Maori Party is consulting other parties on the bill before it puts it into the ballot.

Ms Turia says she has the support of ACT and the Greens for the bill to be introduced, and hopes National will jump on board.

“I am quietly confident that they will see the importance of property rights, and if we are able to get United Future, who look at this issue from a property rights perspective, I think we have every change of getting the bill through,” Turia says.

Tariana Turia says two years after crossing the floor over the Seabed and Foreshore bill, she's adamant she made the right decision.

OHIA DEFENDS WANANGA PURPOSE

The head of the country's largest Maori tertiary institute says the need is still there for an institution to reach out to people who would not normally get the chance for higher education.

Te Wananga o Aotearoa is holding a national hui for its staff in Rotorua this week, to review changes over the past year in the wake of the departure of founder Rongo Wetere and the imposition of Crown managers.

Chief executive Bentham Ohia says despite cuts to staff and courses, the wananga has 47 thousand students, half of them Maori.

Mr Ohia says critics overlook the fact the wananga opened the door to education for a wide range of non-traditional students.

“The hurt for the institution, the hurt for the supporters and the communities that support this institution has been that the fact we have been able to engage people in a learning environment through education as the tool to make positive improvements for them and for their families in the future, not only for Maori in this country but for the future of the country as a whole,” Ohia said.

Bentham Ohia says Te Wananga o Aotearoa is now more financially secure with positive cash flow, but it will still show a loss on its books this year.

BRASH COMMENTS TOO MUCH FOR TURIA

National Party leader Don Brash's latest pronouncements on Maori identity could prove too much for the Maori Party.

The party has tried to reach out to National on a number of issues, including the foreshore and seabed debate.

But co-leader Tariana Turia says Mr Brash's comments to a Sunday newspaper that there are few full Maori remaining is racist and offensive.

Mrs Turia says she would find it hard to work with Mr Brash in future.

“I’m not going to tolerate political parties who use Maori people as a political football and baseball bat us if it suits them when they think their ratings may be going down,” Turia said.

Tariana Turia says it's not about how much Maori you have in you, it's about whakapapa.

FLOOD FOCUS FOR NEW KOTUKU ALBUM

Bay of Plenty flood victims stand to benefit from a new album by Hamilton duo Kotuku Entertainers.

The pair launched their Te Ranga Wairua CD, at Kirikiriroa marae in Hamilton this weekend in a gala concert which also included performances from veteran musicians Mabel Wharekawa Burt and Toko Pompey.

Kotuku member Paretio Ruha says the CD includes 15 songs in te reo Maori.
She says one of the songs is about the floods, and some of the proceeds will go to the Matata volunteer rescue service.

Paretio Ruha says Kotuku dedicated the album to the late Maori queen, who died when the album was being recorded.

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