Waatea News Update

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

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

League looks at making a difference

Maori Women's Welfare League president Linda Grenell says the league can play a valuable role tackling community violence.

The league wrapped up its annual conference at Ngaruawahia over the weekend, with more than 100 delegates sharing stories, watching cultural performances and hearing from a range of politicians.

Ms Grenell says increased levels of domestic violence are in part caused by the break down of wider family networks in many low income communities.

"There's lots of pockets of those areas, and they don’t have an extension of the family to support them, so they do get into those violent situations ad it’s very difficult to get out of them, because in many cases there’s nowhere else for them to go to,” Grenell said.

Linda Grenell says it's the sort of problem the league was set up to tackle, and it still has the networks and resources to make a difference.


Former business studies lecturer Ella Henare says a huge increase in the number of Maori women in business is changing the face of Maoridom.

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs says the number of Maori women in business increased 46 percent in the ten years to 2004, while their unemployment rate fell 10 points to 9 percent.

Ms Henry says women have been at the forefront of change within Maori communities, establishing kohanga reo and kura kaupapa Maori for their children.

She says many get into business out of necessity, and sign up for classes to improve the prospects of success for them and their whanau.

“The majority of students in the classroom are mature aged Maori women with a wealth of lifetime experience but limited business acumen. Now, you combine that thrust for necessity entrepreneurship with an increased level of training and skills, and what you have is a potent force for economic change,” Henry said.

Ella Henry says women are also becoming an increasing force in tribal politics through their involvement in trust boards and runanga.


Auckland University's director of Pacific studies says while Maori programming puts the culture in a positive light, Pacific peoples have to put up with the negative stereotypes of Bro Town.

Melani Anae says the TV3 cartoon series reinforces negative stereotypes of Pacific peoples, while true reflections of Pacific culture like TV One's Tangata Pacifika are denied a place in prime time.

Dr Anae says she wants the same positive programming Maori get.

“If you look at how Maori started, their programmes that became mainstreamed where ones that dealt with te reo, language, culture, Te Karere, all those programmes, then it eased into other genre, but with Pacific, it’s just bang, straight into Bro'Town,” Anae said.

Dr Melani Anae says Bro'Town promotes racism in classrooms, work environment and social areas.


The president of the Maori Women's Welfare League says the 50 year old organisation still provides a valuable training ground for young women.

The league held its annual conference at Turangawaewae over the weekend, with many young faces among the long serving kuia who remain loyal members.

Linda Grenell says it still attracts women who want to contribute to the health and welfare of their communities.

Ms Grenell says there is competition for members.

“A lot of women are going into sports areas, a lot of women are going into kappa haka. But the ones that want to come through and learn how an infrastructure such as the league works, and then they can go on and do training in terms of public speaking and then get supported into local government or regional government, those sorts of environments, I think the league can be quite supportive for young women,” Grenell said.

Linda Grenell says the league may have a low profile because many league members avoid the limelight.


A South Auckland lawyer says the government could shut down unscrupulous loan sharks overnight, if Kiwibank loans were available to beneficiaries with bad credit ratings.

Catriona MacLennan says too many Maori and Polynesian people end up being hit by exorbitant interest rates charged by finance companies because they take out loans for crises like tangihanga or transporting relatives to hospital.

Ms MacLennan says most are unaware of the huge penalties charged if they miss payments.

She says loan companies are targeting their advertising at an increasingly vulnerable sector of society.

“It's an explosion in the number of ads targeted at low income people saying bad credit rating, beneficiary, can’t get a loan from anyone else, don’t worry,
we’ll give you the money. What the government should do is look at providing loans at reasonable rates through Kiwibank to low income people, because that would put these rip-off finance companies out of business almost overnight,” MacLennan said.


Television often seems like a young person's game, but Maori Television will tonight look at current affairs from a kaumatua perspective.

It is debuting a new series Te Tepu, hosted by veteran broadcaster, Waihoroi Shortland.

He says while nightly news bulletin Te Kaea and weekly show Te Heteri cover current events, the older generation are seldom canvassed for their views on events in the Maori world.

Te Tepu will invite guests to comment in te reo Maori on the news of the day.

“We don't have too many forums in which the reo becomes the main carrier of our opinions, and it may be the thing that attracts the masses, the English, but the reo deserves its own place,” Shortland said.

Waihoroi Shortland says Te Tepu will carry subtitles, for the non-Maori speakers in the audience


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