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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Cook Strait challenge for Kahungunu granny

A grandmother from Ngati Kahungunu has become the oldest woman to swim the Cook Strait.

Forty six year old Hana Wolmak took just under nine hours to make the crossing yesterday.

She says the swim fulfilled a promise she made to her mother before she died in 1978.

Ms Wolmak's previous attempts, including one in January, were thwarted by asthma.

But with medical help on hand yesterday, she was able to manage her condition and cross successfully.

Ms Wolmak says she's pleased not just for herself but for her support crew.

“I've experienced so many times coming back on the boat where your whole team’s just so disappointed for me and you see the look in their eyes, and this time it was of elation, and everyone’s crying and happiness, and my sister Liz was there to karakia me off the boat,” Ms Wolmak says.

She hopes her swim provides inspiration to other asthma sufferers.


One of the organisers of the Hui Aranga says the involvement of young people in the annual Maori Catholic hui bodes well for the future.

Morvin Simon says almost 80 percent of the people who gathered at Cullinane College in Wanganui for kapa haka, sports and other events were rangatahi.

Mr Simon says they're keen to be involved in the church and its activities.

“With our own children anyway we involved them right into the very guts of the matter so they are able to see the machinations of how things work and how things tick over and that the embellishments of the things that they see are really only just the icing on the cake rather than the ingredients eh,” Mr Simon says.


The top Maori secondary school scholar last year has been found.

16-year-old Te Rangi Maataanuku Parata from Ngati Porou was a student at Gisborne's Lytton High School.

The school's Maori department head, Rhonda Tibble, says Maataanuku was an outstanding student who has been through both Kura Kaupapa and mainstream systems.

Ms Tibble says Mataanuku has opted to work for a year at home in Ruatoria before taking on university, but his talent has already been spotted.

“Mataanuku was offered last year the vice chancellor’s scholarship award from Waikato University, before he had actually got his qualifications to allow him fully into university, so he has amassed $14,000 of scholarship moneys to help him along his way with his university studies,” Ms Tibble says.

Mataanuku Tibble will be off to Wellington next month to pick up his award from the Governor General.


Te Puni Kokiri is working with Womens Refuge to address the increasing number of Maori women seeking refuge.

Womens Refuge national manager Heather Henare says the Maori development ministry has funded a project manager for the past 18 months to work with iwi in developing a Maori growth strategy.

The ministry is now supporting a new development unit which will work with Maori providers, kaumatua and kuia on ways to stop violence in the community.
Ms Henare says a disproportionate number of Maori women are using refuge, so something different needed to be done.

“Traditional women's refuges only worked with women and children. What the strategy means is that we will be working with whanau, and we will be looking at violence in the context of whanau as opposed to the context of just women and children,” Ms Henare says.

Refuges are seeing the third generation of some whanau, indicating there need to be different ways of working with Maori families.


Members of Labour's Maori caucus were in Motueka today with West Coast Tasman MP Damien O'Connor to hear about housing concerns at the top of the South Island.

Caucus chairperson Shane Jones says region's population is growing fast, but low income Maori and working class people can't afford to buy homes.

Mr Jones says members of Ngati Rarua told the MPs at a hui at Te Awhina Marae that even though their iwi had got back land in the area from the Anglican church, it was not being made available for housing.

He says it's a common problem round the country.

“One of the greatest impediments to going into home ownership is the inflated value of the land. Well an area there is land highly accessible is multiply-owned land. You don’t have to buy the land if you belong to the whanau, the hapu, the iwi who has ownership rights in the land, then more of our Maori trusts should be treating that land as a resource to house the people,” Mr Jones says.

He says Tasman District Council seems to be placing impediments in front of people wanting to use Maori land for housing.


Canterbury University Maori studies head Rawiri Taonui says the solution for Maori educational underachievement is more Maori teachers.

Mr Taonui says while programmes like Te Kotahitanga have some value for Maori in mainstream schools. it's hard to get teachers to teach someone else's culture.

He says Maori children respond well to Maori teachers.

“Problems in our schools, 90 percent of those problems will be solved by more Maori teachers, problems will be solved with out Maori youth by putting good Maori male role models in front of them, and then the last 10 percent is changing the attitude of Pakeha teachers. We do those three things and we will go a long way down the track to fixing the issues our children face in schools,” Mr Taonui says.

He says the Government moves to do more to recruit Maori males into teaching.


Blogger BJ said...

Hi! I thought you and your readers might be interested in some post-Easter news about Pope Benedict XVI...
The Pope's car is being auctioned off to raise money for Habitat for Humanity:
The bidding is already more than $200,000! Personally, I think this is a really fun and creative way to raise
money. The auction goes until April 14th if you and your readers want to check it out.

4:57 AM  

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