Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Fishing future full of uncertainty as globe heats

Green MP Metiria Turei has warned a Maori fisheries conference in Napier that Maori must prepare themselves for major environmental change.

Ms Turei says the fishing industry, including the Maori commercial sector, needs to look closely at current fishing practices.

She says if Maori fisheries is to survive past the next 20 or 30 years, people have to prepare for inevitable change in oceans through climate change, over-fishing and habitat destruction.

“If we don't prepare ourselves for the changes that those things will bring, we won’t have an industry that lasts. And so the whole treaty settlement process, the allocation, will all be wasted, because we won’t have the fish in the sea to be able to use,” Ms Turei says.

She says customary fishing could be particularly vulnerable, because of the lack of resources to put into managing that sector.


Environment Bay of Plenty's plans to move its headquarters from Whakatane to Tauranga will disadvantage Maori.

That's the view of Hinewai Katene, Whakatane District Council's kaitakawaenga Maori.

Almost 12 thousand people signed a petition opposing the move, which was delivered to regional council chairperson John Cronin after a march through Whakatane on Saturday.

Ms Katene says 100 jobs will leave from the Eastern Bay of Plenty, which will have a detrimental effect on the council's Maori staff.

“A lot of their skills will be taken to Tauranga if they have to move,. Their families will have to move, their children will have to move, which means they’re going to take them out of their own environment as the rohe o Mataatua. That’s a big mental shift for a lot of them,” Ms Katene says.

Many of the communities in the eastern Bay of Plenty have high Maori populations, and the move will make it harder for Maori tohelp council understand their concerns.


Otago Maori health workers hope the area's first Maori clinic will encourage more whanau to use health services.

Uruuruwhenua Health opened in Clyde this week under Kai Tahu ki Otago Ltd under a two-year contract with the Otago District Health Board.

Whanau ora worker Glenda Rodgers says many Maori don't visit clinics until it is too late because they fear doctors or are reluctant to travel or take time off work.

Ms Rodgers says the service needs to sell itself to the Maori community and convince people to look after their health.

“So many of our people down here they’re fragmented, they’ve come for work and they’ve ended up staying here. And as in a lot of other places, we don’t use the health providers. People are still dying rater than going and seeking medical help,” Ms Rodgers says.

A similar service is planned for South Otago later in the year.


The facilitator of a series of hui on climate change says Maori have responded well to kaupapa.

Willy Te Aho says much of the Maori economy is based on industries which will be affected by climate change policies, so there was keen interest in the hui.

He says Maori have a deep concern for the environment and they made a valuable contribution to discussions.

“From each of the 11 hui that we attended, each hui chose a person to represent them at a national reference group meeting that took place on March 21. They then pulled all the central things from all the different minutes and came up with 34 recommendations,” Mr Te Aho says.

The responses will be fed into a policy document which will be taken back out for further consultation.


A retired Maori educationalist says the best way to improve Maori children's performance in schools is for teachers and the system to recognise Maori culture.

The Post Primary Teachers Association has been skeptical about the results of Te Kotahitanga programme for Maori pupils in mainstream schools, saying it is too early to attribute improved literacy and numeracy skills of students in the pilot schools to the culturally responsive teaching methods the programme advocates.

But Toby Curtis, who taught at secondary and tertiary level, says Te Kotahitanga is doing what Maori have been advocating for years.

“I'm convinced that no matter what the system is, Maori children will do well if the roots of their culture are properly recognised, and nurtured within that system. It doesn’t have to be a totally Maori system so long as the heart and soul of things Maori are being touched upon. Obviously the heart and soul isn’t being touched upon in mainstream education,” Mr Curtis says.


The only Maori on this season's Dancing with the Stars is finding he's not the dancer he thought he was.

Former national basketball rep turned television presenter Brendon Pongia fancied himself as a mover and groover on the dance floor, but expectations are different in the dance programme which starts next week.

His first dances are the cha cha and the quickstep, and he's put in hours of practice to improve his chances against Frank Bunce, Michael Laws and Paul Holmes.

Mr Pongia says he may need the Maori vote to support the charity he's chosen.

“You know I've got to think about the charity I’m working for, Cure Kids, so it’s a huge thing and the longer I stay around the more money I can make for them. I just want to get through that first dance and get the confidence up and we’ll just take it form there, but the important thing is getting the votes, and I need that Maori vote,” Mr Pongia says.


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