Waatea News Update

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

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, April 23, 2007

Maori truancy needs attacking

National education spokesperson Katherine Rich says the government isn't doing enough to address Maori truancy.

Ms Rich says while the overall truancy rate rose 41 percent over the past five years, the truancy rate for Maori pupils increased by 46 percent.

Seven percent of Maori girls now regularly wag school.

Ms Rich says it's time to tighten the rules.

“When you look at the kids who fail to get a good education and leave school without the ability to read or write, Maori in particular are over-represented. We’ve got to do better for these kids,” Ms Rich says.

She says the Education Ministry should be prosecuting more parents for not ensuring their kids attend school.

YEAR END AIM FOR ATIAWA TALKS

Taranaki iwi Te Atiawa could be back in talks with the Crown about its treaty claim settlement as early as September.

After seven years of talks towards what the government says will be a 34 million dollar settlement, Treaty Negotiations Minister Mark Burton says he no longer recognises the mandate of Te Atiawa Iwi Authority.

Authority chairperson Wikitoria Keenan says the move was not unexpected, and it gives the iwi a chance for a fresh start.

Ms Keenan says while it could take until the end of the year to develop a completely new negotiating group, the people might opt to use the Te Atiawa Settlement Authority, which will be voted on by all beneficiaries.

“We're having elections for that in August, because at the moment we’ve only got interim trustees, so we’re having an election for permanent trustees. One of the models we might use is for Atiawa people to give their mandate to thee incoming trustees on the settlements trust. That would be quite a simple process, and that could happen as early as September,” Ms Keenan says.

Wikitoria Keenan says despite the mandating issue, Te Atiawa negotiators are now working more closely together than an any time over the past seven years and are focussed on achieving a settlement.

REVIEWS GLOWING FOR MAUI STORY

The creative team behind Maui - One Man Against the Gods believe stage the glowing reviews and positive audience response to the stage spectacular shows they have gotten it right.

The second season of the show, based on the legends of Maui, is running at Auckland's Civic Theatre until this weekend.

Artistic director Tanemahuta Gray says he keeps learning new aspects of the Maui story.

“That's why it’s taken so many years to get this story to the stage, because we’ve spent so much time debating and arguing how to get the right balance of making it available to an audience, especially an American audience, their only understanding of a lot of them of Maui is it’s an island in Hawaii, and for us it’s trying to find that link for them to go ‘My gosh, this is the greatest Polynesian ancestor of all time,” Gray says.

Maui - One Man Against the Gods moves to Hamilton next week.

ART ROYALTY UNNECESSARY FOR NICHOLAS CAREER PLAN

Leading Maori artist Darcy Nicholas says a proposal for a royalty on the resale of art works is unworkable and unnecessary.

The government has a discussion paper out suggesting artists may get a 5 percent royalty if art is resold through dealers or auctioneers.

Mr Nicholas, from Te Atiawa, says a new bureaucracy would be needed to enforce the law, and it's likely to lead to more work being resold privately.

He's happy to see his work resold for a profit.

“So whoever bought it now has enjoyed it, they’ve seen it appreciate and good on them. I’m still creating work meanwhile which is just as good if not better. That’s the other part of it, you’ve got to keep creating new work, same as people like Picasso did, and just keep innovating and expressing all the new things that happen in your life, Mr Nicholas says.

Rather than feel cheated when early works sell for big sums, artists need to give more thought into how they can manage their careers so they can make a living as they go along.

LOAN SHARKS CIRCLING POORER SUBURBS

Social activist John Minto says the increased activities of loan sharks in many of the country's poorest suburbs shows credit control laws need overhauling.

Mr Minto says many low paid Maori and Pacific Island workers borrow money for cars or family emergencies, then find they're hit with exorbitant interest and fees.

Mr Minto says some finance companies are deliberately targeting the poor and powerless.

“They're not in our middle or high income communities. They’re clustered around South Auckland, West Auckland, Porirua, Newtown, and low income communities in Christchurch. Those are the three main areas. And these people are making a killing, Mr Minto says.

TURIA WANTS TO SEE FEWER MIGRANTS

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says a review of immigration policy has been put into the too hard basket.

Mrs Turia says such a review, with Maori input, was being considered when she was in the Labour Party, but it seems to have been shelved.

She says Maori are disadvantaged by the numbers arriving.

IN: We're not saying that we don’t believe that anyone should come here, but we do think our people should be consulted and we do think that it should be monitored and that the numbers should be considerably lowered, because of the impact on our infrastructure and our social situation here,” Mrs Turia says.

She says there is no hard evidence immigration brings economic benefits.

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