Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Military training for rangatahi call from past

The new president of the 28th Maori Battalion Association is calling for the reintroduction of compulsory military training for Maori youth.

National service was abolished by the incoming Kirk Labour government in 1972.

Nolan Raihania, from Ngati Porou, says many young Maori face challenges in their teenage years, and a taste of military discipline would give them respect for authority and for themselves.

“I thought it was terrific because some of the young people who came out of that, they went in, I wouldn’t say hobos but virtually, and when they came out they were very respectful and clean, upright and it was excellent for them, CMT,” he says.

Mr Raihania joined the army's overseas service at age 16.

The 28th Maori Battalion Association held its reunion earlier in the month, so members will commemorate Anzac Day tomorrow at a local level.


Green's Maori spokesperson Metiria Turei says new standards for graduating teachers should improve the way Maori culture and language are treated in schools.

The Teachers Council wants to ensure new teachers come up to consistent levels of quality.

Ms Turei says the standards include a welcome focus on the appropriate use of Maori language and customs and the recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi.

“That is an area that needs a huge amount of work and development, Teachers are very committed to it, but they don’t get access, when they are actually in teaching, to develop that area of their profession, so it’s good the standard will be dealt with at the exit level from teachers college,” Ms Turei says.

She says students should benefit from the change.


One of the country's two tri-lingual interpreters is disputing figures showing that a quarter of people who speak New Zealand Sign Language also speak Maori.

Tania Simon, from Ngapuhi, works for the Deaf Association as an interpreter.

Ms Simon says the Census data showing that 6 thousand of the 24 thousand people who use New Zealand sign also speak Maori and English is wrong.

She says it reflects the number of people who have done an introduction course in sign language.

“A lot of people who completed their beginning courses in New Zealand sign language automatically assume that they can go out and interpret for their whanau, who are teri, and that is not the case. You might be able to say two sentences in te reo Maori, or you might be able to understand te reo Maori, but if you can’t output into English, then how can you output it into New Zealand sign language,” Ms Simon says.

About 40 percent of New Zealand's deaf population are Maori.


The new president of the 28th Maori Battalion Association says he's come a long way from buck private.

80-year old Nolan Raihania from Ngati Porou joined the army at 16, along with his classmates from Te Aute College, and was shipped off to Italy.

Mr Raihania says the support given to the dwindling band of veterans is a great help in his new job.

“I'm not one for these top positions, I was buck private in the army and I was quite happy to be there. This comes as a big step forward, being nominated and palcesd imn this opositiojn, from a privte right to the top, it’s a big step up,” Mr Raihania says.

He will attend the Tokomaru Bay Anzac service tomorow before heading home to Muriwai for the service there.


After its ground-breaking Anzac Day coverage last year, Maori Television is promising the same and more tomorrow.

Programming kicks off at 5.30 in the morning and goes through to 11 at night.

Executive producer Tainui Stevens says New Zealanders responded to the channel's fresh approach to history and traditions shared by Maori and Pakeha alike.

“Last year proved that the idea worked, and it’s a great idea. So for this year, we’re mindful that other broadcasters have suddenly developed an interest in pursuing Anzac with more vigour so we want to grow what we did last year, try different things,” Mr Stevens says.

As well as archival footage of past campaigns and interviews with veterans, the day will include documentaries on Haani Manahi and on Gallipoli from a Turkish perspective, dramatisations of soldiers' letters from the front, the inaugural Anzac address from Judge Mick Brown, and a live link to Wena Harawira on the battlefield at Gallipoli.


While other parts of the country commemorate Anzac Day, Tainui will gather tomorrow at Waingaroa Marae on the road to Raglan.

Tainui spokesperson Tom Moana says the annual poukai is dedicated to the memory of Te Atairangikaahu, the mother of the late Maori queen and grandmother of King Tuheitia.

It's a chance for Tainui members to sit and share a meal with the king, and to debate issues of the day.

Mr Moana says because of the raupatu of land confiscations after the wars of the 1860s, Tainui did not sign on to the wars of last century.

“Because we were hit by that confiscation and it come to the situation now where it’s not our war, it’s your fella’s war, that’s how we looked at things ion our great grandparents, our grandparents time, and all of that you know,” Mr Moana says.

He says many younger people have started attending poukai since King Tuheitia was appointed, and upwards of 500 people are expected tomorrow.


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