Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, May 25, 2007

Big loss for Ngati Porou

Ngati Porou people are mourning the loss of one of their biggest personalities.

Miranda Grey Taufa from Tolaga Bay died on Wednesday aged 42.

She became a public face of obesity after she featured in two documentaries about the daily challenges confronted by obese people in New Zealand.

Gisborne iwi radio breakfast host Walter Walsh worked with Ms Grey Taufa on an album to raise funds to help other obese people in the region.

“By selling the CDs, she would have some money to help the group buy clothing for the obesity people whether they be men or women, buy proper swimming shorts and the shoes that they wear in the pool, to pay for the pool entry so that’s what she was doing with her music, helping other obese people,” Mr Walsh says.

Miranda Grey Taufa is at Te Rawhioro marae in Tolaga Bay. She will be buried on Sunday.


National leader John Key says his party will oppose the Te Roroa Claim Settlement Bill when it comes back to Parliament.

The claim, for land around the Waipoua Forest north of Dargaville, has been dogged by controversy for almost 20 years.

Allan Titford, whose former farm was caught up in the claim, has mounted a long-running campaign against the settlement, despite getting a $3.2 million pay-out for his property.

The Maori Affairs select committee is due to report the bill back to the House on June 1, but Mr Key says it won't get an easy passage.

We've got grave concerns about whether that settlement will be durable, and our view has always been that it’s critically important that once settlements are achieved, they are full and final and durable. It looks to us, on the balance of information that we have, that the Crown’s cutting corners here and the settlement just won’t stack up and on that basis we're not supporting it,” Mr Key says.

The proposed settlement will require Te Roroa to go into debt to get all the crown properties the hapu is seeking.


The head of Massey University's College of Education says a fear of being accused of inappropriate behaviour is putting men off primary teaching.

James Chapman says the sector is suffering from a lack of male teachers, and particularly Maori men.

The latest class to graduate from Massey included less than 10 percent of men.

Professor Chapman says children need male role models, but too few men see teaching as a career.

“I suspect that some of them have been put off by the possibility that they might be charged or the questions might be raised around inappropriate behaviors with children. Putting an arm around a child for comforting, touching a child, I guess a number of males just don’t feel safe with the possibility that these issues might arise,” he says.

Professor Chapman says he'd like to see more efforts to get Maori men into teaching.


Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton says he does not accept concerns by Labour's Maori MPs over proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act.

The amendment will introduce a precautionary principle into the act, so if there are any doubts about sustainability of fish stocks, the fisheries minister must err on the side of caution.

Iwi say this could lead to unnecessary quota cuts which will affect the viability of iwi-run fishing businesses, and amounts to a rewriting of the Maori fishing rights settlement.

Mr Anderton says he heard the views of the Maori caucus on the issues, but is confident the amendment will get the support it needs.

“It does make it more clear that sustainability takes priority, that’s true, but who in their right mind would suggest that it shouldn’t. I mean, it doesn’t take you long to figure out that if there’s no more fish to catch, any deed of settlement or any quota you’ve got is worthless,” Mr Anderton says.

He has agreed to give the Primary Production Select Committee another three months to consider the bill, which he says should be enough time to talk the issues through.


Maori and Pacific Island children and their parents are the targets of a new healthy eating campaign.

Health Sponsorship Council healthy eating manager Michelle Mako says the media campaign will deliver tips families can use to encourage better nutrition.

Ms Mako says it's tailored for the communities which are most at risk of developing obesity, diabetes or heart disease from poor nutrition.

“We have got some differences in nutrition outcome, so we’ve focused our campaign on speaking with Maori, Pacific and other low income communities. In terms of developing our campaign, we’ve contact tested all our thoughts and ideas with Maori and Pacific audiences primarily, to just double check that we’ve got the messages right and we’re getting through,” Ms Mako says.

Simple things can have significant results, such as eating together as a family or having tamariki help in the preparation of food.


A youth festival in Thames today aims to challenge the idea rangatahi lack a sense of community.

Tania Young, who is coordinating the national youth week event, says it will showcase the talents of Hauraki youth and give them a positive reason to get together.

She says like many regions, Hauraki struggles to hang on to its rangatahi.

“They're staying here for their education, and then those who are lucky enough to find themselves a job in their home town, they stay, otherwise there isn’t really much back here to hold them back. With the Hauraki Youth Festival, maybe it’s about moving all those talents that has moved out of the area back into the area and showing the community they’ve let some good things go,” Ms Young says.

The Hauraki Youth festival kicks off at the Thames skatepark at midday.


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