Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Budget plays down the M word

Michael Cullen’s eighth budget contained small changes in the Maori affairs budget, but most of the meat will come in other departments’ expenditure.

Waatea News editor Adam Gifford says the 10 centimetre pile of budget documents contains few surprises for Maori.

Since Labour got burned by reactions to its closing the gaps policy, the government has downplayed any specifically Maori initiatives.

The new spend this year is the extra $23 million for Maori television, whose broadcasts are appreciated by increasing numbers of non-Maori.

Concern about street crime means the Maori wardens get a long overdue $2.5
million to beef up their activities, and another $2 million dollars goes into a violence prevention programme.

Köhanga reo, which has been shrinking in recent years, gets $13.9 million over four years, a beneficiary of the Government’s overall investment in the early childhood sector.

There is also money to build some of the classrooms that kura kaupapa Maori and wharekura have been crying out for.

Associate health minister Mita Ririnui says some of the $750 million in extra health spending will be of particular benefit to Maori, especially some of the immunisation programmes, but there is no flagship Maori health initiative this time round.

PARLIAMENT GETS SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION OF NOTHING IN PARTICULAR

The National party co spokesperson on Maori affairs is welcoming a trial project to provide simultaneous translations in the parliaments debating chamber.

The government allocated $230,000 in yesterday’s budget to the pilot programme, where MP's will use headsets to keep up with the play.

Georgina Te Heuheu says over the past few years there has been a marked increase in the use of Maori language in Parliament, and is likely to increase over time.

“The Parliament as a whole has had to get used to the fact that increasingly that te reo Maori is being used in the chamber, and a simultaneous translation. What that means is that all members of the House, the majority of whom aren’t Maori speakers, can keep up with the debate, and I think that’s always helpful,” Mrs Te Heuheu says.

SEWAGE THREATENS TO CLOG BACK DOOR

Mahia Maori are fighting a $9 million sewerage scheme on their back door step.

Alice Wairau from the Rakato hapu says the planned site is close to Maori land the owners intend to use for housing.

Ms Wairau says there are better sites available in the region.

She says the owners have asked the Maori Land Court to step in, and they believe they have a good case.

“We believe it’s going to impact the neighbouring blocks, which are multiply-owned. The owners of those blocks were never notified. There was no consultation process with them,” Ms Wairau says.

Ngati Rakoto has asked the council to look at other options for treating the community's sewage.

$23M VOTE OF CONFIDENCE FOR MAORI TV

The CEO of Maori television says the $23 million boost in the budget is a vote of confidence from the government.

Jim Mather says $3 million will be used to help launch the channel on a digital format, with the rest earmarked for operational costs over the next 4 years.

He says that could include an increase in broadcast hours, a reduction in repeat screenings and development of new programmes.

“It is a strong vote of confidence by the Government in Maori Television. Both of our responsible ministers, Parekura Horomia and Dr Michael Cullen, should be acknowledged as being very supportive of Maori Television, not just through the good times but also through the initial early difficulties, so I think this is a strong vote of confidence,” Mr Mather

BOOK AFFIRMS MAORI DIMENSION TO GAY LIFE

One of the contributors to a new book on indigenous sexuality says Maori takataapui or gay people value their Maoriness.

The book will be launched today at Auckland University’s Waipapa marae.

Former Labour MP Georgina Beyer says it’s a fantastic compilation of stories and a landmark for the takataapui community.

“Fantastic compilation of contributions from many leading takataapui Maori and the theme that keeps reoccurring to me is how Maori culture is fundamental to our being and this book will provide a resource as well as first person stories of what it is to be takataäpui,” Ms Beyer says.

HINEMIHI WHANAU TO CONTRIBUTE TO RESTORATION

The restoration of a carved whare sitting in the grounds of an English stately home should strengthen its links with its homeland.

Historic Places Trust Maori heritage adviser Jim Schuster says Hinemihi needs a new roof, floor and electrical wiring.

The house was taken from New Zealand in 1892 to Clandon Park by former governor Lord Onslow.

Mr Schuster says he’s met with owners the National Trust, and is now awaiting the green light for the restoration.

He says it will include work from whänau here and abroad.

“We're also trying to link back to here in that Ngati Hinemhi people will make tukutuku panels for the inside and some will be made here and some over there so that everybody takes part in the rebuilding,” Mr Schuster says.

Hinemihi is a meeting place for many tangata whenua in Britain, including London-based culture group Ngati Ranana and Te Kohanga o Ranana.

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