Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More Maori needed on Manukau council

Manukau City Council is looking at ways to encourage more Maori participation in this year's local government election.

Treaty relationships manager Moana Herewini says it's mounting an education campaign, starting with a hui at Manurewa Marae tomorrow night.

Ms Herewini says when nominations open for the elections, it would be good if they reflect the high number of Maori living in south Auckland.

“47,000 people, we have got the largest Maori population in the country and one Maori should not stand alone. So anyone going or wanting to stand for council should look at who is going to support them in their community, so when they speak they speak not with just one voice but with the voice of many Maori,” Ms Herewini says.

Manukau city would also like to see voter participation up from the 40 percent who turned out last election.


A Maori boarding school principal says the changes to the National Certificate of Educational Achievement are an improvement, but the system will still struggle to assess Maori knowledge.

Schools will be able to use more specific grades, from excellent down to "not achieved", and there are also changes to the way internally-assed marks are balanced between schools.

Tihirau Shepherd from Hato Paora says the changes may be enough to stop the migration of schools towards other assessment systems like the Cambridge examinations.

IN: The Cambridge qualification system which some of these grammar schools use are actually within the context of he whenua ke, international targets etc so our kids are ending up sitting exams that are from other countries that are in the context of other countries, not within the context of Aotearoa, but where does that leave matauranga Maori? It leaves it right out to the right hand side really,” he says.

Mr Shepherd says the NCEA changes will increase teacher's workload, so more resources need to be put in to help.


Paparoa marae in Tauranga has gone green.

It's the first marae to achieve the Green Globe benchmarking status used for the travel and tourism industry.

Marae manager Karen Nicholas says the marae, which is a popular destination for cruise ship passengers, now monitors its energy, water, and waste consumption.

Waste food goes to feed pigs, water conservation is enforced, office paper is recycled as much as possible, and the marae uses biodegradable cleaning products.

Ms Nicholas says when Maori lived off the land they understood how everything was inter-connected, but that connection has been broken in recent times.

She says the benchmarking is a way to address that.

“We feel this is the best way of teaching our people, because there’s always a lot of people that come to the marae, not only visitors but also our whanau to the marae,” Ms Nicholas says.

She says going Green Globe has already made an impact on the marae and its community.


Greens co-leader Russel Norman is floating the idea of a more formal relationship with the Maori Party.

Mr Norman says the two parties have so much in common, it makes sense for them to talk about how they can work more effectively in Parliament.

They share similar views on the foreshore and seabed, the Treaty of Waitangi and the environment.

Mr Norman says a starting point could be discussing how they can avoid cutting into each other's support during the next election campaign.

“We'll also need to have a bit of a discussion about whether we’re going to have some kind of joint approach to dealing with Labour and National after the next election. That’s still a fair way down the track. But when you share so much kaupapa, it’s really important that you don’t let politics get in the way of doing the right thing, and I think there’s a lot of opportunity for the Green Party and the Maori Party to work together,” Mr Norman says.


Starting up is not the problem for Maori operating small businesses, but keeping going is.

That's the word from Leisa Nathan from business training company Ochre Consultants, one of the exhibitors in the Maori zone at the three-day Small Business Expo in Auckland.

Ms Nathan, from Ngati Whatua, Ngapuhi and Tainui, says most small Maori entrepreneurs can do with more mentoring and advice.

“There's a high of start-ups when it comes to Maori entrepreneurs but when it comes to sustainability, many Maori businesses do not get beyond that year two, year three phase A lot of it’s got to do with not knowing and not understanding, particularly their tax obligations, so being able to give that advice and information, we hope to minimise that rate of failure,” she says.

Ms Nathan says the Expo at the Greenlane showgrounds is proving a good investment, with more than 100 leads already from the first day.


The Fisheries Ministry's Auckland district compliance manager says the region needs honorary fisheries officers from all ethnic communities.

Ian Bright says honorary officers are on the front line of enforcement, as well as playing an important education role, so they need to be able to communicate with the many communities who collect kaimoana.

He says volunteers were responsible for picking up a recent case in which two Pacific Island women were fined and had their vehicles confiscated for taking more than 10 times the daily bag limit of cockles.

Mr Bright says the system is working well.

“We have 45 of the honorary fisheries officers in Auckland. They are supported by the full time staff who train them, mentor them, accompany them out on the patrols, and pick up the paperwork, because of course the job doesn’t finish when you intercept people with excess, the job then goes, as in this case, right through to the court phase,” he says.

Auckland has Maori, Pakeha and Asian honorary fisheries officers, but no Pacific Island officers.


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