Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tainui elders get river briefing

Tainui elders will gather at Hopuhopu today to receive a briefing on the proposed settlement of Waikato River claims.

Negotiator Raiha Mahuta says it's the first time kaumatua from the 65 marae affiliated to the Kauhanganui parliament will hear the details of the agreement in principle, which was signed in Hamilton on the weekend.

Lady Mahuta says the views of the elders are valued by the negotiators.

“They still remember what the river was like when they were children, so most of their commentary was about what they used to do in the river and the food they used to get. That’s going back to semi-pristine times of courser before everything started happening,” she says.

Lady Mahuta says once Waikato Tainui has consulted with marae in the raupatu area, it will talk with other stakeholders and neighbouring iwi about the part they can play in the settlement.

The settlement will create a guardians body to look after the river from Huka Falls to the sea, and a statutory body covering the Waikato-Tainui part of the river, from Karapiro to Port Waikato, which will work alongside Environment Waikato.

RESOURCES NEEDED TO GIVE NCEA PUNCH

The principal of Feilding Maori boarding school Hato Paora says changes to the NCEA need to be accompanied by resources to improve standards.

Schools will be able more descriptive grades in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement, from excellent down to "not achieved", and more effort will be put into standardising internally-assessed marks.

Tihirau Shepherd says the changes address some of the flaws in the system, while hanging on to the positive features.

But he says they will mean more work for teachers, and that should mean more resources.

“It is about the quality of delivery in the classroom of the programmes in which these students are not achieving, and what are the contributing factors – resourcing, extra staffing to our schools, extra funding at the operational grant level, all those sorts of things contribute to that factor where kids are not achieving,” Mr Shepherd says.

He says the system still hasn't come to grips with how to properly assess Matauranga Maori or Maori knowledge.

PUKENGA FEELS POUAKANI BLAZE

The project manager for the rebuilding of a Tauranga marae destroyed in a blaze last year says the hapu is feeling for those in Mangakino whose marae suffered a similar fate this week.

Rahera Ohia says work on a new house at Whetu O Te Rangii marae in Welcome Bay will start in June, eight months after the wharenui was gutted.

Ms Ohia says her thoughts were with the people of Ngati Kahungunu ki Pouakani, who have lost their house Tamatea Pokai Whenua.

“Soon as I saw the story I though ‘Oh my god, I know how they feel.’ There’s no describing really how shattering that is to have something that’s always been there suddenly taken away,” she says.

Ms Ohia says Ngati Pukenga will be sending their best wishes to Mangakino.

MANUKAU LOOKING FOR ETHNIC REPRESENTATION

The treaty relations manager for the Manukau City Council says more Maori councilors are needed to reflect south Auckland's ethnic makeup.

Moana Herewini says a hui tonight at the Manurewa Marae is the first step in a campaign to encourage Maori to put their names forward for the local body elections in October.

Forty seven thousand Maori live within the council's boundaries.

Ms Herewini says the days when councils were run by middle aged Pakeha men in suits are gone, at least in Manukau.

“There's five Samoan councilors. There’s at least four women. We’ve got a young fgellow, aged 20, and there are other people who are in their 30s and 40s on council, so council isn’t quite run by that caliber of person any longer, but there is still not enough brown faces sitting around that are of tangata whenua,” she says

Ms Herewini says any Maori candidates would be wise to do so from the basis of support from within the Maori community.

TE REO TIED TO ANTI-TOBACCO PUSH

The Maori language commission has teamed up with anti-smoking group Auhi Kore to tackle tobacco use among Maori.

Huhana Rokx, the chief executive of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori, says they'll be offering an award for organisations which come up with the best way to use Maori language in anti-smoking messages.

Ms Rokx says the Maori smoking rates is still too high at almost one in two adults, while the number of Maori speakers is still too low.

She says the health service providers should consider the Maori language an asset when designing their services.

TAONGA PROTECTION VITAL FOR REBUILT MARAE

Tauranga iwi Ngati Pukenga is talking to experts about storing taonga, as it rebuilds its fire-damaged wharenui.

Whetu O Te Rangi at Welcome Bay was razed to the ground in September, and project manager Rahera Ohia says the iwi has raised more than a million dollars since then to rebuild.

New foundations will be laid in a fortnight, and the shell should be completed by the end of the year.

Ms Ohia says this time the house will include a sprinkler system, and the iwi is also taking advice from whanaunga working in museums on the best way to protect their cultural treasures.

“We're actually going through a process right now of thinking about how we do store tainga. Everything from the whaariki through something as precious as a kiwi feather cloak, if there were another fire you don’t want water damage on them, so we’ve got all of those sorts of things to think about as well,” she says.

Ngati Pukenga feels the pain of the mangakino hapu which lost its wharenui to fire this week.

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