Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, July 23, 2007

Fewer Maori leave school without qualifications

More Maori in work and study, plus modern teaching techniques are behind a decrease in the number of Maori students leaving school with no formal qualifications.

That's the reaction from Parekura Horeomia to a Ministry of Education report released yesterday showing improvement in the figures for Maori boys.

Two years ago, 53 percent left school with no qualifications. That figure is now 46 percent.

Mr Horomia says the results are due to the Education Ministry’s increased focus on Maori student achievement, their enthusiasm for modern technologies used in the classroom, and seeing more of their whanau with good jobs and in tertiary study.

“We want to make sure that we modernise the process of learning and that there’s certainly the basic ABCs, but through this strategy it means our people can be bicultural and culturally strong but at the same time be very clear on the opportunities that are out there,” Mr Horomia says.

He expects Maori secondary school achievement rates to further improve with the impending launch of Ka Hikitia, a new Maori education strategy.

LEAGUE WANTS MAORI WOMEN’S MINISTRY

The Maori Women's Welfare League wants to see a Ministry of Maori Womens Affairs.

General manager Jacqui Te Kani says it's an idea the league will raise in its report as part of the New Zealand delegation to the United Nations convention on discrimination against women in New York later this month.

She says a ministry could get serious about addressing the gaps Maori women face in health, education, income and other economic and social indicators.

“We see this as one solution where we can work in a relationship, maybe a better relationship, with the government to actually have a look at how we can close gaps or the disparities that face Maori women and its whanau,” Mrs Te Kani says.

The New Zealand delegation will also report on rates of domestic violence, pay differentials, the relative lack of women in senior management positions and the particular discrimination lesbian and bisexual women face in the workplace.

HOSUING MORE THAN FOUR WALLS AND A ROOF

The MP for Taitiokerau says housing policy needs to be about more than putting a roof over people's heads.

Hone Harawira says too much substandard housing is going up in his electorate, and that's leading to a high turnover of tenants and a lack of pride in the home.

He says Government and Maori agencies should be doing more to improve the state of Maori housing in Northland.

That investment will pay dividends in the future in the form of stable families.

“Because a stable family repays its bills. An unstable family runs out on its bills. So it’s in everybody’s best interests that we ensure that the people we house are housed properly so they want to stay, they feel a commitment back to the people that helped put them in there,” Mr Harawira says.

Much can be learned from the way state houses used to be built with the best available materials, which has allowed them to survive generations of families.

TOURISM LANGUAGE WEEK THEME

It's Maori Language Week, so say kia ora to locals and foreigners alike.

That's the message coming from Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori.

The Maori language commission is working with Tourism New Zealand and the Maori Tourism Council to encourage - te reo Maori ki te ao tapoi - Maori language in the world of tourism.

Chief executive Huhana Rokx says they're offering an award for tourist operators who incorporate Maori words and phrases into their everyday business.

“We identified that it’s our tourism operators that are meeting people on a day to day basis. Their business is about people and their business is looking after people, looking after visitors, manaakitanga, so we thought that was a natural partnership with te reo Maori,” she says.

Ms Rokx says this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Maori Language Act, which gave te reo Maori its official status.

FLAX BASKET TO KEEP BABIES SAFE

The national coordinator for the Maori Sudden Infant Death Syndrome group says a novel flax bassinette is a culturally appropriate way to address the problem.

Pauline Hopa says of the 60 babies who die each year of SIDS or cot death, as it is commonly known, 75 percent are Maori.

She says the message that parents shouldn't sleep with the newborn babies wasn't always getting through.

The wahakura developed by Hawkes Bay doctor David Tipene-Leach and traditional weavers is a promising compromise.

“People are wanting to adopt and to adapt and use our own traditional indigenous knowledge, like this bassinette for want of a better word, this wahakura as part of the tools and the sleeping equipment they need for their tamariki to keep them safe,” Ms Hopa says.

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