Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Floods engulf Kaeo marae

Marae around Kaeo are cleaning up today after the floods which devastated the small Northland settlement.

Charlie Kareko from Mangaiti Marae says the marae, which lies between two creeks, was inundated from first light to dark yesterday.

The whanau is today cleaning the mud and silt coating floors and walls.

The gas stoves in the marae's kitchen are also in use, because the power is still out for the homes around it.

Mr Kareko says the flood was the worst he has seen.

“Honestly it's heartbreaking and to see it the way that it is, my tupunas would be turning over in their grave,” Mr Kareko says.

He says the Far North District Council needs to put some resources into flood protection for the valley.

GREEN SEES RED OVER JOHN HOWARD POLICY

Metiria Turei has added her voice to a chorus of opposition from Maori MPs to the Australian Government's takeover of Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.

The Maori Party's Hone Harawira made headlines on both sides of the Tasman for calling Australian PM a racist bastard for the policy, which will see the army used to back up initiatives aimed at stemming family violence and child sexual abuse.

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia has also said he doesn't support Howard's actions.

Now the Green's only Maori MP says while she is unhappy with the way Mr Harawira personalised the issue, he has highlighted a serious concern.

“Aboriginal people are being colonized all over again in an incredibly vicious way for the purpose of Howard getting votes,” Ms Turei says.

A poll yesterday in The Australian newspaper found 61 per cent of voters agree with Mr Howard's actions in the Northern Territory.

SHORT FILMS FOR WAITAKERE SHOWING

Contemporary Maori short films are on the programme at a Matariki event at the Corban Estate Arts Centre in West Auckland on Friday.

Organiser Andrea Tunks says the shorts include Robert George's Goodbye, Mike Jonathan's Hawaiiki, and The Speaker by Te Atatu resident Te Arepa Kahi, which has won awards in Russia, Germany and the Auckland and Wairoa Maori film festivals.

Ms Tunks says shorts often get a better response from audiences than longer Maori films.

“Because the short films are all a reflection of Maori experience, little snapshots you wouldn’t get otherwise and you don’t get in feature films, they’re very well received,” Ms Tunks says.

The event will also feature Guardians of the Mauri, an animated film made by Waitakere City Council and Te Kawerau a Maki Trust as a classroom resource about life in an urban stream.

TAI TOKERAU CLEANING UP AFTER STORM

Northland Maori communities spent today cleaning up after yesterday's storm.

Marae round Whangaroa Harbour were particularly hard hit, with floods inundating Mangaiti Marae at Kaeo and Karangahape Marae near Towai.

Roger Kingi, the chair of Karangahape, says the whanau spent the day pushing mud out of the whare hui, but it can't hose it down because there is no power to work the pumps.

He says it's a regular occurrence, but not because the marae was built in the wrong place.

“The biggest cause of our flooding is when they upgraded the road between us and Tauranga Bay, they lifted the road, we have this problem where the road creates a dam and there is not enough gaps under the bridge to allow the volume of water to escape. The water used to, when I was younger, flow over the road instead of being stopped by the road,” Mr Kingi says.

The marae plans to relocate or raise up the buildings over the next three years.

MOUNTAIN PEAKS TARGET OF TUWHARETOA CLAIM

Ngati Tuwharetoa today started summing up its case for the return of the central North Island volcanoes.

The Waitangi Tribunal is at Ruapehu College in Ohakune hearing final submissions on the National Park claim.

Tuwharetoa spokesperson Paranapa Otimi says the iwi tried to bring the Crown into joint management or the mountains in the 1880s, but the Crown seized total control by claiming it had been gifted the area.

He says the iwi now wants to renegotiate that relationship.

“We're saying all development be removed form what is called the exclusion zone on the mountain, that any development planned on the mountain cease, we oppose the National Park management plan completed by the Department of Conservation, and that we call for the Crown to return to peaks to Ngati Tuwharetoa and the other tribes of the peaks,” Mr Otimi says.

The Crown has already conceded that it has never paid for some of its landholdings around the mountain.

MORE SPEAKERS NEEDED TO KEEP REO ALIVE

The primary teachers union says more speakers and teacher of te reo Maori are needed in the school system to keep the language alive.

Laures Park, NZEI Te Riu Roa's Maori national secretary, says kura kaupapa and immersion classes in mainstream schools are struggling to attract staff.

She says kura kaupapa often miss out because mainstream schools can offer bigger pay packets.

Education Ministry figures show more than 4 percent of te reo teaching positions are vacant this year.

“The difficulty is finding someone to take the class and in most cases it is people who have limited reo but are willing to actually take the job on, which makes it doubly hard for them, and also very hard for the people in management at that particular school,” Ms Park says.

NZEI Te Riu Roa is working with the government on the issue.

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