Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, July 20, 2007

Irene Goldsmith dies aged 103

Ngati Porou has lost a long-serving guardian of its ahi kaa.

Irene te Huatahi Goldsmith died on Wednesday at Te Puia Springs Hospital, where she had lived for the past decade. She was 103.

Relative Vapi Kupenga says Mrs Goldmith was well known on the coast through her working life as part of her husband Watty Goldsmith's trucking firm.

A member of the Mackey whanau, one of Ngati porou's most prominent families, she played an active part in tribal life.

“Nanny Rene was one of the stalwarts in the community, te pupuri te mauri. We came and went, and Nanny was always there. One of those families that is always there, looking after the marae, making sure the tikanga is stable,” Ms Kupenga says.

Irene Goldmith is lying in state at Porourangi Marae. Her funeral is tomorrow.

No reira e te whaea takoto mai, takoto mai, moe mai.

HOUSING CRISIS IN NORTH IGNORED

The MP for Taitokerau says if a fraction of the resources put into resolving the leaky homes crisis had gone towards problems with Maori housing, his constituents would be much better off.

Hone Harawira used a speech in Parliament last night on the leaky homes bill to launch into the deplorable conditions many Maori in the north are living in.

He says with an average income of just over $13,000, Maori become locked into substandard houses, which affects their health and economic opportunities.

“I'm thinking to myself gee, here we are, putting a lot of energy, $76 million into this leaky homes saga down here in Auckland into relatively well off, affluent, to a large degree white folks and all of our relations are getting bashed up north, down the coast, don’t even qualify under the scope of this legislation,” Mr Harawira says.

He says last week's Northland floods highlighted the problems many whanau face.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE

A former Social Welfare manager says a bill to lower the age of criminal responsibility is ludicrous.

Hohepa Mutu from Te Arawa was responsible for residential facilities for young people in the 1980's.

The bill, put up by New Zealand First MP Ron Mark, could mean children as young as 12 are jailed for crimes like assault.

Mr Mutu says many young people come to the attention of authorities for extreme incidents which may be one-off.

He says they need nurturing rather than extreme punishment.

“Many of these children are taken into care because of neglect rather than anything else, and to look at imprisoning children, I think that’s ludicrous, it’s draconian. Good lord, what's wrong with these people,” Mr Mutu says.

He says prison will just make young offenders worse.

HOROMIA DEFENDS NGARIMU EXCLUSIVITY

The Minister of Affairs is defending a controversial change in the eligibility for one of Maoridom's most prestigious scholarships.

The Ngarimu Scholarship, which was launched in 1948 to commemorate Victoria Cross winner Te Moananui a Kiwa Ngarimu, will only be available to descendants of members of the 28 Maori Battalion.

The government has doubled the amount available to $217,000 a year, and it has added a new class of funding for leadership development of up to $30,000.

Just over 3000 men served in the battalion during World War Two, and almost 700 died in battle.

Parekura Horomia says it's appropriate to focus on the link with the battalion, and he doesn't believe many Maori scholars will miss out because of it.

“There's not many Maori families in this country who can’t whakapapa to the 28 Maori Battalion. If you find them, then you let me know. Because when we went in the population, most whanau, extended whanau, had affiliation,” Mr Horomia says.

He says there are other scholarships available for Maori who don't qualify.

SHARPLES PERPLEXED BY POLITICS AS USUAL

The Maori Party is says Labour is trying to rewrite history over the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Labour's Maori MPs have piled into the smaller party this week over its failure to win cross party support for a repeal of the Act.

They accuse it of being a single issue party.

But co-leader Pita Sharples says his MPs are holding their heads high.

“The government Maori members have been absolutely ridiculous. They’ve invented stuff, saying that we said we’d resign if we didn’t get this through. How can one invent a lie just to get political capital? Another one said we’d mislead the people. Absolutely not. We said we’ve done what we’re going to do and we’re going to keep doing it,” he says.

Dr Sharples says the Maori Party is the only group holding the government accountable to Maori.

HOME SUPPORT COUNTS FOR MAORI

Maori students are making huge gains in mathematics because of better support at home.

That's the conclusion of an Education Ministry study.

Erica Ross from the ministry's literacy and numeracy assessment team says since 2000, New Zealand children have switched from rote learning to exercises which help them identify number patterns and visualise answers.

She says researchers interviewed Maori and Pakeha students about their experiences, and found Maori are benefiting most.

“They got significant support from their home in their numeracy as a result of being involved in the numeracy project. Now that means the whanau are really getting in behind and supporting their students, because that result wasn’t reflected in the English medium,” Ms Ross says.

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