Waatea News Update

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

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Maori Television dropped the ball by not running live coverage of King Tuheitia's coronation ceremony in te reo Maori.

That's the view of Massey University Maori language head Taiarahia Black.

Professor Black says it was an ideal opportunity to promote the reo.

He says King Tuheitia served as a role model by delivering his speech in Maori, but most of the programme content was in English.

“The language exhibition that we heard yesterday was basically about informing non-Maori and not supporting Maori language revitalisation. Again and again and again, where arte we heading to. Such a powerful medium and yet we use it all the time to describe our culture, not in our indigenous language,” Professor Black says.

He says the board of Maori Television seems to forget the channel was set up to revitalise the Maori language.

NGAWHA SUBSIDENCE WAS PREDICTED

A Northland elder says the government should have expected major subsidence problems at Ngawha Prison.

Construction costs for the regional prison ballooned out to more than 130 million dollars because of problems with the site, which is an old lake bed above a geothermal reservoir.

Cracks have been appearing as it sinks, and the Corrections Department intends to do remedial work once the building has finished settling.

Saana Murray says the instabilty of the ground was one of the major reasons tangata whenua objected to the site, but their concerns were ignored or dismissed by project managers and Corrections ministers.

“That is very important for the people to listen to those ones at Ngawha because not only was it the god given healing for our nation, for our people, it is wrong for them to build it right there. They were toldnot to build it there and it is happening now,” Mrs Murray says.

The Ngawha field has always been unpredictable, with springs likely to turn up anwhere.

DOVER STRIPPED DOWN FOR DIPLOMACY

With trans Tasman diplomatic relations showing strain over the Australian Defence force chartering Air New Zealand planes to the Iraq war, a senior Labour MP is offering his own brand of diplomacy.

Dover Samuels has jumped to the defence of Australian Opposition leader Kevin Rudd, who is under attack for a drunken foray into a New York strip club four years ago.

Mr Samuels says he saw plenty of Kings Cross strip clubs during his rugby playing days.

“Many young men and women still go to that type of entertainment. Good on them. I can only dream about it now. Those were the days, and I don’t see why people are so politically uptight and PC about what I think is quite a healthy expression with regard to entertainment and hospitality,” Mr Samuels says.

NGATA TREATY ADVICE STILL HOLDS TRUE

Wisdom from the past against a call to incorporate the Treaty of Waitangi into legislation.

A United Nations committee says it's hard for Maori to invoke treaty provisions before the courts and in negotiations with the Crown, because it's not a formal part of domestic law.

But New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says Sir Apirana Ngata, the leading Maori politician during the first half of the 20th century, always argued against such a course.

“What he said at the time was that if you bring it into the law, the next day you can repeal that law and there goes the treaty. He always argued that the treaty should sit on the side and be some guideline or some sort of beacon point on which you would judge things going into the future,” he says.

Mr Peters says criticism by the UN committee of a bill to delete references to Treaty of Waitangi principles from legislation shows it failed to understand New Zealand's constitutional system ... which allows private members like New Zealand First's Pita Paraone to put up legislation for consideration by Parliament.

HEALTH INEQUALITIES NARROWING

Ethnic and socio-economic health inequalities are narrowing.

That's the conclusion of a new study by the Ministry of Health and Otago University of mortality data between 1981 and 2004.

Paparangi Reid, the head of Auckland University's Te Kupenga Hauora Maori health unit, says the report offers some reasons for optimism.

But she says there are still signs Maori are getting a poor deal.

“The big big big finding for me is that unacceptable health inequalities remain between Maori and Pakeha in this country. Maori mortality is still twice that of Pakeha mortality and that is evidence of a breach of our indigenous rights and our Treaty rights to equity,” Dr Reid says.

It's important to continue collecting data on inequalities, because taking a whole of population approach to health statistics means Maori issues can be overlooked.

MAORI MUST REACH ECONOMIC POTENTIAL

The country's future growth will depend largely on the encouraging Maori to reach their economic potential.

That's one of the reasons the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust is giving for a new publication on how to employ and work effectively with Maori.

Co-author Chellie Spiller, from Ngati Kahungunu, says by 2021, almost one in five workers will be Maori.

She says the country will increasingly depend on young people to generate wealth, so it's important they be brought into the workforce and trained for high skill occupations.

“So whilst many employers are benefiting from the value added by Maori, there still remains a major opportunity to employ Maori by accessing the talents and energy of young Maori in the context of the aging workforce and developing the talents of those in employment,” Ms Spiller says.

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