Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ngai Tai rep thrown off Manukau forum

Manukau City Council has dumped one of the iwi representatives from its Tiriti o Waitangi standing committee.

Mayor Sir Barry Curtis says James Brown, the chief executive of Ngai Tai Umupuia Te Waka Totara trust, had threatened council members and staff verbally and in writing.

There had also been threats of physical assault against council staff.

Sir Barry says Mr Brown has made a positive contribution to the council's relationships with Maori, but his behaviour in recent weeks had gone beyond the boundaries of constructive debate.

Mr Brown has been banned from council premises, and the council has invoked a mediation clause in its agreement with Ngai Tai Umupuia.

An extraordinary council meeting decided the Ngai Tai seat on the committee would remain vacant until the relationship is reviewed, which will take at least until November.


More Maori are moving into the health workforce.

Mita Ririnui, the Associate Minister of Health, says school leavers, second chance learners and even people on other career tracks are now seeing health as an option.

The ministry's He Pa Harakeke Maori health workforce profile, released yesterday, found a 50 percent increase in maori midwives over the past year and a 300 percent increase in the number of Maori radiation technologists, from 12 to 40.

Mr Ririnui says the increase is important because of changes in the way Maori are choosing to access health services.

“They're choosing to got to a Maori provider rather than the traditional GP services they have sought from mainstream organisations in the past, so that being a fact, it’s important they see nice brown smiling Polynesian faces, Maori faces when they go to these provider organisations,” Mr Ririnui says.

The workforce profile will be collected every three years to help training and registration organisations and district health boards with their planning.


A Hawkes Bay apprenticeship scheme could benefit local marae.

Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga and Eastern Institute of Technology have teamed up to offer 15 apprenticeships a year for young Maori.

They'll work for local builders, and be taught the theory components by EIT.

Taiwhenua spokesperson Patrick Legeyt says they must also work on at least one marae maintenance project a year, on a koha or voluntary basis.
He says the Taiwhenua hopes to tap into the experience of builders who went through the Maori Affairs trade training schemes in the 1960s and 70s.

“We were ideally looking for one of those to be the coordinator of the programme, No one came forth for that, but there are some of those builders who are still out there and may take on a young apprentice. We are hoping that more will come forward,” Mr Legeyt says.

While the economy is demanding more highly-skilled workers, a huge reservoir of young Maori talent has remained untapped.


A master of political gamesmanship believes new MP Hone Harawira has got what he deserves.

The Maori Party MP has been stuck with a bill for $1100 for his unauthorised trip to Alice Springs.

Mr Harawira says the cost is justified by the attention he got for the plight of the Northern Territory's Aboriginal communities, which are facing unprecedented intervention by the Australian government.

But New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the attention the Tai Tokerau MP was seeking was for himself - and that's why he got into trouble with Parliament's speaker.

“As the event emerged and as more and more information was known, he got himself extreme difficulty, how shall I put it, not admitting it was a political stunt. Media people knew abut it, television crews were there, and those things happen because things are organised, not because they are pure accidents, and that's the problem,” Mr Peters says.


Ngai Tuhoe has taken the lead in connecting some of the North Island's remotest areas to the Internet.

Riaka Hiakita from the Tuhoe Education Authority says 2000 homes and schools in the eastern Bay of Plenty and Uruwera Ranges will be linked by wireless broadband over the next couple of years.

The Ministry of Economic Development is backing the project, with technology supplied by Rural Link, a company spun out from Waikato University research.

Mr Hiakita says while the original motivation was to allow schools to access online learning systems, the iwi now wants to connect with not only its communities but the 85 percent of Tuhoe living outside the rohe.

“We see huge potential in terms of our iwi and cultural development and in terms of promoting and progressing our culture, our identity and language,” Mr Hiakita says.

Rural Link will start installing transmitters in the remote bush sites next month.


A west Auckland Maori trust is taking a new approach to housing for people recovering from mental illness.

Te Kotuku Ki Te Rangi opens its first home in Glen Eden this week.

Chief executive Josie Smith says rather than large group homes, the trust is working with Housing New Zealand to buy one and two bedroom houses.

Residents will pay rents well below market rates, and they'll get ongoing support from the trust.

“We have a strong team that follows up every move. We ensure their benefits are taken care of, we ensure they’ve got furniture to go into those homes, food is there to last them through that week, because by the time we have moved them from wherever they are into that house, they’ve got no money left. So we’ve got to make sure we’ve got a team to assist these people to move into their homes and assist them once they're in there,” Ms Smith says.

Te Kotuku Ki Te Rangi eventually wants to have 50 such houses.


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