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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ka Hikatia rushing through

Maori principals are concerned a new Maori education strategy will be pushed through before frontline educators have a chance to comment.

Ka Hikitia is an eight point plan to lift Maori achievement over the next five years.

Shane Ngatai from the Maori principals' association Te Akatea says the roopu's hui a tau this week called for more time to make submissions.

He says consultation has been inadequate.

“The meetings being held around the country are not being well attended because notification or the relevance of attending the consultation has not been made strong and clear enough,” Mr Ngatai says.

Te Akatea will seek a meeting with the Minister Steve Maharey and Parekura Horomia to push for more time.

OAKURA PIPELINE TO IWI CELEBRATED

New Plymouth District Council says the deal it has struck over a new sewage pipeline shows the work it has put into improving relations with iwi is paying off.

The council yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with Oakura hapu Ngati Tairi over the $19 million pipeline, which will take waste from the coastal settlement into the New Plymouth treatment system.

Brent Manning, the council's water and waste manager, says the hapu will get advance notice of any work and can place observers on the job when the pipeline nears known waahi tapu.

“In some areas it still does pass very close to waahi tapu and obviously in that respect the iowi and in this case the Ngati Tairi hau had particular co There were particular concerns they had which needed particular protocols,” Mr Manning says.

The memorandum should set a precedent for future projects.

TAPU CAVE USED AS EXHIBITION SPACE

A Ngati Awa sculptor has shown his work in a sacred cave to highlight the significance of the region's waahi tapu.

Pete Takutaimoana-Harawira got permission from kaumatua to use Te Ana o Muriwai or Muriwai's Cave at the Whakatane heads.

The works were based on landmarks significant to Ngati Awa, all but one of which are visible from the cave entrance.

Some of the landmarks are being covered over or hidden by new structures, and he wanted to show the beauty and significance of the area.

“Like a lot of coastal areas, development is moving in. They have a huge interest in the prime locations along the coastline. A lot of our waahi tapu are there. They’re moving in and starting to build the apartment blocks and marinas,” Mr Takutaimoana-Harawira says.

Te Ana o Muriwai is named for the sister of Toroa, captain of the Mataatua waka that landed near the Whakatane Heads.

FOREST BLOCKADERS AWAITING TALKS WITH COMPANY

A Tuhoe hapu which has been blocking access to a Bay of Plenty forest wants forester Rayonier to sit down and negotiate.

Police this week issues trespass notices against members of Ngai Tamatuhirae o Muriwaka and seized a portable mill which they said was operating illegally.

Hapu spokesperson Tearaaka Tepairi says the mill was operating without the permission of the protesters.

Disputes over the ownership of the forest land and access roads are long standing.

She says when Rayonier, operating under the Matariki brand, bought the forests from Carter Holt Harvey, it bought a history of trouble - including problems with sacred sites.

“Our rangatira went up and put a rahui on Tahora to bless the area because a lot of the waahi tapu had been desecrated up there. There was a lot of puketea trees that they used to put their dead under. When the forestry first came in they damaged the area, they destroyed a lot of the waahi tapu that was on top of there,” Ms Tepairi says.

The hapu has asked Matariki to prove it has title to the forest land before it starts logging.

CUSTOMARY FISHERS SHORT CHANGED IN SCALLOP INCREASE

Hauraki Maori want further talks with the Fisheries Ministry over their share of an increase in the Coromandel scallop catch.

The annual catch entitlement for quota owners has increased five-fold, from 22 to 108 tonnes, reflecting the recovery of the fishery after devastating storms a decade ago.

But the amount available for recreational and Maori customary take are each being increased by only a third, from 7 and a half to 10 tonnes.

Hauraki Trust Board member Harry Mikaere says as quota holders, Hauraki will benefit.

But he says there is a clear imbalance in the amount set aside for other users.

PRINCIPALS CHALLENGE THEIR OWN TO ACHIEVE MORE

The Maori principal's association is throwing out a challenge to its own members to help lift Maori student achievement.

Te Akatea has been meeting in Wellington this week to consider the challenges facing the sector.

Co-president Shane Ngatai just having a leader of Maori descent does not guarantee schools will deliver for Maori students or work effectively with Maori communities.

About 5 percent of the country's 2700 principals are Maori.

“And not all of them are engaged in Maori achievement either, I’d have to say. Some do need to be challenged around their thinking and stepping outside the comfort zone and what they have to do, the hard decisions some of them have to make around ensuring the students are learinng, are engaged,” he says.

Mr Ngatai says programmes such as Te Kotahitanga, which recognise the effect teacher expectations have on achievement, have shown a dramatic change in results is possible.

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