Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, September 06, 2007

More needed on restorative justice

An expert on restorative justice says New Zealand isn't doing enough to find innovative ways of dealing with its adult prisoners.

Professor Howard Zehr says this country's youth justice system as a world leader, in part because of systems such as family group conferences which were developed in consultation with Maori communities.

The senior Fulbright scholar says those systems can't be directly transferred to the adult justice system, but a similarly creative approach is needed.

“The most hopeful communities I’ve seen are where processes have been set in place to let indigenous communities handle their own problems, to use their traditional processes, and to build in the human rights monitoring and the interface with the system that needs to be there to make that work. There’s not a lot of those kinds of examples, but where there are, there’s been some very dramatic effects,” Professor Zehr says.

He’s based at the Conflict Transformation Program at the Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia. It’s his sixth visit to Aotearoa.

TREATY KEY TO UNLOCKING COLONY

The Treaty of Waitangi became irrelevant within a few months of it being signed.

That's the claim of the author of a new book of Aotearoa in the 1840s.

In The Newest Country in the World, Paul Moon says while it was to come back again in terms of importance, in 1840 it was just the key that opened the door for colonial settlement.

“Between February and May there was a lot of work getting signatures for it. After May the government decides it’s had enough, calls it a day, and then the treaty’s sort of put in the dustbin, and dispensed with, no one really considers it much after that. It gets the occasional mention, but mostly it’s forgotten, and it’s interesting this great founding document, within months, is submerged out of view,” Professor Moon says.

Maori weren't concerned about the treaty either, because many communities were so busy growing food to sell to the new settlers.

JOHNNY BRADFIELD FUNERAL TODAY

One of the instigators of the era of Maori showbands is being buried in West Auckland today.

Jazz guitarist Johnny Bradfield died on Sunday aged 79.

He played in a range of bands at Maori Community Centre and other Auckland venues through the 1950s and 60s, and also ran a school which taught high standards of musicianship to a generation of Maori musicians.

Steel guitarist Ben Tawhiti says Mr Bradfield was always generous with his knowledge and skills.

“Johnny has made an impact with all the guitarists I would say, even myself, and even Mark Kahi too. Johnny was always perfecting his music,. He also backed the Maniapoto sisters on their albums, and now he’s an icon within Maniapoto,” Mr Tawhiti says.

Johnny Bradfield’s most important musical partnership was with his jazz singing wife Millie, who survives him.

INDIGENOUS GROUPS SEEING LANGUAGE RETENTION TIPS

A group of Native North Americans is today starting a two week tour of the country to study maori langauge initiatives.

The trip will include particpation in a two day indigenous language symposium in Hamilton later this month, hosted by Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

The group from the New Mexico-based Indigenous Language Institute includes Cherokee actor and language teacher Wes Studi, whose films include Dances with Wolves and Last of the Mohicans.

Wananga chief executive Bentham Ohia says New Zealand has become a magnet for groups wanting to save their native tongues.

“They see Maori as pioneers from the many efforts of our papas and our mamas and our grandparents, and they see the kohanga reo and the kura kaupapa and those kinds of movements as quite pioneering movements that have had relative success, so they don’t want to go reinventing the wheel so to speak and want to leverage from the experiences and investments we have put in place here in Aotearoa,” Mr Ohia says.

The visitors are also keen to learn how Maori are harnessing radio and television for language revival.

AFL TURNS MEAT WORKS INTO SEAFOOD PROCESSING PLANT

Aotearoa Fisheries is opening a new processing plant in Napier this afternoon.

Chairperson Robin Hapi says it will put the pan-Maori company in a better position to handle developing fisheries such as red and king crabs.

The new plant in a former meat industry site at Awatoto also replaces the Moana Pacific lobster depot at Ahuriri, which was unsuitable for expanding or renovating.

Mr Hapi says it makes Aotearoa Fisheries the biggest fish processor in the region.

MANGAKAHIA MARAE SECURES REPAIR GRANT

A Whangarei marae which has been closed because of its poor state is in line for an overhaul.

The wharekai at Te Aroha Marae in Mangakahia was pulled down six months ago because of safety concerns.

It's just been awarded a grant from the ASB Community Trust towards the half million dollar repair cost.

Marae trustee Moana Eruera says it's now waiting for confirmation of a further grant from the Lotteries Marae Heritage before work starts.

As well as a new wharekai, the 50-year old marae needs new drains, plumbing, sewerage systems and water storage tanks.

She says it's a challenge many marae must face.

“Certainly up in the north there’s heaps of marae that are really run down, that need to be working through the kinds of processes, there’s a huge amount of time and commitment needed from the marae trustees and whanau to get it to that point,” Ms Eruera says.

Ngati Te Rino hopes to have to reopen the marae by next April.

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