Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, October 19, 2007

Whakatane march against ninja raids

Civil rights is the lesson for the day for kura and kohanga reo in the eastern Bay of Plenty.

They'll be taking part in a march through Whakatane to the police station this morning, to protest Monday's lock-down of Ruatoki by armed police.

Lawyer Annette Sykes says the small Urewera community was subjected to an extraordinary invasion by state forces - despite the fact one of their main targets, Tuhoe activist Tame Iti, was arrested at his Whakatane home.

“How would you feel if your three year old child who normally goes to kohanga reo sees a man who can walk on the bus dressed up in a black ninja outfit carrying a weapon. Most people would be outraged. It didn’t happen in Auckland. Why did it happen in Ruatoki. You’ve got to ask yourself this,” Ms Sykes says.

The hikoi starts at the end of The Strand at 9.30.

ASSET BASE NEEDS TO DIVERSIFY

Maori are being urged to diversity their asset base and the skills oif their people.

Te Puni Kokiri has launched a new publication, Nga Kaihanga Hou - For Maori Future Makers, spelling out some of the trends and technologies decision makers should be aware of over the next quarter century.

The head researcher, Hillmare Schulze says the world is changing so fast, Maori need to change today to ensure they have a role to play tomorrow.

She says young Maori need to pick up the skills, including knowledge of the sciences, which will be needed to participate in the innovation economy.

“We have worked out what we think are the key enablers for us to move into the future and the focus for us will first be diversifying the Maori asset base – all assets including people. To maybe move into new sectors as well as exploring new opportunities in current sectors,” Ms Schulze says.

Areas for Maori to look at include biotechnology, bioprospecting and alternative energy sources such as geothermal.

WEAVERS GATHER FOR NATIONAL HUI

Weavers are converging at Maraenui Marae in the eastern Bay of Plenty for the national Maori Weavers Hui.

Organiser Kylie Tiuka from Toi Maori says the 300 places for the biannual event have been booked out for months.

She says the craft's profile has grown because of exhibitions like The Eternal Thread, which is reflected in the number of tertiary institutions offering programmes in Maori arts.
“We have small pockets
OUT: ... throughout Aotearoa,” Ms Tukia says.

Highlights of the hui will include a powhiri for Te Arikinui Kingi Tuheitia and a presentation for Dr David Tipene-Leach, but most of it is about sharing skills and knowledge.

SECRET TRIALS POSSIBLE UNDER TERROR ACT

Maori activists could be convicted of crimes without ever seeing the evidence against them.

That's the warning from a leading human rights lawyer in the wake of this week's raids on Maori, peace and environmental activists.

The searches were conducted under the Firearms Act and the Suppression of Terrorism Act.

Peter Williams QC says proposed amendments to the Terrorism Act, which are currently before Parliament, will allow the police to give the judge evidence which they don't have to make available to the defence.

“The police can have a folder full of absolute lies about you, and they can hand that up to the judge who can read it at his leisure but you the defendant has no access to it, nor does your lawyer, which means you can be convicted on information of which you’ve got no knowledge,” he says.

Mr Williams says the law is abhorrent and should be thrown out.

COUNSELING NEEDED FOR KOHANGA KIDS

Meanwhile, supporters of kohanga reo and kura from Ruatoki are gathering in Whakatane about now to march on the police station in protest at Monday's lock-down of their town by armed police.

Mere Nuku, from Taawhaki Kohanga Reo, says she's reported Monday's events to the Ministry of Education.

She says the action of what the tamaraki called the ninja army could have long term effects.

She wants the government to send in child psychologists and other experts to advice parents and kohanga staff on what then need to do to reassure the children.

“What are the signs that they need to be looking for to make sure the damage that’s been done to these children mentally is identified and so they can be properly counseled though it or supported through to the healing part of it,” Mrs Nuku says.

The kohanga are upset they weren't able to do their duty to keep the children safe, because of heavy handed police tactics.

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