Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Language strategy passes Brady test

More Maori can speak, read, write and understand te reo.

In his first five year report on the Maori language strategy, the Auditor General reports a 10 percent increase in the number of Maori adults with some level of language proficiency.

Tipene Chrisp from Te Puni Kokiri says the report confirms feedback to the ministry and the Maori language commission that Maori are happy with progress.

“What's come through from Maori in the hui taumata hosted by Te Taura Whiri was really the important on continuing and strengthening the focus on whanau language development and te reo within the community so those are obviously areas we will need to focus on and strengthen our engagement,” Dr Chrisp says.

The Maori Language Strategy is a 25 year project started in 2003.

NGAI TAHU RECORDS PROFIT BOOST

Ngai Tahu's head is insisting the South Island tribe's operating divisions do even better next year, after a big boost in its 2007 profits.

Ngai Tahu Holdings reported a surplus of $80.3 million dollars, 71 million more than 2006.

Operating profits increased 46 percent to $21 million because of better performance in fisheries and tourism, but property earnings declined after the board opted to hang on to some developments rather than sell them on.

Kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon says the bottom line was affected by the sale of $63 million of shares in rest home operator Ryman.

“That was a deliberate move and it wasn’t to achieve budget, it had nothing to do with the budget. I would say that was an extraordinary dividend, that section of it. The only that was down on budget was property, and that was because of a board decision to stop a sale, so things are very well on track,” Mr Solomon says.

Ngai Tahu members are warming to the tribe's Whai Rawa benefit sharing scheme, with more than 2000 signing on in the past month alone.

HUI LOOKS AT KAUMATUA ISSUES

Kaumatu and health workers are gathering in Hamilton today to look at issues faced by Maori over 55.

Organiser Yvonne Wilson says kaumatua often have the answers, but need help to implement them.

On the agenda are access to healthcare and help for kaumatua raising mokopuna.

But the three-day He Maanaki Nga Kaumatua won't be all serious - it
ends on Friday with the Kaumatua Olympics.

NEW PAEPAE FOR FILM DEVELOPMENT

The Film Commission has teamed up with Maori film and television group Nga Aho Whakaari to get Maori stories to the screen.

Te Paepae Ata ata will allow senior Maori in the industry to mentor films written, produced and directed by Maori.

Commissioner Tainui Stephens says its a way to carry on the legacies of people like Don Selwyn and Hirini Melbourne, who did so much to find and foster emerging Maori talent.

“Te Paepae Ataata is really a chance to give resource to the development of Maori scripts to become Maori films, with Maori writers, Maori directors, and wherever possible, Maori producers, and more and more of our people are getting the skills to do this sort of thing,” Mr Stevens says.

Each script received would be treated as a taonga.

MAORI CEREMONY PICKED UP AT VIC

Victoria University graduations are to have more of a Maori flavour.
Instead of Maori students getting capped at the University's marae, they will be joining in the main event.

Piri Sciascia, the University's Pro Vice Chancellor Maori, says it will be a chance to bring the ceremony and the wairua of the marae into the mainstream.

“The chancellor actually who is the head of ceremonies has been coming to the marae and said look, this is so wonderful, would you consider bringing your graduation, all of what goes on at the marae, in to the Michael Fowler ceremony,” Professor Sciascia says.

He says Victoria University's five major student bodies - including the Victoria University Students Association and the Post-Graduate Students Association - are currently headed by Maori students.

CALENDAR HIGHLIGHTS CHILDHOOD INEQUITY

The Child Poverty Action Group has used the opening of the Ellerslie Flower Show to highlight inequalities in society.

It is selling a fundraising calendar during the event at the Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa, with artwork supplied by students from south Auckland's Wesley College.

Director Janfrie Wakim says government policies such as Working For Families breach the Human Rights Act by discriminating against children on the basis of their parents' employment status.

She says the same principles apply to plants as children - they need nutrients to grow properly.

“The needs of young people, the needs of tamariki, the needs of our nation depend on enabling the young to get a fair chance, a fair start in life, to get all the nutrients around them to make their development flourish,” Ms Wakim says.

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