Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kelvin Davis takes on Taitokerau

Labour's Taitokerau candidate believes the small stuff is just as important for Maori as the big issues like the foreshore and seabed.

Kelvin Davis from Ngati Manu is the sole Labour nomination to take on the Maori Party's Hone Harawira for the seat, which stretches from Henderson to Te Hapua.

He's a strong supporter of government policies like Working for Families and greater investment in public health.

He says his time as principal of Kaitaia Intermediate, a decile two school, brought home the need to create opportunities for ordinary Maori families.

“Addressing those needs at our level on a day to day basis is more important than resolving the big issues such as the foreshore and seabed and the Declaration of Indigenous Rights. Those things are important to us all as Maori but if they were resolved tomorrow, they wouldn’t actually put shoes on kids’ feet or give them breakfast in the morning,” Mr Davis says.

He has resigned from Kaitaia Intermediate to free himself up for the campaign.


What's good for Tainui is good for Manukau City.

That's the view of Julie Wade, the new deputy chair and highest ranking Maori on the Manukau Council's Tiriti O Waitangi Committee.

The Waikato Tainui woman hails from Pukaki marae, and has a long record of tribal, environmental and Maori development activities.

She says an important part of her role will be to strengthen the council's links with Maori communities it covers.

“It's also about building relationships with the current members of the committee, and helping those relationships to move out into the wider council so that the council itself is better placed to respond to what Maori want in Manukau. We actually have this adage in Tainui that what’s good for Tainui is good for the world,” Ms Wade says.

The committee only has an advisory role.


A new show at Rotorua's Museum of Art and History over the summer exposes the truth behind some of our colonial art.

Te Huringa or Turning Points includes work by Pakeha and Maori artists from the 1800s to more recent times.

Peter Shaw, the co-curator, says by putting the works in historical context, today's viewers can get an insight into Pakeha colonisation and Maori empowerment - the show's subtitle.

“These paintings are works of art that have been looked at extremely innocently for years so that a painting of Maori people living on the banks of the Waikato River in 1910 looking happy, pleased with their life, are in fact the victims of grinding poverty,” Mr Shaw says.


The Government's refusal to recognise Kohanga Reo's in house teacher training could cost the movement dearly.

New regulations means pre-schools must increase the number of registered teachers to qualify for new early childhood funding.

The percentage of Maori early childhood education teachers who were registered increased from 23 percent to 45 percent between 2004 and 2006.

But Titoki Black, the chief executive of the Kohanga Reo National Trust, says that doesn't include kohanga kai ako who have gone through the trust's Whakapakari course.

“Our Board is still working on trying to have it recognised by tauiwi, the same values that’s placed on ECE qualifications but as a Maori organisation, the justification is just so much greater than what others have to go through,” Ms Black says.

One consequence of the wrangle is kohanga reo struggle to compete for Maori speaking staff against better funded competitors.


A former minister of Maori affairs says treaty settlements are the wrong place to look for Maori development.

Tau Henare, who is now a National list MP, says he's concerned individual Maori are being overlooked in many of the government's policies.

He says Maori are more than their iwi.

“We've got to get our people rich, personally rich. It’s alright having treaty settlements, That’s collective wealth, and that’s great for the nation, but sometimes I think let’s start getting Maori personally wealthy so they can look forward to the future, so they can do things, put bread on the table, put a shelter over their heads,” Mr Henare says.

He says before the government starts congratulating itself about low unemployment, it should look at the number of Maori who have crossed the Tasman in search of higher wages and lower taxes.


A Rotorua tourism venture is tapping Maori knowledge about edible ferns ferns.

The Mai Ora cultural experience at Te Puia's Maori village is growing horopito, kawakawa and pikopiko to add to the pork, chicken and lamb it puts in the hangi, and for dips and snacks.

Only seven of New Zealand's 312 ferns are known to be edible.

Charles Royal, who runs the garden, tapped kaumatua and tohunga for their knowledge of plants, as well as using some of the tips he picked up as an army chef from the Vietnam veterans.

“To see if a plant was poisonous they would rub it in between their hands and then put it under their armpits or somewhere there was no hair and keep moving through the jungle. In a couple of hours, if you came up in a rash, that’s how you would know if a plant was poisonous,” Mr Royal says.

Tourists are keen to experience genuine Maori food, and they can't find it at most restaurants.


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