Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Long term strategy in early education

The push to get tamariki Maori into early childhood education will pay off down the line.

That's the word from the Ministry of Education, whose draft Ka Hikitia Maori education strategy includes a goal of 95 percent of Maori at pre-school.

The latest Nga Haeata Mautauranga report found 90 percent of Maori new entrants in 2006 had participated in early childhood education, compared with 86 percent in 2002.

Cherie Shortland-Nuku from the ministry's Maori Policy Unit says that's encouraging.

“So we are happy but there is more to do to make sure that whanau who haven’t got the opportunity to be involved or need more information support get that so that their children can be involved, because we know that having a good strong early childhood experience is a strong predictor for future success in schooling,” Ms Shortland-Nuku says.

A quarter of Maori children attend kohanga reo.

CHALLENGING WORKLOAD FOR NEW JUDGES

The newest judges of the Maori Land Court are looking forward to a challenging workload.

Two Hamilton lawyers, Craig Coxhead and Stephen Lewis, were yesterday elevated to the court, which has been expanded to cope with an expected increase in cases involving aquaculture and foreshore and seabed claims.

Mr Coxhead says there is also pressure coming from treaty claimants, who are getting frustrated with their settlement negotiations and want the Waitangi Tribunal to determine compensation.

“There's some interesting matters that are being brought before the Waitangi Tribunal – because a Maori Land Court judge sits in the Waitangi Tribunal as well as the Maori Land Court - I understand there are a number of remedies hearings that are being put before the tribunal. Those I think will be challenging and interesting areas,” Mr Coxhead says.

He will take up his appointment after finishing as executive chair of Te Wananga o Aotearoa during its restructuring.

REFUGE READIES FOR CHRISTMAS TORRENT

Womens Refuge is warning Christmas won't be a time of celebration for many Maori women and children.

Its chief executive, Heather Henare says it's only two years since seven women were killed by partners or former partners during the holiday season, leaving 19 children without mothers.

Last Christmas week there were more than 200 women and children in safe houses.

She says additional stress and alcohol fuel violent behaviour.

“Money's tight, particularly after Christmas. There’s a lot more alcohol around, a lot more family around. The pressures of feeding extra people, the pressures of having a lot of people in a small environment, having a house full of children, a house full of guests you need to look after, sometimes creates an atmosphere that can kick a vulnerable family right over,” Ms Henare says.

Whanau should be aware of the danger signs of domestic violence, such a jealous and controlling behaviour, and be prepared to step in.

EDUCATION RECORD COULD IMPORVE

Improving... but could try harder.

That's the verdict from the Maori Party on the Education Ministry's annual report card on Maori education. Nga Haeata Matauranga.

Spokesperson Te Ururoa Flavell, a former school teacher, says but gaps between Maori and non-Maori students are not closing.

“Sure some gains have been made but the gaps between Maori and non-Maori remain, So let’s be positive and take some good things out of the report, but let’s not believe that all is well. Because the gains are not enough that are going to tell us that the education system is being fully responsive to young Maori students,” Mr Flavell says.

He says the report shows the real impact of restrictions placed by the Crown on Te Wananga o Aotearoa, with the number of students learning Maori at tertiary level down to 21,000 last year from a high of 41,000 in 2003.

ARSON HIGHLIGHTS SPRINKLER NEED FOR MARAE

The Fire Service is encouraging marae to install proper fire systems this summer

Trevor Andrews, its Northland commander, says on 20 of the 256 marae in his region have fire alarms, and only one has a sprinkler system - Pakanae near Opononi.

He says most marae fires are caused by arson - so no amount of prevention can compare to a good sprinkler system.

“Despite the fire safe behaviour of marae and the people who live there and look after it, quite often these attacks are malicious. They’re arsons. So you can’t really plan for that. But having these sprinkler systems there, these silent sentinels just waiting to extinguish those fires, brings a lot of resilience and reassurance to those marae,” Mr Andrews says.

A spate of devastating fires in recent years has been a catalyst for increased focus on marae fire safety.

KAPITI RUBBISH TO BE DUMPED ON NORTH

Levin iwi are up in arms at plans to dump Kapiti Coast rubbish in the Horowhenua landfill.

The Kapiti Coast District Council has an agreement to truck waste to the and Horowhenua council's Hokio Beach landfill when its Paraparaumu tip closes next year.

Mahanga Williams, the chair of Muaupoko Tribal Authority, says there was no consultation with iwi or the wider community.

“We wish the Kapiti coast take care of its own landfill, that it not be trucked up here to our people, because why should we take on other people’s rubbish when we’re trying to deal with recycling our own,” Mr Williams says.

Muaupoko will consider appealing the decision.

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