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 04, 2007

Mix and mingle bad for party

The president of the Maori Party says coalition politics could blunt his party's effectiveness as a Maori voice.

The party hopes to increase the number of seats it holds after the next election.

Even if it holds its current four, it is likely to be courted as a potential partner in the next government.

But Whatarangi Winiata says the party stands for tino rangatiratanga or Maori authority over their own affairs - and that will inevitably create tension with kawanatanga or state authority.

He says that rules out a coalition, unless the majority party is prepared to guarantee his party's independence to speak out for Maori.

“We cannot give up the strong Maori independent voice in Parliament. That would render the movement towards a tikanga Maori house ineffective,” Professor Winiata says.

He says the party's MPs have gone a long way to getting tikanga Maori accepted within Parliament's procedures.

FUNDING BLOCKS FAMILY VIOLENCE INNOVATION

Government structures make it impossible to fund innovative and effective family violence programmes.

That's the verdict from former MP John Tamihere, who is trying to launch a programme through west Auckland Maori social services provider Te Whanau o Waipareira.

He says Waipareira's Family Management Plan will cost just $1.3 million - but it can't get departmental support because it bridges health, justice, education and social welfare.

Mr Tamihere says departments seem set against community-developed solutions, particularly those from Waipareira.

“You wonder why violence is out there. You wonder why a whole bunch of other stuff is out there. Well, the only people that have the penetration capacity and the ability to get amongst those communities are in large part Maori delivery mechanisms, and our one in particular is not being supported,” he says.

Mr Tamihere says there is no need for more government hui on family violence, if it won't fund solutions.

UNIVERSITY TO CAP OPEN COURSES

The Maori students' organisation fears Auckland University's plan to restrict enrolment could shut out Maori.

The country's largest university plans to cap all undergraduate courses from 2009, while boost post-graduate numbers.

Kahurangi Tibble from Nga Tauira Maori says the move has devastating consequences for society.

“If you continually close these doors, especially to Maori, then Maori aren’t going to be able to get the opportunity to educate but also the other people that take up arts or science as a degree don’t get the opportunity to converse with Maori in all sorts of facets through the university,” Mr Tibble says.

The university's open entry policy has served it well, earning it a ranking of 32nd in the world for Arts and Humanities and 35 for social sciences.

IWI STILL NEED TO PROVIDE FOR URBANS IN SETTLEMENTS

An urban Maori leader is warning against the growing divide between tribal members who are benefiting from treaty settlements and their city cousins.

John Tamihere, from west Auckland's Te Whanau o Waipareira says tensions between urban Maori and ahi kaa have lessened in recent years, as the debate over fisheries asset allocation came to an end.

But there is a still a gap that needs to be bridged.

“It is incumbent on iwi leadership that have been rolling around in the fish money and rolling around in the settlement money and rolling around in the profits out of a whole range of other things that are achieved in the name of everyone that they understand where everyone is and they’re going to have to start building bridges into the cities where the majority of their beneficiaries reside,” Mr Tamihere says.

STUDENT NUMBER CAP TIMING SUSPECT

Maori students are crying foul over Auckland University's plans to restrict undergraduate student numbers.

The proposal to cap places in courses that traditionally have open entry will be put before the university council next week.
The new regime will start in 2009.

Kahurangi Tibble from Nga Tauira Maori says neither of the two student associations were consulted.

He says while the university is under pressure to make a quick decision so information can be prepared for high schools, the timing is suspicious.

“As we all know it’s that time of year when exams are over and all of our students are on holiday and looking for work so we have to look at the timing of this and asking why they are pushing the issue now when students are away from university,” Mr Tibble says.

RURAL MAORI TARGET OF CLIMATE CHANGE BUS

Rural Maori communities could be in the forefront of awareness of the effects of climate change.

Tia Taurere from Greenpeace is on the Be the Change Bus Tour, a joint intiative with Oxfam and Forest and Bird to look at the impact of climate change in Aotearoa.

The biofuel-powered bus is heading for Northland, where it will visit communities and marae affected by last winter's floods.

She says such natural events bring home how the challenge will affect people's lives.

“They're seeing a lot more of these things and the weather patterns, water levers rising in their rivers, floods that have never happened in that area before so just to show people that the changing of the climate and the impacts of it is happening today and we need to start changing our way of thinking,” Ms Taurere says.

The bus tour allows the campaigners to reach people kanohi ki te kanohi or face to face, which is particularly effective for spreading the message to whanau in smaller communities and schools.

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