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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Ngati Haua buy back pa sites

A Waikato real estate developer has returned two pa sites to mana whenua.

Te Titoki Estates is developing a 100 hectare block near the turnoff to Hamilton Airport, and a smaller block in Tauwhare.

It has sold 11 hectares, covering two pa sites, to Ngati Haua, for half market value.

Wiremu Puke, who has been working to secure the return, says the airport site is particularly significant.

“One was Maniapoto Pa which marks the birthplace of Wiremu Tamehana. He was the first kingmaker. And in the documentation from 1883 from Tukutai Ngakawa, the second kingmaker, describes this pa as being the place where his father Wiremu Tamehana or Tarapipipi was born,” Mr Puke says.

Both the Maniapoto and the Mangaharakeke pa sites will be marked with carved pou.

BUDGET NOT ENOUGH TO ADDRESS MAORI IMBALANCE

Maori university graduation rates are falling ... and a $40 million package to tackle the problem isn't enough.

That's according to Peter Adds, the Head of Maori Studies at Victoria University.

He says money in this year's budget to increase achievement of under-represented groups works out to just over a million dollars a year for each of the eight universities.

That won't help many Maori.

“While we comprise roughly 15 percent of the population as Maori, we’re nowhere near that in terms of graduation rates from any of the universities in New Zealand, and the stats at Victoria University indicate that form about 1998, where at a peak we had 6 percent of graduates were Maori, now we’re down to 5.2 percent,” Mr Adds says.

Maori graduates are snapped up by government departments and private sector employers, making it hard for university departments to recruit and retain staff.

SOUVENIRS FOREIGN KNOCK OFFS

A Buy Kiwi Made campaign is uncovering a dirty secret about many Maori souvenirs - they're not made here.

Metiria Turei from the Green Party, which pushed for the government-funded campaign, says people need to be vigilant about what they buy.

She says many items people assume are kiwi - like little souvenir kiwis - are made overseas.

Even items like pounamu in souvenir shops need to be checked.

“A lot of the Maori stuff that you can buy in those shops is made by Chinese carvers and a lot of the greenstone and stuff comes from overseas and is made overseas. You have to check very carefully. You just aren’t going to tell. And the whole point around the Buy Kiwi Made campaign is to keep ourselves in job and keep our skills up so we can take care of ourselves and be a bit more independent in the things that we make and buy,” Ms Turei says.

Shoppers can be assured getting Maori made goods if they buy items with the Toi Iho Maori Made Mark.

UNIVERSITY PLAN WILL DENY MAORI WOMEN SECOND CHANCE

The Green Party's education spokesperson is appalled by Auckland University's move to restrict entry.

Metiria Turei says the university is using a change of government policy as an excuse to save money.

She says dropping open entry in arts, sciences and education courses will deny thousands of Maori the chance to get advanced skills and qualifications.

She says it will particularly affect older Maori women, who make up almost two thirds of the Maori student population at universities.

“A lot of them are ones who are returning. They haven’t got secondary qualifications. Less than 20 percent of Maori women leave secondary school with a qualification so these are women who didn’t have a chance at school, school failed them, they go to university as adults because they know that getting a degree will help them and their whanau. They are going to be the ones suffering most from restricted access,” Ms Turei says.

Maori women with degrees are highly sought after by public and private sector employers and they have a higher median income than other women with university degrees.

STREET A MARAE FOR MANY YOUNG MAORI

A worker with the homeless says young Maori are developing a distinct culture on the streets.

Wilf Holt from the Auckland City Mission says there are a disproportionate number of young Maori among the city's homeless.

He says apart from a few Maori working on the streets, few in the homeless support profession have set out to understand how Maori rough sleepers interact with each other.

“That phrase street life is very much their own and street life is a very nice way of putting it. It is their life, their being, the way they behave towards each other, and drawing support from each other is very much, you could almost say the street is their marae,” Mr Holt says.

He says this week's National Homelessness Conference almost ignored the Maori dimension to the problem, which needs to be addressed for next year's hui.

LIFE COACHES FOR ROTORUA HEART STRATEGY

A Rotorua public health organisation has hired lifestyle coaches in a bid to help Maori men live longer.

The coaches and an advisor on stopping smoking are part of a $600,000 dollar cardiovascular disease screening programme.

Eugene Berryman-Kamp, Health Rotorua's chief executive, says the aim is to get men at risk of heart attack or a stroke in the next five years to change their lifestyles by quitting smoking, eating nutritious food and exercising more.

“Traditionally it was ‘can you prescribe a pill for that?’ Now there are pharmaceutical treatments that help, but it’s all about engaging in a healthier lifestyle so you can live longer,” he says.

After Maori, Pacific and poor men aged 35 to 45 are targeted, the programme will be rolled out to women in those groups from 45 to 54.

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