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 11, 2007

Treaty deals before Santa

The Prime Minister is promising more treaty settlements before the year ends.

The government has come under fire for the pace of the settlement process, which is well short of the rate needed to meet its target of setting all historical claims by 2020.

Proposed deals with Auckland's Ngati Whatua hapu and with some Te Arawa hapu stalled amidst wrangles over the treatment of overlapping claimants, and the Te Roroa settlement is in limbo because Opposition parties don't believe it is fair to the Northland hapu.

But Helen Clark says the economic impact of settlements on iwi like Ngai Tahu, Tainui and Te Uri o Hau means it's vital the process continues.

“As the settlements roll out, it’s giving a lot of renewed confidence and that’s why I’m so determined that we’re going to make our best efforts to get on with these settlements and I’ve now got Dr Michael Cullen, my deputy, driving the process. He’s in a frenzy of meetings and I think I would be correct in saying we may well see a little more progress before the end of the year with some announcements,” Ms Clark says.

In its October briefing to the incoming treaty negotiations ministers, the Office of Treaty Settlements says it is negotiating with Waikato-Tainui about the Waikato River, with iwi round Gisborne, Moriori in the Chatham Islands ... and it is close to an Agreement in Principle with central Wellington claimants.

UNIVERSITY DENYING HUMAN POTENTIAL

Auckland University is being accused of putting money before human potential.

David Bedggood, a sociology lecturer and member of the Association of University Staff, says the 14-2 vote by the University Senate to end open access to undergraduate courses show all that matters now is profitability.
The university says changes in the way the government funds the tertiary sector means it can't cater to everyone who wants to learn.

Dr Bedggood says the change will have a negative effect on society.

“There is a good chance that Maori will be more affected than anyone else because Maori are still pretty much down at the bottom of the socio economic status or class ladder in our country, and a lot of people see education as a way to climb up that ladder, and what is happening now is a couple of rungs or three rungs have been taken out,” Dr Bedggood says.

Many secondary school students may become disheartened once they realise there is little chance of getting a university place.

TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS WITH A TIKANGA TWIST

Give the whanau some healthy kai and something words of wisdom for Christmas.

That's the anti-shopping advice from health group Feeding our Futures.

Programme manager Michelle Mako says rituals of exchange are an important part of Maori culture - but that doesn't mean going wild in the two dollar shop.

“For parents, gifts they can give their kids around korero pu rakau, talking about where we come from, our whakapapa, are also really helpful gifts that people can give. Gifts of people’s time are also really valuable ways of expressing how you care for someone at Christmas time,” Ms Mako says.

Traditional Maori kai like rewana or seafood can be a great Christmas meal.

SUPPORT SYSTEMS NEEDED TO TACKLE CHILD KILLINGS

Better support and strong whanau systems could be the best way to tackle high child homicide rates.

That's the view of Marie Connolly, who has just co-written a book with Mike Doolan on the problem.

Lives Cut Short: Child Death by Maltreatment looks at the 91 homicides between 1991 and 2000.

More than half were killed by a biological parent.

Ms Connolly, who is the chief social worker for the Child, Youth and Family Service, says while 52 percent of the cases were Maori children, ethnicity is not a key factor.

“The victimisation of Maori children is probably more a reflection of the disproportionate representation of Maori in statistics for poverty, poor health, unemployment, poor housing, those kinds of things,” she says.

Ms Connolly says the downward trend in child homicide numbers may be due to whanau support services picking up problems in families before they escalate.

RIGHTS COMMISSION BRIDGE TO MARAE

The Human Rights Commission is looking for a new way to improve its links with tangata whenua.

It's training volunteers to take on the role of takamanawa, acting as a link to marae and Maori communities.

Rosslyn Noonan, the chief commissioner, discussed the concept at a hui at Opape Marae in Opotiki yesterday.

She says as a small organisation, the commission can't offer the kind of kanohi ki te kanohi or face to face service Maori prefer - but people like Paula Pirihi at Opape are showing they can bridge the gap.

“So she's able to provide advice and guidance and assist people, often help them sort things out locally without even coming to the commission, but they certainly said there needs to be more of that and we should be doing it in communities around New Zealand,” Ms Noonan says.

She says the success of the Takamanawa pilot on the East Coast means it will be rolled out to Taitokerau in the New Year.

WARDENS GET HIGH VISIBILITY FOR CHRISTMAS

Hana Koko or Santa Claus is headed for the Maori wardens.

The 500 registered wardens are getting high-visibilty jackets and torches to help them with their community work, and six regions will take delivery of 12-seater vans equipped with police radios.

Also included in the $2.5 million investment is six regional co-ordinators.

Te Rau Clarke, who is managing the project for Te Puni Kokiri, says the wardens have been asking for administrative help.

He says the next step is a recruiting drive, with the aim of quadrupling the number of wardens on the street.

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