Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap day chance for frogs

It's a leap year... and leap day... so those keen to protect our indigenous frogs have made today Frog Day.

New Zealand's native frogs don't croak like most frogs... they have round rather than slit eyes... they have no external eardrum... and their tadpoles develop in eggs before hatching as tailed froglets.

While frogs may not generate as much sympathy as whales, Metiria Turei from the Greens says we need to hang on to our indigenous species.

“New Zealand has four indigenous frogs. All four are highly endangered. One of them, the Archeys, is probably the most endangered frog, it’s number one on the list of the 100 most endangered frogs in the world,” Ms Turei says.

To mark Frog Day, reggae band Katchafire is playing tonight at Auckland Zoo, which has a new breeding facility aimed at producing a self-sustaining captive population of native frogs.


Maori health is a priority in Auckland Regional Public Health's strategic plan to 2012.

Amiria Rereti, the service's Maori development manager, says it has been working with Ngati Whatua and Tainui on ways health disparities can be addressed.

She says public health services don't operate in a vacuum, so they need to develop relationships with other providers and agencies which have an impact on health.

“Housing can contribute to that, employment, so minister of Social Development, Housing Corporation, all have an interest in improving the health gain of everyone and we’re just signaling in this strategic plan that we want to make sure that we up the emphasis on improving Maori health,” Ms Rereti says.


A link with the great era of Maori showbands is no more.

Missy Teka, the widow of the late Prince Tui Teka, died yesterday when the car she was driving collided with a truck on State Highway 2 at Mangatawhiri.

Toko Pompey, who lives near the crash scene, was part of the exodus of Maori musicians to Australia in the early 1960s.

He says Tui Teka was one of the biggest acts on the scene, and Missy was by his side.

“Missy was there as a foil and a support singer, ne. Tui would no so much flick his finger and she’d come along with My Dingaling and all these silly antics of his and Missy was there just to look pretty,” Mr Pompey says.


After four years of negotiation, Te Whanau a Apanui now has a document setting out its relationship with the foreshore and seabed of the eastern Bay of Plenty.

Attorney General Michael Cullen and other ministers were in Te Kaha yesterday to sign an agreement in principle which will give the iwi a greater say in how the takutaimoana is managed.

Negotiator Dayle Takitimu says the intitial response from the hui a iwi was positive, and the 200 page document will now be studied in detail.

She says the time taken in negotiations, and the length of the agreement, reflect the complexity of the issue.

“When we walked into negotiations there were more than 17 pieces of legislation that somehow that somehow intersect or cross over or have some function to do with the foreshore and seabed area and so each of those we’ve tried to unpackage and have a look at and see where it’s appropriate for the hapu to have greater participatiuon, if that’s what’s necessary, or for their mana to be reflected,” Ms Takitimu says.

She says the deal does not mean Te Whananu a Apanui is dropping its opposition to the Foreshore and Seabed Act.


Teaching rangatahi about human rights will be one of the priorities for the new Human Rights Commissioner.

Karen Johansen from Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki and Ngai Tamanuhiri has spent 37 years a teacher... the last 12 as principal of Gisborne Girls' High.

She says the new curriculum's inclusion of values means creates opportunities to teach human rights as part of social sciences or health education.

“Some of those values are about diversity and about equity and about community and ecological sustainability which all have resonance inside the human rights framework,” Ms Johansen says.

Also appointed for a five year term is international legal expert Jeremy Pope


Learning Maori is not just for tangata whenua.

Language expert John Moorfield says in the 20 years he's been teaching te reo, attitudes to our indigenous language has changed dramatically.

Not only are more speakers of New Zealand English peppering their conversation with Maori words, more Pakeha are making a serious commitment to learn te reo - as can be see at the Auckland University of Technology.

“The proportion of students in the beginner classes is very much weighted towards Pakeha and that’s because I guess they feel a need to learn the language so it probably helps that we have no fees for learning the Maori language here, but that would happen anyway probably,” Professor Moorfield says.


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