Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Te Aute principal quits

There's a change at the helm of Te Aute College near Hastings with the decision by Tauira Takurua is step aside as principal after three years.

John Tangaere, who chairs the board of the historic Maori boarding school, says Mr Takurua has helped maintain the special character of the college, including its links with the Anglican church.

He says the board is working hard to address academic performance and health and safety concerns highlighted by the Education Review Office.

Mr Tangaere says while the board are disappointed at Mr Tukurua's decision to resign, they're optimistic about the future.

“Our main challenge is to address the recommendations from previous years’ ERO reports, and we’re well on the way to doing that. We’re working hard with the Ministry of Education in the local office here and we’re on the right track,” Mr Tangaere says.

In the interim, the deputy principal Wiki Osborne will be in charge.


Single parent families have emerged as one of the major reasons primary schools are seeking more male teachers.

The percentage of men teaching in New Zealand primary school has dropped from 42 percent to 18 over the last fifty years.

Penni Cushman, who lectures in health education at the University of Canterbury, surveyed primary school principals around the country about the drop and what they're looking for.

She says principals felt pressured by their Board of Trustees, parents and school communities to hire male teachers to provide role models for kids who don't interact with men at home.

Maori principals wanted male teachers even more than their mainstream counterparts.

“They felt that male teachers in their schools was even more important because of the role with powhiri and with Maori traditions so with Maori children it was really important to have Maori teachers,” Ms Cushman says.


Across the other side of the globe, in a couple of hours, Maori in London will be gathering for a Waitangi Day hakari and kapa haka concert.

Alana Watson, the chair of Ngati Ranana, the Maori cultural group which has been going in London since the late 1950s, says they'll be gathering at a Maori-owned pub in the city.

She says for many Maori living in England's largest city Ngati Ranana is a whanau away from home.

We've got this big whanau unit, must be going on 80 of us now, so we meet every week to touch base with home and keep our contacts going so we’re a very strong roopu,” she says.

London also plays host to a Waitangi Day pub crawl, where Kiwis on their OE ride the Circle Line, stopping at pubs along the way, and finishing with a mass haka at Parliament Square in front of Westminster Abbey.


Calls by Te Puni Kokiri for Maori businesses to make more use of their "Maori edge" internationally are being met with cautious approval.

Duke Boon is the founder of the rangatahi business charitable trust. He says the discussion paper from Te Puni Kokiri is timely.

He argues Maori businesses could capitalise on international interest in things Maori but they also need to use cultural imagery and practices appropriately to retain their integrity.

He says Maori have often underestimated the important role their culture plays in marketing goods and services and TPK are promoting what many Pakeha businesses have known for years.

“Encouraging Maori enterprises and businesses, as we start to gain a lot more momentum, to capitalize on that brand, because it belongs to us as a people, and it shouldn’t be used by Pakeha and others. It should be used by the people who rightfully own it, and that is Maori and Maori businesses
Dur...17 sec
Duke Boon.


A residency in the United States is offering a Rotorua artist a chance to share cultural practices with Native American artists.

June Grant, from Te Arawa, Ngati Tuwharetoa, will be spending almost three months at Evergreen State College in Washington as part of Creative New Zealand's Toi Sgwigwialtxw (pron Skwee-see-ow) Residency.

Mrs Grant says the trip will be her second to the college, which is one of only two universities in the States that has a Native American Longhouse on campus.

She says there's a number of similarities between the Native Americans and Maori.

“The longhouse is like one of our whare tupuna, just a beautiful house which often has powwows and gatherings and exciting ceremonial functions, and I’ll be part of that while I’m there for the three months,” Ms Grant runs.

She runs Te Raukura Art gallery in Rotorua and will undertake the Toi Sgwigwialtxw Residency from April to June this year.


A dozen Christchurch rangatahi have reached back to their Maori heritage to help them find alternatives to drugs and other self-destructive behaviour.

The rangatahi, who are studying with the Agape Alternative Education Trust, were given cameras to help them document the natural highs in their lives.

Project worker Michael Herman says they came up with photos and stories about catching crayfish, diving for kina and strengthening their whanau links.

“Going out to get kai was quite a common theme. The other very common one was fellowship, being with their friends and they engage as a whanau, and often that was an important theme, being with mates and belonging,” Mr Herman says.

The Natural Buzz photo exhibition is on show at Our City O-Tautahi in Oxford Tce as part of the Waru Pacific Arts Festival, and there is also an online blog of the project.


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