Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, April 18, 2008

Policy fails Green test

The Green's education spokesperson is rejecting National's prescription for curing problems in the classroom.

John Key is promising annual testing from age five so schools can diagnose where individual students need extra help.

Metiria Turei says test-driven systems don't create good learning environments.

She says research shows the best way to keep children advancing is to give teachers the right tools to create a good learning environment.

“You don't keep if kids are being focused on tests and their teachers are focused on achievements and tests as a way to measure progress with a child. That’s not the progress we want to see. We want every kid to have their full capacity developed to the best of their ability and of their school and teacher’s abilities, so testing them perpetually won't make that difference,” Ms Turei says.

She says says the resources National's standards testing would chew up should instead go into effective interventions, such as Te Kotahitanga, which changes how teachers interact with Maori students.


The National Screening Unit's new Maori strategy advisor says Maori-specific programmes are the best way to ensure equity.

Nina Scott says health services have tended to build services around Pakeha needs, ignoring methods which would encourage Maori to participate.

She says the success of providers like Breast Screen South, which achieved 70 percent screening for Maori woman in its catchment, show programmes can be effective if there is proper cultural input.

“That's an international first for an indigenous population, to have that 70 percent. It’s the way they go about it. They were the first to introduce marae-based screening, to have korowai for the women so they don’t have to expose their whole upper torso. They have taonga, gifts to give to the women,” Ms Scott says.

Breast Screen South had a strong governance structure, which helped it respond to Maori.


A Hawkes Bay community activist is calling for MPs to stop politicising tagging.

Parliament this week gave Manukau City Council special powers to control graffiti, including regulating the way shops display spray paint, banning its sale to minors, and allowing council staff to remove graffiti on private property if it is visible from a public place.

Denis O'Reilly says the government would do better to address the issues driving the behaviour.

The Black Power life member says like being in a gang, tagging is a symptom of people's frustration with their place in society.

“All we have got to do is come up with something that’s more interesting, more exciting. We could turn the energy of those young graffiti artists into that of graphic designers in a world that is thirsting for graphic design and content. But for some reasons or another, we do not see it like that. We just go looking for a bigger hammer and a larger jail
,” Mr O'Reilly says.


The author of a new book on Maori land sales says it's not another exercise in bashing the Crown.

Richard Boast, an associate law professor at Victoria University, has drawn on the historical research he has done for Waitangi Tribunal claims.

Buying the Land, Selling the Land covers land policy and practice between 1865 and 1929, when people like politician Donald McLean and government agent Gilbert Mair bought up of large tracts of land for Pakeha settlement.

He's used correspondence from Maori in the archives of the Native Land Court and and Department to tell the stories of ordinary people making hard choices about their tupuna whenua.

“I hope too that people will gain a sympathy for both sides in the process. I don’t necessarily think people like Mair and McLean are bad people They have their own vision and in many ways it’s a vision that is a sense and admirable one but also I want people to have a sympathetic sense for the plight of the Maori people at that time. It was really very harsh for them,” Dr Boast says.

The situation changed at the end of the 1920s, when Prime Minister Gordon Coates started trying to address the large rural population of landless Maori.


Three Maori boxers are among the ten-man team heading to Samoa this weekend for an Olympic Qualifying Event.

Isekeli Maama, Zig Zag Wallace and Kahukura Bentson need good results in Apia to book their tickets for the Beijing games in August.

Tui Gallagher from the Auckland Boxing Association says for many of the boxers it's their last shot at Olympic glory after years of training.

“We're not sure what Ziggy's
 going to do after this tournament. There’s talk he may turn professional if he doesn’t qualify. As with all of our amateurs at this stage, because they’re all in the senior ranks, they’ve all been in the national squads for a while now, and there comes a time when they think where to from here,” Ms Gallagher says.


An Maori health worker is to be recognised for her contribution to the East Coast community.

Georgina Paerata has been matron of at Te Puia Hospital for more than 40 years.

That will be celebrated at a special event at the hospital today.

Local MP Parekura Horomia says there are lessons in her exceptional loyalty and service.

“Big Maori got to look after little Maori and make sure our people, all down the pecking order, understand about loyalty, understand about opportunities and I know that is what Georgina has shown to a lot of people she’s worked for, worked with her and a lot of the patients she's cared for,” Mr Horomia says.


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