Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, May 02, 2008

Paddlers ready for big day

Hundreds of paddlers will be out on the Waikato River today for the gratest show of waka on the awa in modern times.

Nine waka will take part in today's regatta, including a new waka taua built for the 150th anniverary to the Kingitanga.

Hoturoa Kerr, the kaihautu of the fleet, says up to 400 kai hoe will paddle the waka down to the junction of with the Waipa river, where the flag of King Tuheitia will be raised with haka and karakia.

He says it's a realisation of the vision of Princess Te Puea, who wanted at least seven waka for tribal purposes.

“It's a pretty awesome sight actually, seeing all the wakas parked alongside the river. Two or 300 men jumping out to do massed haka and things like that. It’s pretty awe-inspiring,” Mr Kerr says.


The Maori head of the primary teachers' union says poverty is hitting Maori children harder than it did in the past.

Laures Park says teachers are seeing the effects of the social problems identified by the Child Poverty Action Group.

In its latest report, the group estimated one in five children in New Zealand are living in poverty and another 185,000 living are in severe hardship.

Ms Park says Maori children are facing multi-generational poverty.

“Weren't we poor when we were children? Yes we were. But the environmental impacts on us were not as great as they are now. So there wasn’t the push to have the things that everybody has. There wasn’t the competitiveness to have all the label clothing and everything else that everybody has,” Ms Park says.

In the past Maori were able to share resources, but that village life has gone.


The new head of forensic psychiatric services for the Midland region is making kaupapa Maori a priority.

Rees Tapsell has been working for Tainui mental health provider Hauora Waikato, as well as for Auckland Regional Forensic Psychiatry Services, which deals with people in the criminal justice system.

His new role covers district health boards from Napier and Taranaki to the Bombay Hills.

Dr Tapsell says because the majority of forensic clients in the region are Maori, there is the opportunity to create a new model of care.

“So rather than there just being one kaupapa Maori unit, there is the opportunity to think about how we might provide that model of care, that way of approaching particularly these young Maori men right across the spectrum of services, right from when they walk into the door to when they leave services and get on with their lives,” Dr Tapsell says.


The Maori Party is crying foul over mining off the coast from Waikato to Whanganui.

Trans-Tasman Resources has been granted a prospecting licence for 6-thousand square kilometres of the seabed, including Kawhia and Raglan Harbours and the Mokau River in north Taranaki.

Tariana Turia, the MP for Te Tai Hauauru, says it proves the Foreshore and Seabed Act was nothing more than a resource grab.

“We've known all along that the taking of the foreshore and seabed had nothing to do with going down to the beach for a barbecue. It was to allow the government to have full control of the coastlines so in fact they could sell off these mining licenses and commodify the resources,” Mrs Turia says.

The region is also home to the endangered Maui's dolphins and she's concerned at impact of prospecting on the fragile ecosystem.


The Child Poverty Action Group says Maori should be concerned about the long-term effects of the government's Working For Families policy.

Its new report on the impact of poverty on children's education, health and future employment status says 212,000 children, or 23 per cent of the total, were in families receiving benefits last September.

Economist Susan St John says that means the parents don't get all the entitlements of Working For Families.

“If you look at the group that misses out on this payment, it is disproportionately Maori and Pacific Island. Yes, there are families in work that are struggling as well but we know that families on benefits are on average much worse off than low income working families,” Dr St John says.

She says the failure to consider the children of beneficiaries is a major flaw in the government's welfare framework.


Victoria Cross winner Willie Apiata is making his way home today to his whanau in the north.

The SAS corporal will be honoured at a ceremony at the Treaty grounds at Waitangi tomorrow, but today he'll be hosted by his great grandmother's Ngati Hine whanau before making his way to Oromahoe Marae where most of his family is buried.

One of his relatives, Kingi Taurua , says although corporal Apiata was raised in Te Kaha, his roots belong with Nga Puhi.

“Willie was actually cared for by another tribe, Whanau Apanui, and Willie got to know them as part and parcel of his family but at the hui at Whanau Apanui last year he was reminded that his true family really is in Ngapuhi and so he was asked to come back to Ngapuhi and tie his roots back to his people,” Mr Taurua says.


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