Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Capacity there for quick class roll-out

The developer of a professional development programme credited with boosting the achievement of Maori secondary school students says it could be quickly rolled out across the country.

Te Kotahitanga is currently in 22 schools, and about 200 teachers and education researchers are attending a conference at Waikato University this week to share experiences.

Russell Bishop says latest 2007 data shows that in schools running the programme, the percentage of Maori students passing level one NCEA jumps from about a third to just under a half.

He says those kind of results indicate the programme is ready for a national roll out, if the politicians agree.

“We have the capacity. We’ve been building up this capacity slowly over the past seven or eight years and we certainly do have the capacity to do it, and it’s really thrilling to see that it was very much a part of all the political parties’ stance throughout the last election campaign, and now the new government has come out and said ‘we want to expand it to more schools,’ and we’re ready to go,” Professor Bishop says.


A former protest leader with close links to Maori Party MPs says the party's deal with National is a disaster for most Maori.

John Minto says when it became clear a deal was in the offing, he offered some suggestions to Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira.

He says there were real concessions the party could have sought around issues of day to day concern for Maori like the minimum wage, the failing school system and the huge increase of gambling machines in poor communities.

“The Maori Party as I see it didn’t get any significant policy concessions from National in the way the Act Party did. Act got some specific concessions and then Act got a whole lot of reviews set up which are going to lead to further concessions later on,” Mr Minto says.

He says the Maori Party was bought off soft assurances about the foreshore and seabed and the future of the Maori seats.


But National's associate Maori affairs minister says the Maori Party has come to the right place.

Georgina Te Heuheu says National wants to repair some of the damage done to the relationship with Maori during the period Don Brash was the party's leader.

She says there is good will on both sides to make the arrangement work and give the Maori party a real say in policy.

“It's up to us now, National and the Maori Party together, not necessarily to prove the doubters wrong, but to prove the real party of aspiration is the National Party, and actually Maori are aspirational in any event. They want to do better,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

She's proud of National's achievements for Maori during its last term in government, including long-overdue action on Maori reserved lands.


Te Huarahi Tika, the Maori spectrum trust, has reported progress at last on getting third mobile phone network for New Zealand.

The trust held its annual meeting yesterday in Taupo, to acknowledge the investment over the past year by central North island landowners Tuaropaki Trust and Wairarapa Moana.

That investment has maintained the Maori share in mobile phone company New Zealand Communications at 20 percent.

Bill Osborne, the chair of the trust's commercial arm Hautaki Limited, says the company is using its Maori partners for help with consultation as it seeks resource consents for its national build-out of cellphone towers.

“Maori are naturally communicators. They like to have hui and they like to discuss issues and they like to resolve issues collectively, and that’s the approach that Te Huarahi Tika Trust trustees have helped bring to New Zealand Communications, so it’s a very positive thing I think,” Mr Osborne says.

Telecommunications is a new asset for Maori to invest in, but he expected more interest once the New Zealand Communications network goes live.


The work of an advocate for Maori organic farmers has been recognised with the country's top organics award.

Percy Tipene from Te Waka Kai Ora shared the Jon Manhire Award with Soil and Health Association co-chair Steffan Browning.

Derek Broadmore from Organics Aotearoa New Zealand says Mr Tipene has a vision for under-productive Maori land, and is mapping Maori land in Northland which is suitable for organic growing.

Derek Broadmore says while only one percent of New Zealand's productive land is in organic production, that's a 100 percent jump on two years ago.


The biographer of Ralph Hotere is searching for letters written by the reclusive artist.

Vincent O'Sullivan says letters are the lifeblood of biographies, not just to help with facts and dates but to get a sense of the subject's personality.

He says Hotere is good letter writer but not a prolific one.

Professor O'Sullivan told the launch of a book on Hotere's paintings on Monday that he discussed it with the Te Aupouri artist last week.

“I said I was going to ask any of you here tonight who have letters from Ralph, in fact not ask you, implore you, for the sake of the biography perhaps to let me see them sometime and in Ralph’s own words, ‘tell them they’ve got to, tell them they've got to,” Professor O'Sullivan says.

People with letters can contact him through Victoria University's English department, Box 600 Wellington.


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