Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, November 28, 2008

Climate change on Poland agenda

Green MP Metiria Turei wants Maori farmers to lead the way on climate change.

The United Nations is holding climate talks in Poznan, Poland next week in preparation for a major gathering in Copenhagen next year which will try to hammer out a new Kyoto-style deal.

New Zealand will have an 18-person team at the hui.

Ms Turei says this country should resist the temptation to exclude agribusiness ... such as farming... from any new international agreement.

“Maori who are involved in agribusiness, and this includes many of the incorporations where Maori whanau have shares, does need to take responsibility for its agricultural emissions and be leaders in managing the environmental impacts. They also need to lead the agriculture sector in accepting there are emissions that arise from that industry and they must be managed by that industry,” Ms Turei says.

The new Government needs to respect New Zealand's global obligations under the Kyoto protocol and build on the leading role it has played in the emission reduction debate in the past.


An East Coast community is going back to school to tackle the problem of violence against women and children.

Natana Tare, who works with a Ngati Porou Hauora Counselling and Support Services team based in Ruatoria, says it identifies community leaders and gives them skills to spread the word that violence is not ok.

A lot of the work is with rangatahi, and the region's schools have opened their doors.

“In Hiruharama kura where the school has allowed us to approach it from a tikanga-based model, for example doing it through the mau rakau concept, utilising our own community to facilitate that,” Mr Tare says.

Ngati Porou Hauora is also linking social services that may need support, such as the women's refuge, with kaumatua who are prepared to contribute.


If you haven't yet seen the story about the Maori and the Italian in a barn, Wellington theatre company Taki Rua is offering another chance.

It's touring Strange Resting Places, Rob Mokaraka and Paolo Rotondo's play about a Maori Battalion soldier's adventure in Italy.

Artistic director James Ashcroft says the play has been so popular since it was first performed in 2007, the theatre is putting two productions on the road to keep up with demand.

He says there will be a wide range of venues.

“It was very much designed to be performed in theatres, marae, school halls, community halls and I think the historical context of the Maori Battalion has been really key in tapping into diverse audiences, whether it’s great grandfathers who were involved or uncles and aunts and it’s really lovely to see a variety of different age groups in the audiences,” Mr Ashcroft says.

To acknowledge the role of kai in Maori and Italian culture, the audience will be welcomed with coffee and pastries, and farewelled with bread and garlic oil made fresh on stage.


The associate minister of social development wants the Government to heed Maori calls for more say in how the justice system works.

Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia attended this week's Maori Criminal Justice Colloquium in Hastings.

She says Maori are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system... with Maori three times more likely to be in prison than non-Maori.

That means Maori have a stake in tackling crime and punishment ... but a string of reports over the years saying just that have been ignored.

“It's going to take a really bold government to actually have a look at these reports, look at what comes out of this hui, and then look for a way forward. Because we can’t continue on the same track of failure that we’ve been on for the last hundred odd years,” Mrs Turia says.

The government needs to focus on justice and rehabilitation rather than retribution and punishment.


Supporters of a programme to improve the way Maori secondary school students are taught have been warned they could face opposition from the main teachers union.

Te Kotahitanga has been rolled out to 33 schools, with early adopters already reporting sharp jumps in achievement at NCEA level by Maori and Pacific Island students.

That achievement was questioned in a study done for the Post Primary Teachers' Association by Massy University professor Roger Openshaw.

But Keith Ballard, an emeritus professor of education at Otago University, told a conference of teachers and researchers at Waikato yesterday that the Openshaw report tried to argue that problems with Maori education were socio-economic rather than cultural.

“And it's so ironic to have the view, in a document from the PPTA, when being in the University of Waikato with this amazing group of Maori people and other people supporting the Te Kotahitanga project where you can see the lived reality of Maori culture, and I find it really disquieting to see the argument that is supported by the PPTA that Maori should not be recognised as an ethnic group,” Professor Ballard says

He says Te Kotahitanga teachers and researchers have shown they can make things better for students in the classroom.


They may have been away from Aotearoa for 200 years or more, but the team at Te Papa is committed to securing the return of koiwi tangata from around the world.

The museum welcomed home 22 skeletal remains this week from British institutions.

Repatriation team head Te Herekiekie Herewini says internal political issues in France are slowing negotiations there, but there is a lot of work to be done elsewhere in Europe.

“We still need to go back to Scotland because we’re still negotiating with one of the museums up there for toi moko to come back, and it’s most likely they will come back in the latter part of 2009,” Mr Herewini says.

There are also holdings of koiwi tangata in Sydney which will be returned next year.


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