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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Education solutions need implementing

Former ACT MP Donna Awatere-Huata is challenging the new minister of Maori Affaris to deliver in his secondary portfolio... education.

Mrs Awatere-Huata, who was the first Maori educational psychologist, now drives education services for West Auckland's Waipareira Trust.

She says the solutions to Maori underachievement in schools are known, as was shown by the three education hui hosted this year by National Urban Maori Authorities.

“The answers are there. We don’t have to invent anything. All we have to do is ask the experts who have been working in this area for 30 years, What’s lacking is the political will and I do believe with Pita Sharples as associate minister of education we’re finally going to get some traction,” Mrs Awatere Huata says.

The Maori Party should push for programmes which support the families of children who are struggling at school, because that's often where the problem lies.


The Health Ministry's Maori directorate is consulting Maori health providers on what more can be done to see them survive and develop.

Teresa Wall, the director general for Maori health, says the hui have discussed issues like sustainability, the barriers to their mahi, and workforce recruitment and retention.

She says the number of providers has swelled over the past decade, and there have been major changes in the sector with the evolution of general practice into public health organisations.

“One of the long-standing issues that hasn’t been addressed is how do non-government organisations fit in the PHO environment and also there’s some noise about funding models and we’re trying to quantify are there funding models being enablers for Maori health providers or are they barriers,” Ms Wall says.

Many Maori health providers are now incorporating GP practices into their organiations.


Maori involved in information and communications technologies are looking to collaborate more after a successful workshop yesterday.

Te Huarahi Tika Maori spectrum trust brought together groups ranging from content providers like the people behind Maori Google, Tangatawhenua dot com and the Naumai place marae bulletin board ... television and radio broadcasters, and Tuaropaki Trust and Tuhoe, who are building communications networks.

Trust chair Mavis Mullins says people were able to see opportunities to work together.

“It could be round the spectrum. It could be round some of these content guys working with iwi and working with the incorporations to assist with the development of their communications strategy, how does someone like Paraninihi ki Waitotara Incorporation reach out to 8000 shareholders and so a lot of the content guys are saying here's some options,” Mrs Mullins says.


The Green's law and order spokesperson is welcoming a call for better mental health services in prisons.

In her annual report, chief ombudsman Beverley Wakem says prisoners and staff are being put at risk because there aren't enough inpatient facilities.

Metiria Turei says the report points to the risks in policies pushed by National and ACT to build more prisons, toughen bail laws and give extended sentences to repeat offenders.

“It will keep more and more people in prison who actually need mental health assistance or who need drug and alcohol rehabilitation or violence programmes, other means that could deal with their problems, eliminate the reasons they reoffend, and integrate them back in the community,” Ms Turei says.

Many of the people who end up in prison because of a lack of community support systems are Maori.


An outspoken Maori lawyer wants less rhetoric and action in the wake of last week's Maori and Criminal Justice Hui

Annette Sykes says the hui hosted by Hawkes Bay iwi Ngati Kahungunu confirmed Maori laws and methods of dispute resolution are still used today on marae.

She says Maori make up half a million of New Zealand's four million population, and they should be working towards their own system.

“I mean I look at the commercial world, there might be 500,000 business people, they hardly use the courts. They use their own dispute resolution services and mediation and other forums. They are supported and recognized by the state for that. We need to be doing our own and getting that recognition as of right from the state, but we should not wait for that recognition to grow these things,” Ms Sykes says.


One of the principals behind a programme that supports Maori teenage mothers in Manukau City, is crediting community support for its success.
TAONGA, which stands for Totally acknowledging our next generation's abilities, operates two creches which care for babies while their mums study.
Rose Whaiapu says over its seven years, many of the young women have secured NCEA credits and gone on to tertiary education.

She says dozens of whanau members turned out to a graduation ceremony last week to support the mums.

The Taonga programme is supported by Manukau City Council, Te Puni Kokiri and James Cook High School.


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