Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Maori Party knew of house plan

The Prime Minister says Maori Party leaders were given a heads up on Nationals plans to upgrade existing state houses rather than build new ones.

John Key says he and Tariana Turia inspected state houses in Porirua last year and were alarmed at the condition of many of them.

He says it's an important issue for the Maori Party that the state risks becoming a slum landlord.

"You got a lot of youngsters, and that's a fair lot of Maori and Pacific Island kids living in conditions which are not helping their health outcomes and you can see that in number of youngsters in low socioeconomic groups who are turning up to hospital very early on in their life, recording diseases which shouldn't be happening in a first world country like New Zealand," Mr Key says.

He says the upgrading project will provide some relief for the construction sector.


Building confidence is the aim of a south Auckland programme to support Maori teenage mothers.

Founder Rose Whaiapu says the Taonga programme now runs two creches where the rangatahi wahine can leave their children while they complete their education.

She says the idea was to not only help them with their academic progress but also to give practical and life skills in how to be teenagers, be mothers, look after their babies and themselves.

"Seven years on we're still there. We thought after a year we'd be able to move on, but it's grown," Mrs Whaiapu says.


The introduction of whanau values is being credited with driving the New Zealand Breakers to the top of the Australian Basketball League.

Te Arapi Maipi, who calls the Breakers games for Maori Television, says the entire franchise from the front office to the youth teams is a close-knit unit.

There's been a change in attitude as the team goes on court expecting it can beat whoever's on there.

After tonight's game against the Townsville Crocodiles, the Breakers have a two week break a before taking on the Sydney Spirit.


Labour's Maori Affairs spokesperson says National's plan to cap the state-housing pool will hurt Maori.

Parekura Horomia says the country is looking at a repeat of National's last term in government, where its first move was to sell off as many state houses as it could.

He says Maori will be squeezed out of the housing market.

"When you start getting the market moving from where we had it, 5 percent deposit, 10 percent maximum, now the banks are asking 20 percent minimum, then you really have a situation that makes it difficult for our people," Mr Horomia says.

Prime Minister Key says he has support from the Maori Party for his plans to fix existing state houses, rather than build new ones.


The Education Ministry's 24 Maori community liaison officers have been meeting in Wellington to swap notes about the year just ended and look forward to the year ahead.

The west Auckland pouwhakataki, Gerard Ngawati, says the main role of the officers is to help students access the information they need to advance in the system.
They also try to get parents more involved in the education of their tamariki.

"Schools can be a frightening place for our Maori parents for a number of reasons but we try to encourage parents to be more active and more inquisitive about what happens at school and the opportunities that are there for their tamariki,"
Mr Ngawati says.

Associate education minister Pita Sharples spent some time with the pouwhakataki.


A climate change hui in Waitara is looking at the challenges facing indigenous peoples.

Organiser Sandra Julian says delegates from 25 countries are at the Snowchange 2008 conference to share stories about how global warming is affecting them.

People from the Arctic circle are concerned at receding snowlines and permafrost, while people in the Pacific including Maori are already seeing the impact of rising sea levels.

Ms Julian says delegates from as far away as Finland, Siberia and Alaska are making themselves at home at Owae marae.

The five day hui is in honour of the late Taranaki elder Mahinekura Reinsfield, who attended the two previous Snowchange hui in the Arctic circle.


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