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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Te Aurere battered on coast run

Te Aurere reached New Plymouth this afternoon after bypassing Kawhia because of rough conditions.

The voyaging waka is on a circumnavigation of the North Island, offering rangatahi a chance to experience a traditional sailing experience and learn some of the traditions.

Skipper Hekenukumai Busby says the first 12 hours of Manukau went well, but rough seas meant it hove to in a bay on the Waikato west coast for running repairs.

“The waves weren't too bad but there were huge swells and the water breaking over some times onto the deck so we decided to hove to and of course we broke our main steering paddle too through that and so why we decided we best take our time and wait,” Mr Busby says.

Te Aurere will probably stay in Taranaki until Friday or Saturday, with its next stop Whanganui.

EARLY ILLITERACY LEADING TO LATER BEHAVIOUR PROBLEMS

The head of Waipareira's education strategy says early literacy is the key to keeping Maori kids at school.

Donna Awatere-Huata says criticism by the Ombudsman of the way teenagers with behaviour problems are dealt with in mainstream schools has highlighted a common problem.

The former MP, a qualified child psychologist, says those sorts of problems start early, with poor reading and writing skills.

“So a lot of these behaviour problems actually stem from what happens in the first couple of years at school where the teachers are not meeting Maori, and especially Maori boys’ needs so they then get on the track where they can’t read, they can’t learn, and they basically opt out,” Mrs Awatere Huata says.

The end result is unacceptable numbers of young Maori leaving schools with few or no qualifications.

INSULATION NEEDED FOR HEALTH BENEFITS

As the Government floats the idea of capping state house construction so it can upgrade its existing housing stock, a health lobbyist is calling for similar pressure to go on private landlords.

Jane Patterson from the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation says making landlords comply with the government's home energy ratings system would cut the number of Maori presenting to the health system with respiratory problems.

She says research in Maori communities by the University of Otago in Wellington, shows a strong link between poorly insulated homes and respiratory conditions.

Clear guidelines exist for fixing the problem from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Agency, which provides subsidies for insulation.

MENTORING GIVES STUDENTS EDGE FOR MCLEOD SCHOLARSHIP

Two Maori medical students have been rewarded for their academic excellence, leadership qualities and commitment to Maori health.

Maia Melbourne-Wilcox and Andrea Cross were chosen from more than 500 hauora Maori scholars to receive this year's John McLeod Scholarships.

Ms Melbourne-Wilcox from Ngai Tuhoe has just completed her studies in medicine and surgery at the University of Auckland and is now working in Auckland Hospital.

Ms Cross from Ngati Raukawa is studying medicine at Otago after completing a BSc with honours.

Teresa Wall, the Health Ministry's deputy director-general for Maori health, says as well as setting high academic standards, the pair have acted as mentors to other students and participated in professional organisations.

“So there's a real commitment to their own development but also the development of their peers and a real commitment to progressing Maori health,” Ms Wall says.

People don't apply for the John McLeod Scholarships, which are in honour of a pioneering Ngapuhi public health specialist.

RIGHTFUL UNEASE ABOUT POVERTY PROGRAMME FUTURE

Labour's leader says Maori workers have good cause to fear the new National Government.

Phil Goff says the signs are there the minimum wage won't be changed, and working for families is unlikely to be upgraded.

Mr Goff says under the previous National Government the minimum wage went up just 63 cents in nine years.

Labour pushed it up from $7 to $12, and it also targeted assistance to low and middle income families.

“And I think it will leave Maoridom with an underlying ill ease about where the National government is going to go on that,” Mr Goff says.

Maori recognised Labour's support by giving it 50 percent of the party vote in Maori electorates.

ANNIVERSARY OF CONFISCATION ACT BRINGS PARALLELS

It's 125 years since one of the most oppressive acts ever on the statute book was passed ... and a prominent lawyer says the lessons of history aren't being learned.

Annette Sykes, who is defending Tame Iti against arms and possible criminal conspiracy charges arising from last year's police raids in Te Urewera, says the New Zealand Settlements Act claimed to be about the protection of both races.

In fact it was used to seize large tracts of land from Tuhoe, Tainui, Taranaki and other iwi who were alleged to be in open rebellion of Her Majesty's Authority.

“I personally have fund some parallels in how that section was used and how it was described in its colloquial use as the suppression of rebellion act. One might suggest that in 2007 the Suppression of Terrorism Act had some parallels to the kinds of extreme sentiment that was being expressed,” Ms Sykes says.

The Waitangi Tribunal has found the New Zealand Settlements Act breached the treaty, leading to significant compensation deals for many of the affected iwi.

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