Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, January 02, 2009

Agencies ignore plight of gang children

Afternoon December 24

A gang liaison worker is highly critical of government agencies not helping gang families who sought parenting help following the murder of Wanganui two-year old Jhai Te Tua in a drive by shooting.

Dennis O'Reilly who has been working with gangs in the area says many acknowledged themselves they did not have good parenting skills.

“But when we went to set up a programme to do something about that, the government agencies in the area wouldn’t look at it. It was so politicised, and so nothing was done. And so the sickness perpetuates and it keeps on resulting in bad and sad things that happen down there,” Mr O'Reilly says.

With Maori party co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia having influence in power he is hopeful that in spite of hard economic times there will be a better approach so Maori can regalvanise around marae, Te Reo and building strong and healthy families.


The author of the book Ratana - the Prophet to be launched early in the New Year says TW Ratana was an outstanding man whose prophesies are still highly relevant today.

Keith Newman who has spent more than 20 years researching the life of the Maori prophet who died in 1939 says he is one of the most influential people in our history with his message coming from the wisdom of the Bible in one hand and the Treaty of Waitangi in the other.

Another of Ratana's prophesies was that in the year 2000 a woman would lead the Labour party and at that time people would know that they were at the gateway of enlightenment for New Zealand.


All fairways lead to Christchurch for Maori golfers keen to make a name for themselves at the 72nd annual Maori golf tournament which gets underway early in the New Year.

Merv Waiwai says the Maori tournament remains a highlight of the Maori golf calendar and he's expecting a good turnout of about 300 players for the nationals starting on January 4 at the Waimairi Beach and Avondale Golf Courses.

Merv Waiwai says the Maori golfers will be welcomed onto and hosted by Rehua marae.


Maori educationalist and political commentator Rawiri Taonui says there are positive signs reflected in the increased numbers of Maori students qualifying with post graduate degrees.

The head of Maori and indigenous studies at Canterbury University says tertiary institutes in Te Wai Pounamu have traditionally struggled to attract Maori post graduate students, but this year around 30 turned out at a research symposium held in Christchurch in September.

Mr Taonui says many are choosing to study in fields outside the norm, such as Pauline Harris from Te Rarawa and Ngapuhi who is the first Maori woman to graduate with a degree in astrophysics.

Another student, Eruera Prendergast, has completed a masters degree with first class honours and distinction in the oral traditions of early settlement in the South Island.


"I am the river and the river is me" is a common phrase used by the people of Whanganui River and it may take on new meaning for those on the tira hoe wananga this January.

Uri or descendents of the Whanganui River will reaffirm those connections when they gather in Taumarunui for a two week wananga on the history of the awa and its iwi.

They'll travel down the river, visiting significant sites and spending time with their whanaunga.

Gerard Albert said the tira hoe wananga began in the eighties and was the idea of kaumatua such as the late Rangitihi (John) Tahuparae

"And they said don’t simply talk about the river, go back to the river and commune with the ancestors that are still in the water and by that way you will understand who you truly are,” Mr Albert says.

This year the hikoi be joined by Kingi Tuheitia and his twelve year old daughter, who was born while he grandmother Te Ataairangikaahu was taking part in the wananga, and was named Ngawaihono by the kaumatua of Whanganui.


Santa can skip Steve Kearney's house this year.

The Kiwi coach is happy with the Rugby League World Cup and doesn't need anything else.

The Kearney whanau will be spending Christmas in Australia where the Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai coach is assistant to Craig Bellamy at the Melbourne Storm.

That contract lasts until 2010 and while taking on an NRL team is a long term goal he's not in any hurry.


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