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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Maori scapegoated for RMA failings

December 19 Morning bulletins

An Auckland based Maori environmental lawyer is expressing concern that Maori may be made the scapegoat for failings in the resource management act and left out of the consent decision making process.

Pru Kapua sees an advisory group to report on the RMA as having inadequate Maori representation and fears it may lead to removal of provisions in the act accommodating the Maori perspective.

“To go back and talk about taking iwi and Maori involvement out of the RMA because people are looking for a scapegoat or to scaremonger would be a horrendous step backward,” Ms Kapua says.

She says the removal of hard fought provision for Maori in the RMA would create major dissent among Maori.

WANANGA LINE UP TO MEET NEW MINISTER

The new minister of education is set to meet with the heads of the three wananga early next year.

Turoa Royal from the country's oldest Maori tertiary institution, Raukawa in Otaki, says they're keen to talk to Anne Tolley about the way the wananga fit into the overall education scene.

Turoa Royal who also heads Te Tauihu o Nga Wananga, the national association, says there will always be challenges that they need to sort out so getting Ms Tolley up to speed and by working with her, associate minister Pita Sharples, the Ministry of Education, NZQA and the Tertiary Education Commission, they should be able to make some progress.

Wananga cover the country and serve a broad range of students from second-chance learners to those working on doctorates.

MAORI RUGBY SCHISM MOOTED

A long time Maori rugby advocate says it is time for Maori to consider a breakaway from the New Zealand Rugby Union.

Dennis Hansen, a Maori All Black in the early 1960's says Maori representatives on the national body must take responsibility for the failure of the sports governing body to allocate the Maori All Blacks any fixtures next year.

He says he's preparing a discussion document to gauge feedback on a plan to give Maori rugby more autonomy.

He says Maori have been the backbone of the code in this country for generations and to be sidelined by the NZRFU is a disgrace.

ACTING TOUGH BUT DOING NOTHING RIGHT

Acting tough... but doing nothing right... that's Parekura Horomia's assessment of the National Government's first few weeks in power.

The former Minister of Maori Affairs says over the last fortnight the new Government has pushed through a number of bills, including one which doubles the fines for parents of tamariki who skip school.

“They went to the rangatahi, the students, the kids, and they said it was their relationship to the teacher. Now doubling the fines of kids who don’t turn up ain't gonna help that,” Mr Horomia says.

National would be better off if it listened to experts in the field, such as Russell Bishop from Te Kotahitanga, whose team talked to schools, parents and students to find out the real reasons behind truancy.

KEY SUPPORTIVE OF SETTLEMENT OUTCOMES

The Prime Minister has reiterated his personal commitment to the Treaty settlement process saying its success depends on goodwill on both sides.

John Key says shifting the Office of Treaty Settlements from Justice to the Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet, which he has suggested could lend weight to the process.

“In my experience when treaty settlements are completed they are an important part of the healing process, they provide some financial resources from which economic and educational advancement can occur for the iwi and as we’re seeing the Maori economy is now booming. It’s anywhere between $19 and $25 billion but there is enormous opportunity being developed and part of it is being driven off the settlement process,” Mr Key says

He says there are a number of other ways, as well as shifting the Office of Treaty Settlements, through which he could ensure he is closely connected to the process.

TE REO INITATIVES NEED REVITALISING

Educationalists intent on revitalising te reo may benefit from work going on across the Tasman.

Te Wananga o Awanuiarangi head Graham Smith, who has been in Melbourne for the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education, says while Maori language programmes like Kohanga and Ataarangi are still good initiatives they could do with a bit of a freshening up.

“Most initiatives run about a 25 year cycle and they peak and the they become mundane and ordinary and even domesticated the system and so there is a need to get outside that and reignite the enthusiasm around those ideas,” Dr Smith says.

Dr Smith was particularly interested in work Aboriginal communities are doing with parents in the home.

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