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Friday, January 02, 2009

Te Kotahitanga only part of answer

Morning December 24

The Maori Party spokesperson on education says the Te Kotahitanga programme doesn't have all the answers to address Maori student under-achievement.

Te Ururoa Flavell say he welcomes plans to see the programme, which encourages a stronger relationship between teachers and Maori students, rolled out to more schools next year.

The Waiariki MP says while any initiative to lift scholastic performance by Maori students is important, research indicates whanau involvement in the school community is also a major incentive to improved results.

“The under-achievement of our people in the education system is going to take a hell of a lot more than Te Kotahitanga,” Mr Flavell says.


If the thought of hordes of whanau arriving home for the holidays is raising your blood pressure, spare a thought for the organiser of one of the country's larger whanau gatherings.

Around 350 descendents of the Ngati Raukawa tohunga whakairo Hokowhitu McGregor will gather at Kereru Marae at Koputaroa in Levin over the New Year's break.

Maaka McGregor, says his great grandfather was one of four carvers that worked on houses for the Kingitanga using a very distinctive Tainui style which brings in the iwi’s celestial stories about the beginning of time, interspersed with kereru or shape shifters.

He was also one of the first carvers to carve five fingers, instead of the more normal three.

The Hokowhitu McGregor reunion will include trips to see some of McGregor's work on meetings houses, churches and in the Pataka Museum in Palmerston North


The author of a book on the founder of the Ratana church called "Ratana - the Prophet" says he was inspired by T W Ratana's message of unity and spiritual leadership.

Keith Newman who has spent more than 20 years researching the life of the prophet who died in 1939 says when he first visited the church near Wanganui he was stunned by the embracing environment where everyone was welcome.

Keith Newman says as a non-Maori it took him a long time to get official support for the project but over time this was forthcoming as he built up trust that he wasn't out to exploit the church.

The book is being launched on January 5.


New Maori National MP Hekia Parata says hanging onto ideological beliefs like seeing National as against the interests of workers and Maori is a form of prejudice not supported by the facts.

Hekia Parata, who with her husband Wira Gardiner resigned from National during Don Brash's leadership because of its policies on race, but rejoined when John Key became leader says the National Party is now one of inclusiveness and embracing a wide variety of views.

“John Key very much is what you see is what you get. He is an inclusive person. He absolutely believes in the potential of this country. So I think it is really important that we each of us overcome some of the prejudice. You are brought up with a set of views which are not supported by the evidence,” she says.

Ms Parata says the inclusion of the Maori party in the coalition arrangement is a clear demonstration of inclusiveness and the desire to include a wide range of interests in decision-making.


Meanwhile Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell says careful strategic planning is needed to ensure the Maori Party prospers from the political arrangement brokered with National.

He says the past fortnight has been like a political whirlwind, and the short festive break for the Maori Party MPs will be a welcome opportunity to take stock.

Mr Flavell says the party caucus will meet early in the New Year, to ensure they hit the ground running, and to finalise arrangements for their visits to Ratana and Waitangi.


The non - Maori author of a book on the Maori spiritual leader TW Ratana called "Ratana - the prophet" to be launched early in the New Year says it took him more than 20 years to build the trust needed to write the book.

Keith Newman says when he first started researching the life of the prophet who died in 1939 he was met with a fear that information would be misused for a hugely profitable enterprise or misunderstood but over time he was officially accepted.

That gave him a chance to understand what he was getting into, and the multiple layers to the story.

Ratana - the Prophet to be launched on January 5 is a simplified and more accessible version of an earlier book he wrote on the Ratana movement.


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