Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Council backs down on Kaikohe shift

The Ngapuhi Runanga is celebrating a change of heart by the Far North District Council on plans to shift more of its operations out of Kaikohe.

After meeting Maori and other interested parties who had marched through the town this morning, councillors agreed to reconsider a plan to move 40 staff to Kerikeri.

Runanga spokesperson Taiha Molyneux says kaumatua reminded councilors of the promises made when the council was set up in the mid-1970s.

“In terms of te pu o te wheke, that Kaikohe is basically the heart of Northland, and the removal of council services would do a lot of damage to Kaikohe itself as well, and they were saying a promise was made a long time ago to kaumatua and kuia that council services would remain in Kaikohe, and for now the assurances are that it is going to stay in Kaikohe,” she says.

Ms Molyneux says the Ngapuhi runanga is concerned at the continual bleeding of businesses and services away from Kaikohe.


Green MP Sue Kedgley wants the Maori Party to take the lead in opposing the government's plan to drop the ban on junk food in school tuck shops.

New Education Minister Anne Tolly is dropping the regulations brought in by the previous government, because she says individual boards of trustees should decide what's sold in their schools.

Ms Kedgley says diabetes and obesity are an increasing problem, especially among Maori and Pacific people, and it's ludicrous to shelve a successful programme that encouraged better eating habits.


Increased interest in tattooing among women is creating a demand for women ta moko artists.

A UMR survey has found one in five adults in New Zealand have a tattoo, and almost one in two Maori.

Taranaki tattooist Julie Kipa says the cultural revival means many wahine Maori want to mark their cultural identity on their skin.

She says many come looking for women artists, which challenges what has traditionally be thought of as a male preserve.


Massey University is celebrating a decade of a programme which has brought more than 200 Maori into the mental health workforce.

Professor Mason Durie says Te Rau Puawai is one of the most successful programmes run by the university, with a pass rate of more than 80 percent.

He says it was developed at a time when approaches to mental health treatment were changing, and the under-representation of Maori was being recognised as a problem.

“A good outcome in mental health depends not only on knowledge of mental health but also a knowledge of the people, their culture, their social networks and the environment, and so quite a lot of the curriculum that we’ve been promoting here really has to do with matching up a person’s cultural background and their environment with the mental health problem they might have,” Professor Durie says.

Current and past Te Rau Puawai scholarship holders are coming together at Massey tomorrow for a special symposium.


The Maori Party is warning there are too many loose ends in a planned law changing allowing compulsory DNA samples.

Research, science and technology spokesperon Te Ururoa Flavell says young Maori men are much more likely to be stopped and searched than non-Maori.

He says without additional safeguards, the Criminal Investigation Bodily Samples Amendment Bill is likely to mean large stores of Maori DNA being held by police.

“The police have the Discretion to do with the sample being taken, in other words how long they keep it for, where they keep it, who has access and concerns about whether it is in fact going to be taken right down to the sampling of children and their rights, and while in a general overview it’s not a bad idea in terms of assisting the police to do their work, we believe there are number of items that need to be tightened up on because they are too loose, and that’s why we vote against it,” Mr Flavell says.


A not so young Maori inside back will stake a claim for higher honours in the Warriors' pre-season match against the Melbourne Storm in Hamilton.

Aaron Heremaia is getting a run tonight, to see if he can step up to the demands of first grade rugby league.

Don Mann, the franchise's football manager, says the 26 year old has played for the Leigh Centurions in northern England and for the national Maori squad, but has yet to secure a spot in the Australasian competition regarded as the toughest in the world.

Mr Mann says Warriors' coaches Ivan Cleary and Jon Ackland were impressed by Heramaia's attitude with the Vulcans last year, but his grandmother has reservations about her mokopuna's new lean look, which involves losing about 5kg for the team.

The Warriors kick off their match against the Melbourne Storm at 7-30, preceded by a minutes silence in recognition of Warriors player Sonny Fai, who is presumed drowned after failing to surface while swimming at Bethells Beach, west of Auckland five weeks ago.


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