Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, March 02, 2009

Maori development putea sought

Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia says Maori need their own putea for development.

The idea of a $600 million dollar fund for Maori, equal to one percent of government spending, was mooted at Friday's jobs summit.

Mrs Turia says the mainstream has failed to meet Maori needs or expectations, and it is time for departments to step aside and let Maori address their own problems.

“There has been an abject failure by the public sector to actually address the needs of the Maori people so they’re talking about the failure of the education system, the failure of the health system, the failure of social and justice programmes so overall what we are seeing is a huge spend in these areas and no good outcomes for it,” Mrs Turia says.

She was heartened to hear that iwi like Ngai tahu were going into schools to help students map out careers, but that kind of intervention needs resources.


Ngati Kahungunu is today welcoming a new chief executive.

Runanga chair Ngahiwi Tomaoana says Meka Whaitiri brings a wealth of experience to the job, having held senior positions in the government sector.

She fills the role left vacant by Aramanu Ropata's move across to the Wairarapa to Wairoa tribe's asset holding company, as part of a restructuring which separates commercial and social arms.

Mr Tomoana says Ms Whaitiri, a former Silver Fern netballer, will work on iwi social issues such as anti violence programmes, health education and literacy.

“Meka has grown up here in Hastings in Hawkes Bay in Kahungunu. She’s also from Rongowhakaata and she is part of the treaty negotiations team. She’s recently been the director of the Ministry of Maori Affairs office and her experience in the government sector will be valuable as we now look at social issues,” Mr Tomoana says.

Ope from Rongowhakaata and the government sector will bring Meka Whaitiri to today's powhiri.


Manukau Maori wardens are opening their organisation to volunteers from all cultures.

District co ordinator Thomas Henry says while Maori wardens originally worked within relatively self-contained communities, Maori now live in diverse communities.

The wardens were out in south Auckland malls and shopping centres over the weekend trying to attract recruits.

Mr Henry says while the association's guidelines say members should be Maori, the wardens kaupapa is about caring for your community regardless of race.

He says they are setting a target of 100 trainee volunteers.


The chair of the Business Roundtable says a special effort needs to be made to stop Maori unemployment rates going up to historic levels.

Rob McLeod from Ngati Porou took part in the Maori work stream at last Friday's prime ministerial jobs summit.

He says that was because of the broader social and economic consequences of the historical trends, where Maori unemployment is typically two to three times the national average.

“Maori being locked out of the workforce sets off a chain of a whole lot of adverse downstream consequences. Maori who are in work are not engaged in crime, they are not on welfare, their families are not being role modeled in those sorts of directions. The flow on benefits from Maori employment compared with being in unemployment are just immeasurable,” Mr McLeod says.

He says public and private sector organisations should consider cadetships and other affirmative action programmes for Maori workers, similar to the steps which have been taken to increase the number of women in the workforce.


Te Wananga o Aotearoa wants its enrolment cap lifted so it can respond to the growing economic crisis.

Chief executive Bentham Ohia says last Friday's job summit showed the need for experienced training providers.

The wananga's roots are in the work training schemes of the early 1980s, and it still has a lot of specialist expertise on tap.

Mr Ohia says in more recent years its focus has been more academic, including its emphasis on te reo Maori.

“There's a need for us to employ again some of the strategies which were adopted back then such as work based training, supporting those who are made redundant, providing them with shorter sort of courses to not only support them is a reengagement with work but more importantly provide them the pastoral care in terms of keeping positive about things as best as can be in those situations,” Mr Ohia says.

Te Wananga o Aotearoa has approval to take on up to 21 thousand students this year, but at current enrolment rates there will be greater demand than places available.


Mothers and health workers gathered in Parihaka this weekend to learn a traditional approach to countering sudden infant death syndrome, or cot death.

They learned how to make wahakura or woven flax bassinettes.
Organiser Maata Wharehoka says the baskets allow babies to sleep more safely in bed with their parents.

She says S.I.D.S has caused heartache for families across the motu.

Maata Wharehoka says there will also be a wahakura workshop at next month's Womad festival in New Plymouth.


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