Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Adult education slashed despite skills talk

A spokesperson for Adult and Community Education providers, says Maori education will suffer from the 80 per cent cut in funding.

Christine Herzog, from Strategic Alliance, (the national body for Adult and Community providers) says funding for adult programmes currently running in schools has been cut from $16 million to under $4 million dollars.

Ms Herzog says there is a high proportion of Maori enrolled in these courses and while te reo, literacy and numeracy programmes will not be affected, other life skills based courses will be cut.

“Some of the more indirect things where for example unemployed people who are disproportionately Maori access the path to further education often through this kind of course which is less pressure and less stressful than enrolling in certificate courses, so it might be a computer course, or driver education, those kinds of things that are of community benefit, will now become relatively inaccessible,” Ms Herzog says.

The planned cuts will take place this year and she expects cuts to programmes run at polytechs to be made next year.


The new Greens co-leader Meteria Turei predicts her leadership role will attract more Maori to the party.

Meteria Turei says the Green's have always been a pro-Maori party supporting such things as ownership of the foreshore and seabed and local government representation.

“Maori are not represented by any single political voice. That’s the most important thing we need to remember. And the more parties there are in Parliament pushing the Maori kaupapa in different kinds of ways, the better it is for all of us overall. We don’t need to go back to a single voice like we used to have under Labour. We need to have more diverse Maori voices in parliament,” Ms Turei says.

The Greens got around 10% Maori support in the 2002 election, as expected lost a lot of votes to the Maori party in 2005 and gained some of these back in 2008.

She expects they will gain even more Maori support in 2011 and he co-leadership will help this.


A love for conserving his own whenua has led to former Maori All Black, Laly Haddon, to be awarded a Queen's Services Medal for his contribution to conservation.

Mr Haddon, of Ngati Wai and Ngati Ruanui, was a founding member of New Zealand's first marine reserve, the Cape Rodney-Okakari Reserve, commonly known as Goat Island, near the small town of Leigh, in 1975.

Mr Haddon lives at Pakiri Beach, near Warkworth, and has dedicated his life to preserving the environment, particularly Pakiri.

“I've particularly tried to look after my hau kainga at Pakiri Beach. I’ve planted pohutukawa trees and just tried to preserve Pakiri and it’s stretched out, I’ve served some terms on the Auckland Conservancy and I’m on the Hauraki Gulf Forum, so I think I’ve tried my best,” Mr Haddon says.


Maori dairy farmers are likely to be less affected by the low dairy payout than others because they are often carrying less debt.

That's the view of the chair of the Federation of Maori Authorities' dairy cluster group, Kingi Smiler who says Maori however, like other farmers, need to focus on feed planning and grazing strategies to help stay afloat.

“We tend not to have high debt levels, and therefore while it may affect the dividends they pay their shareholders this year, those farmers that have high debt levels will in all likelihood be making significant losses,” Mr Smiler says.

Fonterra will pay out $4.55 a kilogram of milk solids for the 1009/2010 season, compared to $5.20 this season and down on the $7.90 gained in 2007/2008.


Massey University is leading the call for a moratorium on the commercial fishing of long-fin eels to prevent the dramatic decline of the endemic species.

Mike Joy, a freshwater ecosystem specialist from Massey, says the demand on the eels is high internationally as most countries have overfished their own species.

He is disappointed over the Ministry's lack of action, particularly as commercial fishing makes it harder for Maori to utilise the kai moana for food.

“I think most New Zealanders, especially Maori, would see that as a basic right to be able to go and catch eels from rivers and I want that to happen but at the moment just a tiny select group of New Zealanders are getting to take away a large proportion of them to sell overseas which is not fair to everyone else,” Mr Joy says.

New Zealand's eel population has suffered from pollution, hydro dams and their habitat being restricted by wall barriers, however commercial fishing was a nail in the coffin.

He says a petition in support of the moratorium will be launched once iwi consultation has taken place.


Hone Kouka says he couldn't have written the surprise element to receiving his Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to theatre, if he tried to.

Mr Kouka, of Ngati Porou, Kahungunu and Raukawa works for the New Zealand Film Commission but has been involved with theatre for nearly two decades as an actor, writer and director.

He says the award recognises the theatre community and the positive impacts it has on Maori and non-Maori communities.

“It's real recognition for the art form as well, for Maori theatre and Maori story telling so I’m really chuffed from that point of view and for all of the people who did all the mahi. I’m the one whose name is on this, but it comes from a lot of other peoples’ work, so I’m really chuffed for that,” Mr Kouka says.

He is currently working on a stage adaptation of the Patricia Grace novel Tu.


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