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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rangatahi helped by traditional culture

A new study has found rangatahi Maori who do traditional arts are more positive about themselves and their whanau.

Dr Paul Jose, from Victoria University’s Roy McKenzie Centre for the Study of Families, says the study looking at artistic activities of North Island Maori and Pasifika rangatahi was part of the a longitudinal Youth Connectedness Project.

He says rangatahi who did any cultural activity, including music, dance or visual art, were better off psychologically than those who did none.

Those involved in kapa haka had the highest sense of identity.

“Maori and Pacific youth who engage in traditional arts tend to have higher pride in their cultural background and they also report higher levels of well being and being connected to the important institutions and people in their lives,” Dr Jose says.


The Porirua Budgeting Service is warning whanau against using finance companies to make ends meet.

Robert Antonio says 80 per cent of his clients are Maori and Pacific Island, and he's detecting a big increase in high cost loans to pay for short term needs like overdue power and phone bills.

He says many whanau see loan sharks as their only option.

Porirua Budgeting Service tried to help whanau find options into manage their debts, rather than getting more high interest finance company loans.


A former kura kaupapa and polytech teacher is using old Maori concepts to add a fresh spin to the motivational speaking circuit.

Ngahihi o Te Ra Bidois quit his job at Waiariki Polytech three years ago to make a living from his korero.

This month he is launching his first book, Ancient Wisdom Modern Solution, in Rotorua.

Mr Bidois, who has a facial moko, says his journey from focusing solely on business to discovering his Maori identity taught him lessons which may help other people.

“I've changed my career to having my own business, having the ability to walk comfortably on any boardroom as I am on any marae so the book is a journey of discovery and also a book about leadership,” he says.

Mr Bidois was last year named inspirational speaker of the year by the National Speakers' Association.


Ngapuhi and Waikato have completed coastline agreements with neighbouring iwi, clearing the way for the transfer of what remains of their fisheries settlement assets.

Te Ohu Kaimoana chief executive Peter Douglas says Ngapuhi, which was the first iwi to form a mandated iwi organisation in 2005, got its final $2.5 million in quota and cash last week, while Waikato received $1.78 million in assets.

Waikato borders Ngati Whatua and Maniapoto on the west coast, while Ngapuhi had to agree on boundaries with Ngati Whatua and Te Rarawa on the west and Whangaroa and Ngati Wai on the east coast.

He says such agreements are more significant than they look on the surface.

“There are all sorts of things you need to take into account in terms of what traditions are, but the most important thing, and I think that’s what’s been central to all these discussions, is the need for ongoing relationships, and that’s really why they have been as successful as they have been,” Mr Douglas says.

Now 27 of the country’s 57 iwi now had full or partial coastline agreements, and Bay of Plenty iwi Ngati Whare had recently become the 49th iwi to form a mandated iwi organisation.


The project manager of a marae youth court says the experiment proves culture can help rangatahi regain the straight and narrow.

Richard Brooking says the one-year-old Gisborne pilot is being assessed to see if it can be extended to other youth courts where there are Maori judges on the bench.

He says involving whanau helps young Maori see the effects of their behaviour.

“In the standard youth court process they were pretty antagonistic to the courthouse itself, they were pretty antagonistic to the judge, the police and to the social workers, but in the marae youth court, because of that engagement and the way it was done though a powhiri process and people feeling good about the process, the young people were engaged and the response was pretty positive,” Mr Brooking says.

The programme uses whanau and tikanga to explore the causes of the offending behaviour before seeking solutions.

New Ministry of Justice figures show Maori teenagers are three times more likely to be apprehended by police than their non-Maori counterparts, and Maori children five times more likely.


A west Auckland Maori immersion school has finally found a permanent home.

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Kotuku has had four sites over the past 16 years, most recently at Rutherford College.

Board advisor Hohepa Campbell says the kura has now met all the thresholds for government funding and found land at one of the best sites in the city.

“The kotuku bird will finally find a nest and will be perched on top of Windy Hill in Ranui and will have spectacular views over the whole of Auckland,” Mr Campbell says.

The kura will move early next year into its new premises, which will include five classrooms, an administration block, a hall, a sports field and two netball courts.


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