Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, June 19, 2009

Three vie for Ahuwheua Trophy

One of three sheep and beef farms will tonight be crowned the top Maori farmer in Aotearoa.

A capacity crowd of 650 is expected at the Gisborne events centre to hear who takes off the Ahuwhenua Trophy for another year.

Alan Fraser from Meat and Wool New Zealand, the gold sponsor for the event, says Maori farms account for up to 15 percent of sheep and beef production, but the potential is there for that number to increase with better farming techniques.

He says the Ahuwhenua Trophy is helping to raise standards through the open days the finalists are required to run, which attract up to 500 people as well as widespread media coverage.

“A lot of people get to learn about aspects on each of those finalists’ properties as a result of them being regarded as farmers demonstrating excellence. We know from discussions that happened after these field days that peole do look to adopt some of the practices they have seen on those winning farms," Mr Fraser says.

This year's finalists are Morikau Station on the Whanganui River, Hereheretau Station, west of Wairoa, and Pakarae Whangara B5, north of Gisborne.

VEHICLE TRAFFIC THREATENING MOUNTAIN

Now Auckland City has cleared the cows from Maungawhau, Orakei hapu Ngati Whaua is setting its sights on cars and buses.

Ngarimu Blair, Ngati Whatua's environment manager, says the damage the cows have done to achaeological sites on the slopes of Mt Eden is dwarfed by the effects of the cars and buses on the maunga.

He says a traffic management plan is needed, with some iwi members suggesting a gate to control the million plus visitors a year.

“There's always that option and I would be lying to say people haven’t been thinking about it but it’s taken over 10 years to get this change with the cows and I hate to think it would take another 10 years to get better visitor management of the mountain,” Mr Blair says.

EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKERS CARVING OUT OWN SPACE FOR TALK

Maori working with Maori children and whanau are holding a national hui in Palmerston North this weekend, with planning for an international gathering of indigenous early childhood workers high on the agenda.

Te Hinatore organiser Brenda Soutar says Maori have their own perspectives on early childhood, which has resulted in innovations like the kohanga reo movement.

She says it was important to create spaces where Maori can feel comfortable speaking out.

“Across the sector a lot of us had been meeting in lots of different contexts in other conferences and curse and found that when we had come together it was difficult for us to find a space that was just ours, and we were having to create spaces within those contexts.
Ms Souttar says.

The hui is at massy University's Te Kupenga o Te Matauranga marae complex

PUBLIC WORKS ACT USED TOO OFTEN WHEN LEASING WOULD DO

A resource law expert says a bill amending the Public Works Act could go further to stop Maori land being taken.

Daniel Kelleher, a senior associate with law firm Simpson Grierson, says the Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell's bill addresses what should happen with land taken under the Act.

The amendment would require land to be offered back to its original owners if it is no longer needed for the purpose it was taken, and it cuts down on the excuses government agencies or councils can give to hold on to the land.

But Mr Kelleher says a review of the Public Works Act in 2001 uncovered widespread opposition to the way the Crown used its power to take land.

“One of the clear statements that came through form most submitters who had had land taken, and very strongly from the submissions made by Maori, was that there was this fixation by people of taking the freehold when a lesser interest might well suffice and if you do that and people are able to retain their land lease it to the crown or whoever, want to use it, get some rental, then you tend to lose these arguments about whether people are being fairly compensated for losing their land,” Mr Kelleher says.

He says when land is offered back, it should be at a comparable price to when it was taken.

FLAVELL IN LAW-WRITING FURY

Meanwhile, Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell hopes for a double dose of luck in the parliamentary lottery.

With his Public Works Act Amendment Bill now before a select committee, has another bill in the ballot to make matariki a public holiday.

He says the Maori new year deserves official recognition.

“If we can recognize Father Christmas and we can recognize Guy Fawkes we can certainly recognise our own holidays,” he says.

EMPATHY KEY TO EFFECTIVE TEACHING OF DYSLEXICS

A dyslexia educator says empathy is the key to improving outcomes not only for Maori but for dyslexic people as well.

Guy Pope Maxwell from the Dyslexia Foundation is touring the country for dyslexia awareness week, showing more than 1000 teachers ways to reach students with the learning condition which could to affect up to 10 percent of the population.

He says it may take a change in the way they operate.

“Step into the shoes of the dyslexic individual, see the world from their perspective, and provide learning opportunities from that point and I think that challenge is the same challenge Maori are challenging the school system to do on a general basis,” Mr Pope says.

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