Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Whanau need role in prisoner rehab

The head of prisoner support group Rethinking Crime and Punishment is endorsing a call for more whanau involvement in prisoner rehabilitation.

A report done for Associate Corrections Minister Pita Sharples on the performance of Maori Focus Units in prisons found the rate of reoffending by participants in Maori therapeutic programmes is 7 percent lower than for other prisoners.

It recommended changes in the way inmates are selected for the units, and in how they are released into the community.

Kim Workman, a former Corrections Service manager, says while the units give inmates greater knowledge of tikanga Maori and strengthens their cultural identity, what matters long term is how the inmate reconnects with family and iwi.

“It relies for its success on the ability of whanau to support prisoners once they leave the prison, to help them with employment, to help them with continuing rehabilitation needs they have around drugs and alcohol and anger and those things, to also address the offender as part of a whanau rather than as an individual,” Mr Workman says.


Three leaders of the revival of te reo Maori will tonight be honoured for their contributions.

King Tuheitia will present He Kura Waka awards to Wharehuia Milroy, Timoti Karetu and Pou Temara during the opening event of the Te Toi Roa language conference in Hamilton.

Bentham Ohia from Te Wananga o Aotearoa, which is hosting the conference, says for the past six years the three have run the wanaga's Te Panekiretanga i Te Maori Institute, which tries to take fluent speakers to a higher level of expertise.

He says their experience and skill was incalculable.

“Just that openness to sharing that knowledge with the younger ones coming through, who love the programme, they eat it up they’re supposed to be on the programme for one year but they keep coming back just to be fed by the wisdom of the well at Te Panekiretanga the three pou provide as part of their kaupapa," Mr Ohia says.

The aim of the conference is to determine how the Maori language can create insights into water management.


A Ngati Porou hockey player will tonight relive memories of representing New Zealand at the Olympics.

David Kosoof will join more than 100 Olympians at North Harbour Stadium to be recognised for their contributions to the Olympic movement, which is celebrating its centenary with similar events around the world.

The 31 year old played at the Manchester Commonwealth games and both the Athens and Beijing Olympics.

He says it was an honour to be a part of New Zealand’s Olympic history.

Kosoof is still playing, and is a member of the national Maori squad.


The deputy chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana has called for the International Whaling Commission to allow coastal whaling by indigenous communities.

Ngahiwi Tomoana from Ngati Kahungunu spoke today at the commission's meeting in Madiera, Portugal, which is considering Japan's demands it be allowed to restart coastal whaling.

While Mr Tomoana did not mention Japan by name in his speech, he says the Maori fisheries trust supports the right of indigenous and coastal peoples to continue their traditional and cultural practices of hunting whales for food.

“Now the compromise is that if the Japanese coastal villages are allowed to whale again they wouldn’t come down here after the Antarctic whale and our proposal, or the proposal of a lot of countries, is allow the Japanese to do coastal whaling and they will cut back Antarctic whaling,” Mr Tomoana says.

In Aotearoa, Te Ohu Kaimona want the recognition of the right of hapu to all beached whales, including the right to eat the meat.


Waitakere City intends to champion Maori seats for all the country's councils.

The position was taken at last night's full council meeting during discussion on what should be in the council's submission to the select committee considering governance of the Auckland super-city.

Mayor Bob Harvey says while it took some persuasion, he's proud of his councilors.

“The line was very good in the recommendations. It said hey, let’s not stop here. Everyone has to be part of this. And so once you light that kind of fire I guess it takes off and away it goes. So we’re going to take that to the Local Government New Zealand conference, we’ll be the advocates for the process to take place right across New Zealand, end of story,” Mr Harvey says.

He says supporting Maori representation was the only decision a 21st century council could go with.


Meanwhile, the Prime Minister is skeptical about Waitakere's new found enthusiasm for Maori representation.

John Key says there are provisions in the local Government Act for councils to hold referendums on establishing Maori seats.

“These councils have had a long time to make these changes and have never done that. Nothing wrong with them proposing it now but for a long time they have resisted it right across Auckland and yet you had mayors on the North Shore and Waitakere and Manukau City all marching for Maori seats and yet ultimately had never done that in the years they had the opportunity to do it,” Mr Key says.


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