Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New flag with Maori input needed

Labour MP Shane Jones says the whole country needs a new flag, not just Maori.

The government is consulting on which flag should fly alongside the New Zealand flag on Auckland Harbour Bridge next Waitangi Day.

The shortlist includes the black and red tino rangatiratanga flag and the 1835 Busby or United Tribes flag which flies on the Waitangi Marae.

Mr Jones, a Northland-based list MP, says the whole exercise reeks of shallowness and insularity.

“Rather than wasting money on 23 hui about a flag for the iwis we should be leading a process, providing a vision that gives the nation, the overall nation, a new flag that has a Maori influence at its foundation. That’s the real challenge, and this flag exercise has more to do with banner waving for the Maori Party at a time quite frankly when they’ve yet to produce one single remedy for the 500 Maori that are losing their jobs every week,” he says.

Mr Jones says the Maori Party has replaced blankets and beads with flags and beads as a way of appealing to the natives.


Ngawha Prison is asking Northland's Maori community for advice on reducing reoffending.

Prison manager Jon Howe says Ngawha's pua wananga cultural space allows inmates to reconnect with kaupapa Maori concepts.

But he says the programme is at a watershed, and he wants ideas from outside to take it forward.

“We've got a really rich Maori community outside our walls and we ourselves are a rich community within the walls here, If wee can connect the two together, I think we will find some really exciting ways forward. If I was stuck in the middle of the South Island it would be much more of a challenge but there’s a lot of good Maori networks in the far North and I want to establish some contacts with them and see how they can help me help them,” Mr Howe says.

Input from the Maori community helps foster a sense of identity among prisoners and change behaviour.


A leading Maori educator is warning too much focus on compliance can throttle creativity in kura.

Keriana Tawhiwhirangi, the programme director for the Education Ministry's Principals' Development Planning Centre, spoke to Maori medium educators today at the He Waka Eke Noa symposium in Rotira.

She says the New Zealand curriculum provides opportunities for Maori immersion schools to connect with their communities.

But that can be undermined when teachers look over their shoulders at the inspectors.

“So it's like ‘This is what ERO want, we’ll do it. This is what the ministry want, we’ll do it.’ While you might tick all the boxes, it’s not enough, and perhaps it’s too much time going in to performing and meeting ERO or meeting whoever else’s standards rather than more importantly meeting the community’s standards, drive and expectations,” Ms Tawhiwhirangi says.


The head of prison reform group Rethinking Crime and Punishment, Kim Workman, says there is international evidence that amnesties are an effective way to manage prison overcrowding.

Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias suggested early release for some offenders as a response to near record prison muster numbers.

Justice minister Simon Power ruled out the amnesty, and said judges are appointed to apply the sentencing policies that governments set.

Mr Workman, from Ngati Kahungunu, says the chief judge's speech to a law society audience was a valuable contribution to the debate.

He says more than half the states in the United States use amnesties to control prison musters, with positive results.

“There's no increase in crime. There’s no increase in reoffending and the evidence shows the longer you keep people in prison the more likely they are to reoffend so by shortening the sentences you are reducing the chances of reoffending,” Mr Workman says.

He says continued high levels of Maori imprisonment are damaging Maori communities, and alternatives need to be found.


Porirua's Whitireia Polytechnic is starting a new degree in a bid to raise the Maori nursing workforce above the current 6 percent of total nurses.

Te Kupenga director Willis Katene says the three year bachelor programme will teach scientific health practices in a Maori context.

It follows a Te Awanuiarangi being run in south Auckland in partnership with Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

Ms Katene it was a challenge to introduce kapapa Maori into a nursing degree.

“We have the Nursing Council regulations we have to meet and they’re very strict. Adding content is very difficult because you can’t take anything away from the nursing curriculum, but for us the kaupapa Maori perspective comes in the way it is delivered and the way that it’s assessed and the environments we are teaching and learning in,” Ms Katene says.

The programme should also appeal to indigenous students from other countries.


Moana Maniapoto is looking forward to performing to a maskless audience in Papakura tonight.

The singer is just back from Borneo where her group the Tribe shared the stage at the Sarawak Rainforest festival with acts from the Amazon Basin, Asia, Africa and the Ukraine.

She says swine flu warnings are everywhere in Asia, and even though the groups performed its mix of modern and traditional music in the depths of the forest, there were obvious signs of nervousness.

She says many of the audience were wearing face masks.

Moana Maniapoto says tonight's performance at the Hawkins theatre will be the first time her band has played in Papakura.


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