Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, August 14, 2009

Judge warns knife crime on rise

The chief judge of the Youth Court is warning of a likely increase in knife attacks by young people.

Judge Andrew Becroft spelled out the trend to the National Youth Mentoring Conference in south Auckland yesterday.

He says the court is looking at further initiatives like using marae to monitor sentences, as a way to tackling the unacceptably high level of Maori coming before it.

It's also concerned at the increase in young people apprehended for assaults with weapons, which have tripled over the past decade.

“It's quite small numbers but they dominate the numbers and we know that knife crime is an issue in London, west coast of the United States and now in Australia and we need to be prepared for the rather I think cold reality that it’s probably going to be a phenomenon here in New Zealand in our urban areas in particular, young people with knives,” Judge Becroft says.

Most youth crime is committed by rangatahi who have dropped out of the school system and are not in any sort of work or further training.


Tuhoe's lead negotiator says the eastern Bay of Plenty iwi many need to build up public support if they are to secure a better settlement offer from the Crown.

Tribal hui in the main centres and hau kainga over the past couple of days rejected the Crown's first offer, of a package worth about $120 million and co-management of the Urewera National park.

Tamati Kruger says they've sent negotiators back to Wellington look for a better deal.

“Tuhoe needs to get political support for their position. It’s not so much a matter for negotiators to work out It’s more to do with nurturing public support and understanding of the issues and political support within cabinet and parliament,” Mr Kruger says.


A Tongan community leader says with their sense of whaungatanga, Maori can appreciate how the Tongan ferry tragedy will affect every family in the Friendly Islands.

Journalist Sef Hauoli says the Tongan community in New Zealand and at home is devastated by the sinking of the Princess Ashika.

Authorities believe about 93 bodies could be trapped in the wreck, which lies in more than 100 metres of water.


A leading oncologist says a direct focus on cancer care for Maori will prove invaluable.

Dr Richard Sullivan, the clinical director of the Northern Cancer Network, says this week's Revolution of Maori Cancer Care forum in Rotorua has brought together people from across the health sector to look at new ways to improve the quality of care received by Maori with the disease.

Dr Sullivan says too often mainstream services overlook indigenous perspectives.

“Rather than working in a traditional DHB silo approach it’s more to say this is about the patient, the whanau, and understanding the story and what is important for them so in future we can provide a better level of care,” Dr Sullivan says

Traditional medical practices like rongoa may have benefits for Maori cancer patients.


Knowing where you are from helps you get where you are going.

That's the word from Maori mentors the second National Youth Mentoring Conference in Mangere this week.

Counties Manukau Youth Transition Services worker Frank Solomon from Ngati Porou and Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa says NEETs ... kids who are Not in Education, Employment or Training ... are at high risk of getting into trouble.

He says as well as having something to do, young people need to develop a sense of a identity to stay on the right track.

“I think we all know that particularly for Maaori, their whakapapa, their identity is a major starting point. Most of our kids are urban based now. Many of them don’t have any real knowledge of where they come from, their marae, what their whakapapa might be,” Mr Solomon says.


Descendants of 19th century eastern Maori MP Wi Pere have another week to register for next January's family reunion.

Reunion organiser Robyn Rauna says more than 10 percent of the estimated 5000 uri have signed on for the hui at Rongopai Marae in Gisborne.

Wi Pere had two sons and 13 grandchildren, so the reunion will include many prominent Rongowhakaata and Aitanga a Mahaaki names like the Smiler, Edwards, Halbert, and Whaanga whanau.

Ms Rauna says his legacy to the family included 6000 hectares on the Poverty Bay flats, which is now one of the 10 largest Maori businesses, producing sheep, cattle, grapes and other horticultural products.

“More than monetary value is the wealth we have in human resources. I value more the ability as family to stay connected and for everybody to know and share in our cultural wealth at home here in Gisborne,” Ms Rauna says.

The reunion will mark the 110th anniversary of the Wi Pere Trust.


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