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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mentors welcome training push

Maori mentors are welcoming the government's moves to keep rangatahi in school - or help them into training.

This week's National Youth Mentoring Conference in Mangere has heard about the programmes from government ministers and principal youth court judge Andrew Becroft.

The $150 million package, including the Job Ops employer subsidy, the Community Max public works scheme and extra places in polytechs and military style training programmes.

Bev Cassidy-Mckenzie from Ngati Porou, the general manager of the Youth Mentoring Network, says there are real opportunities.

“The good thing about what we’re hearing from the judge and from government is that while mentoring is a component or wraparound service to what’s going on, it needs to work alongside something, it cannot work in isolation, so that’s obviously our big driver, to make sure it’s not working in isolation or by itself,” Ms Cassidy-Mckenzie says.

Her network is building a national register of mentors and developing mentor training programmes.

WI PERE TRUST RIGHT SIZE TO WEATHER GRAPE GLUT

A major Maori grape grower says its business is well positioned, despite an over-supply of wine in some parts of the industry.

The Wi Pere Trust has extensive vinyards on its land around Gisborne, and also has a stake in Nelson-based Tohu Wines.

Chairperson Alan Haronga says last season's glut of sauvignon blanc grapes was a wake-up call for the New Zealand industry, and the world is also awash with chardonnay, which Wi Pere grows.

He says broader economic conditions are also tough.

“The global decline coupled with the high foreign exchange rate is making exporting difficult, but we’re still there, we’ve right sized our business and that should stand us in good stead going forward,” Mr Haronga says.

Next week's Romeo Bragato conference in Napier will be a good chance to discuss the future of the New Zealand wine industry.

KAUMATUA GOING FOR GOLD AND HEALTH AND FUN GAINS

Kaumatua are going for gold in Taranaki.

The region’s first Kaumatua Olympics in Waitara yesterday attracted 300 seniors from as far away as Paraparaumu and Hauraki.

Organiser Karena Terry says they had a ball doing a range of disabled and elderly-friendly activities.

The event is part of a healthy lifestyle programme.

TUHOE REJECTS INITIAL OFFER OVER PARK GOVERNANCE

It's back to the negotiating table as an eastern Bay of Plenty iwi rejects the government's first offer of compensation for its treaty claims.

Chief negotiator Tamatai Kruger from Te Kotahi A Tuhoe says hui around the country yesterday decline the Crown's offer of a $120 million settlement package and co-management of Te Urewera National Park.

He says work needs to be done on the quantum, and the Crown is mis-reading the depth of feeling in Tuhoe about its mana motuhake or sovereignty over traditional lands.

“The Crown offer of co-management is just not acceptable to Tuhoe. It’s something that has been hanging around for some 20 or 30 years. It’s just not satisfactory so we are going to go back into discussions,” Mr Kruger says

Although Tuhoe were given 10 days to respond to the offer, it took just over a day to come to a decision.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING BET WAY TO TACKLE YOUTH OFFENDING

The Principal Judge of the Youth Court says keeping kids in school is the best way to tackle youth offending.

Speaking to the national Youth Mentoring Network in Mangere today, Andrew Becroft said staying engaged in education, and by extension the community, keeps kids out of trouble.

He says there are about 2000 school-aged children who aren't in any form of education, employment or training, the majority of them Maori.

While that is less than one percent of the school aged-population, those rangatahi make up almost 100 percent of the offenders appearing before the Youth Court.

“The bottom line is we’ve got to keep everyone meaningfully engaged in some form of education or alternative education or educational training or apprenticeship, at least until the age of 16. If we could do that, I think it would be the single most successful interventions we could do to reduce youth offending. It’s just about that simple,” Judge Becroft says

He says the disproportionate number of Maori in the youth justice system is unacceptable and demands new ways of tackling the problem.

CANTERBURY STUDENTS LOOK AT CAREER PROSPECTS

Meanwhile, it's been careers day for hundreds of Canterbury Maori fourth formers.

Navigate 09 organiser Melanie Mark Shadbolt says today's event at Nga Hau E Wha Marae exposed tauira to tertiary study and employment options.

Up to 80 students at a time were put through interactive presentations and workshops.

“It's not a traditional careers expo. We don’t just have kids walking round stalls and getting pamphlets and pens. We want tohe institutions to get down to the kids level and explain to them what they do and what they teach and how education relates to them as being a Maori student,” Ms Shadbolt says.

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