Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, August 03, 2009

New skin on Project Green could help brown youth

The Council of Trade Unions says the government's new Community Max scheme, which could provide iwi with opportunities to hire youth for environmental projects will be a boost for unemployed Maori says.

The $40.3 million scheme will see the Government subsidise the wages of each youth on the unemployment benefit who works on a local community or environmental project for up to 30 hours a week, for a duration of up to six months.

CTU President Helen Kelly says these projects could be run by iwi organisations and would have far reaching benefits.

“Community groups have got work they want to do sitting out there so these will be a real opportunity for them to create new jobs. It will connect those young people into their community so if a Maori community organisation set up schemes they can connect with their young people, and obviously the community get a payback by getting some of their work done as well,” Ms Kelly says.

The Government has pledged $152 million to create work, education and training opportunities for unemployed youth, to address the rise in numbers from 4000 last June to 17,000 this June of young people on the dole.

Helen Kelly says the initiatives are a good but moderate start.


A Ngati Porou butcher who is heading to Iceland to wield his knives says the cold European country is a home away from home.

Huka Takurua is travelling with a contingent of Maori butchers from the Bernard Matthews meat processing plant in Gisborne to work in Iceland.

He says despite their country's climate and the colour of their skin, the people of Iceland have many similarities to Maori.

“The food they eat, a lot of the things they do, home things, very similar to Maori. As people they are very open, very giving, they like to share their culture, especially with Maori. I don’t know why. It must be the colour of the skin that appeals to them. And I suppose the way we react, we are open people, we like to meet different cultures too,” Mr Takurua says.

There are 43 Kiwis going to work in Iceland at one of nine meat-processing factories during Iceland’s six to 12 week killing season.


A filmmaker whose film about the Treaty of Waitangi has won acclaim around the world, says the story is universal.

Richard Green's film Te Whare has been awarded a commendation from the North Hampton International Community Film Festival in Britain and has been picked up by four other international festivals.

Mr Green, who also runs treaty workshops, says his film, about three young men who share a house in Grey Lynn, was written to engage people in New Zealand with the Treaty of Waitangi.

But he says the story has also struck a chord internationally.

“When someone comes in and takes over your house or your land or whatever without even acknowledging what they are doing, and then in the name of democracy says ‘you’re kind of outnumbered now so tough!’, that’s happened all over the world and still happens today. It resonates with people because they see it happening at different levels of society internationally and nationally,” Mr Green says.

He has started work on a feature film based on Shakespeare’s Othello, set in pre-colonial New Zealand and presented in te reo Maori.


Its a good start, but the Council of Trade Unions say the government's package to address youth unemployment does not go far enough.

CTU president Helen Kelly says while the $152 million initiatives will particularly benefit Maori and Pacific Island youth who make up almost half of all youth on the unemployment benefit it only scratches the surface.

“There are 58,000 young people out of work. There are only 17,000 of them on the dole because so many people are not eligible for the dole, and 48 percent of those young people are Maori or Pacific so if you look at the scheme which is targeting around 7000 people per year, that’s a very small number out of 58,000. But nevertheless it’s a good start,” Ms Kelly says.

National is also introducing legislation before the end of the year ending the unemployment benefit for school-leavers under 18.


A Maori breastfeeding advocate says current social issues means that Maori now have the lowest breastfeeding rates in the country.

Breastfeeding advocate Raylene de Jour says the National Breastfeeding Authority is supporting various initiatives to restore breastfeeding rates as a cultural norm.

She says Maori once thrived on good breastfeeding practices but social issues have changed that.

“Unfortunately there's a whole lot of things that have impacted on our breastfeeding rates. Being away from our tribal role rohe, not having a role model, not having our nanny and kuia around us supporting us any more. However, there’s a whole lot of social issues that has them dropping off in that first four to six weeks They turn straight to formula feeding, and I guess that’s abut getting back to work and facing all those social issues that our whanau have,” de Jour says.

Speaking at the start of National Breast Feeding Awareness Week Raylene de Jour says good breastfeeding and child-rearing practices enhance the sustainability not just of the mother and child, but of the whole whanau.


Sports commentator Ken Laban says the All Blacks’ management paid the price for their decision not to give Maori player Luke McAlister more game time in last Saturday's All Black test.

Ken Laban from Sky Sport says the 25-year-old 25-test veteran was brought on too late to have a major influence on the outcome of the game, won by the Springboks 31-19 in Durban.

“If we can learn anything out of the hopeless performance on the weekend is that we need to do some serious thinking about who the long term plans are for New Zealand rugby in that number 10 jersey and I certainly hope Luke McAlister is an important part of that mix,” Mr Laban says.

He says the specialist number 10 has the skills, composure and international experience missing from the All Blacks inside backs in Saturday's loss.


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