Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, September 14, 2009

Little wants movement on Maori rift

Labour president Andrew Little is calling for bridges to be built with the Maori party.

Labour held its first conference since the election in Rotorua over the weekend, with party leaders attempting to draw the line under last year’s loss.

Mr Little says many who voted for Maori Party candidates gave their party vote to Labour.

That indicates the despite current alignments, the parties need to find ways to work together in future.

“I am not surprised that the Maori Party MPs came to an agreement with the National Party in Government because they want to influence what’s going on but I think they’re finding in the first year of government that actually they don’t have a lot of influence and that they are being shacked up to policies that otherwise they wouldn’t have had a bar of,” Mr Little says.


A former Massey University social work lecturer says Maori grandparents raising mokopuna are struggling to make ends meet.

A study by Jill Worrall of grandparent caregivers found 53 percent of Maori children in care are with whanau, often grandparents.

That compares with only 31 percent of Pakeha children in care placed with extended family.

Ms Worrall says less than half the Maori grandparents surveyed had total family income over $30,000, and the money they can get from the Unsupported Child Benefit doesn’t match benefits available to unrelated foster parents.

“If the children are related to the caregiver they don’t get all the extra costs like clothing, medical care, education costs, all those that an unrelated caregiver gets so these grandparents do face a lot of costs,” Ms Worrall says.

Many grandparents caring for children are getting old, and need more access to respite care.


Tainui is looking for jobs, housing and business opportunities from a new 50
year growth strategy for the Waikato.

The strategy, put together by Tainui and Waikato’s local authorities, was launched last week by Prime Minister John Key and king Tuheitia.

Nanaia Mahuta, the MP for Waikato – Hauraki, says Maori are the biggest ratepayers in the Waikato and want a say in the way the region grows.

“We want to make sure that when growth does occur it creates opportunity at the basic level more jobs for our people, more opportunities for housing, home ownership hopefully and at another level the opportunity to get engaged in some of the new growth ventures that are around the place,” Ms Mahuta says.

She says the strategy’s aim to make Ngaruawahia the cultural capital of the Waikato is one that’s dear to the heart of Tainui.


South Auckland's Manukau Institute of Technology is scrapping its dedicated
Maori Department

Tony Spelman, MIT’s acting Maori director, says Maori courses are being mainstreamed as part of a review of how all departments at the polytechnic attract and teach Maori students.

He says most Maori students are enrolled in business courses rather than Maori-focused subjects.

“The Maori department offers nothing in that areas so actually what we thought was we need to work and open up and change the whole of the institute so that it is more open, receptive and competent to work with tikanga Maori in business, in horticulture, in the maritime school and other parts," Mr Spelman says.

Next year te reo and tikanga classes on the MIT campus will be offered through a partnership with Te Wananga o Aotearoa.


The editor of an academic journal which has debunked the warrior gene thesis says it’s important Maori use good science to defend their interests.

Les Williams from Rongowhakaata commissioned former Te Wananaga o Awanuiarangi head Gary Hook to review a paper which alleged criminality among Maori was due to the high occurrence of a particular gene sequence.

He also asked other academics to contribute to the debate in the latest issue of MAI Review, the online journal of Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga, the centre for Maori research excellence.

Professor Williams says the scientific reasoning behind the warrior gene theory was flawed, and it had contributed to a media climate which promoted negative stereotypes of Maori.

“Science is self-correcting. We comment on our work. We do some more work. We straighten it up, But in this one, because it’s been sensationalised by media, by film, by radio, by novels. It’s taken on that kind of a life as well,” Professor Williams says.

The MAI Review gets about 3000 hits a day.


A volcanic eruption is brewing in the world of Maori showbands.

The Maori Volcanics have been around the international circuit since 1966 with a changing cast of musicians, but always including leader Mahora Peters.

Now her former husband and band co-founder Nuki Waaka has formed his own Volcanics to play some Auckland dates.

Australian-based Mahora says that’s not on.

“Public knows who we are. Nuki has never used the name. Don’t ask me why all of a sudden it’s the big rangatira bit, he’s wanting to take back this group he’s put together and use the name and I said ‘How can you do that? You’ve had no contact with this group for 40 years,’” Peters says.

She holds copyright over Maori Volcanics’ name and has put the matter in the hands of lawyers.


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