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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Mayoral tantrum a teachable moment

A relative of one of the Otaki students under fire from Michael Laws for writing him letters about the spelling of Whanganui says the controversy has been a great lesson.

The Wanganui mayor told the kura kaupapa students he'd take them seriously when they addressed what he called the real issues facing Maori ... child abuse and child murder.

Maraea Hunia, the aunt of student Amokura Rangiheuea, says Mr Law's attitude seems to be people don't matter until they are old enough to vote.
She says while the school has tried to shield the children from some of the nasty things said about them on Internet blog sites, there are upsides.

“It's become a great opportunity for them to explore a whole lot of media, politicisation, language issues, it's great,” Ms Hunia says.

She says Mr Laws’ invitation for the seven female students to come to Wanganui for afternoon tea was totally inappropriate, and he should front up to the whole school and apologise.


A collaborative approach to Maori health is paying dividends in Taitokerau.

Lynnette Stewart, the chair of the Northland District Health Board, says the DBH is providing better service by working closely with Maori public health organisations and the two MAPOs or Maori Co-Purchasing Organisations, which determine where some of the region's health budget is spent.

“All Maori providers in Taitokerau will tell you that prior to 1996 they never had a look in to heath but it has been 13 years of going hard to get the kind of outcome that Maori need for good healthcare,” Mrs Stewart says.

Maori-led primary nursing teams have been effective in reaching people in isolated rural communities.

Meanwhile, the government has allocated $20 million over the next four years to fund Maori groups with innovative ideas to improve Maori health.


A Maori accountant wants says young Maori get locked into poverty because they're not taught about money.

A new survey released by the Institute of Financial Advisers shows low levels of financial literacy among young people.

Leon Wijohn, from Maori accountants' society Nga Kaitatau o Aotearoa, says Maori in particular aren't taught to take the long term view when piling on debt.

He says a student loan may pay off in higher future earnings, but a car loan can mean spending thousands more than necessary on a car.

He says financial illiteracy makes a lot of money for people on the other side of the transaction.


The Waitangi Tribunal has rejected two thirds of the claims submitted to meet last year's deadline on lodging historical treaty claims.

Tribunal director Darrin Sykes says 620 of the pre-deadline claims were registered, bring the total number of claims registered since 1976 to 2125.

He says most of the 1341 claims still pending don't meet the requirements for registration.

Historical claims must relate to an act or omission of the Crown that occurred before September 21, 1992.

To date the Tribunal has completed reports on 15 of 37 districts, covering almost 80 percent of New Zealand’s national territory.

Hearings have finished in another five areas with reports due soon, and the tribunal is gearing up for inquiries in 10 further districts in Northland, East Coast, King Country and from Taihape to Kapiti, which will take in the majority of the outstanding claims.


Researchers wanting to create a smoke free New Zealand says there is a public appetite for radical moves to beat the killer devastating Maori communities.

Richard Edwards, a Senior Lecturer in epidemiology at Otago University's Wellington school of medicine, says a survey of Maori and non-Maori found smokers and no-smokers alike would accept a sinking lid on the amount of tobacco allowed into the country.

They also gave the thumbs up to tobacco sales being done through a public body.

He says something needs to be done to get to the hard-core of smokers, which includes many Maori.

Dr Edwards smoking kills more than 5000 people a year.


Reaction to a national tour of Massive Theatre Company's current production has been so positive, it's considering another season.

The company is back home in Auckland this week with two final shows in Papakura of Whero's New Net, an adaptation by Albert Belz of author Witi Ihimaera's early short story collection, The New Net Goes Fishing.

Artistic Director Sam Scott says while the play is about contemporary Maori issues, it has received a fantastic reception from a wide range of people.

Sam Scott says after Papakura the cast will take a five-week break before performing the play at the Nelson Festival, and then they'll see whether another tour is possible.


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