Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pressure on Tamaki Maori to defend hau kainga

A former minister of local government says having no seats on Auckland super city will force Maori back to the barricades.

Sandra Lee, who reformed local government during the Labour-Alliance government, says iwi and hapu have a long history of fighting councils over sewage outfalls, Public Works Act land grabs and environmental issues.

She says if Maori are disenfranchised by Rodney Hide's radical constitutional model for Auckland, they will take their concerns direct to central government.

“To have no one at all is a travesty and what it i9s going to do is force our people back to the barricades to fight on a cas by case ssue all of the things that a local government and now a super city with even more greater powers deal with that have a direct impact on our daily lives,” Mrs Lee says.

When the Royal Commission recommended three seats for Maori on the super city, her first instinct as a former Auckland City councilor was to pity whoever would have to carry the baton for Maori.

AOTEAROA PEACEMAKING COULD ASSIST FIJI COUP RESOLUTION

Former governor general Sir Paul Reeves says being Maori helps him deal with Fijian coup leader Frank Bainimarama.

Sir Paul was in the island state last week with a delegation from the Commonwealth to discuss the timetable for Fiji's return to democracy.

He says the place of Fiji's indigenous people is less of a factor than previous coups, but there is still has a sense of being in the shadow of colonialism.

He says there are lessons in leadership which can be taken from New Zealand.

“We in Aotearoa New Zealand have a distinctive form of what I call peacemaking and that is this whole treaty negotiation. If we didn’t have it, I think it would be very uncomfortable in this country at the moment. In fact I feel quite proud at the fact Maori are popping up in all sorts of place, those places where decisions are made for the community or for the nation,” he says.

Sir Paul is preparing a report for the secretary general of the commonwealth.

IMAGERY FLOWING FROM THE PAINTBRUSH

A traditional door lintel has become the jumping off point for John Walsh's latest paintings.

Pare to My Place is the centrepiece of the show which opened last night at John Leech Gallery in Auckland.

Walsh, who used to work at Our Place, Te Papa, as the museum's first curator of contemporary Maori art, says viewers need to get past the figure on the pare to get to the landscapes behind.

The Aitanga a Hauiti and New Zealand Irish artist says rather than illustrate known legends and stories, he invents his own characters.

“In some ways I have no control of it. It just pours from the end of my brush. I’m watching New Zealand society evolve and develop and I feel this is the way I can make comment on current issues, by reaching into the past that I understand,” Walsh says.

GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT SOUGHT IN FUTURE OF MOKOPUNA

Maori attending today's Every Child Counts summit in Auckland want to see more government investment in the heath of communities.

Ani Pitman from the Northland-based Amokura Family Violence Prevention Strategy says child poverty is a major issue, and the recession is making things worse.

She says the summit called by child protection and welfare groups is looking for ways to put the needs of children higher up the national agenda.

Ms Pitman says Maori communities have unique concerns which need addressing.

“What we're dealing with is the intergenerational effects of colonization and its impact on our communities and our ways to be culturally connected, our opportunities to demonstrate manaakitanga to each other and kaitiakitanga of our resources and what we want to see is government to invest in our communities and invest in our future. For us, it’s what we want out mokopuna to look like in the future,” she says.

The summit prepared an action for Housing Minister Phil Heatley, who is there representing the government.

TE KOTAHITANGA EXTENDED TO 50 SCHOOLS

Principals around the country are welcoming the decision to add the Te Kotahitanga programme to another 17 secondary schools.

The Governemnt is putting an extra $20 million over four years to bring to 50 the number of schools using systems developed at Waikato University to improve the interaction between teachers and Maori pupils.

Nigel Hanton from Flaxmere College in Hawkes Bay says 73 percent of the 340 pupils in his decile one school are Maori.

He says while the school has used a number of strategies to boost its NCEA level one pass rate above the national average, getting its staff trained up in the new techniques should allow further improvement.

“All the evidence that’s available shows that Te Kotahitanga with its particular focus on developing an effective pedagogical profile among staff is the way to go forward so we are very keen we’ve had the opportunity to be part of Te Kotahitanga because of that very important professional development focus and the outcomes it delivers for students,” Mr Hanton says.

Flaxmere College hopes to increase its pass rate by 15 to 20 percent.

CLIMATE CHANGE CHANGES PLEASE MAORI LOBBYISTS

Maori asset managers are giving the Government's revised emissions trading scheme the thumbs up.

A deal with the Maori Party gives the Governemnt the votes to push through a scheme which offsets the effects of related power price rises on low income households and gives polluting industries longer to adjust to higher carbon prices.

Federation of Maori Authorities spokesperson Paul Morgan the Maori Party have clearly listened to his organisation's concerns.

“We felt there should be a more managed transition. The risks associated with the economy, the issues of competiveness, we wanted those managed in a much more risk-averse basis. National agreed with us. We’re going down this path, and most of the issues we advocated have been picked up,” he says.

Mr Morgan says forestry land and agriculture still need to be addressed.

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