Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, October 12, 2009

Recession heightening social inequity

The Council of Trade Unions is warning that inequalities between Maori and non-Maori are growing.

CTU economist Bill Rosenberg says the latest wage and salary data show while the average wage rose 1.8 percent over the past year from $447 to $455, the average wage for Maori workers fell 1.5 percent.

He says the average hourly rate went up 2.7 percent to $22.96, but Maori average pay only went up 1.7 percent to $16.96.

Dr Rosenberg says deunionisation, the decline in manufacturing jobs because of removal of tariffs and the current recession are all having an effect on vulnerable workers.
“If you look at the trends in inequality in New Zealand, they raced up during the 1990s, they kind of levelled out and dipped a bit in the 2000s. The Working for Families package was the only thing that stared to make it dip and the latest figures show that it is starting to rise again,” Dr Rosenberg says.

The CTU is concerned at the effect on society of increased inequality.


Whakatane-based Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi is expanding into the north.

It will offer a bachelor of education as well as post graduate courses in Maori and indigenous studies from Northtec’s Whangarei campus.

The programme will be run by Te Tuhi Robust, who until last month was the director of Auckland University’s Sir James Henare Research Centre.

Dr Robust, from Ngapuhi nui tonu, says Tertuary Education Commission policies are encouraging such partnerships between polytechs and wananga.

“The different polytechs are having difficulty meeting the respective needs in this area and so are contracting it out in a collaborative arrangement with institutions that specialise. A lot of it stems through into their acknowledgement of treaty obligations they have wave for many years,” Dr Robust says Awanuiarangi also has a partnership to deliver courses at Unitec in Auckland, while next year Te Wananga o Aotearoa will deliver Maori courses for Manukau Institute of Technology.


The organisers of the Maori Art Market say Te Rauparaha arena in Porirua has proved an excellent venue.

Garry Nicholas says the exhibition over the past three days attracted large numbers to see the work of more than 200 contemporary Maori artists.

He says while attendance and spending figures are not yet in it is clear the event has been a resounding success.

“Our surveyers are finding people are endorsing the venue, they’re endorsing the shift to Porirua which many people in the Wellington region probably would have questioned,” Mr Nicholas says.

The possibility has been raised of running the biennnial event in Auckland, if the artists agree.


While everyone else’s wages seem to have stayed steady during the recession, Maori wages have fallen.

Statistics New Zealand says in the past year the average wage went up 1.8 percent, from $447 to $455.

The Maori average wage fell 1.5 percent to $392.

Council of Trade Unions economist Bill Rosenberg says Maori are concentrated in the services industries, where wages are lower.
“A lot of Maori are in work that has been affected by the recession and so they are more likely to be laid off, they’re more likely to be lose hours. It’s also the case Maori are a younger population so a lot more younger people get affected in a recession,” Dr Rosenberg says.


A powhiri is being held this morning to welcome Ngapuhi academic Te Tuhi Robust to Northtec’s Whangarei campus.

Dr Robust has quit as director of Auckland University’s Sir James Henare Research Centre to lead a partnership between the polytechnic and Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi to deliver postgraduate courses in Maori and indigenous studies.

The wananga will also offer its Tapiri bachelor of education course.

Dr Robust says the partnership will broaden what’s available in Taitokerau, giving more options for Maori and mainstream education.

He says it makes sense for polytechs to call on wananga, who have developed specialist expertise in bringing Maori into tertiary education.


The Maori Art Market at Porirua's Te Tauparaha arena over the past three days has attracted huge numbers of people opening their purses despite the recession.

Organiser Garry Nicholas from Toi Maori says while attendance and expenditure numbers are not yet available its clear the exhibition has been a resounding success.

But he says many of the larger works remain unsold, indicating increasing discernment by buyers as well as straightened economic times.

The wet weather was a bonus with many people staying all day to see the work of more than 200 contemporary artists, listen to musicadn kappa haka and attend workshops.


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