Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Hide hand seen behind workstream demotion

Maori officials are upset that the status of a committee looking at how the new Auckland super city will manage its relationships with Maori has been downgraded.

Rewi Spraggon from Waitakere City says the workstream, which brought together officials from eight councils, now comes under the community services banner rather than having the mana of a standalone workstream.

He says members were told the decision came from Auckland Transition Agency chief executive Mark Ford after consultation with Local Government Minister Rodney Hide.

"You know everyone's a bit disheartened with the fact we now come under another tier so we'll see where we go to from here, we want to tell our story, get our profile out there as Maori and the only way to do that is keep on working and putting that collaborative approach together," Rewi Spraggon says.

The officials' group was not consulted about the plan for a Statutory Maori Board to advise the super city council, which emerged out of the Local Government Minister's office last week.


Meanwhile Colin Dale, the head of the Auckland Transition Agency's community services workstream, says he's happy with progress so far.

He says the ATA's mandate is to ensure continuity of service when the new council comes into being in November next year.

"There's a group of council officials that have come together, gradually working towards the determination of a project plan, we've done discovery around all that's happening in the region with memoranda and Maori engagement processes. It's viewed as a transition project and it's moving along very well," Mr Dale says.

How relationships with Maori will develop in future is a decision for that council.


A group of native Hawaiians has been in Aotearoa finding out more about how marae work.

Group leader Mitchell Eli says the aim is to build a marae back on the islands.

He says it's building on the relationships created by previous visitors such as the late George Kanahele, whose book Ku Kanaka opened the eyes of many to Maori values and offered a direction for the Hawaiian cultural revival.

“That along with the opening of schools all the way from elementary to high schools where Hawaiians are learning their language, they’re learning their values and learning to do things like harvesting and planting taro, weaving, navigation, agriculture, so we are here to expand that and look at the next thing which is the spiritual centre that’s needed that brings everything together besides the natural knowledge, that‘s the marae system,” Dr Eli says.


The National Council of Women says the Accident Compensation Corporation is discriminating against Maori women.

Executive officer Lynda Ripia says the Sensitive Claims pathway introduced in October is causing delays in treating victims of rape or whanau-based sexual abuse.

She says Maori women make up a large number of those affected.

“It means that counselors, Maori providers who are working at the coalface can only fill out a claim form but aren’t able to undertake and actual assessment any more so there are big delays in Maori women being able to receive treatment,” Ms Ripia says.

ACC still hasn't sanctioned a kaupapa Maori treatment model.
Peter Jansen, ACC's senior medical advisor, says that the October changes were aimed at improving services by giving the corporation better information from initial assessments will speed up the process.


Maori academic Rawiri Taonui says the government's planned national standards testing regime won't lift Maori performance.

Tai Tokerau schools are considering boycotting the tests, which Moerewa Primary School principal Keri Milne-Ihimaera says are at odds with the aims of the Education Ministry's Ka Hikitea Maori strategy of valuing Maori knowledge.

Associate professor Taonui agrees the policies coming out of the ministry are contradictory.

“They're saying they want to see improved performance from Maori in all sectors leading in to tertiary but on the other hand they’re very inconsistent when it comes to tikanga and matauranga Maori and when you read the policy it tends to undervalue that and regard it as secondary and almost inferior,” Professor Taonui says.

He says Education Minister Anne Tolley is trying to impose a one size fits all model, which experience shows doesn't work.


Meanwhile, it's been a a big day out students from a remote kura kaupapa in Taitokearu.

Thirty students from Te Kura Kaupapa O Waikare northeast of Kawakawa are in Tamaki Makaurau to see where their reo Maori might take them once they've left school.

Tumuaki Noel Te Tai says they're seeing Maori used in work settings, including Radio Waatea, where they put on a live performance for listeners this morning.

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