Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Teachers invited to be disobedient

Labour list MP Kelvin Davis says Education Minister Anne Tolley is inviting civil disobedience with her threats to enforce national standards.

The minister says she will sack boards of trustees who allow staff to boycott the new assessment regime.

Mr Davis, a former intermediate school principal, says teachers and principals throughout Taitokerau have indicated they're not prepared to experiment with children's education ... and they will stand up to the minister.

“If 80 boards of trustees allow their teachers to not implement the national standards, I think the minister will struggle to sack 80 boards and appoint 80 commissioners, especially 80 commissioners that are going to reflect the Maori nature of the Tai Tokerau so I think she’s got to be careful she doesn’t back herself into a corner and then doesn’t have the means to back up her threats,” Mr Davis says.

He says Mrs Tolley should listen to her educational professionals, rather than imposing a regime which is not backed by evidence.


A Northland iwi health worker says rural Maori communities are missing out on help because of their isolation.

Clint Edmonds, the co-ordinator of Ngati Wai's smoking cessation programme, says he's seeing the number of young smokers in the north growing, even as the habit is losing ground elsewhere.

That's because young people see their elders smoking, but programmes to help them quit are just not getting through.

“More than half the families I meet have a youth or someone of that age who is smoking. It’s just a habit we’ve got to change the face of,” Mr Edmonds says.

Smoking is a human disaster as communities lose their old people.


The Waitangi National Trust is looking at building a museum on the treaty grounds.

New chairperson Pita Paraone says it has just completed re-roofing the Treaty House, restoring the waka taua Ngatokimatawhaorua and building extensions to the visitors' centre.

He says the trust is concerned about other taonga, and is looking at a “museum-type building” to house artifacts associated with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, which are stores in conditions it does not consider sufficient.

Mr Paraone says any extra money needed would come from new sources, rather than by re-introducing entry fees.


Maori Party MP Hone Harawira is happy his protest flag has won national acceptance.

Critics says the red and black and white flag which will fly on the Auckland Harbour Bridge and other government sites on Waitangi Day is too closely associated with the Maori Party and the Kawariki protest movement.

But the Tai Tokerau MP says it's the design that was endorsed by 80 percent of those who came to party's consultation hui around the country.

“That flag was born as the Maori flag in 1990. I know that because we launched the competition for a Maori flag and that’s the one that won. It became known as the tino rangatiratanga flag and because there wasn’t a national Maori flag most active Maoris picked it up and so it’s become known as a flag for activists and a flag for protest but it’s always been a Maori flag,” Mr Harawira says.

He says Te Kawariki and the flag's surviving designer are discussing what to do with revenue from increased flag sales.


Meanwhile, Labour list MP Kelvin Davis says the Government's overhaul of polytechnic councils says more about its attitudes to Maori than allowing a Maori flag to fly on the Auckland harbour bridge.

Parliament yesterday debated a bill that would cut polytech councils to eight members, four of them appointed by the Education Minister.

Dedicated seats for Maori, staff, students, employers and other community interests in the region served by the polytech will be scrapped.

“They've done away with the dedicated Maori seats on the Auckland super city. They’re doing away with guaranteed representation on polytechnics. I think it’s time Maori wok up to the fact this government doesn’t really care about the needs and issues for Maori,” Mr Davis says.

He says the changes will make it harder for polytechs to cater for the needs of young Maori, who are more likely to end up there than at universities.


Maori artists are squaring off with Creative New Zealand over control of the Toi Iho Maori-made brand.

The arts funding body has cancelled its support of the trademark and demanded artists stop using it.

But Nga Puna Waihanga spokesperson Ata Te Kanawa says there were fireworks this week when CNZ chief executive Stephen Wainwright and staff from Te Waka Toi staff met a delegation led by potter Manos Nathan and furniture designer Carin Wilson.

“Carin announced he refuses to give the mark back. Manos suggested that he would encourage Toi Iho holders to continue to use the mark despite the letter from creative New Zealand saying that it would be illegal if they were to continue to use it,” Ms Te Kanawa says.

The artists want to run the Toi Iho mark themselves and even open it up to a wider range of creative arts.

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