Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Hokianga preparing for waka spectacular

Spectacular scenes are expected around the Hokianga this coming week as the 70-year-old Ngatoki Matawhaorua leads a flotilla of waka around harbour settlements.

The waka taua received an emotional welcome on Sunday when it returned to the harbour for the first time since 1948.

Mita Harris, who is coordinating events to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi at Mangungu by 64 chiefs, says tit will be back in the water tomorrow.

“It’s going to visit many different awa in the Hokianga itself so people are going to be quite excited hey can see the flotilla following Ngatokimatawhaorua,” Mr Harris says.

He says it was a great sight last weekend to see Ngatokimatawhaorua alongside the Waitangi-based waka of the same name.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei wants the government to fund pest control initiatives in rural areas where there is high Maori unemployment.

Figures out last week show more than 1 in 4 young Maori don't have jobs, and overall Maori unemployment is at a ten year high.

Ms Turei says as well as creating jobs, ground-based pest control means less use of 1080 poison.

“We can create jobs just by ground-based best control and managing pests in our native forests that we all love. That alone would save about 3 million tonnes of carbon a year and we would employ people who need jobs right now,” Ms Turei says.

She says the Government could be doing a lot more to fight climate change.


Getting more Maori midwives is a priority for a new push to encourage Maori into health careers.

Taima Campbell, a director of the national Maori nursing and midwifery workforce development programme, says the planned "Kia ora Hauora" campaign will show students and second-chance learners there's more to medicine than being a doctor.

She says the shortage of Maori midwives is especially critical.

Many young women interested in working with young mothers or babies get put off by the medical perspective, but are attracted to midwidery once they understand the opportunity.

Mrs Campbell says training institutions need to be more flexible in accepting students who can only study part-time, or taking students straight out of high school.


Environment Bay of Plenty has set up a fund to honour former Okurei Maori ward councilor Hawae Vercoe.

The Rotoiti kura kaupapa principal died of brain injuries after being knocked down outside a Whakatane bar last November.

A 21 year old man was charged with his murder.

Chair John Cronin says Mr Vercoe made a huge contribution to the regional council.

“We would like to put up a scholarship fund. It could be for young Maori and Maori education and Maori governance and that was a driving force,” Mr Cronin says.

The council's Maori committee is developing criteria for the $20,000 a year fund.


The head of the Principals' Federation says the system of benchmarking to be used in kura kaupapa looks far better than the system of national standards the government is imposing on mainstream primary and intermediate schools.

Ernie Buutveld says the kura system is designed to work alongside what is a world first indigenous curriculum developed for full immersion schools.

“That's really what we would like to see happen not just for kura kaupapa but for mainstream schools, so yes, there seems to be a double standard in the way we achieve a set of agreed benchmarks, or in National’s term, standards,” Mr Buutveld says.

He says international evidence indicates the standards-based approach won't lift student achievement.


Whale Watch Kaikoura is in line for another international award.

The Ngai Tahu-owned attraction is a finalist in the World Tourism and Travel Council's Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, which will be announced at the 10th Global Travel and Tourism Summit in Beijing in May.

Kauahi Ngapora, the chief operating officer, says the nomination for the community benefit award is fitting, because the fortune of the South Island town and community has grown with the company over the past two decades.

“It's all those stories of the various individuals in the company that have started from the bottom and worked their way up through the company so they have developed on the back of the company so those are the things that these bodies are actually looking at,” he says.

Last year Whale Watch Kaikoura won the supreme award at the Responsible Tourism Awards in London.

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