Waatea News Update

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Sharples breaks ranks on education standards

Associate education Minister Pita Sharples has spoken out against the introduction of national education standards in primary schools.

In last week's Cabinet reshuffle, Education Minister Anne Tolley was relieved of her tertiary education role so she could push through the controversial new testing regime.

Dr Sharples, who was a professor of education at Auckland University before entering Parliament, says he was hardly consulted on the policy.
He says there are huge dangers for Maori.

“I just have a grave fear that is will repercuss in many ways. Not only parents picking and choosing schools but it will means some schools will be low in support from the community, they are going to lose roll numbers, teachers won’t go there, all sorts of things could happen,” he says.


A Waikato hapu is pushing for compensation from Transpower for the pylons crossing its Karapiro land.

Lawyer Willie te Aho says Ngati Koroki Kahukura has sympathy for Tamahere farmers Steve and Delia Meier, who want compensation after arcing high tension lines set fire to trees on their property last week.

The subsequent outage led to power being cut to more than 50,000 homes in Auckland and Northland.

Mr te Aho says Ngati Koroki Kahukura's case is even stronger because the Meiers bought land with pylons already on, while the hapu already owned the land.

“Here's Maori land. Here are pylons that are put on. There was no consultation with the owners. It was done through the public works process. So there has been a breach of the treaty principle of a duty to consult,” Mr Te Aho says.


A Ratana nun wants to travel the world spreading the church's message of peace and goodwill.

Marama Nathan, Sister of Mercy, says she's inspired church founder Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana's 1924 world tour.

Her hikoi some time in the next two years aims to take in at least 10 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America.
Seats are limited.

“I am only planing to take 100 Ratana, members. Half of them will be from the reo – we have seven church bands and even if we take five from each that’s 35 members so that’s a pretty good number to travel with us,” Mrs Nathan says.


The presenter of a Maori television series on Ngapuhi says the weekend's festival in Kaikohe showed the growing strength of the country's largest tribe.

Quentin Hita says more than 40,000 people attended the Ngapuhi festival featuring, food, music and korero.

He says it’s significant this year's festival was attended by as many as five times more than last year as Ngapuhi has not always been seen to be united.

“When people feel like they have met face to face, it strengthens that sense of identity. It’s about engendering pride and I’m sure we will see Ngapuhi move forward on issues as a unified collective and I think that’s really exciting,” Mr Hita says.

Ngapuhi will host others tribes and all New Zealanders at Waitangi next weekend.


Meanwhile Malcolm Mulholland, the author of a book calling for New Zealand to adopt a new name, flag and national anthem says next weekend's Waitangi celebrations will be ideal place to launch the work.

The historian says Weeping Waters featuring chapters by 14 prominent Maori will kick off debate in a year when the government has promised constitutional reform.

He says the symbols of name, flag and anthem are fundamental to constitution and must be changed.

“If as a country are we going to look at using the treaty as a cornerstone of the constitution or the constitution itself, then no doubt those symbols need to reflect that, and as they stand at the moment they don’t so they do need to be changed,” Mr Mulholland says.

He knows the book, which includes articles by MP Hone Harawira and academics Moana Jackson and Linda Te Aho, will be controversial but he hopes New Zealanders will listen to its messages rather than revert to entrenched attitudes.


And Waitangi kaumatua Kingi Tauroa says Te Tii Marae is where constitutional issues must be discussed.

He is welcoming Malcolm Mulholland and his writers to Waitangi and he wants Prime Minister John Key and his ministers who will be there to listen.

“Waitangi is a place we call the Maori parliament where Maori raise the issues and question the government in terms of their policies and I think that is healthy. I don’t care what sort of issue that people have as long as they discuss it at Waitangi, I’m really supportive of that,” Mr Tauroa says.

He says with constitutional issues on the agenda the marae is preparing for record numbers at Waitangi this year.


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