Waatea News Update

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

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Tolley testing patience of teaching profession

The matua takawaenga for the NZEI primary teachers' union, Laures Park, says the government should put its money into improving literacy and numeracy, not into testing against new standard in schools.

The controversial national standards policy comes into effect today.

Teacher unions say it's inevitable the data collected will become public, creating league tables which will hinder rather than help schools to lift student performance.

Ms Park says the data won't reveal anything new.

“What we would like is something to be done about raising those achievement levels rather than taking a test to tell us something that we already know,” she says.

Many parents are still in the dark about what the new national standards will mean for them.


Labour list MP Shane Jones has spoken out in support of current leader Phil Goff after a poll showed Maori support for Labour at an all time low.

The Te Karere Digipoll of 1000 voters in the Maori seats found only 18 percent approved of Mr Goff's performance, while 59 said he doesn't provide good leadership on Maori issues.

Even among Labour voters he could only muster 36 percent support.

Mr Jones says Mr Goff hasn't been able to overcome the way his speech last year attacking National's deal with the Maori Party on its emissions tradition scheme was interpreted.

“We just couldn't get a balanced coverage of that speech from the media. They immediately compared it to Don Brash. I mean it’s opposition politics, it’s a bugger of a job leading the opposition party after nine years in government and give the guy some credit. He’s trying to cover all the bases and there’s nothing prejudiced, nothing racist about that man whatsoever,” Mr Jones says.


A Waitangi kaumatua is expecting record attendances at this year's treaty commemorations in the Bay of Islands.

The programme includes a major waka regatta as well as the usual sports, cultural and political events.

Kingi Taurua says there is interest not only from New Zealand but overseas, with groups coming from Switzerland, Australia and throughout the Pacific which has never happened before.

He says it’s important visitors realise Maori own Waitangi Day, not the government.

Mana whenua expect to be stretch looking after all the manuhiri, but everything is in place for a successful celebration.


Broadcasting and telecommunications claimants are preparing to negotiate with the Crown about how Maori should share in a major reorganisation of spectrum.

Cabinet wanted to make decisions before Christmas about hundreds of millions of dollars worth of frequencies freed up by the shift to digital television, but was forced to backpedal after claimants went back to the Waitangi Tribunal.

Piripi Walker, the secretary of the Wellington Maori language board Nga Kaiwhakapumau i te Reo, says the Crown ignored tribunal findings on the issue in 1990 and 1999, but this time it may be forced to reach a settlement.

“The Crown assumes its right to ownership, rights to auction, rights to take payment from people over the last 20 years, left Maori out. The Crown’s coming back to the table, Maori would first of all want the Crown to bow its head a little bit and say maybe we weren’t on the right track to throw the tribunal reports in the rubbish tin,” Mr Walker says.

If negotiations break down the claimants can be back before the tribunal with three days notice.


The Greens' education spokesperson Metiria Turei says Pita Sharples' opposition to national standards comes a year late.

The new testing regime for primary and intermediate schools starts today.

Ms Turei says the Maori Party backed the legislation allowing the standards, despite data from overseas showing students from disadvantaged communities suffer when such national literacy and standards are imposed.

She says it's the price the Maori Party is paying to be in government.

“This is the political reality when you are part of a government that has a radical programme that is bad for your own people, and it’s something the Maori Party is going to have to live with. And it’s really distressing for those of us who support what the Maori Party is trying to achieve but seeing them thwarted every time they try to make progress,” Ms Turei says.

She says Pita Sharples should push for a trial before the standards are rolled out nationally.


Rugby commentator Ken Laban says Maori rugby deserves a high calibre competition to mark its centenary year.

Players and fans are waiting for the New Zealand Rugby Football Union to confirm games for the Maori All Blacks against England, Ireland and Wales.
Mr Laban says a European tour would be a great opportunity to expose the world to Maori rugby.

“In terms of popularity, outside the All Blacks they would be the second most popular. They’re an integral part of New Zealand society and the national game of rugby, so it would be wonderful if they could pull off a tour of this magnitude at the end of the season,” Mr Laban says.

The lack of New Zealand A Games this year would suggest a Maori is tour is the cards.

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