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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Whanau ora suits Waipareira model

The chief executive of Waiparaera Trust is endorsing moves to make the new whanau ora health and welfare programmes available to all New Zealanders.

John Tamihere says the three quarters of the 47,000 west Aucklanders on the books of the trust's health care subsidiary are non-Maori, and it has put a proposal to government to extend whanau ora services to 130,000 families.

He says whanau ora should allow the Trust to align education, skills training and welfare programmes with health services.

“That alignment works better for us and it doesn’t matter who gets the service. What matters is that for the first time in New Zealand history, we are actually seen as no longer and anchor or burden to the community but are provising significant solutions,” Mr Tamahere says.

Whanau ora will work differently in other areas of the country where there higher percentages of Maori in the community.

BISHOPS CONCERNED AT HURIHANGA CLOSURE

Catholic and Anglican bishops in the Waikato have combined to voice their concern about the axing of government funding for Hamilton's Te Hurihanga offender rehabilitation centre.

The goverment claims the live in programme, which deals mainly with young Maori men, was too expensive.

But Denis Browne, who co-signed a letter to the Waikato times with Anglican David Moxon, says the programme wasn't given a chance.

“The success rate so far has been really uplifting, As far as we know there haven’t been any breakdowns at all in the formation that is given to these young peole and it’s disappointing a project so young is nipped in the bud before it gets a chance to prove itself,” Bishop Browne says.

He says the government seems to be turning its back on rehabilitation for offenders, particularly young Maori offenders.

CONE PLAN EMPTY WORDS ON PLANNING DOCUMENTS

Ngati Whatua says Auckland's City Council's commitment to protect the city's volcanic cones doesn't go beyond the words on planning documents.
The council has set aside just $457,000 this year to maintain all of the city’s 23 volcanic features.

Ngarimu Blair from Ngati Whatua o Orakei Trust Board says that means the continued degradation of the ancient sites.

That's a concern for the 12 mana whenua iwi and hapu who signed a framework agreement last week with the Crown promising them ownership and co-management of at least 11 cones.

Mr Blair says the budget doesn't match the council's claim the maunga make Auckland what it is.

“They're empty words on planning documents so if there is no real commitment from protecting these sites from erosion, form over-use of tourism and so on, it’s a travesty,” Mr Blair says.

WAKA TOI AXING COULD BE GOOD TIMING

A former head of Te Waka Toi and Creative New Zealand says the arts council needed an overhaul, but it's important to maintain a strong Maori presence.

The Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Christopher Finlayson, is scrapping separate Maori and Pacific arts boards in favour of a single 13-member board, which would include four members with knowledge of Maori arts.

Cliff Whiting says Creative New Zealand had become top heavy and bureaucratic.

“That's a natural process in the way things grow and develop. I think it’s reached a point now where change needs to take place but I do hope and I’m pretty sure the minister and others who are involved will make sure it is a fair split all the way round with ethnic groups and not only treaty partners but also with the different art forms,” he says.

Cliff Whiting was among the group of Maori artists and writers who lobbied for a separate Maori arts council back in the 1970s.

SKEPTICISM ON NEW ATTEMPT TO PUSH EDUCATION VOUCHERS

Labour's education spokesperson says Maori are unlikely to benefit from education vouchers.

A working group of National, ACT and Maori Party MPs yesterday released a paper proposing that parents can shift their kids to another school if they are in the top 5 percent or bottom 20 percent of students.

Kelvin Davis, who was an intermediate school principal before entering parliament, says it's nonsense for Maori children are in rural areas, because there are no alternative schools.

“There's going to be more inconsistencies for Maori kids with this whatever this report says and whatever these vouchers are meant to allow kids to be able to do. I don’t think Maori are going to benefit from this whatsoever,” Mr Davis says.

He says the scheme is likely to mean the diversion of funds from low decile schools which are already struggling to teach large numbers of Maori children.

MAST STEP FOUND IN MURIWAI WAKA

An ancient waka dug out of Muriwai Beach last year has revealed some surprises.

Robert Brassey, the Auckland Regional Council's heritage specialist, says restorers have spotted a socket or step for a mast, making it a rare example of a sailing canoe.

The seven metre kauri canoe was moved yesterday from a temporary tank at the Muriwai Parks Depot into a more permanent container, and Mr Brassey says preservation could take two years.

“The only thing that's stopping the waka deteriorating is that the cell structure of the timber so if it were to dry out it would shrink and collapse and turn to dust so in the longer term that water needs to come out and be replaced with something more permanent which is Polyethelyne glycol,” Mr Brassey says.

Once preservation is complete the waka can be put on display, after consultation with iwi.

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