Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Feedback sought on Maori medium standards

One of the team developing Maori medium standards says parents need to ask how they will improve things for their child.

Associate education Minister Pita Sharples is asking teachers, principals and whanau to contribute to new draft national standards for Maori-medium education programmes.

Tony Trinick from Auckland University's school of education, who helped develop the mathematics standard, says there is no evidence from overseas experience that standards improve educational outcomes.

He says parents need to stand up for what they want out of Maori medium education.

“How do they actually know the implementation of this initiative is actually making a difference for their child. How do they know the things they value at school are still being considered, that there is not going to be a narrowing of the curriculum to mathematics and literacy. I would be asking ‘How is this going to be making a difference for my child,’” Mr Trinick says.

He says standards can help focus teachers on what is important in a curriculum.


Labour leader Phil Goff is using this week's tour round Northland to reach out to Maori voters.

Mr Goff has left his anti-GST rise bus behind and taken to his motorbike around the north, with list MPs Kelvin Davis and Shane Jones providing support.

He says the great response Labour's Maori caucus got in the South Island last week has confirmed a deep well of support for the party which it will build on in Taitokerau.

“We'll be looking at meeting with Maor people across Northland. We’ll be looking at forming a Ratana branch. We’ve got very strong Ratana support in the north. It is about getting out there, talking to people, listening to people,” Mr Goff says.

Not a single Maori he has spoken to in favour of a rise as proposed by the government.


A Maori tobacco researcher says the Maori affairs select committee inquiry into smoking needs to ask why successive government have done nothing to help Maori to quit.

Dr Marewa Glover who has been running anti-smoking campaigns and research for almost two decades.

She says governments have sat by and watched Maori die, despite a succession of national hui highlighting the problem.

“We know the harm. We know what it does. We know what it does to marae. We know it’s been killing our elders. The inquiry needs to be asking why the government hasn’t done something more effective to stop the harm.” Dr Glover says.

More campaigns driven by Maori are needed to beat a situation where one in two Maori is still smoking.


The Families' Commission's kaihono for community engagement says a report on the state of grandparenting identifies significant challenges for Maori.

Bob Newson helped collect Maori views for the report, which draws on interviews with more than 1200 grandparents.

He says many Maori raising their mokopuna struggle financially, but they often get help from the wider whanau.

Mr Newson says Maori grandparents face the added expectation they will pass on important cultural knowledge to their mokopuna.


Labour leader Phil Goff says the government isn't doing enough to target smoking among Maori.

Mr Goff says the Maori Affairs select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry and the effects of smoking on Maori is an important step in addressing a major public health issue.

He says young Maori women in particular aren't getting the message that smoking is harmful.

“It just breaks my heart when I see young women who are pregnant and smoking. They ought to be aware of the damage that is doing to their unborn child and we’ve got to up that educational campaign through the media as well as through the government agencies.
Mr Goff says.

He says government can't keep criticising the nanny state when it's talking about banning Lemsip from supermarkets which continuing to allow the widespread sale of cigarettes.


The president of the School Trustees Association says Maori parents shouldn't let humility be a barrier to contributing to their children’s education.

Lorraine Kerr wants more Maori parents to stand for school boards in this year's triennial elections.

She says kura kaupapa means there are more Maori trustess than ever before, but parents with children in mainstream schools are often too shy to stand.

“None of us like to be whakahihi. In fact it’s the opposite. We’re too shy to do lots of things. Ando one of them is standing for a board and actually being a decision maker, and that; an important part of the role. I’d love to see more Maori stand. I’d love to see more Maori get in there,” Ms Kerr says.

Voting starts in April

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