Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, March 19, 2010

Language agency streamlining on agenda

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples is sympathetic to calls to streamline efforts to strengthen te reo Maori.

Maori language commissioner Erima Henare has recommended merging Te Taura Whiri with the Maori broadcast funding agency. Te Mangai Paho, with any savings used for community-level projects.

Dr Sharples says resources were being wasted through duplication of language promotion.

“So we need to co-ordinate the effort whether it’s Taura Whiri, whether it’s kura kaupapa, whether it’s mainstream, we need to coordinate that so we get a good effort, because we’re not out of the woods yet in saving Maori language,” Dr Sharples says.

Improvements could come from organisations working together rather than by full mergers.


The head of anti-smoking group QUIT says Maori face particular difficulties in over-coming the addiction.

Paula Snowdon from Te Rarawa says the first step is getting nicotine out of the system, with people who use nicotine patches twice as successful at giving up.
They then need to develop new strategies to deal with smoking behaviour.

“The thing with smoking is the challenge to quit. The only difference between Maori and non-Maori is more Maori smoke so when you try to quit you are in an environment when re more of your family and friends and work colleagues are smoking around you, it makes it so much harder to stay quit,” Ms Snowden says.

Smokers have to want to quit before cessation efforts will be successful.


Wellington's Carter Observatory plans to use state of the art digital technology to tell the Maori creation story alongside the Big Bang theory.

The observatory in Kelburn re-opening at the end of the month after a two year, $2 million refit.

Spokesperson Dawn Muir says the Wellington 10ths Trust was involved throughout the project.

“We are looking at Maori navigation and cosmology as it relates to our southern skies so it’s a very important story and we are encouraging the use of Carter Observatory for Maori in our community for things like navigation training,” Ms Muir says

Visitors will able to use the observatory to track the stars in the way Maori did when they came to Aotearoa.


Maori affairs minister Pita Sharples is standing by his view a Maori team should take part in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Rugby Union officials were upset when Dr Sharples made the suggestion yesterday while hosting a lunch at parliament to celebrate 100 years of Maori rugby.

He says Maori are a nation within the New Zealand nation, in the same way Scotland, Wales and England all come within the nation of Great Britain, which tours as the Lions.

“Most of the Maori in that room definitely agreed that it’s time that we did lash out a bit and have more games and possibly in the World Cup as well,” Dr Sharples says.

He says the NZRFU is treating the Maori team as second rate citizens who are less important than Super 14, NPC or even under 19 teams.


Hutt Valley Maori are incensed the Greater Wellington Regional Council won't stop overflows of untreated sewage into the Waiwhetu Stream.

Te Rira Puketapu from Te Atiawa says decades of factory waste have already made Waiwhetu one of the most polluted waterways in the country.

He says the new 15 year consent granted to Lower Hutt City Council will mean on average six overflows a year in heavy rain.

He says the alternative requires the council to replace decaying clay pipes put in when the goverment built about 8000 State houses in the valley during the 1930's and 40's.

“As kaitiaki we have a heavy responsibility and if nobody else is going to worry about it, someone has to speak it, not just for Maori but for everyone. This is the 21st century and we’ve got to catch up,” Mr Puketapu says.

As an alternative the overflows could be discharged into the Hutt River during storms where they would be absorbed by the greater river flow.


A feat of bravery 66 years ago will be aknowledged tomorrow at a marae on the shores of the Kaipara harbour.

In 1944, Wana Ruarangi Paikea rescued eight children when a punt capsized off Otamatea marae.

His 7 year old sister drowned in the accident, and her body was never found.

Broadcaster Jim Perry says survivors of the punt are now dead, but Mr Paikea is still alive at 84, and the marae believes it's time his feat is more widely recognised.

A kohatu , or memorial stone will be unveiled at the marae tomorrow aknowledging the lives saved and lost in 1944.

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