Waatea News Update

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

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, March 29, 2010

Maori Party eying council election

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says the party will support candidates in the first election for an Auckland super city council.

Auckland mayor John Banks has encouraged the party to get involved, saying it has people capable of serving on the new body.

Dr Sharples says it will be tough to get a Maori elected, but the effort must be made.

“Obviously we’re going to be looking with Maori organisations to put some good people up for that council. There’s no doubt about that. We would still like those guaranteed seats because history shows we don’t make many councils at all,” Dr Sharples says.

ADDED 29/3: A party spokesperson says at this stage the party has not decided whether it will field a candidate under its own banner.

TRIO TOP RESEARCHERS FOR INDIGENOUS HEALTH

The head of the Health Research Council, Robin Olds, says the Maori health researchers chosen to head up three major projects are some of the best in the country.

John Broughton from Otago University and Sue Crengle and Rhys Jones from Auckland will head multi-year studies on dental health in young children, heart disease education and whether better training of health professionals can improve outcomes for Maori.

Dr Olds says the projects are part of an international initiative involving New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

The research will be shared with indigenous counterparts from Australia and Canada.

KAITANGATA TWITCH IN LINE FOR PRIZES

Maori Television’s new children’s drama is gaining international acclaim.

Kaitangata Twitch, based on a novel by Margaret Mahy, is a 13-part series about a young girl growing up in both Maori and Pakeha worlds.

It’s been shortlisted for two major international children's television awards – the Munich-based Prix Jeunesse and the WorldFest in Houston, Texas.

Director Yvonne Mackay says it’s a great way to get the series known, and it’s good to have the point of difference being the Maori side.

Kaitangata Twitch, which starts here in May, has been sold to Australia, Canada and Sweden, and the award nominations should open up sales in other countries.

SEPARATIST POLICY LEAD TO RACE TO BOTTOM

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is accusing the Maori Party of pushing racist and separatist policies.

The former Tauranga MP told a public meeting in the city on Saturday that the planned whanau ora policy of using Maori providers to deliver government health and social services to Maori opens the door to backhanders, nepotism and bottomless funding.

He says Maori Party leader Pita Sharples’ advocacy of tribal seats on the Auckland super city council shows disdain for democracy.

“When you get people saying they don’t want one person one vote and that they want a race-based system, they’re really looking at clans or tribes, the shape, character and form of which you can see in parts of Africa, and they are an absolute abomination to humanity, to any system of natural justice and fair play, and in the end those countries are all failed states. This is the kind of thing that will take us there if it is allowed to get currency in this country,” Mr Peters says.

He says National is going along with separatist policies because it wants Maori Party support for its far right policies.

CLASSROOM SKILLS KEY TO RAISING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT

Maori resource teachers have concluded they need to improve the skills of their classroom colleagues to make an impact on Maori educational underachievement.

The Resource Teachers for Learning and Behaviour Association’s Maori caucus held a four day conference in Wainuiomata last week addressing the needs of Maori boys.

Organiser Jackie West says while family support and more help from other government agencies is part of the solution, what happens in the classroom is the key.

“We need to ensure we have the right kai ako fronting our Maori kids, and if we have got teachers that have a lot of Maori kids it is the responsibility of schools to make sure their teachers have a bicultural understanding of what Maori children need,” Ms West says.

She says the under-achievement of Maori boys is a community problem that demands a multi-faceted response.

TU TE MAUNGAROA SHOWS CLASS AGAIN

In a repeat of 2009, Tu Te Maungaroa and Toi Mai Tawhiti took the top two spots at the Whanganui a Tara regional kapa haka competitions.

The placings at Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre on Saturday earn them tickets to Te Matatini nationals in Gisborne in February.

Event spokesperson Sandy Barr says the strength of reo in the mainly Tuhoe Tu Te Maungaroa team made it the clear winner, while Toi Mai Tawhiti is known for its beautiful vocals and musicality.

The next region to compete is Waitaha in Christchurch on April 17.

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