Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Maori school success project extended

A project looking at successful Maori secondary students could lead to changes in what schools do.

Lead researcher Melinda Webber from Auckland University's education faculty says a pilot of Te Ara a Ihenga in Rotorua schools has identified five things that contribute to success.

These include good role models and relationships, valuing education, having a supportive environment, self motivation, and strong links with te ao Maori.

Ms Webber says a larger study will be done this year at all eight secondary schools and wharekura in the Rotorua area, with the results shared with the community.

“We need to take it back to our school communities first of all and then try to disseminate it into our wider community. Our hapu are very interested in being involved. We have a lot of marae committees we can go to in terms of let us run something or strategies that might help their whanau,” Ms Webber says.

Te Ara a Ihenga is supported by the Ngati Whakaue Education Endowment Trust Board.


A Waikato University researcher has won $340,000 from the Health Research Council to talk to Maori about death and dying.

Tess Moeke-Maxwell intends to work alongside professors Linda Nikora and Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, who were last year awarded $1.2 million by the Marsden Fund and the Nga Pae o te Maramatanga to look into past and present tangihanga practices.

Dr Maxwell says there are a lot of assumptions about what dying is like for Maori, but little hard data.

“We're just interested in sitting and talking with whanau, people who are dying in their whanau. We’re interested in stories about their life and what is happening for them recently and how has life changed and what is happening for them and what are their hopes and dreams for the future so we can get a kind of a good picture of what’s going on for whanau,” Dr Moeke-Maxwell says.


The chief executive of the army's ration pack supplier says his company knows how to stay one step ahead.

Aotearoa Fisheries subsidiary Prepared Foods supplies operational ration packs to the New Zealand army as well as defence forces in Australia and the UK.

The Palmerston North company recently entered a joint venture with Wellington firm Multipack, which supplies matches, salt, sugar and coffee for the packs.

Dean Moana says much of the success comes down to the experience of its research team and production staff, many of whom are Maori.

The bulk of Prepared Foods business is processing paua, but the ration business is growing.


The Maori language commission has told Parliament's Maori affairs select committee that resources for promoting te reo Maori need to be shifted away from Wellington-based government departments into the community.

Te Taura Whiri chairperson Erima Henare says the Commission and Maori broadcast funding agency Te Mangai Paho should merge to save administration costs.

“The language belongs to these language communities that are whanau, hapu and iwi driven to some extent, and possibly these monies are best spent out in those areas to assist iwi who are already doing that anyway,” Mr Henare says.

The Crown also needs to identify how much it spends supporting the language through other agencies such as the Tertiary Education Commission, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture and Heritage, and New Zealand on Air.


An East Coast kaumatua blames the area's dope and drink culture for the worst drink-driving rates in New Zealand.

Coast residents are dying in drink-drive crashes at up to seven times the rate of the rest of the country.

Parekura Kupenga says hald of Gisborne's population is Maori, so whanau need to get the anti-drink driving message across to their young people.

He says drugs and alcohol are rife in the community.

“Having been to a few of the whanau parties, I can see that is the case with our young people, a bottle of Steinlager in one hand and dope in the other, and of course there’s perhaps a lot more freedom in the driving in rural areas,” Mr Kupenga says.

Another factor in the high death rate is the area's roads, which are in an appalling condition.


A south Auckland youth worker says the biggest youth sport conference ever to be held in this country has lessons for community development.

More than 800 delegates from 17 countries are at the Pacific Youth and Sports conference in Manukau discussing how sport can promote good citizenship, health and governance.

Mereana Pere from the Maori Women's Welfare League says while the Oceania Football-sponsored gathering has a strong focus on soccer, there are valuable lessons for those wanting to see more rangatahi involved in sports irrespective of the code.

The best projects developed during the conference which link sports with positive social development will be funded out of FIFA’s ‘Football for Life’ programme.


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