Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Maori hand in policymaking needed

The Families Commission says government agencies need to engage with Maori more when they are developing policies.

Commissioner Kim Workman says commission's new Whanau Strategy document offers agencies guidelines for consultation and engagement.

He says the issue is going to come up more as departments grapple with the holistic approach envisaged in the new Whanau Ora approach to service delivery.

“So often what we see is paternalistic policy that’s developed sometimes by Maori but within a Pakeha framework, within a cultural framework that suits bureaucracies in terms of outcomes and outputs and performance measurements and all the rest of it but actually doesn’t work because it’s missing that sort of wairua that’s existing within Maoridom,” Mr Workman says.

Maori may see the world and respond to it in ways that are shaped by their culture.


The head of the Law Commission says Maori are hit harder by the negative effects of alcohol than other New Zealanders.

The commission has released a major study recommending changes to the drinking age, the availability of alcohol, the way it's advertised and its price.

Sir Geoffrey Palmer says there is evidence the disproportionate impact of alcohol consumption on Maori is not simply reflecting inequalities in society but may be creating them.

“Maori are more likely to die of alcohol relate causes and more likely to be apprehended by the police for an offence that involves alcohol and they‘re more likely to experience harmful effects on areas such as their financial position or their work or their study or their employment or suffer injury as a result of drinking,” Sir Geoffrey says.

The negative impact on Maori should be taken more seriously by policymakers.


Hawkes Bay schools are concerned many parents and teachers still don't understand how the National Certificate of Educational Achievement works.

Workshops on the qualification are heing held at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Ngati Kahungunu ki Heretaunga.

Ron Huata, the kura's pou wharekura/ principal, says the NCEA has been round since 2001, but there are barriers to acceptance.

“We know for a fact from our own whanau that we need to explain to them in language they can understand so they can better support their tamariki,” Mr Huata says.

The workshops are for whanau and teachers from all schools in the area.


Tainui is looking forward to hiring a new manager now the Employment Relations Authority has found its executive Te Ara Taura acted appropriately when it sacked former chief executive Hemi Rau for leaking stories to the media.

Chairperson Tukoroirangi Morgan says the ruling should bring an end to what has been a tumultuous and destabilising time for the Waikato iwi, marked by further leaks of confidential information.

He says it's inevitable that as tribes try to develop economically and politically, there will be challenges.

“And those challenges and questions often end up in the press and we have always said that confidentiality of information is hugely important to us. We have to defend our own integrity, but some of our people can't help themselves,” Mr Morgan says.

He says Hemi Rau has made a valuable contribution to Tainui over the years, and it's regrettable the association ended in such a way.


The preservation of South Island rock art has got a $650,000 boost from the Lotteries Board.

Amanda Symon from the Ngai Tahu Maori Rock Art Trust says the grant will allow completion of the trust's $2.7 million museum and interpretive centre in Timaru.

She says there are more than 800 examples of rock art around the Ngai Tahu rohe, with many of the sites open to the weather or vandalism.

The trust wants to raise awareness to the level of other New Zealand icons such as the kiwi.

While it's hard to date rock art, images of now-extinct birds like moan and the giant eagle pouakai indicates some might go back to the first occupants of Te Waipounamu.


The Fire Service believes its fire safety message is getting through to marae.

Maori liaison officer Lana Ngawhika of Tuhourangi-Ngati Wahiao and Ngai Tuhoe says three years of seminars are paying off.

She says attendance at the latest wananga in Rotorua shows Marae trustees are keen to learn how to protect their taonga and wharenui.

The seminars also encourage people to get the message out to whanau about fire safety in the home.


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