Waatea News Update

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

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, April 30, 2010

NCEA bringing positive change for Maori students

Maori under-achievement at school is being rapidly turned around.

The president of the Secondary Principal's Association, Patrick Walsh, says latest figures show a huge increase in the number of Maori staying on until year 13 and passing levels 1, 2 and 3 of the National Certificate of Education Achievement.

He says while a lack of jobs in the economy means students are more likely to stay on, Maori also find the greater range of subjects under NCEA attractive.

“When you look at the way things were four or five years ago, there’s been a huge leap in the achievement of Maori students and more Maori students are entitled to attend universities. I think that’s a fantastic thing for schools when you also conider that what we’ve got now in New Zealand of course is the browning of New Zealand, we are going to have more Maori and Pacific students in our schools,” Mr Walsh says.

The improved engagement of Maori students in schools is leading to less anti-social behaviour and a reduction in criminal offending.


Relations between Auckland Regional Council chair Mike Lee and city mayor John Banks have plummeted over attitudes to heritage management.

Mr Lee accuses the super city mayoral candidate of politicking over converting century-old sheds on Queens Wharf into Rugby World Cup party central, while at the same time his council is fighting the ARC in court over protection of an ancient Maori settlement site on Waiheke.

But Mr Banks says in the five months he has left in the job, Mr Lee should reflect on how hard it is to do business with the regional council.

“He's quite bitter and quite twisted about anyone that has any view that he doesn’t share. If it’s not his view, he doesn’t share it, they’re wrong, they’re mad, they’re bad. You can’t be like that in politics. You have to disagree without being disagreeable,” Mr Banks says.


Police are considering how they can use Maori wardens to help with any extra work associated with the Rugby World Cup.

Superintendent Grant O'Fee, who's in charge of police planning for the event, says wardens and police are working more closely after a police-led training programme.

He says it makes sense to include them in planning for the cup.

He says how each district uses wardens will be a partnership between the police and the wardens.

Superintendent O'Fee says the response from Maori wardens to being involved has been extremely positive.


Health Waikato researchers have found young Maori in the region have the highest reported infection rates in the world of the sexually transmitted disease Chlamydia, which can cause infertility.

Research head Jane Morgan estimates one in 10 under 25 year olds have Chlamydia with one in five young Maori women testing positive compared to one in nine non-Maori.

She says similar research in other parts of the country would probably uncover similar rates, and they are almost certainly due to high levels of testing compared to other countries.

“The last message I want to get out there is there is any difference in sexual behaviour. It may be that some young women have greater difficulty getting their partners to use a condom. That might be and issue but it’s not an issue of promiscuity, it’s an issue of access. Access to antibiotics. Access to condoms – how do young people actually get condoms,” Dr Morgan says.

She says 70 percent of people with Chlamydia don't know they have it.


The head of the Problem Gambling Foundation says the organisation is starting to make a dent in Maori gambling.

Graeme Ramsey says the number of people seeking treatment was up 25 percent last year, and more than a third of those assisted were Maori.

He says awareness campaigns and the impact of the recession are encouraging gamblers to face up to their sickness.

“Treatment works. We can help people who are impacted by gambling whether that is gamblers or their whanau or even the employers of gamblers,” Mr Ramsey says.

More than 70 percent of problem gambling comes from pokie machines which have a particular attraction for Maori, so the sinking lid policies many councils are adopting are starting to have an impact.


A Maori community worker is finding his new job listening to victims of state abuse is unexpectedly harrowing.

Bobbie Newson from Te Rarawa is part of a new Confidential Listening and Assistance Service for people who claim they were abused in psychiatric hospitals, health camps, child welfare care or special education homes before 1992.

He says many of those wanting to tell their stories are Maori, and what he's hearing at sessions in Arohata women’s prison, and Rimutaka Prison show the need for the service.

“I can only take one or two of these a day. You can sit there, you can cry, you can laugh with them and then it’s like they bring their life before you, and some of it is really really sad,” Mr Newson says.

The panel can't pay compensation, but it can suggest ways people can get further help.

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