Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, April 12, 2010

Te Kotahitanga boosts NCEA results

A Waikato secondary teacher is crediting a Maori-oriented professional development programme for a big boost in his school's NCEA rating.

Barney Wharekura says since Ngarawahia High School introduced Te Kotahitanga, the number of Maori students achieving level one of the national certificate by year 11 has almost doubled, from 42 to 78 percent.

He says with an 80 percent Maori roll, staff embraced the new philosophy of promoting a Maori perspective across all subjects and encouraging students to be proud of their culture.

The number of Maori students passing Level One NCEA has risen nationally from 45 to 57 percent over the past five years.


Labour's Maori spokesperson is welcoming changes to legal aid which could mean many lawyers are dropped from the scheme.

The Government is adopting most of the recommendations made by former Social welfare head Dame Margaret Bazley in a report alleging incompetent and corrupt lawyers were milking the system.

Lawyers will be required to sit competency tests before going on the legal aid roster, the public defender service will be expanded and management of the scheme will be brought back into the Ministry of Justice.

Parekura Horomia says too many legal aid lawyers string out the court process to get fees for repeated appearances and recommending guilty pleas rather than looking after the interests of young Maori clients.

“Margaret Bazley is well known for getting to the bottom of things and I think it’s great that it’s happening now and their should be some stringency because I have a real view why Maori youth criminal numbers are up so high,” Mr Horomia says.

He believes some lawyers have also been milking legal aid on treaty claims work.


A reading of Albert Belz's 2003 breakout play Awhi Tapu will kick off a monthly series showcasing the work of south Auckland playwrights.

Jenni Heka from Playmarket says Manukau is home to new voices that are changing Maori and Pacific theatre.
She says the Playmarket Metro Playreading Series starting at the Metro Theatre in Mangere East on Thursday should create opportunities for writers, actors and directors in the region.

Awhi Tapu is directed by veteran actor Rawiri Paratene.


A Maori All Black great says the 1956 team was told by the government of the day to throw its match against the Springboks.
Full back Muru Walters, who's now an Anglican bishop, says it's not just the New Zealand Rugby Football Union that should apologise for excluding Maori players from teams that toured South Africa.
He says before the match in Auckland, then-Maori affairs minister Ernest Corbet visited the dressing room.

“What he said was this; we must not win this game or else we’ll never be invited to South Africa again. I thought he was joking. And then another official came in and said the same thing, have a match, but whatever you do, for the future of rugby, don’t beat the South Africans,” Bishop Walters says.

The message demoralised the team, and it went down 37-nil.

The chair of the Whanau Ora governance group says the new method for delivery of government services should result in less bureaucracy, more empowerment, and more direct resourcing of Maori communities.

Rob Cooper from Ngati Hine will oversee the programme alongside Sir Mason Durie from Rangitane, Nancy Tuaine from Whanganui and the heads of the ministries of Health, Social Development and Maori Development.

He says the answers to Maori underdevelopment are well known, but what past initiatives lacked was the will from politicians and bureaucrats to make them work.

“Ka Awatea, Puao o te Ata Tu, Maatua Whangai, all of these were nascent Maori policies aimed at greater Maori involvement and all of them went aground for lack of political support and yet there wouldn‘t be an intelligent Maori person in the country who didn’t agree they were all headed in the right direction,” Mr Cooper says.


A Maori tour operator says making sure visitors have the time of their lives is the key to her company's latest success.

Auckland-based TIME Unlimited Tours has won the global Indigenous Tourism and Biodiversity Website award put up by eco-tourism website Planeta.com and the secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

Ceilhe Sperath from Ngapuhi says the website aims to give customers an appreciation of Maori culture even before they get to Aotearoa.

“We've made sure we’re always tailoring it to their interests because that way they’re getting the holiday experience they’re after rather than what we want to provide for them,” she says.

Mrs Sperath says visitors want to learn not only about contemporary Maori culture but about how New Zealanders get on with each other.


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