Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, April 26, 2010

Turia keen on Families Commission data

The associate minister of Social Development, Tariana Turia, is defending the Families Commission from an attack by her senior minister, Paula Bennett.

It has emerged that Ms Bennett wrote to former chief executive Jan Pryor that the commission's research was not of a high enough standard to be used when making policy decisions.

Mrs Turia says she's more than happy with the new whanau policy developed by the commission's Whanau Reference Group.

“It's strengths based. It defines the whanau, what gives them strength and what makes them unique and what they need to develop their own resources and skills. We’ve never had this before. And it talks about to building partnerships with whanau, hapu and iwi to ensure well being for whanau so I am really pleased with the work,” Mrs Turia says.

Her Whanau Ora strategy will benefit from the Families' Commission's work.


Former Labour MP Georgina Beyer says an experienced Maori presence in Wairarapa local government could smoothe the waters if pressure comes on for amalgamation.

Ms Beyer is standing for the Masterton mayoralty, while former New Zealand First MP Ron Mark is after her old job as mayor of Carterton.

She expects amalgamation will be on the government's agenda, depending on what happens in the Auckland super city, which makes the quality of leadership at local level critical.

“I reckon with the likes of myself and possibly Ron Mark and some a good selections by voters of councilors, the Wairarapa at least could be in a very good position to get the very best deal if such an event as amalgamation were to occur,” Ms Beyer says.

She's delighted at an unofficial newspaper poll which found 63 percent of Masterton voters back her run.


The organiser of a hui to combat Maori obesity in south Auckland says fast food chains are damaging the community.

Tania Rangiheuea says one in two adult Maori in the region is overweight.

She says Manukau Obesity Community Action, a joint initiative by the Counties Manukau District Health Board and the Manukau Urban Maori Authority, aims to address the problem ... and that could mean taking aim at those in the community who encourage and profit from obesity.

“Businesses in south Auckland are set up to support obesity and promote obesity so we’re fighting against that. I’m talking about fast food outlets,” Ms Rangiheuea says.

Wednesday night's hui at Nga Whare Waatea Marae will allow the community to start working towards a solution to the problem.


Former race relations concilliator Gregory Fortuin says excluding Maori from All Black teams touring South Africa was a grave injustice.

The South African expatriate and rugby enthusiast says there should be no debate about the merits of an apology by either the South African or New Zealand Rugby Unions.

Mr Fortuin (PRON: For-tayn) says he's discussed the issue with the president of the South African union, which has an apology on the agenda for its meeting next month.

“I’ve said to him the issue is not just addressing a grave injustice, but it will also help to assist healing of some deep wounds as well as empower Maoridom and acknowledge the mana they should have had then,” Mr Fortuin says.

Ultimately the public will judge the New Zealand union which is refusing a similar apology for excluding Maori from teams touring South Africa between 1928 and 1960.


A Maori business mentor says many Maori have the ideas to succeed in business but lack the technical know-how to survive.

Lisa Nathan of Nga Puhi and Tainui is contracted by Te Puni Kokiri to train and mentor to small to medium enterprises in Auckland.

She says without business education and experience, people a struggle to make their enterprises last past the first two or three years as issues like tax and lack of working capital come to a head.
Lisa Nathan says schools need to teach rangatahi about life skills like budgeting, and she's started the process by running a young enterprise scheme in a south Auckland high school.

The Maori Battalion is being remembered in Wellington this week in a play being performed nightly at St Bernards School in Brooklyn.

Battalion, written by Helen Pearse-Otene and directed and acted in by her partner Jim Moriarty, tells the story of a Maori veteran looking after a group of boys in a small town, who keeps slipping back into memories of the second world war Battle for Crete.

Mr Moriarty says the Maori Battalion story has special resonance for the cast, who are members of Te Rakau, a residential programme he runs for at-risk rangatahi.

“It wasn't just the crème de la crème that went. It was also the hard case adventurers, the risk takers who were sick of their one cow town, some of them, came down to the big and signed up, fibbed about their ages, and that’s what a lot of our boys are, they’re adventurous risk takers,” Mr Moriarty says.

He hopes to take the play to Crete next year for the 70th anniversary of the battle.


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