Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, May 07, 2010

Maori Wardens calm commuter trains

Auckland rail commuters have been able to get home today thanks to Maori wardens.

The Rail and Maritime Workers union had planned a stop work this afternoon over safety issues which would have disrupted train services in the city.

But co-ordinator Todd Valster the meeting was called off when train operator Veolia agreed to provide more Maori wardens on late night trains.

He says the workers appreciate the wardens' mahi.

“They do have a presence and a mana and are able to keep things under control, as opposed to minimum wage security people that often don’t keep things under control,” Mr Valster says.

Previously the wardens rode on school trains and then came back on around 8pm, but for a two month trial they will be on all evening trains.


There may be more natural resource settlements involving co-management with Maori.

Parliament yesterday passed the Waikato-Tanui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Bill, which gives iwi a say in how the river is cleaned up and used.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says the law points the way ahead by focusing on outcomes rather than ownership, providing a basis for cooperation.

“There's no doubt that this could inspire other iwi and other rivers to be considered at least in terms of some of the ways it was done, so really pleased about that,” Dr Sharples says.

A similar arrangement could be considered for the Whanganui River.


The call of the bellbird will ring again in Kirikiroa.

On Sunday 50 korimako will be released into Te Parapara, Hamilton City Gardens.

Wiremu Puke from Nga Mana Toopu o Kirikiriroa says the birds have been absent from the city for decades, as development wiped out the stands of kahikitea and the swamps where they fed.

He says an urban planting programme is making the area more attractive for other species of maanu.

“There are already significant gains in the planting programme as kahikitea and tawa and miro are reestablished, it may be time to look at the reintroduction of kaka and other birds,” Mr Puke says.

The korimako will come from Tiritiri Matangi Island and Tawharanui Regional Park north of Auckland, and some may eventually find their way to the forests of Mt Pirongia and Maungatautari.


An uptick in manufacturing appears to be helping Maori off the dole.

Benefit figures out today show the number of people getting an unemployment benefit in April dropped by nearly 500, compared with a rise of more than 4000 at the same time last year.

Welfare Minister Paula Benefit says the majority of those moving into work were Maori.

Bill Rosenberg, the economist for the Council of Trade Unions, says sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors are all high employers of Maori, and they are hiring again.

“Manufacturing has been deep in the doldrums, hit very hard by the recession, now just starting to bottom out and rise again, may be starting to take on more people and Maori are starting to benefit from that,” Mr Rosenberg says.

He says manufacturing is far from its peak of two or three years ago, so the high rate of Maori unemployment is likely to continue for some time.


Three Maori poets and songwriters are at the Ballroom Cafe in Wellington to hone some of the skills they hope to pass on to secondary school students.

Tarah Rudolph-Ah kiau, Rawiri James and Troy Hunt are the team for this year's Fresh Tour organised by Toi Maori Aotearoa's literary committees.

Mr Hunt says next week they'll be in Bay of Plenty schools, encouraging rangatahi to create their own stories and perform them in public.

Troy Hunt says the Fresh format is for a one-hour performance at each school followed by workshops on storytelling and presentation.


The rise of Patea Maori Club's Poi E back up the charts after a 25 year break will be a source of pride for contestants in tomorrow's Aotea region kapa haka championships in Whanganui.

Nine teams will take the stage of the Springvale Stadium, including one from the Patea club, two from Te Reanga Morehu o Ratana, and three from Te Matapihi, the roopu led by kapa haka icon Morvin Simon.

Willie Te Aho, the event manager for Te Matatini, says while a team from the region is yet to win the national championships, Aotea's distinct style is always valued and has taken kapa haka round the world.

Aotea will complete the regional championships, and teams will start preparing new material for Te Matatini in Gisborne in February.


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