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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Parata pep talk gets trustees buzzing

The president of the School Trustees Association, Lorraine Kerr, says trustees are taking to heart a call to do something about Maori being ripped off by the education system.

Apryll Parata, the Education Ministry's deputy secretary for Maori education, told the association's annual conference on the weekend that there would be widespread outrage if half of all Pakeha children were being failed by the system.

She said trustees should make principals and teachers address the issue of Maori underachievement.

Ms Kerr, from Ngati Awa and Tuwharetoa says trustees have been talking for years about the under-achievers.

“The bulk of them are Maori and we’ve known that for ages and she helped them make the connection that these children will not go away, we cannot afford to forget who they are or put them in the back of the room or put them in a corner because they also come out at the other end in terms of prisons,” Ms Kerr says.

Evaluation forms show conference delegates rated Ms Parata's speech highly.


The retiring head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry says MAF's partnerships with Maori landowners is a success story that's gone under the radar.

Murray Sherwin, who retires in November after 9 years as director general, says Crown Forests is a $120 million a year venture run by five public servants managing state-owned trees on Maori land.

While it pays rent, the business now aims to return a commercially viable forestry operation to iwi as soon as possible.

“It's been a very successful operation, mostly under the radar, but we’ve got some very strong relationships, mostly in the North Island with Ngati Tuwharetoa north, and in those cases have run some very smart forestry operations, been able to deliver good returns to iwi and also been able to transfer year by year more of the forest into iwi management and control,” Mr Sherwin says.

While the objective of Crown Forests is to do itself out of a job, its success has meant it keeps getting more work, such as managing Timberlands West Coast.


An Australian tourism expert says many visitors to the land down under go home disappointed at the lack of an indigenous experience.

Tony Charters says Aboriginal operators, and the sector in general, needs to learn from Maori operators.

He says having looked around the country as a judge in New Zealand's Tourism for Tomorrow awards, he was impressed how ventures like Whale Watch Kaikoura are meeting the demand for both eco and indigenous tourism.

Mr Charters says Maori and Aborigines should not compete against each other but can work together to providea complete package for visitors.


Labour's associate education spokesperson, Kelvin Davis, has hit back at a senior Education Ministry official's call for school trustees to address Maori educational under-achievement.

Apryll Parata, the deputy secretary for Maori education, told the School Trustee's Association conference implementing the Ministry's Ka Hikitia Maori education strategy, as well as national standards in reading, writing and maths would help.

But Mr Davis, a former school principal, says instead of bashing teachers, Ms Parata and her minister Anne Tolley should acknowledge the social issues behind the under-achievement.

“Anne Tolley in particular just wants to go out and bash teachers and say it’s the teachers’ fault, it’s the teachers’ problem. She’s getting a few Maori with high profile now to come in and blame the education system, blame schools and I think they are being disingenuous. They need to realise as well it’s not entirely the schools' fault,” Mr Davis says.

He says schools need resources to help their pupils, and Maori families also need support to help their kids educationally.


Maori Rugby legend Bill Bush says it's time for the New Zealand Rugby Football Union to really promote Maori rugby.

He says the boot in mouth performance that cost Andy Haden his role as Rugby World Cup ambassador opens the door for Ngapuhi's Buck Shelford, the only unbeaten All Black captain, to get the job.

He says the Maori team's centenary clean sweep, including two games against international sides, has highlighted the strength of the Maori brand alongside the New Zealand brand ... and needs to be followed up with more overseas fixtures.

“I think they’ll take it on board because it’s a financial problem with them. If we can set up another board to go and look for that finance from sponsorship we could find our own games through places like Spain, Japan, China, the lesser nations that don’t get the experienced sides to go in. We could be that vehicle for the New Zealand Union,” Mr Bush says.


Waitakere City's Maori relationships manager says this year's Tataki Korero event is tinged with sadness as the last Matariki event before Waiitakere becomes part of the super city.

The three night series on sustainable Maori development started last night with a session on entrepreneurship.

Rewi Spraggon says tonight's focus is on iwi-owned businesses, with Ropata Taylor from Nelson's Wakatu Incorporation, Hemi Rau from south Kaipara incorporation Otakanini Topu, Aroha Campbell from Taupo geothermal developers Tauhara North No. 2, and Matene Love from Kia Kaha clothing.

“They're people that have successfully turned businesses around and then on the last night discussion on where are we going with treaty settlements. We’ve got Tahu Potiki, Te Warena Taua, June McNab and who we have got facilitating that panel session is the one and only Annette Sykes so that is going to be exciting on its own,” Mr Spraggon says.


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