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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bennett request over the top

Labour leader Phil Goff says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett's targeting of iwi to put their hands in their pockets to pay for child abuse programmes is over the top.

Ms Bennett last week told iwi leaders half the chidren under the care of Child, Youth and Family were Maori, and she wanted iwi to take some responsibility ... but there was no money in her budget to pay for what she wanted.

Mr Goff says the 21,000 children abused and neglected last year is a problem for everybody.

“For Paula Bennett just to single out Maori and then to say ‘you pay for it yourself’ I thought was really over the top. What she should be doing is looking at a partnership, getting the cooperation of the community, working with iwi, working with whanau but it’s the government’s role to get in behind and make sure the resourcing is there so all of our kids get proper protection and the best start in life,” Mr Goff says.


One of Environment Canterbury's government-appointed commissioners says the regional council's relationship with tangata whenua is improving.

Donald Couch is a former deputy chair of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu.

He says the council has regular talks with the iwi, which last year went to court to challenge consents granted for water from the Waitaki River.

He says one positive outcome of the closer relationship is the adoption of bilingual place names on all future Environment Canterbury documentation.


Maori filmmakers are paying their tributes to film pioneer Rei Tukupai Rakatau of Ngati Haua, who died on Tuesday at the age of 81.

Mr Rakatau was the first kaumatua for the New Zealand Film Commission and chose its alternate name, Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga.

Ella Henry from Maori film and televison group Nga Aho Whakaari says as well as acting, Mr Rakatau helped filmakers including Barry Barclay and Merata Mita negotiate questions of tikanga.

She says he was loved at the flax routes and known around the world for his contribution to filmmaking.

Rei Rakatau is lying at the Rukumoana Marae near Morrinsville.
His service is on Saturday morning.. moe mai e te koroua


The Prime Minister, John Key, says he values the different perspective iwi leaders bring to social issues.

Mr Key spent time last week with the Iwi Leaders Forum, and his Social Development Minister, Paula Bennett, then invited the forum to contribute physically and financially to programmes for the large number of Maori children now in state care.

He says he approved Ms Bennett's speech before delivery.

“I think one of the interesting things that she is trying to do is engage those leaders in social issues and I’ve been trying to do a little bit of that myself often coming at it from a National Party perspective, we think of it in economic terms, economic development, but there’s huge power in that iwi leadership and in their tentacles and in their reach within their communities and it’s just simply saying let’s work together on this,” Mr Key says.

One idea Ms Bennett put up for iwi funding is for a network of whanau finders to seek out the connections of Maori children under the care of Child, Youth an Family.


Environment Canterbury commissioners are today expected to formalise a deal to use dual Maori and English names for places in the regional council's territory.

Commissioner Donald Couch says the change to official documents was foreshadowed in Ngai Tahu's treaty settlement, but hadn't been actioned.

The former Ngai Tahu Runanga deputy chair says he was disappointed when he was appointed to the council three months ago to find the council itself didn't have a Maori name.

“Within a month I took it to the council and they approved it unanimously so it’s now Environment Canterbury, Kaunihera Taio ki Waitaha, so very positive response,” Mr Couch says.

Names he hopes will get wider adoption include Hakatere or the Ashburton River, Kaumira instead of Mount Nimrod and Ka Tiritiri o te Moana, the Southern Alps.


Still on the subject of words, Nelson's Whakatu Marae has gone positive.

Manager Trevor Wilson says the marae has a policy of focusing on positive outcomes rather than the negative statistics around Maori life - and it's the sort of attitude that won it a Human Rights Commission diversity award for its highly successful Waitangi Day Kai Festival.

He says a simple change of language can have major implications.

“You've got a programme where you are trying to prevent whanau from being involved in violence, rather than even going there we call it wonderful wahine so celebrate the good things about being who they are. We don’t deal qwith the negatives they have been involved in. However, byproduct of dealing with the positive stuff, they realise that themselves,” Mr Wilson says.

The new positivity is drawing lots of whanau back to Whakatu Marae, and new programmes are being developed.


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