Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, August 20, 2010

Chance to learn reo valued

A pioneer in teaching te reo Maori in mainstream schools says pressure from the young may eventually get Maori made compulsory in schools.

Rahera Shortland, who started an immersion stream at Auckland Girls Grammar, says she's buoyed by a survey finding that 38 percent of New Zealanders would support adding te reo to the core curriculum.

Those under 35 are evenly split on the question.

She says in her current role as chair of the Maori language teaching network Te Ataarangi, she hears of people's frustration at not having te reo.

“The numbers of Pakeha people and Maori that I have come across who feel that they have been robbed of the opportunity to learn Maori in the schools simply because it’s an option and quite often the options are opposite things that young people like to do anyway so if we had it compulsory you wouldn’t have to choose another subject to take Maori,” Mrs Shortland says.

Many young parents feel disadvantaged because they can't speak Maori to their children attending kohanga and kura.


The Prime Minister, John Key, has been in Ngaruawahia today attending the annnual hui marking the coronation of King Tuheitia.

Dodging intermittent rain, Mr Key was accompanied onto Turangawaewae Marae by the Minister of Social Development, Paula Bennett, and associate Maori Affairs Minister Georgina Te Heuheu.

The Prime Minister spent the previous evening meeting iwi leaders at Hopuhopu. Hearing them reiterate their desire for ownership of the foreshore to be shared by Maori and the Crown under a new treaty title.

Mr Key indicated this was unlikely.

However he was more positive at the iwis’ willingness to become involved in public private partnerships to build new government infrastructure.


The New Zealand Educational Institute says a new scheme to boost participation of Maori and Pacific children in early childhood education comes at the expense of tamariki already in the system.

Education Minister Anne Tolley says children in Waitakere and Te Tai Tokerau will be the first to benefit from the $92 million set aside in the Budget.

But Judith Nowotarski, the NZEI's vice president, says getting an extra 3500 children into the sector doesn't make up for the 92,000 children who get a lower standard of education because $400 million will be stripped from existing centres.

She says the government's decision to fund places for only 80 percent of qualified teachers means many centres will raise fees or cut hours.


An iwi negotiator says there is a groundswell of support among Maori leaders for Sir Taihakurei Durie to be the next governor general.

The former Waitangi Tribunal chair and High Court judge and Rangitane elder was at yesterday's iwi leaders forum at Hopuhopu giving his analysis of water ownership issues and the need for a unified approach by Maori.

Wille Te Aho from Ngati Porou and Te Arawa says the presentation reminded the hui of his experience and exceptional legal brain.

“Question was raised about who should champion these issues and he said you’ve got a lot of young legal guns out there and the response from the iwi was we’d rather have the wise legal guns and so he’s certainly one of those. He walks amongst many cultures and is respected amongst many cultures. I think he’d be ideal as Governor General,” Mr Te Aho says.


A last minute surge in nominations means the country's only three dedicated Maori seats will be closely fought in October's local body election.

Cindy Butt, the returning officer for Environment Bay of Plenty, says when nominations closed at noon eight people had put their hands up for Okurei, which takes in Rotorua, two in the Tauranga-centred Mauao ward and three in Kohi, covering the eastern Bay of Plenty.

She says it's an endorsement of the council's decision to create the seats.

“It does seem that there is a lot of interest out there in local government given the amount of nominations we have received. Good news. Great new. It’s always good for democracy,” Ms Butt says.

In Mauao Maori, incumbent Raewyn Bennett has been challenged by Andre Paterson, Tiipene Marr must beat Miro Araroa and Phillip Hohapata-Oke to retain Kohi, and Tai Eru in Okurei will be hoping his seven opponents split the vote between them.


The late Te Miringa Hohaia is being remembered as a visionary who was able to take the Parihaka legacy forward.

Mr Hohaia died suddenly on Tuesday and is lying in state at the historic marae.

Taranaki kaumatua Peter Moehau says over the years Mr Hohaia clashed with many in the Taranaki establishment, but was able to bring the tribe together to support his dream of a Parihaka Peace Festival.

He was also committed to reviving and passing on traditions, and is the fifth person in recent years to opt for burial in the traditional kahu waka tere.

“He is lying in state at the moment not in a coffin or casket as such but simply wrapped in the flax containers that our women wove for him before he arrived at the marae. It should be a really interesting night tonight when the discussions take place about how and even where he may be buried,” Mr Moeahu says.

He says an extraordinary range of people, Maori and Pakeha, going through the tangi was testament to how Te Miringa Hohaia touched the lives of so many.


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