Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More resources needed for wider reo uptake

The chief executive of the Maori Language Commission says more resources would be needed if te reo Maori becomes a compulsory subject in schools.

More than a third of New Zealander say they would be happy for the language to be added to the curriculum.

Glenis Philip Barbara says the survey result from Research New Zealand was a pleasant surprise for Te Taura Whiri, which is the agency responsible for advising the government.

“If we were to achieve something like this, we would have to have a close look at how we prepare the teacher supply for this kind of mahi. The overwhelming feedback I get from teachers in the field is there isn’t enough of this resource on the ground now even to service the interest coming through from families and students,” Ms Philip-Barbara says.

She says it could take up to a decade to train up enough teachers to teach Maori to all New Zealand children.


Otago University researchers a celebrating a big drop in the number of Maori women getting cervical cancer.

Bridget Robson from Ngati Raukawa, the head of the Eru Pomare Maori Health Research Centre at the Wellington School of Medicine, says analysis of 11 years of data shows Maori mortality rates from cervical cancer fell by 11 percent a year, compared with a 5 percent annual drop in the non-Maori rate.

She says that's a significant closing of the gap.

“Other researchers found thee is no difference in treatment between Maori and non-Maori with cervical cancer. Now we need to focus on preventing Maori women getting cervical cancer which is through regular screening and vaccination against the HPV virus and also to get the cancer detected early because that is the only difference between Maori and non-Maori that affects our survival,” Ms Robson says.

The rate of Maori deaths from lunch cancer is also coming down but remains three times that of non-Maori, justifying much stronger moves to cut down smoking.


The editor of a book on the state of the Waikato River says the Government's investment in cleaning up the river is positive, but it may not be enough.

The Waters of the Waikato brings together 38 experts for the first comprehensive study of the river for 30 years.

Kevin Collier from Environment Waikato and the University of Waikato says while he would swim in the river at Hamilton, it gets too polluted for recreational use further downstream.

He says the co-management plan involving iwi, the crown and local authorities is a step forward, but only $7 million a year for the next 30 years has been set aside for pollution control.

“I think we have got to look at the scoping studies being done at the moment, look at the options that are available and what work is planned where and make some judgments based on that,” Dr Collier says.

Waters of the Waikato identified land management to control sediment run-off as the major issue needing to be addressed.


Iwi leaders say they will accept a challenge from the Minister of Social Development, Paula Bennett, to do more to tackle social issues like child abuse.

But Tainui chair Tukoroirangi Morgan says the leaders' forum at Hopuhopu last week rejected the minister's idea that they should fund such services out of their own pockets.

He says ideas like getting more children now in state care back out with whanau or iwi are welcome, but they will only work if the resources follow the child.

“Iwi will never allow the Crown to abrogate its social responsibility of employment, of education, of the basic social services, and as we assume greater responsibility, that’s not an opportunity for the Crown to walk away from its primary role, that is the provision of core services,” Mr Morgan says.

Iwi leaders saw Paula Bennett's speech as being about finding innovative ways to restore the health of of their people, rather than being institutional racism as the Green Party has claimed.


An Australian who used social media to fight racial intolerance in Melbourne says there are lessons for Maori wanting to fight discrimination here.

Mia Northrop's Vindaloo Against Violence campaign used Facebook and Twitter to get 17 thousand people dining in 400 Indian restaurants in one night, as a way to show support to Indians who where being attacked in the streets.

She told yesterday's Human Rights Commission Diversity Forum in Christchurch that similar Flash Mobs could be used by activists groups here.

“There is always a hard core group that is very political, that will go to protests, who will get their voice heard. What I wanted to reach are all those who don’t consider themselves political people, who felt strongly about this but might not feel strongly about marching in the streets so to speak or going to rallies so I think social media can help you reach new audiences you are not reaching through your existing networks,” Ms Northrop says.

The key to the Vindaloo campaign was making the jump from social networks to mainstream media.


The mayor of the Far North, Wayne Brown, says the Ngapuhi Runanga's endorsement of a rival candidate makes no sense.

Mr Brown says if former Auckland International Airport head John Goulter get his job, he would have to go off the tribe's investment committee.

He says Ngapuhi chair Sonny Tau doesn't seem to have thought through the endorsement.

“I find it a bit hard to believe Maori leaders are pushing for a JAFA really. It doesn’t make sense and I’ve known Sonny for donkey’s years and he’s usually quite rational but everyone has a bad day,” Mr Brown says.

He says Mr Tau is more on the button with his support for western community board chair Tracy Dalton as a councilor, as the Far North could benefit from having a capable Maori woman on board.


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