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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, August 06, 2010

Ngati Whatua teams with Unitec for education

Ngati Whatu see great educational opportunities opening up with the signing yesterday of a memorandum of understanding with Auckland's Unitec Institute of technology.

Education manager Clay Hawke says Ngati Whatua o Orakei Trust Board is rapt with the agreement which has been three years in the making.

“It provides good opportunity for our people and our future and will open up a lot of doors for our whanau to become education and qualified and hopefully to find some good jobs,” Mr Hawke says.

The MOU includes scholarships in carpentry which will give young members to be involved with papakainga housing the iwi intends to develop as well as in early child education, health and business.

He says such initiatives are most pertinent at a time when a further jump in the number of Maori unemployed has been announced.


Labour MP Shane Jones is cynical about the government's announcement of childhood education funding on a day when figures showing a sharp jump in Maori unemployment were released.

Yesterday Education minister Anne Tolley and Associate education minister Pita Sharples announced expenditure of $4.2 million for five North Island early childhood centres targeting Maori and pacifika children, including $1.8 million for Kawakawa's Ngati Hine Health Trust.

Mr Jones says the announcement should not hide the fact that figures out yesterday show that while unemployment nationally has jumped from 6 percent to 6.8 percent, the Maori rate has climbed from 14.2 percent to 16.4 percent, meaning 26,400 Maori are now without jobs - an increase of 3600 since the previous quarter.

“Early Childhood Education is without doubt an important area but it cannot mask the reality that many of the families that are going to need that sort of intervention now will have young men and young women who are laving school too early and going on the unemployment scrapheap,” Mr Jones says.

He says Dr Sharples sat-by talking about flags over prisons rather than fighting the tax cuts for the rich instead of jobs for unemployed young Maori


The winner of this year’s Prime Minister's supreme teaching award says he's been proud to have been involved in the establishment of the Maori Printmakers’ Collective.

Marty Vreede founded the print workshop at Whanganui's UCOL Quay School of Arts 20 years ago.

He has hosted dozens of printmaking workshops in the River City over the past two decades, as well as helping set up the Toi Whakataa collective.

“People like Vanessa Edwards and Simon Kahn, Sam Farquhar belong to Toi Whakataa which is a group that has been put together to try and consolidate a core of Maori artists which try to use printmaking to drive their ideas visually,” Mr Vreede says.


Prison reformer Kim Workman says the government's crime policies are putting young Maori prisoners at risk from those serving long lags.

Mr Workman from Rethinking Crime and Punishment says about 3 percent of people in prison are really dangerous predators who are intimidating and violating the 85 percent of prisoners who are serving terms of less than three months.....most of whom are Maori.

“You get this situation where inevitably people will decide to manufacture or find weapons in order to defends themselves and of course then that creates a culture of violence which tends to perpetuate itself,” Mr Workman says.

Policies such as Three Strikes and Your Out mean that an increasing number of prisoners have nothing to lose by initiating violent assaults.

He says over-crowding and double bunking could create a catastrophe and community work should be used to keep minor offenders out of what have become violent concrete jungles where prison officers with the best will in the world can't cope.


The site co-ordinator for Te Wananga O Aotearoa's Auckland campus says their predominantly Asian clientele warm to the culturally focused style of the country's largest tertiary provider.

Gwyn Lewis says most of the more than 2000 students who have taken classes at the campus over the past couple of years have been Asian woman.

She says in spite of some communication difficulties, the Asian students have warmed to the educator’s style.

The campus developed as a partnership between the wananga, and the Unite Union, which wanted to give members the chance to upskill.


Kiwi MC & Hip Hop artist, Maitreya (PRON My Tray Ah) otherwise known as Jamie Greenslade, has been named a finalist in the Apra Silver Scroll Awards Maioha Award - which celebrates contemporary Maori music.

The te reo rhyming Pakeha artist grew up in the South Island and says he ended up in a te reo class purely by accident.

He says it wasn't until he was in the hip hop capital of New York six years ago that he realised how the Maori language helped him stand out from the crowd.

Maitreya's song Sin City is one of three finalists in next month's Silver Scroll music awards.


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