Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Family essential to early childhood education

One of the guiding lights behind the kohanga reo movement says a greater focus on pre-school education and family development will have benefits for all of society.

Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, who became the founding chief executive and then chair of the Kohanga Reo National trust after a long career as a Maori welfare officer, says the current approach to Maori families is about fixing individual things that go wrong, rather than looking at the bigger picture.

She says there are more than 40,000 Maori children under 5 who are not in pre-school education.

“That's a frightening number because while we are trying to fix them at a teenage level they are giving birth and graduating because we are not there at the beginning of their lives. That was the magic of Kohanga Reo when it started. We were there in the homes,” Dame Iritana says.

She says working productively with families takes special skills, and the current silo-based fix it model of social work isn't up to the task.


A member of the independent panel reviewing the government's spending on te reo Maori initiatives says the job could take longer than expected.

The Minister for Maori Affairs, Pita Sharples, has indicated he wants the report completed early next year.

“But Pania Papa, a teacher and broadcaster from Tainui, says the panel needs to consult widely as well as conduct an in-depth review of a multitude of government agencies before it gives Dr Sharples any recommendations he can take to Cabinet.

“Now he's wanting to do that sometime next year, preferably before Maori language week, but we’re not so sure that the big amount of work that needs to be done in order for this job to be done properly is able to be done in that time frame,” Ms Papa says.

The next step is to organise 10 rohe hui to get community feedback on existing language promotion programmes.


A Franklin county councilor hopes to be the first Maori elected to the Auckland super city council.

Des Morrison from Ngapuhi is standing on the Citizens and Ratepayers ticket for the Franklin ward.

The former New Zealand Steel executive says his two previous election wins shows a person's reputation is more important than ethnicity.

He says he has a lot of support from the business community because of his work with New Zealand Steel, from rugby connection and from being on the board of Wesley College.

One of the things he did on the Franklin council was push for the establishment of its Maori standing committee.


A leading Tauranga kaumatua says the release of a second Waitangi Tribunal report on Taurangamoana claims will help focus settlement negotiations.

In its report on events and Crown actions that happened after the original raupatu confiscations of the 1860s, the tribunal found Tauranga tribes were marginalised socially, culturally, and economically, and their socio-economic status lags behind non-Maori.

Hauata Palmer says there were initial fears that the claims would open up old wound in an area where hapu and iwi had taken different sides in the war, but it became clear that all suffered in the following century.

“At the time of the first lot of claims, feelings were still running pretty high about proportions, about who lost most, but now we’ve got to the reality of what can be returned in terms of redress, I’m pleased that discussions we are having inter-iwi are going a lot more positively than I had originally thought,” Mr Palmer says.

The three iwi, Ngai Te Rangi, Ngati Ranginui and Ngati Pukenga, hope to complete their settlements by the end of 2012.


Maori speakers in Helensville are being encouraged to engage in conversation with local high school students.

Kaipara College is issuing its reo Maori students with badges indicating their proficiency level.

Carlin Shaw, the head of Maori studies, says it's part of making the language a part of normal life.

“At the end of the day I hope there is more korero Maori, not just in my classroom. It’s beautiful in my classroom, they try and are writing Maori and stuff. The next step is hearing more Maori in the community as a whole,” Mr Shaw says.

About 40 of the Kaipara College's 200 Maori students are learning te reo, but he hopes wider community acceptance will lead more to take it up.


Three time Women's Rugby World Cup winner Farah Palmer has congratulated the Black Ferns for making it cup number four.

Since retiring from the team the Piopio native has been busy lecturing at Massey University, serving as an independent director of the Maori Rugby Board, and having a baby, at 37.

She says the Ferns' 13-10 win over England to clinch the title had all the drama one expects from a cup final.

It was exciting to have fellow Tainui player Carla Hohepa from Te Awamutu named as player of the tournament.


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