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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hide sure Maori have got over snub

Local Government minister Rodney Hide says he believes Maori have got over their initial disappointment at not getting dedicated seats on the Auckland Super City Council and are now working to make the new structure work.

An Iwi Selection Body appointed by Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples is looking for people to represent both mana whenua groups and mataawaka or Maori from tribes outside the region.

He says the government also made sure Maori were included on the baords of the council controlled organisations which will manage most of the super city's assets.

“Local Maori were very disappointed with that decision but nevertheless like all Aucklanders the got behind it, shouldered the disappointment and said let’s make this thing work for Auckland and for us,” Mr Hide says.

He says it's up to councils to decide if they should set aside seats for Maori, and he can imagine Auckland super city doing just that.


The president of the Council of Trade Unions says rural Maori communities are among those likely to suffer most from the Government's insistence on a probation period for teachers in new jobs.

Helen Kelly says the Ministry of Education has rejected attempts by the teacher unions to keep the 90-day fire at will clause out of their collective agreements.

She says that means the Government wants schools to use it.

“And you just think about remote schools, on the East Coast or whatever. If they’re going to start to recruit teachers with a 90-day no right of appeal, who is going to go there, who is going to shift their family up there, move into that community with the risk that for no reason at all they might be dismissed and then deregistered which is what happens to teachers often when they are dismissed, without any right to appeal that,” Ms Kelly says.


Musician Tiki Taane has gone back to the reo of his home people for a track he's gifted to Auckland's Children's Hospital.

The former Salmonella Dub member wrote Starship Lullaby for his infant son Charlie Te Marama.

He says he was jamming on his guitar and noticed how his young fella took a liking to a particular chord structure.

Maniapoto elders helped translate and extend his lyric ideas, and a bilingual lullaby was born.

The song will be available for download from Monday, with all proceeds going to Starship.


A seed has been planted in 100 schools which education reformers hope will lead to better outcomes for Maori students.

Russell Bishop from Waikato University's faculty of education says He Kakano is aimed at school leaders and decision-makers.

He says the programme, which is a joint venture with Te Wananga o Awanuiarangi, will support teachers to identify the needs of their school communities and come up with ways of teaching and interacting with students that are culturally responsive.

“It's an area of setting goals, reforming the institutions, investigating the policies and practices in the schools and also spreading it to include others in the schools and making sure the community is involved in things and above all schools need to take ownership of these issues and the problems and implement solutions,” Professor Bishop says.

The budget for the pilot, $7 million over three years, is being used for workshops, release time and to hire professional leaders who will go into schools and give teachers feedback on how they are implementing He Kakano.


Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson says the level of poverty he is seeing in Maori communities is unprecedented in his lifetime.

Parekura Horomia says the government's failure to address Maori unemployment and its attacks on beneficiaries has created a crisis which tomorrow's increase in GST will make worse.

He says eight in 10 Maori in Wairoa are unemployed, and there are similar problems in parts of Hastings.

“I've never felt more the pressure of abject poverty. People can’t pay their bills. You pile up for petrol. The gst on everything and it’s just a real shocker,” Mr Horomia says.

He says those who can find the fare are looking at Australia as their way out of the crisis.


Work is flowing in for an Okaihau mum who won a $300,000 recording contract in the international online Peace Song writing competition.

Frances Osborne-Tau says her prize-winning song, Be a Li'l Happy, was demoed on a $5 guitar bought from an op shop.

Now with the backing of contest organiser Oikos, the New Zealand of Russian-born classical crossover singer Yulia, the mother of two is going into Wellington's White Noise studio to record a Maori version of Teach the Dream ... the theme song of the US-based foundation of the same name which promotes democracy and education through music.


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