Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Turei praises women’s organisation

Greens co-leader Metria Turei will have a message of tautoko and encouragement when she speaks at the 59th Maori Women's Welfare league conference in Gisborne today.

She says the league remains a strong sounding board for Maori kaupapa, and its support groups and leadership mentoring programmes mean it also has an eye on the future.

Ms Turei says the Maori Womens Welfare League has a long and proud history.

"Maori women have real political and social issues we need to organise ourselves for and I find Maori Women’s Welfare Leagues is still a powerful organization with powerful advocacy and I think it’s fantastic it’s still going after all this time," Ms Turei says.


The Taranaki Maori Sports Awards is promising a double-helping of McAlistairs at its gala event in Hawera in November.

It has lined up Charlie McAlistair, who played professional league for Oldham in the English comp, and his son Luke, who plays for the All Blacks and New Zealand Maori.

Organising commitee member Leanne Matuku says in the world of professional sports it's always good to have a back-up in case Luke makes the All Blacks’ end of year tour.


A Maori mother of two from the small Northland settlement of Okaihau has won an international peace songwriting competition.

Frances Osborne-Tau beat hundreds of entries from around the world to win the People's Choice Award in the on-line competition, giving her a $300,000 recording contract.

Be a Li'l Happy was the first song she has written, and she recorded it using a $5 guitar she brought from an op shop 10 years ago.

She says the competition's positive values inspired her words.

Frances Osborne - Tau says Oikos Music, the label of Russian-born singing star Yulia, will be record and distribute Be a Li'l Happy through cable TV networks in Europe and North America as well as through digital download sites.


A hundred schools have signed on to pilot a new leadership programme,He Kakano, which aims to improve education for Maori.

Waikato University's faculty of education and Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi have a three-year $7 million contract to deliver advice, support and professional development to schools in the programme.

Professor Russell Bishop says it draws on what's been learned from the classroom-based Te Kotahitanga programme about how Maori students learn, and how schools can take the identity, language and culture of their students into account.

He Kakano or the seed is for boards of trustees, principals, heads of department down to the individual teacher level.

“We're offering them a model which is based on the book we’ve just published, Scaling Up Education Reform. That book gives a seven point model for making a difference in schools and we’re saying, when leaders at whatever level they are in the schools can implement these seven points effectively, then you will see change taking place, because that’s what we found in our Te Kotahitanga schools,” Professor Bishop says.

Schools benefit for having an outside groups like the university or wananga to help them critically analyse what is going on in the classroom.


The president of the Maori Women’s Welfare League says issues like child abuse are posing new challenges for the organisation as it moves into its 59th year.

The league is holding its annual hui at Gisborne Boys High.

Meaghan Joe says it's an event wahine Maori look forward to as a place to discuss social and political issues that affect whanau, and its work is as relevant as it's ever been.

“We've just got to look at all the abuse that’s involved in our whanau of our children, of women themselves and of the elderly so we are very much aware of that and we do as much as we can to make changes for the betterment of our communities and our people,” Ms Jones says.

As the daughter of one of the league's founding members, she has a deep sense of pride in what it has achieved over the years.


A Waitara-based Maori fashion label that started out selling tee shirts and hoodies four years ago is making the leap from streetware to haute couture.

Keri Wanoa and her husband Hemi Sundgren from Whiri presented their He Kahukura collection at last week's New Zealand fashion awards.
Ms Wanoa says the future of the label is further up the market.

“A lot of the things are hand made, certainly not mass production. When you’re making taniko, just the pocket pieces take a long time when they’re hand woven. So it’s about creating that balance but we definitely are high end,” Ms Wanoa says.

She says showing at New Zealand's premiere fashion event is a great way for Maori designers to improve their brand recognition.


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