Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, October 01, 2010

Education cuts striking Maori apirations

The president of the Council of Trade Unions Helen Kelly says Maori communities suffer hugely from cuts in education.

Helen Kelly delivered a message of support to the Post Primary Teachers' Association Conference in Wellington yesterday.

She says the cuts are having a dramatic effect on low income communities where Maori are disproportionately represented.

“Things like the cuts to night schools are real cuts to second chance education. Early childhood education, Maori have invested huge amounts of energy setting up early childhood centres and getting their kids into these centres. To have this funding cut, to remove the requirement for trained teachers in those early childhood services, really serious implications for Maori kids,” Ms Kelly says.

She says the Education Ministry's insistence that schools put new staff on a 90-day probation will put teachers off applying for remote schools which are likely to have high Maori rolls.


An Otago University archeologist believes he has found out why Golden Bay Maori attacked Abel Tasman's crew in 1642.

The traditional view is that the first recorded European-Maori contact went wrong because the Dutch were seen as strangers and enemies.

But Ian Barber says his excavations in Golden Bay indicate that Tasman's crew was seen as a threat to crops and stored food close to their likely landing spot.

“These guys visiting, big ship, lots of them, they were likely to have been hungry, looking for supplies and provisions, we know at that time Maori are traveling up and down both of the big motu, they’re traveling up and down the country visiting each other, they’re exchanging greetings, that’s why I don’t buy into this fear of strangers thing,” he says.

Dr Barber says the small boat on which three crew members were killed came close to the hapu's extensive kumara gardens.


In conditions of tight security, four giant tekoteko have been brought from the Bay of Plenty to Eden Park

John Waller, the chair of the Eden Park Trust, says the tekoteko will stay under wraps until a dawn blessing in 10 days time.

Representing Tanemahuta, Rongo, Tumaatauenga and Tawhirimatea, they will stand at the four corners of the refurbished park to provide a towering cultural welcome to visitors to new year's Rugby World Cup.

“We were always keen to have a strong Maori presence at the park and we thought that given this is going to be such an iconic stadium and an international showpiece for New Zealand we were looking for something that would be stunning and be a fine tribute to Maoridom and really enhance the park,” Mr Waller says.

The tekoteko were designed by Arekatera Maihi from Ngati Whatua and carved by teams under his direction in Rotorua and Whakatoane.


Two Maori with extensive farming experience have been appointed to the committee which will advise the government on how agriculture will be brought into the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Roger Pikia, the chief executive Te Arawa Group Holdings, and Edward Ellison, a sheep and beef farmer from Ngai Tahu and Te Atiawa are on the eight-member committee chaired by former National MP Katherine Rich.

Mr Ellison says he is looking forward to working out what New Zealand has committed to.

“Our role is to give advice to the minister to yes I think it is strategically important and two hopefully to assist in terms of clarification,” he says.

Mr Ellison says there are unique aspects to Maori owned land and Maori farming which need to be taken into account as ETS regimes are developed.


A Ngati Kahungunu woman will spend four months at Harvard University comparing Maori and Native American businesses.

Cherie Spiller says ethical crises like the global financial crisis or the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has people asking whether indigenous business models can offer anything to the mainstream.

Her Fulbright scholarship gives her a chance to develop themes she found when she studied Maori business.

“Many businesses believe that the purpose of a business is to produce a profit. However in my doctoral research, working with Maori companies, it’s evident that the purpose from a Maori perspective is to create well being and businesses often talk about a triple bottom line which is the social, economic and environmental well being but a Maori business will also look at spiritual and cultural well being,” Dr Spiller says.

She says indigenous businesses put value on the long term relationships they create.


A kuia from Patea with 37 mokopuna and 35 moko tuarua or great grandchildren is this year's Taranaki gardener of the year.

Harriet Rei from Te Atiawa has helped hundreds of people to re-learn Maori gardening techniques of yesteryear.

She and husband Spencer spend a lot of time in the garden, planting whatever brings a smile to the faces of their tamariki, including tasty fruits and sometimes massive vegetables.

Mrs Rei says the quality of her produce spiked when she returned to the traditional Maori planting calendar.

“I find it much better, like if the moon’s starting to become full you’re getting moisture into the ground, and once the moon starts receding it’s taking that out of the soil and you are able to prune trees, shrubs or whatever because there’s no sap there,” she says.

Voting forms for the national title are in this month’s edition of New Zealand Gardener magazine.


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