Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Council prejudice blocks good faith budget talk

The chair of Auckland's Maori statutory board says a court review of the council's budget-setting process is necessary to dispel misinformation and prejudice.

David Taipari said the board took professional advice in developing a budget that would allow it to fulfill its statutory function to provide independent oversight on Maori and Treaty of Waitangi issues.

But he says the council's decision to halve that budget showed a willful refusal to adhere to the rules Parliament has set for the new city.

“We just want some clarity and definition around that legislation so parties can move on rather than being bogged down by assumptions and other things but there is certainly some people at the table of the council who remain adamant about the legislation as a whole and unfortunately that has got in the way of good faith discussions around funding agreements,” Mr Taipari says.

As well as preparing a statement of claim for the High Court, the board will write to the council to see if it can work through the issues without going to court.

IMMUNISATION NUMBERS JUMP FOR MAORI CHILDREN

Greater investment in Maori primary health is paying off with more Maori children getting immunised.

The government says vaccination rates have risen 14 percent over the past two years, with 85 percent of tamariki Maori fully immunised by the time they are two.

Plunket clinical advisor Allison Jamieson says that will have long term benefits ... and it's the result of work by many different groups.

“There are iwi providers who see Maori families, so there are iwi nurses, Plunket nurses, whoever is out there working with those families. Probably the messages are getting out much more loudly and more clearly,” she says.

Ms Jamieson says vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from many childhood diseases that can affect New Zealand families today.

NGATI PIKIAO WANTS ITS OWN ON FARMS

Te Wananga o Aotearoa is trying to get young Maori back onto the land.

The wananga has signed an agreement with Masterton-based Taratahi Training centre and a group of Ngati Pikiao land trusts to design new courses.

Waiariki campus manager Neville King says the average age of shepherds on Ngati Pikiao's farms around Lake Rotoiti is over 50, and rangatahi aren't coming through to replace them.

A lot of the farms are also forced to hire Pakeha managers because of the lack of Maori with suitable credentials.

The courses should be available next year.

IT’S MY PARTY AND I’LL CRY IF I WANT TO

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says Hone Harawira should have expected a tough time when he stood up against his party on a matter of principle.

In a weekend television appearance, the rebel Maori Party MP burst into tears while answering a question about the support he was getting from his wife and his Tai Tokerau electorate.

Mr Peters, who left National after questioning the leadership of then prime minister Jim Bolger, says he knows from personal experience the pressure Mr Harawira must be under from colleagues.

“The treatment that is meted out, the allegations made against you, the viciousness of it all is not based on truth. It’s based on their own survival so those who wish to stand against the tide as they see things to be fair and right have to got to steel themselves up and harden themselves mentally for the battle,” he says.

Mr Peters says Hone Harawira needs to know the battle hasn't even begun yet.

HENRY BENNETT INSPIRES NEW FOUNDATION

A new foundation has been set up to encourage Maori health leadership.

Kirsty Maxwell Crawford from Te Rau Matatini, the Maori health workforce development organisation, says the Henry Rongomau Bennett Foundation will take over the adminstration of the existing scholarship programme that has helped more than 200 Maori students to graduate in clinical health over the past decade.

Ms Crawford says it's a fitting tribute to the country's first Maori psychiatrist.

“He pioneered areas of Maori mental health that we take for granted today that were non-existent 20, 30 years ago when there were very few Maori who were working in the area of Maori mental health, there was little recognition of seeing things from a Te Ao Maori point of view, from looking at things more holistically rather than just from a medical point of view,” she says.

The foundation will also award health scholarships in the names of Bob Henare and Harry Pitman, and manage the Indigenous International Exchange programme which gives Maori health professionals the chance to work in indigenous health in Australia and Hawaii.

FIELD TRIPS BRING ROCK ART ALIVE

It's got digital reproductions and artefacts rescued from museums, but the Ngai Tahu Rock Art Centre in Timaru knows there is no substitute for the real thing.

The centre plans to offer guided tours of some of the key south Canterbury sites, including the four metre taniwha at Totara Valley and the giant eagle rock drawing at Craigmore.

Project manager Ben Lee says it's part of a push to build public support for preserving a unique taonga.

“You can think of rock art as the first art galley in New Zealand and this is art from 700 years ago and there’s a real obligation on all of us to do our part to preserve and education people about it. We tend to preserve our buildings better than we do our 700 year old artworks,” he says.

The tours of the remote caves and rock shelters will be restricted to groups of 10 people at a time.

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