Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Violence funds shifted to front line

The Associate Minister of Social Development, Tariana Turia, wants whanau to get more involved in stopping family violence.

Mrs Turia says next month's Budget will shift $11 million of the $62 million spent on family violence services into five new initiatives.

This includes a half million dollars for an E Tu Whanau campaign to encourage whanau to take actions which make their families safer.

“I do expect the money to be utilized at the front line where it will make the biggest difference and that is in the homes of families. We need to be stopping violence right there within the home,” Mrs Turia says.

She says while the It's Not Okay campaign led to a lot more people reporting family violence, there wasn't enough money allocated to follow up.

RESEARCH AGENDA TO CHANGE MAORI ORAL HEALTH CARE

The Ministry of Health and the Health Research Council have mapped out a research agenda aimed at addressing the dire state of Maori oral health.

Oranga Waha - Oral Health Research Opportunities for Maori was launched at last week's Maori Dentists Association conference in Waitangi.

Co-author Bridget Robson says Maori are keen to get more information about how their health, what dentists are available and possible complications with diseases like diabetes.

“Our communities that were involved with partnership with this research were saying knowledge is power and they wanted a lot more information about their entitlements, how to look after their teeth and those of their whanau, especially people with disabilities,” Ms Robson says.

She hopes Oranga Waha will lead to a policy shift towards preventive care and restorative treatment, rather than just emergency dental care.

ROCK ART CLEARED FOR REOPENING

The Ngai Tahu Maori Rock Art Centre hopes to get one of its significant sites re-opened in time for next summer's peak visitor period.

The Takiroa site near Duntroon in North Otago was damaged by heavy rain and slips almost a year ago.

Amanda Symon says the latest geotechnical report is says the outcrop is stable, and people are assisting, such as the Otago Branch of the NZ Alpine Club which is abseiling to clear off loose rock.

Takiroa could be re-opened as early as September.

Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira is giving the public two weeks to come up with suggestions for a name for his new political waka.

He's indicated the decision will be made at the end of the month whether to create a left-leaning Maori-oriented party.

Mr Harawira says people have been suggesting possible names, so he's thrown the exercise open up for wider participation.

People can suggest names or vote on existing ones at hone.co.nz, or by ringing 0800 TOKERAU.

The names at the top of the list so far are the Mokopuna, Mana, Kaitiaki or Maui party.

JONES ENDORSES PRESIDENTIAL PICK

Labour MP Shane Jones says new Labour Party president Moira Coatsworth is a friend of Maori.

The Coromandel-based child psychologist replaces Andrew Little, who stood down to concentrate on his run for the New Plymouth seat.

Shane Jones says she is a formidable personality within the party.

“She’s been a very strong supporter of developing, retaining and attracting Maori talent into the Labour Party. I think we are very fortunate having someone who wants to take on this role at a time where we are having to show sharp elbows in the world of the media to get adequate cover for our Labour message,” he says.

Mr Jones says Moira Coatsworth's long involvement in Coromandel anti-mining asnd other eco-issues is a strong credential at a time when mining and oil exploration are likely to be major election issues.

TREND SHOWS SECONDARY IMPROVEMENT BUT GAP PERSISTS

A te reo Maori teacher at Opunake High School, Rangiroa Rongonui, says Maori educators won't be celebrating yet at figures showing an achievement levels improving for Maori secondary students.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority says last year 60.8 percent of Maori year 11 students gained level 1 NCEA, up from 56.8 percent in 2009.

Mr Rongonui, who is on the PPTA national executive, says there's still a gap, with the overall pass rate about 75 percent.

“For a number of years we’ve seen this trend that we still sit below so there is a concern among Maori and Pacific educators that this gap be closed,” he says.

Mr Rongonui says initiatives to improve Maori education achievements are working and need to be extended to all schools.

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