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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hikoi a great educational experience

Labour list MP and Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis says yesterday's hikoi by Kawerau Intermediate pupils and their whanau was a great educational experience.

The former Kaitaia Intermediate principal was among a number of MPs from several parties who welcomed the 250-strong group on the steps of Parliament yesterday.

He says the Education Ministry's plan to close the school at the end of the year will affect their lives and the shape of their community.

“Protesting or being on top of an issue like those children seem to be to me is just part of education. It’s about being involved in what’s going on in your community and they’re actually part of society and this political decision impacts on them, why shouldn’t them be informed and make decisions about where they want to go,” Mr Davis says.

He says intermediate closures are an easy option for the ministry, but they don't address the wider questions of why children are failing in schools.

KEY KEEN ON EMERGING MAOIR MIDDLE CLASS TO VOTE NAT

Prime Minister John Key is picking the rapid growth of Maori business to translate into an increase in Maori National supporters.

He says Maori firms face the same issues of any business, and will look favourably on National policies like lower taxes.

“Equally you're seeing a lot of Maori voters starting to move up the socioeconomic grouping. You’ve got a lot more middle managers and professionals in Maoridom and I suspect those people have the same hopes and aspirations as any middle to higher income New Zealanders,” Mr Key says

He says
historically National has not been good at showing why Maori, who are predominantly low and middle income earners, should vote for it.

BIDDLE SOWS SEED FOR SPEAKING WIN

The winner of this year's New Zealand Toastmasters' competition is crediting his use of te reo Maori for the prize.

Te Arawa FM broadcaster Kingi Biddle won the speechmaking competition with "Mihi Atu, Mihi Mai", a speech about the value of hello to passing strangers.
Unbeknown to him his speech echoed the motto adopted by the Toastmasters this year, Ruia Mai He Kakano Kia Tipu Ai.

“In my speech I said ‘ruia he kakano,’ sow that seed, say hello to everyone, and then ‘hauhakatia e whangai i te katoa,’ harvest it so all may benefit, so it was very much an English speaking competition but I drew on my Maoritanga to create most of the content of my speech,” he says.

Mr Kingi Biddle is off to Las Vegas in August for the World Toastmasters' Championship.

TARANAKI WHANAUI WANTING PROPER RECEIPT FOR $150,000

Waiwhetu Maori say they're not yet ready to pay the $150,000 the Wellington City Council is demanding for the waka Te Raukura.

The council had wanted Te Raukura to be housed in the harbourside wharewaka beside Ta Papa museum, but agreed to give up its ownership claim in exchange for the payment.

Neville Baker, the chair of Te Runanganui o Taranaki Whanui, says the money has been set aside in a trust account, and won't be paid until there is a signed agreement with the council setting out the terms of settlement.

“We want to finalise a situation where goodwill is established on both sides and we recognise that the waka is still important to everyone around Whanganui-a-Tara and not just property that we expressly have sole use of so we’re still in a sharing position and that’s the way we’d like to go forward on this,” Mr Baker says.

He says the council also needs to pay for storing the waka at Waiwhetu for the past five years.

LITTLE LIKELY FOR MAORI IN BUDGET

Labour leader Phil Goff says Maori can expect little from tomorrow's Budget.
He says many Maori families will be struggling to stretch their own budgets to maintain KiwiSaver contributions and make up for expected cuts in services.

Meanwhile the deficit is expected to hit $16 billion because of National's tax cuts and economic management.

“You can't wish away a debt and you can’ keep borrowing $380 million a week but what you can do is you can invest sensibly in things that will grow your economy because that’s how you get your deficit down , get growth in the economy, growth in wages, growth in employment, then you will get growth in revenue, but that doesn’t seem to be part of the Government’s equation,” Mr Goff says.

He'd like to see things like skills training packages for the building industry which would help unemployed Maori get back into work.

RUGBY LEAGUE MAORI YOUTH DEVELOPMENT POPULAR

Rugby League's development officer says NRL scouts are increasingly looking to the age level Maori teams for new talent.

John Devonshire says at least 14 teams will compete in the 10th National Maori Rugby League Youth Tournament at Rotorua over Queen's Birthday Weekend.

He says rangatahi are keen to get in, as they realise it opens up opportunities.

The youth tournament was split from the seniors so rangatahi could have their own alcohol-free event.

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