Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Teachers in youth council sights

The Maori Youth Council is recommending all new teachers take compulsory lessons in Maori.

The Council, appointed by Maori affairs Minister Pita Sharples, will deliver its report to the minister today.

Member Wiremu Flavell from Nga Puhi and Ngati Maniapoto, a Maori student advisor at Massey University, says the council believes teacher attitudes are key to raising Maori student achievement.

“For new teachers the recommendation that tertiary institutions implement a te reo Maori paper alongside an additional tikanga Maori or Maori education paper as well. Our next step is for professional development to allow existing teachers to pick up te reo Maori block courses perhaps or evening classes as well,” he says.

Wiremu Flavell says the Maori Youth Council also wants to see more schools using Te Kotahitanga and He Kakano professional development programmes.

PAKEHA STANDING IN BY-ELECTION IN SHOW OF SUPPORT

Political maverick Kelvyn Alp says he's taking a message of local solutions to the voters of Te Tai Tokerau.

The Pakeha head of the Our New Zealand Party says he was raised by the Hita whanau of Nga Puhi, and he's traveled overseas on a Maori passport to highlight Maori issues.

He says a vote for him in the June 25 by-election is a vote for more money to go into tackling the region's high Maori unemployment.

“Resources and targeting needs to be spent on the local hapu, whanau areas, even via the marae, and have local problems addressed by local solutions. These people know what they need. All they need is the support to get it done and I believe they will be able to do it themselves,” Mr Alp says.

SECOND COMING OUT CREATES FILM CONTROVERSY

Filmmaker Katie Wolfe says a change in the race of the lead character has created more controversy about her adaptation of Witi Ihimaera's novel Nights in the Gardens of Spain than its gay storyline.

Kawa featured at the Wairoa Maori Film Festival over the weekend, and Ms Wolfe won the first mana wahine award for her body of work.

She says Ihimaera wrote the treatment for the film instructing the screenwriters to make the lead character Maori.

“Well he calls it a second coming out. When he first published the novels, it was hidden behind a Pakeha character, and subsequently I have spoken to people who love the novel and felt disappointed it had been changed to a Maori story, that essentially it had been colonised by Maori (laughs),” Ms Wolfe says.

She's looking forward to traveling with Ihimaera to San Francisco this month for a screening of Kawa at the Frameline Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.

DATE WITH DESTINY SCRIPT IRKS ACADEMIC

Maori academic Leonie Pihama says Maori politicians should have challenged the Destiny Church to mend its ways.

Pita Sharples, Hone Harawira, Tau Henare and Shane Jones took part in a political forum at the church's conference in Auckland over the weekend.

Dr Pihama says they failed to tackle the church's stance on homosexuality or the role of women.

“None of them challenged the position of women in that church and the way they entrench sexists views of women, given the number of particularly Maori women. None of them challenged the fact that church advocates smacking children,” she says.

Dr Pihema says despite its high Maori membership, the Destiny Church does not advocate positions in line with tikanga Maori.

TE KOTAHITANGA FNDING CUT FOR KERIKERI HIGH

The chair of Kerikeri High School says the Government has cut Te Kotahitanga funding for the school ... despite a big jump in Maori achievement.

Rick Palmer says Northland's largest secondary school earned a glowing Education Review Office report after raising NCEA pass rates past 70 percent.

He says funding has now ceased, and there is a $60,000 hole in the school's budget if it wants its continue the professional development programme.

“Here we've got a situation where we are seeing this dramatic increase in statistical results and really good comparable achievement with our Maori students. If it’s cut, we think it’s a bit of a crime really,” Mr Palmer says.

He says Te Kotahitanga is increasing the chance for Maori pupils to go on to tertiary education.

MAORI STUDENTS RESPOND TO HIP HOP DANCE CREW

In the wake of their appearances on MTV's America's Best Dance Crew, the Request Dance Crew is fielding a torrent of requests to perform their mix of Maori, Polynesian and Hip Hop moves at schools around the country.

Member Parris Goebel says Request is raising funds to get back to the United States to defend its title at the World Hip Hop Championships in July.

She says their success and Polyswag style has seized the imagination of rangatahi.

“Gong to the schools, you can definitely see pride coming form those who are Polynesian and Maori because we are representing for them and because we have made such a bold statement about being Polynesian and having polyswag,” Ms Goebel says.

Request is currently doing a short tour to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

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