Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, July 30, 2007

Council role considered in warden’s review

A review of the Maori Wardens will be asking some hard questions about whether the Maori Council will continue to have an oversight role.

Te Rau Clarke from Te Puni Kokiri, which is overseeing the review and the investment of new funds in the organisation, says while the council and the wardens come under the same Act, they have developed in different ways.

He says the focus of the review has to be on what administrative system is best for the wardens.

“I'm not saying that New Zealand Maori Council or district Maori councils aren’t the best organisation to do it, or even the New Zealand Maori Warden’s Association. What I’m saying is this formalises a process of analysing what exists now and what could be,” Mr Clark says.


The author of a study of Maori in local government says many Pakeha organisations lack the skills to communicate with Maori.

Christene Cheyne says more could be done to encourage tangata whenua to become part of the decision making process.

Councilors and their staff have little understanding of the Maori communities they represent, and the two sides are operating in different spheres which do not meet.

“There are different leadership structures, there are different networks and there are different values that people bring to their interactions within Maoridom, so you know the importance of tikanga and karakia and so on for many Maori, those are important things that I sometimes don’t think are well understood in Pakeha organsiations,” Dr Christine says.


A Waikato University lecturer hopes his new book and DVD will give students a crash course in the Maori world.

Rapata Wiri, from Ngati Hinekura and Ngati Whakaue, says he wrote Te Ao Maori to explain Maori protocols and tikanga.

Dr Wiri says it will save time in the classroom.

“Had to explain the protocol and the tikanga to the students, so I thought it would be a good idea to publish a book and create a DVD to go with the book that explains all the carvings and the meeting house without me having to be there,” he says.

Dr Wiri’s second book, a Maori language primer, is due to be published in October.


Tauranga Moana Maori are divided on whether the region needs a total immersion Maori secondary school.

The Education Ministry and Tauranga iwi are currently consulting on the plan.

Tangiwai Nikora, the principal of Matapihi Primary School, says while there is support for a whare kura, many Maori parents want to see bilingual education at secondary level.

She says that gives Maori children more choice.

“Not all our kids can go into media. That’s how I think. There’s people out there saying ‘No Tangiwai, it’s a bit more than that,’ and yeah, I suppose it is for them, but for me, I’m just looking at our kids and how we’re teaching them here,” Ms Nikora says.

Matapihi has a total immersion Maori class up until Year 5, when pupils switch to bilingual classes.


The poor state of dental health among Maori is one of the priority areas for new research funding.

The Oral Health Research Fund will spend up to $100,000 a year over three years on short-term research projects targeting Maori, children, people with disabilities, low income families and older adults.

Robin Whyman, the Health Ministry’s chief adviser for oral health, says it’s an opportunity for Maori health providers to get involved in some primary research.

“The fund is about providing resources to help with the evaluation, and we hope there will be some partnerships in this, that they’ll work with universities or local district health board groups who’ve got some of the skills around the research that might need to be done, working with the provider organisations to look at some of the evaluation,” Dr Whyman says

Maori still have unacceptably high levels of dental disease compared with other sections of the population


A strong response from secondary schools and wharekura has led to a record number of entries to the annual Pikihuia awards for emerging Maori Writers.

Huia publishing manager Bryan Bargh says more than 300 entries have been received.

He says the awards have become a valuable career entry point for writers, with past winners including James George and Kelly Ana Morey … who are on this year’s judging panel.

“The kids have got right behind it this year and it’s over double what it was last year and we hope for an increase next year because that’s the talent that’s out there, aspiring talent starting to come through,” Mr Bargh says.

Winners will be announced in September, when Huia will also publish collections of the best stories in English and Maori.


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