Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sawmill cuts hurting Maori workforce

Workers in Carter Holt Harvey's Putaruru and Mount Maunganui sawmills are facing the dole queue as the company cuts more than 300 jobs.

Rawiri Daniels, an organiser for the National Distribution Union which has about 80 workers on the Putaruru site, says up to 90 percent of the workforce there is Maori.

He says they'll be looking at what options they have in an industry which looks like it again entering tough times.

“The town of Tokoroa’s close by so there’s another 50 or 60 jobs possibly at the plywood plant that’s going to come across from the Mount so that’s going to give some opportunity for some people but it’s still only going to cover 25 percent of the workforce from a site of 200,” Mr Daniels says.

The unions will hold an on-site meeting together with the aim of putting a proposal to the company which could keep parts of the operation going.


Dieticians are coming under fire for trying to communicate with Maori without even knowing how to make a boil-up.

Hiki Pihema, a dietitian at Gisborne Hospital, says dieticians aren't taught tikanga Maori, but it's an important part in teaching Maori about healthy eating and lifestyles.

She says fewer than a dozen of the country's 400 certified dietitians are Maori, and they feel the absence of a Maori dimension in the profession.

“If we don’t have a tikanga focus, we can’t relate to our own people, we can’t encourage the changes, we can’t empathise with them, we can’t korero with them. A lot of what we do is based on our tikanga,” Ms Pihema says.

She says Maori would benefit if wananga started training dietitians.


The University of Waikato is setting aside a day to celebrate the Kingitanga and its current leader.

King Tuheitia will attend a series of seminars this month on the 150 year old movement and its future.

Panelists include Sir Douglas Graham, who negotiated the Tainui settlement on behalf of the Crown, Tainui Group holdings director Koro Wetere and broadcaster Wena Harawira.

Professor Pou Temara says the seminars aim to illuminate the community about Kingitanga, and set the stage for a permanent commemoration, King Tuheitia day, on the kind’s birthdate, April 21.


Residents of the Ruatoki Valley are welcoming manuhiri to help the commemorate the so called terror raids of a year ago.

Teina Boazadean, a spokesperson for the organising committee, says the armed raids on the small Tuhoe settlement were an affront to the human rights of all New Zealanders.

She says Tuhoe leaders have been talking with police liaison officers to try to prevent such a thing happening again, and the commemorations are a chance for the community to review what still needs to be done.

“These next four days are to put a positive orientation on something that was particularly negative and heinous and a major violation not just to our community’s but to the civil rights of all New Zealanders, and I think that’s going to be represented again as the manuhiri and visiting groups arrive this evening,” Ms Boazadean says.

Tonight's feature is a theatre piece called I Am.

On Friday in the Auckland District Court Judge mark Perkins will deliver his reserved judgment on whether any of the 18 people arrested last year will face trial on arms charges.


Tariana Turia says benefit reform is a strategic direction her party wants to pursue.

The Maori Party co-leader wants to see more government and community-driven job creation schemes.

She says while cutting the dole wasn't included in the official policy launch, it's something that will be put on the table post-election.

“Our people need to restore the pride in ourselves and we need to be working. It has been very destructive. Idle hands of course mean that our young are more likely to get engaged in things we wouldn’t want them getting engaged in, and I don’t think it’s healthy for any people to think it is okay to receive money for doing nothing,” Mrs Turia

She says despite the overall unemployment figure being low more than 20 percent of Maori under 24 are jobless.


Ngati Porou is mourning the death of kuia Merekaraka (Saani) Ngarimu, who died today at the age of 86.

Mrs Ngarimu was last year given a Sir Kingi Ihaka award for her lifetime contribution to Maori performing arts.

As a young woman she was trained by Apirana Ngata to lead the great Ngati Porou haka Ruaumoko at Whanganui in 1945, to kick off fundraising for the Ngarimu Scholarship.

She reprised the role for Queen Elizabeth's 1953 royal visit, and remains the only woman to have led that haka.

Mrs Ngarimu passed her knowledge of haka, waiata and other performing arts to generations of Ngati Porou and others.

She was awarded a Queens Service Medal in 1984.

He tohunga waiata kua wahangu, he ruanuku no tuawhakarere kua ngaro, more mai e te tipuna koka.


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