Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Te Aute talks break down

There's frustration among supporters of Te Aute and Hukarere colleges about the slow progress towards settling a claim over the historic Hawkes Bay boarding schools.

Te Aute Trust Board says it is pulling out of talks because the government refuses to address a long-standing grievance about the endowment lands which were supposed to fund the schools' operations.

The Crown sold off 1760 acres in 1859, and leased the rest in perpetuity at peppercorn rents in 1916, costing the schools more than $100 million over the past century.

Negotiator Neville Baker says the school is pushing for restoration of the endowment.

“We say there has been a raid on Te Aute’s endowment that has resulted in financial hardship for the schools over the past century,” Mr Baker says.

While limited progress had been made in talks with ministers Michael Cullen and Parekura Horomia, it's not enough for some members of the school community.


The Western Institute of Technology in Taranaki, or WITT, is adopting digital technology to revive the region's distinctive language.

The polytechnic was chosen as the first one outside the main centres to use iPod-based teaching systems developed at AUT University's Te Ipukarea Maori Language Institute.

Maori faculty head Lisa Ferguson says instead of being stuck in language labs, students will be able to carry their lessons with them, downloading new course materials and podcasts off their computers.

“Of course it doesn’t remove teaching time in the classroom but instead of carrying five textbooks, it’s all there. Instead of carrying the dictionary, it’s all there on a little iPod,” Ms Ferguson says.

WITT was chosen for the programme roll-out because of the contribution of Taranaki kaumatua Huirangi Waikerepuru, who led the Te reo Maori claim to the Waitangi Tribunal.


One of the leading forces behind the Pahauwera claim has died just weeks after the northern Hawke's Bay tribe signed an Agreement in Principle to settle its historic treaty and foreshore and seabed claims.

Tom Gemmell was laid to rest yesterday in Mohaka after suffering a heart attack after a function at the marae on Saturday. He was 66.

The Minister of Maori Affairs, Parekura Horomia, says the former teacher and Maori Affairs official had put a huge amount of energy into uniting the iwi and taking it forward.


A Maori anti-smoking campaigner says the Government isn't doing enough to target Maori smokers.

Te Reo Marama, the Maori Smokefree Coalition, has launched a Maori killers campaign featuring cigarette packets stuffed with anti-smoking messages.

Director Shane Bradbrook says it takes on the tobacco companies, rather than blaming the victims of the drug.

He says as the group whose members are most likely to smoke, Maori aren't getting the resources from government they need to address the problem.

Mr Bradbrook says compared to the amount of money spent by Maori on smoking, government effort is lacking.

“They put $12 million. Our people who smoke spend over $300 million a year on tobacco. Trying to stem that with $12 million is a bit pathetic really,” he says.

Mr Bradbrook says the tobacco companies don't care about Maori, they're only concerned with money.


Over 30 years of a revolutionary language learning technique is being celebrated on the east Coast this week.

Teachers of te Ataarangi, which uses coloured rods to spark basic dialogue in te reo Maori, gathered in Mangatu today for their annual hui ... which this year incorporates the first Indigenous Language Revitalisation and Teaching Conference.

They were joined by international language specialists from Hawai'i and Israel.

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia, says Ataarangi's strength is its whanau approach to learning, which allowed people to learn the reo in a way which didn’t cause embarrassment about progress.

He says Te Ataarangi is one of the success stories of Maori language revitialisation.

After the Mangatu hui the international delegates will head to Tamaki Makaurau for the Maori Language Symposium being held at AUT University.


There's word of caution from Tohu Wines to other Maori landowners considering getting into viticulture.

Marketing manager James Wheeler says while he welcomes more Maori involvement in the industry, there is a high cost of entry.

He says there may be a more lucrative uses of unproductive Maori land that don’t take as much capital.

James Wheeler says Tohu has 400 acres in production in Marlborough and the East Coast, and growing demand for its wines here and overseas.


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