Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, March 20, 2009

ACT bill threatens anti-violence action

The chair of a trust trying to reduce child abuse among Maori says a fresh attempt to roll back the anti-smacking law threatens progress already made.

Act MP John Boscawen says his private member's bill will allow parents to use a light smack to correct their children.

But Hone Kaa from Te Kahui Mana Ririki says the vagueness of the term light smack opens the door for serious abuse.

He says removing reasonable force as a defence for assaulting children hasn't created the sort of problems Mr Boscowen is alleging.

“There have been relatively few taken to task by the forces of the law for their disciplining of children, but what is important is that children’s rights, children’s safety, their security and positive development is what is paramount and smacking them does nothing to enhance that,” Dr Kaa says.

Te Kahui Mana Ririki is starting to see a shift among Maori away from the use of physical discipline with children.


The Ngapuhi Runanga is going on the road to confirm its mandate to lead the treaty settlements in the north.

Chairperson Sonnny Tau says any settlement must be between the Crown and the collective of hapu which make up the country's largest iwi, rather than with the runanga itself, but the runanga is the one body with the resources to sustain any negotiations.

He says while there has been discussion with individual claimants about the evidence to go before the Waitangi Tribunal, many in the tribe still don't know what's happening.

“There just hasn't been enough consultation around and people don’t really understand the claims process at any rate and this is an opportunity to give them and update and give them some idea about what the process involves,” Mr Tau says.

He says the important thing is to stick together, because the experience of other iwi is that fragmenting claims is a recipe for indecision and delay.


One of the most successful Maori sportsmen makes his long awaited return to the field this week.

League legend Stacey Jones, from Maniapoto and Ngapuhi, comes out of retirement to play his 239th game for the Warriors against Manly at Brookvale on Sunday.

Former Kiwi captain Ritchie Barnett says at 33, the little general has a lot to offer the game.

“What you find with older players is their vision of the game, they see it a lot sooner than younger players. You notice that when he plays, he’s got a lot of time with the ball and makes it look so easy. Certainly his creativity and knowledge around the play the balls and set plays will be instrumental in the side,” Mr Barnett says.

Stacey Jones made his NRL debut against Parramatta in Sydney in 1995, the Warriors' first season in the competition.


Ngai Tahu chair Mark Solomon has fronted up to tribe members to counter a campaign against him.

Shareholder Richard Patata, who maintains a blog on the South island tribe's activities, says this afternoon's hui at Rehua Marae in Christchurch attracted about 150 people.

He says Mr Solomon gave further examples of the conflicts which led to the sacking of Wally Stone as chair of Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation, the tribe's commercial arm, and put paid to allegations that a decision has already been made to build a $54 million dollar head office and cultural centre in Christchurch.

Mr Parata says the attacks on the kaiwhakahaere are coming from the same small group of disaffected board members and papatipu runanga heads who tried to unseat Mr Solomon two years ago.

“The people there were just ashamed that all this stuff that these malcontents are putting in the newspaper about Ngai Tahu. They’re just ashamed, and they want it stopped,” Mr Parata says.

He says Ngai Tahu's representation problems are likely to continue until it adopts a consistent and transparent voting system.


Education sector union Te Riu Roa is welcoming the new Maori language curriculum for mainstream schools launched yesterday in Rotorua.

Laures Park, the NZEI's matua takawaenga, says the new guidelines give teachers much needed support and raise the status of te reo Maori language in schools.

They also offer practical advice on how to teach te reo me ona tikanga.

“I see some very good resources that have been developed and can be used by kaiako in schools that enhance what they are doing but also give them new huarahi that they can use while they are working with the students, so that’s the exciting part,” Ms Park says.

Despite the new curriculum, there is still a shortage of suitably qualified Maori teachers in mainstream schools.


The Race Relations Commissioner says International Race Relations Day tomorrow is a chance to celebrate the changing face of Aotearoa.

Joris de Bres says the country is now more diverse than it was a generation ago, and many Maori have offspring who can whakapapa to several cultures.

He says that cultural diversity adds to the uniqueness of Maori culture.

“This is a time to celebrate the diversity of people in New Zealand, to assure everybody they are respected for who they are and valued for who they are and also to emphasise our own New Zealandness,” Mr de Bres says.


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