Waatea News Update

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

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, March 27, 2009

Maori miners facing redundancy

The Maori workforce has suffered another blow with today's announcement of 50 redundancies at Solid Energy's Rotowaro mine near Huntly.

Subcontractor HWE Mining is going from a seven day a week operation to a Monday to Friday roster.

Former mine worker Robert Tukiri says the majority of mineworkers in the area are Maori.

He says while cost cutting seems inevitable in the recession, it's going to have a big impact on the community, and especially on the younger workers.

“Some will be reaching the age where ‘goodie, at least we’ll get a redundancy cheque but there’s another section of our community where they’re just young teenagers and can’t go on super so they’ll be on the unemployed list,” Mr Tukiri says.

Huntly has been hit by mine closures before, and the town has always bounced back.


The Tairawhiti District Health Board has voted down a proposal to create a taskforce on Maori heath.

Board member Atareta Poananga says she put up the idea because the East Coast region has some of the worst health statistics in the country, including the highest mortality rate for Maori.

She says the board isn't taking the issue seriously.

“We do have funding for inequalities projects but whatever’s happening isn’t happening fast enough. If we had a dedicated group of people pushing this kaupapa, I’m not saying we could change things overnight but we would have a focus on what should be the priority of this board which is Maori health,” Ms Poananga says.

She says the board has been warned the economic downturn will make health problems in its region even worse and undo many of the board's initiatives.


But the Tairawhiti District Health Board says its focus is in the right place.
Chief executive Jim Green said the district annual plan includes a focus on Maori health inequalities.

He says the board was not indifferent to health disparities.

“Reducing inequalities is right up there with our priorities as a DHB along with reducing ill health and supporting whanau ora as a model of doing that so it was really a feeling that the work that’s currently going on is being effective and strengthening that rather than setting up another function,” Mr Green says.

He says the board is seeing improvements in Maori health in Tairawhiti.


The Maori representative on the New Zealand Rugby Union, Paul Quinn, says a shadow test against the Springboks could give more Maori players a chance to shine their way into the All Blacks.

The South African Rugby Union has accepted a recommendation it accept matches against any teams sanctioned by national governing bodies, clearing a hurdle to playing the New Zealand Maori team.

Paul Quinn says last year's Pacific Nations tournament gave Piri Weepu a chance to show he was back in top form.

“Then other players like Cory Jane and Hosea Gear played in the Maori team at a higher level than they had previously played and that exposed them to international rugby and they’ve gone on to become All Blacks so there’s no question assembling the Maori team and having them play at the next level up gives not only an extra incentive to the players themselves but also gives them exposure to international rugby and the All Black selectors,” Mr Quinn says.

The Maori-South Africa game will be played between the
Super 14 season and this winter's Lions tour of the republic.


Hauraki Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta says Helen Clark has made a huge contribution to Maori development and will be remembered as one of New Zealand's finest prime ministers.

Ms Clark is off to New York to head the United Nations Development Programme.

Ms Mahuta says that's a testament to her leadership and capabilities.

She says Ms Clark focused on outcomes that made a real impact on people's lives, rather than political spectacle, and Kiwisaver will be remembered as her legacy in creating a savings and investment culture.


Northland iwi Ngati Hine is celebrating its identity as a separate part of Ngapuhi this weekend.

Te Ahureka o Ngati Hine festival in 15 years starts tomorrow with a powhiri at Otiria Marae in Moerewa, followed by kapa haka, wananga on tikanga, stalls and traditional kai.

Festival director Pepi Walker says the essence of the day is whakapapa and whakawhanaungatanga, and there will be people there to help people make the links to their relatives.

She expects at least 3000 people to attend.


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