Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, June 03, 2010

History lesson lacking in schools

The head of Maori and Ethnic studies at Canterbury University is backing his counterpart at Victoria University in attacking the quality of history taught in schools.

Rawiri Taonui says Peter Adds is right to say race relations is the loser if children leave school without ever getting a Maori perspective on history.

He says while understanding of Maori culture and language has improved dramatically over the past couple of decades, the new perspectives on history which have come out of the bicultural Waitangi Tribunal investigation process have not made their way into the syllabus.

“If you say to people what happened at the battle of Orakau where Rewi Maniapoto, two or three hundred of his people were killed trying to escape, what happened at Ngatapa where Maori were stripped naked and thrown from cliffs, what happened at Hanley’s Shed in the Whanganui-Taranaki district where colonial cavalry, some of whom were decorated later, charged down a small group of 8-10 year small boys and hacked them to death with sabers. People just don't know that,” Mr Taonui says.

If the public knew more about the history of te Urewera, its attitude toward's Tuhoe's claim for the national park might be quite different.


Environment Waikato has give a small Taupo Maori land trust the go-ahead to build a second geothermal power plant on tribal land.

The joint venture again brings together Tauhara North No 2 and Mighty River Power, who last month opened the 140 megawatt Nga Awa Purua plant.
The new plant at Rotokawa will tap into the Tamariki field just north of Taupo beside the road to Rotorua.

Trustee Aroha Campbell says the venture will provide jobs and training as well as sustainable income for the trust and its beneficiaries.
“It means more stability in terms of our control of our destiny. While Nga Awa Purua has provided the foundation for that, Nga Tamariki will enhance that,” Ms Campbell says.

If no appeals are lodged, ground for the new project shoudl be broken by the end of the year.


New Zealand Post expects keen interest in next week's issue to mark 100 years of Maori rugby.

The stamps and a special New Zealand Maori Rugby centenary jersey were where blessed at a ceremony at the New Zealand Rugby Union headquarters in Wellington yesterday.

Post's stamp marketing director, James Te Puni from Ngati Porou says the 50 cent stamp has an images of the jersey design, while the 80 cent stamp is of the official centenary logo the rugby union has developed to celebrate 100 years of Maori rugby.


Housing Minister Phil Heatley says the government may be getting the better of partnerships it is forming with iwi to develop housing.

Under the housing innovation scheme, it has agreed to fund four projects in Ahipara, Moerewa, Tauranga and Whakatane.

Mr Heatley says for a spend of just over $6 million, the government will see 44 homes created for Maori.

“The beauty of the funding is that the government puts in $1, and the iwi providers put in $1 and more in fact. In this case iwi are providing land, they’re providing resources and they’re providing labour and a whole lot of design techniques so actually the government is getting a lot more out of this than it normally would and that’s what a partnership is all about,” Mr Heatley says.

Another $5 million was included in the Budget for similar schemes.


A Ngati Pikiao kaumatua says opinions in Rotorua are divided over the jail time given to Hawea Vercoe's killer.

In the High Court at Rotorua yesterday, 21-year-old orchard worker Isaiah Tai was sentenced to two years and ten months in gaol after earlier pleading guilty to the manslaughter of the Environment Bay of Plenty regional councillor and Rotoiti Kura Kaupapa principal outside a Whakatane bar last November.

Toby Curtis says while many in the iwi may be dismayed at the short sentence, it could be seen as giving Tai a chance to turn his life around.

“If the young man were to rehabilitate himself to the point where at some stage in the future he may start to emulate the good intentions and the philosophy that Hawea believed in for the good of our people and he starts to take all that on board, perhaps it could be of value,” Mr Curtis says.


A Kerikeri lawyer says he was torn between his work as chief advisor for Ngapuhi's treaty claims and being offered a judgeship.

Greg Davis starts work in the District Court at Whangarei and Kaikohe later this month.

He says the appointment was an honour for his family, his hapu Ngati Manu from the Bay of Islands and for Ngapuhi - which will get its settlement eventually, whoever is doing the mahi.

“The kaupapa that Ngapuhi has been carrying for a number of years is bigger than any individual how has been involved in the process. It’s been a real privilege to work with Ngapuhi over the years, to see the real development of the iwi and to see a real change in Ngapuhi’s mindset about looking to get on with some of the important work of building a bigger, stronger, better Ngapuhi,” Mr Davis says.


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