Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, October 29, 2010

Goff concerned at kohanga decline

Labour leader Phil Goff says there needs to be major analysis of why the Kohanga Reo movement is declining and what can be done about it.

A new Waitangi Tribunal report says since its formation in 1981 the movement has provided a foundation in the language for thousands of tamariki, but over the past decade the percentage of Maori children attending has fallen off sharply.

Mr Goff says it's imperative everything possible is done to ensure the survival of the language in the only country where it is an official language.

He says if kohanga reo is not working as it should ways must be found to fix the problem.


The Medical Council says a long term fix is needed to get more Maori into the health professions.

The council's latest workforce survey found that while Maori make up around 15 percent of the population, the proportion of Maori doctors dropped in the past three years by point one percent to 3 percent.

Its chair, John Adams says the problem needs to be tackled at both the secondary and tertiary level.

“The issue starts well before medical school in secondary school in the subjects that Maori students are taking, in the expectations about whether they can get in to medical school and about what happens when they get university in their first year and both universities are doing quite a bit to try and understand, to try to change that and to try to increase the number of Maori not only in medicine but across the health sciences,” Dr Adams says.

Having more Maori doctors would improve healthcare outcomes for Maori people.


The head of the country's newest performing arts school expects major interest from Maori and Pacific youth.

David Coddington says he was inspired to join the project after four years teaching drama at Te Aute College, and other tutors include dancer Cat Ruka and singer Jason Te Mete.

He says the auditions for the first intake will be held over the next two months.

“South Auckland has a very large Polynesian and Maori base to it. We will be reflecting that. The scripts, the style of work we will be doing will be involving Polynesian and Maori,” Mr Coddington says.

The Performing Arts School which is a collaboration between the Manukau Institute of Technology and South Seas Film and Television.


One of the biggest critics of the Auckland super city's Maori statutory board has been appointed to it.

Waipareira Trust chief executive John Tamihere joins Tony Kake from Ngapuhi and ngati maniapoto as maatawaka representatives, there to give the views of Maori from iwi outside Tamaki Makaurau.

They were appointed by an electoral college of mana whenua iwi, who also chose the seven mana whenua representatives.

Mr Tamihere says while his preference was for elected seats on the council itself as recommended by the Royal Commission on Auckland governance, he put his name up for appointment to ensure the needs of urban Maori would be considered.

“As soon as the mana whenua group sold out, we were obliged to either go along or contest to the feeling in the National Urban Maori Authority grouping was ‘no, just get in there and get what you can for us in the meantime,’ and I’m there. Not voluntarily but I’m there under protest,” Mr John Tamihere says.

He says the board will be a work in progress.

Mana Whenua representatives include Glen Tupuhi and David Taipari from Hauraki, Anahera Morehu and Glen Wilcox from Ngati Whatua, James Brown and Wayne Knox from the Tainui waka and Patience te Ao from Ngati Wai.


The chair of a south Taranaki iwi says the government needs to let iwi say how money should be spent revitalising te reo Maori.

Esther Tinirau from Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi took part in consultation the week with the ministerial review panel looking at the Maori language strategy and sector.

She says iwi are the ones with the motivation and drive to sustain their own reo.

“We seek programmes that support our aspirations. We shouldn’t be going along to support other people’s aspirations. It’s our aspirations that count now. We have the most to lose as iwi. We have the most to lose if it doesn’t work. What more do you need with respect to motivation and commitment than that,” Ms Tinirau says.

She says only iwi and hapu can re-establish regional variations of te reo in daily life.


Maori in Queensland are hoping their sixth attempt at building a marae in their new home will finally bear fruit.

Don Rewita, who runs a successful tree-lopping business in Logan, halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, says there are thousands of Maori living in the area.

He says they need a place to look after tupapaku in an appropriate way, and the proposed Te Ramaroa marae will also be a place rangatahi can learn about their culture.

Te Ramaroa is kicking off its campaign tonight to raise $450,000 to buy a 9 acre site for the mare near Logan.


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