Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Maori put in bid for rural broadband rollout

A consortium of wananga, iwi and Maori technology businesses has partnered with Wellington company Opto Networks to bid for the government's $300 million initiative to extend high speed broadband to rural communities.

Antony Royal, a spokesperson for the Torotoro Waea Partnership, says Maori take the sort of intergenerational view that is necessary for such major infrastructure investments.

He says it's vital that the broadband go not just to school hubs but to 1000 marae serving Maori communities.

“Maori have been developing capacity in fibre and in broadband and in wireless, in cellular, for quite come time now. It’s so important to get broadband to our rural communities that we believe we should be taking a leadership role in making sure the money the government is spending is being spent with the purpose of the best outcomes for our communities.
Mr Royal says.

He says between them Torotoro Waea and Opto Networks have the technical capability to complete the rural broadband network across the country.


Green co-leader Meteria Turei says New Zealand has a housing crisis with Maori and Pacific island families most affected.

Yesterday, Otago university reseachers said over-crowding was leading to Maori having some of the worst rates of rheumatic fever in the world.

Ms Turei says the disease is almost totally preventable, and the money the government is spending on the Hobbit should have gone into housing.

“The one thing they could do that would make a real difference to jobs and to people’s lives is if they built more houses. It would solve a huge number of problems. $100 million would go a huge way to doing that. Are they going to do it? No they are not, because actually they don’t care,” Ms Turei says.


Auckland Catholic Maori boarding school is full swing into an enrolment drive as it seeks to fill its roll for the start of the next school year.

Chairperson Norm McKenzie says despite the closure in recent years of the two Auckland-based Anglican schools, St Stephens and Queen Victoria, there is still a demand in the Maori community for boarding places.

He says the current roll of about 170 boys and girls is too low to do everything the school wants to do, and getting the roll up to 245 would mean another 12 to 15 teachers.

Hato Petera pupils include academic Ranginui Walker, artist Ralph Hotere and Te Arawa Lakes Trust chair and former Hato Petera principal Toby Curtis.


Former Alliance MP Willie Jackson says the Maori Party is likely to come close to holding the balance of power, but only if Winston Peters doesn't bring New Zealand First back into Parliament.

For the first time, the online prediction market iPredict's weekly snapshot put the Maori Party in the box seat for picking the next Government.

It's giving the Party five or six of the seven Maori seats, but the consensus of users who put money on possible outcomes is only picking New Zealand First to get 4 percent of the vote, not enough to give it any seats.

Mr Jackson says it's hard to make such calls this far out.

“I think that the Maori Party could go very close to holding the balance of power. The reality is they are going to win five seats minimum, so they are going to be up there, but the right wing are crying out for a Winston-type party so whilst iPredict might not be far off the mark with Maori Party holding the balance of power, if I was putting money on it, I would put my money on Winston Peters,” he says.

Mr Jackson says while National leader John Key has probably done enough to keep the Maori Party votes in his column, Labour's Phil Goff has also indicated a willingness to do a deal with Pita Sharples and tariana Turia if necessary.


Maori academic Rawiri Taonui is calling for dedicated programmes to address the needs of Maori gang families.

The former head of Maori and indigenous studies at canterbury University has just completed a chapter on Maori gangs for a new book to be published by Te Pae O Te Maramatanga, the Maori Centre for Research Excellence.

He says while there are programmes to assist Maori prisoners and their families, support is negligible gang whanau.

“There are no dedicated programmes here addressing Maori gangs and in particular Maori gang families. If you want to make progress with gangs you’ve got to not only have programmes for individual gang members, but also for gang families because Maori gangs tend to be a modified form of extended whanau,” Mr Taonui says.


A scheme to keep track of placentas in hospitals has won its creator a Canterbury District Health Board systems improvement award.

Christchurch midwife Diana Leishman says she developed the system in response to the cultural expectations of Maori women.

She says the Maori practice of returning the placenta, or whenua, back to the earth, also known as whenua, is catching on.

“I think in Christchurch our (Maori) birthing population is only like about 8 percent but probably about 30 percent of mothers take their placentas home with them so that does make up a lot more of the population so European women are seeing that as part of the birthing process, they want to return that placenta to the land,” Diana Leishman says.

The system has cut down the number of placenta being lost by 90 percent, reduced the need for placenta to be reexamined, and saved $100,000 a year in laboratory costs.


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