Waatea News Update

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Friday, March 05, 2010

Tarawera River deal irks tribal elements

A member of Ngati Rangitihi in the eastern Bay of Plenty says an agreement this week with the operators of the Tasman Pulp and Paper Mill in Kawerau is hot air.

The memorandum of understanding commits Carter Holt Harvey and Norske Skog to work with Rangitihi, Ngati Awa and Tuwharetoa ki Kawerau on measures to clean up the Tarawera River, which is known as the black drain.

But Maanu Paul says those who signed the memorandum don't hold the mandate from the Matata iwi when it comes to the river and the mill's resource consent.

“The claim for the river in the Waitangi Tribunal is in the name of Te Tino Tangatiratanga o Ngati Rangitihi. The appeal to the Environment Court is in the name of Te Tino Tangatiratanga o Ngati Rangitihi. It is certainly not in the name of those people who are purporting to speak in the name of Rangitihi,” Mr Paul says.

He says the small number of jobs Ngati Rangitihi people have at the mill needs to be weighed against the hundreds they miss out on because of the pollution of their waterways.


New Waikato University emeritus professor Tamati Reedy believes the government's new whanau ora policies could close some of the gaps between Maori and Pakeha.

Associate social welfare minister Tariana Turia highlighted some of the gaps in a speech to the Business Roundtable today, including the fact only 19 percent of Maori students leave school with NCEA level 3 or higher compared to 45 percent of Pakeha.

Dr Reedy, who headed Waikato's school of Maori and Pacific development, says Maori have been pointing to the answers for generations.


Hundreds of people have been through Otiria Marae near Moerewa to pay their respects to Gerard Ngawati, who died on Tuesday aged 55.

The Ngati Hine man touched the lives of thousands through his championing of Maori touch rugby and other sports and his work for the Ministry of Education, the Hillary Commission and Skill New Zealand.

Tamaki Makaurau MP Pita Sharples, who worked with Mr Ngawati in west Auckland for more than two decades, says hundreds more mourners saw him off at Hone Waititi Marae in Glen Eden before he was taken north.

“The saying on the marae yesterday at Hoani Waititi was the kawa of the marae was violated by love and that’s how it was. We had no control of the whare by the end,” Dr Sharples says.

Gerard Ngawati's funeral service at Otiria Marae starts at 10 tomorrow morning.


One of the country's most experienced Maori foresters says Maori have to stop letting others grow trees on their land.

George Asher, the chief executive and general manager of Lake Taupo and Lake Rotoaira Forest Trusts, spoke to a forestry conference in Auckland today about Maori aspirations for the sector.

He says the Ngati Tuwharetoa trusts have been resuming rather than rolling over leases on their 33,000 hectares of forests, and they have encouraged the Central North Island iwi collective to adopt the same strategy with the 170,000 hectares of forests it has got back from the Crown.

“At least for the Tuwharetoa Trusts, we’ve got skin in the game and we’re progressing towards 100 percent ownership of the crop, we’re over 50 percent of the way there now and we’re fully appraised of the risks and the operations and the prospects of future value added entry into the value chain,” Mr Asher says.

He says the bottom line for Maori business is people, so they need to generate profits which can be used to meet the social and cultural objectives of iwi.


Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Parekura Horomia says the Maori community needs to get on top of truancy and absenteeism.

Education Ministry figures out this week show absenteeism rates have stayed static for the past three years, with about 30,000 students a day skipping classes.

Mr Horomia says a disproportionate number of those students are Maori, and changes are needed at school and in the home.

The government is spending an additional $4 million a year tackling truancy.


Ngati Whatua today welcomed a small number of surviving veterans of the 28 Maori Battalion and hundreds of their family members to Orakei Marae.

Kaumatua Joe Hawke says it was a day rich in emotion, and the veterans remembers companions whose graves lie on foreign battlefields.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says the turnout shows the support that still exists for the group.

The event has a different structure than previous reunions, with more time given for the 28 veterans to talk among themselves, rather than their time filled with performances.

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Southland farm deal ends in disarray

What was billed as a bid by a Northland hapu to buy 28 Southland dairy farms with Dubai money has fallen over.

Real estate agent John Wright from L J Hooker has advised the owners of 10 farmers with sale and purchase agreements due to be settled this week the deal is off.

He says Ngai Tupango, which has linked to jailed Australian fraudster Shane Wenzel, failed to deliver on its undertakings.

“From our point of view we probably should have brought it to a head sooner. We tried to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and to take it through to the deadlines that were set,” Mr Wright says.

He says farmers involved have expressed sadness for the hapu.

Waatea News was unable to make contact with Ngai Tupango representatives.


A delegation from Maori Televison heads to Taiwan on Sunday to hand over the mantle of leadership for the next World Indigenous Television Broadcasting Conference.

Communications spokesperson Sonja Haggie says since MTS hosted the first conference in Auckland two years ago, relationships between indigenous broadcasters in nine countries have firmed up.

One outcome has been Indigenous Insights, a weekly programme on global indigenous issues, and broadcasters are also re-screening other members' productions.

Each broadcaster has to provide four documentaries on indigenous issues in their country, and gets another 32 back free of charge.

Television also plans to swap a reporter with Canada's indigenous broadcaster.


The founding dean of Waikato University's School of Maori and Pacific Development is the first Maori to be made an emeritus professor by the university.

The University says Tamati Reedy of Ngati Porou helped create a distinct Maori presence in the institution and strengthened its relationships with Maori, which include staff, students, the community, hapu, and iwi.

Dr Reedy, who also served as pro Vice-Chancellor Maori and Professor of Maori sustainable enterprise, joined the university in 1996 at the behest of Sir Robert Mahuta after a long career in secondary schooling and as head of the Department of Maori Affairs.

He says Waikato University has played a significant role in bridging gaps between Maori and pakeha worlds and he has been honoured to be part of that process.


Associate social development minister Tariana Turia says bulk funding should give Maori service providers more scope to address the needs of the communities they serve.

Prime Minister John Key has indicated Whanau Ora providers are likely to be bulk-funded, with details due in the May Budget.

Mrs Turia says there needs to be a shift from activity-based contracts to relational contracts that pay for outcomes.

“Some providers have got 72 different contracts. It’s ridiculous. And then they’ve got 72 lots of compliance they have to meet. Now we know that if they do that, that will make some huge savings for providers which they will then be able to use in a much more concerted approach in supporting families to make decisions for themselves,” Mrs Turia


Emotional scenes are expected at Orakei Marae in Auckland today as more than half the surviving members of the 28 Maori Battalion gather for their annual reunion.

Convener Brian How says 28 of the 50 veterans have indicated they will attend.

Members of A Company will be welcomed on at 10, and they in turn will welcome their old comrades from B, C and D companies at noon.

Tomorrow there's a visit to Papakura Army barracks followed by a regimental dinner at Vector Arena, and on Sunday there will be a dawn service at the Okahu Bay chapel and a memorial service at the Hall of Memories at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Mr How says the 28 Maori Battalion is a special group, with the youngest 85 and the oldest 101-year-old Bill Williams.

During the weekend the veterans and supporters will discuss a plan to set up a memorial trust for when the last of the old soldiers dies,


A record number of teams will turn out at the Te Arawa regional Kapahaka competitions in Rotorua tomorrow.

Organiser Trevor Maxwell says up to 5000 performers and supporters are expected at the Energy Events Centre on the lakeside.

Teams will acknowledge the event's long time patron, the late Sir Howard Morrison, and also reflect on other Waiariki identities who have died over the past two years, including Arapeta Tahana, Taini Morrison and Hawea Vercoe.

Mr Maxwell, a former Ngati Rangiwewehi tutor, says the top four teams, Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao, Te Mataarae i o Rehu, Manaia and Nga Uri O Te Whanoa, can expect some tough competition, with 17 teams competing for the five places on offer at Te Matatini in Tairawhiti next year.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Turia challenges schools to change

Associate social welfare minister Tariana Turia says schools need to become more culturally relevant for Maori children.

The Government is putting more money into cracking down on absenteeism and truancy in schools, after an Education Ministry survey found 30,000 students a day were skipping classes, more than half of them Maori and Pacific Island.

Mrs Turia says while teachers don't like the government's proposal to make them more accountable through national standards, too many students aren't inspired by what they get in the classroom.

“Schools need to change. I know schools don’t like change and they don’t like people being critical of them but we can blame parents as much as we like but in the ends schools have to step up to the mark and provide a culturally competent environment for Maori kids to be in,” Mrs Turia says.

She says because of the deficiencies in schools, Maori money has been invested teaching non-Maori teachers how to teach Maori kids.


Manukau Urban Maori Authority chief executive Willie Jackson is defending Destiny Church founder Brian Tamaki from charges his church is a cash cult.

The broadcaster and former Alliance MP says he's impressed with how Bishop Tamaki has turned around the lives of many Maori.

Mr Jackson says there's a racial edge to the attacks.

“This Maori’s sort of got so big for his boots it’s just not funny. That’s the reality. Look, all the churches have been tithing since the beginning of time. This guy’s come out with more innovative, in your face ways of doing it and it’s offensive to people because people say ’You can’t do it like that Brian, you don’t actually go and put an eftpos machine in the church.’Well I suppose he wants to make sure of his 10 percent,” Mr Jackson says.

The latest scrutiny of the Destiny Church was sparked by its Brisbane pastor walking out with many of the congregation in protest at increased levies to buy more television time for Bishop Tamaki.


The executive officer of Maori film and television group Nga Aho Whakaari says getting te reo Maori onto the Internet and cellphone screens is the new frontier for keeping the language alive.

Pita Turei says if spectrum freed up by the switch to digital television is reallocated by open market auctions, Maori don't stand a chance against telecommunication giants like Telecom and Vodafone.

He says as other devices replace today's televisions, Maori are entitled by the Treaty of Waitangi to a fair chunk of spectrum.

“Our battle is to ensure that we get a slice of that, that the ruling of the Privy Council and the Waitangi Tribunal is respected in that this is to be regarded as a taonga because it is a mechanism we need to keep our language and our culture alive in the modern world,” Mr Turei says.


Waikato hapu Ngati Wairere is planning to put a rahui over land at Ruakura Research Centre to provide additional protection if trials to put human genes into goats, sheep and cows are given the go ahead.

Spokesperson Wiremu Puke says the trials could have long-term benefits for Maori if they lead to the production of compounds which address diseases like diabetes.

He says while the hapu is confident everything is being done to make sure the trials are safe, making the land tapu would give even greater protection.

“We'd look at getting a pou rahui put up to indicate to people that beyond these pou rahui is a defined boundary that you don’t go on to unless you have authorization to do so,” Mr Puke says.

He says some Maori who oppose the trials are acting in faith-based ignorance rather than trying to understand the science.


Rotorua's deputy mayor says the take up of direct flights into the sulphur city from Sydney is exceeding expectations.

Trevor Maxwell says bigger visitor numbers since the first flight in December creates more opportunity for the region's Maori tourism operators like the Mitai Experience and the Tamaki Village.

Long term prospects are encouraging, with loadings already at 85 percent.

He says everyone in Rotorua is working hard to encourage the service in the hope other centres like Melbourne and Brisbane will also offer direct flights.


Veteran children's writer Katerina Mataira has made the shortlist for the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards with Hu Hu Koroheke, a translation of Kyle Mewburn's Old Hu Hu.

Paora Tibble, the awards' te reo Maori advisor, says the Raglan-based author uses rich descriptive kupu to complement Rachel Driscoll's illustrations.

He says it's sure to appeal to young learners of Maori, as Mataira’s words bring the story alive in te reo.

The English language edition is also in the finals, with the winner to be announced on May 19.

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Kura foundation for stellar career

A Maori scholarship winner says this year's Ngarimu VC and 28 Maori Battalion Awards demonstrate the value of kohanga reo and kura kaupapa.

Kahurangi Waititi from Te Whanau Apanaui, Ngati Porou and Kaitahu was honoured for her postgraduate work at Waikato University and her netball prowess with the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.

She says six of the eight award recipients went to Maori immersion schools.

Ms Waititi says as one of the first kohanga and kura kaupapa pupils, she remembers the skeptics who said it wouldn't prepare tamariki for the real world.

“You know your reo and tikanga gives you that identity to be able to move in any world you choose to move in and it definitely is a testament to the value of kohanga and kura kaupapa,” she says.

Kahurangi Waititi received the award at Parliament from her father, 28 Maori Battalion veteran Major John Waititi.


The Prime Minister is rejecting criticism from ACT that National's relationship with the Maori Party has damaged race relations.

ACT leader Rodney Hide has endorsed former MP Muriel Newman's speech to ACT's weekend conference that the Government was promoting Maori privilege and encouraging welfare dependency.

John Key says ACT is off the mark.

“One of the legacies of our government will be improved race relations and seeing more young Maori becoming successful in New Zealand and we have done a lot of things, whether it be advancing the treaty settlement process and hopefully getting to a more sensible outcome for the foreshore and seabed legislation to simple things like and not being afraid to raise a flag that shows on Waitangi Day Maori and the Crown are standing side by side like they did when they signed the treaty,” he says.

The Prime Minister says the government is getting overwhelming public support for its efforts to build a multi-cultural country based on a bi-cultural foundation.


There are some gun young Maori shearers vying for top honours at the 50th Golden Shears in Masterton this week.

Commentator Koro Mullins says John Kirkpatrick, Dion King, Cam Ferguson and Dean Ball represent the new generation, trying to match the Maori shearing dynasties of the past.

But they have some tough Pakeha to beat, including world champion Paul Avery and five time world champion David Fagan.


Green's co-leader Meteria Turia says the government's punitive approach to truancy will keep Maori families in poverty and their children out of the school system.

The Government plans to spend extra on school attendance, including prosecuting the parents of truants.

Ms Turei says one of the reasons Maori truancy levels are so high is that insecure housing means they keep moving and get little chance to settle down in a school.

“Fining families who are already on the lowest possible income, who don’t have the money for proper housing let alone to pay fines, is just a way of keeping those families in poverty and keeping them out of the schooling system. Why would a family commit to schooling when they know if there are any problems they could be hit with a huge fine,” she says.


The only registered kaupapa Maori after school programme has been honoured for service to the Hastings community.

The Te Aka Consultants won three awards from OSCAR, the Out of School Care and Recreation programme.

Alayna Hokianga and her husband established the After Kura Activities programme for 5 to 13 year olds in 2007 because Flaxmere children had nowhere to go after school.

She says the bilingual programme appeals to parents with children in mainstream schools who want to encourage the use of te reo.

“They have found their children have learned more in terms of te reo, tikanga Maori from our after school because we hammer it every day whereas in schools they might get a bit of Maori depending on what class they're in,” Mrs Hokianga says.

Te Aka won the region's Most Outstanding OSCAR Programme, Best Family and Individual Awards, and is a finalist in the National awards in May.


Maori touch rugby has lost its pou and rangatira.

Gerard Ngawati from Ngati Hine, Ngapuhi and Ngati Porou died on Tuesday aged 54.

As well as setting up Maori Touch in the 1990s with his wife Carol, Mr Ngawati worked as a Pouwhakataki for the Ministry of Education, and in Maori training and employment at the Hillary Commission and Skill New Zealand.

Teresa Hindle from Maori Touch says his enthusiasm for using sport as a vehicle for personal and Maori development was infectious, and many whanau benefited from his commitment.

Gerard Ngawati will be taken from his Titirangi home to Hoani Waititi marae this morning, before Ngati Hine takes him back to Te Rito Marae at Otiria.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Truancy moves part of wider education reform

The Prime Minister John Key says measures are needed to address why half the 30,000 kids wagging classes each day are Maori or Pacific Islanders.

Yesterday the budget for fighting truancy was boosted to $8 million a year.

John Key says that's on top of investment in curriculum and national standards, so kids have the basics and don't describe themselves as dumb.

He says school won't be the best place for every student, which is why alternatives are being developed.

“Our youth guarantee scheme is basically aimed at all of that. Instead of saying to a child that’s probably in year 10 or year 11, year 12, look stay at school, do the three Rs, and that will be the thing you need to do, why don’t we say we can pass this back to a polytech or wananga or whatever it might be that have those courses that may be more interesting,” Mr Key says.

He says education in a relevant manner is a top priority for the government.


Labour leader Phil Goff says ACT's claim the Maori Party is damaging race relations and promoting Maori privilege is a bit rich coming from a party that blocks Maori aspirations at every turn.

The claims were made in a speech by former MP Muriel Newman to ACT's annual conference, and endorsed by leader Rodney Hide.

Mr Goff says in one breath ACT blocked Maori representation on the Auckland super city, and in the next it criticises the other government support party for promoting Maori issues.

“The Act Party is the ones that wanted to implement Don Brash’s report for the National Government to cut the statutory minimum wage by $100 a week and pay more money to their very wealthy mates. Well sorry. The Act Party doesn’t represent the New Zealand that I believe in. I don’t put much store on its words on anything,” Mr Goff says.


Getting a Ngarimu VC and 28 Maori Battalion Memorial Scholarship has a special meaning for Kahurangi Waititi.

The Te Kaha 27-year-old from Te Whanau Apanaui, Ngati Porou and Kaitahu was one of the eight winners from a field of 57.

She felt proud to pick up the tohu at Parliament this week alongside her 88 year old father, who served in C company alongside second Lieutenant Moananui a Kiwa Ngarimu.

“There is that connection with the 28 Maori Battalion. I’ve grown up with stories of the Maori Battalion. My father was one of those soldiers, Major John Waititi. I think he was really happy because I’m sure he’s aware of how competitive these scholarships are,” she says.

Kahurangi Waititi has completed a Master's degree from Waikato University where she researched applying kaupapa Maori processes to documentary film making, and she also plays netball for the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.


Maori Television is celebrating the final deal on free-to-air television rights deal for next year's Rugby World Cup, which allows it to broadcast all 48 games of the tournament, 16 of them live.

Television One and TV3 will each simulcast seven key games live.

Chief executive Jim Mather says the channel's objectives were met.

“We're very pleased that we’ve been able to secure the rights for our te reo channel because that means that those 16 key live games will be broadcast 100 percent in te reo and on our Maori Television channel we have agreed the Maori language content can be up to 10 percent so we think we are gong to have the language and cultural bases very well covered under this arrangement,” he says.

Mr Mather says Maori Television is still planning for complementary programming around the tournament, even though it lost the Te Puni kokiri subsidy originally intended to allow this to happen.


Three eastern Bay of Plenty iwi have signed an agreement with the operators of the Tasman Pulp and Paper Mill to work together to improve the quality of the Tarawera River and surrounding land.

Ngati Awa, Ngati Tuwharetoa ki Kawerau and Ngati Rangitihi objected to Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper and Norske Skog Tasman getting a 25-year resource consent.

But Graham Pryor from Ngati Rangitihi says now the consent is through, subject to appeals to the Environment Court, the iwi want a less adversarial way to engage with the companies.

“The consent process that we went through, pretty much everything that was requested by the individual iwi was met, so we haven’t got any issues right now with the consent process. There are review periods and there are things that have to be done over certain time periods. There are some people who are not happy with that but I think a lot of those issues will be addressed in future as we work through this,” Mr Pryor says.

About 100 people were at Umutahi Marae in Matata today to witness the agreement.


There was a big turn out at Te Wharekura O Manurewa today to hear the Minster of Maori Affairs, Pita Sharples, officially grant the Maori immersion secondary school stand alone status.

Since it started a decade ago the kura has operated under the umbrella of kura kaupapa from Kaitaia and Mangere, but the agreement with the Ministry of Education means it can operate autonomously from the beginning of April.

Tumuaki Mahia Nathan says staff, students and Manurewa Maori appreciated Dr Sharples' personal touch, rather than just sending a letter.

The kura will soon move from relocatable classrooms behind Manurewa Marae to a new site in Brown's Road next to Homai College.

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Truancy push ignores wider social picture

A Taranaki youth worker says a new push against truancy needs to take other social problems into account.

Education Minister Anne Tolley has announced an extra $4 million a year to tackle the problem of truancy, and a further one-off $1.5 million on a one-off effort to get truancy officers visiting homes and searching known hangouts to get long term truants re-enrolled.

Lynette West from New Plymouth's Young People's Trust says as the bulk of hardcore truants are Maori, truancy officers need to work with agencies who are already helping these young people.

“It's not just a matter of ‘they’re being naughty, take them away from school.’ It’s what’s happening at home and what are they living with. Many of these young people may be protecting and caring for younger members of their family which is why a lot of them are not going to school. A lot of them have learning disabilities and quite a few of them are medicated also with mental health problems,” Ms West says.

Most truancy problems start at primary school, and the Government are tackling the problem far too late.


The Labour Party's Auckland spokesperson says the Maori advisory board to Auckland's super city council will be a toothless tiger.

Phil Twyford says what's been put before the select committee hearing submissions into the proposed governance regime shows the council will be powerless.

He says mana whenua, who have been among the most strongest critics of the forced merger of the region's councils, have made it clear they are only going along with the Maori board because they were given no other option.

“It's a tactical decision about whether you engage with these kinds of processes and I think it’s perfectly reasonable to engage but let’s be brutally frank; it’s an advisory board. The Auckland council doesn’t have to pay attention to it if they don’t want to. They can make any decision they want at the end of the day without any regard to what the advisory panel says,” Mr Twyford says.


The manager of the only marae-based issuer of drivers’ licences is supporting a move to raise the minimum driving age to 16.

South Auckland-based MUMA Road Safety has run driver licensing programmes for more than two decades.

Fran Hokianga says raising the age is a sensible move, as the majority of road injuries and fatalities are among rangitahi.

She says many modern cars are too fast for inexperienced drivers.


A spokesman for the Maori king says demands for greater financial accountability are being driven by a few disgruntled members of the tribal parliament.

Rahui Papa says reports emerging from Sunday's session of Te Kauhanganui that King Tuheita threatened to abdicate were false, and the king's speech was actually a call for unity in the face of divisions created by the sacking of tribal chief executive Hemi Rau.

He says the parliament has oversight of the $1.2 million budget needed to run the king's office.

“The king is no stranger to auditing, no stranger to budgeting and no stranger to accountability, and those things will be provided to Te Kauhanganui as and when required on a six monthly or annual basis, as does Te Kauhanganui and Te Ara Taura report to the tribal parliament on a six monthly and yearly basis,” Mr Papa says.

King Tuheitia wants Waikato Tainui to come back together under the Kingitanga principles of rangimarie, peace, mahitahi, collaboration, and whanaungatanga, working as a family.


The head of one of the largest secondary schools in Education Minister Anne Tolley's East Coast electorate says adoption of the professional development programme Te Kotahitanga should raise attendance levels in the region.

Mrs Tolley has doubled to $8 million the money set aside each year to tackle truancy, on the back of a ministry report that four percent of New Zealand students are absent every day.

But Jim Corder from Gisborne's Lytton High School says the small group of persistent truants need to be treated differently than students who skip the occasional class.

He says that's why one of the reasons a cluster of East Coast schools with high Maori rolls has signed up to te Kotahitanga.

“What we're expecting is that the students will be more engaged as a result of the strategies and the way we work and the way we relate to these students as a result of Te Kotahitangi. They will want to be engaged and want to be at school more. That will affect their attendances as well as their achievement,” Mr Corder says.

He says prosecuting parents who don't send their kids to school should be the responsibility of the Education Ministry or the police, not the business of schools as Minister Tolley is demanding.


Pakaitore protest leader Ken Mair says Whanganui residents now have a better understanding of the reasons for the 79 day occupation of Moutoa Gardens in 1995.

The 15 year aniversary was marked on the weekend with speeches and music on the banks of the Whanganui River.

Mr Mair says with river and land settlements in the pipeline, more Pakeha are taking time to learn about Maori issues, although there is still opposition from Mayor Michael Laws.

“What hasn't been helpful in our area of course has been some of the comments made by our local mayor in regard to some of the issues that affect us directly as iwi,” Mr Mair says.

Truancy crackdown a wast on mad mothers

A Taranaki youth worker says new funding to help schools prosecute the parents of persistent truants will be a waste of money.

Education Minister Anne Tolley has doubled anti-truancy funding to $8 million a year after a report that 30,000 children a day are skipping classes, with Maori and Pacific kids twice as likely to be absent.

While some of the money will fund more truancy officers, more is bound for prosecutions.

Lynette West from New Plymouth's Young People's Trust says prosecutions so far have been a waste of time in most cases, especially with Maori youth.

“The couple of cases in Taranaki have been a waste of time because the parents haven’t got the money to pay and sometimes they’re parents with addictions and mental health problems themselves and can’t cope, which is why the child is not going to school,” Ms West says.


Phil Goff says Maori are among the strongest supporters of his campaign to stop a 20 percent rise in gst.

The Labour leader is on the third day of a bus trip around the country opposing the increase.

Speaking from Tauranga, he said people have not been shy about voicing their concern.

“The reaction from the Maori community has been at least if not more strong than the rest of the community and that’s because a lot of people in the Maori community, they’ve got kids, everything they buy they’re paying gst on, their kids’ school uniforms, their clothes, you even pay gst on your ACC levies and your rates,” Mr Goff says.

He says Prime Minister John Key's pre-election promise he would not raise GST will enter the annals of political infamy.


The General Manager of the Maori Women's Welfare League, Jacqui Te Kani, says more resources, not less, need to go into the Ministry of Women's Affairs.

Labour MP Sue Moroney is sounding the alarm the ministry could be in for the chop as Finance Minister Bill English looks for savings in public sector spending.

Mrs Te Kani says the league struggled to get support from mainstream government agencies on issues like family violence until the ministry was created, and the two organisations have developed a good working relationship.

“Because they have a lack of funding they have always looked to the leaders of the league to represent women on issues that pertain to Maori women and other women,” she says.

Mrs Te Kani says the needs of women and especially Maori women are low on the Government's priorities.


A spokesperson for the Maori king is denying reports he threatened abdication over challenges to how his office is funded.

Rahui Papa says King Tuheitia's speech to the tribal parliament Te Kauhanganui on Sunday was misreported.

He says the king was concerned at rifts that have emerged in Waikato-Tainui over the dismissal of chief executive Hemi Rau, which is currently before the Employment Court.

“He has watched the divisions and the rifts amongst the people, amongst some of the people, grow further and further, and he is very concerned that if it is allowed to continue in this fashion, that the people will be very split and divided, and so he’s asking Te Kauhanganui to come back to the principles of the Kingitanga, he’s showing leadership to bring the divisions back into one family where we can debate and discuss issues in a peaceful and calm manner,” Mr Papa says.


Labour's Auckland spokesperson says the super city saga will go down as a lost opportunity to have meaningful engagement with te ao Maori.

Phil Twyford says the new governance structure being considered by a select committee ignores the fact Auckland is the world's largest Polynesian city.

He says while it's understandable why iwi groups have reluctantly agreed to join a Maori advisory panel, there was a clear sense of disappointment when Ngati Whatua and Ngapuhi appeared before the committee.

“There was a real heavy-hearted feel to the submission they made where clearly a decision’s been made by Ngati Whatua where they’re going to engage with the process and I understand to change the world you have to fight and engage and I respect that but I feel it’s a terrible missed opportunity,” Mr Twyford.


Residents fighting an apartment development on the site of Devonport's historic Masonic Hotel say the finding of koiwi will strengthen their campaign.

Claudia Page from the Masonic Friendly Society says at its first hearing the Environment Court refused on a technicality to hear archeological evidence against the plans.

She says the finding of human remains in one of two exploratory trenches supports the society's contention the site, which is where the Tainui canoe is believed to have landed, should not be touched.

She says digging out the building to create and underground car park would be to dig up an urupa and disturb more remains.

The Masonic Friendly Society's appeal against Redback Development Company is due to resume in the Environment Court at the end of the month.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Maori Party vague on foreshore alternative

A meeting of the Maori Party's national council in Wellington at the weekend agreed that MP Hone Harawira's position on the foreshore and seabed should be an option for discussion at hui being held around the country.

The first hui was held in Dargarville on Friday to be followed by at least 20 more.

Party president Whatarangi Winiata says the Tai Tokerau MP's position of Maori or tupuna title, no sale and access for all will be up for discussion at the hui but the National Council did not want the korero to be restricted to this option.

“That’s really important. We can’t be closing off options. This is their property. We can’t be dictating what it is that they should do. What we must try to achieve is give them maximum choice so that the legislation, the appropriate legislation is written,” Professor Winiata says.

One of the questions the iwi may have differing views on is what is meant by tupuna title and whether this would allow for co-management with the Crown for example.

He says the council and Mr Harawira's position is not in contradiction to the view expressed by fellow Maori party MP Te Ururoa Flavell, who supports the Iwi Leaders Forum and Crown officials meeting to work out a proposal for Minister of Treaty Settlements Chris Finlayson to take to cabinet.


A spokesperson for Iwi Have Influence or IHI, formed to fight for Maori representation on Auckland Super City, says it’s important the Maori Advisory Board does not become a one stop shop for Maori.

Helen Te Hira says the board set up when Maori were denied seats on the council must not be used to get around the Local Government Act.

“Whatever happens the Local Government Act still has obligations legally to ensure that Maori have full access to the range of council services, that they can participate in decision-making processes,” Ms Te Hira says.

Iwi representatives are also concerned the board it could become a place where Maori are fobbed off to.

Hearings on legislation to set up the Super City are currently being held in Auckland.


An expert on riwai Maori, or Maori potatoes has been in hot demand in Korea.

Nick Roskruge from Tahuri Whenua, the Maori vegetable growers association, says the Koreans were keen to tap into his horticultural knowledge.

“Training some of the farmers not so much in riwai but in vegetable production. A lot of them are still farming small pieces of land and doing it the old way. It’s about upskilling a little bit, some of their soil management and irrigation and those sorts of things, just to be a little smarter and meet some of the market expectations,” he says.

Mr Roskruge, from Te Atiawa and Ngati Tama Ariki, says Korean farmers want to boost production but are conscious of the need for sustainable soil management, something Maori have traditionally understood.


Controversial Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira says criticism of him for suggesting chains be dropped in the Kaipara harbour in protest at plans to build a sea-turbine power plant is unfair.

Mr Harawira says feelings are running hot around the Kaipara at the proposal that threatens one of the country's best schnapper fisheries and methods of protest emerged during a public meeting he was chairing on the foreshore and seabed on Friday.

“But in fact it was an old Pakeha guy who talked about dropping chains. It was another old Pakeha guy who talked about dropping cars and then an older Maori guy got up to say that in fact some of his nephews had been talking about the same thing,” Mr Harawira says.

He says Maori and Pakeha are extremely upset because National MPs from the area will not front to defend the station intended to provide power for Auckland.


A new book released yesterday on the life of historical writer Elsdon Best aims to shed light on his relationship with Tutakangahau of Maungapohatu, who the budding anthropologist described in 1895 as the last of the old time Maori.

Best of Both Worlds has been penned by Canterbury-based Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, who worked as a shearer, sawmiller and social worker before graduating from university with degrees in te reo and Maori studies.

He says there is little written about Elsdon Best, who worked and lived in the Urewera for 15 years, and Tutakangahau, who provided him with a lot of information on te ao Maori.

Dr Holman says his book examines the two men’s lives and how their stories intertwine.

“There was advantage on both sides and I don’t think Tutakangahau actually held back very much at all and it’s a really gripping story and I think any one who’s interested in that area, whether they like my book or not, will find something about the relationship between these two men which raises a lot of questions which I think are really worth asking,” Mr Holman says.

Those questions includes their spiritual and religious views.

Best of Both Worlds, the story of Elsdon Best and Tutakangahau is published by Penguin.


The executive director of Maori dance troupe Atamira says new technologies are opening exciting opportunities for performers and their audiences.

Moss Patterson from Ngati Tuwharetoa says the Tokyo Performing arts market he attending is opening his eyes to new theatrical opportunities, such as YouTube and live streaming of shows to websites.

Moss Patterson says he hopes to forge relationships at the arts market which will open the way for collaborative performances with dancers at the cutting edge of modern dance.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Broadcasting claimants opt for talks

Maori broadcasting claimants agreed at a weekend hui to enter negotiations with the Crown over the allocation of analogue spectrum which will become available by 2013 with the full digitisation of television.

Piripi Walker from Nga Kaiwhakapumau says Maori have a right to a significant amount of the spectrum under Article 2 of the Treaty of Waitangi.

However he says rather than continue with a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal the hui of iwi and interested roopu from around the country decided to take up the government's offer of direct negotiations with the Crown.

“It’s about modernity. It’s about the Maori world modernizing. It’s about opportunity in a green fields area. It’s not going to hurt too many other peoples’ rights and it’s an opportunity,” Mr Walker says.

Another hui will be held in May before any final decisions are made.


The industry training organisation InfraTrain says Te Puni Kokori funding train 250 Maori workers on major roading and civil construction projects in the upper half of the North Island will allow Maori to get better jobs.

Operations manager Ross Leslie nearly 22 percent of infrastructural workers are Maori.

“Twenty two percent of management supervisor engineers are not and the reasoning is why not, they should be. Being Maori is an asset not a disadvantage, so we want to get these people up and get them to recognise the skills they have got and lift them to another level by providing in a different way or a different learning environment, that’s what we are trying to do inside this programme,” Mr Leslie says.

InfraTrain is also offering five $10,000 scholarships for Maori from Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay to get a National Diploma in Surveying, Civil Engineering (Applied) or Infrastructure Asset Management.


The Executive director of Maori dance troupe Atamira Dance Collective is presenting a workshop in Tokyo about now for artistic directors keen to know about Maori performance traditions, especially the haka.

Moss Patterson from Ngati Tuwharetoa says those gathered for the Tokyo Performing Arts market want to know more about how the iconic haka fits into Maori performance.

He says the hosts have a particular fascination with the haka which is internationally known.

“Everyone here is genuinely interested, for instance the indigenous Japanese in forging connections with Maori traditional arts, especially traditional haka and how those two art forms have similar value sysems and similar ways of holding themselves, of communicating their tradition and the spirit of the people,” Mr Patterson says.

It is hoped relationships forged with artistic directors in Tokyo will result in collaborative cross cultural dance works.


Local Hero Sam Chapman says a recent retreat for Mongrel Mob members and their whanau has had amazing results.

Mr Chapman who organised the hui at Kakahi near Taumarunui for 12 gang members addicted to P and up to 50 family members says the whanau driven approach is already producing amazing outcomes such as an initiative to provide members kids with preschool education.

“We will have 20 of their preschool kids getting homeschool preschool education 30 hours a week with five of their mothers as caregivers, or fathers, employed for 30 hours a week at $15, $16 an hour. That’s what’s going to stop those kids becoming the 12 and 13 year old statistic we’re talking about,” Mr Chapman says.

He says such top of the cliff action works while the government's recent moves to toughen up sentences for young offenders will only lead to resentment and alienation.


Maori television boss Jim Mather says Maori should get independent technical advice before signing up to deals with the Crown for the allocation of spectrum coming available as television goes digital.

Iwi representatives attending a weekend hui in Auckland agreed to enter direct negotiations with the government rather than pursue a Waitangi Tribunal claim for a significant amount of the freed up analogue spectrum.

Mr Mather says Maori must be careful with this approach.

“We must adopt a trust but verify approach. If we are told the technological opportunities are A, B and C by the Crown of the Ministry of Economic Development, I believe it’s imperative we go out and independently verify that. Let’s think about the wider opportunities with the spectrum, because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to get this right,” Mr Mather says.

The spectrum is a complex area where good advice will be imparative before iwi sign up to any allocation.

Another hui is planned in May to update iwi representatives from around the country on the negotiations.


The department of conservation says the birth of kokako chicks in the Whirinaki forest for the first time in 100 years is seen by Ngati Whare as the spiritual return of taonga.

DOC officer Andrew Glazer says the chicks, which are just leaving the nest, are the offspring of twenty kokako which were transferred from Te Urewera National Park to Whirinaki Forest Park last year.

Kokako nearly became extinct so such breeding success is highly exciting as there is always considerable risk in establishing new populations.

Harawira pushing tupuna title ahead of policy

Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira is on the road gauging Maori opinion on replacing the Foreshore and Seabed Act, despite there being no clear alternative on the table.

A technical working group chosen by the Iwi Leaders Forum is working with a small group of Crown officials on a proposal for Attorney General Chris Finlayson to take to Cabinet.

Fellow Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell has backed the process, and said the party believes an effective solution can only come out of meaningful engagement between the Crown and iwi and hapu.

But Mr Harawira says he’s not waiting, and he’s looking for support for his idea of replacing Crown ownership with Maori or tupuna title.

“They’re not clearly Maori Party policies but unless you go out with a basic set of information, you’re out there floundering, so we’re not floundering, we’ve got some basic ideas – Maori title, no sale and access for all, see what our people think,” he says.

Last Friday’s hui at Dargaville was only the first of what he expects will be 40 nationwide.


The new deputy chief judge of the Maori Land Court is praising the depth of Maori legal talent.

Between 10 to 20 Maori are admitted to the bar each year, and there are now a few hundred Maori lawyers.

Caren Fox says it's great to see Maori doing commercial, regulatory and environmental law, but there aren't enough lawyers in other fields with a high Maori need.

“The criminal courts and the family courts could do with a good smattering of Maori lawyers but they don’t tend to go into those fields and stay very long,” Judge Fox says.


The head of the Maori dental association, Pauline Koopu, wants Maori and mainstream health organisations to give priority to Maori oral health.

Te Ao Marama held its annual hui at Rotorua over the weekend.

Dr Koopu says many Maori never go near a dentist once they turn 18 and stop getting free treatment.

That creates other health problems.

“There are underlying diseases such as diabetes, cardio-vascular. Pre-term low birth-weight babies have also been linked to having poor oral health so there’s a huge link there between oral health and general health that isn’t well known,” Dr Koopu says.

Te Ao Marama is trying to make iwi realise the importance of oral health.


South Auckland youth worker Haami Chapman says ACT’s three strikes bill being pushed through Parliament is likely to lead to more serious offending.

Mr Chapman, who was named local hero in this year’s New Zealander of the Year awards for his work with gangs, says by trying to look tough, the Government is ignoring effective community-driven responses to crime.

He says increased prison terms don’t act as a deterrent for rangatahi caught up in violence.

“If you know you ain’t got no other option for you, if you know you’re going away for a long time, what’s to prevent you from doing whatever you want to do. Let’s just make a good job of it. If you know you are going to be locked away the next 30 years, I may as well go the whole hog. See, it has that opposite effect,” Mr Chapman says.

What is working in south Auckland is whanau-based programmes, which are turning lives around.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says former housing and fisheries minister Phil Heatley did a lot for Maori.

The Whangarei MP stood down on Friday over his use of a ministerial credit card.

Dr Sharples says Mr Heatley brought together Housing New Zealand and Kiwibank to allow people building on ancestral land to get loans.

He also pushed to get agreements between those managing customary fisheries, recreational fishers and quota holders, so it’s a disappointment to lose him from Cabinet.

“I don’t know whether there’s something behind it or not but I do know he’s a genuine guy and to be down the road for a couple of bottles of wine seems to me really silly when you look at what company executives do ore even employees with their privileges and so on,” Dr Sharples says.


One of the country's top ta moko artists is crediting women with keeping the ancient art alive.

Mark Kopua from Tologa Bay has been demonstrating tattooing at the Face Value Exhibition of moko at Waikato Museum and Art Gallery.

He says in the same way wahine Maori led the way in language initiatives like kohanga reo or Aataarangi, they are also embracing the moko kauae, the chin moko and other designs that reflect their tribal identity.

“Our women are the strongest carriers of moko. Throughout the country the women outnumber the males and it’s very obvious to us the women are the strongest carriers of that type of kaupapa,” Mr Kopua says.

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