Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pacific Voyagers fleet sets sail

Members of the Pacific Voyagers' Fleet are relieved to finally be sailing.

The five double-hulled fibreglass canoes sailed from Auckland's Viaduct Harbour this afternoon out to the Colville Channel before heading off into the Pacific.

Frank Kawe, the kaihautu of the Aotearoa waka Te Matau a Maui, says delaying the start to avoid the weekend's bad weather meant the crews enjoyed some extra time with whanau.

Frank Kawe says two more vaka will join the fleet at the French Polynesian atoll of Fakarava before they sails on to Hawaii and the west coast of the United States on their mission to raise awareness of ocean pollution.


New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters says a ministerial review of spending on Maori revitalisation has failed to answer the question on whether the government and language learners are getting value for money.

The review led by Sir Tamati Reedy called for a minister for te reo Maori and a new structure of regional bodies to control spending.

But Mr Peters, a former minister for Maori affairs, says he's picking up concerns about the level of professionalism in the sector.

“Without saying anything untoward I would like to see a thorough review done so that and kura kaupapa lives up to what has been promised. I think that has to be done first before you rush out and provide new funding,” Mr Peters says.


The Play it Strange Trust is encouraging Auckland secondary school songwriters to tackle the theme of Matariki.

Chief executive Mike Chunn says the writers of the 10 best songs will get them to record them for an album, and the winner of the best song will get to perform them at a special midwinter concert at the Aotea Centre.

He says the songs can be in English, Maori or bilingual, and the matariki or Maori new year theme is open to wide interpretation.

Entries to the Matariki Songwriting competition close 11 May.


New research from Literacy Aotearoa and the Council for Education Research has found a big upside for children's education when their parents learn to read.

The report He Whanau Matau, He Whanau Ora: Maori adult literacy and whanau transformation was luanched today at a symposium on Maori adult literacy in Rotorua.

Author Helen Potter says parents, grandparents and adult literacy teachers identified a range of benefits such as being more able to support reading in the home and help with homework, as well as being excited about their children’s learning.

Being able to read also gave parents much more confidence to meet teachers at their children's school.


Auckland mayor Len Brown says the strength of the council's own Maori unit allowed a satisfactory funding deal to be negotiated with the Maori statutory board.

The board withdrew its High Court review of the council's decision to slash its budget after much of its projected spending was shifted to the council's own allocation.

Mr Brown says bringing together the Maori focus units of the previous council in the Auckland region has given the new council a strong body of 26 Maori professionals who can support the board.

He says the statutory board members are gaining respect in the various committees they have been appointed to.


It's been 15 years in the making, but Ngatapa Black finally has her own album out.

The Maori television presenter and daughter of jazz singer Whirimako Black describes her bilingual set Black Light as roots-jazz-soul.

She says after years of writing demos, it was time to step up ... even if it meant funding the album herself and paying the musicians ... from bands like Ardijah, Che Fu & the Crates and Tohu ... in kai.

Ngatapa Black has also produced a collection of Maori songs for a German label, and she's putting together a collaborative tribute to the songs and life of the late Hirini Melbourne.


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