Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Portrait of a Lost Era

pihopa As a long time spokesperson for the Te Arawa branch of the Federation of Mäori Authorities (FoMA), Pihopa has raised a number of concerns about the way local authorities have historically managed Lake Rotorua and other water bodies in the district. While millions of dollars have been allocated to the local authorities to clean up the Lakes, Te Arawa FoMA kaumatua, Pihopa Kingi, says the money has been lost.

Over the past decade, an overload of chemical nutrients being pumped into local waters from sewerage, agricultural and forestry sites have continued to cause Lake Rotorua to reach dangerous levels of eutrophication. Current research estimates that 70% of nitrogen and 40% of current phosphate loading is of farm origin.

pihopa2 “While the algae bloom as been controlled to some degree, it has not been eliminated. I have always been very disappointed in the way that the establishment has failed in the task of keeping all the lakes, rivers and streams in a reasonable state.”

“There is a level of runoff, and our local Mäori authorities are working hard to reduce the runoff from the farms, but it is unfair because most of the historic pollution that has made the lake vulnerable has not come from Mäori.”

“Te Arawa FoMA members are currently working towards a win-win solution with Environment Bay of Plenty and have developed a number of innovative approaches for cutting down nutrient loads from farms.”

References Author: Mere Takoto Published: November 24, 2009 Posted in: Feature, Issue 4, Issue Four, Koha Articles

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Maketu School Goes to the Top of the Class

Tucked away at the base of Pukemaire lies the hidden gem that blossoms with goodness. It's a place of culture and heart and is cherished by the Maketu community. Why? Because this is where learning takes place. It's a place where children's imaginations can soar and a place where they can develop into courageous, bright young people. This place is Te Kura O Maketu or Maketu Primary.

Outside the wind is furious and the rain is pelting down. But inside the administration building, the mood is positive and inviting. The radio is on and the receptionist is singing loudly. The ceiling heaters shed a wave of warmth.

In the next office acting principal Sandra Hemopo is on the phone. She waves me into her office as she completes her conversation.

Her desk is tidy and the shelves are lined with neatly organised folders.
For a lady that's been at the helm of the school for two weeks, she's calm and collected. But inside Ms Hemopo admits she is a can of worms.

"This is only week two and I was DP before this but it has been a huge jump," she says. "You don't really get any training to being a principal, you've just got to jump straight in there. "I've been very lucky though, staff have been extremely supportive, and the community and the board."

Ms Hemopo took up the role after principal Bill Reid retired at the end of last term. While she is is at the helm, leadership at Maketu Primary is no way a dictatorship. Ms Hemopo consults the staff at Maketu Primary before launching any campaign or reciting any initiative to the community. "We're a team and I think that's a big part of who we are."

About a dozen pieces of student artwork are on display behind her desk. Ms Hemopo tells me they're pieces from the new entrant students who went to visit the Hairy McLary exhibition at Tauranga Art Gallery. She said even though Maketu Primary was a rural school that celebrated its environment, the school still made the effort to venture into town and give students the opportunities more available at bigger, central schools.

Maketu Primary is unique and it celebrates its differences. The school maximises the use of its beautiful surroundings and classes often venture outdoors. Ms Hemopo looks out her office window and casts her eyes towards the rough sea. "I was hoping to take some kids down to go surfing but I think we'll wait until tomorrow." It's opportunities like this that make Maketu Primary stand out from the rest.

maketu_school_article The school curriculum is flexible but the students do not suffer. In the morning the students work on literacy and numeracy and in the afternoon they work on "topic studies" and ICT work, which year 6 student Anahera Nolan, said was the fun part of the day. "I do like learning about maths strategies and te reo and I like doing literacy exercises but topics are the most fun," she said.

Ten-year-old Pomare Butler, also Year 6, said Maketu Primary was special because of the small number of students and the close-knit community. "It's not crowded and we know everyone."

Jayda Walters, 10, added: "It's a nice little school and it's pretty special because we have culture."

This culture stems from the fact the school is bilingual - one of the school's points of difference. Classes are taught in te reo and English and students are encouraged to cherish and maintain their cultural history. Ms Hemopo is not fluent in te reo and takes evening classes because "there's always something to learn".

The school's motto is Kia tu rangatira ai ki nga ao e rua - Stand tall in both worlds and the students of Maketu Primary are well-known in the community, Ms Hemopo says. "We're not hard to miss, the community see us all over the place. "We have a stall at the Kaimoana Festival and we've been down to Newdick's Beach and planted on the dunes".

Students come from Te Puke and Little Waihi, however, the majority live in Maketu. Maketu is a small community and the majority of students are Maori, most of whom are related to each other in some way, Ms Hemopo says. This meant the school was well supported by parents. "They're always there for us if we need them, most parents pay the donation but we're a low-decile school so we can't expect to be paid much from our parents. "But it's not a big issue but it can be hard because there are so many groups here in Maketu that are all vying for funding, like the fire brigade and the everything else so we don't have a big fundraiser each year but we're well supported."

Parent, teacher-aide and van driver Patricia Paterson said her decision to send her daughter to Maketu Primary was one of the best choices she had made. For her, the school boasted excellence, in and out of the classroom, and was a place that encouraged her daughter to learn.

Maketu Primary is a small school - it consists of four classrooms, admin block, and the old dental clinic which is now used as a music room and meeting space. With a roll of about 80 students, Ms Hemopo says she knows every child personally. Because of the intimate nature of the school community, the school boasts a "family-type atmosphere" and students are confident and willing to learn, she says. "This is a comfortable learning environment and we want each student to reach their full potential so they can go out and do well in this world."

Maketu Primary is a small school but it has the heart of a giant. It's been operating for more than 100 years and is a place where students love to learn.

  • Maketu Primary / Te Kura o Maketu
  • Where: School Rd, Maketu.
  • Pupils: 78.
  • Staff: About 12.
  • Decile: 2
  • Acting principal: Sandra Hemopo.
  • School mission statement: Stand tall in both worlds.

Article by Genevieve Helliwell | Bay of Plenty Times | 16th May 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Maketu Fish ‘n Chips


Fish and chips a very popular meal here in New Zealand and it forms part of the fabric that gives us the Kiwi identification. But have we ever stopped to questioned ourselves does it belong to us, and if not where did it originate and how did it get here? Most of us will be surprised and learn that Fish and Chips originated in the United Kingdom as far back as 1858. It comprised of battered fish, that is cooked by a process of deep-frying and is accompanied by deep-fried 'slab-cut' potato called chips. There is however debate, but popular opinion associates the meal with the United Kingdom where it remains as popular then as it is today.

Community Development

Countries like New Zealand, Australia and Canada were colonised by the British people during the mid 19th century, and brought with them their customs and preferences including their like for fish and chips. Here they quickly established fish markets and as the markets grew in city centres the smaller fish shop grew in numbers and are found in many rural settlements scattered across New Zealand. Patronage of these small markets by local residents soon found cooking as alternative money earning income stream. A sense of local ownership and identity soon became the talk and the word spread that we have the “best fish and chips” Families travelled specially to these settlements to buy fish and chips and enjoy the local hospitality.

A Greater Menu Selection


‘Maketu Fish ‘n Chip Shop’ with permission by Robin White

Maketu for  over two generations has kept a reputation of cooking the best fish and chips in the Bay for the best tasting and freshness of fish. This is attributed to a well known local family the Tapsell’s and as proprietors they handed the good will of the business to next in line. The Maketu Fisheries Shop changed many times and so did it’s menu. The selection offered, includes battered fresh mussels, oysters, prawns, sausages, spring rolls, kiwi burgers, kumara chips with sour cream and even deep-fried chocolate. The process of deep-frying has taken on change as well, for the health conscious minded customer can now ask for their meal to be cooked in oils.

Take-Away the News

Kiwi’s are patriotic and support all things Kiwi like Watties. One will say you cannot have Fish and Chips unless you have it with Watties Tomato sauce. Kiwi’s have a fascination for Watties and like Fish and Chips we begin to own it with our Watties products from Tomato to Tartar sauce’s. Here in Maketu they will throw in the slice of lemon wedges on request.

Take-away your Fish and Chips and find a spot on the sandy beach or on the grassy knoll, unwrap what is a New Zealand icon and enjoy. Take the time to read the news articles and reflect you never know what you get.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Learning to Deal with Wastewater:

Sewerage engineering practice operates within a paradigm in the sense that the engineering community reached a consensus earlier last century that a narrow range of treatment options would form the basis of its subsequent practice. This consensus prevents serious consideration of alternative technologies and constrains innovative research at a time when the paradigm is no longer adequate in a changing environment where sustainability is crucial. A technological revolution is required but is unlikely to emerge from within the sewerage engineering community unless that community recognises that their existing paradigm is inadequate to the needs of the community and the broader environment.
For the past decade Western Bay District Council engineers have been accused of choosing a sewage treatment solution from a small range of technologies that are consistent with the water-carriage of the sewage (in pipes) to a waterway for disposal. Conventional treatment methods are classified into stages. The preliminary stages involve grit removal and the screening of gross solids from the sewage. Primary treatment removes some suspended solids from the sewage by sedimentation in tanks. Secondary treatment utilises micro-organisms to break down organic matter, mainly with biological filters or activated sludge treatment. All of these processes had been invented and were in use as early as 1920.
Yet today alternative sewage treatment technologies that have proved to be effective in the past have largely been dropped from the engineer's code of practice despite their public appeal. Sewage irrigation and other forms of sewage farming were successfully used in the nineteenth century and remnants of those early farms still operate today in the 21st Century such as the Werribee sewage farm in Melbourne. For the most part though, these technologies have been abandoned as victims of a wastewater paradigm.
Engineers and health inspectors alike within this paradigm are also becoming increasingly dissatisfied with conventional primary and secondary treatment methods. Secondary treatment plants are expensive to build, operate and maintain. They are land intensive which is a problem and communities like Maketu are forced to install secondary treatment on prime real estate near estuaries and ocean outfalls. They also create a large amount of bi-product called sludge which is difficult and costly to deal with. The problem is exacerbated by the tendency for viruses and heavy metals to concentrate in the sludge making alternative disposal forms like incineration and reuse as fertiliser potentially hazardous.
It can be argued that the debate of this wastewater paradigm from last century is outdated and a new paradigm is emerging as the debate is polarised. In a recently published article in Te Puke Times March 23, 2011 community leaders of Maketu have once again demonstrated a united position objecting to council’s application for resource consent for a reticulation sewage scheme yet agree doing nothing is not an option. What did they do? they provided council and engineering staff an alternative a ‘bio-filtro’ as a win/win option.
It is not my intention to take sides but Mayor Ross Paterson is quoted as saying “council investigated an alternative wastewater treatment method recently suggested by some Maketu residents but it was not convinced it would satisfy resource consent conditions”. So after a 12 year journey Western Bay District Council made a decision to construct a $16.3 million sewage system for Maketu and Little Waihi based on an outdated paradigm.   

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

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