An unusual gathering of Maori youth held at the Methodist camp at Henderson, near Auckland, in May, has as its aim the development of leadership among adolescents. It was attended by about 50 young people who included students, teachers, nurses, farmers and trade apprentices.
Plans for the gathering were made by the Maori section of the National Council of Churches; and the idea was to assemble young Maoris with potentialities for leadership and to encourage them to take a more active part not only in the church but also in community life generally.
Among the lecturers was Mr Henare Toka, the well-known carver, who spoke on Maori arts and emphasised the value of preserving the Maori language to express the hidden meanings of different aspects of art.
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More than 100 Maori apprentices in Auckland who have passed through the hands of the Maori Affairs Department and the Department of Labour and Employment, are proving themselves in many trades, and more avenues of work are open to them.
Most of the boys are in the woodwork and mechanical trades, but plastering, the electrical trade and printing are other suitable avenues.
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Of 85 Maori apprentices placed in Wanganui since 1950, the full 85 are still with the firms which apprenticed them. Sixty of them have passed their examinations. Many found the apprenticeship classes beyond the scope of their previous school education, but some undertook special night school studies to overcome their handicap and finished by getting through their examinations.
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The National Prevent Drowning Committee is to make a special effort in its 1955–56 campaign to reduce drownings among Maoris.
The Maori Affairs Department is co-operating with the committee, which will invite the co-operation also of leaders of the Maori Women's Welfare League, tribal committees and other Maori groups.