This year Northland College, a school with a large Maori roll, has made history by becoming the first secondary school to be represented at the conference of the New Zealand Federation of Maori Students.
The senior Maori students at the college decided to form a Federation branch and attend the conference, in an attempt to overcome the huge gap which exists between secondary school and University or Teachers' College, and they were not disappointed. All gained a tremendous amount of real experience from meeting more advanced students, and discussing the problems which young Maoris face at ‘Varsity and Teachers’ College.
It was refreshing to accompany these young people on their trip: refreshing, because usually we hear too much theory about ‘The Problems of Maori Education’, and here was a group earnestly and enthusiastically doing something practical to overcome their difficulties.
These students are hoping that other schools with large Maori rolls will follow their example in the near future. If Maori students are familiar with just a few aspects of ‘Varsity or College life before they actually begin these courses, we feel their success will be greater.
Northland College Maori students are also keen to see a conference for senior Maori secondary students begin next year. They would be interested to hear other young people's ideas on this topic.
Those who attended the conference were: Hone Sadler, Hemi Heremaia, Nancy Witihira, Hera Tapsell, Mervyn Tatana, Kevin Douglas, Ben Pitman, Bill Hamilton, Mose Panama, Terai Matapo and Kiriau Turepu. The latter three are Pacific Islanders who are studying at Northland College.
The tapu placed on the Kawakawa reservoir after the drowning there of Mr Tom Tipene was lifted on 6 March by three elders of the Ngati Hine tribe. The Kawakawa Town Council was represented by Mr G. R. Cookson.
Later the tribe chief, Mr W. B. Kawiti, expressed appreciation for the Town Council's co-operation in what had been a difficult situation.
Mr Kawiti also thanked the Pakeha people of the district for their expressions of sympathy.
Train in Auckland
In January the Auckland Post Office recruited 10 Maori boys from Northland for training as engineering technicians. Aged between 16 and 18 years, the boys were recruited by Mr Bill Puke, senior technician at Kaitaia, who will stay with them in Auckland for about 6 months to assist in their training.
They are being instructed at the Post Office Training School and are living at the United Maori Mission Hostel in Gillies Avenue.
Mr Puke said the boys were adapting themselves well and taking the job in their stride. When their training was completed they would become the first Maori technicians on the Auckland Post Office staff.
Thai Premier Entertained
The Putiki Maori Club entertained the touring Thai Prime Minister and his party last February with a varied selection of Maori cultural items. Soloists were Miss Margaret Wepia and Mrs Paki Martin.
Mr W. R. Mete-Kingi, leader of the group, compered the performance in a sprightly fashion and was later presented with an engraved silver box by the Thai Premier, Field Marshall Thanom Kittikachorn. Several guests left the hall twirling souvenir pois or wearing Maori headbands.
Movie cameramen from Auckland, Wellington and Bangkok shot TV film of the concert. This part of the tour will probably be seen by viewers in Britain, Europe and Thailand.
The club's presentation was the only Maori entertainment the party saw during its six-day State tour of New Zealand.