Split over Maori culture workshop

Last updated 12:00 12/02/2013

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Palmerston North city councillors are divided about whether they should do their own education on Maori culture or go to a conference.

The council's planning and policy committee yesterday compromised, deciding to pay for one councillor to go to "Understanding Te Ao Maori" in Wellington next month.

Mayor Jono Naylor opposed spending $595 on workshop fees and paying for a night's accommodation.

"There is plenty of other information people can draw on through our own principal Maori adviser, without have to spend money on accommodation and conference costs."

Councillor Vaughan Dennison said he did not want people to get the impression councillors did not think understanding Maori was important.

"But for the cost of attendance and accommodation, we could well do this in-house," he said.

The workshop covers topics including understanding concepts, values, world views, organisational structures, the Treaty of Waitangi, and developing tools and techniques for better engagement between councils and Maori.

Committee chairwoman Annette Nixon said not everyone was at the same stage in their appreciation of Maori culture, and the workshop could help a councillor build confidence in dealing with Maori issues.

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- Manawatu Standard

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