Kāpiti Independent welcomes a new columnist — Mana list MP Hekia Parata, who is a rising star in the National Government.
Hekia, who grew up in a Ruatoria and is of Ngati Porou and Ngai Tahu descent, has recently been promoted to the Cabinet table as Minister of Education.
She is also Minister of Pacific Island Affairs — useful in the Mana electorate, where there is a huge Pacifica population.
Hekia attended Manutahi Primary School, Ngata Memorial College and Gisborne Girls High School before completing a MA at Waikato University, where she was also President of the Waikato Students Union.
She has worked in the public and private sector, holding senior policy and management positions, and has run a consultancy firm with her husband Sir Wira Gardiner. Here’s her first monthly column:
35,000 enjoy Creekfest — and that’s not all, says Minister HekiaBy Hekia MP
I am so encouraged by the many successful events in the very diverse zones of Porirua City.
The annual Creekfest in the East zone was a magnificent success with 35,000 people attending.Te Rauparaha Arena was abuzz with fun at the International Childrens Day celebrations a couple of weeks ago and the Western Zone is preparing for the Porirua Grand Traverse. These events are truly reflective of the culture rich environment which is Mana.
And congratulations to all who participated in the annual Whitby Walkfest 2012; and are taking part in the Kāpiti Sustainable Home and Garden Show.
Teaching summit in New York
Since I last wrote for the Independent, I have attended the International Summit on the Teaching Profession in New York. This was an affirming time for me as Education Minister. New Zealand is taking the right steps to deliver 21st century education to our students.
Our New Zealand delegation included PPTA President, Robin Duff; NZEI President, Ian Leckie; and Principal of Sylvia Park School, Barbara Ala’alatoa.
We were hosted by the US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, the OECD, and Education International to discuss and share ideas about effective school leadership, teacher education and professional development, and the evaluation of teaching.
There is no doubt that high-quality education drives higher economic growth and social gain. We are working on ways to get higher quality teaching in schools, particularly those schools with high Maori and Pacific Island rolls. With one in five of our students leaving school without qualifications – too many of them Maori and Pacific Island – we need to urgently raise achievement. We cannot afford to waste another generation.
Collaboration in Mana
For Mana, collaboration across the community is vital to raising student achievement – that means teachers, principals, unions, parents, communities, businesses, academia and government agencies working together, taking responsibility and sharing ideas that successful teaching practice becomes common practice for all our students.
Mana has the opportunity to lead by example – particularly for our Pasifika students.
We have culture-rich communities; strong parent, church and resident associations; government agencies that have our children at the forefront of their businesses keen to grow a skilled workforce, and schools working hard with students to acquire skills and meaningful qualifications.
Mana has all the elements of success – we now need to turn that into every student succeeding.
The ‘recent reforms’ in local govt. and welfare
With this in mind, the recent reforms in welfare and local government enables a better public service for all so that priorities are placed in the right space.
The local government reforms are a part of National’s programme for building a more productive, competitive economy and better public services. Like central government, we want local government to deliver better services within tight financial constraints.
The reforms will provide clarity around the role of councils, stronger governance, improved efficiency and more responsible financial management. As Mana ratepayers, you deserve the assurance that your council is spending their money wisely, on services that matter to our ratepayers and community at large.