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Letter to Manukau Issue 35

Friday, 15 August 2008 - Issue 35

In this update:
Principal for a Day | Benefit Screening | Weymouth Tragedy | Colin Dale

Principal for a Day
Last week I was privileged to be Principal for a Day at Redoubt North Primary School which is near the city centre. This annual event gives business and community leaders a chance to witness first hand how our schools are led. The exchange of ideas and perspectives during this event is of benefit to all involved.

I was impressed by what I saw at Redoubt North, which caters for students up to year 8 level. Principal Jane Milner and her staff show excellent commitment, dedication and love for the children. In fact, the head boy told me the saddest day in his life would be when he eventually leaves Redoubt North.

Principal for a Day has been run in Manukau for seven years. Modelled on successful programmes in New York and Chicago, the event is organised by the City of Manukau Education Trust (COMET).

I congratulate COMET deputy CEO Jo Howse and CEO Bernardine Vester on the staging of yet another successful Principal for a Day.

Benefit Screening
On Monday evening I went to a benefit screening of the film "Apron Strings" at Berkeley Cinema at Botany. More than $13,000 was raised to benefit the family of Randwick Park shopkeeper Navtej Singh who was tragically killed in June.

Present at the screening were Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres, Chief Human Rights Commissioner Ros Noonan and New Zealand Film Commission CEO Ruth Harley. The evening was about fostering good relationships between communities and encouraging co-operation.

Apron Strings, filmed in South Auckland, is an excellent work. (Rated M, contains violence and offensive language). I won't give away the plot, but suffice to say it is essentially a film about us - multicultural Manukau in all our ethnic diversity.

The audience at the benefit was fortunate to see the film prior to its New Zealand release, although it had already been screened at the Auckland Film Festival. Director Sima Urale, co-producer Rachel Gardner and everyone associated with the film are to be congratulated. I also want to acknowledge and thank the following organisations which enabled the benefit screening to happen - NZ On Air, TVNZ, New Zealand Film Commission, ASB Trust, Cogita (Auckland).

Weymouth Tragedy
The killing of John Hapeta in Weymouth is yet another blow against our city. It is a tragedy for the family and friends of the deceased.

But we must not be discouraged in our efforts to work towards a safer community. Recent violent events, although indeed evil and despicable, need to be put in context. Although community safety is a concern for many of our residents, we are by and large a safe city. Our population is 330,000. We are home to more than 180 different ethnic groups. The vast majority of our residents are decent, law-abiding people who abhor violence.

We are a large city and like any large city we have our problems. The drug scene is a worry and it should be clamped down on. Progress has been made as shown by Operation Leo earlier this year which made inroads into the leadership of local gangs. Counties Manukau Police are doing an excellent job but they are under-resourced. I will be advocating strongly for more resourcing for our police.

Colin Dale
Many of you will have seen in the news that former Manukau city manager Colin Dale is to be appointed acting CEO of the Far North District Council.

Colin is a highly capable person who has continued to serve the community in many ways since he retired from his role at the Manukau City Council in 2006.

For instance, he has served as a board member of Housing New Zealand Corporation and chairs the Lets Beat Diabetes partnership steering group in Counties Manukau.

Colin has a property in the Far North and stays there often. So I'm glad the Far North District Council has woken up to the fact that they have a person of such talent up there.

Arthur Anae
Acting Mayor of Manukau


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