1 Feb 2013

Maori stay strong in their adopted home

7:35 pm on 1 February 2013

Some Maori in south east Queensland who have had to cope with having their homes inundated by two big floods over the past few years say they are determined to keep living there.

The Brisbane area has been badly affected by severe storms and flooding, similar to those which happened there in 2011.

The most recent floodwaters are starting to recede but many homes have been left damaged with some families having to fork out of their own pockets for thousands of dollars worth of repair bills.

Logan City between Brisbane and the Gold Coast is home to thousands of Maori families.

Natasha Reo-Hughes - of Te Atihau descent - moved to Logan 13 years ago from Palmerston North but says she has no intentions of moving back to New Zealand.

She says the only reason she would move back is because of whanau, but otherwise she and her family plan to stay put.

Ms Reo-Hughes says too often she hears stories of relatives in New Zealand struggling financially, but in Queensland her family is better-off.

She says even though the federal government won't give them any financial assistance, shifting to Australia has still been the best move for them.

Claire Robb of Ngati Koata descent moved to Queensland more than 20 years ago.

She works as a teacher's aide at Kingston State Primary School where 25 per cent of the school's roll are Maori.

Ms Robb says pupils and their parents have coped quite well this week even though severe storms and flooding have disrupted their normal routine.

She has been very busy this week informing parents of any closures and keeping whanau up-to-date.

Ms Robb says despite all of the drama on the first week of school most of the tamariki seem to be unaffected by it all.

She suspects most of the children were excited that they did not have to go to school, though this wasn't the reaction of many parents.

Mrs Robb says some students couldn't even make it on the first day of school because of the flooding, and she was at the school gate sending them back home.

She says the tamariki and their parents have been very understanding and that shows how resilient they are.