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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Manukau kaitiaki Kirkwood dies

June 28

Tainui people are today mourning the passing of a man known as a kaitiaki of the Manukau Harbour.
Barney Kirkwood died yesterday aged 73, and is lying in state at Whatapaka Marae on the southern shore of the harbour.

His cousin, Carmen Kirkwood, says Mr Kirkwood with his father Ted was one of the key people who drove the Manukau Claim before the Waitangi Tribunal in the 1980s.

He served on the Auckland Regional Council's Manukau Harbour Maritime Committee, and spent years pushing for a clean-up of the harbour.

“Barney was there, he never gave in, it was his passion. The harbour is with his familiy, it is our lives, living on it. It is always there. And of course, his passion for the awa, the Waikato River, with the rest of our people,” she said.

Carmen Kirkwood says her cousin worked at Kingseat Hospital, and blazed a trail for a Maori dimension to be incorporated into mental health and into healthcare generally.


Maori are particularly vulnerable to the effects of passive smoking, according to Smokefree Coalition head Shane Bradbrook.

The United States surgeon general Richard Carmona has reported that passive smoking is a serious health hazard responsible for premature death and disease in children and non-smoking adults. He has called for more smoking bans.

Mr Bradbrook says it's good the coalition's views have got such an authoratative endorsement.

The Manu Korero secondary schools' speech contest is a showcase for nga rangatira mo apopo or the leaders of tomorrow.
Thirteen schools competed in the Ngati Kahungunu Hawkes Bay regionals this week.
Judge Remana Johnson, a Maori language teacher at Lindisfarne College was impressed by the standard of the contestants:
“It gives an indication to us as kai ako, as teachers, nga rangatiro mo apopo, the leaders of tomorrow. To see the confidence of these young people able to stand and talk in te reo rangatira, and at the same time talk in te reo Pakeha. It is encouraging to see,” Johnson said.

Remana Johnson says the competitions can help set students on the path to tertiary study.
The Manu Korero national finals will be held in Taranaki in September.

Maori workers are playing their part in huge protests in Australia today against the Howard Government's proposed changes to industrial relations laws.

Steve Husband, a delegate with the Maritime Union in Sydney, says the changes will be even worse than the former National Government's Employment Contracxts Act, which drove many Maori workers across the Tasman.

Mr Husband says Maori are at the forefront of the union movement, especially in the construction section of the giant Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

“The brothers are there carrying the banner and marching hard and very staunch and very committed and held in great regard over here. The Transport Workers Union, similarly, but especially the Construction Union. They run the show here and they are very militant, very staunch, very progressive, and they are held in high regard by the whole trade union movement over here,” Husband said.


Maori Party co leader Pita Sharples says he hopes yesterday's vigil on Mangere Mountain against domestic violence will lead to changes within the community.

The ceremony included the naming of all 115 women and children who have died from family violence since 1995 .

Dr Sharples says while the event was given extra focus by the death of the Kaahui twins a week before, all those other victims needed to be remembered as well.

He says it may be what is needed to start the process of change.


The Health Research Council has targeted heart disease and children's hearing for its latest round of Maori specific research funding.

Maori health research manager Aroha Haggie says Maori are more likely than non Maori to die early of cardio-vascular disease.

A study involving Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairoa in Hawles Bay and Ngai Tahu ki Waitaha in Canterbury will look for ways to identify disease risk factors.

Ms Haggie says there is also a need to find new ways of treating deaf and hearing impaired maori children.

In 2002, almost one in two children diagnosed with deafness was Maori.

Ms Haggie says the Health Research Council looks for projects which will not only help professional practice but will also transfer knowledge to communities.


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