Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Diabetes study money well spent

The head of health sciences at Auckland University says the $4 million spent on a controversial diabetes prevention study was money well spent.

The Wai Te Rona study was supposed to screen 15,000 Waikato Maori for the disease, but only managed 5000 before it was canned at the end of last year.

Professor Ian Martin says the study was not able to reach its ambitious targets, but the researchers now know that diabetes prevention programmes based on mass screening are not affordable with current technologies.

Professor Martin says the university got very little of the money.

“The majority of it was actually placed into the community to deliver the screening and to train new Maori healthcare providers within the community. That training took place, and there are between 20 and 25 new community healthcare workers who are out there still working who wouldn’t be out there if this project hadn't happened,” he says.

The study identified 260 new diabetics and put them on treatment programmes, and warned another 500 people that they were at high risk of contracting the disease.

DESTINY HATE ENCOURAGED NEW BOOK

The co-editor of a new book about being gay and Maori says it was inspired by the Destiny Church's protests against the Civil Union Bill.

Jessica Hutchings says the book, Sexuality and the Stories of Indigenous People, was a way to say Maori gay, lesbian and transgender people are not going away and they have a contribution to make to society.

Ms Hutchings says many Maori takatapui felt the publicity the predominently-Maori Destiny Church got over the Civil Union Bill was a personal attack on them.

“It was such an assault for many of us on who we are just as people, not necessarily only as queer people but as being a mother or being part of whanau or being part of tribal politics and our work identities. For people to stand up and walk down the streets and say hey, this is not okay – actually was not okay for many of us in the takatapui community,” Ms Hutchings says.

She says the book may help young Maori who are coming out feel they are not alone.

RATS PURGED FROM MUTTONBIRD ISLANDS

A suuccessful rat purge has boosted numbers of muttonbirds harvested this year.

Robert Coote from the Rakiura Treaty Committee, which oversees the harvest, says rats had been killing up to 20 percent of shearwater chicks each year on the Titi Islands.

Mr Coote says an eradication programme at the end of last season on four of the worst-infested islands seems to have worked.

“The signs are that rat eradication has been successful. Already there are reports of increased small bird presence on the islands and a bit of greenery there that hasn’t been there in many years, so everything’s looking quite positive in that department,” Mr Coote says.

The money for the rat eradication programme came from a trust set up after an oil spill off the California Coast.

AQUACULTURE CASE WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY

Ngati Koata chairperson Fred Te Miha says a group trying cut Maori out of valuable marine farming areas at the top of the South Island should now drop its court case now a law change is imminent.

Ngati Koata and neighbouring iwi are due in the High Court next week to challenge the Golden Bay Marine Farmers Consortium.

The consortium claims the way it is applying for coastal space means there is no need to set aside 20 percent for Maori, as is required under the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act.

Mr Te Miha says the government's announcement this week that it intends to close off that loophole in the law spells the end to the consortium's plans.
He says the government should have acted sooner.

“We've wasted a lot of money going to court, put everyone through a lot of anguish and stress I suppose you would say, and this is one of the problems when the Crown hurries through and tries to push through legislation without consulting with people,” Mr Te Miha says.

The case has already cost top of the South Island iwi more than $20,000.

PRIVY COUNCIL ROUTE NEEDS DEEP POCKETS

Money talks. That's the reaction from John Tamihere to David Bain's release from prison on bail.

The former Labour MP says while he's pleased for Mr Bain, he can't help wondering what might have happened if his brother David could have taken his case all the way to the Privy Council after being knocked back by the Court of Appeal.

David Tamihere is serving a life sentence for the 1989 murder of Swedish tourists Heidi Kaakonen and Urban Hoglin.

John Tamihere says a Privy Council appeal would have taken more money than the whanau could scrape together.

“Bain would not be in this position if he never had a millionaire backing him. He would be serving the lag right now, as a number of our people are. Justice regrettably in this country often depends on how much you can afford to get the best possible representation, and then go to the next level and the next level,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says applying the standard the Privy Council established in the Bain case, his brother should have been given another trial.

MEDIA COURSE GOES FOR BILINGUAL CAPABILITY

Manukau Institute of Technology has launched a new diploma to prepare Maori language speakers for jobs in the media.

Tutor Kotuku Tibble says the demand by Maori media for staff means speakers are being snapped up without any formal training.

He says that's unsustainable, so the polytechnic had developed a one year course which will ensure graduates can function proficiently in Maori or English.

“There was a need to establish some sort of Maori programme targeted at our wharekura kids that were leaving kura and wroking straight in media. They had the reo, the tikanga and knowledge of te ao Maori but probably very little training in relation to radio tv or magazine,” Mr Tibble says.

The first course starts in July.

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