Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mental Health Commission reviews decade

An expert in Maori mental health says the Mental Health Commission's review of the past decade highlights the importance of Maori communities getting involved in the sector.

Fiona Te Momo (left) from Massey University's school of social and cultural studies says despite some improvements over the decade, the sector is still under resourced.

Dr Te Momo says there is limited time for professionals to see and treat clients because so many are coming through the doors.

“If that's how it's delivered mainstream, and there’s still a need for clients to have extra assistance, this is where maybe it comes back to the communities, whanau, hapu and iwi, to help work in and uplift that responsibility that may be required to make the client or the patient healthy,” Dr Te Momo says.

The disproportionate number of Maori with mental health problems means more still needs to be done in that area.


Ngai Tahu is involved in an innovative project to improve the health of Christchurch's waterways.

Project manager Craig Pauling says it's the first time Ngai Tahu has had a chance to research the state of the estuary, known as Ihutai, and the rivers which feed into it, the Otakaro or Avon and the Opawaho or Heathcote.

Mr Pauling says it's working with other community groups and scientists under the auspices of the Ihutai Trust, which aims to restore and manage the estuary.

“We've already been out in the field a number of times so we’ve been doing monitoring for the last month. It’s just a baseline project so we’re just gathering data for the first time because we haven’t got any other data to compare to,” Mr Pauling says.


Waiariki Institue of Technology's first deputy chief executive Maori says a rise in Maori students at the Rotorua polytechnic isn't coming at the expense of Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

The Wananga has shed courses and students under Crown managers, giving many loss-making polytechnics a chance to fill the gaps.

But Miki Roderick says Waiariki's growth from 1400 hundred students in 2006 to more almost 1750 now was the result of improved relations with iwi and the community, a new sports academy and a policy of attracting school leavers, who can study there for free.

The success that we've currently enjoyed is primarily because of a stronger stakeholder relationship and getting bhack to the community, and to the labour market that we’re hopefully servicing, so I don’t think it’s a result of a fallout from the wananga. It’s more that we’re focused on core areas of out business that are related to the community needs,” Mr Roderick says.

He says the Waiariki polytechnic is keen to work with the wananga on complementary education projects.


Leaders of the Notorious chapter of the Mongrel Mob have indicated they want a change in gang culture.

Auckland Police Iwi liason officer Huri Dennis says two senior figures from the chapter were responsible for an historic meeting last week at Manurewa Marae between the Mob, Black Power, Hells Angels and representatives of South Auckland youth street gangs.

The hui comes as south Auckland civic leaders have expressed mounting concern about gang related violence and murders in the region.

Mr Dennis says it's the sort of kaupapa the police could endorse, but it's certainly not a hui they could call.

“The drive of the hui, the platform of that hui was spearheaded by the Mongrel Mob, the Notorious chapter, Roy Dunn and Edge Te Whaiti and his whanau, just saying ‘we’ve had enough, we want to do something better, we want something better for our kids,’ and they’ve started to engage with some of these younger gang leaderships,” Mr Dennis says.

The next move may be to take the korero to other gang chapters around the motu.


Prime Minister Helen Clark is welcoming efforts by urban Maori authorities to assist in the distribution of money set aside in the Maori fisheries settlement for education and training.

A National Urban Maori Authority hui in Auckland over the weekend looked at how the $20 million set aside for Te Putea Whakatupu Trust should be used.

The trust was established because of concern many Maori would not be able to beenefit from the settlement through their iwi.

Helen Clarke says urban Maori leaders John Tamihere and Willie Jackson advocated strongly for the trust when they were MPs.

“John of course would have been a strong advocate for the interests of urban Maori as Willie traditionally has been, so the aim would have been to try to be fair to everybody, and while it seems to be a pity for people not to know what their whakapapa is, maybe the urban allocation is one way to deal with that,” Helen Clark says.


A tradition dating back 800 years for Rakiura Maori is in full swing.

Yes, it's mutton bird season, and those with birding rights are making the hazardous journey to the Titi Islands to catch the titi or juvenile sooty shearwaters.

Birder Marty Te Au says the main part of the season is approaching, when the titi come out of their nesting holes.

“The birds are in good condition but the weather’s against them at the moment, with the full moon and everything. They’re catching a few but not as many as they would. It’s been calm. You need the rough weather. That’s not due to hit here until Saturday,” Mr Te Au says.

There are about 15 islands which are harvested, with between 25 and 30 family members on each island.


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