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 02, 2007

Pines no answer to East Coast pollution

A Ngati Porou environmental scientist says the Gisborne District Council is not pulling its weight in the effort to stop erosion in the Waiapu River catchment.

Tui Warmenhoven from He Oranga Mo Nga Tuku Iho Trust says the Waiapu has some of the the highest sediment pollution levels in the world.

She says the council's response is the East Coast Forestry Project, which encourages pine plantations.

Ms Warmenhoven says that strategy hasn't worked, and it's time to restore the land back to its earlier condition.

“The people here want to have government support to plant natives and other trees that are much more sustainable to our environment, to our economy, to our culture. We don’t readily get that option. We just get thrown the pine tree and the willow tree,” Ms Warmenhoven says.

Many farmers see planting natives as an impediment to pastoral farming.


National's associate health spokesperson says Maori are paying the price for unfair distribution of mental health funding.

Jonathan Coleman says spending on mental health has gone up, but Maori still have trouble accessing services.

Dr Coleman says that's because too much is being spent on management and not enough on appropriate services.

“There's plenty of money in the system, but the problem is it’s not getting to where it’s needed. There’s Maori people in the community who would really benefit from accessing mental health services but for whatever reason they’re not getting into the service,” Dr Coleman says.


A new book has attempted to chronicle Maori opposition to the neoliberal policies adopted by successive governments since 1984.

Resistance editor Maria Bargh says neoliberalism and free market ideologies been a new form of colonisation for Maori.

Dr Bargh says Maori workers often caught the brunt of neo-liberal policies, and in some cases they fought back.

She says the book should help put recent Maori history into context.

“When people in the supermarket or your workplace or other places start attacking Maori rights and putting Maori down and things, like that, I think this book gives people a number of responses that they can present to people like that and just put a reasoned case forward,” Dr Bargh says.

Maori resistance took many forms, and the book will appeal to people interested in globalisation and its impact on indigenous communities.


Maori spectrum claimants are considering going back to the Privy Council over the Government's latest interference in the mobile phone market.

Economic Development Minister Trevor Mallard has ruled out regulating the amount phone companies charge to switch calls between fixed and mobile networks, and will instead allow Telecom and Vodafone to lower the charges at their own pace.

Maanu Paul from the Maori Council says the move means the frequencies Maori won six years ago in a supposed settlement of the spectrum claims are virtually useless to New Zealand Communications, a new mobile network company partly owned by the Maori spectrum trust.

Mr Paul says the Privy Council left the door open if the Crown and Maori were unable to reach a satisfactory settlement, and it looks like it is time to take that option.

“With the deal that Mallard has now done with Vodafone and Telecom, it’s obviously the old schoolboy necktie system in operation, and that this government is too gutless to operate a policy in good faith and so they’re not going to be reasonable with Maori, they’re going to be totally unreasonable, and this trust will fail,” Mr Paul says.

He says Mr Mallard has fought Maori interests every step of the way on spectrum issues.


Keeping a track where families are living should improve Maori immunisation rates.

Health Ministry senior advisor Alison Roberts says data from the National Immunisation Register shows almost one in three Maori babies does not get an immunisation shot in their first year, compared with one in six Pakeha and Asian babies.

That leaves the population vulnerable to epidemics of measles and hooping cough.

Dr Roberts says many Maori children fail to complete immunisation courses because their parents move house in their first year.

“Now with the National Immunisation Register being able to track children better, ie, any provider from anywhere in the country can look up a child’s immunisation on the register and immunise that child whenever they see them, I’d like to think we can immunise the child more easily,” Dr Roberts says.


Perserverance is paying off for a Maori Playstation game developer.

Maru Nihoniho from Metia Interactive is launching her new game, Cube, at next week's The New Cool exhibition of interactive games in Auckland.

Ms Nihoniho says more Maori are getting involved in console game development, but it's a long hard process.

“It took a while to get Cube published, and I had to go through all the steps of getting it approved by Sony first, and then taking my prototype overseas and getting that in front of publishers. A year after I started pitching, we signed,” Ms Nihoniho says.


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