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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Council baulking at housing plan

Hawkes Bay Maori organisations want the Hastings District Council to act on a plan to build up to 150 houses around a Flaxmere marae.

Tom Mulligan from the Heretaunga Taiwhenua says between his organisation, the Ngati Kahungunu Runanga and the council there is enough land in the area for the project.

He says developers have been lined up, but the council is now baulking after years of planning and working together.

Mr Mulligan says the area is under pressure because speculators have snapped up former state houses and are renting them out for Auckland prices.

“There's a tremendous need for low cost housing, and that’s what this project is. It’s providing low cost housing for needy families, remembering the Flaxmere area is a low decile area, the need for housing is extreme,” Mr Mulligan says.

The development should be self-funded, as the houses are rented out or sold on to first home owners.

RANGATAHI INPUT NEEDED IN CAMPAIGNS

Rangatahi need to be more involved in the designed on public health media campaigns.

That's the view of Anton Blank, one of the organisers of this week's Public Health Association conference in Auckland.

This morning a group of rangatahi will identify health priorities for young people.

Mr Blank says that fits with the conference theme of Te Torino - re-imaging health.

He says it's important young people are involved in decisions that affect them.

“When you're working with teenagers, any research will tell you you need to involve them in the design and implementation of any programme, so as soon as we start talking at teenagers, they’re going to stop listening. And if you look at quit smoking programmes around the world, whenever they’ve tried to design something for teenagers, it's never worked,” Mr Blank says.

Today's programme also includes a discussion on the impact of urban sprawl on Maori communities, and the need for Maori involvement in town planning.

STAMP OF MAORI ON NEW ZEALAND ENGLISH

Maori words are continuing to creep into the New Zealand vernacular.

Victoria University linguistics expert John Macalister says the new Classic Kiwi stamps reflect the trend of more Maori words being used in everyday New Zealand English.

The stamps include popular sayings like sweet as, tiki tour and hissy fit.

A heat sensitive strip reveals the meaning behind the saying when it is rubbed.

“You know the most distinctive feature of the way we speak is the way English speakers borrow from te reo Maori. An example like tiki tour is interesting because it started as a coach tour, a commercial operation run by the old Government Tourist Bureau, and then that sort of moved into general usage, and it’s quite distinctive and very New Zealand,” Dr Macalister says.

He says North Islanders may be ahead in using Maori words.

TOMOANA TAKES NUMBER TWO ROLE AT TE OHU KAIMOANA

There's changes at the top of Te Ohu Kaimoana.

Long-serving trustee Archie Taiaroa has been voted into the chair of the Maori fisheries settlement trust, replacing Shane Jones, who signaled his departure after he was elected a Labour list MP.

The deputy is a new trustee, Ngati Kahungunu leader Ngahiwi Tomoana.

Mr Tomoana says his rapid elevation comes as a surprise, but he feels up to the job.

“The issues are no stranger to me, because we’ve been pursuing these for the last 15, 16 years, but the position is, and I'm just keen to work alongside the experience of Shane (Jones) and Koro (Wetere) and Archie and Rangimarie (Parata) and work alongside Rikirangi (Gage) and others to focus the benefits back to iwi,” Mr Tomoana says.

On the commercial side of the settlement, lawyer Matanuku Mahuika from Ngati Porou has been appointed to the board of Aotearoa Fisheries as the replacement for Robert McLeod.

LONG TERM THINKING NEEDED ON VIOLENCE PREVENTION

A conference on whanau violence has heard that long term strategies are needed to tackle the problem.

Suzanne Pene from the South Auckland Violence Prevention Network says domestic violence is an intergenerational problem, which requires intergenerational solutions.

Counties Manukau police say one reason the number of homicides in the region has dropped over the past year is because more people are acting on what they believe to be domestic disputes.

Ms Pene says that differs from her parents' generation, where domestic violence was rarely discussed.

“It was really hard to talk about it, and I guess the generation that I’m in now, we’re starting to expose the truth within our homes, so maybe the next generation will pick up the kaupapa and really take it on board. The mahi that we need to do this generation is provide support and alternatives to those whanau who don’t know anything else but violence,” Ms Pene says.

Outside agencies need to work with whanau, so they are forced to tackle their own problems rather than leave them strangers to sort them out.

MAORI FEATURE IN PUBLIC HEALTH CONFERENCE

Maori concerns have been prominent at the Public Health Association conference in Auckland.

It's the largest annual gathering of health workers, and this year's theme is Te Torino, or Re-imaging health.

Yesterday's speakers included Auckland University's Manuka Henare on the politics of water, and members of Te Hitu Manawa Maori on the politics of food from a Maori perspective.

Organising committee member Anton Blank says today the conference will hear from rangatahi about the health priorities of young Maori.

“Depending on which statistician you talk to, some will say half our population is under 22.5, so that means our population is browning up, the Maori health population’s going tot be bigger, so as Maori health workers and decision makers we need to be looking ahead and thinking about what them means for planning for health needs,” Mr Blank says.

The conference will also discuss the impact of urban sprawl and town planning on Maori communities.

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