Waatea News Update

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

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, September 17, 2007

Pig cell opponents won over

A medical researcher who has won approval to implant insulin-producing pig cells into diabetics says Maori have come round to support the controversial treatment.

Bob Elliott has been blocked from running the trials in this country for a decade, but his company Living Cell Technologies has now been cleared by regulator Medsafe and the Gene Technology Advisory Committee.

The proposal initially sparked a furore among Maori, but Professor Elliott says times have changed.

“It does run up against the traditional Maori view, which would say this is not a good things agt all, but the modern Maori are saying ‘Well, heavens alive, we have to change as the world changes and we’ve got this big problem and this looks like it could be helpful so we’ve just got to take it and it’s up to the individual to make a choice about this,” Professor Elliott says

About 40 percent of Maori over the age of 40 have or will get type two diabetes.


The Blind Foundation wants better Maori pronunciation in its talking books.

The foundation is seeking funds for new generation digital talking book machines, to replace its 20-year old analogue tape recorders.

It has about 12,000 titles in its library in either Braille or recorded formats.

Book studio manager Mary Schnackenberg says the foundation is keen to have more te reo material content for its 6 percent of members who are Maori, and to make sure the language is respected in all its recordings.

“What we have to tackle here is the correct pronunciation of words in te reo. Now we don’t expect to conquer the entire Maori language but we do expect to improve the pronunciation of Maori words used in an English context,” Ms Schnackenberg says.

The Blind Foundation also produces recordings for the Education Ministry for Maori language students.


A switch to screenwriting has paid off for Victoria University Maori studies lecturer Ranui Taiapa.

The Ngati Porou woman picked up the prize for best short film script at this weekend's Pikihuia Awards with Road Warrior, a story about road workers dealing with the death on the job of a workmate.

Ms Taiapa was a finalist in the short story category two years ago, but after helping friends on 48 Hours film competitions, she decided her ideas might be better suited to the screen.

She wanted to show people that road workers have dignity in their labour.

“I just wanted to draw some parallels between their story and the story of our soldiers, our Pacific and Maori ancestors in the Pioneer Battalion, who were over in the trenches in World War I but were digging trenches and were there as a labour force really as opposed to a fighting force,” Ms Taiapa says.


The Health Ministry says it could be years before the effectiveness of current cancer strategies are known.

Latest figures show Maori women are four and a half times more likely to die of lung cancer than non-Maori, and Maori men two and a half times more likely.

Ministry adviser John Childs says the cancer control strategy launched in 2003 tries to address those inequities by changing how doctors and hospitals treat Maori patients ... as well as encouraging healthy eating and physical fitness.

The strategy runs alongside the government's investment in smoking cessation programmes, but Dr Childs says results can't be expected overnight.

“It will be still may years before we see an impact in the reduction of smoking and certainly many more years before we see a reduction in both incidence of lung cancer and the number of people dying from lung cancer.
DUR: 14 secs
Dr Childs says Maori women also died more often than non-Maori from breast cancer, while the rates of stomach cancer among Maori men are disproportionately high.


The head of Te Waka Toi believes the Internet and global communications has made it impoossible to police the use of Maori imagery.

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku says fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier's use of ta moko in a Vogue magazine spread is just the latest example of the French fascination with Maori and tribal art, dating back to the 1800s.

She says the scope of the problem is illustrated by an ad showing a person snapping kapa haka on their cellphone and then sending the image of the performer's moko to people all over the world.

“That Sony advert, which was actually challenged, demonstrates just how insidious the Internet and technology and the world that we live in has become for us. No imagery is sacred any more,” Dr Te Awekotuku says.

The Maori arts organisation encourages cooperation and collaboration so artists who want to use Maori imagery come to honour the stories and traditions that produce the art.


A finalist in next month's New Zealand Music Awards hopes his efforts will encourage younger musicians to keep trying.

Adam Whauwhau's second album Tukuna Mai is up for Best Maori Album, four years after his debut, He Hua o Roto, made the finals of the Maori Language album category.

The kura kaupapa teacher says it's always going to be a struggle to get airplay, but Maori musicians need to keep hammering on the doors of the mainstream stations.

“We just have to encourage our rangatahi and people that want to compose music, because I think they find barriers in terms of trying to get themselves out and get themselves started and not knowing the right pathways to follow so I suppose by just doing what we do that hopefully it will encourage other people to follow and pursue their goals and their aspirations in terms of music,” Mr Whauwhau says.


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