Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Police plummet down preferred list

It's going to take a long time to repair relations between Maori and the police.

Researcher Moana Jackson says earlier this year he asked 2000 Maori to rank professions, and the police came in at number 11 out of 20.

A poll after last month's terror raid found the police were back at the bottom of the list - the same spot as when he first ran the survey in 1988.

He says despite the investment in iwi liaison officers and more cultural training, the police keep falling back on their history.

“The relationship has always been fragile historically because it was the armed constabulary of course that was sent in to invade Parihaka. It was the armed constabulary that was sent in to attack the followers of Rua Kenana in Tuhoe, and it was the armed constabulary again that was sent in to Tuhoe on October 15,” Mr Jackson says.

He says not just Ngai Tuhoe but other Maori round the country are concerned at the way the community in Ruatoki was treated.

OBESITY REPORT RESPONSE FLABBY

A Maori health advocate says the response to a select committee report on the obesity epidemic is weak and flabby.

The Government agreed to set up an expert advisory group on the problem and directed the Health Ministry to work with the food and advertising industries on the way they market to children.

But it rejected recommendations to restrict junk food ads, end exports of mutton flaps to the Pacific and set up an independent commissioner to focus on type 2 diabetes prevention.

Leonie Matoe from Obesity Action Coalition and Te Hotu Manawa Maori says given the upsurge in diabetes and other obesity-related diseases in Maori communities, tougher action was needed.

“The response is relatively weak and not agreeing to types of things that affect economy in terms of exporting, importing and food supply, kind of indicates to us they’re really only coming half way,” Ms Matoe says.

PACIFIC PEOPLES WANT MORE FROM MUSEUMS

Tangata whenua and Pacific people need better access to the taonga held by museums in their region.

Sean Mallon, Te Papa Tongarewa's senior Pacific curator, says that's one of the things that came out of a workshop in Canberra last week for curators and museum staff from Pacific Island states, New Zealand, Australia and Timor Leste.

He says the collection and preservation of indigenous cultural items is a major business of museums, and those museums have a responsibility to reach out to the living communities.

“We’re looking at ways we can involve them in exhibition development and public programmes so that they can be part of the decision-making process and can help museums and institutions interpret the material for their own communities,” Mr Mallon says.

The larger institutions in New Zealand and Australia could also help their smaller Pacific neighbours bring back human remains held by European institutions.

GREENSILL PICKED FOR WAIKATO-HAURAKI RACE

Angeline Greensill has again been picked by the Maori Party to take on Nanaia Mahuta in the Waikato Hauraki seat.

In 2005 Ms Greensill, a lecturer in Maori geography at Waikato University, lost by 18-hundred votes to Labour's Nanaia Mahuta, taking 42 percent of the vote.

She says Maori in the region are ready for a change.

“The current Labour Government has created turmoil amongst our people with the way they have been relentlessly pursuing our people over different things, especially looking at what’s happening around Tuhoe recently. That’s the beginning of a whole lot of legislation coming in that impacts upon us, so I definitely thing people will be supporting the Maori Party the next time around,” Ms Greensill says.

The sheer size of Maori electorates make campaigning a challenge, but she has good networks built up from her previous campaigns for the Maori Party and Mana Maori.

MOBILE CLINIC PICKS UP MEN’S HEALTH

An Otago mobile nursing service for Maori and Pacific Island people is tracking down the elusive Maori male.

Nancy Todd, the manager of the Mornington Primary Health Organisation pilot programme, says it was started because of concern Maori were not seeing health services.

In its first 10 months vaccination rates and checkups for Maori and Pacific patients have increased.

Ms Todd, from Ngati Maniapoto, says being able to see patients in their own homes makes a big difference to Maori.

“We've got this age bracket of mid 30s through to 60 where men don’t generally access general practice because perhaps they‘re working or for various reasons so it’s about looking after their health as well,” Ms Todd says.

The home-based services has also led to a big increase in the number of Maori women are having cervical smears.

MAORI WAITING FOR ABORIGINAL APOLOGY

Maori living in Australia are keeping a close eye on their new prime minister.

Sydneysider Jasmyn Pearson from Ngati Awa says Kevin Rudd has given minority communities hope that the new government will address Aboriginal issues in a positive manner.

That would start with a long-awaited apology.

“At least he was talking about it and it was on the agenda. They seem to think it’s a good idea to address those topics. Now that is a start compared to what the Howard government did,” Ms Pearson says.

A good place to start would be the withdrawal of Australian troops from the Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.

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