Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Surprise at double drug level

Maori of all ages are more likely to use drugs or drink in a hazardous way.

That's the surprising finding of a survey of 13 thousand New Zealanders, which was presented to the Cutting Edge Addiction Conference in Auckland.

Project leader Elisabeth Wells, from Otago University says the New Zealand Mental Health Survey was the first to match use patterns with diagnoses of drug and alcohol disorders.

While the same proportion of Maori drink as non-Maori, they are more than 50 percent more likely to indulge in hazardous or binge drinking.

Dr Well says the most surprising finding was that 20 percent of Maoru use drugs, compared with 13 per cent of Pakeha and other groups and 9 per cent of Pacific people - and it wasn't just because of the relatively young age of the Maori population.

“We ended up with differences that remained, even when we took account of age and sex and when we took account of education and household income so it wasn’t just we were looking at a younger population for Maori,” Dr Wells says.

Groups who use drugs and drink heavily can become self-perpetuating, as younger people adopt similar behaviours.


The Bioethics Council is seeking Maori views on how far doctors and parents should go in testing babies before they're born.

It's holding a series a hui as part of its planned national consultation on the issue.

Council member Tahu Potiki says Toi Te Taiao wants to hear from ordinary whanau... not just the experts on tikanga and health.

“The Council wants to make sure the Maori opinion is heard as loudly as everybody else’s, that it’s given as much value in this debate,” Mr Potiki says.

There will also be online forums on Toi Te Taiao's website - www.bioethics.org.nz


A Ngati Raukawa woman is sharing the waiata of Ngati Poneke with aspiring Wellington singers.

Gaynor Rikihana hosts sessions every Monday at the Thistle Hall where Maori and non-Maori come for a sing-along, as well as pronunciation lessons and karakia.

She has chosen the songs common in the region.

“I decided to try and pull waiata from the famous Ngati Poneke kapa haka group so I just teach the old school waiata and the waiata from the area I’m from in Otaki, Ngati Raukawa, Kingi Tahiwi, using some of his waiata as well but using Apirana Ngata and whose folk who were originators of Ngati Poneke,” she says.

Gaynor Rikihana is also a member of the band WAI.


A sacked probation officer's battle for compensation is being called an insult not only to Maori but to those who fought for civil rights in the United States.

Josie Bullock lost her job in 2005 after going to the media about a verbal warning she was given for sitting on the paepae during Maori ceremony.

She told the Human Rights Review Tribunal her action was like that of civil rights campaigner Rosa Parks, who refused to move to the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955.

Naida Glavish, tikanga Maori advisor for Auckland District Health Board, says Ms Bullock is way off beam.

“Rosa Parks stood for the rights of Black women. She herself was a black woman. And she stood for her rights against the culture of Josie Bullock. She thinks she has a right to stand and speak for Maori women. How dumb does she think we are and who lied to her that where our men sit is the front row,” Ms Glavish says.

She says if government agencies want to adopt tikanga Maori into their protocols, they need to do it properly.


A south Auckland emergency phone service is urging whanau to call in early to prevent family violence.

Te Kainga was set up last year ago by the South Auckland Family Violence Prevention Network after the death of the Kahui twins.

Co-manager Suzanne Pene says violence often follows a pattern, and people are being urged to use the 0800 Te Kainga toll free number to break the pattern.

“If they know on Tuesday that Thursday night is usually the night they get the bash because it’s drinking night, then we encourage whanau to ring on the Tuesday so we can implement a safety plan or looking at alternatives or if we need to get them out of there,” Ms Pene says.

Te Kainga works with other agencies so callers can access advice on budgeting, housing relationships and other problems which may be behind the violence.


Kiwi opera singers are being encouraged to learn some of the classic Maori repertoire.

Last weekend's New Zealand Aria competition in Rotorua featured a Maori section, which all competitors were required to participate in.

The section was won by Rotorua kapa haka performer Huia Clayton, with overall winner Wade Kernot (PRON: Kur NO) coming second.

Event organiser Ian Edwards says it's a way for New Zealand singers to differentiate themselves when competing internationally for roles.

“So what we say to these classical singers particularly, if you’re learning in Russian or Italian or French or German or whatever, for goodness sake have a Maori song as part of your repertoire,” Mr Edwards says.

The third place getter in the Maori section, Piripi Christie, performed a piece he'd written himself.


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