Waatea News Update

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

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tax takers look at tikanga

Inland Revenue is trying to work out how various Maori customary and voluntary activities should be treated for tax purposes.

Its discussion paper on reimbursement and honoraria is asking if there is a difference between volunteering and manaakitanga.

Hori Awa from the Waahi Whanui Trust in Huntly says there certainly is, and the debate is long overdue.

He say Maori prefer to use the term mahi aroha for the time they give to whanau, hapu and iwi activities.

“It is not volunteering. It is our life. It is really our spiritual and cultural existence eh, so there’s no comparison with the term volunteering so that’s why it’s quite a key issue to us and even to talk about recompense of financial recognition of that is kind of tika, it’s against our kaupapa,” Mr Awa says.

There are also questions about how the charitable status of businesses which manage treaty settlement putea.

CHILDREN’S HEALTH NEEDS GOVERNMENT VISION

Getting government departments to work together may be the key to taking better care of our children.

That's one of the messages coming out of the Paediatric Society's conference in Christchurch.

Riripeti Haretuku from the National Maori Sudden Infant Death Syndrome programme says health status is affected by a wide range of factors, most of them out of the control of the health sector.

She says government agencies need to look at how their policies affect on the health of tamariki.

“How is it that they’re influencing the health of our families and how is it that we’re getting this amount of varying illnesses and morbidity, how is it all coming to up, what is it they are not doing. I’m not sure the other sectors understand how much they influence the health of our children,” Ms Haretuku says.

Reports released at the conference highlighted how badly tamariki Maori fare when compared with other New Zealand children.

PHONE CARD TO RAISE MAORI TOURISM AWARENESS

A Maori tourism group is using a phone card to make foreign tourists more aware of what Maori operators have to offer.

Te Waipounamu Maori Regional Tourism developed the Manaaki card with TelstraClear and AA Tourism, and it will be sold through Maori outlets, AA Travel outlets, holiday parks and other tourism sites.

Dawn Muir from Te Waipounamu says as well as offering up to three hours of phone calls, the $30 card gives access to up to $1200 of services.

“It also gives them a fold out brochure that lists all these operators, over 50 of them now, that are offering added value benefits and special offers just for the holder of that manaaki card. If you stay at the Mud Hut in Rotorua for a night for instance, you might get a bottle of Tohu wines, or you might bet a 10 percent discount off a trip,” Ms Muir says.

Profits from the Manaaki Card will go to the Maori regional tourism organisations.

NGAITERANGI LOOKING AHEAD TO SETTLEMENT

Tauranga's Ngaiterangi iwi is looking ahead to how it might mange its treaty settlements.

The iwi is still going through hearings before the Waitangi Tribunal, and it has just gone through the structural changes needed to pick up its treaty settlement assets.

Hauta Palmer, the chair of the Ngaiterangi Runanga, says a wananga last weekend helped members see the road map ahead.

He says with only $6 million in the bank so far from fisheries settlements, iwi members aren't expecting any great increase in their personal wealth from settlements.

“The wealth is not in the form of tangible cash that people can get their hands on and the second is that we are working towards a regime where we try and expand out capital base, and whatever dividends fall off that capital base is what we will be able to distribute to the people,” Mr Palmer says.

Members were also concerned at the lack of depth in te reo Maori and knowledge of tikanga within the iwi, which will need to be addressed.

SUICIDE GAP GROWING AS RATE DROPS

Maori suicide rates are not dropping as quickly as those of non-Maori
New figures show suicides are down on a peak in the 1990s.

But because non-Maori rates dropped faster, Maori now make up nearly 18 percent of all suicides - especially Maori males.

Merryn Statham from Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand says they are often dealing with a combination of mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse, relationship breakdowns and trouble with the law.

The biggest challenge is often getting them to admit they have a problem.

“Sometimes they find it quite challenging to first of all acknowledge that they might need some support or need some help. They find it quite hard to describe maybe what’s going wrong, so it is hard to ask for help when you’re not quite sure what's wrong,” Ms Statham says.

She says there are few support services designed around the needs of young Maori men.

POLICY MAKERS CUT OFF FRM NEW ZEALAND REALITY

Policy makers need to get a better sense of the realities of New Zealand life.

That's the reaction from the head of a children's telephone counseling service to new data on the health of the country's kids.

Grant Taylor says the Indicator Handbook launched at the Paedatric Association's conference in Christchurch this week shows the ethnic gradient of health status, with Pakeha at the top and Maori well down the slope.

He says the handbook corrects what has been the haphazard collection and display of data, which has affected the way policy is developed.

“Our policy makers really do need to come to grips with the fact that this is inequitable, that too many children are living in poverty and that children who are born into certain ethnic groups are not getting the same sorts of outcomes in terms of their health as other kids in society, and that’s just not good enough,” Mr Taylor says.

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