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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Maori PHOs form united lobby

Maori public health organisations are banding together to improve Maori health.

The eight PHOs were set up by Maori development organisations, urban authorities and iwi groups, and have more than 60,000 Maori enrolled in their general practice networks.

Simon Royal, the coalition's interim chairperson, says they have common issues over the way healthcare is funded.

“The way in which we access primary health care services and the way in which we engage or not engage with primary healthcare programmes is out of step with the way in which our current funding has been provided because primarily the government funds on a profile of the mainstream,” Mr Royal says.

Maori patients cost the PHOs more to service, because they only seek care when they are very ill - at which stage they often have multiple problems.


Short term funding has been confirmed for Television New Zealand's Maori programmes, but their long term future could be conditional on better viewing times.

John Bishara, the chief executive of Te Mangai Paho, says the Maori broadcast funding agency is keen to keep funding Te Karere, Marae and Waka Huia.

But the state broadcaster needs to come up with better proposals than it presented during the latest round of negotiations.

Mr Bishara says a short term agreement has been hammered out for the first half of 2008, covering the transition from funding by calendar year to funding by fiscal year.

“I believe both parties are satisfied with the agreement. Te Mangai Paho will continue to fund these programmes. Little bit of process to be confirmed, but I’m happy to advise everyone the programmes will be available for the calendar year beginning January 2008,” Mr Bishara says.

TVNZ says the agreement gives its Maori department some certainty for programme planning and staff retention.


The London chapter of Te Whare Tutaua o Aotearoa has come home to test its martial arts skills.

The 12-strong Maramara Totara group is in Takapou in the Hawkes Bay for the annual Hui a Tau and wananga of the mau rakau body.

Tutor Kateia Burrows says during her eight years in England she has seen interest in the ancient art growing among Maori and tauiwi abroad.

While practitioners may feel isolated, it can be fixed with a visit home to fill the kete.

“All of our mau rakau training is over in London and obviously we’re limited with resources and we try to cram in as much training opportunity as we can, not just physically but the wairua side as well and hinengaro side, in preparation for the grading which starts of Friday,” Mrs Burrows says.

Maramara Totara trains in London parks.


A leading anti-P campaigner is warning against reading too much into police statistics on drug use among criminals.

A survey of more than 900 people arrested during the year found almost three-quarters tested positive for at least one illegal drug, and 80 percent of those on methamphetamine were Maori.

Dennis O'Reilly says that's contrary to Otago University research, which shows Maori are less likely to use drugs than other groups.

He says the figures are skewed by the fact Maori are more likely to be stopped by police than non-Maori.

“Peter Doone, the ex-commissioner of police, did some research for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and came to the assessment it was about a three to one ratio that Maori would be stopped, would be arrested, and would be convicted and would be imprisoned, than other New Zealanders, If you get a sample of people you’ve already arrested, that multiplication factor is already at play isn't it,” Mr O'Reilly says.

He says campaigns by Maori communities against methamphetamine use were starting to bear fruit, as the communities were successfully tackling demand rather than the police approach of concentrating on supply.


A Northland hapu is waking up to how much Maori land is at risk of being sold.

Ngati Hine Hauora is mapping the 18,500 hectares in the five Motatau Blocks, so it can get an overview of the health of the whenua and the people in its rohe.

The project will also give landowners an idea of alternate uses for the land.

Percy Tipene, the project manager, says many of the 750 individual parcels within the blocks are freehold rather than Maori title.

He hopes whanau may convert back to Maori title to make the land harder to sell.

“Changing it back would be a wise decision if whaanau was looking at their whenua and securing it for ake ake noa because my understanding of whenua is it is whenua tuku iho which means it goes down to the generations. It is not whenua kei hoko. That's the difference,” Mr Tipene says.


An employers' advocate says the burden of being Maori is driving people across the Tasman.

27,000 New Zealanders moved permanently to Australia over the past 12 months, a third up on the previous year.

Alasdair Thompson from the Northern Employers and Manufacturers association says higher pay, lower taxes, warmer weather, a high demand for labour and more affordable housing were the attractions.

He says Maori can also escape the negative stories in the New Zealand media.

“They can get on with their lives without getting involved if you like in the burden of treaty claims and that sort of thing, They can say ‘somebody’s looking after that, I can go and do this. And hey, I’m not criticising that, I’m saying I understand why Australia looks attractive to New Zealanders, and I think there’s an extra reason why it’s attractive to many Maori,” Mr Thompson says.


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