Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New model for social work needed

The architect of the highly successful Tu Tangata programme says a $446 million boost for non-government social services should be used to reshape the way assistance is put into communities.

As secretary for Maori Affairs in the early 1980s, Kara Puketapu harnessed the energy of Maori to come up with innovative programmes like maatua whangai and kohanga reo.

He's now leading a new initiative, Tamaiti Whangai, which coordinates multiple Maori, local and central government agencies to work with young people and their families in places like Wainuiomata, Wairoa and Whangarei.

He says it's a model that will work around the country.

“Let's all get together in one contract and highlight the priorities that we can address better with those families and so you haven’t got half a dozen or more pieces flying at the communities from different directions at the same time,” Mr Puketapu says.

He says the old way of bringing in outside social workers doesn't work, and Tamaiti Whangai has come up with a new model of advocates drawn from within communities.


Meanwhile, the Families Commission intends to spend $800,000 telling people parenting is the best job they will ever do.

Rajen Prasad, the Chief Commissioner, says parents want their mahi acknowledged ... and they want more information to help them parent properly.

He says it's a way of solving tomorrow's problems.

“If we got into a culture of people saying ‘it’s ok to ask for information about this’ and saying no stigma with this, saying ‘gosh my baby’s not feeding well but I can go somewhere, teenagers playing up, what do I do now, kids not going to school, what do I do now,’ and it’s that kind of stuff, and if we start began to do that in a preventative king for way for the next period we could break that cycle,” Dr Prasad says.

To get parenting messages across the Maori, the Families Commission hopes to use social marketing techniques which have led to a reduction in Maori smoking.


Maori nurses believe having their own school will leave to improvements in Maori health.

Hineroa Hakiaha from the National Council of Maori Nurses has asked the Nursing Council to back such a school, probably based in Whakatane or Auckland.

She says it's a 30-year dream for the kaunihera, driven by concerns at the way the mainstream system interacts with te ao Maori, the Maori world.

“We want to provide a kura for women who want to come back and become nurses or even for our own tamariki mokopuna who want to become nurses, that we have a kura where we’re allowed to use te ao Maori as part of our health,” Ms Hakiaha says.

She says Maori nursing involves much greater collaboration with iwi, hapu and the community at large.


The head of the Maori Council is warning the government's new affordable housing package could spark treaty claims.

In her opening speech to Parliament yesterday, Helen Clark said officials would review public land holdings to see what can be developed for affordable housing.

Sir Graham Latimer says 20 years after he led a case successfully challenging the transfer of Crown land to state owned enterprises, the government is still acting as if it had clear title to all its land.

He says the system of Section 27B memorials, allowing the Crown to buy back land to return to treaty claimants, hasn't brought the benefits Maori expected.

“Time probably has come where there should be a commission set up to look at the bits and pieces of land and everything. All those 27Bs still belong to the Maori. It’s a matter of whether we’re ever going to get around to transferring it or developing it, and I don’t think you’ve got a show in hell of being able to develop it,” Sir Graham says.

He says local authorities are the key to affordable housing, because they enforce the rules for land use and building.


Today's the day Australia's new prime minister will offer a formal apology for the policy of taking Aboriginal children from their families.

Watching Kevin Rudd make the kupu muru hara to the stolen generation will be Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira, who was a harsh critic of the race relations policies of the John Howard government.

He says Aboriginal people believe an apology is a necessary part of improving indigenous health, education and living standards.

“Whenever I talk to them even they say an apology is something they really yearn for but even they know that there’s more to it than that in terms of what’s happened to their people, their land, their culture, their very status as citizens of Australia. They know that there’s more that needs to be done,” Mr Harawira says.

There's a push in Australia for a body like the Waitangi Tribunal to investigate historic grievances, but he's warning of some of the flaws in the New Zealand process.


The lawyer for Tuhoe activist Tame Iti has slammed some Maori media outlets for their coverage of the afternath of the Tuhoe terror raids.

Annette Sykes says some Maori journalists in mainstream newspapers and on Maori Television lacked the analysis and experience to deal with the complex legal matters raised, including rules of name suppression.

She says Maori Television had adopted the same approach to coverage of Mr Iti as its mainstream rivals.

“We see his buttocks on the television all the time. We see him spitting all the time. But we very rarely see the Tame that most of us know, which is the father and grandfather and lover. There’s no balance, and kaupapa Maori surely requires that those deep philosophical principles of whanau, hapu iwi surely to be the guiding principles,” Ms Sykes says.


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