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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Prison service coping with mad Maori

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The Prison Service has got a tick for the way it deals with Maori inmates with mental health problems.

A report by Auditor-General Kevin Brady says services are under pressure because of rising musters, but those with severe conditions are generally well cared for.

He says prisoners are three times more likely to require access to specialist mental health services, but treatment can deliver significant benefits.

Neil Campbell, the Department of Corrections' partnership manager for the northern region, says problems are often complex and require sophisticated interventions, such as the kaupapa Maori programmes.

“There's also initiatives like the bicultural therapy model which also involves kaumatua, tohunga in that area. Absolutely we see the need to involve those aspects when assessing prisoners, whether in their physical health care, spiritual health care or indeed mental health care,” Mr Campbell says.

The mental health of every inmate is assessed when they enter prison.

BIRDS STAYING CLEAR OF TAHAROA C TURBINES

A Waikato Maori incorporation is optimistic its windfarm proposal will pass environmental tests.

The joint venture between Taharoa C, Mighty River Power and a Japanese company has resource consent from Environment, Waikato, but the project start was delayed because of concern by the Department of Conservation that birds could fly into the turbines.

Chairperson Monty Retemeyer says the incorporation has tracked flight patterns on its coastal land south of the Kawhia Harbour for almost a year.

“The monitoring so far has found that most of the birds are flying well out to sea and the local birds are flying well below the 80 meters so there is some light there that we will progress,” Mr Retemeyer says.

The monitoring has also shown that pine plantations can disrupt windflows, so Taharoa C is looking at other uses for the balance of its land.

INJURY CYCLE CRIPPLING STAR TIGER

A former Rugby League international says Benji Marshall isn't getting a chance to prepare his body for the weekly demands of the NRL.

The Western Tigers' halfback injured his knee in the first game of the season, and is on the sidelines for at least six weeks.

Tawera Nikau says Marshall carried injuries into the past few off-seasons, and that's hampered his preparation.

“You know unless you’ve got as really good off season and you’ve got four or five of those behind you, your body doesn’t get able to build yourself with your strength, your muscles, your ligaments and everything, so the last four year’s Benji’s been injured in the off season and that’s the time when you build your body up. You do off the hard work, and if you haven’t done that. You’re always playing catch up to get back in there,” Nikau says.

RACE RELATIONS CHALLENGE STILL ABOUT MAORI AND PAKEHA

The race relations commissioner says the central challenge in New Zealand is how Maori and non-Maori get along.

Today is the United Nations' Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and Joris De Bres says this country can be proud of progress over the past 30 years.

Highlights include the creation of the Waitangi Tribunal, the revival of te reo, and Maori health and education initiatives.

But he says while Maori are bi-cultural, able to interact daily on Pakeha terms, it's only recently that Pakeha have begun to value things Maori.

“We're still possibly in a new learning phase because all New Zealanders, all non-Maori New Zealanders are still coming to terms with an understanding of Maori culture which is the indigenous culture of New Zealand,” Mr De Bres says.

Maori still miss out on opportunities in the social and economic spheres.

WATER GRAB OPPOSED BY DEPUTY MAYOR

The deputy mayor of Rotorua is opposing his council's plan to take more water from the Taniwha Springs.

Trevor Maxwell joined his Ngati Rangiwewehi people last week at Tarimano Marae for an Environment Court hearing on the plan.

The council says it needs the water to service the growing population in Ngongotaha and Kawaha Point.

Mr Maxwell says it's been an issue in the 30 years he's been on the council.

“Whilst Ngati Rangiwewehi, our people, are not against the draw - of course we want to share and play our part in our community – but there were eight other options that should have been pursued and what happens, it falls back to us again, so the river, the Awahou River, is important to us,” Mr Maxwell says.

The Rotorua District Council will put its case at a second hearing next month.

ARTISTS CASTS WIDELY FOR INFLUENCE

A Nga Puhi artist says he doesn't need to dwell on Maori themes to express his identity.

Christchurch-based Wayne Youle is showing his latest paintings at the Tim Melville Gallery in Auckland.

Tall Tales draws on tattoo imagery to explore themes of mortality and spirituality.

He say he doesn't consciously include... or exclude Maori imagery from his work.

“The mahi itself sometimes it changes, Sometimes it is quite clear and has that kowhaiwhai element or will have that carved element or a photograph may have some whanau content, but other times it may be about my whanau or and that might not always culminate in something graphically Maori but it will have that idea of Maori whanau and that sort of thing is important,” Mr Youle says.

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