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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Charities law could benefit marae

The Charities Commission says many Maori organisations could now qualify as charities.

Chief executive Trevor Garrett says organisations who have charitable activities have three months to register under the new Charities Act, or could lose their tax exemptions.

He says some Maori organisations like marae could benefit from the Act.

“The law in the past has been that where money has gone to blood relations, then that has not been charitable. The Charities Act has changed that. It has said that, particularly for Maori organisations and marae where the whanau does benefit or the iwi does benefit and there are blood relationships, we are saying that does not stop an organisation being a charitable organisation,” Mr Garrett says.

Registering with the commission can help marae get grants and other benefits.

IWI PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICERS MOOTED

The Public Health Association wants to see iwi appointing their own environmental health officers.

Executive officer Gay Keating says it's the kind of option which would boost community involvement in health.

But she says the new Public Health Bill goes in the opposite direction, because it excludes any reference to Maori participation or the Treaty of Waitangi.

She says Parliament should enable Maori to tackle factors which influence their health status.

“If Maori organisations want to take up the opportunity of having environmental health officers who can make sure the physical environment is healthy in Maori environments, then we’re moving a step towards improving Maori health but also increasing Maori self determination,” Dr Keating says.

The Bill's lack of a treaty reference puts it in conflict with the Local Government and Health and Disability Acts, which also affect public health.

TURIA TIPI HAERE ON TUNA TOUR

Green MP Meteria Turei is on a one woman crusade to save the eels.

The launch of Beneath the Surface ... the Tuna Tour at Te Awanga near

Napier this week draw about 40 people concerned with the impact of pollution on the eel population.

She says tuna could once again be a major food source for Maori and non-Maori, if attitudes change.

Tuna are a crucial very healthy food source that we Maori have had access to for 1000 years. They are in the process of going extinct because of over-fishing and massive pollution, treating our creeks like drains, We have to stop it if we want to protect this food source for our kids and our grandkids,” Ms Turei says.

TWO TIER WELCOME FOR SOLDIERS REMEMBERED

They'll all be lined up together at tomorrow's dawn services, but it was a different picture when our soldiers came back from the world wars.

That's a piece of the past that Maori historian Rawiri Taonui says shouldn't be forgotten come Anzac Day.

He says many New Zealanders don't realise Maori soldiers came home from risking their lives on the battlefield to face inequality at home.

“After the First World War, European veterans were given land grants for farms and returning Maori soldiers got nothing and I thinkthat’s largely been lost on the country,” Mr Taonui says.

SELF HARM SETS OFF EMERGENCY PROCEDURES

An innovative progamme is addressing the sense of cultural alienation Maori feel after suicide attempts.

Whakawhanaungatanga is a set of guidelines to help accident and emergency departments deal with Maori who present with signs of self harm.

It's one of 30 initiatives to make the finals of the Health Innovation Awards.

Nicole Coupe, the Maori advisor to the New Zealand Guidlines Group, says it was the result of intensive consultation.

“On our advisory group we had plenty of Maori members form professional mental health, clinicians, kaumatua and consumers, so they came up with whakawhanaungatanga as the model that we would use to implement the guidelines into the DHBs,” Dr Coupe says

Whakawhanaungatanga recommends the suicidal patient be a Maori clinician and follow-up be done through culturally appropriate services.

IWI CHAIRS DO NO NEWS NETWORKING

A cloak of secrecy has descended over a two-day meeting of iwi leaders at Kaikoura.

The hui was addressed by National MPs Bill English, Georgina Te HeuHeu and Chris Findlayson, and Labour's David Parker, Parekura Horomia and Mahara Okeroa.

But Mark Solomon, the chair of the Ngai Tahu Runanga, says the politicians requested Chatham House rules, with no reporting of their comments outside the meeting.

The hui was one of a series being run over the past year, as a new generation of iwi leaders look for ways to work together in a post settlement environment.

WHANAU NEED TO ENCOURAGE EXERCISE

The manager of SPARC's Push Play programme says whanau members need to encourage each other to become physically active.

Deb Hurdle says research done by the Sports and Recreation Council into obstacles to action suggests many Maori undervalue their health.
That leads to a lack of motivation to exercise.

She says often all it takes is some encouragement from another whanau member to get things moving.

“What came out loud and clear, and particularly for Maori, is that they need people to encourage them to be active, that you can’t always do it on your own, and so the best avenue to get a personal trainer is to look around you at your whanau and to get them to help you,” Ms Hurdle says.

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