Waatea News Update

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

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, May 12, 2008

Heart research seeking random samples

A Christchurch Maori-led health research group is offering free heart checks.

The Maori-Indigenous Health Institute and the Christchurch Cardio-endocrine Research group is randomly selecting people for the tests as a way to identify risks in both Maori and non-Maori.

Study leader Suzanne Pitama says previous national studies have only looked at those who presented with symptoms, missing out people with undiagnosed conditions.

The study will also look at both the public health and the clinical aspects of

“Heart disease in Maori is complex and we’re hoping that by putting biological factors and public health factors and access factors together in one study we might actually start coming out with some good solutions for healthcare for Maori,” Ms Pitama says.

Funding is coming from the Health Research Council, the Heart Foundation and Pharmac.


A pioneer of Maori marine farming is welcoming a new teaching resource for intermediate schools.

Harry Mikaere from Hauraki says the Aquaculture in Action or Te Ahumoana a mahi fact sheets should help the next generation understand that marine farming does not need to conflict with the conservation or recreational use of coastal space.

He says it highlights the huge potential of the industry.

“It’s going to do a whole range of new learning, particularly round the opportunity for these young people that will have a greater understanding of the industry from a primary production through to the secondary area of processing and then ongoing into the marketplace,” Mr Mikaere says.

By the time today’s year 7 and 8 students start entering the workforce, the Maori commercial aquaculture settlement means there should be new job opportunities coming on stream in the industry.


While politicians used their three week recess to start gearing up for this year’s election campaign, Pita Sharples took time out to talk to a group of ethnomusicologists at Auckland University about kapa haka.

The Maori Party co-leader led west Auckland group Te Matatini for 30 years, and he’s also an expert in Maori weaponry.

He says the Maori performing arts need to be seen as a living part of a living culture.

“We do haka but it’s not just an item we do. We use it in our normal life to welcome people, to celebrate things, the nation’s picked it up for challenges in sport. We compose waiata on the spot to suit the occasion as part of the kinaki or compliments of the speech,” Dr Sharples says.

He says kapa haka and Maori-dominated sports like Touch and waka ama are ways many young Maori affirm their identity.


Maori children may be ending up in hospital with preventable diseases because their parents can’t afford to take proper care of them.

Innes Asher, a paediatrician at Starship Hospital in Auckland and a member of the Child Poverty Action Group, says there has been a major increase in hospital admissions for preventable conditions like gastroentrisis, skin infections and respiratory problems.

She says low income limits the choices parents have, and children can miss out on good housing, nutritional food and primary healthcare.

Professor Asher says Maori and Pacific children have been hit hard by government policies such as the removal of universal child benefits.

“A tipping point was reached for the disadvantaged in the early 1990s with the surge of preventable diseases which while it has plateaued it has not fallen for most of these diseases and that’s profoundly concerning,” she says.

Professor Asher is one of the authors of the Child Poverty Action Group’s new report, Left Behind: How Social and Income Inequalities Damage New Zealand Children


New Plymouth hapu Ngati Te Whiti is backing a new 1400 hectare marine reserve near the city.

Tapuae adjoins the existing Sugar Loaf Island Marine Protected Area.

Peter Moeahu says the hapu dropped its objections after the proposed size of the reserve was cut, and concerns about customary fishing were addressed.

He hopes Tapuae will improve fish stocks in surrounding waters.

“Our coast is pretty rough and rugged and most of the marine life off our coast don’t grow to great size, so the marine reserve is viewed as a good opportunity for us to encourage marine growth,” Mr Moeahu says.


A popular Maori-Pacific cabaret act is heading off next month to please its fans in the United States.

Over the past decade Auckland-based vocal harmony quartet Jamoa Jam has carved out a niche in the festival and corporate circuit.

Singer Fred Lemalu says they've been able to draw from their shared heritage.

“Going from Maori to Samoan to Tongan to Cook Island, it’s actually enriched us a lot in that we’ve learned to embrace the whole of the Pacific Islands and New Zealand, and that’s I guess what Jamoa Jam set out to do in the first place,” Mr Lemalu says.

Jamoa Jam has a strong following in California among expatriate kiwis and American-resident Polynesians


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