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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Maori baby death rate double Pakeha

A report on deaths during the first month has found that the rate among Maori is double that of the general population.

And Dr Pat Tuohy who is chief advisor on child and youth health for the Ministry of Health says the finding by the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee can be put down to Maori smoking during pregnancy.

“And I know a lot of mums 
won’t want to hear this but that’s particularly bad for babies, both before they are born and after they are born. There’s a lot of help out there for mums who want to stop smoking, One of the biggest things that can happen is for the whanau to spend time either smoking away from the mum or giving up at the same time as the mum and giving some support,” Dr Tuohy says.

Poor diet is also a factor in the higher incidence among Maori.

The committee found that while the still birth rate among Maori of 6.7 per thousand was not greatly highly than the European rate of 5.5 per thousand, the rate for death during the first month of 5.5 per thousand was more than double the European rate of 2.7 per thousand.


Maori Party MP Hone Harawira wants the Prime Minister to meet with the two brothers who attacked him on Waitangi Day.

Hone Harawira says he supports the two because they are whanau.

He attended a hearing in the Kaitaia Court last week when John Popata, 33, and Wikatana Popata, 19, pleaded not guilty to assaulting John Key.

“They are young fellows
 and they’re coming down (to Wellington next week) to do some research for their iwi and one of the other whanau asked me what’s the chance of setting up a meeting with John Key. I said ‘I’m down there at Parliament next week. I’ll talk to him and see what happens. He can only say no.’ If he says no, that still might not be the end of it. I may still go in and ask again,” Mr Harawira says.

He says it should be remembered the action took place at Waitangi which is a traditional place of protest.


A concert to celebrate the life of Maori opera singer and master carver Inia Te Wiata has been welcomed by his daughter, singer, comedian and actress Rima te Wiata.

She says it was fantastic Sunday’s concert brought together some of New Zealand's top Maori artists as part of Auckland Festival 09.

“It was discussed as a possibility two years ago when mum brought out a compilation of music dad made called Just Call Me Happy. It was going to happen two years ago but didn’t because of funding issues and the usual things that slow things down, and finally it’s happening, so that’s great,” Ms Te Wiata says.

Inia Te Wiata died in 1971.


The Ministry of Health is calling on Maori to stop smoking during pregnancy.

The chief advisor on child and youth health, Dr Pat Tuohy, says a new report shows Maori children are twice as likely as others to die during the first month.

The rate of death during the first month was 5.5 per thousand for Maori compared with 2.7 for the general population.

“Tobacco smoke
 contains a whole range of toxic substances, so those toxic substances affect the baby. They go through the mum’s lungs and into her blood and that’s the same blood that’s nourishing the baby. So there are all sorts of bad things in the tobacco smoke that are going through the baby’s body as it is being made,” Dr Touhy says.

There are a lot of programmes to help people to stop smoking but with the latest findings perhaps more is needed to target young Maori women.


A media and Internet campaign to build support for the Ngati Porou Treaty of Waitangi settlement claims has met with phenomenal success.

The man behind the "I'm a Ngati" campaign, Te Rau Kupenga, says even he has been astounded by its success.

For February we ended up with about 50,000 hits from all over the world, the majority from America and Australia,” he says,

The hits translated into about 2500 thousand registrations with the iwi.


The man who helped kick start the way Maori education is organised today is being honoured by Massey University with an honorary Doctor of Literature Degree.

On May 13 Turoa Royal will receive an Honorary Doctor of Literature degree at a graduation ceremony in Palmerston North, in recognition of his sustained contribution to education.

Assistant vice-chancellor Maori, Professor Mason Durie says Turoa Royal was pivotal in introducing whanau-based learning and was an early advocate for recognising cultural identity as important for educational achievement.

“In 1956 there was just a handful of Maori university students who met at the University of Auckland and decided the curriculum for people training to be teachers did not recognize Maori and that Maori outcomes would be much better if it did. And really that was the beginning of a whole series of transformations that have led us to where we are now,” Professor Durie says.

In his time, Mr Royal has headed the Whitireia Community Polytechnic, and Te Wänanga ö Raukawa in Otaki, Te Tähuhu ö Ngä Wänanga - the Association of Wänanga and the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium and was a lecturer in education at Victoria University and Maori studies at Massey. 


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