Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Maori slow to get AIDs testing

An updated ethnicity report on HIV has raised concern that awareness among Maori is not high enough.

Marama Pala, kaiwhakahaere of INA - the Maori, indigenous and South Pacific HIV/AIDS Foundation, says an update of the Ministry of Health's 2008 AIDS epidemiology data, shows an increase in infections generally, with the high incidence among Maori women and children being particularly concerning.

She says Maori Women are the most likely group to catch HIV in New Zealand and this is being passed onto children.

While other groups of the population have overall higher incidence of HIV most of these people are being affected overseas.

And she says there is deep concern that Maori with Aids are not getting help until it becomes full blown AIDS.

“Forty point six percent of late testers or people not testing until the last moment are Maori and 28.6 percent are Pacific and that’s really a concern for us because it shows that the testing availability or access or knowledge or education about HIV and illnesses is not getting to our people,” Ms Pala says.

Recommendations are being made to review the National Strategy to address the lack of funding for HIV surveillance for Maori.

NAME PUZZLE NEEDS UNPICKING FOR WHAKAPAPA RESEARCH

The National Library of New Zealand is helping Maori retrace their roots.

The library is focusing on Whakapapa as part of its Family History Month, alongside the New Zealand Society of Genealogists which is helping to unravel family stories.

Celia Joe, hononga Maori at the National Library of New Zealand, says exploring heritage was a vital link in defining a person’s identity.

She says often Maori whanau found it difficult to link back to their ancestors due to the introduction of surnames in the early 1900's.

“Up until the government made it compulsory to have a surname you were known as ‘Rangi, son of Petera from wherever you were from’ so when it became time to get a surname, some people took their father’s or their grandather’s first name. Some took his second name. And some whanau members made an new entirely different name,” Ms Joe says.

The programme of events celebrating Family History Month includes guest speakers, displays, workshops, advice and tours of the National Library and other Wellington repositories.

HUIA LOOKING FOR NEXT GENERATION OF AUTHORS

The hunt for budding Maori writers is on again as part of the Pikihuia Awards.

The biannual competition organised by the Maori Literature Trust and Huia Publishers, is in its fourteenth year.

Chair Robyn Bargh says many past winners have gone on to be successful writers and says its free entry makes it a great platform for new Maori writers.

“It’s a big step between sitting at home writing a story and then putting iut out for the public to read and laugh at and enjoy and then from there to actually writing a whole book that you have actually written yourself and therefore being able to say ‘I am a writer,” Mrs Bargh says.

Nga Pakiwaitara a Huia, the short stories section, gets the most entries, with the other categories being best novel extract (up to 5,000 words), best short film script and best short story in English or Maori by a secondary school student.

POTIKI AGAIN TURNS GUNS ON NGAI TAHU KAIWHAKAHAERE

A powerful runanga leader within Ngai Tahu has come out publicly against the continued leadership of Ngai Tahu by chairman Mark Solomon.

Tahu Potiki was chief executive of the Ngai Tahu Runanga until he fell out with Mr Solomon.

He now leads the Otakou Runanga.

He says Mr Solomon's leadership is not the way forward for the iwi.

“There's been suggestion of a new governance direction which is being touted as a top down model which could lead to all the business decisions and business directions being set by the political body, who aren’t actually geared up to make those sorts of decisions, so the leadership who are taking us in that direction need to be challenged, absolutely,” Mr Potiki says.

He says the lessons from the United States are clear that there should be clear separation between governance and management roles but under Mark Solomon's leadership of Ngai Tahu this has not been the case.

The leadership issue has come to a head with the recent sacking of the business arm's chief executive Wally Stone and the decison to continue planning the $50 million cultural and office centre Ngai Tahu House in Christchurch.

WANANGA USES JOINT VENTURES TO GET BACK INTO TRADE TRAINING

An innovative joint venture Maori trade training initiative involving Tainui, Te Wananga o Aotearoa, and Wintec was launched in Hamilton yesterday.

Wananga chief executive Bentham Ohia says the building and carpentry course with 16 students has taken more than a year to develop.

Classes start tomorrow.

“Ultimately we'd like to increase the numbers over time here in the Waikato so we can support business and the building and construction industry here in terms of labour shortages in the future,” Mr Ohia says.

He says the recession is an ideal time for job trading to prepare for an economic up turn and the joint venture leveraging the skills and resource of the participant groups is the way to do this.

TINA CROSS LAUNCHES TINA CROSS STUDIO AT PENROSE HIGH

Maori singer and performer Tina Cross is happy that the school that helped her launch her career has named a new music studio after her.

She says Penrose High School which will re-open as one Tree Hill College on Friday had a brilliant music department which led her to bus there from her home in Otara every day.

“School productions were big then. There was a lot of not just singing, there was acting and a bit of movement in drama. It’s big in schools now but it wasn’t that big then so I was really fortunate and once the school band formed we auditioned for television shows and back in the 70s they were huge and any foot in the door if you were a young talent and wanted to maybe get a break on television, the vehicles were there,” Ms Cross says.

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