Waatea News Update

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

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Recession threat to race relations

The Race Relations Conciliator is warning against allowing the current recession to create the kind of racial disparities seen during the recession of the early 1990s.

Joris de Bres released his 2008 report this morning, saying the deepening economic crisis will affect not just employment and standard of living but other social conditions.

He says racial equality is one of the most important foundation stones for positive race relations.

“If we look back at what happened in 1992, unemployment rocketed up in the recession to almost 25 percent for Maori and 28 percent for Pacific peoples and it took a long time to get it back to the levels it was last year. We’re now in a situation where those numbers are likely to go op up again and I think what we need to do is be aware what a long term effect it had last time and try to mitigate the long term effects as well as the impact it had on those communities,” Mr de Bres says.

He says the developing relationship between the Crown and Maori also needs to be watched closely.


The Northland medical officer of health is calling on the community to do more to protect traditional kaimonana collection sites.

Jonathan Jarman says sewage, stormwater, septic tank and farm runoff all flow into the region's harbours every time it rains heavily, shutting down beaches and shellfish collection for up to a month at a time

More than 16 million litres of sewage overflowed into the Whangarei Harbour last week.

Dr Jarman says the community seems to struggle to respond appropriately.

“Do we pretend that there is no problem? Do we put up signs every 100 metres along our harbours every time we have heavy rain? It’s not a good look for tourists and what about the hundreds of Northlanders who love collecting shellfish for their families from places where people have collected shellfish for hundreds of years,” Dr Jarman says.

Iwi, district and regional councils, the health board, the department of conservation and community members needs to work together to overhaul current systems, which include old pipeworks and reticulation systems.


Waikato District Health Board's Te Puna Ora Maori health service is targeting one of the biggest killers of Maori men over 40.

The three-year Oranga Tane Maori project is looking at how the region's health providers treat Maori with an existing chronic disease or cancer.

Wayne Johnstone, the principal investigator, says it will interview the men and their whanau along with support, clinicians and service providers.

“Everyone should have a part to play in addressing these issues, not just the blame being laced on Maori or Maori men but the clinicians, the health practitioners all have a part to play in finding solutions or a way forward,” Mr Johnstone says.

Funding for the study came from the Health Research Council of New Zealand and the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology Maori knowledge and development fund.


The Green's Maori affairs spokesperson is warning that while the Government is conducting a high profile review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act, it is removing by stealth the tools Maori need to defend their takutai moana.

Metiria Turei says Maori need to make submissions on amendments to the Resource Management Act now before a select committee.

She says the bill will take away the power of the Minister of Conservation to intervene in decisions about the coastal marine area.

“By taking away that power for the minister to act effectively as the landowner and to say no to a development, that power will instead rest really with regional councils so if the rules in their plans allow for high levels of development of the coastal marine area, then that’s what they will allow for and there will be no one at all who can stop that from happening,” Ms Turei says.

The changes will mean iwi and hapu can only object to development on narrow legal grounds, and not on substantial grounds such as the effect of pollution on their customary rights.


Opunake Maori have rejected the New Plymouth District Council's offer of a whale bone sculpture.

The work by landscape designer Kim Jarrett was originally commissioned for the 2006 Rhododendron Festival by the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust , but was removed from the New Plymouth foreshore because the district council didn't want to pay for maintenance.

Mana whenua spokesperson Kerry Walsh says a hui at Orimupiko Marae spokesperson this week rejected the sculpture because it illustrates an East Coast legend of Tinirau and his pet whale Tutunui, which has no connection to Taranaki.

Debbie Ngarewa Packer, the deputy mayor of South Taranaki, says the idea got as far as it did because of flawed consultation.

“Council officers had engages with iwi liaison and I guess had discussions that they took as being on behalf of iwi but to be fair were actually on behalf of the individual, and that’s a classic example of how you need to make sure you have good strong relationships to be sure you’re abreast of what’s important to mana whenua,” Mrs Ngarewa Packer says.

The councils will keep working to find the sculpture a home.


Ngati Awa is upping its commitment to higher education with the launch of six scholarships for members who show a combination of academic excellence and engagement with hapu and iwi.

The eastern Bay of Plenty iwi runs a wananga in Whakatane, and also gives grants to registered beneficiaries studying elsewhere.

Leonie Simpson from Te Runanga o Ngati Awa says last year grants went to 223 tauira.

She says the new scholarships were developed because while Ngati Awa students were good at enrolling, too many were dropping out at second or third year level.

She says Ngati Awa is identifying areas they want to encourage more education in.

Applications for the tertiary grants and scholarships close on Friday.


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