Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Aussie Maori units would need official support to work

A prison reform advocate says Maori units in Australian prisons are unlikely to work, and the Australians should focus on their own indigenous people.

The interest in New Zealand's Maori-focused units was reported by Corrections Minister Judith Collins, who spent last week across the Tasman.

Kim Workman from Rethinking Crime and Punishment says such programmes depends on the ability of the community to participate, and the willingness of the prison system to allow outsiders to help with rehabilitation.

“The Australians haven’t even got as far as their own indigenous people, I can’t see how they would be bending over backwards to accommodate Maori within the system. And the difficulty for Maori is, if you don’t have that relationship and you don’t have that engagement and commitment on the part of the department, then it’s extremely difficult work,” Mr Workman says.

He says while there are a lot of Maori in Australia, there might not be enough interested volunteers to make a Maori unit work.

WHANAU SQUEEZED OUT OF CARING FOR INJURED CHILDREN

A new study has found Maori whanau feel left out of the care of their injured children because of cultural miscommunication and inadequate information.

The study by Auckland University's school of population health's Te Kupenga Hauora Maori unit looked at the experiences of eight Maori, eight Pacific Island and seven Pakeha children admitted to hospital.

Matire Harwood, the editor of the Maori Health Review, says it's more evidence that Maori aren't offered the same services as other users of the health system.

“It's often because we don’t know what we’re eligible for and so it’s training the service providers to recognize we don’t know the system, we don’t know how the system works, we don’t know our rights in terms of what we can access, and it’s up to them to provide that information, education to us,” Dr Harwood says

While many whanau praised the dedication of staff, they reported problems in their dealings with hospitals and health services.

LETTER SHOWS ARMOURED CONTACT BETWEEN NGAPUHI AND KING

An exchange of gifts between a Ngapuhi rangatira and an English king was remembered at a ceremony in Taitokerau last weekend.

Bruce Gillies, a volunteer at the Kaikohe Pioneer Village, says it was inspired by his discovery in the museum archives of an 1835 letter thanking the chief Titore for his gift to King William the Fourth of a mere pounamu and two cloaks.

King William's gift to Titore was a suit of armour.

“He actually tried it on, put a musket bullet through it, lost interest in it, and gave it to Te Wherowhero (who later became Maori king), but it had considerable mana coming from the British king. Te Wherowheo gained mana by giving it to te Heuheu Tukino of Ngati Tuwharetoa, and then it was lost track of until 1909,” Mr Gillies says.

In 1909 politician and scholar Maui Pomare tracked the armour to an abandoned pa near Jerusalem on the Whanganui River, and presented it to the Dominion Museum, now Te Papa.

Sunday's ceremony was attended by descendants of Titore and by Labour MP Kelvin Davis, whose ancestor Whetoi Pomare slew Titore in a fight at Kororareka in 1837.

MAORI PARTY CALLED ON COST OF FRONTING HIKOI

Labour leader Phil Goff says the Maori Party's starring role in yesterday's Auckland super city hikoi was in marked contrast to its performance on the issue in Parliament.

Vans bearing Maori Party insignia led the march up Queen St, and Pita Sharples spoke at the rally at the end.

But Mr Goff says when the bill setting up the super city transitional authority was forced through under urgency, the Maori Party failed to put up any amendments, and Dr Sharples' co-leader Tariana Turia attacked Labour for suggesting hundreds of changes.

“I would have expected the Maori Party to be brace and strong in the House and not simply to be out on the road when they’re in front of the hikoi. They should have been consistent. They should have strongly opposed what heir coalition partner, the National Party and the Act Party were doing to Auckland and to the concept of Maori seats,” Mr Goff says.

He says the powerful transition team chosen by ACT leader and Local Government Minister Rodney Hide is stacked with business people with no understanding of the cultural and social issues involved in managing a city.

CHILD NEGLECT RIFE AMONG MAORI GAMBLERS

A problem gambling co-ordinator says Maori living in Manukau City are more likely to become gamblers because the city has the highest ratio of pokie machines in the country.

Zoe Martin, from Hapai Te Hau Ora, says there is one pokie machine for every 139 people in Manukau, compared with a national average of one to every 188 people.

She says almost a third of the city's population is Maori, and the gambling epidemic is having a significant effect on whanau, especially on the children.

She says child neglect is common, either with children left at home or in cars outside gambling venues.

Ms Martin says there is a prevalence of pokie machines in lower socio economic areas.

ALL BOYS CLASSES TRIED AT INTERMEDIATE LEVEL

Rotorua Intermediate has introduced boys-only classes as a way to reaching at risk rangatahi.

Teacher Witakerei Poinga says the class was inspired by an Education Review Office report which found boys learned better in structured lessons and were motivated by praise.

He uses tikanga Maori and mau rakau to teach self discipline and respect, as well as a talking circle to get the boys to open up.

Witakerei Poinga say the Tama Toa class was modeled on a similar project at Tauranga Intermediate.

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