Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, June 05, 2009

Early intervention mooted for child abuse

A Maori children's advocate is distressed by figures showing one child a week is admitted to hospital because of abuse.

A report prepared the the Office of the Children's Commissioner shows with Maori boys are six times more likely to be seriously assaulted than non-Maori, and Maori girls three times more likely.

Hone Kaa from Te Kahui Mana Ririki, which has been running workshops for iwi since last year on alternatives to smacking, says it's never too early to intervene.

“When the child is born, when the whanau is gathered round the bed, there is the perfect time for the intervention by the pediatricians to say to people ‘Thus is what you must not do to a child.’ If we want a better world, then we’ve got to be able to give our children a better grasp on life.
Dr Kaa says.

The abuse figures are a reason Maori should vote yes to a petition on whether the defence of reasonable force should continue to be banned in child abuse cases.


After years of work, Te Mahurehure has finished the rebuilding of its Auckland marae with the erection of a pou maumahara of its ancestor, Uewhati.

The marae was established in 40 years ago for Auckland-based descendents of the Hokianga iwi.

Chairperson Christine Panapa says it has taken a decade to win resource consents and rebuild the former rugby league clubrooms in Point Chevalier.

Christine Panapa says the 2 point 8 metre pou was commissioned from the Te Puia Maori arts and crafts institute in Rotorua after a chance encounter with the institute's head of carving, Te Taonui-a-Kupe Rickard.


The author of a new book on the New Zealand wars says she has tried to bring a new perspective to the tale.

The heroine of Deborah Challinor's novel Isle of Tears is a Scottish heroine taken in by Taranaki Maori whose life is turned upside down when war breaks out in 1860.

She says it was a way to describe the impact of the wars on Maori without trying to assume a Maori perspective, so she looked at the issue through the eyes of a Scottish migrant.


Former Labour MP Dover Samuels says Phil Goff should have stayed out of the storm around former Internal Affairs Minister Richard Worth.

Dr Worth quit his portfolios Wednesday as it emerged that police were investigating criminal allegations against him ... allegations the former top lawyer is denying.

Mr Goff demanded to know why John Key failed to act against Dr Worth a month ago, when he informed the Prime Minister of a separate set of allegations about inappropriate behaviour towards a woman.

Mr Samuels, who was dumped from Labour's Cabinet in 2000 while police investigated allegations against him which later proved unfounded, says people are rushing to judgment without allowing Dr Worth to defend himself.

“It makes me very angry when I see the leader of our own party, the Labour Party, jumping on the bandwagon and to me that’s not wisdom. These types of issues, those types of events can attract really superficial and artificial responses and I think perhaps it would have been better if Phil Goff had waited until the facts came out,” Mr Samuels says.


Eight universities have joined together to encourage more Maori to come through as academic leaders.

The Maori Academy for Academic and Professional Advancement, Manu Ao, was launched at Victoria University's Te Herenga Waka Marae this week.

Director Selwyn Katene says the academy will coordinate the leadership programmes run by each university.

He says Manu Ao will advance Maori scholarship and strengthen links between Maori professionals and academics.
“There's a dearth of people coming through to take up senior positions. For example, within universities, there is a need for us to focus on ways in which we can further develop and foster Maori scholarship,” Mr Katene says.

Manu Ao builds on a pilot project which offered weekly seminars for Maori students and academics.


Nelson-based whanau unable to return their babies placenta to their turangawaewae are welcoming the country's first formal burial ground for afterbirth.

Maori parents, many of whom who have been storing whenua in freezers, can now bury placenta in the Centre of New Zealand Park's historic reserve, before planting a tree over the spot as part of the park's revegetation programme.

Andrea Vincent, the chair of Nelson's Midwifes council, says it is Maori custom to bury afterbirth to reinforce the child's tie to the land, but many people moving round rental accommodation can’t find the right spot.

Many non-Maori familes are also keen to take part in planting their whenua.

The first plant day takes place tomorrow, along with a blessing from Nelson iwi.


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