Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Payout resolves Pipitea Marae split

The Crown has paid $1.7 million to help resolve a dispute over a landmark Wellington marae that flared up during negotiations for the Port Nicholson Block settlement.

The payment was revealed in the supplementary estimates being debated in Parliament this week.

Negotiator Paul Morgan says the Crown accepted it could not hand over Pipitea Marae to Taranaki Whanui claimants without compensating Ngati Poneke Maori Association, which held a perpetual lease over the land and buildings near the Wellington stadium.

He says the dispute has brought the two groups closer together, with a special meeting of Ngati Poneke agreeing to joint management.

“Members supported the new initiative which is a jointly managed charitable trust which will hold the assets of Pipitea Mare, that’s the land, the improvements to the land and of course the ex gratia payment the Crown is to make to Ngati Poneke’s executive, which will go to the trust itself,” Mr Morgan says.

The new arrangement is included in an amendment to the Port Nicholson Block Claims Settlement Bill, which should be passed this week to allow for handover of assets on july the first.

MAORI DOCTOR NUMBERS RISE SLOWLY

The number of Maori doctors is on the increase, but supply is still not matching demand.

The Medical Council's 2008 workforce survey shows 3.2 percent of the country's 13-thousand doctors are Maori, up half a percent on the previous year.

Ripeka Evans, the chief executive of the Maori doctors' association Te Ora, says the increase shows affirmative action strategies like Auckland University's Vision 20:20 scheme are working.

But she says getting more young Maori interested in the sciences could generate more candidates for medical schools.

“Maori communities need focus around having a revolution around science. I mean we’ve had a revolution around economic development around the last 25 years and we pretty much need the same type of approach to be able to get the numbers anywhere near we want them to be,” Ms Evans says.

The Medical Council says 42 percent of Maori doctors work in the Auckland, Waitemata & Counties Manukau DHBs, and 30 percent Maori are GPs.

SOLUTION-BASED APPROACH NEEDED IN MEDICAL RESEARCH

Meanwhile, the author of a study on how Maori are treated in hospital says research needs to shift from describing the problem to looking for solutions.

Juliet Rumball-Smith from the University of Otago reviewed 11 studies of health care in New Zealand, which showed poorer outcomes for Maori who were treated for heart disease, renal disease, obstetric care and mental illness.

She says bringing the research together was a way of making health care workers and policy makers aware of the disparities.

“What I would recommend is we redirect some of the descriptive stuff around Maori having poorer health status into looking at why that occurs and where we can act and maybe move from the pure description into an exploration of this area,” Dr Rumball-Smith says.

Health workers need to change their practices to improve Maori outcomes.

OTIMI BEFORE COURT ON THREE FRAUD CHARGES

The south Auckland man behind the whangai visa scheme is unrepentant despite today's appearance in the Manukau District Court.

Gerrard Toi Otimi is facing three charges of deception in relation to documents he gave Pacific island overstayed in exchange for a $500 koha.

He was remanded on bail until August.

Otimi denies he was issuing passports or immigration documents.

“Now the document that I produced was a membership document to my hapu so it’s going to be interesting how they can say that a document like that is deceptive,” Otimi says.

He was ordered to surrender his own passport.

DEVELOPMENT THREATENS TAURANGA KAIMOANA BEDS

The Tauranga Moana Iwi Customary Fishing Committee is warning the region's booming population is polluting the harbour and the streams feeding in to it.

Spokesperson Tu Piahana says the shellfish that hapu need for tangi and other marae gatherings are becoming too contaminated to collect.

He says services aren't coping with new housing developments, and the Western Bay of Plenty District Council doesn't plan to upgrade waterways into the harbour until 2012.

“We haven't got the services for the amount of people in our area. That is the bottom line. Everything is working to breaking point or bursting point, I’m talking about the sewer issues, and a whole lot of other issues that they didn’t foresee in the beginning, that’s all built up and impacts on our taonga,” Mr Piahana says.

He says the council needs to set up a task force to deal with the pollution issue.

PREGNANT SMOKERS A QUIT TARGET

The Quit Group is telling pregnant Maori it's never too late to stop smoking.

Its Maori services manager, Denise Messiter from Ngati Pukenga and Hauraki, says one in two Maori hapu wahine smoke.

She says women may feel under pressure at such a time, and they need support from whanau to give up the habit.

“There's hardly anything you can do … don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t eat kaimoana, you have all these messages, and what we are saying is it never is too late to quit and this isn’t about stopping doing something. It’s about giving baby the best possible chance in life and our wahine, our women have that power,” Ms Messiter says.

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