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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Invisible health target undermining hauora

The head of Canterbury University's psychology department says the government's new health targets could undermine the work done by many Maori providers.

Neville Blampied says the targets which came into force this month are silent on mental health, even though more than a third of adults seeing a primary health care professional was likely to have a mental health problem.

Patients with psychological issues are less likely to follow through with treatment for their physical problems.

Associate professor Blampied says Maori providers have shown leadership in tackling such problems before they get out of hand.

“One of the things that characterizes the delivery of healthcare by Maori providers is they really do have a commitment to the kaupapa of having a holistic view of health and if government policy cuts across that holistic view, it just makes their job much more difficult,” Mr Blampied says.

The idea of having health targets should be to improve the overall performance of health services.


One of the country's largest Maori shearing contractors fears says low sheep numbers could cripple his workforce.

Koro Mullins from Dannevirke-based Paewai Mullins says the sector is going through tough time with low wool prices putting pressure on farmers and shearers alike.

He's only got work for about a dozen shearers, well down on previous years.

He says shearers could be lost forever if they go over to Australia looking for work.


A newly uncovered trove of missionary letters is giving new insights into why Maori around the country went with different creeds.

The hahi adopted by iwi was not just dependent on which missionaries arrived in their area first, but how they were able to argue their case.

William Jennings, a lecturer in French at Waikato University, says the letters, sent in the 1840s and 50s to the Vatican headqarters of the Marist order, offer a first hand account of the process.

He says the French priests recorded the debates they had with their protestant competitors in front of Maori audiences.

“You know each missionary would present the case for his religion and these debates would have taken place in Maori so in terms of Maori perspective, there’s lots of information in there. We’re talking about 2000 pages of letters that have really never been used before by New Zealand researchers,” Dr Jennings says.

The letters, which include transcriptions of waiata and speeches, are being translated into English to make them more widely available.


The Environmental Defence Society believes a coastal commission could be the ideal way to balance Maori and non-Maori interests in the takutai moana.

The idea was suggested by the ministerial review on the Foreshore and Seabed Act led by former Waitangi Tribunal chair Eddie Durie.

Gary Taylor from the EDS says his society had been working on a similar idea, which acknowledges the kaitiakitanga or guardianship role Maori wish to play.

“Quite apart from customary rights issues, just in terms of general supervision of environmental outcomes on the coast, I can see some positive outcomes from blending the two world views of Maori and of Pakeha into a single oversight commission,” Mr Taylor says.

He says the coastal commission doesn't need to be a large bureaucracy, and could sit comfortably within the environmental protection agency the government plans to set up.


Maori medium educators are using the school holiday break to brush up on the latest theories and technologies in their field.

He Waka Eke Noa in Rotorua is a professional development conference which brings together teachers from early childhood to university level.

Organiser Hemi Waerea says a growing issue is the use of technology in schools, and how it can help in teaching te reo and tikanga Maori.

“A school wouldn’t just jump into the use of say Bebo or Facebook without thinking of the implications of how that opens up the children and the school etc so there are cultural considerations that need to be had and what they want to put out there and what should be kept within the school and what is just tikanga or matauranga Maori that should be kept within the marae,” Mr Waerea says.

Technology is likely to be a major part of any jobs chidren from wharekura go into.


Labour MP Shane Jones says the whole country needs a new flag, not just Maori.

The government is consulting on which flag should fly alongside the New Zealand flag on Auckland Harbour Bridge next Waitangi Day.

The shortlist includes the black and red tino rangatiratanga flag and the 1835 Busby or United Tribes flag which flies on the Waitangi Marae.

Mr Jones, a Northland-based list MP, says the whole exercise reeks of shallowness and insularity.

“Rather than wasting money on 23 hui about a flag for the iwis we should be leading a process, providing a vision that gives the nation, the overall nation, a new flag that has a Maori influence at its foundation. That’s the real challenge, and this flag exercise has more to do with banner waving for the Maori Party at a time quite frankly when they’ve yet to produce one single remedy for the 500 Maori that are losing their jobs every week,” Mr Jones says.

He says the Maori Party has replaced blankets and beads with flags and beads as a way of appealing to the natives.


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