Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Swine flu hitting young Maori population

Recent figures showing more than half of swine flu patients are Maori or Pacific Islander are cause for concern but not panic, according to a leading Maori health researcher.

Of the 761 confirmed swine flu patients for whom ethnicity is known, 27 percent are Maori, 28 percent Pacific Island, 34 percent European, and 11 percent other ethnicities.

Papaarangi Reid, the deputy Maori dean of Auckland University’s School of Medicine, says because ethnicity has not been recorded in all cases it is not yet clear whether the virus is hitting Maori harder than other ethnic groups.

However she says Maori are more at risk.

“we're a younger population and it is mainly young people who are getting this particular influenza and we’ve got far more risks in terms of our determinants of health so lower access to healthcare services, worse housing, more overcrowding, different access to good food, warm clothing etc at this time of year,” Dr Reid says.

The number of confirmed cases of swine flu sits at 1059 with a national death toll of three.


Maori Party MP Hone Harawira says compensation is not an issue for the Maori Party in resolving issues around the foreshore and seabed legislation.

Mr Harawira, who led the hikoi which resulted in the formation of the party, says individuals within the party, and the party as a collective, are categorical in their view that they did not oppose the foreshore and seabed legislation to get compensation.

“That's something that’s been thrown up by Eddie Durie, I guess by his work as a jurist, in understanding that when you deny people access to something them they have to be compensated for it later on. That’s what happens in Pakeha business circles. That’s what happens everywhere else in life. There’s no reason for assuming it shouldn’t happen for Maori,” Mr Harawira says.

He says compensation will be something for the courts to sort out and is not something the Maori Party is going to worry about.

The review panel was High Court judge and Waitangi Tribunal chair Justice Edward Taihakurei Durie, barrister Richard Boast, and educationalist Hana O'Regan.


The photographer behind a New Plymouth exhibition documenting social reality over the years says the works show how Maori determination to protest perceived injustices has never changed.

The exhibition Photo Histories is showing at New Plymouth's Govett Brewster Art Gallery with images by Mark Adams, Bruce Connew and John Miller from Ngapuhi including Nga Tamatoa, the Land March, the Raglan and Bastion Point Occupations, Waitangi Protests and the Foreshore and Seabed Hikoi.

John Miller says one of the things that stood out was the reemergence of people years later.

“In the land march was a photo of Dave Ruru from the East Coast pushing his little girl Tanya down the motorway into Wellington in a pushchair, and on the wall opposite is a photograph of Tanya, now a grown woman, waving her Ngati Porou flag outside Parliament during the Foreshore and Seabed hikoi,” Mr Miller says.

Other recurring faces include a young Tame Iti at Waitangi in 1972 and in Queen St in 2004, showing how the fight for tino rangatiratanga has not lessened with the passing of time.


Labour leader Phil Goff says if review of the foreshore and seabed legislation becomes about compensation it will not work.

Phil Goff says the National and the Maori parties have flip flopped on the issue of compensation following the review panel saying it was something that should be looked.

He says however now all parties seemed to be in agreement that the issue should not be about compensation.

“I don't think this issue is about compensation and if it becomes focused on compensation I don’t think it’s going to work. This is about finding a resolution between the rights of New Zealanders to have access to the beach, which is fundamental, and the rights of Maori people who have long occupied those areas where appropriate to have customary title and to have their rights acknowledged,” Mr Goff says.

He says there is a real chance of finding a solution and getting a reconciliation between the different views.

Prime Minister John Key has indicated compensation might be excluded from an agreement to recognise Maori customary rights over the foreshore and seabed and Maori party co-leader pita Sharples says he is relaxed about this.


The researcher behind a maths project where Maori pupils are allowed to talk and laugh in class groups while solving sums says the kaupapa Maori approach is working.

Massey education lecturer Bobbie Hunter have been researching year 7 and 8 Maori and pasifika pupils in Auckland to study whether their maths performance and attitude improves when they work in groups.

She says the project is reflective of their larger families and their home life and this is key to their improvements.

“It’s the way they’re brought up. It’s the fact everybody looks out for each other in a Maori or Pasifika family. Then they cOme into a school where maths so often is done, each person is an individual and you’ve got to get the answer right and it’s up to you as an individual so they actually really honouring them working in groups and the value of group work,” Ms Hunter says.

Discussion and laughter are also part of the learning process for Maori pupils, as opposed to traditional classroom etiquette.

She is one of 180 international maths educators at the 32nd international Mathematics Education Australasia conference being held at Massey University’s Wellington campus this week.


New beginnings are being marked by brighter colours for a Ngati Wai/Ngati Manuhiri artist exhibiting at Whetu Rangimarie Gallery in Pakiri over the next two months.

Star Gossage is showing her figurative series of paintings to celebrate the gallery's acknowledgement of the Matariki star cluster and Maori New year.

“They are not necessarily to do with matariki but we hung them for matariki in my auntie’s gallery. I didn’t want to send them off to my galleries. I wanted to show them at home in Pakiri, where all my whanau live,” Ms Gossage says.


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