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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, September 07, 2009

Ngapuhi claim hearings delayed

The Waitangi Tribunal has delayed hearings for Ngapuhi's historic claims until at least March 2010.

The hearings were supposed to start on October 28, the anniversary of the signing of the 1835 Declaration of Independence by northern chiefs.

Peter Tipene, the chair of Te Aho Claims Alliance representing inland Bay of Islands hapu, says it was clear at a judicial conference last month that many of the claimants weren't ready to present their evidence.

He says it's important to get the community behind the claims, which go deeper than the land the tribe lost.

“I would hazard a guess that 98 percent of the people in New Zealand don’t even know what He Whakaputanga is, the Declaration of Independence is, what is relationship is to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and how that could roll out in terms of constitutional change,” Mr Tipene says.

The claimants will tell the tribunal what their ancestors believed they were signing for in the Treaty of Waitangi.


Tariana Turia says Maori health providers must position themselves to take advantage of changes to the sector.

The Goverment is holding four hui this month to spell out the proposed changes to government's plans to rapidly introduce new models of care on a large scale.

At the first hui in Taupo on Friday, the associate Minister of Health challenged health providers to get involved in the change process so Maori concerns are factored in, and to seek the new contracts.

“Some of those primary health services that have normally been provided by the District Health Boards moving in to the primary sector, our people need to be alert and to be putting in for those services and not let them all go to the major PHOs,” Mrs Turia says.

Further hui for Maori providers will be held in Wellington on Thursday, Auckland next week and Christchurch on September 21.


Maori singer/songwriter Hinewehi Mohi has moved her Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre to a larger space to meet growing demand.

Mohi says the children who need the therapy have high needs which the Grey Lynn building is able to accommodate.

The centre is modeled on the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Centre in London, which Mohi and husband George found wile seeking treatment for their daughter Hineraukatauri, who has severe cerebral palsy.

She says Raukatauri is strongly supported by the music industry as well as the wider community.

Hinewehi Mohi says music is an activity special needs children can participate in and learn to use as a means to communicate.


A Maori village on the Whanganui River is waiting for funds to upgrade its water supply before it can go ahead with a much needed papakainga housing project.

Kaiwhaiki is one of 71 mainly Maori rural communities whose funding applications are on hold while Health Minister Tony Ryall reviews the Drinking Water Assistance Programme brought in by the Labour Government.

Kaumatua Morvin Simon says the community has been working for more than a decade on a plan to build 30 new houses.

The final step is a back up water supply, so the integrity of the spring which has served the pa for centuries is not put at risk by the increased demand.

“The actual puna has been our life over many years. It has never been contaminated or never got dirty or anything like that,” Mr Simon says.


The head of Canterbury University's school of Maori and indigenous studies is off to Europe to present his research that child abuse among Maori was uncommon in pre-European times.

Rawiri Taonui will deliver papers to a conference in Italy this week hosted by Australia's Macquarie University and one in Wales for social workers specialising in indigenous child abuse.

He says material he's been collecting over the past decade indicates Maori child rearing practices at the time the first European settlers arrived in New Zealand were significantly different to today.

“Slapping, smacking or whatever you want to call it was really a kind of last option and was the exception rather than the rule. Through colonisation and corporal punishment at schools we have sort of inculcated a whole different regime over time which mixed in with poverty and marginalisation became distorted in our communities and we’ve ended up in the situation we're in,” Mr Taonui says.

OECD figures show violence towards Maori children is trending down as the Maori renaissance continues, but abuse rates of Pakeha children have increased sharply.


The Public Health Association is looking to maintain the momentum in the Maori health sector.

Its senior analyst for Maori public health, Keriata Stuart, says a highlight of this year's conference was the way young Maori and Maori men contributed to the debate on directions for public health.

She says traditionally the sector has been dominated by non-Maori, and by women.

“It was at an Otago conference 14 years ago when we first started having a Maori caucus. We had a first meeting where we decided we needed a permanent group and a permanent voice inside PHA and there were so few Maori presenting then. Now there are not only Maori keynote speakers but people working all over the place doing the most amazing innovative community projects,” Ms Stuart says.

Priorities coming out of last week's conference in Dunedin were more support for Maori workforce development, getting a Maori perspective in the ethics of public health, and taking research findings out to the community.


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