Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Recession cause for child poverty summit

Child welfare agency Barnados says the recession is biting hard on Maori families.

Chief executive Murray Edridge says a third of Maori children are living in poverty, nearly double the rate of children generally.

He says the Every Child Counts summit in Auckland today will allow Maori and community welfare organisations to offer the Government practical ways to tackle the enormous challenges facing many children,

“Some of that's about the recession. Some of that’s about family dynamics and parenting and levels of violence and abuse. Unless we do something specifically for children as part of our policies of economic and social renewal and sustainability, then we will find ourselves in crisis,” Mr Edridge says.

The 150 experts expected at Te Karaiti Te Pou Herenga Waka Marae in Mangere will design an action plan to be offered to the government.


Otaki-based Ngati Raukawa is trying to use knowledge held by iwi to improve water quality in the south Horowhenua.

It's part of the $6.6 million Manaaki Taha Moana project funded by the Foundation for Research Science and Technology, which brings together Raukawa and Tauranga Moana iwi, the New Zealand Centre for Ecological Economics and the Cawthron Institute.

Research leader Huhana Smith, the chair of the Tai o Raukawa Trust, says it starts with iwi doing a baseline survey of freshwater and marine systems in their rohe.

“Bringing all those iwi and hapu and be involved in the coastal stretch to be involved, raise their capacity research to actually start affecting some better projects right along that coastline,” Dr Smith says.

The project will aim to develop tools and methods which can be used by other iwi around New Zealand.


Paddles made during a night course in Whangarei may hit the water at the world waka ama champs in New Caledonia next year.

Ian Swindells, the programme manager for engineering at North Tec, says some of the students learning to make hoe by laminating native timbers are headed to the national championships in January, in the hope of scoring a trip across the Pacific.

The sport is popular in the north, and the four paddle-making courses run so far have filled quickly.

Mr Swindells says most of the students are women who are relishing the chance to work with power tools.

North Tec is considering including waka ama in its boat-building programme.


The swine flu pandemic hit Maori and Pacific Islanders particularly hard.

Epidemiologist Michael Baker from Otago University's Wellington school of medicine says while the pandemic is now virtually over in this country, Maori have been three times more likely to get swine flu than average, and Pacific Islanders were almost seven times more susceptible.

They also got sicker, with more Maori and Pacific Islanders needing hospital care.

Dr Baker says not enough is being done to control infectious disease among those groups.

“Not only with this pandemic but also with our other very serious infections, we see markedly higher rates for Maori and Pacific people, particularly for children and the most extreme case is probably rheumatic fever where over 90 percent of cases now are in young Maori and Pacific children,” he says.

The higher swine flu rates among Maori and Pacific Islanders can be put down to things like overcrowding and the fact that they are more likely to be suffering from other illnesses such as diabetes and asthma.


A summit in Auckland today will consider an action plan to head off a crisis among Maori kids as the recession bites.

Murray Edridge, the chief executive of Barnados, says Maori are particularly vulnerable to the effects of recession, with a third of Maori children now living in poverty ... nearly double the rate for kids generally.

He says the Every Child Counts summit at Te Karaiti Te Pou Herenga Waka Marae in Mangere will aim to come up with practical solutions which draw in the children's whanau, hapu and iwi.

“The summit has people from Maori communities all around New Zealand coming together for the sole purpose of thinking about how we make life better for Maori children in the current recession, in the current environment,” Mr Edridge says.

At the end of the summit proposals will be put to Housing Minister Phil Heatley, who is representing the government.


Storytelling and Ngati Poroutanga will be on show in Ruatoria today at the fifth Te Rangitawaea ICT Festival

Sue Ngarimu-Goldsmith from Hiruharama school says students from 18 East Coast kura have used computers to put together animations, short films, advertisements and the like.

The aim is to use children's interest in technology to explore the region's traditions and stories.

She says the children get the opportunity to be creative, work collectively and develop IT skills,

The exhibition at Ngata College will be followed by the Nati Awards, Ngati Porou's version of the Oscars.


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