Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Unity needed to benefit from health reforms

A series of hui to inform Maori providers about proposed changes in primary healthcare finished in Christchurch yesterday with a call for greater unity in the sector.

Simon Royal, the chief executive of a new coalition bringing together 11 Maori public health organisations, says Maori are keen to integrate health and other community services, in line with the whanau ora model being promoted by associate health minister Tariana Turia.

He says to have a say in the reforms, Maori providers need to bulk up so they can bid for contracts under the new system.

“We need size and we need scale. In order to play this game effectively, we need to be working together, all Maori organisations, and inviting other organisations that philosophically are aligned to ours, we need to come together as a large grouping rather than going in as individual pockets because I don’t think we are going to get advanced very quickly,” Mr Royal says.

The National Maori PHO Coalition wants to see the establishment of a whanau ora commissioning agency which will take over responsibility for directing Maori primary healthcare funding.


Ngapuhi is taking another step towards identifying who should negotiate a settlement for the Northland iwi.

It's embarking on a series of hui around the country, starting at Waikato University in Hamilton tonight.

Ngapuhi Runanga chair Sonny Tau says the tribe has been given a valuable breathing space by the decision of the Waitangi Tribunal to put off the start of its claim hearings, which will initially focus on traditional understandings of te Tiriti o Waitangi and the earlier Declaration of Independence.

He hopes the hui will agree on how to give a mandate to the groups or individuals who can represent the iwi, which has more than 100,000 members in 300 hapu.

“That doesn't mean to say that they have the power to go ahead and negotiate with the Crown. All it means is they have a definitive ti9me to hold the mandate for Ngapuhi and defend it, and their job is to provide the facility where Ngapuhi can get together and talk and then appoint negotiators to the Crown,” Mr Tau says.

The next hui is tomorrow in Wellington.


A Ngati Kuri weaver has received a women's suffrage award aimed at helping women develop their potential through further education, research or training in areas which are of value to the country.

Bethany Edmunds will put the $2500 Kate Sheppard Memorial Trust prize towards her costs completing a Masters degree in costume studies at New York University.

The 31-year-old says her studies are giving her the chance to study how American museums conserve, store and display the korowai they hold.

Bethany Edmunds completed a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Maori Design and Technology at Northland Polytechnic in 2000.


Te Mangai Paho wants to know whether it's are doing a good job in revitalising the Maori language through its funding of Maori broadcasting.

The agency is holding three hui to get community feedback on how they can assist Maori to speak te reo better, more often and in more places, but particularly in the home.

Facilitator Dennis O’Reilly says it's seeking a range of opinions.

“It’s asking people who may be fluent in the language how they can do better through its programming and support for broadcasters and it’s asking people who may not be using the language but have a desire to do that,” Mr O’Reilly says.

The first hui was in Wellington today with another in Auckland on Thursday then the last in Napier next week.


Maori parents are looking after their children's eyes better than they are looking after their own

The survey by the New Zealand Optometrists Association has found a third of Maori and Pacific Islanders have never had their eyes tested, compared with just 20 percent of Pakeha..

National director Dr Lesley Frederikson says the picture is quite different when it came to their kids.

Maori and Pacific children are having their eyes tested and getting appropriate care at the same rate as the rest of the population.

“They're certainly stepping up to the mark and making sure their children are getting appropriate care and I just wonder sometimes if it’s a case of mum and dad being at the end of the queue. As a parent you tend to put you children first and this is an area where parents should think about taking care of themselves as well,” Dr Frederikson says.

About 20 percent of cases of blindness could have been prevented if people had been tested and got the necessary treatment.


Whataku marae has held its first speed-networking day, giving Nelson organisations the chance to outline what they do and how they might work together.

Organiser Carol Hippolite says the 82 participants had just five minutes to meet and greet their neighbour before moving onto the next person.

She says the marae is often asked to hold networking events, so this time it gave speed-dating a go, asking people to talk about their job and the services they provide to the wider community.

The entry fee was $10 and an item of food for a food bank.

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