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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Waipareira riled over mental health contract

Auckland's urban Maori authorities are squaring off against the Counties Manukau District Health Board over the way it hands out contracts.

Waipareira Trust and Manukau Urban Maori Authority were knocked back last month when they tried pick up a mental health services contract which was being dropped by Guardian Trust.

Waipareira chief executive John Tamihere says the DHB made it impossible for his organisation to put in a proper bid.

“I don't mind losing tenders fairly. I do mind when you are given a matter of hours, not days, a matter of hours to put in place the paperwork when they ask questions like: ‘What right have you from West Auckland coming over here?’ How pathetic is that? We run the largest mental health contract in the Waitakere City area on behalf of the Waitemata District Health Board,” Mr Tamihere says.

Waipareira has asked for documents about the contract, and it intends to lay complaints with the Ombudsman and the Human Rights Commission.


The Counties Manukau District Health Board's senior legal advisor, Janet Anderson-Bidois, has denied the decision to refuse Waipareira's bid has anything to do with race.

The contract to provide mental health services to 300 mainly Pacific Island clients eventually went to mainstream provider Challenge Trust.

Mrs Anderson-Bidois says Waipareira Trust was unable to provide sufficient assurances that it could provide the services.

“At the end of the day it was the safety of those people. You couldn’t take a bet they could pull it off in two days time when you are talking about 200 very high needs, very unwell people. This wasn’t a business opportunity, it was a safety issue, and at the end of the day that’s what we had to make the decision on,” Mrs Anderson-Bidois says.


The chair of Te Waka Toi believes the toi iho mark of authenticity for Maori art can be saved.

Te Waka Toi's parent body Creative New Zealand has dropped funding for the mark.

Darrin Haimona says its future is now in the hands of the Transition Toi Iho Foundation, which was set up by some of the 200 artists who use the mark.

“The foundation at this stage is a transition group set up to negotiate with Creative New Zealand and it has shown some interest in being able to take over the mark and move it through," Mr Haimona says.

A hui at Victoria University's te Herenga Waka Marae on March 12 will give Maori artists a chance to say how they think Toi Iho can survive and grow.


Visitors to Ngaruawahia will be welcomed by a sculpture based on the moko of the second Maori king Tawhiao.

The project replaces a plan to build a giant bronze Maori warrier, which has been canned by Waikato District Council after opposition by Maori and Pakeha residents alike.

Tainiu kuia Tini Tukere, who led the fight against the statue, says King Tawhiao is a far more appropriate figure to have at the town's gateway.

“When the sun comes up in the morning it will shine through the cut out parts of the moko. You want something that’s unique and will identify the town on its own,” Mrs Tukere says.

The stainless steel sculpture was commissioned to celebrate 150 years of the kingitanga.


A former corrections head says Maori will suffer most if the Government goes ahead with the three strikes sentencing bill.

Kim Workman from Ngati Kahungunu, who now heads Rethinking Crime and Punishment, says the Justice Ministry advised the bill put up by the ACT Party breaches the Bill of Rights.

He says the government is also ignoring advice Maori will be worst affected.

“A lot of those people, as the Justice Ministry pointed out, could serve a sentence 10 times longer than the sentence they would possibly have served otherwise. Now that’s clearly a breach of our international obligations under human rights legislation,” Mr Workman says.

What's even more outrageous is that when the Government got advice from the Justice Ministry on the devastating effect of the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill on Maori, it shifted prime responsibility for the bill to the Police.


News pukeko is on the menu for next month's wild food festival in Hokotika has brought back memories for some older Maori.

Kingi Ihaka, who was raised eating godwits, says pukeko is also a delicacy he would recommend.

His suggestion sparked calls to Radio Waatea including one from a woman who chose to remain anonymous, saying pukeko are a way to get through tough times and don't taste too bad.

"Just like wild duck and pheasant, they’ve got a taste of their own. I thought they were. My family thought they were too but my kids weren’t so keen on it because now and then I would forget a bone."

She says the best way to cook pukeko is stewed with carrots and onions, because they're very tough without a long cook.

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