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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Waikato University marks Kingitanga day

Waikato UnIversity celebrates its special relationship with Tainui today.

Its second Kingitanga Day celebration will feature entertainment, wananga and panel discussions.

Maria Huata from the office of the pro vice chancellor Maori says it's a chance for staff and students to learn about the Kingitanga movement and the part it plays in Waikato affairs.

She says Tainui is the university’s landlord.

Kingitanga Day will be especially busy for visiting professor Ahukaramea Charles Royal, who will speak at the Kings Breakfast and in the evening premieres his orchestral piece dedicated to the late Maori queen, Te Atairangikaahu.


A Maori lawyer involved in drafting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples says it can now be used as a tool by Maori to fight for their rights.

Moana Jackson welcome Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples's announcement to the UN yesterday that New Zealand would affirm the document, three years after the Labour-led government voted against it.

He says Maori now need to discuss how it can be used.

“What I hope the reaction would be is that our people now see the declaration as another tool ewe can use domestically and international for our rights and the protection of our rights and so on, and over time that can only be seen as a positive thing,” Mr Jackson says.

He says the real reaction to the declaration will come after Maori become aware of its political potential.


The manager of a south Auckland driving school doesn't expect raising the driving age to 16 will make a difference to the number of young Maori dying on the roads.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce raised the age last week in an effort to reduce the high rate of vehicle crashes among young people.

Fran Hokianga from MUMA Road Safety says Maori make up a high proportion of fatalities but the law change isn't going to get through to them.

She says previous changes have had little effect.

Ms Hokianga says what could make a difference is more Maori driving trainers, because young Maori are more likely to listen to them.


Northland's medical officer of health is urging Maori to get immunised early for flu because vaccine supplies could be affected by the disruption of air travel caused by the eruption of a volcano in Iceland.

Jonathan Jarman says in last year's Northland influenza pandemic, more than 85 percent of the 56 people admitted to hospital with flu were Maori, including 19 of the 20 children who needed intensive care.

He expects the flu to strike within the next week and says vaccination is the best protection.

That vaccine is now avail at general practices but there is some concerns abut supply because there are troubles with air travel between the northern and southern hemisphere.

Dr Jarman says the higher Maori hospitalisation rate was because of poverty and living conditions, and there were similar rates around the country.


The lead researcher in a long running health literacy project says health professionals need to treat Maori as part of a whanau and not as individuals.

Matire Harwood says 80 percent of Maori men, and 75 percent of Maori women have poor health literacy skills.

She says Maori health providers are developing ways to work with the entire whanau in improving understanding of the heath issues Maori face.

“Because Maori are having more chronic illness younger and living with whanau at the time of their illness, we see the opportunity to empower the whole whanau at once rather than working on a one to one basis,” Dr Harwood says.

The health literacy study also involves researchers in Australia and Canada, so it should help other indigenous communities improve their health status.


Auckland University researchers are looking for Maori parents of young teens who can help evaluate the effectiveness of an international parenting programme.

Sue Furragio from the education faculty says the parents will attend seminars in west Auckland on the principles of positive parenting and strategies for managing the behaviour of teenagers.

Their feedback will be used to work out whether modifications are needed to the 30-year-old Triple P programme to incorporate cultural differences among Maori and Pacific island families.

She says a lot of the work so far has been done in Australia, so there is a need to know if it fits all young people in New Zealand.

Maori parents interested in attending the seminars can contact Nalini Chand at Auckland University's faculty of Education.


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