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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Whanau Ora secrecy creating policy doubt

Labour leader Phil Goff says secrecy over the development of Whanau Ora is creating doubt about how much the new model for social services can deliver.

Mr Goff says making service delivery more efficient by allowing providers to work across different social needs is a laudable aim.

But he says Whanau Ora minister Tariana Turia has been raising expectations around Maori without allowing proper debate of what the scheme will mean for providers of whanau.

“What I am worried about is whether the planning has been done, whether the training is in place, whether there is a system for evaluation to see how effective it is. All of those things I think have big question marks around them,” Mr Goff says.

He says Thursday's Budget may reveal the extent of cuts in other programmes to provide the resources to start Whanau Ora.


Nelson Marlborough District health Board's suicide prevention officer has identified insecure cultural identity as a factor in many Maori suicides.

David Hough has been researching suicide risk factors as part of his two-year contract.

He says nationally Maori men are about 60 percent more likely to suicide than non-Maori, with the risk higher for men under 45.

“There seems to be in amongst the Maori population issues around insecure cultural identity as part of a mix for some Maori with suicide. People more connected with who they are and with their whakapapa are more resilient, it seems to be a strong protective factor,” Mr Hough says.

He says warning signs of suicide include depression, anger and social disconnection.


The New Zealand Institute of Architects has given a prestigious president's award to Auckland University teacher and researcher Deidre Brown for her work on Maori architecture.

Dr Brown says Maori architects are starting to have a significant impact, especially in schools and institutional buildings but also in some aspects of domestic architecture.
She says architects now realise that making a building Maori will want to use doesn't just mean putting a koru on the door.

“Architects have realised and architectural designers have realised that there is more integrity in creating spaces for culture to happen rather than creating spaces that look like something cultural. There is more value for the people that use it,” Dr Brown says.

With colleagues Bill McKay and Rewi Thompson are behind Te Pare, a proposed indigenous teaching and research initiative at the School of Architecture and Planning.


Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano may be disrupting world air travel, but it's nothing on the eruptions going on round the Maori Volcanics.

Mahora Peters is back in Aotearoa for five shows with the band she's fronted since the mid-60s - only to find some venues have been threatened with legal action by her former husband Nuki Waaka, who put together his own version of the band for some New Zealand dates last year.

She says the true Volcanics are the line-up that includes second husband Billy Peters, Joe Haami, John Daymond and Selwyn Rawiri.

“That group has been together since 1974.It’s not a big problem because I do own the intellectual property rights so I don’t know what this is all about. It could be more personal than anything else,” Mahora Peters says.

The Maori Volcanics play the Tokoroa Cosmopolitan Club tomorrow and Rotorua on Thursday.


Sports commentator and social worker Ken Laban says the Maori Party's call for a Maori sports authority is timely.

Co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia have called for a rethink of support for Maori sport in the wake of the New Zealand Rugby Union's apology for the way Maori players were treated during South Africa's apartheid era.

Mr Laban says players in other codes are also asking who is advocating for Maori and Pasifika sporting interests, and a separate body could be the answer

“If the setting up of a Maori sports authority is going to improve income and sponsorship, if it is going to improve participation, if it’s going to provide a pathway for people to get through from the grass roots to the elite level, then I’m all in favour of it,” Mr Laban says.

He says the number of Maori and Pacific players at grassroots level isn't matched at the management and governance level.


Maori designers are being invited to enter the second Miromoda fashion awards, which will be part of New Zealand fashion week in September.

Co-ordinator Ata Te Kanawa says entries close on Friday, and there is already strong interest.

She says there is a lot of untapped Maori talent in tertiary institutes and even secondary schools.

Ata Te Kanawa says last year a design by a 15-year-old college student made its way to the catwalk in front of 800 fashion buyers and media and was seen by more than a million people around the world.


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