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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, July 09, 2010

Maori health research rules sought

Maori health researchers are examining ways relationships between Maori communities and the health sector can be improved.

Kahu McClintock from Auckland University says it's a major theme of the Health Research Council's annual Hui Whakapiripiri in Rotorua this week.

She says as Maori research capacity has grown, people have given a lot of thought to ethical processes and the sort of questions that need to be asked even before projects start.

“Who do you go to in a community if you want to talk to them about research happening. How do you approach and what kind of work might you do before you approach them? How do you connect to this kaupapa and why would you be working in a community, you might have to find your connection to that community and you just don’t go into areas that … you know it’s our whanaungatanga,” Ms McClintock says.

She says the aim of much Maori health research is to enable communities to identify and implement their own solutions.


Wall Report Health Ministry's deputy director general of Maori health, Teresa Wall, says a new report showing alarming levels of infectious diseases among Maori will allow the sector to find solutions.

The report on ethnic inequalities in hospitalisations for close-contact infectious diseases found that over the past two decades Maori were more likely to end up in hospital with diseases like rheumatic fever, skin infections and ulcers.

Ms Wall says the conclusion that over-crowded housing and economic deprivation were to blame was being listened to.

“The close Contact Infectious Diseases Report will help us, that’s the ministry and the health sector more generally, focus on efforts to further improve disease prevention,” Ms Wall says.


There could be some scary moments on stage at Auckland's Te Unga Waka Marae tonight as finalists in the Get Mad on the Mic karaoke contest let rip.

The contest is organised by Maori public health group Hapai Te Hauora Tapui to promote mental well being and supportive environments for whanau affected by mental illness.

Co-ordinator Nelson Wahanui of Ngati Maniapoto says the finals dinner is alcohol-free, and that might give some nervous contestants a feel for the fear many people with mental illness feel when they go out in public.


The leader of a group formed to counter the Government welfare reform agenda says likely benefit changes would be a disaster for Maori.

The group includes representatives from Caritas, the Anglican Social Justice Commission and the Beneficiary Advocacy Federation.

Mike O'Brien, an associate professor at Massey University's School of Health and Social Services and a former chief social worker, says the group was formed because of concerns about the advice coming out of the welfare forum established by Social Development minister Paula Bennett.

He says the emphasis seems to be on time limits and shifting to an insurance based system.

“If there are changes that are made to delivery in welfare systems, which certainly seems to be the direction which government is heading, then given the Maori rates of poverty and benefit receipt, Maori will be more heavily affected by that than any other group in the community.
Professor O'Brien says.

Many Maori communities still haven't recovered from National's welfare reforms of the early 1990s.


A new brain injury facilty is factoring Maori cultural needs into its rehabilitation programmes because of the high number of Maori it is expecting.

Judy Green Philpott, the area manger for Abano Healthcare, says half of the 50 people going through Pumau O Te Aroha in Hamilton each year are likely to be Maori, because Maori appear to be more inclined to take risks than other ethnic groups.

The residential centre has a kaumatua, Rangi Manihera, to make sure the physical, social, environmental and spiritual needs on Maori clients are met.


A member of the team that put together a contemporary soundtrack for a 1929 silent movie says audiences may be surprised at the variety of instruments used.

New Zealand Film Archive staffer Himiona Grace joined Warren Maxwell from Trinity Roots and Wai's Maaka McGregor to write and perform soundscapes for Under the Southern Skies, which will screen as part of the New Zealand Film festival in Auckland on the weekend.

The tale of tribal conflict, which featured a Maori cast, was filmed at Rotorua and White island.

Mr Grace says most silent movies were accompanied by pianists, but the trio has thrown in bandsaws, synthesisers, taonga puoro and more conventional instruments.

“It is just an extension of playing the piano and you notice when people do a piano accompaniment, they do a lot of classic Maori ballads through the film. We do the same, include music contemporary Maori like, reggaes, funk and soul, and we also play a few old standards like Now is the Hour is in there as well,” Mr Grace says.


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