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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Te Pumanawa Hauora gets research boost

Massey University's Te Pumanawa Hauora Maori health research programme has won a further $2.3 million in funding from the Health Research Council.

Director Chris Cunningham says the money will support the second half of a six year programme around kaumatua health, Maori mental health and the health of children.

Dr Cunningham says a key outcome of the programme is workforce development, and the extra funding will give more certainty for the 14 researchers at the centre.

“In particular we anticipate graduating another four or five PhDs in the next three years, to add on top of the ones who have already come through the programme, and that’s a significant increase in the number of Maori who are available to be involved in this whole activity,” he says.

Chris Cunningham says the centre is developing models of Maori-centred research which are different from other institutions.

Other Maori programmes in the university got a further $2 million, with Massey picking up a total of $5.6 million from the Health Research Council.


Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says Maori stand to benefit from new business immigration policies.

Under changes announced yesterday, wealthy investors will find it easier to move to New Zealand, even if they can't speak English.

Mr Horomia says the policy should create business opportunities.

“A lot of Maori organisations who are looking for investors, you know this is real positive news. You can look at it the other way and say ‘Keep them out’ but I think when you get to the stage we’re at, in relation to our assets, what you need is to grow them and make them more solid, you need that sort of investment,” Mr Horomia says.


The MP for Waiariki says the Rotorua District Council could have avoided a stand-off over extensions to the Rotorua Airport runway if it had taken more time to talk to affected Maori.

Ngati Uenukukopako is meeting on Sunday to discuss asking the Environment Court to stop the plan.

The extension would require Ngati Uenukukopako to move its marae, kura and kohanga reo, and it would impose harsh restrictions on landowners in the flight path.

Te Ururoa Flavell says he's been contacted by many hapu members who are dissatisfied with the planning process and frustrated by the council's lack of consultation.

“Picking up a wharenui or moving a wharenui base from ancestral land is not a straightforward process, even if people wanted to do that. I would suggest that most iwi would not want to be picking up a tipuna whare and moving it in any way, shape or form. So it’s a difficult situation, but it is not going to be helped by simply closing off and pulling down the shutters and saying we’re not going to talk things through,” Mr Flavell says.

The hapu had already moved its marae in the 1960s because of the airport.


Otago University is planning a symposium at the end of the month to mark the 20th anniversary of the Court of Appeal's judgment in the Maori Council state owned enterprises case.

Organiser Jacinta Ruru from Ngati Raukawa says the Maori Council won legal recognition of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, changing the way the Crown interacts with iwi and hapu.

Ms Ruru says claims by politicians that there is confusion about the principles ignore that case and subsequent work done by the Waitangi Tribunal and the courts.

“Courts themselves are really thinking about what does partnership mean, and they may have pulled back some way from that, but really thinking about consultation and what are those duties when, in law, we are looking at recognizing and respecting Maori. What does this mean? What do these legal directives mean for us,” Ms Ruru says.

The symposium will include contributions from Justice David Baragwananth, who was one of the Maori Council's lawyers, Sir Ivor Richardson and Sir Maurice Casey, who were on the Court of Appeal, and other involved in the case.


A three day hui on work safety should help boost the pay packets of Maori in the forestry sector.

Syd Kepa, the convenor of the Council of Trade Unions' runanga, says Maori make up 80 percent of the 10 - thousand workers in the sector.

He says the hui is looking at ways to increase the skills of Maori workers, who often shy away from Pakeha learning environments.

Mr Kepa says it helps if training can be linked to better pay.

“Forest Industries Training is offering these levels one, two three and four certificates. Once they get to the top level, their renumeration follows as well, so we want to upskill our people, not only to give them some confidence in the industry, but also to try to create better renumeration for them,” Mr Kepa says.


The MP for Waiariki says he's disappointed at the response of Maori to Environment Bay of Plenty's proposed shift of its headquarters to Tauranga.

The regional council is meeting tonight on the district plan change needed for the relocation.

Mr Flavell says the Whakatane economy will feel the loss of 100 jobs.

He says the situation hasn't been helped by a split among Maori councilors, and the lack of direction from iwi.

“The ones who are associated with Tauranga say move to Tauranga, and the ones associated with Whakatane say leave it as it is. What I tried to do was get a letter out to all the iwi authorities and marae to seek some sort of feedback, and I sent out 20 plus letters and got two responses,” Mr Flavell says.


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