Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Med students get extra tuition in Maori

Auckland University's year two medical, nursing and pharmacy students are giving up the first week of their holidays for a crash course in Maori health.

Papaarangi Reid, the medical school's tumuaki, says it's all part of creating a health workforce responsive to the needs of Maori and other cultures.

They're hearing from speakers about the Treaty of Waitangi and Maori history, and working through some case studies of Maori health issues.

Dr Reid says most of the students came through science streams, where they had little exposure to New Zealand history or Maori stories.

“And so have possibly taken on board some very misguided messages about underlying causes of Maori health, New Zealand history, the treaty, and various things which contribute to Maori health and so for them to understand before they see Maori patients and work in Maori communities,” Dr Reid says.

The students are also getting basic te reo lessons, so they can pronounce the names of their patients.


The manager of an Alice Springs Aboriginal media network says indigenous peoples worldwide are rising up at the way the Australian Government is treating communities in the Northern Territory.

Jim Remedio from CAAMA, the Central Australia Aboriginal Media Association, says the support coming from Maori like Hone Harawira is appreciated.

Mr Harawira, the MP for Tai Tokerau, has called Australian Prime Minister John Howard racist for sending in the army to enforce a campaign against alleged child abuse in Aboriginal settlements.

Mr Remedio says Mr Howard is using long standing social issues in those communities for election year politicking.

“The programmes that were being run out of the women’s centres to look precisely at these issues of family violence and abuse were cut by this government. They’re just not happening out in these communities now. This is duplicity now you see. After having cut the programmes, they’re coming back now and saying ‘we’re going to do something about this. And they’re using a military style operation to do that,” Mr Remedio says.

Maori will understand the Howard Government is mounting a grab for Aboriginal land under the guise of tackling social problems.


One of the country's most experienced dancers is celebrating an influx of Maori into the contemporary dance scene.

Taiaroa Royal has spent time with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Limbs and Black Grace.

He says in the past, there wasn't enough steady work to encourage rangatahi into contemporary dance.

That's changing as productions like Maui One Man Against the Gods have shown innovative dance theatre has international potential.

“We're lucky in that we have a lot of stories to tell, and with the intervention of contemporary dance and contemporary theatre, it makes it exciting for us to be able to tell our stories in a very innovative way in a medium that everyday people are starting to become more accustomed to, and that's the theatre,” Mr Royal says.


The future of the Tongariro National Park and the central North Island skifields could rest on a Waitangi Tribunal hearing this week.

The tribunal is in Ohakune hearing final summaries in the National Park claim.

Tuwharetoa, Ngati Hikairo, Ngati Rangi, Ngati Haua and other hapu are contesting the way their iconic mountains came into Crown ownership.

Tuwharetoa spokesperson Paranapa Otimi says the Crown has consistently misrepresented how it got the mountains from the iwi.

“The original intent was that it would be protected by 129 chiefs, and the Queen would be invited to come alongside of those 19 chiefs to protect our mountain peaks, our most sacred taonga, and that’s what we want recognised. We want the national park returned to the tribes of Tongariro,” he says.

Mr Otimi says Tuwharetoa wants all developments removed from the mountains, and it's opposing the Conservation Department's Nationap Park management scheme.


The head of a Maori school trustees group says schools should be more collaborative.

Richard Orzecki says too many schools try to offer all curriculum choices, rather than developing specialist areas.

That could involve students studying te reo and tikanga at a kura kaupapa, computing at the local high school and going to specialist education centres for other subjects.

He says schools are doing work, but too often their efforts are in isolation.

“We got a lot of education here but they’re all more or less siloed where they teach quite independently and we don’t think about sharing our teaching around. Now whether we can do that or no I don’t know, but it’s certainly within the realms of trusteeship to look at that as a future for our children,” Mr Orzecki says.


The head of Manukau City's Turehou Maori wardens is welcoming new resources for the movement.

Te Puni Kokiri has ordered uniforms, vans and and communications equipment for six regions where wardens are most active, and the police will provide training.

Merena Peka says the wardens have relied on the goodwill of members for too long.

“You know it's been a long long time coming. Our wardens out there on the street doing the mahi that they’ve done for years have struggled and have for many years pulled out of their own pockets to make the mahi that they do successful,” Ms Peka says.


The annual secondary school Stage Challenge is being credited with getting more rangatahi involved in dance and drama.

Taiaroa Royal, a professional dancer for almost 25 years, says is rehearsing a new dance work, Renu o te Ra, about young people's views on society's impact on the environment.

He says many of the cast got their first taste of the stage in their school's challenge teams.

“Huge influence, not only in performing but in choreographing as well and coming up with interesting ideas and things that are poignant to them really, so yes, Stage Challenge is really a huge influence on them,” Mr Royal says.


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