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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Screening could work if sensitive

A Bay of Plenty health worker says screening patients for signs of family violence can be done sensitively.

There has been a concern expressed that a new Health Ministry plan to get hospitals to question all women patients could discourage Maori women in abusive situations from seeking treatment.

But Raewyn Lucas says the Bay of Plenty District Health Board has successfully piloted a family violence scheme.

She says any questions need to be asked sensitively in a private, non-threatening situation.

The DHB is already training emergency department, Maori health and social work teams in the new violence intervention strategy.

“The Maori health team will be in a position to support any woman who discloses or who requests additional support from their workers, and that may be to enable them to access a service,” Ms Lucas says.

Women can be referred to community violence prevention programmes or Women's Refuge.


Pita Sharples is endorsing a call for the return of Maori welfare officers.

The Maori Party co-leader says the welfare officers, who used to work for the old Department of Maori Affairs, were an important part of community life in the 1960s and 70s.

He says such people could play a role today in tackling domestic violence and child abuse.

“You see the welfare officer was someone we loved to hate. That means it was our own uncles, they came into our homes, they bossed us around, but nicely, sort of family wise, and they were doing profiles of where we were, where the kids were, and they could get into the homes,” Dr Sharples says.

He says the getting rid of the old department or Tari Maori was an act of colossal stupidity by the fourth Labour Government.


The presenter of Maori Television's Code is crediting a marae style format for the show's success.

Code was judged best sports programme at the Air New Zealand Screen Awards last night, with the judges commenting on its humour and feel good factor.

Tawera Nikau says a lot of that comes down to the people behind the scenes infusing a Maori flavour and relaxing the manuhiri.

“The directing and the producing, we’ve got really talented people on Maori Television, Te Arahi Maipi, Kiri Wharepouri, Te Kauhoe Wano, Bailey Mackie. It’s a bit like the marae, everything good out the back, then the front should be sweet, so it’s pretty awesome to have all those guys behind the scenes doing all the hard work,” Mr Nikau says.

Other winners include Television New Zealand's Waka Huia for best Maori language programme and Maori Television and Screentime's Anzac Day coverage for best event broadcast.


The Fisheries Ministry is being criticised for not doing enough to stop excessive taking of kaimoana from a popular Wellington fishing spot.

The Ministry has imposed a two-year rahui over the coast from Pukerua Bay to Paekakariki at the request of Te Runanga o Toa Rangatira.

Runanga spokesperson Miria Pomare says stocks of paua and kina recovered during an earlier four-year ban, but were cleaned out after it expired last December.

She says Ngati Toa could see people taking undersized shellfish, but couldn't get enforcement officers to act in a timely fashion.

“The Ministry of Fisheries were alerted regularly to people being in the area and as I understand it Fisheries were out there on the coast trying to monitor the Pukerua area as well as they could but it wasn’t enough. Before the fisheries really acted I think, most of the damage had already been done,” Ms Pomare says.

Toa Rangatira will push for some other form of customary management after the two year rahui ends.


The Scout Association wants more Maori to join.

The movement is celebrating 100 years in New Zealand, where national programme manager Tony Hickmore says it has almost 13,000 members.

But he says that includes fewer Maori than it would like.

The association is talking with the Minister of Youth Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta, and Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples, himself a former scout, on ways of encouraging more Maori rangatahi to join.

"We've always had a relatively strong Maori involvement in scouting. We have good Maori leaders and a number of Maori groups. We would like to see more Maori children because you could say it’s not quite representative of the number of Maori kids,” Mr Hickmore says.

Scouting started in this country only about a year after Lord Baden-Powell first kicked off the movement in southern England.


Maori storytelling traditions were to the fore last night at the Taranaki international Festival of the Arts.

It was the opening of Strange Resting Places, a play about the 28 Maori Battalion which is delivered in a mix of te reo Maori, Italian and English.

Writers Rob Mokaraka from Hokianga and Paolo Rotondo from Italy collated dozens of stories from men who served with the battalion.

Mr Mokaraka says five featured in last nights performance.

“We've made it quite versatile so we can take it to marae. Last night we opened at Muru Raupatu Marae here in Taranaki, which was the perfect place for us, because when you see all the photos up on the wall in the wharenui, we just go ‘Well, this is about our ancestors and who better to have the people come than have our ancestors watching us, tell some of their stories,” Mr Mokaraka says.

The pair hope to take the play on a nationwide tour early next year.


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