Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Cultural diversity to benefit Maori.

The man in charge of the Office of Ethnic Affairs says a more inclusive and tolerant approach to cultural diversity could have positive spin offs for the Maori workforce.

The Office is holding workshops in major centres next week on the benefits of diversity.

Mervin Singham says Maori, Pacific and ethnic population now make up about 30 percent of the total population, rising to 40 percent by 2021.

He says investment in the ethnic workforce would lead to more innovation and productivity, as well as strengthened trade relationships which would benefit the whole economy.

“In an ethnically diverse workforce, there have to be policies and an environment in which people from different cultures can feel included, that their new ideas and different ways of looking at things are valued, that employers actually invite their contribution, so you need those sorts of conditions to tap into these benefits,” Mr Singham says.

Increasing intermarriage between Maori and New Zealand's other ethnic communities means a growing generation of tamariki with mixed heritages.


Tairawhiti District Health Board is trying to work out why Maori in the region die younger than Maori elsewhere.

Maori health manager Maaka Tibble says research commissioned from health consultancy Mauri Ora Associates has identified some of the causal factors such as smoking, heart disease and diabetes.

It's now trying to find what Maori think of the health services they receive, and what barriers put them off seeking help.

“The research has taken things further and identified some of the issues we need to think about and that is around better access by Maori to services,” Mr Tibble says.

Mauri Ora Associates has found a significant number of Maori are unhappy with the way they received health care.


Maori business networkers are extending their links across the Tasman.

Phil Broughton from Te Kupeka Umaka Maori ki Araiteuru - the Otago Southland Maori business network - says there is considerable interest in Maori business circles in the Yulkuum-Jerrang Second Indigenous Economic Development Conference in Melbourne later this month.

The hui brings together indigenous entrepreneurs and business people with government agencies, academics, community based organisations and the corporate sector.

Mr Broughton says many Maori businesses are developing successful models which could be replicated, and they are keen to see what they can learn from Aboriginal networks.

He says the 12 regional Maori business networks are looking at creating an national support body.


Auckland-based National list MP Tau Henare won't be joining a hikoi demanding Maori representation on an Auckland super city.

He's firmly against one of the aims of the hikoi, for appointed mana whenua representatives, because such appointments don't fit well with democratic structures.

Mr Henare says the hardcore issues for Maori in the current environment are jobs and shelter, and he fears the hikoi hype is creating unreasonable expectations.

“I mean I would question why Maoris have to go through it all the time. Whenever there’s an issue, we will down tools and go on a walk. There are certain people who are making this hikoi out to be as important and as big as the foreshore abnd seabed. There is a danger people will get carried away with it, and what if there is only 200 people on the hikoi,” Mr Henare says.

He says the question of Auckland representation is still not settled, and Maori can make submissions to the government through the Minister for Maori Affairs.


A hui on the possible swine flu pandemic has called for whanau to not panic.

Maori health managers from Auckland's three district health boards met to discuss how to create greater awareness among Maori of ways to prevent flu spreading.

Amiria Reriti, the Auckland regional public health service's Maori development manager, says relatively simple practices like regular hand washing can reduce a lot of the risk.

She says while the international focus is on swine flu, there are many other strains of influenza about Maori need to be aware of, so they are not thrown into a panic by the threat.

Amiria Reriti says in the past Maori have been more vulnerable to pandemics than other groups.


Tuwharetoa marae are going back to the roots.

A new project is encouraging the growing of permaculture gardens with vegetables and fruit and nuts trees.

Project leader Lisa Isherwood says permaculture, which involves organic principles, is a good solution for whanau wanting to make the most of the whenua surrounding their marae.

She says the garden being planted at her own Papakai Marae is producing more than kai, with the five acre block behind the pa revealing previous cultivations and dwelling sites.

The group is looking at developing a training centre to help spread the scheme.


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