Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Damp promise in Budget

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation says many Maori could miss out on today's budget boost for home insulation.

The Government plans to spend $300 million over the next four years subsidising the insulation of older homes.

Jane Patterson, the foundation's executive director, says because Maori are more likely to be in rental housing, it's important the package also covers those homes.

“If you own a house and have the ability to pay back a loan over time, maybe through your power bill or some arrangement like that, that’s great and you will get a benefit in terms of your health and the warmth of your home, but if you’re renting, you don’t know if your house is insulated when you move in, and it’s important landlords have incentives to upgrade accommodation,” Ms Patterson says.

Damp and cold rental housing is one of the reasons Maori have higher rates of respiratory illness.


A new study of male on male rape among Maori has found victims are unlikely to report the attacks because of the lack of support systems.

Researcher Clive Aspin says the work raises significant long term health concerns, particularly because a majority of interviewees reported the non-consensual activity involved unprotected anal sex.

Dr Aspin says men find it hard to talk about sexual activity, particularly when it involves other men, but people should look to their whanau when such incidents occur.

“Nearly all the men told us they had nowhere to go after the act had taken place and that they felt bereft, isolated, and they had to live with that for some years before coming to terms with the fact this had occurred in the past and there were some who said they turned to members of their whanau who provided them with the support they needed, and they found that really therapeutic and healing,” Dr Aspin says.

There have been similar findings in parallel research involving non-Maori men.


A one-day sculpture by a leading Maori artist may bemuse and perplex Wellingtonians today.

Yes We Are by Michael Parekowhai consists of a four metre high neon sign spelling OPEN, which is being taken around the city all day on a truck.

David Cross from Massey University's Litmus Research Initiative, which has been running the one-day public sculpture series, says it left the inter-island ferry terminal at 5am, and will end up on the Mount Victoria lookout at nine tonight.

It's a bit different from the giant inflatable rabbit Parekowhai showed in the capital last year, and Mr Cross says the artist is leaving the meaning open.

“I mean the sign itself is like a pointing arrow and it points upwards into the sky. The idea is an OPEN sign in terms of, I don’t know, drive in theatres or companies that have signs saying Open, Open for business. It’s got a commercial connotation but it’s also got a much broader poetic connotation and Mike really wanted it to be sitting between those two things, so it looks like a commercial sign but it has its own integrity as an object,” Mr Cross says.

Parekowhai's project marks the end of the one-day sculpture series.


Auckland Regional Council chair Mike Lee wants to restore the name Umupuia to a south Auckland Regional Park before his council is wound up.

The land was bought by the council in 1995 for a then-record price from the Duder family, who had farmed it since 1866.

Mr Lee says he visited Ngai Tai matriarch Ngeuneu Zister, who was then more than 100 years old, for advice on the name.

“Ngeungeu had been Princess Te Puea’s social secretary, and she was a person of great mana and even though she was really old, she was crystal clear in her mind. When I asked her what we should call this land, she said I want it called Umupuia,” Mr Lee says.

When a right-wing majority won the local body election at the end of that year, the name given by tangata whenua was dropped in favour of the settler name Duder Park, which has been a source of continuing grievance to Ngai Tai.


Tauranga-moana iwi have settled on a name for the city's first Maori immersion school.

Iria Whiu, the chair of the board of trustees, says Te Wharekura o Mauao is now taking enrolments, and will open next February.

She says finding a name has taken months of consultation, and commemorates what has been the most important thing to happen in the rohe in recent years, the return of the maunga Mauao in Mt Maunganui to iwi.


Emerging Maori women artists are being celebrated in a Matariki show opening today at the Mangere Arts Centre in Manukau City.

Curator Gabrielle Belz says Puanga Kai Rau brings together work from more than 20 artists.

She says the newcomers will show alongside wahine toa like Robyn Kahukiwa, Collen Urlich and Dianne Prince.


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