Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Double DHB duty for Cooper

Improved services to Maori will be a priority for two of the new appointees to Auckland's health sector governance bodies.

Rob Cooper from Ngati Hine has been reappointed to the Waitemata District Health Board and appointed to the Auckland DHB, while Gwen Tepania-Palmer from Ngati Kahu and Ngati Paoa was also appointed to both boards.

Mr Cooper says along with Lester Levy, who has been appointed to chair both boards, they will help promote greater cooperation in delivery of health care across the region.

He says the health sector is still struggling with major issues like building up the Maori health workforce and making sure Maori get and use services such as immunisation for children.

“We've got to be certain that access to services is of a nature that Maori people are unhesitatingly moving towards those services. There are some improvements in all of this over time that shows Maori are accessing services to greater degrees than they used to,” Mr Cooper says.

He also chairs the national Whanau Ora governance group, and says his presence on the DHBs will give him a perspective on how the integration of health and welfare services is proceeding.


Maori party leader Tariana Turia is confident the new Minister of Womens Affairs will bring a strong voice to the ministry.

Georgina Heuheu from Ngati Tuwharetoa replaces Pansy Wong, who resigned amidst questions over her husband's use of her parliamentary travel perk for business trips to China.

Mrs Turia says Mrs Te Heuheu has proved her competence in a range of portfolios, and she hopes the appointment shows the government is finally taking the role seriously.

“When we look at the significant issues that impact on women, I do think it’s one of the ministries, probably alongside Maori affairs and a couple of others, where they’re quite marginalised, but I’m sure Georgina will bring a strong voice to that ministry, as did Pansy Wong,” Mrs Turia says.


A Maori geologist says Maori ownership of large areas with undeveloped natural resources means it's important to involve Maori scientists in decision making.

Dan Hikuroa from Auckland University's School of Environment spoke to today's Geo NZ conference at the university on work he is doing to put evidence based on matauranga or Maori knowledge on a similar footing to traditional technical evidence.

He says many Maori land incorporations are sitting on untapped geothermal fields, and the geologists working on them need to be sensitive to principles such as kaitiaki or guardianship.

“A key part of the research I’m doing at the moment is trying to work on a kaitiaki geothermal development model. Instead of looking at just the economics of a development option, it tries to assess the impact on Maori of said development,” Dr Hikuroa says.


Northland-based Labout list MP Kelvin Davis says as both Prime Minister and Tourism Minister, John Key needs to act decisively over the Taipa land protest before Northland’s reputation as a safe place to holiday is ruined.

Mr Davis says the latest in a series of occupations is leading tour bus companies to avoid stopping at the coastal settlement, and January's fundraising fishing competition has been cancelled because of the threat of disruption.

He says by backing the occupation of land that passed out of Maori hands 150 years ago, Ngati Kahu treaty settlement negotiator Margaret Mutu has damaged the tribe's credibility.

“I think it's fairly underhand to say that they are negotiating with the Crown in good faith on one hand and then on the other hand these protesters are being encouraged to occupy the land,” Mr Davis says.

He says John Key should instruct Treaty Settlements Minister Chris Finlayson to pursue settlement with the four other Muriwhenua iwi and leave Ngati Kahu to pick through any leftover crumbs later.


A member of Te Huarahi Tika Maori spectrum trust says the technical nature of the telecommunications sector means many tribal leaders are failing to recognise its future importance to Maori.

Richard Orzecki from Ngati Raukawa says the trust is keen to get iwi leadership along to its annual hui in Wellington on Friday.

He says while the trust has made considerable progress since it was set up in the wake of successful Treaty of Waitangi challenges to spectrum allocation, with greater iwi involvement it could do more to push its cultural and economic aims.

“You know if you can’t see it, you can’t touch it, it’s not tangible enough, fish is fish, forest is forest, land is land, spectrum is quite a different beast though in terms of how you might deal with it. I think it would be good for iwi leadership to get a bit of an understanding about where this technology can go to,” Mr Orzecki says.

Spectrum should be regarded as a renewable resource, as each new generation of technology offers different ways it can be used.


A veteran hockey administrator wants to see more Maori coming through at the higher levels of the code.

Patricia Rangi from Te Atiawa is a finalist in the Maori sports awards administrators category for her contributions, which includes almost two decades as a technical official for Auckland Hockey and service as a judge in several world championships.

She says many Maori players have the talent to go all the way, but they're not prepared to do the work to get them there.

Maori players like Tina Kake Bell have given great service to hockey, and still inspire wahine to get involved.


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