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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, November 26, 2010

Guttenbiel counters violent past

League legend Awen Guttenbiel says becoming a Families Commission ambassador for International White Ribbon day meant dragging up some uncomfortable history.

The Whangarei raised 34 year old, who played 10 tests for the Kiwis and more than 200 games for the Warriors and Castleford, and says he sought permission from his parents to share the family history.

As he told a breakfast in Auckland this morning hosted by Maori anti-violence trust Te Mana Ririki, people can seek help for anger and alcohol issues, as his father did.

“The violence only ever happened when there were a few beers on board and proud to say he gave up drinking about 20-odd years ago and from that very day the whole dynamic of our whanau changed, and the place is full of love, and your past doesn’t mean you can’t be a role model when you change,” Mr Guttenbiel says.


The manager Maori at the Counties Manukau district health board says programmes to insulate homes are starting to cut hospital admission rates.

Bernard Te Paa is urging Maori to take advantage of the SNUG programme, a joint venture between the DHB, local government and the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority.

He says the two-year-old project is available to community service card holders in houses where either kaumatua or children under 14 are living ... and Middlemore Hospital is already seeing the difference in admissions for conditions like respiratory illness.

“The moment you get your home insulated, that risk reduces possibly up to 50 percent,” Mr te Paa says.

Snug Homes has so far helped to insulate more than 800 homes in Counties Manukau.


The author of a visitors' guide to the Battlefields of the New Zealand Wars says the country is still living with the consequences of the war.

David Green, who works in the history group of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, was inspired to write the book when he found many of the battle sites weren't marked or sign posted.

He says the wars made New Zealand what it is today.

He says he's tried to bring to life the bitter struggles through extensive use of illustrations.

“Even 150 years we’re still dealing with the consequences such as land confiscation and the Waitangi Tribunal; process is dealing with the aftermath of these battles so it is important we acknowledge it, Mr Green says.

He says the Maori effort against what was probably the best army in the world at the time should never be under-estimated.


Para-cyclist Jayne Parsons is wearing a white ribbon today knowing first hand the battle against domestic violence.

Ms Parsons, who won silver in this year's world championships in Canada, was a 21-year old mother when she lost her sight after being repeated beaten up by her partner.

The 48-year-old old says she is living proof there can be life after domestic violence.

“There are a lot of really great guys out there who do a lot for white ribbon and I’d like to say the good thing to do is encourage those that are having a hard time and knocking their wives and children around, and not just on the physical side but on the mental side as well, stop it before it moves on to the younger generation,” Ms Parsons says.

Every day brings new challenges ... this weekend it's the Round Taupo Cycling challenge with her tandam partner Sonya Waddell, and next week it's the Maori ports awards, where she is a finalist in Te Toihuarewa - disabled section.


The minister responsible for Whanau Ora says she won't be spending any money on bricks and mortar.

Waikato public health organisation Toiora had built whanau ora centres in Hamilton and Taumarunui with Health Ministry funding, and the Waipareira Trust is funding the conversion of a building in west Auckland to accommodate its own staff and partner agencies involved in the new model for health and social service delivery.

Tariana Turia says whanau ora is about people, not buildings.

“While I admire absolutely those who have gone to considerable expense to build these amazing facilities, the Whanau Ora budget itself is not for facilities. It is specifically for ensuring families are getting good outcomes for the investment of this money,” Mrs Turia says.


Ngati Raukawa leader Richard Orzecki hopes his appointment to two district health boards will lead to improved Maori health in both the Mid-Central and Whanganui DHBs.

Mr Orzecki was one of four Maori who unsuccessfully stood for election to the Mid-Central DHB.
He also chairs the Mana Whenau Haoura Consortium, which brings together Raukawa, Mua-Upoko, Rangitane and Kahungunu.

“We have a very strong relationship with the board that was created by a memorandum of understanding Sir Mason Durie created over 10 years ago. What I’m hoping is the success of the relationship at Mid-Central can be developed at Whanganui where the iwi have no real profile in terms of influence on the board,” Mr Orzecki says.

He intends to work closely with Whanganui River Maori Trust Board manager Nancy Tuaine, who was reappointed to the Whangnaui DHB, and is also a member of the Whanau Ora National Governance Group.


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