Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, May 09, 2011

Infant death avoidable says coroner

The Rotorua coroner says too many Maori and Pacific babies are dying because they are sharing a bed with adults.

Wallace Bain says about 60 infant deaths a year are the result of unsafe sleeping practices, and three quarters are Maori or Pacific babies.

He says while there are cultural practices around taking children to bed, safety is overlooked.

“Mothers and grandmothers and so on will tell you in court that whilst they take them top court and/or breast feed, they cannot guarantee they will not fall asleep. Well if you don’t guarantee that, you run a very high risk you will kill the baby,” Mr Bain says.

He says babies are so fragile that even holding a couple of fingers lightly on a baby's chest for a short time can be enough to suppress its heart, causing death.


Maori Affairs minister Pita Sharples is rejecting criticism his Economic Taskforce focused developing international markets for Maori business rather than tackling rising Maori unemployment.

Council of Trade Unions Maori vice president Syd Kepa says the taskforce had overlooked the needed of Maori workers, more than 16 percent of whom are now jobless.

Dr Sharples says exports are what will grow the Maori economy.

“What he's got to realise it that iwi are getting into the frame of mind where they are not just building the economy but they are looking back at the social side of supporting people. Of course there is high unemployment and we all hate that but the point its it is about those organisations that can create jobs to create jobs, and we must put the pressure on them,” he says.

Dr Sharples says the real solution for Maori unemployment is education.


Republican Movement head Lewis Holden says Maori are bucking the trend of increasing suport for the monarchy.

Mr Holden says a poll done for the movement showed that in the weeks leading up to the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, support for the monarchy among women rose sharply and overall support rose 3 percent to 54 percent.

But he says the poll showed Maori weren't as keen on Prince Charles following his mother as New Zealand's monarch, and he believes the coverage turned a lot of Maori off the monarchy because it reminded them of the colonial heritage.

Mr Holden says the Royal Wedding showed that no Maori can be head of state of Aotearoa unless a republic is created.


Former Maori Party president Whatarangi Winiata says the presence of multiple Maori parties in parliament would require them to find new ways of working together.

Independent Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira is seeking registration for his Mana movement, and his campaign has included a series of attacks on his former waka.

Professor Winiata says he should not try to undermine the role the Maori Party has played as a tikanga Maori house within Parliament.

“If other parties get established that are Maori and we see Mana as one of those, then it can strengthen the Maori presence in parliament if they agree to work as a tikanga Maori house and that means being driven by kaupapa Maori,” Professor Winiata says.

He says Hone Harawira needs to change his style, and the Maori Party may need to be more accommodating of him.


Iwi quota holders could soon be selling live lobsters direct into China under a Maori brand.

Project director Tamarapa Lloyd says the Koura Inc initiative was developed by the Maori Economic Taskforce as a practical way to assess export stategies and the value of collaboration.

He says major players like Ngai Tahu, Moana Pacific and the Chatham Island iwi are looking at how it can boost returns and take much of the risk out of selling into the market.

It is doing market research on direct sales into China, and a proposition will be put to shareholders in July to invest money in growing the business.

Mr Lloyd says the three-week closure of the Hong Kong-China border to Australian rock lobster exports earlier this year was a wake up call for the industry.


Te Matatini wants to put the best of kapa haka on display.

The national organisation for Maori performing arts is auditioning 25 performers for Arohanui, a 90-minute show devised by Annette Wehi and Tanemahuta Gray that will run in Wellington and Auckland theatres in October.

Ms Wehi says it's part of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage's Real New Zealand programme designed to run alongside the Rugby World Cup.

People who want to audition need to get their details in to Te Matatini's national office in Wellington by next Monday.


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