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Thursday, June 02, 2011

Funding cuts halt anti-smoking progress

The anti-smoking group Te Reo Marama is questioning government cuts in funding for programmes which are helping Maori quit the habit.

Director Shane Bradbrook says smoking among Maori girls dropped from 36 percent in 1999 to 23 percent now.

But a new survey by ASH has found progress has stalled, and one in five 15-year-old Maori girls smoke every day.

He says it's not time to take the foot off the accelerator ... but that's what a $12 million cut in government funding has meant.

“We’ve had a Maori affairs select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry, and quite clearly the recommendation said we need to do a lot more in terms of supporting the ability for Maori to quit and yet we’ve seem Maori funding being lost consistently through the Ministry of Health, so their policy needs to be called into question,” Mr Bradbrook says.


The Maori Party has made the digital divide a feature of its Te Tai Tokerau by-election campaign.

Launching the extension of the Computers In Homes programme to Te Kura Kaupapa o Taumarere in Moerewa, Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Tariana Turia said another $3.3 million over three years is going for community-based initiatives to increase digital literacy among lower income whanau.

Di Das from Computers In Homes says the additional funding on top of the $8 million in last year's Budget means more families can get connected.

“We work through low decile schools and the schools choose the families on the basis of greatest need. Certainly in the rural areas around East Coast, Far North, King Country, places like that, there is a very high proportion of Maori families. We work with kura and Maori immersion schools quite a lot,” Ms Das says once parents learn to overcome their fear of technology, they are able to support their children with schoolwork.


The convenor of judges for this year’s New Zealand Post Book Awards says he's pleased at the easy integration of Maori content throughout the list of finalists.

Paul Diamond says as well as overtly Maori material like Damian Skinner's study of kowhaiwhai artist John Hovell and the book on Pounamu co-written by Ngai Tahu elder Maika Mason, books like Chris Bourke's history of New Zealand popular music, Blue Smoke, tapped into Maori stories.

“Chris went to a lot of trouble to do oral history interviews with Maori, because Maori are a big part of that story. Ian Mune’s autobiography has got stuff about working with Billy T James. The No Fretful Sleeper, a biography of Bill Pearson by Paul Miller has got the amazing story about how with academic English lecturer helped finance Peter Sharples’ education at Auckland University,” Mr Diamond says.

Online and postal voting for the People’s Choice Awards has opened, with the winners to be announced on July 27.


Rethinking Crime and Punishment says rival lobby the Sensible Sentencing Trust is offering failed monocultural solutions.

Director Kim Workman says the trust's three strikes policy is packed with bad and unworkable ideas, like naming and shaming young offenders.

He says Maori and Pacific communities have ways of using shame to show offenders how their actions harm the mana of the family, and then reintegrate them into the community.

“It's not about putting people out there and humiliating them. It’s about saying to them we care about you, you’re part of who we are but by your action you are letting us down and you are letting us down in the eyes of the community. That sort of thing doesn’t occur to Sensible Sentencing because it is totally monocultural in its approach,” Mr Workman says.

He says there is also no evidence that the boot camps championed by the Sensible Sentencing trust are effective for any offenders, let alone Maori.


The group leading protests against oil prospecting off East Cape is welcoming proposed new environment protection laws.

Ani Pahuru - Huriwai from Ahi Ka Action says Environment Minister Nick Smith's plan to give the new Environmental Protection Agency monitoring and enforcement powers out to the edge of the 200-mile exclusive economic zone is positive.

She says the test will be how strong the law is and how committed the government is to make it work, once the election is over.

She says no further exploration licenses should be issued until the new protection regime is in place.


Ceramic artist Bay Riddell from Ngati Porou has been awarded a $65,000 Creative New Zealand Craft Fellowship to research new firing techniques.

Mr Riddell, who was one of the founders of Maori clay artists' group Nga Kaihanga Uku, says as an educator he was concerned that many young artists don't have the money for expensive kilns.

He says many low-fire processes are only suitable for smaller work, and he wants to scale up.

“They are often defined as quite primitive findings, indigenous-type firings, but they actually take a lot of skill to master, more so than pressing buttons on a high tech kiln, and I want to explore, in the raku process, firing of larger pieces,” Mr Riddell says.

He sees the award as a win for all Maori ceramic artists.


Blogger marangamai said...

Maori Party wrong about abuse thrown at them it was the Maori Party whom gave insult and abuse by cursing "get a life" and "bullshit" to the youth in Kaitaia says Mereana who heard the Maori Party say these words as she stood in close proximity by them.
SHAME is this the future of disrespect.
Mereana was sadden to hear such korero coming from two people whom hold high positions in the Maori Party.

11:05 pm  

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