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      • PHOTO ESSAY: Hurricanes closing in on finals appearance
        • 15 May 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • THE HURRICANES battled it out against the Crusaders at Westpac Stadium on Saturday May 2. The Hurricanes hoped for a win on their home ground while the Crusaders needed a win after a string of losses this season. A cold night didn’t prevent fans from filling half the stadium with the Hurricanes coming out victorious 29-23, taking them a step closer to the play-offs. To view photo essay click here

      • Karori’s local library may be getting more than a new coat of paint.
        • 15 May 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • KARORI people might see more than a new paint job when their library reopens on May 25. Library manager Karl Gaskin says the 10-year-old building is getting its first make-over. “This is the first scheduled major renewal of maintenance for this building and the first time we have had to close the library. “While we have the opportunity while we’re closed we are going to put a lot of thought into how the library is laid out,” Mr Gaskin says. Asked if he had any ideas for the library, Mr Gaskin said he would “like to achieve a living room effect”. “Perhaps having all the gardening books in one place so customers sit down and browse, instead of marching along rows and rows and rows.” Mr Gaskin says groups of friends hang out at the library. “We want to make more comfortable seating areas for our customers.” While closed the nearby community centre will be receiving Karori Library’s newspapers so regular customers can read them. “There are people who come in purely to read the newspaper or to use the internet,” Mr Gaskin says. Before their closure the library issued items well past the closure date so users did not have to return them during the closure. Mr Gaskin also says the library is waving the fee for returning books to other Wellington City libraries. Library users spoken to by NewsWire were mostly aware of the closure, and used the venue in a range of ways. Raymond (89) visits “maybe once a week, to have a look at the Auckland papers”. Dave McPhee comes to the library “a few times a week to have a read”. Trish Scot (46) is an occasional user. “Just occasionally when I’m in Karori, it’s just down the road from my daughter’s drama class.”  

      • City cyclists in for safer ride, but there’s still more talk before action
        • 15 May 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • The future of cycling in Wellington is looking safer judging by the city’s proposed new cycle framework – but sign-off will depend on public feedback which closes at the end of May. The proposal was been a long time coming and was given one final push by local Wellington cyclists. Over 300 cyclists came together to ride from the train station to Civic Square last month to show the council a safer cycling infrastructure needs to be in place in the city. Cyclists can comment on the cycling framework until consultation closes on May 29. Cycling Advocates Network had been using the slogan ‘Get on with it’ to promote the rally, as well as volunteers handing out flyers to cyclists. Patrick Morgan, (top), the spokesperson for Cycle Aware Wellington, says there is so much talk from the council but so little action. “Cycling is a bit of a political football and they have let that get in the way of protecting Wellingtonians that ride bikes,” says Patrick Morgan. The proposed full cycle network which will connect the central city to the suburbs as well as connecting to the Hutt Valley. The network will over 10 years connect more than 50 schools and 20,000 businesses making for a more accessible city by bike. Councillor David Lee was at the rally and supports the framework. “They have finally put together a plan for a safer cycle network in the city,” Mr Lee says. He hopes the Island Bay cycleway in his Southern Ward will not be delayed by the proposal of a full city network. The Island bay cycleway has been a political issue with constant delays over the last few years. He says it has been hijacked by politics and if they weren’t involved, the cycleway would be done already. “For the Island Bay section there is a group being set up to sort out traffic resolutions, work could physically start in late June or early July,” Mr Lee says. The framework proposes $45 million dollars will be put into a new cycle infrastructure in Wellington over the next 10 years. Traffic in the city will also be affected but Mr Lee believes safer speed zones should be put in place with the network to make the city safer. “Cycling is faster and easier for a lot of people. It’s a no brainer that we provide a safer cycle network.”

      • Crowds still pouring into Te Papa for Anzacs
        • 15 May 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • HAUNTING, EMOTIONAL AND stunning are some of the words being used by the thousands of people lining up to see the ‘The Scale of Our War’ exhibition at TePapa Museum. Two thousand people visited the exhibition each day over ANZAC weekend following the opening. With only 200 people allowed inside the exhibition at one time, thousands of people have been queuing outside TePapa, leading to wait times of up to two hours. Senior communications advisor Rachel Bruce says the numbers coming through the display have been overwhelming. “Most mornings there is a large line across the Wellington foyer queuing to see it and weekends have been exceptionally busy since opening,” she says. TePapa collaborated with Weta Workshop to create and house the display which opened on April 18. The exhibition consists of an interactive timeline beginning with the ANZAC troops landing on the shores of Gallipoli in 1915. At the end of the exhibition there is the option to write a message on the back of memorial poppies and place it on one of the exhibits. A recent comment from a young visitor reads: “Thank-you soldier. I’m so sorry. I want to make it better for you. Sleep well.” Although parental guidance is recommended, there have not been any reports of frightened children. The Scale of Our War has received positive feedback, with many impressed by the detail. BRILLIANT EXHIBITION: Helen Painter (left) and Hilary Southen. Senior citizens Hilary Southen and Helen Painter described the exhibition as absolutely brilliant. “”We just think it’s great. We can’t get over these big figures,” Hilary says. “They went to an awful lot of trouble,” Helen says. Both women understand the Gallipoli landing a lot more and think it is beneficial for kids learning about the war. “Now they really know what ANZAC’s all about,” says Hilary. Mother Angela King found the exhibition realistic. “Some of it is quite confronting,” she says. Rachel Bruce says the general public has responded positively to the exhibition. “Comments like the ‘best exhibition ever’, ‘it gave me goosebumps’, ‘haunting’, ‘emotional’, and ‘stunning’ have become the norm,” says Rachel. The exhibition has also become a tool for teachers across the country. Last week more than 200 teachers visited TePapa guided by museum educators to explore the exhibition and the connections to student learning. The Gallipoli Education Program is also run by TePapa and involves guiding children through the exhibition to learn and understand what happened at Gallipoli during the war. The free exhibition will run until November 11, 2018.

      • New theatre company aims to help bring life to Hutt city centre
        • 12 May 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • A NEW theatre company in Lower Hutt is aiming to bring life back into the city, says one of its founders Carmel McGlone. “When you bring theatre to a city, you bring cafes, you bring restaurants, when you bring theatre to a city, you bring life,” Ms McGlone says. The company, called NextStage, is using the old Little Theatre as its home. “It is a gorgeous space. It has an orchestral pit and a curtain and is perfect for what we want,” says Ms McGlone (right). Ms McGlone says the company is the vision of Geraldine Brophy, who was born in the Hutt and is best known for her work on Shortland Street. Along with Ms Brophy and Ms McGlone, who have worked together on many other projects, Catherine Downes and Ross Joblin, Ms Brophy’s husband, are also involved in the creation of NextStage. “Gerry and I have worked together and Cathy and I have worked together, but this is the first time the three of us are all together,” says Ms McGlone, who is also an acting tutor at the Whitirea Polytechnic Performing Arts. She says the company is like the next stage in their lives. The Little Theatre was built by a theatrical architect in 1954, next to the War Memorial Museum, and was built because people thought function spaces would benefit the community more than a monument. “It will be wonderful to have Little Theatre used to its full potential, with a very welcome resident professional theatre company. This is a great addition to the city’s cultural and artistic assets,” says Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace. The company’s inaugural production was written by Ms Brophy and is called Sleeping Around, which runs from May 11 to May 14.

      • Kiwi wins sci-fi trip to US for L. Ron Hubbard Illustrators of Future
        • 11 May 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • IMAGE: Supplied Amit Dutta. IMAGE: Colin Engelbrecht. AN UPPER HUTT freelance illustrator has won a major prize in an international illustration competition. Amit Dutta, who is a self-taught freelance illustrator, won the L. Ron Hubbard Illustrators of The Future competition and a prize including a cheque and a place at an illustration workshop in America. He started teaching himself three years ago after attending a two day concept design workshop in Wellington, run by Paul Tobin, a senior concept artist at Weta Workshop. The Illustrators of The Future competition is run every three months and three winners are selected each time. At the workshop in Los Angeles, the winners meet with big names in the industry. Amit Dutta who returned from the workshop last month says the schedule was pretty intense, some days they worked more than 11 hours. He says one of the best experiences at the workshop was doing the 24 hour illustration. During this they met Cliff Nielsen, an illustrator who worked on The Chronicles of Narnia and the Cirque Du Freak series. Other big names present at the workshop included agents and members from renowned art colleges like the Art Centre College of Design in Pasadena. One of Amit’s winning illustrations. IMAGE: Supplied “The great thing about this completion is that no pros are allowed,” Amit Dutta says. Entrants cannot participate if their work has been published in three or more publications or if they have been paid for it, meaning that this is a great opportunity for amateurs to get some experience. Despite being named after the founder of Scientology, the competition is not linked to it. “It’s a shame people automatically link the two,” says Amit Dutta. You can see Amit’s work on his blog at http://monkeybreadart.tumblr.com/

      • Hawaiian group feel right at home in NZ
        • 4 May 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • Michael Lanakila Casupang (center) with former hula students after their performance at Te Papa Marae. A HAWAIIAN dance group visiting New Zealand has noticed a definite resemblance between their culture and Maori. Pūpūkahi I Ke Alo O Nā Pua is a hula group from Honolulu, which spent a little under a week in Wellington. They were hosted at Maraeroa Marae in Porirua, and performed at Te Papa. The group is made up of students attending Mid-Pacific Institute, and their families, and is led by Kumu Hula (Hula Master) Michael Lanakila Casupang. Mr Lanakila Casupang says the main similarity the group noticed between the two cultures is the language. “There are so many similar words that further cement that we are from the same place, and at one time were the same people,” he says. Historically, hula has been used to document stories and traditions, and Mr Lanakila Casupang says the dance cannot exist without the language. He says the travel the group does gives them a chance to discover the culture of the places they travel to. “Beyond the culture, it allows them to develop themselves as individuals.” It’s important for them to share Hawaiian culture and traditions with the world because it lets them show who they are, and to let people know Hawaiian dance is not just like “the hula girl on the dashboard”. The group’s name means “united as one in the presence of the flowers.” Mr Lanakila Casupang says unity among the students is something they collectively strive for. “You can see when they get along and love each other that their performance has a higher level of pureness to it, and spirituality.” “When we come together, we come together in unity and acceptance of all people no matter how they were raised.”        

      • Police deploying more officers to high risk areas across region
        • 30 Apr 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • A SHIFT in focus to crime prevention has seen police resources moved away from community based constables to specially focused teams placed in high risk areas. Crime Prevention Team Supervisor, Sergeant Jonathan Westrupp, says high risk areas like Cannons Creek , Naenae and Courtenay Place all have dedicated policing teams consisting of six officers, responsible for crime prevention and policing . A team of four officers will take responsibility for policing the lower risk wider Porirua area. “This doesn’t mean that there will be fewer officers in lower risk areas, there are still the same amount of police officers as before, they’re just being deployed more effectively,” sergeant Westrupp says. The smaller crime prevention team is currently running a project in the Porirua CBD aimed at preventing shoplifting and lowering rates of offending in public places. “We’re focusing on boosting public perception of the CBD as being a safe place,” he says. They’ve partnered with agencies like the Porirua City Council and Ngati-Toa to help achieve this goal. Family violence is another area to see change. It used to be the responsibility of just one officer, the community constable, but will now be covered by the constable and two others, a Detective Sergeant and a Detective. Police officers now have iPhones with specialised police apps allowing them to be more mobile. They can be dispatched to a callout via the phone, and also dictate details to a typist based elsewhere and have those details emailed back to them. Part of the new preventative measures include police referring victims on to services that can help prevent future problems. Sergeant Westrupp says, for example, if there was a burglary at a government owned property, the officer could refer the victim to Housing New Zealand to have window latches installed, or whatever was required to stop it happening again. “Prevention should be the first thing we consider,” he says.

      • Anzac weekend chance to get on war footing in Wrights Hill tunnels
        • 22 Apr 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • KARORI’S Wrights Hill Fortress will open to the public this ANZAC weekend By 1943 the war had turned against the Japanese and the fort’s construction slowed. The guns at the fortress were only ever fired six times  and never used against an enemy. During the ANZAC weekend open days the society will screen a film showing how the guns at the fortress operate. “But ironically the fort’s guns were scrapped and sold to the Japanese in 1960,” says Mike Lee, chair of the Wrights Hill Restoration Society. Concrete used for the construction came from nearby Makara and was mixed at the site. Since 1992, The Wrights Hill Restoration Society has maintained site and is responsible for the many open days at the fort. Proceeds from the open days are used to fund the restoration work. Mr Lee says restoration work is ongoing, and restoring the fortress to its original state is still a long way off. Since restoration work began the society has fully rewired the fort enabling interior lighting to be installed. They have also recreated the fort’s command room using historically accurate items. In the future they hope to have a sound system installed in the fort. Although the fort’s interior is fully lit, people are encouraged to bring torches for self-guided tours. “I’m bit anxious about people wearing unsuitable footwear, moisture can make the floors slippery.” While the society has never had an accident they just want people to be safe Mr Lee says. There will be food and drink available to buy as well as a view of Wellington and picnic sites. The fortress will be open to the public from 10am till 4pm on April 25 and 26. There is an entry cost and the society is reminding the public that it’s cash only, as there is no EFTPOS facility  

      • Principal of Porirua’s Ngati Toa Primary School gets to walk the talk
        • 22 Apr 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • KAYE BRUNTON who spent five years advising other people on running a school is now running her own. The new principal of Porirua’s Ngati Toa Primary School gets to walk the talk, and is hoping to make a huge impact on the school’s success. Kaye, right, who took up the reins in October says she’s happy to be sitting on the other side of the fence now. “I had a lot in my head around how the job should be and how the job should look, I just actually hadn’t done it, which is what brought me to the school,” she says. The principal is embracing technology as a learning tool for her students. “Our year four class is going to become a digitised class where the children will largely work with their devices rather than with books and pens,” she says. Kaye Brunton says they’ve been preparing this term by getting the kids learning about email, google docs, and how to share their work, as well as how to be cyber safe. Ngati Toa is also facing another challenge. The school recently had its decile rating raised from two to four, and the board of trustees is planning to appeal the decision because they say it’s not a true representation of their school community. “We’re not hopeful really that there’s going to be much of a change but we’re appealing it because we felt we probably would go up, but not as significantly as we did,” she says. A rise in decile rating means a loss of some government funding which will force them to look at alternative funding options. The appeal will go through at the end of the month after they have collected the information they need from student’s families. Meanwhile it’s business as usual, and the school has plans to visit Takapuwahia Marae at the end of the month to give the students an understanding of where the name of their school comes from, and an insight of the history of Ngati Toa and its community.

      • Council happy to know students are aware of The Pack app for partying
        • 22 Apr 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • THREE years after being released, The Pack app is still being used to keep people safe in Wellington at night. ‘Stick with the pack’ is a safe drinking initiative aimed at 18-25 year olds out for a night on the town. When programme organisers at Wellington City Council surveyed university students this year, a majority of the students recognised the app and the message. “Going up to unis this year and talking to people, people recognise it and they know the message” says City Safe Advisor Sophie Parsons (26). “People responded well to that message, but we kind of wanted to go a bit deeper than that,” Mrs Parsons says. “Research went into establishing how young people behave in groups, which is where the pack concept comes from.” The Pack, a phone application made by Rabid Technologies, was made to help people keep track of their friends who they added to their “pack” on the app. The council worked with Rabid Technologies and five design students from Massey University to help develop the application. “Initially, it did really well. We had 3000 downloads, up to 200 people in the weekend using it,” says Mrs Parsons, left. Mrs Parsons says the main thing was that people know the message, a fact backed up by Victoria University students spoken to by NewsWire. Jack Armstrong (20), right, says it is a good concept to keep safe, although he had never used it. “I probably should as I always walk off.” Jarrod Shera (20) was told about it in his first year. “But I never had to or needed to download it. I think it’ll be a good way of keeping informed about your friends though.” Sophie Cunningham (19) says would use it but I did not think her friends would when we’re in town. “It’s a bit impractical because people will probably be too drunk to use it.” Emily Devaney (19) does not use the app. “I really liked the advertising they did for it though.” Alice Mercep (18) thinks it’s a good idea. “But I’m not too sure it would be that effective because everyone would be drunk. I would be willing to try the app though.” Fady Girgis (20), left, says was told about it in his first year but lives in town so does not need to use it.  

      • WATCH: Financial aftershocks of the Christchurch quake in capital
        • 22 Apr 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • THE FINANCIAL aftershocks of the Christchurch earthquake are still being felt in Wellington as property owners of earthquake prone buildings struggle to upgrade their buildings. Two impacted owners are Victoria Quade, who owns an apartment in the inner city, and Tineke La Plant, who lives in the iconic ‘wedge’ building in Newtown. Ms Quade is a self-employed solo mother. Her apartment block was strengthened to 67% of the required standard in the late 1990′s. Since the building code was changed, her building no longer meets the standard and around $2 million dollars of upgrade work is now required. In addition to her share of the upgrade costs of $100,000, Ms Quade is also required to pay around $9,000 per year in insurance – three times what it cost a few years ago. Ms La Plant is in a similar position, although at the age of 74 her options are limited. The costs of upgrading her heritage building have not yet been assessed, but are expected to be high and beyond her limited means. The combined cost of her sharply increased insurance and her utilities takes up most of her weekly pension. She is forced to continue working as a self-employed art restorer to buy groceries. Last year she tried to sell, but buyers were put off because of the uncertainty about costs. The two women are not alone, hundreds of property owners are affected. The range of responses includes everything from getting on with the work to doing nothing. Wellington city council is assisting with the costs of assessments for heritage buildings and with rates relief in appropriate cases, but has limited funds. Should central government be providing financial assistance?                      

      • Outsourcing of Maori programming still raw, but the show goes on
        • 20 Apr 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • OUTSOURCING DEAL: Good for producers, but uncertainty still remains for future of Maori programming.  IMAGE: Gabriel Pollard/Wikipedia commons TELEVISION NEW ZEALAND may have outsourced their Maori and Pacific programming but independent companies like Scottie Productions are not asking any questions – they are hitting the ground running. It has taken on Waka Huia, the award-winning documentary series first broadcast in 1987 that documents stories from within the Maori world. Company director of Scottie Productions Megan Douglas, of Te Awara, was shocked and saddened by the TVNZ move when it was announced. “I started my career at TVNZ working as a researcher on Marae when I was in my early 20’s. The department have continued to be like whanau to me,” says Ms Douglas. She says the outsourcing provides an opportunity for a revival to Waka Huia with fresh input from creative minds. She also cites jobs and invaluable experience for all those involved at all levels of production, as well as a degree of security and encouragement to grow her business to support the Maori production community. She says most of the staff who wanted to continue on the programme have done so. “Recording the stories of people who have contributed to our nation and our identity has always been a passion for me. It’s a privilege to be the custodian of such amazing stories,” says Ms Douglas. During research for this story it became increasingly clear the only beneficiaries of the outsourcing might well be producers like Ms Douglas, and if there are others, only time will tell. The outsourcing was loud in the media. Columnist David Slack, writer for Metro Magazine and radio and TV commentator called the outsourcing a “damn shame” on Frontline, and the Pacific Freedom Forum called the outsourcing a “threat to democracy”. Broadcasting spokesperson for Labour MP Kris Faafoi said TVNZ’s washing its hands of Pacific and Maori programming shows the National Government has given a clear mandate. “Make money and forget about serving Kiwi audiences programmes that reflect our own cultures,” he said. Some questioned TVNZ’s commitment to Maori in New Zealand, and others feared for the future of Maori programming and content in New Zealand. The passionate response to the announcement may have been the reason it was difficult to source comment from willing parties, Maori TV included. One communications manager remarked that it was understandable, due to the news in the industry being too raw. Another informed me my chances of speaking to someone were very few because of the negative press. Those who would speak had tangible concerns about the future of Maori programming. People like Whetu Fala, of Nga Rauru, chair of Nga Aho Whakaari, the national representative body for Maori working in film and television in New Zealand. Ms Fala has worked in broadcasting for more than 26 years, directing and editing television, film and documentary, starting out as a TVNZ apprentice. She is not convinced the outsourcing is a good idea. The move is a clear signal that the government has decided to put TVNZ up for sale, something already bought and paid for by New Zealanders, she says. Ms Fala says there is no guarantee that, if TVNZ is sold down the line, the new owners will continue to reflect New Zealand’s culture. There would be no obligation to broadcast any Maori content, or anything about New Zealand at all, she says. Ms Fala recalls when the Coronation Street time slot was moved, and the uproar that resulted. “I doubt that there will be that type of reaction if Maori programming was taken off TVNZ,” she says. Ms Fala acknowledges and congratulates the producers who won the opportunity to take over the iconic shows, but feels uncomfortable with the uncertainty the outsourcing has created. Larry Parr, another industry veteran, says the fundamental issue is that TVNZ is no longer a public broadcaster. “A lot of people still hanker after it being the public broadcaster, but it’s not. It’s been a commercial broadcaster for a long time,” says Mr Parr. Mr Parr, of Ngāti Raukawa and Muaūpoko, is the former head of programming for Maori TV and currently works for Te Māngai Pāho as television funding manager. He has worked in the industry since 1978, and produced films like Sleeping dogs and Magik and Rose. He agreed to speak to Newswire but only from a personal perspective, and stresses that his views do not represent those of Te Māngai Pāho. Mr Parr has built a stile over the outsourcing issue. “I’m agnostic on it. I don’t have a strong view either way,” he says. Mr Parr says the quality of the programmes will improve because there is often more creativity outside than there is inside. “I think you will see those programmes get another facelift and be a bit stronger. All in all, I understand it and I think there will be some positive impacts.” He also spoke about the benefits for the independent production companies. “It’s only one contact each but it means you have that base contract and assuming you do a good job with it, it actually provides you with a bit of breathing space,” he says. “I don’t think you would worry about where the rent is coming from.” Mr Parr says he understands the outsourcing from a business point of view, one that looks as if it is preparing for sale. “I don’t think it’s sensible for us ever to look toward TVNZ as a public broadcaster. That’s gone. If we want a public broadcaster, we should be looking at Maori TV. That would be good for Maori TV in my view,” he says. He says TVNZ has a statutory obligation to screen programmes that have a Maori perspective but there is no number of hours or percentages stated. From a funding perspective, Mr Parr and Ms Douglas both agree: more funding is needed for Maori programming and content. Ms Douglas says Maori programming is at a stage where it is clear programmes need better funding to be able to produce high quality television. “Maori TV has not only created a platform for Maori programming to flourish, but it’s also created competition amongst the independent community,” she says. “With competition comes innovation and a desire for excellence.” Mr Parr says he’s hopeful about funding increases in the future, although admitted they are hard to predict. He mentions Deputy Prime Minister Bill English’s speeches where he makes the effort to speak in Te Reo Maori. If Mr English’s own behaviour indicates that he sees the value in Te Reo Maori, then a sensible budget might be rewarded at some point, says Mr Parr. So, does Maori programming have a bright future in New Zealand? Producers might think so, but only if funding levels continue to rise. If TVNZ is sold, and no requirement for new owners to continue Maori and Pacific programming is put in place, then that could be a fundamental change. Maori TV could stem the tide and take advantage, as they expand digitally and adapt to the changing ways in which people consume media content. But maybe not, as Whetu Fala poignantly ended our conversation: “It cannot be an island that stands by itself.”

      • Students benefit from Rangikura School programme
        • 14 Apr 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • A SPECIAL programme aimed at improving the learning outcomes of Maori and Polynesian students at a Porirua school is proving successful. Tamaiti Mua is a programme created by Rangikura School in Ascot Park. Principal Eddie Uluilelata says the programme focuses on improving the relationships between teachers, students, parents and the community. “We were no better or no worse than any other school, we just thought we could do better than that, and we needed to do better than that to raise our student’s achievement,” he says. Mr. Uluilelata says the programme centres on the idea that the active involvement of parents in their children’s learning will improve overall grades. “It’s the engagement we need now. That’s the key. We need to change that involvement into engagement,” he says. The first stage of the Tamaiti Mua programme revolves around how parents feel about coming into the school, and what prevents them from being involved. “Back at day one, it was just about us needing our parents and our community to help,” Mr Uluilelata says. “We are doing as much as we can and a bit more than expected in some cases, but we need more parents on board,” he says. Since the beginning of the programme, there has been a definite rise in Polynesian achievement, with Maori grades lagging only slightly behind. “All around the country Maori and Pasifika results are not so good, and our Pasifika results haven’t gone through the roof, but they’re up there now with our whole school results, and Maori data has improved but hasn’t improved as much,” he says. Step two opens up the school and makes it as welcoming as possible, “It’s an on-going process.” Mr. Uluilelata has high expectations of his staff. He says not all teachers have accepted the programme. “We’ve had staff realise that they probably don’t fit here.  Our waka is going this way, and we’re all paddling this way, but if you’re paddling some other way – we’re gonna throw you off the boat. No we’re not, we’re going to get you to go somewhere else.”

      • Plenty of jobs for journalism students
        • 31 Mar 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • FAIRFAX AWARD: Sue Teodoro and Fairfax Group Digital Editor Mark Stevens. IMAGES: Destina Munro (destinamunro.com)   SIX Whitireia Journalism and Broadcasting graduates have been hired and five more are going through interviews as the class of 2014-15 completes. Francesca Jago took the Wellington City Council Best Journalist Award of the 18 students from the National Diploma in Multi-media Journalism and the Whitireia Diploma in Radio Journalism. Stuff.co.nz has already employed Francesca as a web-editor, and her fellow graduates already hired include Josh Price (NewstalkZB), Liam Cavanagh (Otago Daily Times), Nicole Adamson (Hutt News), Hayley Gastmeir (Wairarapa Times Age), and Sarah Wilson (Cook Islands News). News media industry leaders were unanimous in their praise of Whitireia Journalism and Broadcasting at the annual graduation and awards dinner. Fairfax Digital editor Mark Stevens and course advisory chair said everything that had been showcased during the awards was exactly what industry wanted – multi-skilled, committed newsgatherers and storytellers. TOP RADIO: Josh Price and tutor Sue Burgin. NZME.-NewstalkZB chief reporter Katrina Bennett said she was impressed with the way graduate Josh Price walked straight out of the student newsroom into a live environment and covered major breaking news at a media conference for the infant formula poisoning scare. Whitireia Journalism programme manager Bernie Whelan said the number of jobs show that the industry has roles for digitally-savvy graduates. An email to the industry earlier in March to announce the completion of the programme produced 12 replies with job opportunities within three hours. Some of the highlights of the awards dinner and the programmes included: Francesca Jago: Best Journalist overall, produced 10 news videos during the programme including two on internship at the Northern Advocate (a first for Whitireia); Best New Media award winner for her accomplished social media and web work. This link was a highlight from early in the programme: http://www.newswire.co.nz/2014/11/maori-students-learn-about-their-culture-in-hawaii/ Josh Price: Won NZME. NewztalkZB Award for Best Radio News Reporter and Best Sports Reporter and is taking up a position as sole charge for NZME.’s NewstalkZB in Taranaki. Sue Teodoro: Won Fairfax National Diploma of Multimedia Journalism Best News Reporter, achieved a page lead story in the Dominion Post for a story of Maori land flags on Land Information New Zealand titles, is just about to have a feature on Wellington quake issues published in the DomPost and produced almost 100 stories during the programme. Here is a news video she produced with it:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxItgQk7edE. VIDEO AWARD: Nicole Adamson and tutor Sue Burgin. Guest speaker for the awards dinner was TVNZ reporter Jehan Casinader, who inspired the graduating students with his experience of taking opportunities from a young age and getting published, getting on camera and travelling the world with journalism. He urged them to stay focussed on making a difference and telling people’s stories, but also entertaining readers and viewers. The awards presented were: Fairfax Award for Best Shorthand Writer: Finalists, Liam Cavanagh, Amanda Carrington, YC Lee, Finn Rainger, Nicole Adamson, Tess Nichol; winner – Tess Nichol. Whitireia Award for Best Sports Reporter: Finalists: Matt Lau, Jonty Dine, Josh Price, Eddy Kerr-Hislop; winner – Josh Price. Whitireia Award for Best New Media Journalist: Finalists, Ashleigh Manning, Matt Lau, Lize Immelman, Sue Teodoro, Francesca Jago; winner – Francesca Jago. Asia New Zealand Award for Best Diversity Reporter: Finalists, Hayley Gastmeier, Jonty Dine, Matt Lau, Tess Nichol, Lize Immelman, Josh Price; winner – Lize Immelman. Wellington City Council Award for Best Local Government Reporter: Finalists, Amanda Herrera, Liam Cavanagh, Hayley Gastmeier, Sue Teodoro; winner – Sue Teodoro. Pagemasters NZ Award for Best Subeditor and Designer Award: Finalists, Ashleigh Manning, Nicole Adamson, Hayley Gastmeier, Liam Cavanagh; winner – Nicole Adamson. North & South Award for Best Feature Writer: Finalists, Finn Rainger, Tess Nichol,  Sue Teodoro; winner – Finn Rainger. Wellington Company for Best Radio Documentary: Finalists, Rachel Rasch, Eddie Kerr-Hislop, Josh Price, Lize Immelman; winners – Liz Immelman and Eddie Kerr-Hislop. Harvey Norman Award for Best Photographer: Finalists, Francesca Jago, Amanda Carrington, Liam Cavanagh, Finn Rainger; winner – Liam Cavanagh (left). Video Reporter Awards: Finalists, Nicole Adamson, Liam Cavanagh, Finn Rainer, Sue Teodoro, Francesca Jago. TV3 Video Reporter Award winner: Nicole Adamson. TVNZ Video Reporter Award winner: Liam Cavanagh. NZME.-Newstalk ZB Best Radio News Reporter Award: Finalists, Rachel Rasch, Eddie Kerr-Hislop, Josh Price, Lize Immelmanl; winner – Josh Price. Fairfax Best Award for National Diploma News Reporter: Finalists, Nicole Adamson, Francesca Jago, Sue Teodoro, Tessa Nichol, Finn Rainger, Liam Cavanagh; winner – Sue Teodoro. Wellington City Council Award Best Journalist: Finalists drawn from all categories; winner – Francesca Jago. TOPDOCOS: Lize Immelman, tutor Sue Burgin and Eddie Kerr-Hislop.    

      • Porirua icons to inspire student collaboration with renown artist
        • 30 Mar 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • ICONIC Porirua imagery will inspire art to be created by local students working with Porirua’s internationally renowned artist Michel Tuffery. Selected students from each Porirua secondary school will have the opportunity to work with Michel over the next few months to create their own works. Michel hopes the students’ art work will reflect on the best of Porirua and celebrate its rich history, while at the same time they gain skills and knowledge. He is clear what he wants the students to achieve: “A visual outcome, so all the little different icons of Porirua, the best parts about Porirua, and hopefully get the youth to give their interpretation of the 50 years celebration of Porirua.” Samuel Marsden Whitby student Harrison James Leslie was at the launch programme partner Whitireia Polytech and he is already thinking about possible art projects. “When he said think about all those things that Porirua city is, I have really thought about it and I’ve come up with a lot of ideas, like the skate park. It’s always busy, you never see Porirua city quiet. “On a sunny day it’s always vibrant with all the colours and everything like that. “It’s been very cool.” Harrison was impressed by one of Michel’s art work shown in the slideshow at the launch, a giant Kangaroo head made out of scrap cars in Sydney. Deputy Mayor of Porirua, Ana Coffey described the project, which is being supported by the city council, as exciting. “I think it was a really good launch of a pretty exciting project. “I think Michel gave a really good grounding on what he’s got planned,” she says. Michel has run similar programs in the Solomon Islands and South West Sydney for eight years and around New Zealand. “I have various vehicle or collaboration projects that are running up and down the country,” he says. Tuffery has received national and international recognition, and was appointed a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2008 Queens Birthday Honours. A half-day student briefing for selected students from each college has been completed. A one day workshop at Whitireia Polytechnic next month is their first opportunity to work with Michel to create their concept and design. The artist will then provide creative guidance and feedback as they produce their final designs. Their final workshop which will run over two days, during which Michel will take the students through printmaking processes and producing a small series of finished works on paper, fabric or other materials sourced from sponsors that join the project. There will be pop-up printing stations around Porirua CBD during mid-May to showcase the student’s final designs.

      • CubaDupa crowds dance in the rain
        • 28 Mar 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • RAIN did not stop performers and spectators from enjoying the first day of the two-day CubaDupa festival celebratinh Wellington’s iconic Cuba Street. The festival opened with a mass choir singing a song that was written for the festival and a parade lead by Whitireia Polytechnic kapa haka group (above).  Cuba Street Song maiden performance A song written about Wellington’s colourful and iconic Cuba Street got its first airing today. The song called O Tatou Wiata was sung by a mass choir at the opening of the 2 day CubaDupa festival. O Tatou Waiata, written by Wellington man Julian Raphael was inspired  by the street’s history and special characters. Six choirs, along with Whitireia’s Performing Arts students (right), took part in the opening. Light rain falling at the time did not deter the performers or the crowd. When asked what she enjoyed most about the festival a local street vendor replied: “The singing for sure.” Bringing Maori to Cuba Dupa The Cuba Dupa Festival kicked off this morning with a parade led by the Whitireia performing arts group. The Whitireia Polytechnic kapa haka group, undeterred by the rain, led a parade of six choirs up Cuba Mall to the Swan Lane carpark. Group leader and tutor  Kereama TeUa (left) said it was an honour for him and his group of students to be a part of this event. “Even though the kaupapa wasn’t started by Maori, I want to acknowledge those ones who had the vision and foresight to bring us on board to acknowledge not only our maunga but the tangata whenua,” TeUa said. The parade attracted big crowds despite the weather. Following the parade, the kapa haka group invited members of the crowd to test their skills with the poi. Men were also invited to try the haka poses. One of the students, Indya Gibbs said the wet conditions were a challenge. “Our outside performances are usually in tropical places, so we’re usually in Italy, France, Taiwan, we’re not usually in windy Wellington but it was a good experience.” she says. Nuhaka Numanga (19), a second year student, said: “It means the world to me because I love doing this. I was brought up in the performing arts industry, with that kind of background so this is just like second nature.” Circus comes to town The circus has come to town for Wellington’s first ever CubaDupa festival and the first act on the Leeds Street stage was Auckland’s Blingling Bros. Their routine consisted of jokes, music and various objects such as balls hats and plastic pins being juggled. Mark Williams and Paul Klaassen have been performing together as the Blingling Bros for the past seven years and won the Supreme Overall Award at the 2013 New Zealand Circus Awards. A crowd of about 70 people turned up in the rain to watch them perform, with both children and adults getting involved. There were anxious moments when they asked children to catch them during their crowd-diving finale. The highpoints of the show included balls being juggled into a basketball net balancing on Williams’s head and then with Klaassen standing on his partner’s shoulders, juggling six basketballs in an act they called The Octopus (right). The rain did not appear to worry the duo who made few mistakes and wowed the crowd with their routine. Tonight’s performances includes Whitireia Polytech’s circus act, the How to Universe Circus and the CubaDupa Circus Cabaret,  both on the Leeds Stage. Plans for CubaDupa to be annual event Cuba Street transformed into magical playground.Wellington’s Cuba Street has been transformed into a magical interactive playground for the weekend. Today and tomorrow, a street festival called CubaDupa will close the iconic Cuba Street to traffic and play host to a celebration of art and culture. CubaDupa has been a few years in the making according to organiser Brianne Kerr (left). Ms Kerr says they did not want to recreate the old Cuba Street Carnival, discontinued in 2009, but wanted to keep the excitement that came with it. “We used European street fairs as an inspiration for CubaDupa,” she says. Over 2000 Cuba Street locals, such as Cosmic and Mr Bun, are involved and are playing live music and are taking their shops outside to the street. Along with the creative team who have been organising the event, about 100 volunteers are helping to make it run smoothly. Ms Kerr is using this year’s CubaDupa as a benchmark and hopes, with Wellington City Council support  to make it an annual event. Stores spill out onto Cuba Despite the rainy weather the Cubadupa crowds enjoyed Cuba Street stores spilling out onto the street. Shops made the most of the foot-traffic and advertising their goods. Matchbox staff-member Kristine Garay was surprised at turnout and said her display – spinning the wheel to receive a free hug, lolly, glitter-bomb or $5 lucky dip – was “really popular.” Taking shelter under their umbrellas, people were still lining up for every stall. Ice-cream salesman Xander Dixon said that his stall was not too busy, having sold 40 gelatos in the first two hours of the festival. The show must go on Wet weather made set up difficult today for performers at Wellington’s newest street festival Cuba Dupa, but in true showbiz style, the show went on. Street musician Pete O’Connell (right) struggled as he rushed to set up equipment for his Rhythm Wheel performance on a small stage in Cuba Mall. The Rhythm Wheel is a musical invention designed by Pete who says he was inspired by the sound you hear when you put a card on bicycle spokes. The wet weather made for an uncomfortable performing environment but Pete says: “When it comes to the weather it is what it is.” Despite the weather, the Rhythm wheel drew a big crowd, causing problems for pedestrians trying to walk through the mall. And the wet weather wasn’t fazing spectators either. Harry Crooks from Christchurch says “It sums up wellington and creates a really cool atmosphere at Cuba Dupa.” Kieran Harrington, who also travelled to Wellington to take part in Cuba Dupa, says sun would have been better, but he enjoyed the performance anyway. A taste of Cuba on Cuba The music and dance of the country that shares the Cuba Street’s name was showcased on the Swan Lane stage. CubanFusion managed to engage the crowd despite the rain with its Afro-Cuban beats. Rafael Ferrer (38) and wife Rosina Van Der Aa (51) are not only performers but also the founders of CubanFusion. Mrs Van Der Aa said says that even with the poor weather, it didn’t stop anyone from joining in on the fun. She gives most of the credit to the Cuban music that was playing. “The upbeat music helped people get into the dancing” she says. Emily Gousmett (left)  (23) from the Hutt Valley says the loud music and the cool decorations caught her attention. “The chandeliers look cool, the music’s fun to listen to and there’s some really good vibes going on,” she says. Sam Uaita (right) (23) from Mt Cook says he really enjoyed the vibes the performance gave off. “The atmosphere is great. It has a really nice sound and some groovy dancing. It has a very whimsical, light hearted, mellow vibe to it,” he says. Renee Mason (23) from the Hutt Valley says the music is what made her come watch the performance. “I really liked the beat of the music. There’s a good atmosphere around here,” she says. Newswire Team: Aidan Jones, Araina Khonthothong, Colin Engelbrecht, Arana Kenny, Emma Moody, Jade Mazey, Te Huia Moke.                                                                                                

      • Work to be done at grass roots in fight against bullying
        • 28 Mar 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • PRIDE AND JOY: Konfident Kidz creator Lisa Gembitsky sits on the cushions she made herself inside the Lower Hutt clubhouse. IMAGE: Amanda Carrington WANTED: A kick-ass, considerate and confident person who is passionate about anti-bullying training. If such a person is not found, Lisa Gembitsky will have to put her dearest passion “in a pretty box” for now, while she goes off to live in Europe. Ms Gembitsky is excited about Europe but sad to be having to put on hold her programme Konfident Kidz, which has involved 8000 children over eight years. “I was really hoping the right person would come along and take it,” she says. Konfident Kidz has worked with children in schools and communities around Wellington to face bullying. The programme was funded by the government just once in its eight years, through the Ministry of Social Development. Ms Gembitsky was disappointed at the lack of support for an organisation working hands on with children. “The New Zealand government likes to try and band aid situations but you can’t band aid this,” she says. Studies have shown the scale of the problem in New Zealand. A study published in April 2013 by Victoria University of Wellington found 94% of participants said bullying occurred in their school. Head of Victoria’s School of Educational Psychology and Pedagogy Dr Vanessa Green and her team of students surveyed 860 teachers and principals in primary and secondary schools. The study found 67% agreed verbal bullying was a problem, 39% stated that cyberbullying was an issue and 35% agreed physical bullying was a problem. New Zealand was among the worst worldwide when it comes to bullying in primary schools, according to a 2008 study by the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). The TIMSS study found that year five students reported higher levels of bullying than year nine students in New Zealand. The figures suggest, therefore, that organisations working at grass-roots with children to gain confidence and self-esteem to face bullying are needed in our communities. Murals cover the outside of the clubhouse in where many Lower Hutt children have become Konfident Kidz. Inside, the walls are plastered with photos of the children, and stacks of cushions Ms Gembitsky made herself are piled up in the hall. Cute, grinning faces and best-friend hugs fill the frame in each photograph. “I firmly believe that the kids love doing Konfident Kidz and really retain the information and see the positiveness in it down the track. “I know for a fact that they wouldn’t still talk to me if they though it was rubbish. There’s no way I would be getting the responses that I get, big cuddles and jumping on me and saying ‘hi’ and telling me all about their lives, if we hadn’t have had that impact on them,” she says. Ms Gembitsky has a background in martial arts and has always wanted to take the fundamental skills, confidence and leadership of the sport and put it into a programme to help children. The kids get taught a range of specific skills – knowing their instincts and when to walk away, recognising triggers that they’re being bullied and how their tone of voice can control a situation to stop a bully, she says. The skills being taught in the programme were put into practice by identical twins, who received national attention after they were snatched at a Lower Hutt mall. The twins were grocery shopping with Mum at Queensgate mall when they were snatched at while heading towards the toilet. The male predator described by the New Zealand show Close Up tried twice to get them into the men’s bathroom but the eight-year-olds fought back yelling “get away from us”. TWO OF A KIND: (From left) Identical twins Holly and Emily Robertson, 14, put the skills they were taught in the Konfident Kidz programme into practice when they were snatched at by a stranger at the age of eight. IMAGE: Supplied Holly says her sister Emily was grabbed by the man but Holly pushed him away and they used their voices. Emily, the oldest twin by one minute, says she was a little bit frightened that day but because of the confidence course, she’s prepared for anything coming her way. Lynda Roberston is the mother of Holly and Emily, 14, who took part in the programme when they were seven. Mrs Robertson was introduced to Konfident Kidz when her daughter Emily saw it in a school newsletter. She says she was pretty “upset” when she heard about the incident and all she wanted to do was to get the girls home. She regrets not telling the mall management about the incident at the time. “They were quite brave. It could have had quite a different outcome,” Mrs Robertson says. The twins learnt how to defend themselves and how to get out of a dangerous situation at the Konfident Kidz workshops. Holly and Emily are best friends who hardly ever fight. They’re the youngest of six children and attend Hutt Valley High school. While speaking to the twins separately, their voices matched each other’s identically. They spoke confidently with a hint of nerves. “I feel that if we hadn’t have taken the confidence programme we wouldn’t have been as confident to do something like that,” Holly says. Emily laughed when she said she learnt from the confidence programme to be aware of strangers that seemed to be “dodgy”. “I have always made sure that I’m around the people I know that don’t look kind of weird, but if they did, I know not to go near them,” Emily says. Holly suffered from anxiety and panic attacks after the incident but it was something that she could control and they eventually went away. She says she has helped other people who have dealt with anxiety and has given them tips on how to feel better. Holly also had the support of her sister Emily who was with her every step of the way. She supported her and told her not to worry about things. Situations like this can be prevented if programmes like Konfident Kidz were funded. Ms Gembitsky, who was born in Porirua and grew up in Wainuiomata, sat down with a friend after returning from Europe eight years ago and wrote the fun, relaxed and friendly programme. To get it started she trialled it in six schools for free. Konfident Kidz is aimed for children aged five to 18 years. “[Children] should be bought up in a place where they’re completely confident in themselves, have really high levels of self-esteem because that’s what creates good community, proactive people,” Ms Gembitsky says. Her son Hunter started learning confidence building and self-esteem at the age of two. He is now seven years old and has become “well-equipped”. When asked about why children bully, Ms Gembitsky says it’s human nature and kids are influenced by what they see online. Social media has become a part of our lives since it started in 1970 and is the main factor behind the growing problem of cyberbullying. The older generation don’t understand the younger generation because they weren’t raised with cell phones at the age of seven and were never bought up with the technology, Ms Gembitsky says. Communication, whether it is in social media or face-to-face, is a critical aspect of Konfident Kidz. “If you can teach young people how to communicate appropriately, how to read body language, how they feel safe and what those things feel like then they can deal with potential situations that are coming their way, whether it being bullying or attacking,” she says. Unfortunately, the schools and community groups who took part in the Konfident Kidz workshops over the years have had to pay from their budgets for the children. One of those schools was Normandale School where Holly and Emily Robertson attended the workshops. Pukeatua School was lucky enough to receive funding to have Konfident Kidz into its school. Pukeatua Principal Jenni Adam says Ms Gembitsky supported teachers with an in-class programme focusing on students making good choices through building self-confidence and self-esteem. “It gave them strategies of how to cope in a situation where they might have to choose between right and wrong,” she says. The second time they visited was when they ran an after school programme for the whānau, she says. Ms Adam says children can build confidence and self-esteem by valuing others and also valuing themselves. This will lead them to make good choices and create a positive impact on their lives. The Ministry of Education believes confidence and self-esteem are important qualities to have because they help people’s ability to handle challenges. Bullying in primary schools should not be tolerated due to its detrimental effect on children’s health, wellbeing and learning, says Ministry of Education head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey. “Students who are isolated and who have low self-esteem are at a relatively greater risk of being bullied,” she says. Ms Gembitsky believes that building communities and running hands-on programmes such as Konfident Kidz can create a big impact. “Imagine what sort of adults you would grow. “That whole generation of those sorts of people – the undesirable people or the useless parents – would be completely gone and those kids would grow up being amazing and they will change their entire community. “It would be phenomenal. All it takes is a little investment and a little money,” she says. Agencies that focus on bullying receive funding. There are other organisations that receive government funding for working with youths on bullying. They receive grants, sponsorships and assistance to provide information, counselling and help lines. One of them is NetSafe which specifically provides help to children dealing with cyberbullying. NetSafe provides parent presentations, a kit for schools, DVD’s and a contact centre for enquiries related to online issues, NetSafe training and education specialist Lee Chisholm says. “We believe that if the techniques are followed and the information we provide is used, it’s likely to have a positive outcome,” she says. Ms Chisholm also says building an understanding of bullying and how it affects people in negative ways should be started at an early age. Another organisation is What’s Up, a call centre that provides options of practical techniques and guidance for five to 18 year olds. “We support [the youths] learning self-protective thoughts and behaviours and reflect and build on their own strengths, skills and abilities,” What’s Up supervisor Carolyn Gibbs says. What’s Up keep an eye on what is happening here and overseas in terms of anti-bullying strategies. Youthline receives grants to help youth dealing with issues. Bullying can be emotional, verbal or physical, says Youthline national spokesperson and CEO Stephen Bell. “We need to create an environment where young people can feel okay about asking for help, where they can be open without fear of being embarrassed about expressing their feelings,” he says. Youthline believes young people need to be the change to ensure bullying is no longer a part of the community.

      • Inequities in health linked to high stomach cancer rates for Maori
        • 27 Mar 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • A computer generated depiction of the bacterium Helicobacter Pylori CREDIT: http://www.bioquell.com/ Over 50% of people are believed to have it. It spreads through human-to-human contact, has no visible symptoms and can stay with you your whole life. Once it works it way into your system, it attacks the lining in your stomach and can create a condition inside which allows cancer to grow. It’s known as Helicobacter Pylori and it’s a bacterium that is causing problems within indigenous populations around the world, including New Zealand. So could it be one of the reasons why Maori have such high rates of stomach cancer? And if so, is anything being done to increase survival chances for Maori? Research H Pylori Virginia Signal, an Otago University Student published a report last year, which looked at why Maori have higher rates of stomach cancer and lower survival than non-Maori. Ms Signal had help from health professionals in carrying out the study, which was the first of its kind, and their findings were not pretty. They compared notes from 800 cancer patients, both Maori and non-Maori, and 335 were from people with stomach cancer. Of those with stomach cancer, 43% of Maori had distal cancer (cancer that occurs lower in the stomach), which was 17% more than non-Maori. Now this is where the elusive bacterium, H Pylori comes into play. Ms Signal says distal cancer is closely linked to H Pylori. “It’s been shown in other studies throughout New Zealand as well.” So why are Maori more likely to contract it? Ms Signal says out of all the cancers, stomach cancer has one of the strongest socio economic gradients. “The poorer you are, the more likely you are to get stomach cancer. “H pylorus is often passed around in families, particularly those living in overcrowded conditions. “Of course Maori in New Zealand are much more likely to live in overcrowded homes and thus they have much higher prevalence of H pylori than non-Maori.” H pylorus is difficult to spot and Ms Signal says this is one of the reasons why awareness needs to be raised. “There aren’t any visible symptoms however it can be screened for and removed through antibiotic treatment.” “Stomach cancer is potentially preventable in a lot of cases,” she says. “There might be a role for primary health care to play in terms of screening for and helping to get rid of H pylori, as well as raising awareness that Maori are much more likely to contract it.” Research survival rate Stomach cancer is the fourth most diagnosed cancer amongst Maori males and seventh for females. Ms Signal says the numbers aren’t as high compared to other cancers however the disparity between Maori and non-Maori is very large. Rates for Maori are up to five times those of non-Maori and according to the report, Maori are 27% less likely to survive their stomach cancer. So why is this case? Ms Signal says one of the common theories is that Maori get diagnosed later so are more likely to die. However they found no difference in stage of disease for most of the patient notes they examined. One of their conclusions was that there is a systematic failure within the health care system. It’s a failure that is resulting in poor access to services and poor quality of treatment for Maori and consequently decreasing survival chances, but there are people fighting for change within the system. Nina Scott Finding Maori cancer patients who have had a smooth journey along the treatment pathway is a rarity for public health specialist, Dr Nina Scott. “It’s not the ones who have had the bad journey who stick out because that’s most of them. “There are a lot of tragic stories out there,” she says. When I interviewed Dr Scott, she had just come out of a meeting with Hei Āhuru Mōwai, a Maori cancer leadership group. The name of the group means a warm embracing cloak for everybody and its metaphorical meaning was to ensure that everybody in the cancer pathway received optimal care. Dr Scott, whose iwi is Ngāti Whātua and Waikato, is a Maori representative on five other cancer groups nationwide. She says some people still refuse to accept there is a systematic failure. “There are still people out there who think it’s a Maori cultural problem, a cultural reluctance to present for care. “There is no evidence to support this,” she says. “It’s total victim blaming and we need to move away from it. “Victim blaming gets us nowhere, it distances accountability from health provider obligations, and so changes are not made or even attempted.” Dr Scott says one of the most concerning issues is the racism evident within the system. “It’s very clearly documented. “Maori are more likely to be at the receiving end of person to person racial discrimination and racism is bad for your health,” she says. “I’ve had an oncologist say to me that Maori patients are fatalistic, i.e. they don’t mind dying.” However Dr Scott says it’s more productive to look at the bigger picture. “I prefer not to focus on the individual doctor-patient relationships and focus on improving our health system.” And she is optimistic that fair and equitable cancer care for all New Zealanders, can be achieved. “Otherwise I wouldn’t be here, I’d just give up and go hide in a cave,” she says. Her focus has been on Maori health ever since medical school. “I wanted to make a difference within the health care system and I could see it was all about systems.” “Patterns of disparity between Maori and non-Maori were evident and to change them I knew I needed to work collaboratively within the system rather than throwing spears from the outside.” According to Dr Scott, the situation is getting better for Maori and we should expect to start seeing some improvements. “Although it never used to be the case, equity is now at the top of the agenda for most cancer leadership groups nationwide and the Ministry of Health is becoming more focused on it as a key issue.” Dr Scott says guidelines, treatment standards and monitoring them by ethnicity will make a big difference in the quality of cancer care for Maori. “People don’t go out to cause inequities, they don’t even realise they are happening.” “Once you start monitoring something and start reporting back and people see that there are inequities within their district health board, within their practice then they can address them.” She doesn’t think it will be too hard to achieve equity. “It’s not like we need to spend millions of dollars developing new treatments to save all these lives.” “All we need to do is do what we know works but make sure it happens for Maori as well. “We need to make that our top priority.” Research differential treatment A key finding of Ms Signal’s report is that Maori are less likely to receive specialist treatment. Only 44% of Maori were treated in a main centre, whereas 88% of non-Maori were. Maori were also less likely to have a specialist perform their surgery, 38% compared to 79% for non-Maori. Ms Signal says this is a concern as surgery is the main stage of treatment for stomach cancer. So not only are Maori more likely to get stomach cancer but also less likely to receive specialist care. These findings point towards a very large disparity in health status between Maori and non-Maori. George Laking Oncologist, Dr George Laking has worked within the New Zealand health system since 1993 and more directly in Maori health since 2008. His iwi is Te Whakatōhea and he says there are a range of issues that lead into a worse health status for Maori, racism being one of them. “It gets a bit depressing,” he says. “There’s quite a bit of work which shows it is an issue.” Pausing to consider his next comment, he says: “Even if you take into account where people live, how much money they have for petrol etcetera. “There’s still less interaction, engagement, access and uptake of services for Maori.” Dr Laking has seen first-hand the lengths that some Maori have to go through to get to their appointments. “I always think of the people who have to borrow money to buy petrol to go to the cash machine to get money out to come and see me at the clinic. “That’s the struggle some people have to go through,” he says. “So what’s the remedy for that?” Dr Laking believes people’s health status is an expression of all the elements of their social situation, not just how much money they have. “So much of the illness we see is explained by the way our society is organised in terms of inequalities and disparities,” he says. “It’s very relevant with Maori.” However, like Dr Scott he says the situation is improving. “I guess one good development is that the Ministry of Health has recognised there is a problem with access to services for many Maori people. “It has recently established some new jobs called cancer navigators, people who form a bridge to make sure no one is lost in the system.” He says they can play an important role in improving communication between patient and doctor. “Otherwise what tends to happen is we make an appointment, the person doesn’t show up and we give up.” Communication is also something that Dr Scott highlighted as extremely important for cancer patients and she refers to a study done by two Hamilton nurses as an example. “Taking anti-hormone therapy after you have been diagnosed with breast cancer can be really important for a lot of women, but some stop taking it,” she says. “All these nurses did was ring the women on the therapy twice and it increased their adherence by 20%. “Two phone calls. Amazing. “They couldn’t keep doing it though, they were taking the lists home and phoning them after hours. “Funding needs to be made available so these types of activities can grow.” Dr Laking also points out that trust is an issue for Maori. “For example if people have had bad experiences in the past they might not trust the health care system so much,” he says. Dr Laking believes Whānau Ora, a cross-government work programme jointly implemented by the Ministry of Health, Te Puni Kōkiri and the Ministry of Social Development, can also make a difference in improving the situation. “The system is quite powerful so to get good communication and good relationships you have to build trust and that’s where navigators and Whānau Ora can make a difference,” he says. “Somewhere within each person’s whanau there will be a point of engagement so they are not alone and challenged by their access to services. “Engage with the whanau and hopefully someone will help them get to their appointments.” Dr Laking says improvement in these areas could go along way however there are other issues that need remedying to ensure survival rates are higher for Maori. “It’s not worse survival because they are bigger lumps, not worse survival because they are older people and its not worse survival because they are sicker.” “All the explanations have been adjusted for, what does that leave,” he says. “It definitely raises the question are Maori missing out on surgical expertise.” He agrees with the report’s conclusion on what needs to happen next. It states, “These findings support the development and implementation of national stomach cancer treatment standards for New Zealand. They also highlight the imperative that these standards have an equity focus and prioritise the needs of Maori.” “I like their conclusion that the findings support the development of some national standards for cancer care,” Dr Laking says. “Create the standards and then see what happens to the survival rate.” “It’s reasonable to expect that it will improve.”

      • Maori and Brazilian ‘chucked in a pot’ for Cuba Dupa festival
        • 23 Mar 2015
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • THE HOOK: Matiu Te Huki is a Wellington musician and a performer in Tutakitaki, a collaboration of Maori and Brazilian music. IMAGE: Paddy Riley MAORI and Brazilian music will be “chucked in a pot” and “blended” together for Tutakitaki, a music collaboration and project for Cuba Dupa festival this weekend. Cuba Dupa is a street festival that will feature a range of acts and performing groups on Saturday and Sunday on Wellington’s historical Cuba Street. Tutakitaki is one of the many acts involved in Cuba Dupa and features Wellington musicians and singers Matiu Te Huki and Alda Rezende. Mr Te Huki, aka “The Hook”, believes making music is all about conveying a powerful message and creating a “hook” for the audience. “I have a desire to make a difference and music is such a powerful way to make a difference,” he says. He has been in the performance industry for most of his life, started in a Kapa Haka group as a child and in a band at 19. He has been writing and performing music for 10 years. Performing in the kapa haka helped Mr Te Huki to gain more confidence to be on stage and gave him voice control and projection. He says his music is a soulful root and reggae music made with the intention to uplift and inspire people. “That’s a big part of how I like to perform. “ “I like to connect to my audience so that I’m not just putting on a show but it becomes an experience andrelaxes the audience and makes them feel comfortable,” the 42-year-old says. If he is walking back to his campsite and he can hear people singing his melody, he knows the message got through to them. Mr Te Huki, of Ngati Kahungunu and Ngati Rangitane iwi, has two older brothers, a Maori dad and a non-Maori mum. He is from Masterton but lives in Paekakariki. “[My Mum] was the one who wanted use to learn about our Maori culture and she pushed me down the road with my music and performing,” he says. He plays three Maori instruments – koauau, a flute, putorino, functions like a trumpet and a flute and the porotiti, which is spun on string to create a humming sound. Ms Rezende, 47, likes to mix Brazilian, Maori and indigenous music together and says all three have very similar elements. “I’m inspired by the Brazilian culture and the indigenous mixture of vocal music. I like to find new ways of creating things,” she says. Ms Rezende is from Minas Gerais, the second most popular state of Brazil with a population of more than five million. She has been performing music for more than 20 years. She was one of the headline acts in the Wellington International Jazz Festival with a tribute to Brazilian composer Tom Jobim last year. She is also the creator and host of Latin Club, a unique vibe of Latin music performances, held at Meow Café in Wellington. Ms Rezende has a 10–year-old son Peo and has been in New Zealand for seven years. The two Tutakitaki performances will be different due to the songs the group can play at the venues Te Papa’s Te Marae and the sound restrictions at Cuba Dupa. “It will be quite challenging and interesting to play different songs at different locations,” she says. Cuba Dupa artistic director Drew James says Tutakitaki is a very important event for them because of its national flavour and creativity across cultures. “Cuba Dupa is about celebrating creativity and different cultures but it’s also about celebrating collaboration and presenting it to a wider audience,” he says. Tutakitaki, which means encounter, will show Ms Rezende weaving her Brazilian music into Mr Te Huki’s songs. He says it’s like “chucking it into the pot and stirring it up”. The concept of Tutakitaki is bringing the similar sounds of the different instruments and rhythms and “putting it in a blender”. The trio have performed before at the Brazilian Embassy and the Maori Market last year. Tutakitaki will be performed on Saturday March 28 at Cuba Dupa on the Glover Street stage at 6.45 to 7pm. They will also perform on Sunday March 29 at Te Papa’s Te Marae at 2pm and at the Cuba Dupa after party at Meow Café at 6pm. MIX IT UP: Brazilian singer Alda Rezende finds new ways of creating sounds when she blends rhythms and elements of music. IMAGE: Marcia Chamizon

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