June, 2012
ISSN 1174-9245
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Manahau, mana hauā, and Matariki

The Matariki sky. A crescent moon gives a toothless grin from a sinking sky into an icy hauāuru sunset. The star cluster Matariki (and star Puanga) have been seen twinkling before dawn. The transition between years is ending in the land of Aotearoa. The land was fished up by Māui on the jawbone of his blind grandmother, Muri-ranga-whenua. In times past the long cold dark evenings provided the opportunity for storytelling. People would sit and listen to the tales emanating from the jawbones of the elders. They told of the people gone before; stories connecting people and the land; and experiences of difference, disability, mana, and wisdom every generation has needed to know to sustain themselves and pass on. Hōtoke, winter, was a time when hunga hauā and kaumātua were vulnerable to illnesses of the cold. I have heard from one kaumātua that Matariki was also a time when disabled people were reputed to be at their most powerful, and utu would come upon those who had wronged them during the year.

The Human Rights Commission is giving a focus to Māori and disability issues around this time of Matariki. We aim to spark new kōrero on disability rights within Māori communities, and indigenous and Tiriti rights in disability communities. Like the story of Māui and his grandmother, there are many mana enhancing narratives of disability in te ao Māori, and we hope to be part of a renaissance, to recover more of the almost forgotten disability wisdom, generate wider kōrero on disability rights amongst those who may not have previously engaged, and apply it to the issues of today for the benefit and inspiration of the whānau hauā.

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Ngā Tapuwae o Hape (the Footsteps of Hape)

A two day hui for Māori to discuss disability issues will be held at Makaurau Marae from Friday 22 June in the Auckland suburb of Māngere. Jointly hosted by the Human Rights Commission,the Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA), and the Mana Whenua of Makaurau Marae, the hui Ngā Tapuwae o Hape (the Footsteps of Hape) will focus on how to improve the rights of all disabled people. In each age group Māori are more likely to be disabled than non-Maori.

Hui details

Friday 22 June – Powhiri  2pm
Makaurau Marae, 8 Ruaiti Rd
Ihumatao Māngere, Manukau City

For RSVP or further information please contact : Leilani Thompson-Rikys  email: leilanit@hrc.co.nz or call 09 375 8642

How Karangahape Rd earned its name

Ike Rakena manages Makaurau Marae, left tetraplegic after a rugby league accident, he acknowledged the kaupapa that sees his marae founded by an ancestor with a disability.

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Disability advocate honoured in Queen’s Birthday and Diamond Jubilee Honours

The Commission would like to congratulate Chief Executive of DPA, Gary Williams of Ngāti Porou, who has been recognised in the recent Queen’s Birthday and Diamond Jubilee Honours by being awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for services representing the interests of disabled people both nationally and internationally. Gary who was instrumental in helping to organise the hui, says it will work to encourage and support Māori leadership within the disability community. He recognises the importance of rebuilding the relationships te hunga hauā should have with their marae and whānau.

The following is Gary’s perspective on Māori and Disability:

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Gaps identified in services for disabled indigenous people

It’s time to look at disabilities from indigenous perspectives, says Dr Huhana Hickey, a lawyer, advocate and disabled Māori woman with multiple sclerosis.

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Marae plan to lift accessibility

The Waikato District Health Board continues to be part of a wider group, including CCS Disability Action, on a project to improve accessibility for marae.

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Changes affect Māori mental health services

Funding for Māori mental health services has suffered a downturn says Rangi McLean who works for a Māori public health provider Hāpai Te Hauora Tāpui in Auckland.

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For more information about the Disability Rights, please contact Chris Potts at chrisp@hrc.co.nz

Further Information is also available from our website

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