- The Ministry of Health has now released provisional annual suicide figures for 2016. Their information shows there were 553 confirmed suicides. This included 135 Māori suicides, of which two-thirds were Māori males. The Māori suicide rate was then, in 2016, 20.3 per 100,000 tangata. This is much higher than other ethnic groups, as the New Zealand overall suicide rate is 11.5 per 100,000 people. However, why the Ministry of Health releases its data so late is unclear – the Ministry of Justice has already released provisional annual suicide figures for 2018. Unfortunately, that shows a rise to 142 Māori suicides, with the rate being 23 per 100,000 tangata. The Māori suicide rate is circa 40 percent higher than a decade ago – and shows a demand for improved mental health services and support, and in general terms supports the Tribunal’s view that the health sector is underserving Māori.
- In June Statistics New Zealand published data tables from the 2018 New Zealand General Social Survey (NZGSS). We will provide a further analysis next week, but positively we note it shows 77 percent of Māori have high life satisfaction, and 75 percent rate their whānau wellbeing as high, despite only 50 percent stating they have enough money to meet their everyday basic needs.
- Last weekend Te Pou Matakana hosted a hui to discuss Māori child wellbeing, and specifically Māori child ‘uplifts’ by Oranga Tamariki. Te Pou Matakana has determined to hold its own inquiry into this area – which makes it the fourth inquiry announced within a few weeks on this topic – but the first inquiry by and for Māori. Te Pou Matakana will hold four wananga to identify key themes to inform their inquiry. Pānui 21/2019 discusses Oranga Tamariki and child uplift matters in depth.
- Earlier this month the Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter, announced $6.2 million will be allocated to progress the Crown’s engagement with the Waitangi Tribunal’s Mana Wāhine Treaty of Waitangi Claim (WAI 2700). By way of background, the Mana Wāhine Inquiry derives from statements of claims made in a number of individual iwi/hapū claims, and from a specific claim lodged in 1993, (WAI 381), on behalf of the Māori Women’s Welfare League and all Māori women. Amongst other matters the claimants allege that, “Māori women individually, as tribal members, family members and leaders have been systematically deprived of their spiritual, cultural, social and economic well-being by Crown actions and policies in breach of Articles II and III of the Treaty of Waitangi; and that The Crown has not fulfilled its obligations ‘to protect and ensure the rangatiratanga of Māori women…”
- The Office of Māori Crown Relations –/Te Arawhiti has launched Te Haeata, an online tool for entities with Treaty settlement responsibilities such as post-settlement entities, Crown entities, local and regional government and other relevant organisations. tehaeata.govt.nz
- The Kaingaroa Forest Village has been awarded $2.4 million from the Māori Housing Network Community Development programme for the development of housing for the Kaingaroa community.
- Last week a group of Taranaki Whānui members, who call their grouping ‘Mau Whenua’ filed legal proceedings against the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust relating to the Trust’s selling of iwi land in Shelly Bay, Wellington. The trust proceeded with the sale despite objections from these iwi members.
[By way of background, this large parcel of land was returned to the iwi as commercial redress in its 2009 Treaty settlement (i.e. brought by the iwi). However, as a pricey commercial asset, it made a poor financial return each year, as it only received income from low-end rentals of old buildings and the like. This situation has undoubtedly been a significant contributing factor to the iwi losing millions of dollars since their settlement. To address this, in 2016 trustees sought a mandate to sell some of the land for housing development – but that was voted down. That is because many iwi members do not see the land as a commercial asset at all – rather as cultural redress and their heritage which should be retained for future generations. (Note the vote was 51% in favour of sale, but 75% support was needed for a major commercial transaction.) However, under the current leadership of Chair, Wayne Mulligan, the sales and property development imperative has moved forward, but this time as discrete smaller parcels of land – thus avoiding any need for further iwi voting on the matter. So, the core issue at hand for iwi members who oppose this is whether the four smaller land transactions undertaken by the Trust have effectively circumvented the will of beneficiaries to retain the land, and resulted in unlawful sales. Adding to this is concern about allegedly low prices received for the land – said to be circa $2 million per block – when the iwi’s purchasing price was circa $13 million.
 The NZGSS is a biennial survey which provides information on the well-being of New Zealanders aged 15 years and over. The survey covers a wide range of social and economic outcomes across different groups across the population.