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Sexuality Education Programmes Target Maaori Youth

7th December 2000


In the last two years, the sexuality education programmes run by Te Puawai Tapu have become popular with both Maaori and non-Maaori youth, community groups and schools. The Health Funding Authority contracts Te Puawai Tapu to develop and deliver sexuality education programmes in the greater Wellington region.


Mana College’s principal, Mike Webster says the courses have encouraged his pupils to think more maturely. “The courses are good value. The young facilitators do a great job of delivering sensitive material in a creative way.” Mike says he’s also impressed with the way Te Puawai Tapu works closely with the staff and the school community before introducing its programmes. “All the parents and the Board of Trustees were consulted on the programme and parents had the chance to join in on evening classes run by adult educators.”


Tumuwhakahaere, Pania Ellison says the programmes are delivered by young Maaori peer educators who undergo extensive sexuality training and are well-equipped with tools and methods of creative learning. She says the classes aren’t just about talking to rangatahi/youth about condoms and STDs. “While young people need to know the negative consequences of un-protected sex they also need to know enough about themselves and their personal values to make informed, conscious decisions about their sexuality. We’re encouraging them not to make a quantum leap from 0-10 in their sexual behaviour.”


For the first time this year, Te Puawai Tapu has run it’s courses at whare kura. Pania Ellison says she’s thrilled two Maaori language secondary schools in Otaki agreed to take up the programme. She says it’s an important development because while sexuality education is patchy throughout the public school system, it’s almost non-existent in whare kura and kura kaupapa. “There appears to be very few Maaori language resources on human sexuality. At the moment, we deliver our programmes to kura kaupapa kids in English under their 25% English language quota. Our long-term goal is to employ educators who can deliver our programmes in the Maaori language.”


Te Puawai Tapu kaumaatua, Anne Delamere from Te Whaanau-aa-Apanui and Te Arawa thinks the idea of delivering the sexuality eduation programmes in te reo Maaori it’s very much on the programme. “If we’re serious about valuing te reo Maaori than I think it’s important that we deliver our programmes in the Maaori language. All the vocabulary and concepts are there, it’s just a matter of familiarising people with some of the more technical terms. I use the word puukoro for condom which means a sheath. These days most people only use the word puukoro to mean pocket!”

This Friday afternoon on the 8th December 2000, Te Puawai Tapu will be opening it’s new seminar room to accommodate the growing demand for it’s courses. It’s also an opportunity for this front-running “for Maaori by Maaori” organisation to celebrate ten years in existance. Te Puawai Tapu provides both national policy advice and community-based education programmes to improve the sexual and reproductive health of Maori.

For more information or to arrange media interviews, please contact Sandi Barr.

PH: 04 386 2634, FX: 04 386 2648, EM: ktprincess@xtra.co.nz

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