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Conference will showcase Māori expertise

Public Health Association Conference will showcase Māori expertise
Public Health Association media release 31 August 2012

The Public Health Association Conference which will be held in Wellington from 3-5 September will showcase Māori expertise in public health.

“This is the largest and most significant annual health conference in the country, and a very important gathering for Māori working in the field,” says PHA spokesperson Lisa McNab.

“This year’s theme is ‘Equity from the start – valuing our children’. Given current concerns about New Zealand’s rates of child poverty, especially for Māori, the conference is timely.
“Māori lead some very significant child and youth-focused projects. We have made very significant inroads in key areas of child and adolescent health like the prevention of rheumatic fever – which is rife in many Māori communities – and the prevention of smoking amongst Māori teenagers and young people.

“What differentiates these Māori-driven strategies from their mainstream counterparts is the centrality of whānau – and the role that Māori community networks play in raising awareness and motivating our people to take action to improve the health of their tamariki.

“Māori are now very much aware of the needs of their children and when they are given the appropriate resources and support, they will create environments where their children flourish.

“As well as a large number of workshop presentations from frontline Māori health workers, we are thrilled to have Dr Cindy Kiro as a keynote speaker. She currently leads the school of public health at Massey University and is a former Commissioner for Children.

“Dr Cindy Blackstock is a prominent advocate for First Nations children in Canada. She will address the conference at a number of events. We are looking forward to hearing from Dr Blackstock about some of the activities she has initiated on behalf of native Canadians and indigenous children around the world.

“We hope that the conference will encourage Māori workers to focus more specifically on the needs of our tamariki when they go back to the workplace. Populations of young Māori are expected to swell over the next few decades. As a work-force we need to think about what we can do to prepare for this new demographic.”

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