” It is unacceptable for children in New Zealand to suffer from poverty-related illness at rates much higher than other developed countries; and for particular groups – such as Māori and Pacific children – to carry the burden of poverty and illness.
Every year there are 40,000 hospitalisations linked to socio-economic status and much of this is due to poor quality housing and the inability to heat homes.
Experience over the past thirty years confirms UNICEF’s view that Government policy has the single biggest impact on child poverty rates, not economic growth alone. ”
Open letter: Ensure an adequate standard of living l UNICEF New Zealand (9 Dec 2015) Response to Child Poverty Monitor Report New Zealand 2015
I had been reflecting on the past year and in particular celebrating examples of the many, many Native Creatives that were working at such an amazing level from Māori Directors, Writers, Producers screening films at ImagineNative and Toronto film festivals in Canada to Rena Owen from Moerewa living and working in Hollywood, USA to the amazing longevity of our performance luminaries like George Henare, Christina Asher , Wiremu Davis, Tina Cook who have graced our stages and screens for over thirty years.
- not going to lead to large numbers of houses being built for families in need
- not going to lead to provision of cheap fruit and vegetables for below the poverty line families or
- shame politicians into doing the unthinkable and ending poverty in our nation.
- Joy of recognition of seeing others like themselves being reflected on the big, small , mobile screens.
- Pride in hearing their native tongue, maybe for the first time being broadcast on the web, airwaves.
- Happiness in viewing their cultural ‘norms’ and language portrayed in the theatre
- Excitement in native language music broadcast as popular culture
- Understanding that some-one who looks, talks, lives and has lived just like them is a Creative and it is possible for them to be one too.
Being a Native Creative at Xmas is recognising and being confident that through our story lens we can envision a hope for all of us. And that is enough to eventually change the whole universe!
Ka whawhai tonu matou ake, ake, ake!
2015 IMAGES: Clockwise bottom L – R Mika Haka presents his short film Taniwha at ImagineNative Film Festival Toronto Canada, Māoriland Festival, Otaki, Dr Leonie Pihama San Francisco USA, Author Whetu Fala with Rena Owen Hollywood Los Angeles, Wiremu Davis & Tina Cook film Premiere Paramount Theatre Wellington, Māori elder actors panel Wellington.