29 Oct 2017

Māori receive thousands to help community

1:03 pm on 29 October 2017

A group of Māori with big dreams for their people have been given $10,000 each as part of the annual AMP Scholarship grants.

Tama Eminukutepua will use the grant to establish a mobile suicide support unit after recognising most suicide prevention services close after hours.

Mr Eminukutepua said that's no help to the 60 to 70 percent of all suicide cases that occur outside of regular opening hours.

"Most services open their doors at 9am, they close at 5pm, well suicide doesn't play like that, suicide continues on.

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Tama Eminukutepua Photo: Supplied

"For us it's about having a support team in place, being able to connect with these people - this 60 to 70 percent - staying with them and then transporting them to the appropriate service provider during opening hours."

Mr Eminukutepua is the national chair for the motorcycle group Riders Against Teen Suicide (RATS) who gather in their hundreds in towns and cities throughout New Zealand to support communities who are struck with news of a suicide tragedy.

"We drive thousands of kilometres all around New Zealand to go around and support a community that we don't even know, we don't know the people. But the passion against suicide is there and it's about bringing that message."

He said the mobile unit will start in Taranaki and hopefully grow in other areas where a RATS organisation is situated.

"We can't have guinea pigs, we are talking about life. So everything that we've done is well-planned and well thought out, right down to the paper work and referrals."

'One of the first things that goes is oral health'

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Joyce Manahi Photo: Supplied

Joyce Manahi is another recipient of the AMP scholarship who plans to use the funds to further develop an interactive programme she has created that encourages young Māori to protect their oral health.

Ms Manahi works for Awarua Whānau Services as a health promoter and was surprised at the lack of interactive resources available that deal with oral health among young Māori.

"The statistics for Māori oral health are really poor - unfortunately we lead the stats in the wrong direction. Māori are not very good when it comes to oral health especially the babies."

She said oral health is often not a priority for families living in low socio economic areas.

"When things are getting a little bit tough at home one of the first things that goes is oral health - that's not a need. Putting food on the table is a need."

The interactive programme is completely in te reo Māori but translations are included.

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

Lifeline: 0800 543 354

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)

Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz

What's Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children's helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)

Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)

Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254

Healthline: 0800 611 116

Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

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