Men's health focus of big national hui

PENNY WARDLE
Last updated 16:00 04/12/2012

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Maori men's coalition Mana Tane Ora o Aotearoa will hold its second national conference at the Marlborough Convention Centre in Blenheim from tomorrow until Friday.

Chairman Joe Puketapu said the coalition was formed at the first Tane Ora conference, held in Blenheim in 2009. It was an umbrella group aimed at helping men to come up with their own programmes throughout the country such as forums to promote health and regular meetings where men shared stories.

It was time to take the next step of looking at whether the organisation should be a coalition of independent regional groups or a national body, Mr Puketapu said.

Almost 200 people had registered for the conference, including some women, he said. The theme is tane ora, whanau ora (healthy men, healthy families).

A lot of men did not know how to deal with issues such as relationships with partners, their families and their health, so retreated and left women to deal with them, Mr Puketapu said.

Rugby great Buck Shelford, who led the All Blacks on a 17-test, 49-match unbeaten streak and also battled cancer and massive weight gain, is a guest speaker.

Other speakers include Whanau Ora board chairman Mason Durie and Sydney University indigenous research officer Clive Aspin, whose research interests include chronic illness and sexual and reproductive health.

Public health doctor George Gray will talk about indicators of health for Maori men, and Zane Scarborough brings his experience running a programme addressing drugs and alcohol, sex, depression, youth suicide and social media.

Also on the programme are workshops on themes including men's role in families, Maori masculinity and how health services can help men.

As well as being a forum for discussion, the coalition was a clearing house for research into topics relevant to Maori men and lobbied government, Mr Puketapu said.

To find out more about the conference or register, go to taneora.co.nz.

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- The Marlborough Express

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