From 'survival mode' to an indigenous future

By Tema Hemi

Breaking down the barriers that keep indigenous peoples in 'survival mode' is the key to thriving, according to an indigenous Australian academic who has come to Aotearoa to share her experiences researching health in aboriginal communities.  

Keynote speaker at the eighth Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga conference, Dr Chelsea Bond of the University of Queensland spoke to indigenous academics about her research. 

Source: Māori Television

Bond says, "As a health researcher I'm really interested in revealing the brutality of the health system upon indigenous peoples and their refusal to provide proper care for our mob.  I guess today was a call for us to think about how we take action rather than appeal for validation and what the intellectual can contribute to that battle.  I come here and I'm always learning things from you fellas." 

Constitutional racism remains a major social issue for indigenous peoples of the world and the Treaty of Waitangi remains as an example to aspire to. 

Rawri Wright of Te Rūnanga o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa says, "That is the foundation which our constitution is based upon and encourages a working relationship with the Crown in our struggle for independence.  Yes, it is a foundation and it gives hope to other indigenous races to establish a binding document with their own government."

Dr Leonie Pihama says, "Families, subtribes, tribes and Māori health organisations are revealing the challenges that pertain to the Treaty of Waitangi.  So that is a pathway to better living for the people."

Acting Prime Minister Hon. Kelvin Davis is due to speak at the conference this Friday, his presentation is on Indigenous Futures.