He huahua te kai? E, he wai te kai.
Are preserved birds the best food? Ah no! Water is.
Does waipiro have a place in our whakapapa?
Ōpōtiki’s Muriwai Tournament brings together local hapū and iwi to connect through sport. The tournament has been running for more than thirty-five years, using whanaungatanga, kaitiakitanga, and manaakitanga as the guiding principles.
The tournament returned in early October after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions to an excited and passionate Ōpōtiki. The sports played over the two days included rugby, netball, Ki o Rahi, with tamariki having their own allocated day on Friday.
This year, the Healthy Families East Cape team partnered with Whaakatu Whanaunga Trust to bring ‘Pimp my Wai’ to this year’s Muriwai tournament. The Pimp My Wai stall provided fresh wai as well as fruit and mint for whānau to ‘pimp’ their wai.
Healthy Families East Cape works in partnership with the community and sector stakeholders, and to facilitate and support collective and comprehensive chronic disease prevention efforts that focus on alcohol-related harm.
With the up-and-coming review of the Eastern Bay Local Alcohol Policy, Healthy Families East Cape and Whakaatu Whanaunga Trust’s CAYAD kaimahi wanted to gauge the appetite of the community in reducing the consumption of alcohol.
“Inequities in harm can be driven by different determinants such as where we live or the number of alcohol outlets close to our whare,” says Healthy Families East Cape Rautaki Māori, Jade Kameta.
“Just last week, Justice Minister Kiri Allan announced an amendment to the current legislation on the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act that will see a shift in power to the community, and we see that as crucial to reducing alcohol harm in our regions.”
The current alcohol legislation can hinder local communities’ ability to put in place rules around the sale of liquor in their area.
The amendments to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 will remove the ability to appeal local alcohol policies (LAPs). The current appeal process is costing councils and ratepayers millions in legal fees, as alcohol companies and supermarkets have thwarted efforts by local councils to limit the sale of alcohol in their communities.
The insights gathered by Healthy Families East Cape and CAYAD at the Muriwai Tournament will form part of a submission to strengthen local alcohol policies for Eastern Bay.
Healthy Families East Cape, along with our kaupapa partners from Whakaatu Whanaunga TrustTikiahi Brown-Davis, Shaun Gebert and Cherish Chase, took the opportunity of the Pimp My Wai stall to ask whānau pātai about choosing Wai Māori over Waipiro, and if waipiro has a place in our whakapapa.
“A lot of our community love alcohol and find it hard to say no, this leads to fights, family violence, family harm, drink driving, criminal activity, and negative influences. This explains why Ōpōtiki does not need more alcohol outlets, but more alcohol help services and positive initiatives to better support the community of Opotiki”. Tikiahi Brown-Davis, Tūhono Mentor
The team also provided whānau the opportunity to answer whether they would choose Wai Māori over waipiro next Matariki.
This is what whānau had to say:
Counteracting this are the statistics surrounding alcohol, of which we know that Māori experience disproportionate harm in Aotearoa.
Ōpōtiki District Council’s region has a population of approximately 9,300 people, with 63% identifying as Māori (according to 2020 statistics). The region also has 22 active liquor licenses, with a higher number of licenses per capita than the national average.
Young Māori (and Pacific peoples) men aged 15-24 years suffer more harm from living in areas with high numbers of liquor outlets compared to non-Māori men living in communities with the same number of liquor outlets.
Data from 2012-2014 showed Ōpōtiki to have higher per capita rates of injury as a result of drunk driving when compared with the national average.
Asking whānau about their appetite to choose wai Māori over Waipiro also curves the narrative from deficit-thinking to a strength-based narrative. Could Matariki be a mechanism for change?
The Healthy Families East Cape team thinks so and sees an opportunity to explore and lean into the rich mātauranga that Matariki provides as a way of kerbing the sale of alcohol during Matariki. What we know about our traditional gorgonian holidays throughout the year is that they are typically intertwined with having a 'cold one'. With Matariki becoming a national holiday this year, we are provided a platform to shift the narratives away from alcohol or waipiro to exclude alcohol from those rituals.
There are also factors at play, including balancing the economic benefits of the sale of alcohol that are powerful and contribute to the inequities in harm that can be driven by where we live.
For example, “Buy now, pay later” (BNPL) options are also coming into effect, making alcohol more accessible and impacting on efforts to reduce alcohol-harm in our community.
“The law isn’t working as intended. Local communities should be able to set their own rules to reduce alcohol harm but are being blocked at every step by the booze industry,” Kiri Allan said.
Healthy Families East Cape has a bold goal of creating safe spaces where we live, learn, work and play which are free from the harm caused by alcohol and reduce the impact of this on our communities, particularly our tamariki.
We are keen to continue to support local government with the review of the Local Alcohol Policies as one tool to manage and control how alcohol is sold and supplied in our Ōpōtiki.