Project purpose: The project is a pilot for a larger project tracking phonological development (speech skills) in Māori for Māori speaking pre-school children. Although there is a substantial body of literature on how children develop speech sounds in English we know nothing about the developmental trajectory in Māori.
Inequalities in child health between tamariki Māori and non-Māori are largely preventable and unnecessary. An example is rheumatic fever, where tamariki Māori are 30 times more likely to contract the disease than non-Māori. Being ill as a child has a big impact on school attendance and outcomes, and it may cause lifelong disability or illness. There are high costs involved, for the health system, society and to whānau. This study aimed to estimate how much not doing anything to reduce child health inequities really costs us.
There are multiple Government funded initiatives aimed at addressing Māori language decline, including increasing the amount of Māori Language spoken, maintenance and quality. Te Puni Kokiri (2006 Health of the Māori Language Report) touched on the attitudes of wider New Zealand society towards the Māori language as unengaging and unlikely to change in the immediate future (p.7).
This project is contributing to the key policy area of whānau ora/ family wellbeing via new analysis of the wealth of data contained in the six national household censuses of 1981 to 2006. Indicators of family wellbeing have been developed to identify trends across 25 years with the team having produced several reports and publications on measuring changes and key factors affecting family and whānau wellbeing.