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Maori health status is directly related to the colonial history of the Aotearoa. The Maori health system was established with the establishment of Aotearoa colonial system. Colonial system was also characterized by health inequities among MÄori and non-MÄori. The health inequities in Maori are persistence and have implications in the current Maori. Moreover model such as institution and health determinants can be applied to reduce or eliminate factors that are related or increase health inequities in Maori. The following paper explores the implications of colonization on the Maori health and health inequities.
Colonial system in the contemporary Aotearoa was established and maintained through dehumanizing of the indigenous Maori people, rebranding indigenous beliefs and knowledge as myths or legend, renaming lands, introduction of new cultures and confiscation of resources and creation of ethnic equalities. Colonial system that has implications to this day is maintained in the beliefs and notion that is deep engraved in the mind of individuals in Maori. It is therefore important to discuss how this colonial system is established and maintained in Maori.
Colonial system was first established through dehumanizing and suppression of the indigenous. Colonizers dehumanized indigenous Maori people through the belief on the superiority of the Europeans and their culture (UN, 2007). The colonial masters therefore, subjected the indigenous people to poor health condition and neglected them. These colonial systems lead to genocides of thereby reducing the population of the Maori people. Colonial system was established through mass genocides of those indigenous people that resisted their rule in Maori. The colonial beliefs on their superiority and that of their culture or race pose restriction of freedom and responsibility of indigenous Maori people.
Colonial system is also established and maintained through rebranding of indigenous beliefs, knowledge and culture. The beliefs, culture and knowledge of indigenous people of Aotearoa people was renamed myths, superstition and legends (Clark, 2008). Colonial masters therefore replaced the indigenous cultures with their own cultures and beliefs. Colonial people introduced racism and inequalities as new belief systems and knowledge. Rebranding of local culture, knowledge and beliefs, cultivated the notion of society difference mostly between Maori and no-Maori. In addition, the culture change brain washed the indigenous people thereby making them believe that they are inferior to nom-Maori.
Colonial system was also established and maintained through introduction of new cultures such as racism that replaced indigenous culture of Aotearoa people. The indigenous culture of Maori people was replaced by the European culture that believed on their superiority as compare to the superiority of local people who was made inferior. Racism lead to inequalities with Maori people made to believe that their culture is inferior and wayward. The indigenous cultures were proposed to be the source of poor health that needs to be replaced by the new European culture as remedy. This further degraded the zeal for ethnic identity among the Maori people making them to lack future prospect.
The colonizers deprived Aotearoa indigenous people their land leaving them overcrowded hence poor health. Coming of white settlers to Aotearoa increases the demand of land in Aotearoa. Loss of MÄori land resources through confiscation as a result of the 1860s wars when the colonials grabbed the local land. The Native Land Court equally led to the displacement of large numbers of MÄori indigenous (Campbell and Hutchings 2011). Maori people lived a poor life and unhygienic conditions after loss of their land to colonial masters. Lack of proper land among the Maori people helped the colonial to maintain their colonial system since the local lacked voice to defend themselves.
Colonial systems were also created and maintained through warfare in Aotearoa. Musket warfare was one of the factors that colonizers used to establish their rule in Aotearoa. The musket warfare caused death and therefore reduced the population of indigenous people of Aotearoa. Children and women were causalities of the war and were greatly affected hence lost their freedom to the colonizers. Furthermore, musket warfare led to increased suppression and dehumanization of local Maori people. The living condition of the Maori deteriorated rapidly leading to high health risks. The health risk resulted from confinement of Maori in overcrowded setups as their lands resources are taken by settlers (Michael, 2003).
Finally, the colonial system are established and maintained through creation of ethnic inequalities between Maori and nom-Maori people. Colonials made Maori people believe that the problem of Aotearoa is within Maori people themselves. The problem raised by colonials was based on the belief that Maori indeginous had inferior genes, education, intelligence and ability. The inequalities created belief that there is different in ability between Maori and non-Maori. The genetic variations were not on the basis of society diversity but the basis of Maori problems according to the colonials. The colonial therefore used genetic variation as source of creating disparities between Maori and non-Maori people (Harris, 2004).
Health inequities among Maori and non-MÄori arouse due to cultivation of beliefs that genetic diversity was the source of ethnic inequalities that form basis of racism. Colonial system created a notion that ethnic disparities is as a result of biological variations among different ethnic groups. Furthermore, Maori and non-MÄori have therefore different access to health care services. Indigenous people were deprived of the access to basic health systems due to their race and European culture of inferiority of Maori (Minister of Health, 2001).
Colonial used mechanism of racism to create health inequities among Maori and non-MÄori. The racism mechanism was at three main level; institutional racism, internalized racism and interpersonal racism. Institutional racism focuses on the inequities of health care services between Maori and non-MÄori. Maori people access poor health services as compared to the non-MÄori who have access to good health care services. Internalized racism used by colonial master cultivated beliefs of the negativities among Maori based on the negative messages painted in them. Finally, interpersonal racism form the basis of discrimination among Maori and non-MÄori hence limiting interpersonal relationship among these two groups (Raeburn, 2016).
Colonial process breached the rights of Maori access to health determinants such as education, health literacy, income and housing. Firstly, as stated above racisms lead to differentiation in terms of services among Maori and non-MÄori people. Colonial system deprived the Maori people right for good education services that is a determinant of health as compared to non-MÄori. Secondly, Maori health literacy was limited access to health care education services as opposed to non-MÄori. Thirdly, Maori people had limited access to better income hence poor life and could not access good health care services (Krieger 2001).
Notion of new history of Maori has greatly influence health inequities. New history involved reshaping of the past, present and future history. In reshaping of history of Maori, Colonization of Maori by Europeans leads to redefinition of landscape, beliefs, knowledge, culture, and dehumanization, introduction of diseases and warfare that caused inequities in Maori.
The concept and notion of new history in Maori is the main cause of health inequities and is centered in the redefinition or re-ownership of land of Maori people. The landscape is being discovered by colonizers and then land is renamed there creating new land ownership. Indigenous Maori people have their land taken by colonizers. Most Maori remain confined to overcrowded quarters where there is poor health and living standard. Diseases hence spread rapidly in the Maori overcrowded quarters while non Maori live in the land pieces of land (Clark, 2008).
Creation notion of new history redefine beliefs and knowledge of indigenous Maori. The colonizers renamed and relabeled indigenous as superstition and myths. The central beliefs of Maori people are termed superstition than need to be forgotten and this is due to the belief of superiority among the colonizers. New comers believed that the indigenous knowledge was the source of problem for the Maori. The introduction of new knowledge of health and diseases lead to disparities between Maori and non-Maori. Disparities also arouse due to difference in the health services provided with better health provided to non-Maori (New Zealand History Online, 2012).
Creation of new history also introduced new disease in the Maori that affected most of children and adult in Aotearoa. New diseases such as measles, mumps and whooping cough that had been affecting Europeans had great impact MÄori. It is reported that these diseases were initially affecting children in Europe. On contrary, these diseases affected both adult and children of MÄori. Coming of settlers as a result of Treaty of Waitangi, lead to influx of settlers to Maori. Non- MÄori people were accessing better health services for cure of these new diseases while MÄori people had limited access for health services (Paul, 2012).
New history also came in hand with war, for instance the musket war of 1810 and 1840. The Musket warfare greatly caused death of Maori people as compared to non-Maori. It is estimated that Musket warfare atleast reduce the population of Maori by 1%. The mortality rate was equal to 700 people annually (Angela, 2003). The mortality was also due to poor health service available to Maori people. The differences in health services continue widen leading to suffering of indigenous people as compared to non-Maori.
One of the threats of new history was dehumanization of the Maori people. The colonial people subjected Maori to health hazard conditions. Colonizers believed in their culture as superior to the culture of indigenous people. They therefore subjected Maori to discrimination mostly in provision of health care services leading to poor health standard among the indigenous people. Dehumanization was also rampart due to confiscation of Maori land by settlers and colonizers. Most indigenous people remained land without necessary shelter and contacted diseases leading to high mortality rate (Harris, 2004).
Context of new history brought culture clashes as the colonizers believe that their culture is superior to the indigenous culture. The notion of culture differences was the onset of racism with the Maori culture labeled inferior, superstition and myths while non-Maori culture labeled as superior (Calman, 2004). Racism and culture differences lead to differences in services received by Maori and non-Maori people. Better health care facilities were left for non-Maori while Maori had limited access to health facilities due to their race.
The model or theory uses case study for training the locals on the importance of reducing inequities. Socioeconomic factors for inequities such as racism in different institutions are analyzed to reduce health inequities. Government participation in reducing health inequities is critical for facilitating training. Trainings are towards identification and elimination of socioeconomic factors that facilitate health inequities in New Zealand. It is the main objective of government to link education and health sector through review of literature from for decision making and policy development. Moreover, the training as strategy used in institutional theory focuses in training indigenous people on locally developed ways to reduce inequities.
The second strategy used in the model is involvement of the indeginous people in the decision making. The model work in the strategy of involving the indigenous Maori in decision making towards elimination of socioeconomic factors such unemployment, illicit drug used, low ethnic identity and poor housing. The model involve various institutions around the health care sector to help use the indigenous people in eliminating the lifestyle factors that are indicators of health inequities. This implies that change of life style will help will reduce or eliminate individual health inequalities factor. The discovery of strong ethnic identity among the indigenous people is driving factors for reducing of inequities in the health sector caused by colonization (Ministry of Social Development 2006).
The third way that institutional and health determinant model is applied to reduce health inequities is Maori for Maori initiative. Maori for Maori program was started to help solve economic or financial challenge that affect indigenous people and is also health determinant. The determination to reduced and eliminate health inequities is to develop financial system that help financially support the move to reduce health disparities (Becroft, 2005).The strategy works toward fund collection and support to reduce poverty level that is health determinant. Another importance of Maori for Maori initiative is campaign to raise awareness on the benefits of reducing health inequities and importance of behaviour change.
The model has also instituted the behavior change as driver to reduce or eliminate health inequalities. The individual behaviour change is important since some behaviors perpetuate poor health among Maori people. Behaviors such as smoking, drug abuse, lack of excise, inadequate education and negative future prospect. These behaviors are poor health indicators that when reduced will help eliminate poor health. The behaviour change takes an individual as compared to other factors that are community factors. As an individual change their behaviors, it increases the personal health care system that eventually help create health equities among indigenous Maori (Valencia, 1997).
Another way that institutional and health determinant work is through initiation of personal responsibility. The model encourages the indigenous Maori people to be responsible for creation of employment opportunities, good environmental protection, social support, balance diet and healthy family living. In this strategy, individual are encouraged through media and socioeconomic forums to be responsible in reducing this poor health determinants and create healthy living among families. According to the government, when indigenous Maori will learn to responsible health inequities determinants will be reduced or eliminated in New Zealand (Krieger, 2001).
In conclusion, understanding of colonial history and the notion of new history that were created by colonization is vital for improvement of health sector. Colonial system instituted settlers’ immigration that in turn increases land grabbing in Aotearoa. The health inequities such as socioeconomic and political factors were set in line with racism. The result was poor health and living conditions among Maori as compared to non-Maori. The differences in health services available for Maori and no-Maori are the genesis of health inequities.
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