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Medicine Amongst the Maoris, in Ancient and Modern Times

What is being Done:

page 112

What is being Done:

It is only right in telling of the present conditions of the Maori race, that brief mention should be made of what is being done to cope with disease and promote health.

(a)Subsidised medical men. In Maori districts, the local medical man has been susidised by the Government to give his services free to the Maoris who consult him. The object was to prevent the high mortality, to win the Maoris from the influence of false tohungas and place medical attention within the reach of the poor.
(b)Native Schools. The Native School Teachers who have a great influence with the Maoris have been supplied with stock medicines by the Health Department for the commoner ailments. This is has counteracted to a large extent the influence of quacks and many lives have been saved.
(c)Maori Councils. In 1900, the Maori Councils Act was passed, dividing both Islands into Maori Council districts. The members of the Councils consist of leading men of influence. The Councils Act as local governing bodies and are the sanitary authorities in the Maori villages. Village Committees are formed under the Councils and to them is delegated the enforcement of the health regulations and bye-laws.
(d)Sanitary Inspectors. Influential and progressive Maoris have been appointed as Sanitary Inspectors to work under the Native Health Officers in the various Council districts. Their time is entirely devoted to carrying out sanitary reforms and working in conjunction with the Health Department and the Maori Councils.
(e)Maori Medical Officers of Health. When the Department of Public Health was established in 1900, attention was paid to the Maoris. Two Maori graduates in medicine have been appointed as Officers of Health to their own race. Knowing page 113the language, customs and ideas of the Maoris they were in a better position to teach the people and institute reform than Europeans would have been. By means of lectures, village visitations, treating the sick and showing the need for sanitary improvement, something has been done to break down ancient prejudice and educate public opinion
  • The results of these various factors has had a marked effect upon the improvement of the health in various parts and more is to be hoped in the future.

The Anglican Church has established two nursing homes amongst the Maoris in the North. European nurses with educated Maori girls live in the Maori villages and visit the sick in the neighbouring villages. The mortality in those villages has decreased considerably and the educational value to the Maoris is very great.