Are Maori killing themselves through diet?

Alan Duff thinks Maori are literally killing themselves…through diet:

Do Maori have earlier death both genetically and culturally programmed? Cursed by our lack of education so we are easily seduced to buying products that harm us, from cigarettes to a range of rubbish food. Duped and dumped on by the unscrupulous and unprincipled.

At Whaka in Rotorua we became sort of famous as the penny divers. Retrieving coins thrown from the bridge by tourists was life itself, for we had our several hot pools to warm up in and socialise as we counted our takings. We had no idea we were swimming in toxic waters.

My Pakeha father, a forestry scientist, knew a factory was discharging poisonous chemicals into the river. But kids are ruled by their peers not their parents. He also considered it a form of begging; something else we didn’t see.

And he forbade the “Maori diet” in our home as he loathed fat and excess of any description. But I had swapped families.

Our innocent bodies were being pummelled by the factory. And assailed by our ignorance of a healthier lifestyle. My wonderful, obese uncle and aunty served us up fatty roast mutton cooked in fat, with roast spuds, and thickly buttered heaps of white bread — for breakfast. Before school. Fatty sausages were cooked immersed in dripping. We spread dripping (beef fat for you younger readers) on our bread. School lunch had white bread base. Dinner was two huge pots of boil-up pork bones, or brisket, with spuds, doughboys, over-cooked cabbage lost of its fibre. Always with white bread. It was beautiful and still is. But killing us.

When I went to university to meet SB, I boarded for the first year with a Maori family. Dinner every night was a slight variation on what Alan Duff describes. Some years later I went back to Hamilton to find Johnny had died rather early…from a massive heart attack.

Virtually every kid played sport and we were born naturals. No one felt as if anything was wrong health-wise, let alone our diet other than the best on planet Earth. But the clocks were ticking and from several points. Clocks yet to start in most of our Pakeha counterparts destined to live many years longer than us on average.

The health problems for the following generations have somewhat of a different cause. Called fast food and crap food. Supermarkets abound with “CHEAP BARGAINS!” enticing the uneducated, the uninformed and the uncaring into buying processed and fatty, high carbohydrate, sugar-laden crap that is killing them early. Our eating habits remain, culturally, more a gorging.

Preying on us the likes of a woman radio figure, no trimster herself, turning Maori and poor people into a circus of beggars scrambling to find a $5000 diamond in one crumb of 10,000 marshmallows. Human sharks feast on poor brown people. Banks treat them with contempt.

Cigarettes have killed more of us than non-Maori. Then marijuana became an epidemic for Maori. Now meth and synthetic drugs have replaced it. The boozing culture was always there. You have to know this back story to understand the litany of Maori problems.

A lot is self-inflicted.Most is inherited behaviour. We need a bunch of cycle-breakers to change our direction. We need in equal doses education, more cuddles and cuddlies, less harsh put-down criticism, a healthy diet and healthy emotional environment for our kids to grow up in.

How about a Fat Bastard Tax?


-Alan Duff, NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.