february / 01

NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)

1st February, 1937 : When one of their number died recently, Maoris at the Te Hapua settlement celebrated with a two-day drunken orgy, according to a New Zealand Government report. It says conditions are deplorable, most families being huddled together in humpies with poor sanitation. Tuberculosis is rife and infant mortality at 25 per cent. A favourite concoction is a mixture of wine, brandy, methylated spirits and permanganate of potash.

[“Mortality during the first year of life remains much higher than at any other point during childhood or adolescence, with 308 New Zealand infants dying prior to their first birthday during 2009. Further, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities, remain with infant mortality rates in 2008 (provisional data) being 6.9 per 1,000 live births for Māori babies, 5.9 for Pacific babies, and 3.8 for non-Māori non-Pacific babies. Despite the relatively high number of deaths, New Zealand’s infant mortality rates have declined during the past 40 years, with rates falling from 16.9 per 1,000 live births in 1969, to 4.9 per 1,000 in March 2009. However, while total infant mortality rates are generally higher for Pacific and Māori babies, for males, and those in the most deprived areas, total infant mortality is of limited utility in guiding population health interventions, as the causes of mortality differ markedly with the age of the infant.” http://www.nzchildren.co.nz/infant_mortality.php]

About Avadoro Worden

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