Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tuwharetoa buying Landcorp farms

Landcorp is looking at selling five sheep and beef farms around Lake Taupo to Tuwharetoa interests.

Landcorp chief executive Chris Kelly says the state owned enterprise signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday with the Hikuwai Trust to work on the deal, with a binding agreement expected before Christmas.

Mr Kelly says the five farms total about 7000 hectares, and they have development potential.

“We have elected strategically to over time exit the Taupo region for various reasons – value of the land, nitrogen issues, things like that. Tuwharetoa are interested in talking to us, and hence the signing of the MOU,” Kelly said.

Chris Kelly says the sale is a commercial deal and not a treaty settlement issue.

HAUTAKI BOSS SAYS SHARES A DEAL

The head of the Maori company trying to build a third mobile phone network says it's a project Maori trusts and incorporations may want a part of.

Hautaki, the commercial arm of the Maori spectrum trust, and its current partner Econet Wireless are in the final stages of negotiating with London-based Communications Venture Partners and Hong Kong- based GEMS for the capital needed to build the network.

Hautaki chairperson Bill Osborne says some shares will be reserved for Maori.

Mr Osborne says it could appeal to some of the more forward looking Maori bodies.

“I think when people see new investors of the nature who are coming in to the game, and understand their background, and the other investments they have made and the success of those investments, that will help people understand there is a doable deal here. They will still have to do due diligence, people have to make up their own minds on those things,” Osborne said.

Bill Osborne says the venture intends to start with cellphone networks in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

HAKA HOKEY TOURNEY FOR ROTORUA

You've probably heard of haka boogie, but how about haka hockey.
That's what's expected of the teams taking part in the annual national hockey tournament this weekend.
This year's tournament featuring eight mens and eight women's teams is being held in Rotorua.

Former national women's coach, Margaret Hiha, says the tournament can only be staged in rohe that have two astroturf venues.

Mrs Hiha says over the years not only has the standard of Maori hockey improved, but also the standarad of cultural performance.

“Part of the kaupapa for the tournament is for teams to do Maori items and teams are much more imaginative. Some of the teams have had waiata written for their rohe, and it has been great,” Hiha said.

Margaret Hiha says last years' winners, Takitimu in the women’s section, and Tamaki Makaurau in the men’s, will be looking to defend their titles.

TAUPO FARMS SOUGHT BY TRIBE

Tuwharetoa interests are looking at short circuiting the claims processes and buying five farms around Lake Taupo directly from Landcorp.

Landcorp chief executive Chris Kelly says a memorandum of understanding was signed yesterday with the Hikuwai Trust to work on the deal.

A binding agreement for the five farms, totaling about 7000 hectares, is due by December the 15th.

Mr Kelly says the state owned enterprise has made a strategic decision to quit the Taupo area.

“Tuwharetoa recognise that is their tribal land and they are prepared to pay an amount of money commensurate with that, and they believe this will give them a good stake for their future generations and I support that, rather than going through the tortuous and very arduous treaty claims process,” Kelly said.

MAORI RUGBY LEAGUE IN ROTORUA

The annual Maori rugby league tournament starts in Rotorua tomorrow, and is the last chance for players to make the national squad which will play three tests against the Cook Islands in Rarotonga next month.

Maori Rugby League secretary Christine Woods says 30 teams will be on show in the rohe, waka, wahine and rangatahi sections.

She says the annual Labour weekend tournament continues to be a showcase of talent, and a vehicle to promote whakawhanaungatanga through sport.

She says Maori coach, Dean Clarke will be keeping a close eye on proceedings.

RUNGA PICKS UP ANOTHER TUI
Maori songbird Bic Runga is soaring high after winning two of the top Tui awards at the New Zealand Music awards this week, for best album and best female solo Artist.

The seven piece band of mainly Maori musicians from Wellington, Fat Freddy's Drop also took out the two top popularity awards, Highest selling New Zealand album for 'Based on a True Story' and the People's choice award.

The video for Flat Freddy's 'Wanderin eye' won a Tui for director Mark Williams.

And Te Reo Takiwaa Dunn's self-titled album which fused contemporary Maori and R'n'B music took out best Maori album of the year.

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