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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Union contribution missing from fish talks

The Maori vice president of the Council of Trade Unions Maori says the row over minimum wages on foreign charter fishing boats would not have reached a crisis point if the unions had been at the table.

Iwi fishing companies say new rates and conditions on the boats will threaten the viability of charters and drag down what they can earn from leasing out the quota they have finally got from the Maori fisheries settlement.

But Sharon Clair says the fishing industry has been talking with the Labour Department about the new rules for two years, but kept the main maritime union out of the discussions.

She says that means it denied itself the wisdom and experience of the experts on employment conditions and wages.

“So what we could bring to the table is more alternatives and options for things to be successful so that both the iwi fisheries would be able to afford this, that they didn’t realise they would have to do, and migrant workers would be protected from being exploited as cheap labour,” Clair said.

Sharon Clair says iwi are in the difficult position of playing catch up with the rest of the fishing industry.


Green MP Metiria Turei says if the Buy New Zealand Made campaign advanced by her party succeeds, it could open the door for a similar Maori made push.

Ms Turei says Maori want to support Maori businesses, and there is likely to be wider interest.

“Brand loyalty, whether it’s New Zealand brand loyalty or indigenous and sovereignty loyalty like Maori made is a fantastic option we have got because people want to know who they are supporting when they buy their products, and there is already a lot of Maori loyalty for Maori made products, a Maori made campaign would be absolutely fantastic,” Turei said.

Meteria Turei says Maori artists already have the Maori Made mark which confirms the authenticity of their works.


The festival commemorates the first meeting between Turanga iwi and Captain James Cook 237 years ago.

Hera Ngata Gibson says while the notion of a commemoration has caused bad blood in the past, Te Unga Mai works because it gives a voice both to tangata whenua and to those who came after.

“They were there to commemorate their tipuna. Some were killed in that first meeting, so for Ngati Oneone and their people it was about commemorating their tipuna, and for Pakeha it was about commemorating their tipuna, Cook and those who were on board the Endeavour when they first came,” Ngata-Gibson said.

Hera Ngata Gibson says Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Te Aitanga a Mahaki and initial encounter hapu Ngati Oneone were present.


Greens Maori affairs spokesperson Metiria Turei says a members bill to ban alcohol advertising will help Maori.

The Liquor Advertising (Television and Radio) Bill comes up for a first reading in Parliament today.

Ms Turei says indigenous communities worldwide have been devastated by alcohol.

She says the beer barons must bear much of the responsibility because of their deliberate marketing to the most vulnerable sectors of society, low income workers and young people.
Ms Turei says rangatahi get confusing messages about alcohol and health.

“It's about making sure we don’t keep sending messages that alcohol is the answer to our problems, and those messages are being promoted to us all ther time through television and billboards and sports events. We’ve got to put to put in place the structural protection where we can protect our own communities, and this is one way of doing it,” Turei said.


The organiser of a festival commemorating the first encounter between the Maori of Gisborne and Captain Cook says it is about forging new relationships to move on.

Hera Ngata Gibson says the Te Unga Mai Festival started at the original landing site of the Endeavour at Kaiti beach with a powhiri from Turanga-nui-a-Kiwa iwi Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Rongowhakaata and Ngati Oneone.

Ms Gibson says the question of how to commemorate the first encounter has been the source of considerable controversy over the years.

IN: We've been scrapping with each other for god knows how long but until we get those things out in the open, debate them, talk about them, cry about them, whatever, we can’t address the issues, so Te Unga Mai is about tangata whenua telling their stories, giving their perspective about that first meeting, and also for Pakeha to tell their stories as well
,” Ngata-Gibson said.

Hera Ngata Gibson says organisers hope to make the annual Te Unga Mai festival an event of national significance.


Experts in Maori rock art are gathering in Taupo today for a hui on how rock art sites should be managed.

Amanda Symon, the curator for Timaru-based Ngai Tahu Maori Rock Art Trust, says many drawings are more than 500 years old, with some featuring moa.

There are some 550 sites recorded in Ngai Tahu territory and at least 130 in the North Island.

Ms Symon says that creates management challenges.

“There's a few sites in the rohe of a lot of different iwi up in the North Island, so that’s perhaps why they haven’t been looked at in detail up there, so it will be interesting to get people together to talk about that and share experiences and knowledge about the management of rock art, “ Symon said.

Amanda Symon says rock art sites need to be accessible but also protected.


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