Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Sunday, November 05, 2006

FOMA looks at wide range of Maori activities

Managing Maori land is now about much more than sheep, beef or forestry.

The Federation of Maori Authorities is holding its annual meeting in Rotorua, with sessions of corporate governance, new structures for Maori organisations, intellectual property, the future of agribusiness and building strategic commercial networks.

Executive vice chairperson Paul Morgan says members will get updates on a range of industry sectors, including some which are new for Maori.

“Energy's a classic sector where a number of Maori groups have a real potential in the geothermal or wind opportunities. There is expertise out there already among our members in the businesses, and how can you leverage off what has been achieved and invest and develop really strong viable businesses cooperatively,” Morgan says.

Paul Morgan says it's now 20 years since Foma's first conference, and members will be looking at what they can achieve over the next 20 years.

WARDENS GET SESSION FROM MEMBER MADE GOOD

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia is meeting with the senior management of the Maori Wardens this weekend to discuss how the organisation can do even more for Maori communities.

He says the wardens are well positioned to help other government agencies by being the eyes and ears of their communities.

In recent months there have been calls for wardens to help with drinking and gambling issues within their rohe, and in West Auckland, Maori wardens are monitoring behaviour on trains.

Mr Horomia says the organisation has proud tradition.

“When I was 18 years old I was a Maori warden, one of the youngest. You go through these phases of how to save Maori and you become a Maori warden,” Horomia says.

Parekura Horomia says being a warden is good training for Maori interested in social development.

SMOKING SHOCK PICS ENDORSED

The Maori Smokefree Coalition is endorsing the decision to plaster cigarette packets with graphic images of the damage caused by smoking.

Spokesperson Skye Kimura says smokers need to be reminded of what their habit is doing to their bodies.

The pictures of diseased lungs, gangrenous toes and rotting gums will be a feature of packets from the middle of 2008.

Ms Kimura hopes the images will make an impact on cutting the number of smokers.

“I think it sends a great message. Although they’re gruesome, it’s a reality that if you smoke these are health effects that can happen to you,” Kimura says.

Skye Kimura says the packets will also remind people of the risks of secondhand smoke, which is a major issue in Maori whanau.

GOVERNANCE TOP OF FOMA BILL

The future shape of Maori organisations is high on the agenda of the Federation of Maori Organisations’ annual hui, which kicked off in Rotorua Friday.

The 350 delegates this afternoon heard from Law Commissioner Justice Eddie Durie on the proposed Waka Umanga framework, which could provide an alternative to existing trusts and land incorporations.

Among the speakers tomorrow is Maori Land Court chief judge Joe Williams, on empowering Maori landowners.

Federation executive vice president Paul Morgan says governance, leadership and sound management have been themes Foma has been discussing and promoting since it was formed 20 years ago.

“Those issues are not going to go away. They have to be managed on a daily basis. We need to develop leaders and successors to those that manage these companies and organisations. It’s important we have succession plans in place to train young people to take over and manage. I mean some of these organisations are now managing assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars,” Morgan says.

Paul Morgan says the Foma conference has become an important place for Maori organisations to network and do business.

COT DEATH CAUSE NO REASON FOR COMPLACENCY

The Health Ministry's chief advisor on child health says the Maori cot dealth rate could halve if Maori expectant mothers gave up smoking.

Pat Tuohy says the discovery of a brain abnormality in babies who die from sudden infant death syndrome is not a reason to give up on some of the precautions which have been shown to reduce the risk of death.

The abnormality is believed to mean the babies do not realise they are suffocating.

Dr Tuohy says there could be a link between the condition and smoking.

“I think the most important thing for Maori parents is that it’s quite possible that smoking during pregnancy predisposes baby towards this problem, and so there are heaps of places out there where Mori mum can get help to reduce or stop smoking during pregnancy. If we were abler to help more Maori mums to give up smoking during pregnancy, the Maori cot death rate would halve,” Tuohy said.

PUTIKI GETS ANTI WAR TAONGA

Putiki Marae in Wanganui will Saturday receive a taonga from Gallipoli and a resource package to remind future generations of the folly of war.

Trevor Humphrey, the national secretarty of veterans' organisation Rimpac, says the package will include audio documentaries about the D Day Allied invasion on occupied France, the Pathfinders air service and the nuclear tests, all of which involved some Maori.

Mr Humphrey, who is related to the Love whanau, says Putiki has a special meaning for him.

“Putiki and the Wanganui River have supplied a huge number of both women and men to the armed services, and my own marae, what better place. If we can put the history back there as a verbal or visual history for tomorrow’s kids, they might see what not to do tomorrow.” Humphrey said.

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