Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, June 01, 2007

Robin Hapi to head AFL

Aotearoa Fisheries chief executive Robin Hapi has been appointed to chair the giant pan-Maori fishing company.

Mr Hapi, from Ngati Kahungunu, will also chair Sealord Group.

He replaces Rob McLeod, who quit to head up the Australian and New Zealand arms of accounting firm Ernst and Young.

Mr Hapi, who joined the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission in 1991 after stints in the old Maori Affairs Department and Housing New Zealand, says he's served a long apprenticeship for the role.

“It's going to bring a different type of challenge for me, but it’s not one I haven’t been prepared for. I’ve been working in this industry for 16 years. I’ve served under some extremely capable and able leaders, and people have showed their confidence in me,” Mr Hapi says.

His first task will be to find a replacement chief executive for Aotearoa Fisheries.

There are also changes at the top of parent body Te Ohu Kaimoana Fisheries Trust, with chairperson Shane Jones stepping down soon.

Meanwhile, Aotearoa Fisheries has announced its first half profit for the six months to March 31 has jumped 20 percent to $18.4 million.

That's also more than last year's full profit of $16.5 million.

Mr Hapi says it's an encouraging start to the year in the face of significant economic and political challenges.

These include the high New Zealand dollar, fuel prices and an industry-instigated cut in hoki quotas.

Aotearoa's main competitor, listed company Sanford Fisheries, yesterday reported a half year profit of $11.6 million dollars, only $600,000 more than the corresponding period in 2006.\

REO DICTIONARY MAKES BOOK AWARD FINALS

The first all Maori language dictionary is a finalist in the reference category of this year's Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

Tirohia Kimihia contains 3500 head-words and is aimed at learners of te reo Maori.

Huia Publishers managing director Robin Bargh says it's a huge undertaking to produce a dictionary.

“It was led by Jossie and Wiremu Kaa, who were really the lead writers for the dictionary, but at Huia here we’ve had a team which was Brian Morris, Kararaina Uetuku, Jennifer Garlick, Mary Boyce, have been the key people who have worked on it for a number of years,” Ms Bargh says.

Also in the finals is Chiefs of Industry, Auckland academic Hazel Petrie's study of Maori tribal enterprise in early colonial New Zealand, which is published by Auckland University Press.

Winners will be announced at the end of July.

LIFE A GAMBLE FOR MIKE KING

Maori comedian and entertainer Mike King is back at work, and at the poker table.

This weekend he's playing a poker tournament at Sky City in Auckland where he hopes to qualify for the World poker championships in Las Vegas next month.

The Waipu-based comic says he's treating it as part of his recuperation from a mild stroke.

“You know when you’ve been sitting around for six months and people tell you you’re really sick, you start to believe it. The other week I just woke up, thought ‘Oh bugger this, I’m over this.’ The attitude change seems to work really well. I still seem to have one or two ongoing things, but once they pass, you say let’s leave it behind and move on. If I’m going to die, I’m going to die happy brother,” Mr King says.

OLD SOLDIERS AND RUGBY PLAYERS HONOURED

Soldiers and rugby players have a lot in common, as those at a special lunch in Auckland today found out.

The event was to honour surviving veterans of the 28 Maori Battalion and former Maori All Blacks.

Waatea New reporter Dale Husband says it was a gathering that is unlikely to be seen again.

Twenty-six of the surviving 60 members of the 28 Battalion were honoured at the fundraising lunch at Auckland’s Ellerslie Racecourse, along with players from decades of Maori rugby.

A minute’s silence was observed by all to acknowledge those to the 28th and the Maori rugby scene who’d passed away in the previous year.

The aim was to raise money to take the old soldiers to tomorrow’s All Black p-France test at Eden Park.

For Maori, just being in the company of these proud but increasingly frail old soldiers made for a very special day.

To see the likes of Nolan Raihania and Kingi Matthews from the 28 mixing with rugby greats like Sid Going and Colin Meads and Tane Norton made for a very special day for Maori rugby, for the 28 Battalion, and definitely for the 300 people lucky to be in the same room with them.

AHUWHENUA COMPETITION TIGHT RACE

The competition for the Ahuwhenua Maori Farming Trophy is hotting up.

Open days have been held by the regional finalists, Atihau Whanganui Incorporation, Tuaropaki Trust and Matariki Partnership, and the national winner will be announced on June the 15th at a gala dinner in Rotorua.

Facilitator Mark Harris says all three are large farming operations which have delivered exceptional productivity gains in the past year.

Mr Harris says it's a hard job for the judges.

“I've had the pleasure and honour of visiting all three farms, and it’s going to be a terrifically hard thing to judge. They’re all on different types of farming different properties, different climates and at different stages. All three of them could be a winner in my opinion,” Mr Harris says.

ALFRED HILL CONCERT COULD START REVIVAL

A leading Maori composer hopes tomorrow's concert of the music of Alfred Hill may lead to a revival of his Maori operas Tapu and Hinemoa.

The Alfred Hill Centenary Concert at the Wellington Town Hall will feature performances by the Orpheus Choir, Wellington Chamber Orchestra, Dominion String Quartet and Pelorus Trust Wellington Brass Band.

Gillian Whitehead says the concert can only dip into a fraction of Hill's prolific output, which included 10 operas, 13 symphonies, string quartets, choral works and hundreds of songs including Waiata Poi.

Ms Whitehead says that has always been one of her favourite pieces of music.

“My father was a music teacher in Whangarei, which was where I grew up, and I can remember some of his Maori singing students singing the songs, so I got very used to it and come to love it then,” Ms Whitehead says.

As part of tomorrow's concert, Waiata Poi will be sung by soprano Timua Brennan.

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