Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ngati Kahungunu reports profit

Ngati Kahungunu is looking to work with other iwi to strengthen its economic hand.

At its annual meeting on the weekend, the Hawkes Bay tribe reported a 42 percent profit jump to $970,000 on revenue of $3.6 million in the year to June 30.

Equity jumped to $35 million with the inclusion for the first time of $31 million in fisheries settlement assets.

Chairperson Ngahiwi Tomoana says that puts the iwi on a much firmer financial footing and allows it to plan ahead with confidence.

It is considering aquaculture ventures in its own rohe, but it is also ready to enter collective investments with other iwi.

“It's just a natural progression form one of mana motuhake and tino rangatiratanga, and now kotahitanga, and it’s just looking at opportunities and similarities and similar ideas with other iwi, and if there is possibilities of economic advancement, it’s really on the cards for us,” Mr Tomoana says.

SHORT SUCCESS MEANS FUNDS FLOWING FOR VOLCANO

Casting is underway for a new film by award winning director Taika Waititi.

Volcano is a feature length exploration of some of the characters and ideas introduced in his Oscar-nominated debut short, Two Cars One Night.

Producer Ainsley Gardiner says schoolmates of the short's stars will be included in Volcano, to be shot in the Bay of Plenty next spring.

She says it will have broad appeal.

“This film is going to be a Maori film. It’s also a general film. It’s got universal storylines so it appeals broadly which means we don’t have as much trouble going through not only the normal New Zealand kind of system but we also have, because of Two Cars One Night’s success overseas, we do have access to and interest from overseas financing partners,” Ms Gardner says.

MINORITY CODES SHINE AT SPORTS AWARDS

The minority codes dominated at this year's Maori sports awards.

Sportsperson of the year was sculler Storm Uru, who picked up a gold at this year's world rowing championships in Scotland.

The top woman's award went to Ramona Belford, who has dominated the New Zealand women's snooker game in recent years.

Te Kauhoe Wano, who won the media category for his documentary on surfer Airini Mason, says one name on the lips of everyone at the ceremony in Rotorua was former All Black and Maori captain Pat Walsh, who died in Auckland on Saturday.

“He was an amazing rugby player but he was even more than that, he was a real giver, big time fundraiser and all those sorts of things, he was very much thought about,” Mr Wano says.

The crowd also warmed to the return of Stacey Jones from France and the induction of Waimarama Taumanu, Wynton Rufer and Buck Shelford into the Maori Sports Hall of Fame.

SOLOMON CELEBRATES SOUND FUTURE

Ngai Tahu's chairperson is drawing strength from the personal support he attracted at the tribe's hui a tau last weekend, as members responded to a strong financial result.

Mark Solomon has fended off several leadership challenges during his term, but the pressure had gone off after grass roots runaka replaced some of his fiercest critics.

He says the nonsense at the top table didn't slow down the tribe's economic arm, which made an $80 million profit for the year.

It paid over a $20 million dividend to the runanga to run social and cultural programmes.

Mr Solomon says that should shut up those who say he has no support.

“I've always known that my support base was extremely high. It was during the challenges and it still is now. I’m looking forward to another year and another term after that,” Mr Solomon says.

Ngai Tahu's priorities over the next year include protecting its monopoly over the mining of pounamu, reaching coastline agreements with neighbouring iwi so it can finalise the allocation of fisheries settlement assets, and challenging a Waitangi Tribunal report that found other iwi have customary interests in parts of its rohe.

GRANTS HELP IWI RESTORE WATERWAYS

Northland Regional Council has handed out more than half a million dollars to farmers, landowners, iwi trusts and community groups to improve the environment.

Kathy Mortimer, who administers the fund, says it will be spent fencing off wetlands, improving water quality, and controlling weeds and pests.

The largest of this year's 156 projects is fencing a 30 hectare wetland above Te Puna inlet in the Bay of Islands.

Smaller initiatives include cleaning up the local waterhole at Otiria.

“It's an area that was dangerous for swimming and it is being cleaned up so that it is very useful. It is also tied in with cleaning up and assisting people to clean up where septic tanks aren’t working properly because there was a bit of pollution in the water from those. A lot of people don’t have the money to clean them out regularly, so it was assisting people with that as well,” Ms Mortimer says.

The Environment Fund is now in its twelfth year ... and the results of earlier grants are starting to be felt in the area.

COMBING HISTORY FOR MUSICAL ODDITY

It's not quite taonga puoro - but combs have been played by Maori musicians for decades.

As part of her music studies at Whitireia Polytechnic, Gloria Hildred from Taranaki iwi is researching comb playing.

She's also part of the Porirua Comb Club - two comb players supported by a live band.

The most famous Maori comb player was probably Prince Tui Teka, but Ms Hildred says it's been a staple of music making among working class people, who couldn't afford pianos or violins.

“One of the things in terms of our culture is that it’s been used in the family for years. A lot of people have mentioned that their grandparents played the comb in the trenches in the war because a lot of the men had combs and cigarette papers. In a way it’s a very practical instrument,” Ms Hildred says.

Because it uses air and vibration, the comb is a sort of reed instrument.

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