Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hautaki picks up more spectrum

The Government has added another 25 megahertz to the pool set aside for Hautaki, the company set up to exploit Maori spectrum rights.

The block was kept out of the auction which ended yesterday of spectrum suitable for cellular or Wimax mobile data services.

The eight lots on offer netted the Crown $4.3 million, and Hautaki will have to pay a percentage of the average price.

Bill Osborne, Hautaki's chairperson, says it's still unclear how the spectrum will be used.

“We don't really know how this spectrum range is going to be used. The Wimax service is still very immature in how it is going to pan itself out. What is important is that it is an extension to the existing spectrum range that Maori has access to, so it doesn’t close Maori out to the future of the spectrum world,” Mr Osborne says.

The spectrum has allowed Hautaki to build a significant asset for Maori, through it's involvement in New Zealand Communications, which is building a mobile phone network.

GAMBLING WARNING FOR HOLIDAY SEASON

More than a third of Maori know someone in their household in trouble because to gambling.

The Gambling Helpline is encouraging people whose habit is getting out of control this Christmas to seek help from their wider whanau.

Krista Ferguson. the chief executive, says gambling can increase the normal financial and emotional stress at this time of the year.

Helpline's latest survey showed a lot of Maori at risk.

“Thirty eight percent of Maori knew someone in their household or wider family who’d got into trouble by gambling. That’s the highest of all the groups that were surveyed. It’s not just the financial damage but there is significant emotional damage going on, so you really need to use your whanau and the emotional support you can get that way,” Ms Ferguson says.

The Gambling Helpline can offer advice on how to seek that help from whanau.

CULTURAL COOKING GIVE MAORI ATTRACTION EXTRA

If you want to know a culture, get to know its food.

That's advice Charles Royal is acting on.

The Whanau Apanui chef is looking for ways to meet tourists' appetite for distinctively Maori cooking.

He oversees a garden at Rotorua's Te Puia Maori arts centre, where guides explain the history of the plants before guests head off for a feed of hangi flavoured with horopito, kawakawa and piko piko.

He says visitors want something different from the Pacific Rim cooking available in most restaurants, and that creates opportunity for Maori ventures.

“It's good now that people are interested because every Maori business can incorporate their style of Maori food and offer something different,” Charles Royal.

BREAKTHROUGH IN FORESHORE TALKS

Progress at last on foreshore and seabed claims

After three years of talks, Ngati Porou has won agreement on measures it believes will restore the mana of its hapu over the coast from Te Toka a Taiau just north of Gisborne to Potikirua or Lotton Point.

Its northern neighbour, Te Whanau a Apanui, is close to a similar agreement.

Api Mahuika, the chair of the Ngati Porou Runanga, says the direct involvement of Treaty Negotiations Minister Michael Cullen led to the breakthrough.

He says it will affect government departments and the Gisborne District Council.

“Such things as the Resource Management Act, the council’s plans, will have to change to accommodate this new piece of legislation or agreement that we have made. It also empowers our people to set up their own management committees and they can set bylaws concerning customary fishing areas,” Mr Mahuika says.

The agreement will need to be ratified by the High Court.

More than 90 percent of the land adjoining the coast is owned by Ngati Porou.

SCHOLARSHIP WINNER SEES NEED IN COUNTRY

One of the recipients of a Maori health scholarship is setting her sights on a rural general practice.

Kiri Wicksteed, from Tuhoe, Whakatohea and Tuwharetoa has one of the six Pegasus scholarships, which aim to get more Maori and Pacific Islanders into the sector.

The fourth year student at Christchurch School of Medicine says it means she can concentrate on her study without worrying about financial pressure.

She says her studies have made her more aware of Maori needs, particularly of having Maori doctors so Maori people feel more comfortable about going the doctor.

Ms Wicksteed says less then one percent of doctors in rural areas are Maori.

PRESSURE NEEDS TO STAY ON OVER UNIVERSITY ACCESS

Access to university study should be on the top of the Maori agenda next year.

Green MP Meteria Turei says the changes to the way the tertiary sector is funded could hinder Maori participation, because it doesn't reflect the fact Maori start at university later, after starting families and careers.

She says moves by university to restrict open access to courses in faculties like arts and education will hit Maori hard.

Ms Turei says Maori leaders stress the importance of education to enhance their people's prospects, so they could make it a hot political issue when Parliament resumes.

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