Waatea News Update

News from Waatea 603 AM, Urban Maori radio, first with Maori news

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, April 07, 2008

New skills needed for free trade workplace

The Maori vice president of the Council of Trade Unions says the free trade agreement with China highlights the need to upskill the Maori and Polynesian workforce.

Sharon Clair is in Beijing as part of the delegation signing the historic agreement.

She says while the deal has the potential to create jobs her in the primary produce and tourism sectors, it could lead to further pressure on manufacturing, where there is a concentration of Maori and Pacific Island workers.

She says the CTU wants a nationwide strategy to address the risk.

“Been pushing at the CTU for a national strategy which is about investment in skills for the Maori and Pacific workforce. We’re becoming a knowledge economy and we need to know that our skills can be transferred into other work areas,” Ms Clair says.

OFFICIALS SCRAMBLE TO KEEP UP WITH TREATY PACE

It's all go in the treaty sector as officials scramble to keep pace with the new minister for treaty negotiations.

Ben Dalton, the chief executive of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust, says the proposed $400 million Central North Island forestry settlement is just one of the negotiations Michael Cullen has fired up since taking the job.

The trust has so far spent more than $1.6 million funding all the iwi involved in the CNI collective, whose claims cover more than half the forest land licensed by the trust.

Mr Dalton says after years of frustration, both Crown and Maori feel progress can be made under Dr Cullen.

“Everybody is full pelt on this. All resources are totally committed to keeping pace with the direction he’s heading in. My riding instructions from our board were stick within the trust deed but be as flexible and as responsive as we can,” he says.

Mr Dalton says while there is a need for speed, the Trust and the Crown also have to make sure the assets go back to the right groups.

HURIA POUKAI HITS HALF CENTURY

Taurangamoana iwi Ngati Rangitihi is celebrating a half century of close links with the Kingitanga.

More than 300 people including King Tuheitia attended the fiftieth Taurangamoana poukai at Huria Marae on Saturday.

A highlight was the launch of a book about the connection.

Co-author Tracey Ngatoko says Te Mahuritanga o te Poukai acknowledges the contribution of scholar Maharaia Winiata, a former secretary to the King movement, who led the building of the house Tamatea pokaiwhenua on the marae and is buried in its shadow.

“We sort of start off with what the Kingitanga movement’s about and its significance to Ngati Ranginui as a whole, and in the times of Te Karehana, for Taurangamoana wide, the relation ship that Maharaia Winiata had with Tainui and Tainui with him and how those links are still maintained today,” Ms Ngatoko says.

The book includes many rare historical photos of Tainui and Taurangamoana elders.

EEL FISHERY RIPE FOR HARVEST

A member of the trust responsible for helping Maori in freshwater fisheries believes Maori are poised to dominate the sector.

Morrie Love says pan-iwi settlement conglomerate Aotearoa Fisheries already owns most of the eel processing capability, and Maori fishers have strong interests in both the commercial and customary take.

He says many quota holders are nearing retirement age, and could exit the industry in the next few years.

“If iwi are smart now, they’ll look at getting full control on the commercial sector by getting both the quota interest, part of which they get through the settlement, others they’ll need to buy, plus taking over the catching sector,” Mr Love says.

That level of control means iwi would be in control of making decisions about whether balancing commercial and customary harvest for long term sustainability.

Maori fishers are in Napier today and tomorrow for the third annual Maori fisheries conference, Ta Matau a Maui.

TRADE DEAL COULD SPELL END OF MANUFACTURING JOBS

A union organiser is picking Maori and Pacific Island manufacturing workers to be the big losers from the free trade deal with China.

John Minto from low income workers' union Unite says since tariffs were lifted on imported Chinese goods in the mid 1990s, more than 50,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost.

He says the agreement signed in Beijing today will encourage New Zealand manufacturers to move their businesses offshore chasing cheaper labour.

“Instead of people making shoes, we end up with jobs stacking the shelves of The Warehouse with shoes from China, so we go from relatively well paid jobs for people to low paid jobs in the retail and the service sector, and that impacts disproportionately on Maori and Pacific workers in New Zealand,” Mr Minto says.

IKIN TAKES UP NUMBER TWO ROLE AT WAIARIKI

Waiariki Institute of Technology has a new number two.

Keith Ikin, from Ngati Maniapoto, has taken up the role of deputy chief executive of one of the largest tertiary institutions in the country with campuses in Taupo, Tokoroa, Whakatane and Rotorua.

The former broadcaster with more than half its students being Maori, the polytechnic needs to be aware of the needs of iwi as they move towards a post-settlement environment.

“For most iwi, education is a big part of that, so we’re now having some really meaningful discussions with iwi directly on what they see as their priorities for tertiary education and as a tertiary institution if we want to be up with the play, we’ve got to align ourselves with what iwi want for the future,” Mr Ikin says.

Waiariki Institute of Technology wants to get more of its Maori students into higher-level qualifications, rather than preparing them for the forest floor or the milking shed.

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