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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Te Kauhanganui flexes muscle

With assets now past the half billion dollar mark, Waikato-Tainui has slimmed down its governance structure.

The tribe's parliament, Te Kauhanganui, has scrapped its two executive system, adopted after the 1995 Raupatu claim settlement to emphasise the separation of social and commercial functions.

Chairperson Tukoroirangi Morgan says the imminent Waikato River settlement, which will put the tribe into a co-management arrangement with the Crown, has driven the changes.

“We just have now one executive body whose function is absolutely clear in terms of looking after the day to day governance responsibility over the tribe so you only have one executive body as opposed to two, the structure’s much simpler, there are some cost efficiencies to be had and the realignment gives better cohesion and facilitation with our other tribal entities, including our commercial companies,” Mr Morgan says.

The 193-member Te Kauhanganui will meet more often to manage its increased responsibilities.


Te Tau Ihu iwi are being encouraged to take part in developing a marine biosecurity strategy for the top of the South Island.

Consultant Peter Lawless says with its sheltered harbours and long coastline, the Marlborough Sounds are extremely vulnerable to invasive organisms.

Iwi have been invited onto a working group including the region's councils and port companies, Biosecurity New Zealand, the Ministry of Fisheries, Department of Conservation and marine farmers.

Mr Lawless says Maori can make a unique contribution to understanding how the marine environment works.

“We're finding that there’s a great alignment between the scientific understanding of ecology and concepts of wairua and mauri and preserving the health of the ecological systems so we see the top of the South Island iwi as being key stakeholders, holders of both interests in the marine environment and knowledge about it,” Mr Lawless says.

Te Tau Ihu iwi have interests in marine farming, fishing and tourism, all of which will be affected by unwanted marine organisms.


The author of a new book on the 28 Maori Battalion has turned to the Internet for design ideas.

Monty Souter is turning his oral history project on battalion history into a hardback with more than 1000 photographs.

He pulled together an eight-member design committee to work out how the book could be made accessible to their own cousins, whanau and iwi members.

“We took the whole idea of a website. The Maori reader will graze a book as opposed to reading it cover to cover and if you’ve got lots of pictures in it and lots of boxes where they can pick and choose, we think that’s the ideal way to get the information across. Pick things, rather than have to read it page by page,” Dr Souter ssays.

The book will be launched on Labour weekend.


Tainui has confirmed an anchor tenant for stage two of its retail complex at the former air force base in Te Rapa.

Farmers Trading Company has signed up to take almost a third of the 26,000 square metre mall.

Tainui chair Tukoroirangi Morgan says it caps another successful year for the tribe's commercial arm, Tainui Group Holdings.

“We will in the not too distant future begin to build a double storey mall larger than the only Westfield mall here in Hamilton at Chartwell so there are a number of key developments we are poised to take and the profits of the last financial year continues to hold the tribe in good stead,” Mr Morgan says.

The financial results, which are due for release in June, will show Tainui's assets have grown to about $600 million in the 13 years since its $170 million Raupatu Claim settlement.

Tainui this weekend agreed to major restructuring, including trimming down its executive committees and putting more power in the hands to its parliament, Te Kauhanganui.


The new trans-Tasman netball league has been slammed for failing to recognise its Maori and Polynesian player base.

Sports commentator Ken Laban says for too long Pakeha administrators have dominated codes with high Polynesian participation, such as touch, softball, rugby and league.

He says on a day to day level netball is strongly Polynesian, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the management of the new franchises.

“When you look closely at the general managers and leading executives in the sport, there’s not nearly enough representation of our people. That on the one hand is a reflection of some ignorance by the sport and also is a reflection I think that some of our people need to see themselves in those leadership roles and we need to do as much as we can to encourage them to move into those leadership roles,” Mr Laban says.

He says some of today's high profile Maori and Polynesian athletes need to start seeing themselves as future leaders in their codes.


This year's Miss Universe New Zealand runner up says she found the beauty pageant surreal after growing up in a Maori community.

Rhonda Grant isn't Maori, but going to a bilingual school and performing kapa haka made her a fluent speaker of te reo, and she's working towards a graduate Diploma in Maori Development.

She says her upbringing, and her mahi as a nutritionist and health coordinator for the Napier branch of the Heart Foundation, didn't prepare her for the world of glamour.

“Just so different form the world (where) I work with some low socioeconomic status people and it was just quite a different environment. I found it quite fake at times and I just had to remind myself just to be me because it could have been easy to try to be someone that I wasn't,” Ms Grant says.


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