Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, June 06, 2008

Warning as dairy success celebrated

Maori incorporations inspired by tonight's Ahuwhenua Trophy to switch to dairying are warned to go in with their eyes open.

Three operations are up for the title of Maori farmer of the year: Parekarangi Trust near Rotorua, Hauhungaroa Partnership's Taupo dairy unit and Dean and Kristen Nikora from Mangatewai Station in Hawkes Bay.

Awards committee chair Kingi Smiler, the former head of 2005 winner Te Pouakani, says many Maori landowners are looking at the high payouts for dairy products.

But he says it's not an easy business to succeed in.

“One has to be careful they are not just following a trend because certainly the cost structures also have gone up significantly in terms of fertilizer, fuel and labour costs which are roughly 80 percent of the total cost structure. They have probably gone up 30 to 40 percent in one year,” Smiler says.

The Ahuwhenua Trophy will be awarded at the Energy Event Centre in Rotorua tonight.


Maori riders and volunteers will be among the hundreds marking 25 years of the Ambury Park Centre for Riding Therapy this weekend.

The centre was established to in the south Auckland farm park to cater for people with disabilities.

Manager Anne Houston says these days it works with a wide range of people who can benefit from forming a working relationship with a horse.

There will be a fund-raising dinner tonight and an event for riders, volunteers and supporters tomorrow.


Tairawhiti Museum is marking the Maori new year by celebrating the East Coast's strong Maori creative sector.

Nga Rama e Whitu : Seven Bright Lights looks at the work of seven businesses with links to the region including Jack Gray Dance, Mauriora Productions, Metia Interactive and ta moko artist Mark Kopua.

Mr Kopua says the exhibition will include sessions where the artists, dancers and designers try to advise and inspire up and coming artists how to turn their hobbies into businesses.

He says Maori contemporary artists are continually dipping back into the traditional arts for ideas, inspiration and motivation.


Maori organisations are being invited to invest in a third mobile phone network.

Bill Osborne from New Zealand Communications says four percent of the company is now on offer to Maori trusts and companies, to bring the total Maori shareholding back up to 20 percent.

It has also taken on board British, Honk Kong and American investors with experience in building third and fourth mobile network operators in mature markets.

Mr Osborne says as well as using spectrum held by the Maori spectrum trust, the company intends to maintain a visible Maori presence.

“They see cultural aspects of Maori being very valuable to the values in the new business and they also see Maori as a very important partner in developing the opportunity in New Zealand and so they would like to see the Maori investment stay there. I would certainly like to keep the Mari investment up at 20- percent. I think it’s good for Maori, it’s good for New Zealand,” Mr Osborne says.

He says Maori organisations are more comfortable with land-based investments, and it may take a while for them to see the value in spectrum and network development.


A familiar figure round Tamaki Makaurau will be honoured this weekend.

Ngati Whatua is holding a special dinner on Sunday for kaumatua Takutai Wikiriwhi, to acknowledge his contribution to the iwi and celebrate the Queens Service Order he received in the New Year's honours list.

Grant Hawke, the chair of Ngati Whatua o Orakei, says the man known to many as Uncle Doc has been a steadying influence over the past two decades as the hapu has taken a prominent role in the affairs of Auckland city.

His deep understanding of tikanga and karakia has made him a walking wananga for whanau keen to learn the history of Ngati Whatua nui- tonu.

He says Rev. Wikiriwhi has worked not just with Orakei but with Kaipara Ngati Whatua as well.


New Zealand Post has released a set of stamps marking the Maori new year.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says it's a powerful acknowledgement of the growing importance of Matariki.

He says it's also recognition that New Zealanders are becoming more comfortable with Maori concepts.

“This is putting Maori right up front in mainstream New Zealand. They’re beautiful stamps. But what it really is is recognition of Maori culture and significance of a totally Maori festival as being relevant for all New Zealand,” Dr Sharples says.


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