Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, September 12, 2008

Committee head explains Maori bank veto

The chair of Parliament's Maori Affairs select committee is critical of the way the Minister of Maori Affairs tried to ram through plans for a Maori bank.

The committee has stripped out sections of the Maori Trustee Amendment Bill which would have put $35 million dollars of the trustee's accumulated profits into a new statutory corporation, Maori Business Aotearoa New Zealand.

Dave Hereora says while there was extensive consultation on the bulk of the bill, which aims to give the Maori Trustee independence from Te Puni Kokiri, the bank idea was slipped in later.

The committee wasn't convinced it would work.

“If we're considering the intentions around it, and that’s to enhance Maori economic development, the proposed financial benchmark for the corporation, some people felt it wasn’t quite enough, and if that was going to be the case, we need to give serious consideration to how sustainable the corporation was going to be,” Mr Hereora says.

The amended bill will be reported back so it can be considered by the next Parliament.


Wellington's Eru Pomare research centre is looking at the effect of job-loss on health among a predominantly Maori workforce.

Researcher Jordan Waiti says the study is comparing mortality rates, hospital admissions and cancer registrations among those made redundant from the Oringi, Whakatu and Tomoana Freezing Works with those who stayed employed.

He says the works are vital to their communities.

“Oringi freezing works closed two or three months ago. The earlier closers of Whatakatu and Tomoana, those little towns were built around those freezing works so your uncles, your koro, and for a lot of families there would have been three or four generations running through those freezing works,” Mr Waiti says.

Earlier studies have shown sudden job loss can lead to the stress of closures and unemployment can lead to mental health problems and an increase in self harm.


A Ngai Tahu man has been selected to boost the presence of the Human Rights Commission in Te Waipounamu.

Richard Tankersley, who has a background in mental health, now leads the team at the Glenelg Children's Health Camp, as well as being an Anglican lay minister.

He's the first South island-based commissioner, and says the networks he has built up among both Maori and Pakeha in the region will be valuable in his new role.

He's been given his riding instructions by the chief commissioner, Roslyn Noonan.

“She was hoping that the issues of South Island people would be easier to bring to the commission table with there being a commissioner based in the South Island, and I look forward to that,” Mr Tankersley says.

He's looking forward to developing projects at the Human Rights Commission which draw on his background and skills.


Nelson-based Wakatu Incorporation is planning to take a leadership position in the aquaculture industry.

Chief executive Keith Palmer says it's bought 80 hectares at the Glen just east of Nelson, on which it intends to build a $10 million dollar complex of hatcheries for finfish and mussel spat, research laboratories and education and tourism facilities.

It's seeking to get the National Institute for Water and Atmosphere and the Cawthorn Institute involved, as well as other commercial operators.

Mr Palmer says despite government pledges that it become a billion dollar industry, aquaculture has stalled at about $300 million.

“Someone's got to get in and give it a push. Also you’ve got the government’s Fast Forward scientific grant, you have to be organised on an industry basis to access that, so we feel if we can get the industry together, give it the leadership, create a tangible base which is the land with water and access, then we’ve got a good chance of getting those research funds we need to move forward,” Mr Palmer says.

It will probably take two or three years to get resource consents for what Wakatu is calling the Horoirangi Project.


Auckland Maori are gearing up to show their tribal pride in the Iwi of Origin series.

The one day sports event in Northcote at the end of the month will pit teams from 13 iwi in touch rugby, netball, golf and waka ama.

Wiremu Mato, the kaiwhakahaere of Harbour Sport, says a new event this year is the amazing race, which involves teams of six navigating around North Shore City and completing tasks like spinning potaka or tops and performing hand games.

He says Iwi of Origin is an urban variant of the increasingly popular Pa Wars concept.

“For people like myself from Ngati Porou licving in Auckland, you travel back a long way to go to those pa wars, and so I talked to a few people about how we could bring it here to Auckland, and hence the first Iwi of Origin which was last year,” Mr Mato says.

Harbour Sport is passing the baton to Counties Manukau Sport to host next year’s iwi of Origin in South Auckland.


A Maori rugby league legend is praising Warriors’ utility Lance Hohaia ahead of this weekend's play-off clash with the Melbourne Storm.

A loss to the minor premiers playing at their home ground in Melbourne would end the Warriors’ season.

Richie Barnett, a former Kiwi captain, played at fullback in both the NRL and the UK league.

He says the Waikato player has stepped up to whatever challenge the Warriors have thrown at him this season, including at fullback, where he has no previous experience.

Barnett says Lance Hohaia has been very tidy at fullback since the New Zealand franchise lost Wade McKinnon to injury and then suspension.


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