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Monday, November 24, 2008

Te Tau Ihu Report gives iwi their say

The eight iwi of Te Tau Ihu are welcoming a Waitangi Tribunal report on land dealing at the top of the South Island.

Representatives from Ngati Apa, Ngati Koata, Ngati Kuia, Ngati Rarua, Ngati Tama, Ngati Toa, Te Atiawa and Rangitane received the report at Whakatu Marae in Nelson on Saturday.

Roma Hippolite, who chairs Ngati Koata, says the tribes are grateful they have finally been able to have their say.

“We believe that the tribunal has done an excellent job of trying to work through all the issues that were raised. I think all the iwi at the top of the south are pleased, but no one fully happy. I think there’s a little bit that each of us thinks is missed or has been lost, but overall it’s a good record of events that occurred,” Mr Hippolite says.

The iwi are already in direct negotiations, but there's no firm timetable for settlement given the election changes who is on the Crown's side of the table.

MILK PRICE CUT AFFECTS LARGEST MAORI FARMER

The largest Maori dairy farmer expects to weather a downturn in milk prices, but it may have to curtail spending.

Fonterra has announced a further cut in this year's expected pay-out to $6 a kilo of milk solids.

Paraninihi ki Waitotara Incorporation milks 7000 cows on 13 farms around Taranaki, making it one of Fonterra's biggest suppliers.

Ranald Gordon, its general manager farming, says PKW puts in new milking sheds and other infrastructure when it buys back a lease, so its 50-50 sharemilkers can be highly productive.

“PKW's pretty well structured, so when you get a low or a flat spot in payout, we just carry on and provide the necessary inputs to maintain productivity and just curtail a bit of capital expenditure,” Mr Gordon says.

The change in farm economics will affect PKW's ability to buy back leases, as the individual units must to be able to service the debt taken on to buy them.

BREAKERS CAN GO ALL THE WAY

The New Zealand Breakers are looking good to go all the way in the Australian National Basketball League... according to Maori sports commentator Te Kauhoe Wano.

The Auckland-based franchise now sit in the number one spot after winning three games on the road, the last unseating top-of-the-table Souths Dragons.

Mr Wano says winning NBL seasons will require continued strong performances by second tier players like senior Breaker point guard Paul Henare.

“He is the glue, very consistent, very rarely turns the ball over, brings the ball up strongly, feeds it off well, he’s just an awesome player as a backup when CJ needs to go off, but is he could score a few more points he would be even be better,” Mr Wano says.

REPORT WILL FIRE UP TOP OF SOUTH NEGOTIATIONS

Te Tu Ihu tribes are facing a leap into the unknown.

On Saturday the eight iwi at the top of the South Island received the Waitangi Tribunal's report on their historic claims.

They still have to negotiate with the Crown over compensation.

Roma Hippolite, from Ngati Koata, says they made a good start with Labour's treaty minister Michael Cullen.

“He took this portfolio by the horns, give it a good old shake, and took the response of ‘why can’t we settle?’ rather than a negative one, and it was actually refreshing to work with him. I think we will lose a lot with him not being there,” Mr Hippolite says.

The iwi are looking forward to meeting National's treaty negotiations minister, Chris Finlayson, and hope he can set a similar pace.

DON’T GET COCKIE ON PRICE, FARMERS WARNED

Paraninihi ki Waitotara Incorporation is warning it won't be rushed into buying up leases in the current economic climate.

PKW owns about 20,000 hectares through Taranaki, but 90 percent is leased out in 299 separate leases.

It milks 7000 cows on the blocks it has control of, making it one of the country's largest dairy farmers.

Farming manager Ranald Gordon says the cut in Fonterra's milk fat payout to $6 a kilogram will make it hard to pick up leases when they become available, because at current farm prices the payout won't service the loans.

“I recently spoke to a meeting of lessees and said just that. We will only pay current market value for the leasehold interests, a fair value. We will not pay in excess of current market value and we will not underpin the sales market for lessees’ interests,” Mr Gordon says.

Paraninihi ki Waitotara has a right of first refusal to buy leases at the price agreed with a third party ... but if that price is too high it won't exercise the right.

TE RANGI HIROA CELEBRATED WITH YOUTH THEME

Ngati Mutunga this weekend held a celebration of the life and work of Te Rangi Hiroa, the early 20th century doctor, politician and anthropologist also known as Sir Peter Buck.

This year's theme was youth leadership, with Te Araroa-based Marcus Akuhata-Brown from Tukaha Global Consultancy sharing his vision of youth development as community development.

Organiser Ngaropi Cameron says the annual event at Urenui Marae has become a gathering point not only for Ngati Mutunga and Taranaki iwi but for Pakeha as well.

“We open it to the wider community because Te Rangi Hiroa was a man of the world be he’s also of course the first Maori doctor educated here in theis country. We use it as a catalyst to bring people back. Part of his legacy as a tupuna is to use it as a gathering point, as a reason to come together for something other than a tangi,” Mrs Cameron says.

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