Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, June 29, 2009

Judicious pruning of log company's balance sheet

A Northland Maori forestry scheme is being hailed as a success, despite needing a government bail-out.

Treasury has written down its loans to Taitokerua Forests by $37 million.

Company secretary Warwick Syers says low current log prices threatened to push the company into insolvency, and the restructured balance sheet means the company has enough credit to last until harvesting is completed in 2023.

He says the company was formed in the 1980s by the owners of 14 Maori blocks who were encouraged by Maori Affairs officials to plant pine on undeveloped land.

He says it’s been constructive for the owners and the region.

“As part of the forestry right arrangement, the company y, who holds the forestry right, has paid the rates on the land on behalf of the landowners, and they have received a rental on the land, which probably isn’t quite as high as the return they would have received if they had run beef on the land but it would probably be getting up towards that level,” Mr Syers says.

The company was only set up for one rotation, but some owners may choose to replant after harvest, or let the land revert to bush to avoid carbon penalties.


Treaty negotiator Sir Douglas Graham says it’s over to Maori to decide whether or not they want to accept a $180.5 deal to settle treaty claims in the Tamaki area.

The former National Party minister responsible for brokering both the Tainui and Ngai Tahu deals has been working with five major tribal groupings with competing interests in Tamaki Makaurau this year.

Sir Douglas says hopefully his proposal will get around criticism from other iwi of the deal previously negotiated with Ngati Whatua o Orakei one of the tribal groups.

“So we have to deal with them all, all at the same time, and that’s quite an undertaking but I‘ve done my best. I’ve put up a proposal for them to consider and it’s totally transparent and I hope easy to follow and it’s really up to them to decide now if they wish to enter into negotiations to see if they can all get to an agreement in principle or if they would prefer to leave it,” Sir Douglas says.

To recognise overlapping interests, 11 hapu from different tribes will gain membership to a new entity to work with local councils to manage 11 cones including Maungakiekie One Tree Hill, Maungawhau Mt Eden and Rangitoto.


The first Maori Fashion Awards were held in Wellington on the weekend and the overall winner, Wiremu Baribal, was unaware his win would take him all the way to Toronto.

Event co ordinator, Ata Te Kanawa, says the Titahi Bay designer, impressed the judges with his collection of shoes ,sunglasses and sportswear.

Ms Te Kanawa, from Ngati Maniapoto, says Wiremu's label Te Ake will represent Aotearoa in Toronto at the Planet Indigenous Festival Fashion show in August.

“He was so worried about his entry in the established section that he didn’t really read the website properly and was totally unaware there was an overall prize package which will see him presenting in Toronto,” Ms Te Kanawa says.

Pieter Stewart, founder of New Zealand Fashion Week was one of the judges alongside Georgina Te Heu Heu, Kyla Russell, Simon Wi Rutene and Liz Mellish.


Treaty negotiator Sir Douglas Graham says the proposal he has put up to sort out competing tribal interests in the greater Auckland area is a novel approach to treaty settlement.

Sir Douglas hopes his $180.5 million settlement proposal, which has cabinet approval, will gain the support of the five major tribal groupings with competing interests in Tamaki Makaurau and get around criticism of the previous deal between the crown and Ngati Whatua o Orakei, one of the tribal groups.

“It’s quite a different type of negotiation from the usual ones where you go off and sort of close the door behind you and talk for months and hopefully there will be some sort of settlement. That wouldn’t work here. Each one would be off to the tribunal complaining bitterly that they were being overlooked so the only way to handle it is to really say let’s try something novel, let’s be totally open and the first person to be totally open should be the Crown,” Sir Douglas says.

To recognise overlapping interests, 11 hapu from different tribes will gain membership to a new entity which will work with local councils to manage 11 cones including Maungakiekie One Tree Hill, Maungawhau Mt Eden and Rangitoto.


A Tainui leader says Gerrard Otimi's confusing tikanga by creating his own hapu and then trying to adopt Pacific islanders into it under the guise of whangai.

Dr Tui Adams says whangai is when you care for people at your own expense, not theirs. He says for Otimi to gain financially is unusual.

Dr Adams says like anyone, Otimi, from Ngati Maniapoto, is entitled to create his own whanau and how it is made up, however to create this own hapu is a cultural inaccuracy.

“He's created a hapu under the mantle of his own whanau. It’s not a hapu he’s creating. He couldn’t create a hapu. A hapu is whakapapa driven. He has his view but it’s certainly not the view of the rest of us,” Dr Adams says.

He has not heard of the Okahukurapukekauwhatawhataarangi hapu Otimi created.

Gerrard Otimi was charged with three counts of deception last week relating to the sale of visa stamps to Pacific Island overstayers, who Otimi says have been adopted into his hapu.


French officials are expected to make a decision today on a new bill to return a collection of mokomokai to New Zealand.

A summary of the draft bill, which is due to be debated by the senate in Paris, says the Maori heads that are still dispersed in European and US museums have a history that harks back to the worst hours of colonialism.

Reports say France has around 15 heads including eight at the Quai Branly museum in Paris.

Maori Heritage Council deputy chairman Waaka Vercoe was involved with the repatriation of nine Mokomokai from Aberdeen University in Scotland in 2007.

“The Maori people would like their taonga back, to have them back in their own country to respect the wishes of those people,” Mr Vercoe says.

France's culture ministry blocked the return of a Maori chief's head from a museum in Rouen to Te Papa Tongarewa museum last year because it feared there would repercussions for the country's collection of Egyptian mummies.


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