Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tainui confirms $65m airport hotel deal

The head of Tainui Group Holdings says the tribe's investment in a $65 million hotel at Auckland Airport has been made for purely commercial reasons.

Tainui Group Holdings, Auckland International Airport and French hotel operator Accor Hospitality plant to have the 260-room Novotel open in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Mike Pohio says Tainui can draw on its experience developing and running the Novotel and Ibis hotels in Hamilton.

He says even though it's a high-status project, the money counts for more than the mana.

“Looking at the skills, experience, assets that we have and making long term investments that have solid cash flows that provide dividends to our shareholder, that’s what this is about for us. The added benefits come from infusing those connections and heritage into the developments,” Mr Pohio says,

Tainui Group Holdings will fund the project with a mix of equity and debt, and has already received positive responses from lending banks.


The Minister of Maori Affairs says trade training worked for a generation of young Maori men and can work again.

Pita Sharples today launched a new Maori skills development programme which industry training organisation InfraTrain, in partnership with Te Puni Kokiri, will roll out over the next year in Auckland, Northland, Waikato, East Coast and Hawkes Bay.

He says there is a demand from Maori communities for a return to trade-focused training.

“Those guys that went on the trade training programmes in the 60s and 70s particularly have done well because that was the time when you went to work and everyone was expected to be at work and they made a career and a life for themselves and their families, so this is coming up again, we’ve got to do the same this time,” Dr Sharples says.

The 250 trainees will be ready for jobs in the infrastructure projects which the government is planning.


A doctor behind a new home cardiac rehabilitation programme says involving whanau is the key to wellness.

George Gray says Te Hotu Manawa Maori's Heart Guide Aotearoa programme trains nurses to deliver home based services to people with heart problems.

He says social support is more effective and the patient's better when the whole whanau is involved.

“These are the people who can motivate the participant, who can take them t other appointments with specialists and help them with maintaining an approved diet or exercise programme,” Dr Gray says.

Maori don't respond well to conventional clinic-based approaches, which have a focus on education and individual participation.


The head of Te Puni Kokiri says a new trade training programme is taking what worked in the past and updating it for today's conditions.

Industry training organisation InfraTrain is taking 250 Maori trainees and teaching them what they need to get jobs on some of the infrastructure projects the government is promoting.

Leith Comer says in putting together the initiative, Te Puni Kokiri talked to people who learned their trades through the Department of Maori Affairs in the 1960s and 70s.

He says the recipe for success was keen rangatahi, good trainers and a goal at the end.

“What I think is really important is that we are preparing people for an industry that’s going to happen. Often we prepare our people for industries that are just about to close. So that’s why it’s a really good day," Mr Comer says.

He says being able to put food on the table is a great boost to self esteem.


The Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector says Maori could benefit from the Community Internship Programme.

This year $420,000 has been allocated to 17 non-profit and grassroots organisations to take on skilled professionals from the government, private and community sectors for short term roles.

Tariana Turia says the idea is to improve understanding and collaboration among the three sectors.

She says it's a scheme which can appeal to Maori working in the state sector.

“The kind of skills that they’ve developed over the years are very important skills and particularly more so as we get our assets back and begin to manage them and some of them have been working of course in the area of community development so they could play a critical role,” Mrs Turia says.

The next funding round closes September 14.


Collaboration between Massey University and tangata whenua could clean up Tauranga harbour.

The Foundation for Research Science and Technology is giving the Taha Moana project $6.6 million over six years.

Project leader Raewyn Bennett says scientists will work with hapu groups to study issues like the effects of sedimentation on waterways and coastline, improving kaimoana stock and cleaning up recreational areas.

She says Paheha often don't see past the way the area looks.

“From the hapu's perspective it’s about their relationship that has been interfered with by sedimentation taking over the place and it has not only caused a problem for their kaimoana, it’s about sandy beaches where they used to play, it’s about other taonga,” Ms Bennett says.

The budget includes up to $40,000 a year for hapu members working on the Taha Moana project to study at Massey at post-graduate level.


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