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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Native Americans pass on business tips to iwi

Representatives of the Comanche, Choctaw and Seminole tribes will today share some of their thoughts on economic development with Maori iwi and business leaders.

They're the main draw at the Navigating Our Future economic summit at Hopuhopu, Hosted by Waikato-Tainui.

Tukoroirangi Morgan, the chair of Tainui's Te Ara Taura executive, the North Americans will have valuable insights for iwi who are learning to work together to increase the value of their settlement assets.

“We've assembled some of the most successful Indian owned corporations that make a company like Fonterra look very small. The Choctaw Corporation is a multi-billion dollar business. The Seminoles spent nearly $2 billion buying the Hard Rock Café worldwide. These are people with huge capacity. These are people who think like us,” Mr Morgan says.

He hopes the summit will help iwi position themselves to bid for strategic assets if the Government resumes privatisation.

TOBACCO INQUIRY COULD LEAD INDIGENOUS WORLD EFFORT

The director of Maori anti-tobacco group Te Reo Marama says a Maori affairs select committee enquiry into the tobacco industry will have global implications for tobacco control.

Shane Bradbrook says indigenous communities have suffered disproportionately from the effects of smoking, and next year's inquiry will be a chance to hold the industry to account.

He has already picked up interest from Australian Aboriginal groups.

“There's a parliament there. They have indigenous affairs. So maybe it will open the door around the possibility of holding the tobacco industry accountable via those measures as well. The Maori affairs committee is leading here, but they can also be seen as global leaders,” Mr Bradbrook says.

SINKING LID POLICY HELPFUL IN TACKLING MAORI GAMBLING

Gambling addiction specialists are welcoming Waitakere City's decision to put a sinking lid on the number of gambling machines allowed in west Auckland.

Zoe Hawke from Hapai Te Hauora says easy access to gambling machines is driving the boom in gambling in low income areas like Waitakere and Manukau City.

She says many of the 6000 submissions on the issue came from Maori who see the damage gambling is doing to whanau and community.

Zoe Hawke says the number of pokie machines is starting to come down in Manukau, which has had a sinking lid policy for a year.

HARBOUR DREDGING PLAN COULD SPELL END OF PIPI BEDS

Tauranga Maori are objecting to Port of Tauranga's plan to deepen the harbour to fit giant container ships.

The company intends to spend up to $70 million dredging 15 million cubic meters of sand and dumping it at sea.

Colin Bidois, the chair of Te Runanganui o Tauranga Moana, says Maori fear the harbour's kaimoana may eventually be lost through pollution.

He says they must weigh up the loss of traditional pipi beds against the economic benefits of the port becoming the first in the country able to handle the next generation of super sized ships.

“We have been losing little by little over many years a lot of our taonga and though it may seem a small thing, when all these small things are added up they add up to a very big thing,” Mr Bidois aays.

Port spokesperson Tony Reynish says Port of Tauranga has offered to relocate the pipi beds using divers.

MAORI VOICE NEEDED ON EMISSIONS TRADING SCHEME

Greens co-leader Meteria Turei say Maori need to make their views heard on the Government's emission trading scheme.

She says despite the Maori Party's support, Maori as they will fare badly from National's changes.

She says the scheme transfers wealth from the public to big business polluters, diverting taxes which would have otherwise gone to providing public services.

“Maori communities are still going to be paying. The system doesn’t do anything for them. And it doesn’t do anything for Maori foresters either which is a big issue because we have so much Maori land that is marginal, where there is real opportunity in growing forest for carbon storage that will attract credits and an income and that has been strangled by this government and the Maori Party support for this particular ETS,” Ms Turei says.

As the Maori party have only promised support for the first reading, Maori groups need to tell the select committee how they will be affected.

BIG DAY FOR MAORI FASHION SHOW

Maori designers take the catwalk today at the first MiroModa Air New Zealand Fashion Week showcase.

The eight designers came through the MiroModa Maori fashion award earlier this year, and they're keen to make the step up.

Shane Hansen, who won the print section with his t-shirts with tiki and tui designs, says in the past many Maori-themed items have been cheaply made, with little thought going into the overall design.

“The whole thing of this foundation is to lift the quality of Maori design. People are getting access to our culture in a less threatening way and being more embracing of it,” he says.

The MiroModa Showcase is in the Westpac Tent on Auckland's viaduct from 1 o'clock.

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