Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dairy farm challenge for Ahuwhenua Trophy

It's time for Maori dairy farmers to put their best foot forward as they compete for the Ahuwhenua Trophy for Maori excellence in farming.

Organising committee member Peter Charlton says he's looking for a dozen good farms to send the judges to.

He says the competition, which was revived several years ago, is helping raise the standard of Maori farming as farmers and trusts share knowledge and pick up on best practice.

“Most exciting is the development of newer and bigger properties and the fact Maori farmers are now capable of holding their head as high as some of the better Pakeha farmers, and our aim really is to encourage Maori farmers to become the top farmers,” Mr Charlton says.

The judging process will involve field days with the regional finalists, with the winner getting up to $40,000 in cash and farm-related products and services.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says a deal with National on changes to the emissions trading scheme is close.

The party and the Iwi Leaders Group have been conducting parallel negotiations, using the same consultants.

It's expected to include provision for some iwi to plant trees on conservation land to compensate for what they lose in the value of forests bought as part of previous treaty settlements.

Mrs Turia says criticism the party has turned its back on ordinary Maori is ill-founded.

“With the petrol we managed to talk the government into reducing the amount by 50 percent that they were going to raise it by, and also the electricity costs. Those things will have a huge impact on our day to day whanau,” Mrs Turia says.

She says the scheme passed by the previous Labour government would have compromised the economy because New Zealand does not have the technology to control most of its agricultural emissions.


The organiser of the Maori sports tamariki ora day is making big plans for Rugby World Cup year.

This year's get together for Maori language students happens today at Te Kura Kaupapa o Mangere, and is being run on a top town format.

Dick Garrett from Ngai Tuhoe says he's got something special planned for 2011, with the kura involved representing each of the countries in the cup.


Associate health Minister Tariana Turia wants to see nationwide screening of Maori, Pacific Islanders and other ethnic groups that are genetically predisposed to diabetes.

Mrs Turia, who has type 2 diabetes herself, says overweight people with severe diabetes should also get free surgery because they are likely to have heart attacks,

“I’ve only learned since I got it myself that indigenous races clearly have a gene that means the majority of them will get diabetes at some point in their life,” Mrs Turia says.

Such screening may not be possible immediately because health dollars are scarce, but she's urging Maori to go and get themselves tested now.


A Far North iwi is looking forward to the chance to grow kumara that pre-date the Treaty of Waitangi.

The plants were brought back from research facilities in Japan 20 years ago by the late Dell Wihongi, but initial efforts to cultivate them around the motu had limited success.

Haami Piripi from Te Rarawa says there's another push to re-establish the plants, so that the diversity of the species is maintained.

“We're putting a system in place where we can make sure each variety is planted and nurtured to enable us top determine how well it grows in this area. We will work out the types that grow best here and then we will make the kumara available to Maori whanau on a sort of customary basis to keep it alive for the taonga that it is,” Mr Piripi says

In future the kumara could be grown commercially.


The National Maritime Museum of Australia is defending its purchase of a Maori whalebone patu picked up during Captain Cook's second expedition to the Pacific.

It is one of three rare clubs known as the Omai relics collected in 1774 by Tobias Furneaux, the captain of the Adventure.

They were bought from a private Australian colllection with help from a $100,000 grant from Australia's Arts Minister Peter Garrett.

Maritime Museum curator Nigel Erskine says it's legitimate the taonga be in Australia rather than Aotearoa.

“In many cases we know that these things were traded. Foe example we know that with the Tonga clubs we have historical reference to trading going on with the European goods, beads, nails, iron axes, all of these things being traded for food and also these ethnographic objects and though we have no direct proof, there’s no textural reference where it refers to the collecting of the patu, we believe it was a similar sort of circumstance,” Mr Erskine says.

The museum hopes the patu will open a door in Australia to Maori culture.


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