Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Seeka deal creates opportunity for Maori growers

The chief executive of Tauranga Maori kiwfruit company Te Awanui Hukapak says amalgamation with the region's biggest processor will allow shareholders to benefit from changes in the sector.

Hemi Rolleston says by joining with Seeka Kiwifruit Industries, the company started 25 years ago by a group of Maori land trusts goes from processing 5 percent of the crop to 25 percent.

He says the added size means it can take advantage of new varieties and new ways of going to market, including bringing more Maori land into production.

“When you're investing in new developments you certainly need a partner and we’ve been doing it with a lot of our Maori orchards but we’re getting a little too small in terms of scale in able to finance some of these transactions and Seeka has a history of assisting Maori orchards and joint ventures to develop the land so we think there are some exciting opportunities for Maori to create economic development and employment and utilise our land so it ticks a lot of boxes there,” Mr Rolleston says.

The $24 million deal includes provision for Te Awanui to continue marketing kiwifruit overseas under its own brand.


The Maori Party will try to get Maori representatives on polytechnic councils through the back door.

The party failed this week to get an amendment to the government's polytechnic reforms, and withdrew its support as the bill was passed with ACT's support.

The bill scraps dedicated seats for Maori and other stakeholders on polytechnic councils.

Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell says as associate education minister, party co-leader Pita Sharples gets another chance to influence how the new law is implemented.

“We are hopeful of working behind the scenes with the minister to set up some rules that say if you are going to have ministerial appointments then the ministerial appointments that appoint up the rest of everyone else on the councils, then we need to put some rules there that say they must give consideration to ensuring that mana whenua or Maori are represented on the council,” Mr Flavell says

He says polytech councils need Maori on board so Maori training needs are catered for.


There'll be only a smidgeon of Christmas cake for members of the national Maori touch squads chosen to contest the world indigenous touch tournament in Rotorua late next month.

Carol Ngawati from Maori Touch says the three open teams chosen at last weekend's nationals will be up against the best in the Pacific as they vie with Australian Khoori, Cook Islands and Chinese squads for the world title.

The Maori tournament attracted 80 teams, with strong growth in younger grades as well.

The World Indigenous Touch tournament starts on January 27.


The Maori Council is rejecting criticism from ACT that its fourth generation spectrum claim was a waste of time and money.

ACT economic spokesperson Sir Roger Douglas says instead of going to the Waitangi Tribunal, the council and fellow claimants Nga Kaiwhakapumau i te Reo and Graham Everton should address issues like Maori educational under-achievement.

Jim Nichols, the council's deputy chair, says the former Laour finance minister's recipe for Maori development is a proven failure.

“When he was in government, they made no effect at all in the changing of the Maori economic position. The spectrum can make a very significant contribution to Maori well being in terms of education and the significant influence that Maori television and Maori broadcasting has had talking Maori into the lounges of people throughout the country,” Mr Nichols says.

He says the claimants are being forced back to the Waitangi Tribunal because the Crown is yet again making decisions about resources in which there is a proven treaty interest without properly consulting its treaty partner.

The Waitangi Tribunal will hold a hearing on the claim in late January.


Associate health minister Tariana Turia says her policy of whanau ora isn't hard to understand.

Families Commission head Jan Pryor last week told a parliamentary committee she could not explain the fledgling policy because as a middle class white woman it included concepts she was unfamiliar with.

Mrs Turia says whanau ora recognises that you can't treat individuals or issues in isolation.

She says Maori families in crisis may become involved with multiple government agencies.

“What this is about is turning all that around to provide the opportunity for our families to start looking at the issues that are impacting on all of them and to work with them in the first instance to change that themselves rather than having other people always telling them how to be, always telling them what to do,” Mrs Turia says.

She says her integrated approach is getting support from people right across health and social sector.


Organisers of the 5th Parihaka Peace Festival are buoyed by support from Taranaki whanau who are pitching in to create a better event.

Director Te Miringa Hohaia says the three day festival, which starts on January 7, draws on to the village's record of passive resistance to land confiscations after the Taranaki wars.

He says up to 10,000 people are expected to hear artists like Tiki Tane and Fat Freddy's Drop or take part in other events such as discussion forums, and whanau have been returning home to help the hau kainga run the event smoothly.

“Of the 25 managers we’ve got, 23 of them are Parihaka people. We’ve pulled home also a lot of our skilled people. We didn’t realise we had so many people involved in production, film, theatre, media and that helped us to upskill people who are here on the ground,” Mr Hohaia says.

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