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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Te Awanui Hukapak joins industry heavyweight

The largest Maori kiwifruit processor, Te Awanui Hukapak, has amalgamated with the country's largest processor, Seeka Kiwifruit Industries.

Chief executive Hemi Rolleston says the $24 million deal gives Hukapak 17 percent of the Seeka, and the combined business will account for a quarter of New Zealand's kiwifruit exports.

Te Awanui will continue to pack some fruit under its own brand, which is well known in Malaysia, Singapore and India.

Mr Rolleston says Te Awanui, whose shareholders are Bay of Plenty land trusts, also bought back the three hectare block at the port of Tauranga where its packing facility is located, and is leasing it back to Seeka.

“The site has a special connection to us. It’s where the company was set up on our own land to develop our own part of the industry. I think we’ve achieved quite a bit out of this because we’ve retained the land but we’re getting commercial returns on the land as well,” Mr Rolleston says.

He says Seeka has a good record of working with Maori growers, and the being part of a larger business will create oportunity for the Te Awanui growers.

TRUST CONSIDERED FOR MAORI FLAG REVENUE

Now it's official, the custodians of the tino rangatiratanga flag are working out how they will keep up with demand.

Cabinet this week approved the flag as the one to fly on the Auckland Harbour Bridge and other official sites on Waitangi Day.

The red and black flag with a white koru, designed by Hiraina Marsden, Jan Dobson and Linda Munn won a 1990 competition by the Kawariki protest group in 1990 for a national Maori flag.

Maori Party MP and Kawariki founder Hone Harawira says it was made available for use by kura, marae, sports teams and other Maori groups.

“We've been happy for that but it’s now got into a situation where there’s considerable money being made out of it and I think that the intention of the Kawariki is to set up some kind of trust. I know Linda’s said to us that one of the original intentions was to create a kind of trust for the continuation of Maori artistic design, so I know that Linda and Hilda are talking about hw that can be managed into the future,” Mr Harawira says.

TURIA PERKY AFTER STOMACH OPERATION

Meanwhile, Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has a clean bill of health after her stomach stapling operation three weeks ago.

The associate Minister of Health says all signs of diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma are gone.

“I’m feeling really really well in myself and that’s the reason for doing it. It’s been all good and looking forward to next year, having a lot more energy and being able to put longer hours in at work,” Mrs Turia says.

She has been back at work for a few hours each day this week.

SPECTRUM CLAIMANTS SECURE WAITANGI TRUBUNAL HEARING

The Waitangi Tribunal has agreed to an urgent hearing on whether Maori should get a share of spectrum freed up by the shift from analogue to digital television.

Jim Nichols from the New Zealand Maori Council says the claimants, who also include Nga Kaiwhakapumau i Te Reo and 3G spectrum claimant Graeme Everton of Ngati Raukawa, felt they were being shut out of decision-making.

He says spectrum has become an important not just for protecting te reo Maori but for wider Maori development.

“Maori Television is part of that. Maori broadcasting is part of that because without it we don’t have Maori broadcasting. Two Degrees and Te Huarahi Tika Trust without which we don’t have a mobile communications network. Regional Maori television which we need to secure for the likes of Tairawhiti and in Kaitaia,” Mr Nichols says.

The tribunal says it will hold a hearing on the claim on January 28.

BOARD REPRESENTATIVES HELP BREAK POLYTECH PREJUDICE

The head of Maori studies at Canterbuy University says Maori on the boards of tertiary institutions help break down prejudice.

Rawiri Taonui says all tertiary institutions are dominated by Pakeha, and formal steps are needed to get representation from Maori, Pasifika and Asians who make up an increasing percentage of the student population.

He says moves by Education Minister Anne Tolley to radically trim the size of polytech councils by getting rid of dedicated seats for Maori and other stakeholders is a leap backwards.

“The biggest barrier to the success of our people is prejudice or obstructive processes at the level of middle management and the only way you are going to break that down is if you have our people sitting on councils and making those people more accountable,” Mr Taonui says.

If New Zealand is to be one nation of two peoples and many cultures, it needs to give voice to the concerns of people from non-European communities.

GREENS BACK NEW MAORI FLAG WITH RESERVATIONS

The Green Party is backing the tino rangatiratanga flag.

Co-leader Meteria Turei says it's wrong to dismiss the symbol Maori activists have rallied around since 1990s as being only a protest flag or a Maori party flag.

She says there's room for multiple flags.

“I know that Pakeha often get into this idea that all Maori are all the same and that’s just not true and it’s not true for this flag either. So there will be place and there will be people for whom this just does not represent them and there should be no sense that this is about all of us,” Ms Turei says.

She says tino rangatiratanga means not imposing symbols on others.

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