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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Ngati Rangitihi holds power trust to account

A Bay of Plenty iwi has stymied the Eastern Bay Energy Trust's plan to move to full ownership of listed lines company Horizon Energy.

Te Mana O Ngati Rangitihi Trust got an injunction stopping the release of a beneficiary poll seeking approval to borrow $20 million for the deal.

iwi chair Graham Pryor says the energy trust's 20,000 beneficiaries, which includes a large proportion of Maori, weren't properly informed.

“They didn't provide information that backed up their proposal, ie, there’s no financial analysis. They didn’t disclose whether they received any advice, if they’d take that advice, and they didn’t disclose what the financial impacts on the trust were going to be of the purchase,” Mr Pryor says.

The chair of Eastern Bay Energy Trust, David Bulley, says lawyers for the two trusts are hammering out an agreement which will allow the process to start again.

He says the energy trust owns 77 percent of Horizon, and wants to move to full ownership so it can save on the high costs associated with a listed company.


Labour leader Phil Goff says the government's proposed tax changes will again favour the privileged and hurt Maori at the bottom of the heap.

Prime Minister John Key today ruled out the capital gains and land taxes recommended by a tax advisory committee, but said the government was considering a 20 percent increase in GST.

Mr Goff says last year's tax cuts didn't reach many Maori, and today's announcement does nothing to redress that.

“They excluded families earning less than $40,000 from the tax cuts last year. That’s where most Maori are, They didn’t get anything. But if you’re on the top tax rate you’ll certainly get a cut,” Mr Goff says.

He says there was nothing in the Prime minister's statement that would help Maori unemployment, which is at a 17 year high.


Whale Watch Kaikoura sees its growth being in Australia rather than in the northern South island township.

The Ngai Tahu-owned firm is getting ready for the judges for the World Tourism and Travel Council's Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, for which it's been nominated in the community benefit section.

Chief operating officer Kauahi Ngapora says while there are always improvements to be made in the Kaikoura operation, including upgrading to more fuel-efficient vessels, the focus is increasingly in whale watch ventures over the Tasman.

The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards will be announced at the 10th Global Travel and Tourism Summit in Beijing in May.


The ousted chief executive of Te Taura Whiri says she's proud of what she achieved in her three years in the job.

Huhana Rokx resigned after an investigation and mediation process sparked by a letter from Maori language commission staff complaining about her management style.

Mrs Rokx says it's time for fresh thinking in the job, but she leaves her successor with a strategy mapped out to meet the board's objective of being out of business within 20 years.

“Being out of business means the country will have taken te reo Maori to its heart, and Maori, non-Maori. All people living in Aotearoa would be using the language and seeing the language as a huge benefit not only to themselves but to the country as a whole,” Mrs Rokx says.

Maori Language Commissioner Erima Henare says Huhana Rokx's performance in the job had been exemplary, and her resignation was an honourable response to difficult circumstances faced by the CEO, the staff and the Board.


An education researcher says secondary school history teachers avoid New Zealand history to appease non-Maori parents and students.

Richard Manning of Canterbury University's College of Education studies the relationship between Te Atiawa ki Poneke and 24 schools in the Port Nicholson Block claim to see how using local examples could enhance learning.

But he says most parents and students see New Zealand history as Maori history, which is too contentious.

“Teachers feel safer to teach about Black civil rights in America than New Zealand’s race relations. They feel safer to teach Israel, Palestine and the conflict in Ireland than they do about the conflict that exist on our own soil, and I see that as being highly problematic and not a healthy situation in terms of our long-term future,” Dr Manning says.

Te Atiawa ki Poneke and other Wellington iwi are keen to work with teachers to make lessons relevant to budding young historians.


A Ngai Tahu hapu is celebrating the creation of an historic reserve near Akaroa.

George Tikao, the upoko of Onuku Runanga, says George Tikao says Takapuneke is the site of an 1830 battle between Ngai Tahu ariki Te Maiharanui and Ngati Toa's Te Rauparaha in which 150 people were killed.

He says a weekend blessing ceremony to protect the site was hugely moving.

“The blessing was all about lifting the tapu of this area from a urupa back to the living. Part of the ceremony and the blessing was replanting of some young seedlings just to spiritually say now we are going to bring this land back to the living,” Mr Tikao says.

Takapuneke was also known as Greens Point.

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