Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Middle Kingdom foray planned

Ngati Kahungunu leader Ngahiwi Tomoana wants to cut out the middle man when selling Maori products into the Middle Kingdom.

Mr Tomoana, who also chairs Te Ohu Kaimoana Maori fisheries trust, leaves for the Shanghai World Expo this week to spearhead what he calls the Maori H-Q strategy.

He says there is a growing market in China for high quality Maori-grown kaimoana and produce.

That's why he's planning a permanent shop for Maori products after the Expo is over.

“Whether it's fish, fruit, honey, we’d have a Maori place for Maori products to be showcase to the buyers and importers, the restauranters, the supermarket chains, so we’re quite ambitious,” Mr Tomoana says.

By going direct, Maori HQ should improve returns to the producer.


A Ngapuhi elder says the tribe's evidence given to the Waitangi Tribunal can give a lead to other iwi like Tuhoe.

The tribunal has just completed its first week of hearings at Waitangi into the Northland tribe's view of the constitutional status of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Titewhai Harawira says Prime Minister John Key's veto during the week of any return of Te Urewera to Ngai Tuhoe was a reminder of what the iwi is striving for.

“Ngapuhi is saying out tupuna didn’t cede sovereignty and therefore any Maori or any hapu or iwi that says this whenua, this maunga, this awa belongs to us, then Ngapuhi has a commitment to support that kaupapa,” Mrs Harawira says.


The Maori students association says the decision by Victoria and Otago Universities to closing off this year's enrolments for undergraduate students will have long term consequences for Maori.

Jacqueline Poutu, the tumuaki of Nga Akonga Maori o Aotearoa says when enrolments reopen for next year, it's likely there will be an increased emphasis on academic achievement in filling the limited places.

This means many Maori school leavers are starting on the back foot, especially if they go to low decile schools where the full range of subjects isn’t taught.


A builder turned tourism entrepreneur is looking for marae willing to open their doors for Rugby World Cup tourists.

David Tanenui says he's in talks with 18 marae around Auckland and other centres about what might be required for the venture.

The Waitakere City Rugby Club member says he was concerned at the lack of a Maori dimension to preparations for next year's sportsfest, and determined to do something about it for at least some of the manuhiri.

“And the brilliant thing about it is they get welcomed onto the marae Maori-style, plus Maori can be selling their arts and crafts or maybe they might have ta moko which is really a big exposure for our people. I think it’s really about telling the world who we really are,” Mr Tanenui says.

Marae charges will start at about $80 a night.

A Te Puni Kokiri spokesperson says the ministry was concerned any such venture respects marae protocols and tikanga.


Meanwhile, the Maori Party wants a separate organisation to promote Maori sports.

Co-leader Tariana Turia says the way the New Zealand Rugby Football Union has mishandled its apology to past generations of Maori players for their exclusion from All Black teams touring South Africa is just a symptom of a wider problem.

She says Maori players get poor service from administrators and from the government-funded sports bodies.

“We know that there are many young Maori sportspeople that are unable to participate because their families don’t have the wherewithal in a whole range of sports, very difficult to get any consideration of those things,” Mrs Turia says.

She says the rugby union gives no support to the Maori women's rugby team, which is the world's top women's team.


The future of dance may be on at the pa.

Contemporary dancers Taane Mete and Taiaroa Royal are running a workshop on a Hawkes Bay marae today for up to 40 rangatahi.

The pair performed their autobiographical work Tama Maa at at the Hawkes Bay Opera House last night.

Mr Mete says they're concerned at the lack of young Maori coming through to dance school, and hope to inspire them by taking work back to the provinces.

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