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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tainui clusters for growth

Tainui wants to accelerate tribal development by devolving more resources to the marae level.

It has unveiled a new structure under which its 68 marae will be grouped into six clusters which will identify opportunities, either in setting up businesses or in chasing government contracts to deliver services.

Chairperson Tukoroirangi Morgan expects the clusters will in different directions as they respond to needs in their own areas.

“To build businesses to strengthen families, to take opportunities whenever benefits can be got at a cluster level of marae, at a hapu level, and at a tribal community level,” he says.

Mr Morgan says the nine Tainui marae in Tamaki Makaurau may move into tourism on the back of the tribe's investment in the new airport hotel, while Hamilton based marae might use Tainui's investment in The Base shopping centre to go into retailing.


Tariana Turia has been counting up the Maori Party's wins in the Budget.

She says while only $160 million was set aside for specifically Maori projects, including Whanau Ora and two new centres to reintegrate Maori prisoners back to the community, the party managed to influence at least $440 million of the Government's future spending.

She says Maori will benefit from the extra $24 million for insulating low income households, $5.9 million for community law centers, $93 million in the disabilities area and an increase in spending on some family services, including $14.9 million for teenage parents that will help many young Maori women.

Mrs Turia says Maori will also benefit for the extra $91 million set aside to increase the percentage of Maori and Pacific Island children in early childhood education.


Maori and Pacific evaluators want their profession to give more attention to cultural factors.

A Maori Pacifika Evaluation Hui Fono was held in Auckland over the weekend, bringing together many of the people who get called in to assess funding proposals or to measure the outcome of government-funded programmes.

Convener Tania Wolfgramme, who has a Maori and Tongan whakapapa, says better decisions can be made by factoring in cultural values and expectations.

“Maori and Pacific organisations have always been evaluated according to the values of non-Maori or non-Pacific. Evaluating from another perspective, it’s very hard to understand or even try to factor in our own values,” Ms Wolfgramme says.

She says Maori and Pacific peoples have always had their own ways of assessing merit and work based on traditional values and cultural expressions.


Tainui 's 68 marae are being given a chance to have their say on cleaning up the Waikato River.

Chairperson Tukoroirangi Morgan says the tribe's river settlement passed into law this month includes $50 million which can be used not only for restoration work but for river-related commercial ventures.

He says a new tribal development model has been developed, under which clusters of marae will launch new businesses and services, and this could lead to the creation of such businesses.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for our people to think creatively about how can we clean up the river up and how can we build good sustainable businesses that look after the environment, that restore the health and well being of the river, that provide long term jobs for our people. Our people need to be creative and innovative about what they want to do,” Mr Morgan


Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia is predicting more tensions between Maori and the Crown over treaty settlements.

The government has asked Tuhoe for a new meeting in three weeks to offer new options for settling its historic claims, after Prime Minister John Key ruled out any change of ownership of Te Urewera National part.

Mrs Turia says Maori are unlikely to accept the Crown's argument that the conservation estate belongs to all New Zealanders if it includes raupatu land confiscated from iwi without any compensation.

“Iwi asking for land back because that’s the preference, land for land, then brings huge tension. There is going to be significant tension going into the future that probably the Tuhoe situation has highlighted, but those tensions have always been there,” Mrs Turia says .

Maori expectations of good faith bargaining will be undermined if the Crown adopts a take it or leave it approach to treaty negotiations.


A lawyer who helped draft the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples says new information shows a pattern of government hypocricy.

Moana Jackson says documents released under the Official Information Act shows officials support for the declaration could raise expectations among Maori.

That led the government to make its support conditional on what it called New Zealand's unique constitutional, legal and policy frameworks.

Mr Jackson says New Zealand makes of a big play respecting human rights and international law.

“But when those human rights are meant to apply to indigenous people, they suddenly get all concerned. I think there is a strange hypocrisy in that stance. Of course international law was meant to have effect and if you are meant to apply with it, not get concerned it might apply to some people,” Mr Jackson says.


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