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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Miraka creates outlet for Maori milk

The chair of a company building a $90 million milk powder plant at Mokai says it will offer an attractive alternative for Maori-owned dairy farms in the Taupo region.

Miraka is a joint venture between Wairarapa Moana Incorporation, which runs more than 8000 cows at Mangakino, and Tuaropaki Kaitiaki, which is supplying the land and geothermal energy as well as milk.

Kingi Smiler says when the GEA-built drier goes into production in a year's time, it can process up to 1 million litres of milk a day for export.

He says a more sustainable model for the shareholders and other Ngati Tuwharetoa trusts and incorporations than continuing to supply Fonterra.

“We will have a much more efficient plant with a mush tighter supply circle and therefore from a cost perspective we will certainly be very cost effective. Price wise, we would expect to match Fonterra and even do a little better by having close relationships with our particular customers,” Mr Smiler says.


The Greens are backing Hone Harawira's objections to the way police are building up their DNA database.

The Maori Party MP has accused the police of "nazi-style" tactics in persuading rangatahi to give DNA samples.

Metiria Turei says the Greens unsuccessfully opposed a relaxation of the law around sampling from people who have not been charged with a crime.

She says the changes, which come into force next month, will unfairly affect Maori youth.

“Hone's typically dramatic in his language but the point is right. Our people, our kids in particular, our young Maori boys are being targeted like this. It’s absolutely wrong and the police have to stop and there should be an investigation in to it,” Ms Turei says.

She says while the police have done a lot of work in recent years to improve their relationship with Maori, including recruiting more Maori officers, the underlying culture which results in a disproportionate emphasis on Maori offending hasn't changed much.


A return to traditional ways is improving the health and behaviour of tamariki and their whanau at an Invercargill kohanga reo.

Kaiako Debbie Kuti says four years ago Kimihia Te Mataurangi o Nga Tupuna developed an edible garden and started teaching the children and their parents traditional methods of growing, harvesting, preparing and storing food, using a pataka or storehouse.

She says their diet changed, and so did their behaviour.

“The boys weren't as well behaved as they are now because we haven’t got tomato sauce, we don’t serve up noodles, they’ve all gone off our kids’ lunches. In doing that, they’ve all settled down. It’s all very interesting,” Mrs Kuiti says.

As well as learning healthy eating, the children go through a six month Sport Southland Active movement In-Depth programme.


The kohanga reo movement has been challenged for focusing on Maori language at the expense of other aspects of a child's development.

Tiahuia Abraham, the head of the Whanganui branch of the Maori Women's Welfare League, has 40 years experience as an early childhood educator.

She says the Maori immersion preschool movement has short-changed Maori children because its adherents fail to understand the role of play in the education process.

“I will challenge Kohanga Reo National Trust. While we may have te reo me ona tikanga, we don’t have enough of child development training coming through, learning about the ages and stages of our children,” Mrs Abraham says.

She says many Maori now in prison may be there because their educations starting at kohanga reo level was deficient.


Haka, classical and electric boogaloo moves are all part of the mix for Kowhiti festival of contemporary Maori dance starting today at Wellington's Te Papa museum.

Organiser Merenia Gray says over the next four days dancers and audience can experience workshops, lectures, performances and film screenings.

She says it's a chance to celebrate the contribution Maori are making to the art in this country.

“At the moment the sector is full of beautiful work. You’ve got Tai Royal’s work with Tane Mete, you’ve got Atamira, Moss Patterson, Charles Koroneho, all these amazing artists whose work isn’t being seen enough and we went, if you guys support it and come on board, we’ll put it together, so here we are,” Ms Gray says.

Kowhiti may allow directors of other festivals here and overseas to pick up on some unique acts with a strong Maori brand.


The chair of Kahungunu Tourism says an exhibition of Maori rugby memorabilia held to coincide with last night's Maori All Black match in Napier against England has been a big hit with Maori.

The show at Kahungunu's Marine Parade visitors centre includes photos of past Maori rugby greats, programmes and other items.

Marie Edwards says it met an urge among Maori to connect with each other, and people have been bringing in whakapapa to connect it up with some of the photos.

Mrs Edwards, or Carlos Spencer's cuzzie as she's now known, says the exhibition will stay up until July 10.


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