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Friday, July 16, 2010

Constitutional discussion kicks off in Taranaki

A manager with the Human Rights Commission says Taranaki is the right place to kick of a discussion about the future of New Zealand's constitution.

TeHuia Bill Hamilton chaired the public forum at Puke Ariki Museum in New Plymouth last night looking at where the current exhibition on the Taranaki War could lead to.

National agreed to a constitutional debate as part of the price of the Maori Party's support, and Mr Hamilton says Taranaki's history illustrates so many of the things that went wrong, even before the war of 1860.

“The whole kaupapa was based on looking back to go forward, to bring the stories of Taranaki that are based around Puke Ariki, to brng them forward and take them into the future, and it’s based on human rights, the treaty and the Taranaki story and then it started to begin the constitutional discussion,” Mr Hamilton says.

The exhibition closes in two weeks.


Sportsman turned businessman Tawera Nikau says Maori have had to put up with inappropriate and substandard housing for too long.

He and former Kiwi league captain Ritchie Barnett yesterday launched Maia Homes, which they say will work with iwi and hapu to design environmentally conscious homes.

It's a subsidiary of their building firm Aotearoa Construction.

Mr Nikau says different areas suit different types of houses, which haven't been available.

“In Tuhoe we know it’s very wet and it rains down there so we’ve got to have new construction methods that can cater to weather needs. Ngati Porou down the coast, a lot of beautiful sun but also a lot of salt. You’ve got to use the materials for those regions and for some of the stuff we are designing,” he says.

Maia Homes opened a show home at Whakatane this week.


The first major survey of Ngai Tahu taonga and art has opened at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery.

Mo Tatou - Ngai Tahu Whanui graced Te Papa for three years, and it's now on its Te Hokinga Mai return home tour, which has already included four months at Canterbury Museum.

Jane Davis, a kaumatua from Ngai Tahu's Oraka Aparima Runanga of Ngai Tahu says people at the dawn opening were struck by the beauty of the pieces.

Mo Tatou is accompanies by Mo Nga Uri, a show of work by contemporary Murihiku artists including Hana Morgan and Lowana Clearwater.


A director of Fomana Capital says the company is continuing to work with Maori exporters, despite severing its connection with the Federation of Maori Authorities.

FOMA sold its majority shareholding to directors Paul Morgan and Wayne Mulligan in the wake of controversy over whether Tekau Plus, a Te Puni Kokiri-funded export development scheme run by Fomana, was delivering value for money.

Mr Morgan, a former FOMA executive, says through Fomona, Maori producers are able to work with large customers like supermarket chains which are looking for consistent suppliers of food and beverage.

“They want a number of things obviously; quality product, they want assurances in terms of the human compliance, consumption issues, they want to know you can deliver on time and they want to know that you are price competitive. And that is the world that Maori businesses are pushing into. We’re farmers, we’ve been farmers for over 100 yeas, now we have to take our product and add value to it in the processing and we’ve got to brand and market it,” Mr Morgan says.

Fomana is finalising plans for a Maori trade mission to the Shanghai Expo in September.


Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell is congratulating the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, iwi and an Ohiwa Harbour landowner for working together to preserve an important historical site.

The council has bought a six hectare block above the harbour which contains Onekawa Pa, one of the earliest settlement sites in the eastern Bay of Plenty.

Mr Flavell says landowner Pauline Tucks could have sold to the highest bidder, but instead contacted the District Council and from Upokohere and Whakatohea.

He says that ensured it did not go into foreign hands.

Te Ururoa Flavell.

The block adjoins an existing council property which contains Te Mawhai Pa


The newest bridge across the Waikato River has been built without piers in the water out of respect for Maori beliefs.

Project manager Andrew McRae from Fulton Hogan says that makes the bridge on the East Taupo Arterial route the longest network arch bridge in the country, at 100 metres.

He says tangata whenua made it clear they didn't want the river's mauri or life force interfered with, and despite a slight increase in cost, the engineers are pleased with the outcome.

“In some ways it helped simplify some of the construction requirements because working in a river channel like the Waikato at that particular location, there’s some concerns any how,” Mr McRae says.

There will be a formal Maori blessing for the bridge when the 16 kilometer is completed in October.


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