Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Taranaki incorporation bounces back to profit

Paraninihi ki Waitotara Incorporation has bounced back from its disastrous foray into Australian property development to record a $3 million profit.

Chief executive Dion Tuuta says the turnaround came through improved rents on its 18,000 hectares of leased Taranaki farmland, good returns and better cost control on its own 13 dairy farms, a good result in its crayfish business and a 13-fold return on an investment in an American biotechnology company.

He says the investment in the Gabba Central apartment and retail development in Brisbane, which led to the $31 million loss two years ago, has been written off, and the 8500 shareholders are now looking to the year ahead.

“The current season is proving to be very positive. We’re about 40,000 kgs (of milk solids) ahead of budget, which is positive although we are in the hands of the weather gods and hopefully Fonterra’s price is going to improve but looking forward we’re also looking at implementing some managed farms so moving away from the 50-50 (sharemilker) model,” Mr Tuuta says,

Shareholders rejected a plan to sell residential land, and they are keen for the incorporation to pick up any leases that come up, at a fair price.

GENETICIST SEEKS CAUSE OF BILE DISEASE IN WHANAU

A Dunedin geneticist is trying to isolate a gene he believes could be responsible for the prevelance of a rare liver disease in a Bay of Plenty whanau.

Stephen Robertson has previously tracked down a rogue gene which was leading to the deaths of boys in a far North whanau ... in the process dispelling the family's belief it was cursed by a makutu or spell.

He says his current project focuses on biliary atresia, where children are born without bile ducts.

Biliary atresia occurs among Maori at three times the rate of non-Maori.

TALENT FOUND ON TAINUI CAMPUSES

The organiser of tonight's Tainui Youth Got Talent Awards expects standing room only at the Founders Theatre in Hamilton.

Vince Hapi says the show has unearthed some wonderful budding entertainers on Te Waananga O Aotearoa's five Waikato campuses.

He says the contest has hit a chord with the region's rangatahi.

PARININIHI KI WAITOTARA GOES BACK TO DIVIDEND

Parininihi ki Waitotara Incorporation has declared a Christmas dividend for its 8500 shareholders, celebrating a return to profitability.

Chief executive Dion Tuuta says the incorporation, which owns 20,000 hectares of Taranaki farmland, made a $3 million profit from rentals, returns from its own farms, its lobster business and other investments.

It hasn't paid a dividend since 2008, when it declared a $31 million loss after writing off its investment in a Brisbane apartment and retail development.

Mr Tuuta says while the 60 cent a share will deliver an average of only $84, shareholders have made it clear they want a regular dividend.

“Dividend is important to them and it’s not necessarily the size of the dividend but it’s a recognition of their ownership interests and it’s a recognition of their link to the legacy of PKW which has been handed down to them from their families and so to a certain extent it is viewed in more than just economic terms,” he says.

This year Paraninihi ki Waitotara Incorporation intends to shift two of its 13 farms to a fully managed rather than sharemilking model, so it can capture a bigger share of the milk cheque.

SULLIVAN SEEKING TO UNLOCK NATURAL STORYTELLERS

The new head of creative writing at the Manukau Institute of Technology wants to hone the writing skills of the area's Maori and Pasifika storytellers.

Poet Robert Sullivan from Ngapuhi and Ngai tahu will run a three hour writing workshop this Saturday at Otahuhu Library covering poetry, prose, editing and presentation.

He says similar workshops which encourage people to tell their stories in their own way have brought out some interesting observations of multicultural life in Aotearoa.

“I think a lot of people with life experience are great oral storytellers. They’ve got the gift of the gab. And what creative writing brings to the mix is a way of translating that oral gift onto the page so that readers can also share in the magic,” Mr Sullivan says.

HENARE O’KEEFE MAKES NZER OF THE YEAR SEMI-FINALS

Hastings District Councillor and Flaxmere community organiser Henare O Keefe says he's humbled at making the semi finals of the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year competition.

The long time resident's activities in the low income Maori community have included holding street barbeques, developing cycleways to improve health and successfully marshaling opposition against against the construction of a Corrections Department facility in the town centre.

He says he only does what has to be done.

“You can't legislate passion and compassion and love and enthusiasm. I’m a dime a dozen. There’s some wonderful New Zealanders up and down the length and breadth of this country and they do it for the love of it and I’m no different and you do it without expectation or want of reward. You do it because it has to be done, plain and simple really,” says Mr O’Keefe, who’s from Ngati Porou, Ngati Kahungunu, Ireland ... and Flaxmere.

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