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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, February 02, 2007

TOKM on track for hui a tau

The outgoing head of the Maori fisheries settlement trust says iwi should be confident their investments are growing in worth.

Te Ohu Kaimoana holds its annual hui a tau at Pipitea Marae in Wellington this morning.

Shane Jones says it will be able to report that it has allocated more than $350 million in cash, quota and income shares to 35 iwi, and expects the remaining 22 to complete the mandating process this year.

While iwi have direct ownership of quota, much of their future income will rely on the performance of pan-Maori company Aotearoa Fisheres, which owns half of Sealord Group, New Zealand's largest fishing company.

Mr Jones says the fisheries settlement is delivering real benefits to Maori.

“What Matiu Rata and Sir Graham and Sir Tipene and Sir Bob Mahuta signed up to is finally generating wealth and is turning into a worthwhile enterprise at a lower level of Maoridom rather than just the rarified heights of the fisheries commission,” Shane Jones says.

He says the mandating process iwi must go through to receive their fisheries settlement assets is making organisations more professional.


The Minister of Maori Affairs says officials will meet with Transit New Zealand to discuss their policy on what flags can fly on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Transit refused an application for a red black and white Maori flag to be raised on the bridge on Waitangi Day because it said the honour is reserved for sovereign nations.

Parekura Horomia while there is debate about whether the tino rangatira or Kawariki really represents Maori, there are a number of Maori flags which could be flown from the bridge.

“There is an issue there to be quite frank. Tuwharetoa, the Kingitanga, Ratana, the 28 Maori Battalion, Ngati Whatua, they’ve all got flags. The government will look at this, now that the topic has been raised,” Mr Horomia says.


The settlement of Kawhia on the Waikato coast will increase 20 fold tomorrow for the Traditional Maori Kai Festival.

Organiser Lloyd Whiu says 10,000 people are expect to sample delicacies such as tiiti or mutton bird and fermented corn, known as kangawai.

Mr Whiu says visitors may also like to sample dried shark and other exotic tastes.

“We've got the local delicacy which is kooki. That’s the liver of the shark or the stingray, dried in the traditional way, left out to dry in the wind and the sun, and it’s something like a pate,” Mr Whiu.

Because of a killing at Kawhia over the summer, organisers are have made the festival alcohol and smoke free.


One of the biggest critics of Te Arawa's $10 million Rotorua Lakes settlement has got onto the settlement governance body.

Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell was vehement opposed to the settlement, but failed to win support for it to be rejected.

But he did win enough votes from his Ngati Rangiwewehi iwi take be one of three Te Uri o Uenuku Kopako seats on the Te Arawa Lakes Trust.

Mr Flavell says he sees no contradiction in his stance.

“The deal has been done. The requirements are that you have a governance entity. And rather than sit in the quagmire and think I’ve done my part, the bottom line is the iwi have got some resource, I want to protect it, however small it might be, for the best interests of our tamariki mokopuna, and the one way I can do that is obviously be on the governance board,” Mr Flavell says.

He does not see any conflict between his role on the trust and being an MP.


The chair of pan-Maori Aotearoa Fisheries says the company is doing well despite tough times in the industry.

Rob McLeod will be reporting today to the annual meeting of Maori fisheries trust Te Ohu Kaimona at Pipitea Marae in Wellington.

He says under outgoing chief executive Doug McKay Aotearoa's largest asset, Sealord Group, has increased revenue and cut expenses, making a significant contribution to the trust's $20 million profit.

Mr McLeod says Aotearoa has also invested in paua and eel fisheries, and reformed the way it runs the inshore wetfish business formerly under the Moana Pacific brand.

“There's been very material change so there’s been a lot of improvement actually in the business that won’t show up in results until the 07 and 08 close, but the 06 close is ahead of budget and we’re on track and Robin Hapi and his team have done an excellent job,” Mr McLeod says.

Today's hui a tau is also the last for Te Ohu Kaimoana chairperson Shane Jones, who is stepping down to concentrate on his role as a Labour list MP.


The failure to create another Maori seat hasn't quenched the enthusiasm of Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples to get Maori onto the electoral rolls.

The chief statistician reported yesterday that the number of voters switching to the Maori roll during last year's electoral option wasn't enough to create an eight Maori seat, although there will be another North Island electorate.

Dr Sharples says his party's efforts during the option helped increase the Maori roll by 15 thousand.

“And we're going to do it again. We’re going out twice this year, the whole caucus is going to go round the electorates twice, and we will bet taking the same message, enroll, enroll, enroll. We’re trying to get some strategies to target the young people because we know how important the first votes are, because they often set the pattern for the rest of their lives,” Dr Sharples says.


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