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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Atihau-Whanganui wins farm trophy

The so called Maori renaissance is having an impact the farming sector.

That's according to Whatarangi Murphy-Peehi, who chairs the trust that took away the Ahuwhenua Trophy for the Maori farm of the year.

Pah Hill Station, 15 kilometres southwest of Ohakune, is one of 10 properties farmed by the Atihau Whanganui Incorporation.

Mr Murphy-Peehi says a policy of reinvestment in the land and improved governance is behind the win.

He says like many Maori landowners, Atihau Whanganui is looking out for the next generation.

“There's a transitional stage for us as Maori farmers, and we’ve got a wealth of younger people in our rangatahi coming through the system. They look at it in a more economic way but also with the language and the cultural sense as well, so I’m quite excited for the future,” Mr Murphy-Peehi says.

Runners up were Tuaropaki Trust near Taupo and Matariki Partnership near Ruatoria.


A restructure at the Health Ministry could mean big changes in the Maori health sector.

The new director general of health has called for a leaner, better performing ministry.

Hector Matthews, the Maori health services manager at Canterbury District Health Board, says Maori health objectives will be part of the review.

He says Maori will be pushing for a higher priority.

“Maori health used to be said quite loudly from a government policy perspective, and now Maori tend to be grouped into the group that needs health inequalities improved, and not specified necessarily as Maori, so we are waiting to see what happens with the Ministry and their Maori health branch,” Mr Matthews says.


Maori are being called on to help in efforts to save New Zealand's most endangered marine mammal.

There only about 100 Maui's dolphins in their habitat along the west coast from Taranaki to Northland.

Karl McLeod, a Conservation Department marine ranger, says a proposed set net ban along the coast would be a positive step, because many dolphins become trapped in set nets in the harbours.

He says the department is meeting commercial and recreational fishers, community groups and Maori who rely on kaimoana from the area to discuss a way forward.

“Really we're trying to achieve some balance where we achieve protection for what’s really an iconic, really critically endangered species of dolphin but not impinge too greatly on the rights of communities to do what they’ve done for generations,” Mr McLeod says.


Putting profits back into the land has paid off for Atihau Whanganui Incorporation, with its Pah Hill Station southwest of Ohakune snapping up the Ahuwhenua Trophy for best Maori farm.

Chairperson Whatarangi Murphy-Peehi says strategic reinvestment has doubled productivity on the incorporation’s 10 farms over the past five years.

He says it now has more than 200,000 stock units, making it the largest farming enterprise in the region.

“For our five year strategy we’ve put a lot of capital back into the farm, like with new woolsheds, fencing, fertilizer. That’s where Pah Hill has just steadily, over the last few years, slowly just building up the fertility,” Mr Murphy Pehi says.

Atihau Whanganui Incorporation has been buying back leases when they come up for renewal, giving it more land to farm directly.


Maori could benefit from research at Massey University into attitudes towards electronic storage of health records.

John Waldon from the centre for Maori health and development is part of the research team.

He says new systems and technologies, particularly around health, are often the source of public concern, but they can also mean greater options for healthcare for groups like Maori.

“The right information is not getting to the right people at the right time. This research is important to Maori because it will help us improve how health information is used. Tikanga and kawa have been very important components of the process,” Mr Waldon says.

The research is funded by a $160,000 Health Research Council grant.


Waipareira trust and Manukau Urban Maori Authority have joined forces to create opportunties for Auckland rangatahi.

General manager Paul Stanley says the Waipareira will expand from its west Auckland base into south Auckland, offering programmes at MUMA facilities.

It will bring in services such as MUMA road safety so young people can train for drivers licenses.

He says it's a natural progression.

“This whole thing about sharing knowledge, sharing experiences, in order to strengthen what we do well, to be able to look at ways to work together, and this is a prime example between Te Whare Waatea and Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust,” Mr Stanley says.

Waipareira will consider joint ventures with urban authorities in other centres.


A new book will put into words the stories of Marlborough and Nelson Maori.

Te Ara Hou: The New Society by John and Hilary Mitchell follows on from the pair’s Te Tau Ihu o te Waka in documenting Maori in the area from the 1840s.

It’s being co-published by Huia Publishers and Wakatu Incorporation.

Wakatu chair Paul Morgan says the history of the area will be explained.

“It has a lot of stories of that period, with the families, what happened with the land, the engagement with the people. It will have some wonderful photos of the time and our tupuna, so we’re really excited about it,” Mr Morgan says.

The 500 page hardback is expected in September.


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