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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, July 09, 2007

Economic strength recognised

The head of the Ministry of Maori development says Maori are finally starting to take their rightful place in the New Zealand economy.

Thousands of Maori and non-Maori have packed Auckland’s ASB showgrounds this weekend for a celebration of Maori business, culture, and entertainment.

Leith Comer says the Atamira... Maori in the City event is a sign of how things have changed for Maori.

“You couldn't have an economic discussion anywhere in New Zealand without Maori being there by right. And that’s a significant change from people thinking we were a bit hard case to now people understanding how hugely important the Maori dimension to economic development is,” Mr Comer says.

There will be another Maori in the City expo in 2009.


The president of the School Trustees Association says trustees will take to heart a call for them to lift Maori achievement.

About 600 trustees met in Wellington for their annual conference, which ended on the weekend.

Lorraine Kerr says a highlight was a call by Massey University’s Professor of Maori Research and Development, Mason Durie, to move away from blaming anyone for student under-achievement.

Professor Durie urged delegates to instead use their power to look for solutions to problems.

Ms Kerr says it will be a challenge.

“It takes a little while for trustees to realise that they do have an obligation. It also takes them a little while to know that it’s not just abut the achieving kids, and often with a lone Maori on the board, that’s hard work,” Ms Kerr says.

While there were more Maori present than at previous conferences, many were the only Maori on their boards.


North Island Maori are moving in big numbers to Te Waipounamu.

That's the conclusion of Statistics New Zealand, based on a 13 percent increase between the 2001 and 2006 censuses.

Statistics iwi relationships manager Tamiti Olsen says one indication of the increase is the expansion of Maori business networks, which are playing a prominent role in the regional economy.

“Te Kupeka Umaka Maori ki Arai te Uru, the Southland Maori business network, they’re really onto it, over 100 people in that network, all Maori, all own their own businesses down there, employing Maori, a whole diverse range of businesses, so there’s certainly opportunities down there, and most of them are from the North Island,” he says.

Mr Olsen says Maori businesses should make more use of census data in planning their strategies.


This year’s Public Health Champion says Maori demands for cultural acknowledgement has led to improvements for other cultures within the health service.

Papaarangi Reid, the dean of Maori at Auckland University’s medical school, was given the award at last week’s Public Health Association conference.

In her 20-years as a researcher and teacher, she's seen major changes in the health system.

She started as debate was raging over the late Irihapeti Ramsden’s report on cultural safety.

Dr Reid says despite that report, the most dominant culture is still the medical culture.

“And that was acknowledging this monumental machine that you go in to when you become sick and it almost engulfs you and lies you nearly naked in a bed with people doing terrible things to you and so it becomes the dominant culture and our humanity is almost lost,” she says.

Dr Reid says Maori demands their culture be respected in the system made waves internationally.


Too many Maori allow oral health to fall down their priority list.

Margaret Rolleston from Rotorua public health organisation Tipu Ora says the state of people's teeth plays a significant role in their overall health.

Bad teeth mean people don't chew food properly, which can contributes to an expanding waistline that puts pressure on the heart.

She says it's hard to get the dentistry message out to Maori.

“Oral health is kind of at the bottom of the heap when they look at their budget for starters or when they’re considering what they might consider next in their wellness. It’s one of those areas that gets overlooked unfortunately,” Ms Rolleston says.

Having dental work done also lifts self esteem.


Organisers of Atamira - Maori in the City expo estimate up to 100,000 people passed through the Auckland showgrounds during the three day event.

It was jointly hosted by the Ministry of Maori Development and Ngati Whatua, to showcase Maori business, arts and entertainment.

Te Puni Kokiri Auckland manager, Pauline Kingi says the event looks like breaking even from stallholder fees and entries to Fridays Thrive Tangata Maori business forum.

She says stall-holders were well pleased.

“They are not only enthusiastic, they’ve done extraordinarily well, the stallholders. With the product sales and the volume of people going through means many of the stallholders have replaced their stock two or three times through the three days,” Ms Kingi says.

Te Puni Kokiri is keen to sponsor future such events.


Blogger Wingate said...

Many have asked me about Matakana Island so here it is;
In 1993 Sonny Tawhiao and Chrissy Kuka laid the log on the road stopping the new owners of Matakana logging. Ngai Terangi wanted to own Matakana Island. They claimed the land was sacred. A number of the leader of the iwi formed a company called Te Kotukutuku (TKC). The protests worked and TKC was given a contract to own Matakana. The protests stopped. I met Sonny in 1991 when he was working WAI 216. His passion and beliefs were very real. He was very genuine and I liked him. He called me for information about what TKC were up to who were claiming everything was secret with the iwi leaders telling the people nothing. He suspected the iwi leader were crooks wanting what they could for themselves. I provided the information he was looking for and was preparing to tackle them. After beginning to lobby his people Sonny was killed. His burnt body found in the back seat of his car in the Matakana bush. The police suggested suicide. I don't believe it was suicide. TKC was being investigated by Sonny and for that he gave his life. I encourage a full enquiry into Sonny's death and the activities of TKC and iwi leadership taking assets for themselves.12.5% TKC shareholder iwi accountant Graeme Ingham's son in law wrote the police report saying Sonny drove into the Matakana forest and set himself on fire. I first met Don Shaw, Graham Ingham in 1991 required to do so because of the Resource Management Act. Shaw made many threats about Maori trouble. But said he could help if I paid him. He had no interest for the locals or Maori heritage.
I was buying Matakana's 10,000 acre forest land for $20 m. The deal was spectacular. After hard work I got the price down from $30 to $20m. I asked merchant bank Far Financial for $4.25m. They loved our business plan, but unknown to me were broke. Instead of offering us money they asked for $5000 for them to look for the money. I declined their offer. Evidence showed that within days FAR started doing the deal themselves with ITT and later Ernslaw.
My partner Kanematsu Japan, were buying for the 17-34 year forest for $15.75m. But were worried about Maori kicking a fuss. TKC shareholder Don Shaw made sure articles appeared in the media to put them off. I met with Don Shaw in Aug 1992 to explain Kanematsu were worried of Maori trouble if they purchased the Matakana logs.The meeting was recorded.
Months later the sale to FAR ITT, Shaw and Ingham under the veil of Ngai Terangi began legal proceedings claiming they (iwi) had a bid to buy Matakana -funded by Kanematsu ? I then found Don Shaw and Ingham had gone to Kanematsu and said if Kanematsu did the deal with Wingate Maori would cause trouble. But if Kanematsu did a deal with TKC there would be no trouble. Kanematsu could see the threat. So in writing Kanematsu said they would give TKC an offer only if they had consent from Wingate.In May 1997 I won my case against FAR. In 1998 Court of Appeal TKC had begged the court to allow the sacred land to remain with Maori. I lost as did my family and shareholders.
I appealed to the Privy Council the judgment saying the Court of Appeal covered the facts and I lost. TKC was now rich and Sonny was dead.
For a number of years I have heard and read reports in the paper about TKC promoting a canal development on the Matakana sacred land. Some locals kicked up a fuss. Recently in 2007 TKC sold all the Matakana land. 5000 acres to Americans Blakely and the second to foreign backed developers. The sacred land is gone and iwi leaders and the accountant Ingham have the money. TKC have sold the sacred land to developers, so what has the iwi gained if the land is the source of their soul.Nothing. I spent $5.5m to find our courts and government are hopeless. They fail everyone. We live in Australia now. My son in and out of hospital suffering crohns. I raised my family in NZ a place I dearly loved. I am sad for what has happened and I am sad for Maori who have leaders who take assets they are claiming on behalf of the iwi for themselves. We have lost the Matakana land and the life of Sonny Tawhiao. So what have we learnt ? We can't trust leaders Maori and pakeha.

3:44 pm  

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