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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, July 02, 2007

Maori business success honoured

Maori radicalism is not dead, going by some of the ideas acknowledged at the Maori Business Awards this weekend.

Auckland’s Langham Hotel was packed with Maori business and political leaders, who were there to celebrate Maori entrepreneurship, innovation and old fashioned mahi.

The awards are the brainchild of the Maori Women’s Development Incorporation, but the men now get a look in too.

The men’s award went to Ahu Developments, which has developed U Parkit, a fully automated car stacking system which is attracting international attention.

Auckland-base Potiki Adventures took the women’s section for showing that Maori tourism is much more than a concert and a hangi.

The top award went to Alayna Watene and her 100-strong team at Te Taiwhenua O Heretaunga, which provides a range of social services to Hawkes Bay iwi.

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia told the gathering that a sound economic base gives people choices about how they provide for their whanau, linking mana with money.

There was also acknowledgement of the contribution of the head of the women’s development incorporation, Dame Georgina Kirby, who over the past two decades has helped thousands of Maori women get a start in the business world.


Maori secondary school teachers want to find ways the profession can regain some of the public support it once enjoyed.

That's one of the topics being discussed in a professional development hui at Rotorua over the next few days.

Organiser Te Makao Bowkett from the Post Primary Teachers Association says Maori teachers used to be held in high regard and filled prominent roles in Maori communities.

She says that has changed, even though Maori teachers are taking on an even greater workload in the school system.

“A lot of the roles our families, our whanau were once responsible for have actually become part of the broader responsibility of our kaiako Maori. Not to mention science, maths, physical education, information technology,” Ms Bowkett says.

The hui will also discuss staff retention, which is an issue as many Maori teachers are lured away to other careers.


A long-server member of the Historic Places Trust says the trust is now a lot more accepting of the need to protect sites of importance to tangata whenua.

Weaver Te Aue Davis from Ngati Maniapoto has been reappointed to the Trust's board and its Maori heritage council.

Also reappointed were Tuwharetoa paramount chief Tumu te Heuheu and Merata Kawharu from Ngati Whatua.

Ms Davis, who was first appointed to the trust two decades ago, says in her early years her fellow trustees seemed more concerned with buildings than places.

“The attitude we had to overcome very early in the piece was that intangible things were important, such as the old pa sites and burial places and fighting places, things like that. In the early days it was difficult to convince them the spiritual things happened,” Ms Davis says.

A lot of the challenge now is ensuring territorial local authorities have an understanding of the Maori landscape they administer.


The Minister for Maori Affairs says greater involvement in business is creating huge flow on effects for Maori.

Parekura Horomia says there has been an explosion in the number of Maori starting their own businesses over the past five years.

He says events like the Maori Business Awards in Auckland on the weekend send a strong message to those considering taking the plunge.

“It’s what we term mirroring. They’ve seen one member of their whanau start a business then another one, and our kids are going to grow up now understanding that business isn’t an alien thing. Families are starting their own businesses, and some of them are really damn innovative. It’s great stuff,” Mr Horomia says.

Among the businesses honoured were Grace Painters in Manukau, which smartens up tired forklifts, XL Global Business Cafes, the New Zealand franchisee for an international business training network, and Hawkes Bay iwi social service provider Te Taiwhenua O Heretaunga, which won the Tino Taumata award for overall excellence.


Maori prepare a lot of food for large gatherings, and the Food Safety Authority wants to make sure mahuhiri don't go home with sore bellies.

It's launched a campaign called A Shared Vision to promote greater awareness of safety and sustainability when dealing with kai.

Spokesperson Raniera Bassett says New Zealand has a high rate of food borne illnesses.

He says the authority is looking for the most effective way to reach communities.

“We're actually running a survey now with certain marae throughout Aotearoa looking at training resource, that if a marae wants to have some sort of guidelines to clean, cook, cover, chill messages, that’s what we are going to be producing,” Mr Bassett says.

The campaign will also tackle food related diseases such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes, which affect Maori in greater numbers than non-Maori.


New Zealand's high teenage pregnancy rate may be due more to drunkenness than a lack of sex education.

That's the view of Sue Bagshaw, a senior doctor at a Christchurch youth health service.

She says young Maori women are disproportionately represented in teen birth statistics in part because Maori society is more accepting of women having children young.

But alcohol is also a factor, and media campaigns need to take that into account.

“A really major message we should be getting across is - we really have a good message going round that you should not drink and drive. To me it should be, don’t have sex when you’re drunk, because you end up doing something you regret,” Dr Bagshaw says.

The young women are also vulnerable position because parts of their brains that process decisions are not fully developed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kia Ora Adam,
thanks for your story; I'm involved with kumara at the East Coast, and Lilian Gray from Tolaga Bay was nominated as well.
We would like to run a story for the Gisborne Herald.
Can you give me some more information;
please email me; kerckhoffsh@crop.cri.nz
thank you very much,

8:19 pm  

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