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Saturday, February 03, 2007

United flag could fly on Maungakiekie

Ngapuhi elder Kingi Taurua is on the hunt for a suitable place in Auckland to fly New Zealand's first flag.

Transit refused the Ata Tino Toa group permission to fly its red, black and white flag on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Mr Tauroa says that's the wrong flag to symbolise Maori sovereignty, and the flag adopted by the Confederation of United Tribes in 1834 is the one to use.

He says if it can't fly on the bridge, there could be an attempt to fly the United Tribes flag on Maungakiekie One Tree Hill on Waitangi Day.

“The issue now is to make sure that people are aware that there is a sovereignty flag for Maori and it’s a national flag as far as we were concerned and it was received and acknowledged as a national flag, so there you are,” Mr Taurua says.

The flag will fly as always over the lower Te Tii Marae at Waitangi on February 6.


Pan-Maori fishing company Aotearoa Fisheries wants action to encourage aquaculture development.

Reporting to Te Ohu Kaimoana's annual hui in Wellington today, Aotearoa chairperson Rob McLeod said in most areas the company was ahead of budget, with its $16.5 million profit almost $2 million higher than budget.

But he says changes to the aquaculture regime haven't produced the promised results, with no new aquaculture management areas introduced in the two years since the legislation was introduced.

He says Maori haven't been able to take advantage of high global prices for shellfish, and subsidiary Sealord has been unable to create the number of jobs it promised in the sector.

“We've been disappointed that we’ve not been able to push into areas in aquaculture particularly where I think we were as a joint venture with Nissui more optimistic about investment capital and opportunities opening up. That challenge still remains. It’s something we try with best endeavours to achieve,” Mr McLeod says.

Aotearoa Fisheries expects to make a $23 million profit in the year to September.


The organiser of Kawhia's traditional Maori food festival says the event celebrates the whakapapa of the area.

The festival will feature a variety of seafood delicacies including kokii or dried shark liver, and the mix of pickled mussels and puha known as toroi.

Lloyd Whiu says when the Tainui waka first arrived to Kawhia there was such an abundant amount of food, it was many years before the iwi needed to venture further out.

“When the Tainui waka first arrived there and they coined the phrase Kawhia kai, Kawhia moana, Kawhia tangata, the food basked of Tainui was found here in Kawhia. It’s a reflection of that, and we’ve just used that to get our unique food festival out there,” Mr Whiu says.

Up up to 10,000 people are expected in the Waikato west coast township tomorrow.


The Maori fisheries settlement trust is warning iwi who haven't been through the mandating process that their access to cheap quota will be cut off.

Chairperson Shane Jones told Te Ohu Kaimoana's annual hui in Wellington today that 70 percent of iwi have become mandated organisations and received almost $400 million in fisheries assets.

Mr Jones says if tribes refuse to get mandates, their fisheries assets will be managed in trust and they will no longer be able to buy an annual catch entitlement.

“If within a year or so there are still some laggards who are unwilling to go through the mandate process required by Te Ohu Kaimoana, then serious questions will need to be directed towards their leaders. There is no reason why tribes such as Ngati Tama have not been through the mandating process. There will be no exceptions,” Mr Jones says.

The trust this week confirmed the mandates of Ngati Tuwharetoa and two small iwi from the top of the South Island, Te Atiawa and Rangitane, meaning there are only 17 iwi to go through the process.


Green MP Metiria Turei says the Maori seats should stay until Maori decide to get rid of them.

National leader John Key has reiterated his party's intention to scrap the seats, but says it will wait until 2014 before making the change.

Ms Turei says just because National has changed its leader doesn't mean it has changes its spots, and its anti-Maori direction seems intact.

She says a future National Government has no right to make that decision.

“If those seats are ever to be abolished it is to be a decision by Maori that they are no longer necessary, and they will be no longer necessary when we have proper representation as treaty partners. National is just pursuing its old strategy of attacking Maori because it’s an easy victim to attack,” Ms Turei says.


Well as you probably know, the Wellington round of the international rugby sevens championship is on as we speak.

New Zealand sevens guru Eric Rush has been helping with the squad.
The former captain says Maori players continue to feature prominently in a sport with a distinctly multicultural face.

The playing squad for this weekend's games includes two Maori, three Samoans, two Tongan and three Pakeha.

Mr Rush says there are some fine young Maori players coming through in the larger squad.

“Solomon King, he’s a boy from the Bay of Plenty. Zar Lawrence, he played last year, he’s from Whatawhiwhi up north, brought up in Kaeo too, I went to school with his aunties and uncles. Then you’ve got Willie Rickards, Jarek Goebel, Cheb Tuhoro, I’ve got plenty of time for him,” Mr Rush says.

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.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Seat result spells Maori Party rejection

Labour list MP Shane Jones says disillusionment with the Maori Party is a big reason there will not be another Maori seat.

While the number of North Island seats will increase by one, not enough voters switched to the Maori roll in last year's Maori electoral option to create another seat.

Mr Jones, who predicted the result, says while an increase in the South Island population was one factor, dissatisfaction by Maori voters with the Maori Party leadership was also important.

“They are basically saying ‘Right, we are going to get a better mix of representation and will have more trustworthiness by turning our backs on the leadership of the Maori Party,’ and I really feel based on the anecdotal information referred to me, that as the reason so few people elected to go on the Maori roll this time,” Mr Jones says.

The average size of a general seat next election will be just over 57 thousand people, while Maori MPs will represent 59 and a half thousand people.


Organisers of next week's events at Waitangi are satisfied with security measures they've put in place and are not expecting trouble next Tuesday.

Spokesperson Pita Paraone says they have an obligation to ensure the safety of dignitaries visiting the Treaty Grounds, including the Prime Minister and the Governor General.

He says there are no plans for added security, as they expect behaviour will be as peaceful as last year.

“The Tino Rangatira group coming over the Waitangi on the day but we’re not expecting untoward action, but if there is, we certainly have the capabilities of ensuring the safety of those who come to Waitangi,” Mr Paraone says.


Waka builder Hekenukumai Busby says sending a war canoe to support New Zealand's Americas Cup campaign in Spain will lift the Maori profile overseas.

Mr Busby says Te Ika aa Maui made its international debut in San Francisco in 2005 to mark the start of the Toi Maori art exhibition.

He says thousands of Americans learned about Maori from that exercise, and he expects a similar result at Valencia.

“It's promoting us as a race, you know, show them the seamanship of out tupuna who sailed the Pacific in the early days,” Mr Busby says.

Te Ika aa Maui will participate in a number of events during the America's Cup regatta.


Waikato Maori landowners may try to block Transpower workers from going on their land to build more pylons.

The Electricity Commission yesterday gave draft approval to Transpower's $800 million plan to build 430 steel towers from Whakamaru to south Auckland.

Willie Te Aho, the lawyer for Ngati Koroki Kahukura, says the decision will have major economic and environmental consequences for Maori and Pakeha landowners.

He says options include asking the Ombudsman to look at the decision, challenging it through the resource consent process, or asking the Waitangi Tribunal to step in.

“There's always the direct action, stopping people from accessing our lands. It is an option, it is an option we are going to exercise,” Mr Te Aho says.


Maori Party co leader Pita Sharples says he's disappointed at the failure to create another Maori seat in Parliament.

Maori Party MPs took to the road during last year's electoral option to encourage Maori voters to switch rolls.

But the chief statistician revealed today that their efforts weren't enough to counterweigh a boost in the South Island population, the other major factor used to determine electorate sizes.

Dr Sharples says the effort was still worth it.

“We certainly put in the effort, Yeah, we’re disappointed, but we’re not gutted. I mean, we’re talking abut an extra 15,000 enrolled in the whole process on the Maori roll, and we’re pretty happy with that,” Dr Sharples says.

He rejected the claim by Labour list MP Shane Jones that the failure to secure an extra seat was because of Maori dissatisfaction at the Maori Party leadership.


Historian Paul Moon says the Treaty of Waitangi is becoming irrelevant to many New Zealanders because they are not taught history.

Dr Moon has surveyed 2000 people during the past year on their views on the treaty.

He says many people under 35 are turned off the treaty because they can't see any obvious outcomes from the settlement process.

Dr Moon says the government is encouraging indifference to the treaty.

“The intention by some governments to end, treaty claims, to say this is the deadline for claims, and some people are turning round and saying “good, now that the claims are over, there’s no more need for the treaty,” so clearly there’s a big group in New Zealand who link the Waitangi treaty with the claims process, they see the two as being the same thing,” Dr Moon says.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Unemployment rump not simple problem

The Prime Minister says the Government is open to different ways of tackling the problems of long term unemployment.

Helen Clark says Labour won't support Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples' call for a return to work for the dole schemes, because they don't work.

But she says the issue now that unemployment is lower than it's been for a generation, is what to do with the really hard core jobless.

“And when you get into it, some of the folk as Pita will know have got problems with drugs, they’ve problems with alcohol, problems with obesity which make a lot of forms of work impractical, may have had issues with the law, may have lost their driving licence, they have multiple problems, and that is where you would find the Department of Work and Income would be active on the case,” Ms Clark says.

She says Work and Income will work with community groups including urban Maori and iwi organisations to address employment issues.


Shane Jones's 14 year run helping set the direction for Maori fisheries is coming to an end.

Mr Jones will announce his resignation as chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana at the fisheries settlement trust's annual meeting on Friday.

It fulfils a promise he made when he entered Parliament on the Labour Party list last election.

Mr Jones was appointed to what was then the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission in 1993, and succeeded Ngai Tahu's Sir Tipene O'Regan as chairperson in 2000.

He says he learned a huge amount about politics, business and people in a job which had highs and lows.

“The low point was having my house raided by the police who were given a search warrant by a Lower Hutt judge. Of course they found nothing that would incriminate me, and it was at that point that I knew that I would be the chairman, because whoever the forcer were that were against me, they’d sunk to an abysmal low,” Mr Jones says.

He says the high point was the passage of the Maori Fisheries Act in 2004, which allowed Te Ohu Kaimoana to start putting fisheries settlement assets in the hands of the tribes.


Te Papa Tongarewa kaihautu Te Taru White says negotiating with overseas institutions to return Maori taonga can be tricky.

Nine toi moko or preserved heads are on their way back to the Museum of New Zealand from Aberdeen University's Marischal Museum in Scotland.

Mr White says it took intensive negotiations to get the the heads back.
He says museums worldwide are wary about allowing material out of their collections, and there is no way New Zealand can demand taonga back.

“Point blank, those museums have the power to say yes or no. That’s it. And the only way you’re going to keep the door open is to move in very gently and mirimiri (massage) them a little, sensitise them, to a moral sense of the return, that this is a good thing for them to do,” Mr White says.

The nine toi moko and their couriers will be welcomed back to Te Papa at nine on Monday morning.


Ngapuhi kaumatua Kingi Taurua says sovereignty activists have tried to get the wrong flag flown from the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Transit New Zealand has turned down a request to fly the black red and white Maori flag from the bridge on Waitangi Day.

That flag was adopted as a symbol of Maori sovereignty after it won a competition run by the Kawariki protest group in the early 1990s.

Mr Taurua, who is organising next week's hui on Waitangi's lower Te Tii Marae, says the white ensign adopted by the Confederation United Tribes in 1834 is the one that should be flown.

“And the flag really represents our tino rangatiratanga and our sovereignty over this country, and that’s the flag they should be thinking of flying,” Mr Taurua says.

The white ensign is associated with the 1835 Declaration of Independence, which laid the ground for the Treaty of Waitangi.


South Auckland's Manurewa Marae will be the first urban marae to get a makeover on Maori Television's Marae DIY show.

Marae chairperson Eru Thompson says the marae services a region boasting the highest concentration of Maori in the country.

He says the project has rekindled enthusiasm in the community for the marae, which overlooks the Manukau Harbour.

“Quite a few members of our whanau had left the marae over the last few years, and it was a way of bringing them all back,” Mr Thompson says.

The main change will be to resite the paepae where the speakers sit to give an unimpeded view between the kaikaranga and those gathered at the waharoa or gateway.


It's a city renowned for its Maori musical talent, but Rotorua has never had its own record label.

Now, 80 years after Parlophone first recorded Ana Hato and Deane Waretini, comes Kanohi Records.

Managing director Roger Cunningham says there is no reason the next Maori sound to make an impact internationally can't come from the sulphur city.

Mr Cunningham says Rotorua has some of the most seasoned entertainers in the counrty, but they needed an outlet,,

"Recording the waiata hasn’t been too much of a prioblem. It’s been a challenge in itself, but now that the technology’s around there are so many home studios and production studios around. What is I feel is the problem in our rohe is actually providing the interface into the industry,” Mr Cunningham says.

Kahohi has three albums ready for release, with an emphasis on high quality contemporary waiata in te reo Maori.

Jones steps aside from fisheries trust

Labour list MP Shane Jones intends to announce he will step down as chair of the Maori fisheries settlement trust at the trust's annual meeting on Friday.

Mr Jones was appointed to Te Ohu Kaimoana in 1993 at the age of 33, and elected chair in 2000 after the incoming Labour government dropped Ngai Tahu's Sir Tipene O'Regan from the commission.

Under his leadership, Te Ohu Kaimoana ended years of bickering and won iwi support for a fisheries settlement allocation model, which has now resulted in the majority of iwi now owning their fisheries settlement assets.

Mr Jones flagged last year that this hui a tau would be his last, but that did not stop sniping from Opposition MPs to his dual role.

“When you come into public life and you’re putting up with that irrelevant but potentially damaging rumour-mongering that you're a double dipper and you don't deserve to be in Parliament or you don't deserve to hold your other position, then you get to a position where the job is pretty much done anyway and there are some competent people to take over from me,” Mr Jones says.

Te Ohu Kaimoana will vote on a replacement chairperson when its two recently-appointed members join the board.


Labour Minister Ruth Dyson says Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples' call for a return to work for the dole schemes will get no backing from her government.

The Maori Party caucus today decided to back Dr Sharples' off the cuff policymaking on benefits.

But Ms Dyson says here and overseas it has been proven that work for the dole schemes are expensive to administer and do little to ensure people get into real jobs.

“Work for the dole assumes that people on an unemployment benefit don’t want to work, and in an overwhelming majority of cases, that is not the case,” Ms Dyson says.


Maori Party MP Hone Harawira has accused Transit New Zealand of double standards over its refusal to fly the Tino Rangatiratanga movement's flag from the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Waitangi Day.

Transit says the slot is reserved for flags of sovereign nations.

But Mr Harawira says the black and red flag, which has been widely adopted as a Maori flag after it won a competition run by the Kawariki movement, will be part of Waitangi Day Celebrations in Sydney, London, New York and Los Angeles -- but not in the city with the largest Maori population.

“You know the black flag with the silver fern on, I’ve seen that flying off the Harbour Bridge. And I’m thinking to myself, ‘When did they change the rules?’ Why all of a sudden because the Maori flag is proposed to be flown, they come up with this rule they only fly national flags. Because the silver fern on a black background is not a national flag,” Mr Harawira says.


Maori can expect more of their skeletal remains held by overseas museums to be returned home.

Nine toi moko or smoked heads are on their way back from the Marischal Museum at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland in the care of Apapata Hakiwai, the director of Matauranga Maori at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa, and Ngai Tahu kaumatua Kukupa Tirikatene.

Te Papa's kaihautu, Te Taru White, says since 2003 the museum has stepped up its efforts to recover as many ancestral remains as possible.

“We're pretty experienced. We’ve moved about 18 institutions and also koiwi tangata, skeletal remains, from around 18 institutions so far, so we’re getting pretty efficient at this process,” Te Taru White says.

The toi moko will be welcomed to Te Papa at nine on Monday Morning, and will be put in a waahi tapu area in the museum.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples' call for a return to work for the dole schemes has won guarded support from his caucus.

Dr Sharples floated the idea last week, saying Maori are getting trapped on benefits.

The idea won support from National, which ran such schemes in the 1990s, but was rejected by Labour and the Greens, who said they don't work and they force beneficiaries to work for less than minimum wage.

Coming out of a two day caucus where the Maori Party MPs set their agenda for the year, Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira said the term work for the dole has been associated with beneficiary bashing.

But Mr Harawira says Dr Sharples won him over.

“During our caucus we hyad what’s known by Pakehas as a robust and vigorous debate on that particular issue. I’m happy to say that I back Pita’s instincts nearly all the time and I backed him on this one too,” Mr Harawira says.

He says the Maori Party is keen to find ways for Maori to break the cycle of benefit dependency.


National Party Maori Affairs co-spokesperson Georgina Te Heuheu says the treaty settlement process is falling short of Maori expectations.

Mrs te Heuheu, a former member of the Waitangi Tribunal, says the claim settlement structure put in place by National in the early 1990s is still substantially in place.

She says it may need to be reviewed when National is next in government, which she expects will be at the end of next year.

“I'm very much aware that a number of tribes, if not most tribes, would express dissatisfaction that settlements don’t come anywhere near their losses. And that’s their view and that’s what they’re entitled to,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

She can understand the Maori Party's concerns about settlement levels, but there is no way any government can offer full compensation.

International future for Sealord

Outgoing Sealord chief executive Doug McKay says the future for New Zealand's largest fishing company is in international growth.

Mr McKay leaves the Maori-Japanese owned company at the end of April to head up Independent Liquor Company, Tegel and Griffins.

During his five years at the helm Sealord achieved record profits and revenue growth despite the high New Zealand dollar, fuel price fluctuations, quota cuts and other challenges.

Mr McKay says the quota management system means there is a limit to how much companies can grow in the New Zealand fishery, so expansion is essential.

He says almost two thirds of the fish it sells now comes from outside New Zealand waters.

“We've settled on international expansion and aquaculture and fish that we buy off other people, and try to be the people that have got the smarts in the middle between the customer and the supplier and with our unique knowledge of the fishing industry and with our marketing expertise that we’ve developed over the years, we’ve found ourselves a strategy that works in the fishing industry and we’ve benefited from that,” Mr McKay says.

He says Sealord is in good shape for its next phase of growth.


A Palmerston North environmentalist hopes a 'Name & Shame' website will stop major companies polluting the Manawatu River.

Malcolm Mulholland organised a hikoi last year to raise awareness of pollution in the river.

He says the Manawatu District Council is now taking a tougher line on non-compliance with resource consents, but it may be too little, too late.

Mr Mulholland says the planned website may be a better way to pressure companies to clean up their act - and the river.

“That website will constantly be in the public eye. People can sign an online petition and we’re also looking to write an open letter and to send it off to some of the major export markets who Fonterra deals with to say you buy x amount from Fonterra, but did you know this is the way they treat their local community,” Mr Mulholland says.

Malcolm Mulholland plans another hikoi over the next month visiting marae along the Manawatu riverside.


Maori actor Rawiri Paretene says a film should made on the life of poet Hone Tuwhare.

The Otara-raised actor is looking forward to revisiting his narrator's role in the stage production about Tuwhare's work which will be part of the AK07 festival in Auckland in March.

The play was greeted with glowing reviews and sell-out performances when it played in Wellington last year.

Mr Paratene says after studying Tuwhare's writings, he has the utmost respect for the 85 year old poet's work.

“I get to tell Hone Tuwhare’s life story. It’s a fantastic, uplifting celebratory piece and a really fitting tribute to a remarkable man who I hope to play in a future film one day,” Mr Paratene says.


Sealord Group chief executive Doug McKay says the fisheries settlement allocation process has helped the company increase the share of Maori quota it catches and markets.

Although Sealord is owned 50-50 by pan-Maori company Aotearoa Fisheries and Japanese giant Nissui, iwi have always had a choice about who they get to fish their quota.

Mr McKay says as iwi have gone through the mandating process required to pick up their share of the fisheries settlement, the way the quota is managed has changed.

“When it was all care no responsibility, you might do certain things in a certain way, but now that the responsibility rests right back with the iwi owners themselves, we’re finding that responsible operators like ourselves are the ones that iwi are naturally gravitating to,” Mr McKay says.

Mr McKay leaves Sealord at the end of April to head up Independent Liquors, but says the company is well placed for further expansion into overseas markets.


National Party list MP Pansy Wong says there exists a willingness among migrant communities to learn about New Zealand history and the Treaty of Waitangi, but there are limited opportunities to do so.

The first Asian MP to enter New Zealand Parliament says the government rejected her suggestion three years ago that new arrivals take a course on New Zealand history.

Mrs Wong says it was a lost opportunity.

“For people who migrate to New Zealand, I would say all of them would welcome if we had some accessible way to learn about New Zealand,. But what have we doen to educate them about New Zealand system, history, Maori, Treaty of Waitangi etc,” Ms Wong says.

She says even New Zealand born citizens have little exposure to the history of this land and its people through the school system, and the new curriculum means that will get even worse in future.


Veteran Maori actor Rawiri Paratene says a growing pool of skilled Maori television professionals means a prime time soap opera in te reo could soon be possible.

Mr Paratene has been directing episodes of Korero Mai on Maori Television.

He says the programme, which aims to teach Maori language in an entertaining way, is similar to a soap.

Mr Paratene says he's impressed by the growing confidence of Maori writers and actors.

“We've been getting a lot of young actors who are really strong with the reo but have had no experience as performers for camera, and similarly for writers, really skilled with the reo, but no real experience with writing drama, and it’s a lot more difficult than it looks,” Mr Paratene says.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Wainuiomata nursery for new community approach

A former head of Maori Affairs says communities need to be given the power to tackling the problems facing them.

Kara Puketapu says big stick approaches, like a return to work for the dole schemes being advocated by Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples, don't work.

Mr Puketapu is the head of Runanga o Taranaki Whanui, which runs a programme called Tamaiti Whangai in the Wellington suburb of Wainuiomata.

He says the runanga has an integrated contract with eight government agencies, including Hutt City Council, Accident Compensation and Petone-based polytechnic Weltec, to deliver trade training, free school holiday programmes and a family advocacy service.

“It is what I call the whole of community governance. This is where we believe the new approach can be more successful. It is getting rid of the silo system out of government. We are determining out of our space in Wainuiomata how to move it,” Mr Puketapu says.

Other communities around the country are now looking to pick up the Tamaiti Whangai model.


A medical educator says the shortage of Maori doctors would only be addressed if New Zealand's two medical schools only trained Maori for the next five years.

Keri Ratima, the Maori programme manager for the Royal New Zealand college of general practitioners, says that's not going to happen, so it's important all doctors have an appreciation for how to deal appropriately with Maori patients.

Dr Ratima says the number of Maori going through medical school is increasing, but not fast enough to meet demand.

She says it's positive that Maori now aspire to careers in health.

“It's really important to get to their kids and to their parents, families abut these types of careers in health sciences, not just doctors and nurses but there’s pharmacists, and physiotherapists and a whole range of careers out there for the kids to be considering,” Dr Ratima says.

She says there are high expectations on Maori doctors, and they often need extra training or support to cope with the unique challenges they face.


The Associate Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage is keen to pursue further cultural relationships with Japan.

Mahara Okeroa accompanied King Tuheitia for the opening of the Mauri Ora exhibition of Maori taonga at Japan's national museum in Tokyo.

Mr Okeroa says the Japanese are interested in diverse art forms, including those of the Maori.

He says a festival later in the year could be on the cards to strengthen the bond between the two cultures.

“We are very keen to reinvigorate those relationships culturally by having a New Zealand festival towards the end of this year and beginning with a celebration of our 55 years of diplomatic relations with Japan,” Mr Okeroa says.


Sealord Group is losing its chief executive to the liquor industry.

Doug McKay has resigned from New Zealand's largest fishing company, to become executive chair of Independent Liquor and non-executive chair of two other Pacific Equity Partners companies, Tegel and Griffins.

Sealord is half-owned by pan-tribal company Aotearoa Fisheries, with the other half in the hands of Japanese giant Nissui.

Aotearoa chairperson Rob McLeod says in his five years at Sealord the company has produced record results in very difficult business conditions.
In the year to June 2006 Sealord's sales exceeded $600 million for the first time.

Under Mr McKay, the company strengthened its presence in overseas markets, especially in Europe, and increased the amount of product it sold from fisheries outside New Zealand to 60 percent.


Young Maori in Te Waipounamu are being urged to take up a career within the health sector.

Hector Matthews, Canterbury District Health Board Maori and Pacific Island Director, says the Te Waipounamu Maori Recruitment Specialist Programme will target Year 9 and 10 students in highly Maori populated secondary schools.

Mr Matthews says Maori make up just over 7 percent of Canterbury's population is Maori, but make up just 3 percent of Health workers.

He says the figures don't add up.

“We're just not getting enough Maori that are graduating from med school, from nursing training and other health professions like physiotherapy and occupational therapists. They’re just not entering into those tertiary training institutions, so our health workforce does not reflect the community we serve,” Hector Matthews says.

The health board will work with Ngai Tahu Communications to create promotional material for school presentations.


Security will be on hand at next week's Waitangi day celebrations in Manukau to discourage unwanted protests.

Organiser Rose Whaiapu says members of a white supremicist group tried to use last year's event at Hayman Park as a to promote their views.

She says organisers were able to defuse a potentially explosive situation.

“Last year we had the National Front, they came to protest about the Treaty of Waitangi, and how we were being hard done by, and we asked them to please leave the grounds, this is not a day or place for promoting yourself. We have other issues over here and they don’t include people like you who want to try and disrupt,” Ms Whaiapu says.

She says while everyone is entitled to their views on the treaty, the celebrations at Manukau can do without the animosity such protests can create.

Name and shame won't work

A former Black Power spokesperson says Pita Sharples' call to name and shame gang members won't work, but the Maori Party co-leader has earned the right to propose solutions.

Dr Sharples says Maori communities are letting gangs get away with intimidation and drug peddling, and people need to be called to account.

Hawkes Bay community worker Dennis O'Reilly, who has run his own anti-drug campaigns, says most gang members have been named and shamed by the education and justice systems for most of their lives with no positive effect, and many would revel in the publicity.

But he says Dr Sharples is sincere.

“If there's someone who’s got a right to talk about these things, it’s Pita Sharples. He’s not someone who’s sat on the sideline. He’s been out there with kapa haka, with education, fronting the brothers over P and all that sort of stuff, so he’s got a right to say what he feels and thinks,” Mr O’Reilly says.


The Waitangi Tribunal has delayed indefinitely a judicial conference intended to a cement progress on the Ngapuhi treaty claims.

Runanga chairperson Sonny Tau says the Ngapuhi Claim Design Group was not able to consult iwi members in time for the mid-February conference, so asked for it to be put off.

Mr Tau says the Northland tribe doesn't want to confine its claim to historic land dealings, but wants to tackle wider issues about whether sovereignty was ceded in the Treaty of Waitangi and whether the English version of the treaty should be used.

“To not take the issue up from where our tupuna signed the tiriti of Waitangi is an abdication by us of a responsibility to our tupuna, that’s how we see it,” Mr Tau says.

Ngapuhi hopes to complete its planning by April.


Kapa haka groups aren't letting anything out of the bag before next month's big competition.

Wayne Johnson, the general manager of Te Matatini national Maori performing arts festival, says the event at Palmerston North from February 22 to 25 is set to be the biggest yet.

While many of the groups have been holding concerts to raise money for the trip, Mr Johnson says this close to competition time lips are sealed about how they plan to impress the judges.

“That's the nature of the festival anyway, those groups are not giving anything away, they’ve got all their cards, not just their aces, up their sleeves,” Mr Johnson says.

This year's festival won't be just feature kapa haka, with Katchafire, Spacifix and Ardijah booked to give the fans something to dance to at the end of each day's competitions.


The Nelson 2000 Trust has unveiled the first part of a 20 metre memorial wall documenting the settlement of the province back to the earliest times.

The words on the 1.2 metre granite slab unveiled yesterday were written by historians John and Hilary Mitchell.

Dr Mitchell, from Ngati Tama, says he started with legendary figures like Kupe and Waitaha ancestor Rakeihautu, and went through the many iwi who have fought over and lived in the area.

“What we want to try to do is lay to rest the modern myth that you often hear expressed is that ‘Oh, well, there weren’t many Maori here,’ or ‘There weren’t any Maori here when Europeans arrived.’ And of course neither of those things are true. It has a very rich history which we have tried to portray on this plaque,” Dr Mitchell says.

Maori played an important role in the European settlement of Nelson, particularly through their involvement in the early coastal shipping trade.

The wall will eventually include the names of all the European settlers who arrived during the first decade of the Nelson colony.


Wellington mayoral campaigner Ray Ahipene-Mercer believes being Maori can help him win later this year.

The conservationist and musician will be taking on sitting mayor Kerry Prendergast and a crowded field which could also include Labour list MP Georgina Beyer from Te Atiawa.

Mr Ahipene Mercer says Wellington voters have appreciated the way he brought a Maori dimension to issues like water quality and place naming, while also taking other points of view into account.

“You want to be inclusive and you want to bring people with you and you want people to come on board and be bicultural if you like, not because I’m telling them that they should but because having considered the discussions we have been having or the issues or whatever, that this is of mutual benefit and it’s that mutual benefit and inclusiveness dimension to do with things Maori that I believe I get a high support from voters,” Mr Ahipene Mercer says.

He says his three terms on council has served as an apprenticeship, and he's ready to step up to the top job.


Audiences will get an alternative to Kapahaka at next month's Te Matatini National Kapahaka Festival in Palmerston North.

Te Matatini General Manager Wayne Johnson says the programme called 'Hip Hop Haka' will run on a stage separate from the mainstage where Kapahaka performances will take place, and headline acts will go ahead at the end of each Kapahaka day.

Acts such as Katchafire, Kora, Ardijah and Ruia Aperahama have been named to play.

Mr Johnson says this by no means is to take away from the Kapahaka performances, but rather to provide an alternative.

“We are looking at existing audiences and new audiences as well, and those ones there are our headline acts, and it’s for those people who may want to break from the main stage, but it’s not on the main stage – we’re running three allied stages at this festival,” Mr Johnson says.

This year's Te Matatini National Kapahaka Festival set for February 22-25 will be the biggest yet.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sharples looking for dole action

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharpes says he's had 40 years experience getting young Maori get off the dole, and he knows it can be done.

Employment Minister David Benson Pope dismissed Dr Sharples' call for a return to work for the dole schemes, saying they didn't work when National tried them.

But Dr Sharples says he wants to develop the idea as one of his party's policy planks.

I've run programmes now for 30, 40 years at Hoani Waititi Marae and before that in the community and they’re very good. People actually learn something and move on. We’ve taken people out of court, just for minor offences, and now they’re teaching fully qualified with a degree. It can happen,” Dr Sharples says.

He says too many Maori are trapped on benefits and need to either work or be on courses that enhance their job prospects.


A long time advocate for the unemployed says she is confused by the Maori Party's work for the dole call.

Before entering parliament, Green Party MP, Sue Bradford headed the unemployed and beneficiaries union.

She says the last time there was a fair work for the dole scheme was almost 20 years ago with the PEP schemes, where unemployed workers were paid award rates for short term projects.

She says working for the dole isn't good for the unemployed nor for workers' conditions overall.

“The Maori Party tends to have quite good policy on wages which is why I wonder why they’re forcing people to work for way below the minimum wage,” Ms Bradford says.

The Maori Party supported the call for the minimum wage to be lifted,


Te Atiawa wants a series a mataitai or non-commercial reserves wrapped around Wellington's south coast to protect remaining crayfish and paua stocks.

Spokesperson Anania Randall says the Fisheries Ministry isn't putting in the resources needed to tackle the well-organised poaching gangs plundering the resource.

Mr Randall says the situation has been dragging on for two long, and it's time for the Minister to use his powers to get reservations in place before it's too late.

“Our main problem is that when we have a tangi on or something like that, we go out to our traditional fishing grounds and gone are the days where can just hop in and dive waist deep out to 10 feet of water. You’ve got to go deeper and deeper now just to find the resource,” Mr Randall says.

He says the Fisheries Ministry took away the warrants of six Te Atiawa honorary fisheries officers, but the tribe maintains its kaitiaki role in the area.


Wellington city councillor Ray Ahipene Mercer has thrown his hat in to be the capital's first Maori mayor.
The conservationist and musician has topped the poll the three times he's stood for council, and hopes that support will carry him into the top job.

Mr Ahipene Mercer says he draws his support from across the political spectrum.

“I believe that is because of the work I have done bringing people to some positive direction, particularly on environmental/social issues, and so I can bring a leadership that contrasts quite strongly with the incumbent mayor and the other contenders so far,” Mr Ahipene Mercer says.

Mr Ahipene Mercer will be up against incumbent Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast and at least two other councilors, with Labour list MP Georgina Beyer also considering a run.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says drastic action may be needed to shake Maori out of a dependent mentality.

Dr Sharples is calling for a return to work for the dole schemes, and says he doesn't care what the Maori community thinks about the idea.

He says while some might think he is coming down on a sector of the community doing it toughest, he sees it as giving people a hand up.

“I don't really care what sort of reaction I get from the Maori community to this sort of suggestion. I just know that many families get into trouble and a lot of these families are into that whole anger syndrome I mention a lot. If people are going to react negatively to this, I want to hear their reasons why,” Dr Sharples says.

He says although the number of Maori without jobs has come down, there are still too many Maori on the unemployment benefit, and that is a major reason there are so many dysfunctional Maori families.


An Indian scientist living in Rotorua says there a some extraordinary similarities between Maori and India's classical language, Sanskrit.

Guna Magesan will be talking about his experiences in New Zealand at the World Hindu Conference in India next month.

Dr Magesan says there are almost 200 Indian words which mean the same or similar in Maori - including mana which to Indians means pride or self respect.

He has co-ordinated marae visits for groups of visiting indian academics keen to learn more about the relationship, and Maori researchers may have the opportunity to travel to India to do the same.

“We are thinking ... of sending at least two people from here to study Indian culture in India, and Indian people to come here and learn about Maoir culture, so the exchange can take place and more research be done,” Dr Magesan says.

He says making links between the languages and cultures can make it easier for Hindu people to integrate themselves into New Zealand society.

Academic network for career support

A proposed Maori Academic Network across Universities in Aotearoa, or MANU-AO, might encourage academics to stay around longer.

That's the hope of Massey University Maori head Mason Durie, who is one of the people proposing the network, which has just won funding from the Tertiary Education Commission's innovation and development fund.

Professor Durie says while more Maori are seeking tertiary qualifications, few stick around and develop academic careers.

He says one reason is that most who try are in areas outside Maori studies, and they can get isolated.

“It will overcome some of the difficulty that Maori academics have that you get one or two working in isolation within a department which might be fine for their subject are, but something else seems to be missing for them, and they don't last very long,” Professor Durie says.

He says universities often lose highly qualified Maori academic staff to government agencies and private sector organisations, who can afford to pay much higher salaries.


A mainly Maori health practice in the eastern Bay of Plenty has won funding to try out news ways of ensuring its patients gets proper care when they are discharged from hospital.

Rachael Thompson from Te Whanau a Apanui Community Health says primary health providers are usually not told when their patients are sent back home after hospital stays, and in rural areas this can cause major problems.

The money from the Ministry of Health's rural innovations fund will allow the practice to hire a person to manage the interface with the hospital and take over planning for what happens on discharge.

Dr Thompson says hospitals often don't take into account the time and effort it takes to travel from remote rural areas for outpatient treatment or follow up care, so appointments are often missed.

She says Maori are often too shy to express their concerns or ask questions, so the practice will be able to advocate on their behalf.


Maori party co-leader and kapa haka expert Pita Sharples says he wants to die on stage.

Last night he turned out for Manutaki, as the 4 top teams from Tamaki Makaurau played to a packed house at Auckland Girls Grammar, in a fundraiser for the nationals in Manawatu late next month.

Dr Sharples says his son Paora is now the tutor of Manutaki, while he has assumed the role of on stage kaumatua.

He says the overall standard of kapahaka continues to improve each year.

Dr Sharples says he hasn't missed a national competition since they began in 1972, and has no intention of giving up anytime soon.

“I hope to die on the stage, not at this festival, but several later on. You just can’t give it up, it’s just so great and when you see the level now that kapa haka has reached, it’s just so exciting,” Dr Sharples says.


Massey University Maori studies head Mason Durie says the demand by government agencies and other organisations for qualified Maori is putting pressure on academic leadership.

Professor Durie says many of the Maori heads of department around the universities are nearing retirement age, and it is hard to finds replacements.

He says that is one of the resons behind Manu Ao, a proposed Maori academic network which has just received funding from the Tertiary Education Commission's Innovation and Development Fund.

“It happens over and over again,. A Maori gets a high qualification and is immediately put into a postioon of resoponsbiulty or a managerial position. They never write anything again. The PhD is the last thing they write. And as a result you do not get people coming through on the academic side to the level they should be. And that is one of the things we hope MANU-AU might be able to address,” Professor Durie says.

Manu-AO could include a virtual marae for Maori academics and a place to share ideas about teaching and research.


Many new arrivals to New Zealand are keen to know more about the Treaty of Waitangi and how it affects them.

Meteria Turei, the Green Party spokesperson on Maori Affairs, says migrant communities often feel out of the loop on Waitangi Day, which commemorates the signing of the treaty between Maori and the Crown in 1840.

She says in recent years, many ethnic groups have made efforts to learn more about New Zealand's founding document, and she will be talking to one such group in Auckland this week.

“The Senior Citizens Tamil Association every year holds a Waitangi event where they talk about the treaty, and as new people to our country, what their role is, so it’s really good that people who come here from similar backgrounds and situations in other countries recognise the importance of Waitangi Day and what it means,” Ms Turei says.


Maori living at Aotea Harbour on the west coast of the north island, are keen to have a mataitai, or marine reserve established.

Davis Apiti, a kaitiaki at Okapu Pa, says they are concerned at falling fish stocks within the harbour and feel they can do more to protect the resource.

Mr Apiti says the harbour has long been a food basket for Maori, and if managed properly, will continue to be so for generations to come.

He says hui are being held at marae in the area, to discuss the logistics of managing the harbour’s fishery if the application for a mataitai, due to be heard next month is accepted.

“The actual maraes in the area will put their people in place to manage the areas they’re responsible for so that we can protect the taonga like the Maui dolphin, our customary fishing areas. This year hopefully will be a good year for us to battle these things out,” Mr Apiti says.