Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ahuwhenua contest improving farming stock

A revived farm competition is being credited with turning Maori farmers into some of the best in New Zealand.

The Ahuwhenua Trophy was started as part of Apirana Ngata's land development programmes of the 1930s, and it was revived in 2003 to recognise excellence in Maori farming.

Entries have opened for the 2009 competition, which covers the sheep and beef sector.

Kingi Smiler, the chair of the competition’s management committee, says it gives established operation a chance to show how good they are, and it's also a way for farms in a state of development to benchmark themselves.

He says the quality of entries has improved since the relaunch, in terms of both governance and management.

“Now to be a finalist in the competition, they really are the benchmark not just for Maori farming but for agribusiness in New Zealand and the performance of the three finalists in the sheep and beef in 2007 and the dairy this year was quite exceptional,” Mr Smiler says.

Entries for the Ahuwhenua Trophy close at the end of January, with regional judging done in March and the supreme winner announce in June, after field days on the finalists' properties.


National Party leader John Key says Labour's treaty settlements should be seen as a desperate attempt to ingratiate the party with Maori voters.

Settlements worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been agreed in principle, signed off or passed into legislation since deputy prime minister Michael Cullen took over the treaty negotiations portfolio a year ago.

Mr Key says while the pace has been impressive, it came after eight years of inaction from Labour.

“They're in a lot of pressure in the Maori seats that they don’t lose all seven of them to the Maori Party so they’re trying to do deals to shore up the vote, particularly with Tainui, and I suspect that was a lot of what was driving the Waikato River deal, and the central North Island forestry deal, Treelords, were other iwi they were trying to ingratiate themselves with,” Mr Key says.

Many of the deals are just agreements in principle, and a lot of work has been left for a future government.


Mangere MP Taito Phillip Field is hoping his new Pacific Party can match the level of representation the Maori party has achieved.

The fledgling party is standing eight candidates next month.

The former Labour MP says Pacifika peoples make up about 8 percent of the population, and if they unite their vote, they can have a stronger voice.

“So I'm really, fair representation is there a unity of the vote, so that’s what I mean about Maori showing us the way, the Maori Party success in terms of the unity of the Maori vote and there’s no reason why the unity of the Pacific vote for the New Zealand Pacific Party can’t achieve a similar thing to the Maori party,” Mr Field says.

He is standing for the Pacific Party in Mangere.


Gisborne is bracing itself for a re-enactment of a special day 62 years ago.

It's part of the launch of Nga Tamatoa, a book containing oral histories about C Company of the 28 Maori Battalion, known as the Cowboys because of its recruitment from the East Coast.

Author Monty Souter says it's the realisation of a challenge made by Sir Apirana Ngata in 1946, that the battalion's efforts be properly chronicled.

Descendants of battalion members will tomorrow re-enact the march returning troops made from the Gisborne railway station to Te Poho O Rawiri marae.

“One thousand descendants of those men are going to march that route. We’ve got 900 photographs they’re going to carry to that marae of each one of those men, not just the 188 who came home at the end of the war but each one of the soldiers who served in World War II from this region,” Dr Souter says.

Three out every four who fought for C Company never returned.


Urban Maori Authorities are divided on whether they should let Destiny Church into their club.

Willie Jackson, the chair or the National urban Maori authority, says there's no guarantee the church will be allowed to join.

Destiny is marking its 10th anniversary this weekend, and recasting itself as a provider of social services.

Mr Jackson says it has a record of helping Maori.

“Some of the people on our executive have reservations and that’s fine. All I’ve said is you might have reservations about Destiny Church but you can’t doubt the work they’ve done in terms of turning around the negative statistics of our people. They’ve decided to become an urban Maori authority. Good luck to them. Whether they become part of us, that’s yet to be decided,” Mr Jackson says.

As a recognised urban authority Destiny could have a better chance of getting government contracts to provide social services.


Maori surfers have their fingers crossed for clean waves and a big Taranaki swell this weekend.

Surf conditions on the day will determine on which of the region's beaches the annual Maori surf champs will be held.

Chris Malone, a former winner of the Maori open title, says the Maori nationals are less intimidating than other events to talented but sometimes shy Maori surfers.

“It's the Maori finals and it’s a bit more of a whanau thing as well and tikanga, it brings a lot more people together and it also brings out a lot more of those Maori boys and girls that are a bit too scared to go in the big comps. They’re all naturally talented so it gives them a chance to come out of the woodwork and display their surfing,” says Mr Malone, who is the Maori coordinator for Surfing New Zealand.


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