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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ngati Hine harvests controversial forests

Its harvest time for Ngati Hine's forestry arm, and the iwi is focused on training its people to stand at the helm.

Ngati Hine began harvesting its 5600ha pine forest last week, the culmination of decades of work since Ngati Hine lands were amalgamated in the 1970's and planting began in 1981.

Forestry Trust chairman Pita Tipene says their biggest priority is to ensure local people get access to the work that will be available, and those people have to have the skills to work safely onsite.

“We are doing out utmost to work with our forestry partners and see how we can provide training for those people so they can take their place and carry out not only the harvesting, our vision is our people are employed across the whole spectrum of jobs including marketing overseas, exporting, the full range of jobs that are part of the forestry industry,” Mr Tipene says.

That is expected to take about 10 years to complete.


It’s a big week for Maori Television as it celebrates five years on air, and the first birthday of its Te Reo channel.

Chief executive Jim Mather says the growth of its audience to 1.5 million viewers monthly, marked the credible progress the broadcaster has made.

“After five years Maori Television feels we have good solid foundations laid, we’ve had opportunities to explore the best methods and procedures that work for Maori Television and we’re feeling we’re coming of age,” Mr Mather says.

Maori Television will acknowledge its fifth on-air anniversary with a presentation hosted the Minister of Finance, Bill English, and the Minister of Maori Affairs, Dr Pita Sharples at Parliament tomorrow night.


Ngati Porou Hauora is bringing back a tradition Maori approach to curb obesity related disease.

Sports psychologist, Ihirangi Heke, has developed a programme which has participants hiking their local maunga Hikurangi, running alongside their awa, and learning the legends of their whenua as they excercise.

He says giving exercise a cultural connection for Maori, like playing pre-European games tapuwae and kio rahi, is as beneficial as going to the gym.

“We're not limited to just waka ama. We're not limited to kapa haka. We're not limited to playing rugby or netball. We can play any kind of physical activity or sport choose, and what the hauora is doing up here via the work I do is providing a really wide range. They choose, and then we change the reasons for being involved in that sport,” Mr Heke says.

He also encourages his 20 members to eat a balanced diet but the emphasis is on exercise for life and for fun.


Arguments about whether forestry was the best thing to do on land owned by a Northern iwi are still going on 28 years later as harvesting of the pine plantation begins.

Ngati Hine Forestry Trust Chairman Pita Tipene says the decision to amalgamate Ngati Hine lands and plant 5600 ha in pines was a controversial one, as the land parcels were small and landowners were under pressure to pay rates.

“There are still people who think that forestry wasn’t the way to go and considering the downturn in the economy and the poor state of the forestry industry, those conversations are still surfacing even now,” Mr Tipene says.

The decision to replant is on hold until the future shape of the emissions trading scheme becomes clear.


An East Coast iwi is helping Hawaiians fight obesity.

Ngati Pourou Hauora's Sports psychologist, Dr Ihirangi Heke, took his programme to the University of Hawaii in Hilo last week.

He gets participants using their maunga, awa and whenua to keep fit as well as playing traditional Maori games like tapuwae and kio rahi,

“Part of what we’re trying to do is move away from diet, move away from the perception of need to exercise for exercise’s sake. We’re doing it for other reasons, and then the adherence to it is heaps better,” Dr Heke says.

A cultural and holistic approach has worked well for his Maori clients and believes this will apply to the Hawaiians.


The challenge to publish stories from wahine in your own whanau has been laid down by author Kerensa Johnston.

Her new book Iti Taonga: Taranaki Women Speak, is a collection of ten stories which Ms Johnston, of Ngaruahinerangi and Te Atiawa, says was a privilege to compile.

The Auckland university lecturer says the inspiration to write the book came from a desire to preserve what can so easily be lost.

Her subjects include mothers, grandmothers, a nurse, a lawyer, a teacher, a healer and others like the late Mahinekura Reinfeld.

“In the past our stories have been told by others or worse, they haven’t been told at all so there is a perspective that often is not made public so it was really important for me, translating the interviews into the book, that we kept the words exactly as the women said them,” Ms Johnston says.

She hopes her book encourages other iwi to collect and tell their stories.


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