Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, May 11, 2009

Two Degrees and four months from mobile launch

A Maori backed mobile phone company will go live in August, ending a nine-year battle to commercialise spectrum reserved for Maori in a treaty settlement.

New Zealand Communications announced today it has changed its name to Two Degrees, a reference to whakapapa and the notion everyone in New Zealand is connected by only two degrees of separation.

Chairman Bill Osborne says 20 percent of the company is held on behalf of Maori, and Maori will play a significant part in its marketing plans.

He says it’s been a major achievement getting this far.

“We’ve already spent $250 million, we’ve committed a lot more than that, and we’re just building up now, launching the brand 2° today, and will be launching its services in August,” Mr Osborne says.

Unlike Telecom and Vodafone, Two Degrees doesn’t have to be all things to all people, and it can tailor its offerings for specific groups such as Maori.


A Mangere hapu is up in arms it was not told the skeletal remains of 85 tupuna, believed to be more than 600 years old, had been unearthed during construction of a second runway for Auckland Airport.

Makaurau marae spokesperson Saul Roberts says a condition of approval for the work was that they be consulted throughout the process but this did not happen.

“Unfortunately the airport company have been speaking to another marae and that marae hasn’t been speaking to us so we’re a little bit perple4ed by it all and a little bit annoyed about it all, found out about this information by third party rather than either the Airport Company or the Historic Places Trust makes it a little bit more annyed about how the airport is communicating with us ... or not,” Mr Roberts says.

The hapu is trying to plan a reinternment process for the bones which have been sitting in a container for up to 12 months.

He says planning change hearings to allow rezoning of rural land for commercial development at the airport conclude today and if this is allowed a further 1000 burials could be at risk at historic pa sites in the area.


The Rotorua Museum has honoured the late John Bevan Ford with an exhibition called Amokura, a lifetime of his work.

Mr Bevan Ford of Ngati Raukawa ki Kapiti, died in 2005 and is regarded by many as the renaissance man of Maori art.

Ann Somerville, from the museum says his work crosses generations and incorporates raranga, kowhaiwhai and other traditional arts into his drawings.

The John Bevan Ford exhibition will run until June 7.


Maori actor Temuera Morrison, famous for his role as Jake Heke in the "Once Were Warriors" movie, has launched a stinging attack on gangs in New Zealand.

Morrison says one of the reasons for writing a book on his life story, tentatively titled "How the Haka Got Me To Hollywood", is to inspire rangitahi to look towards their culture and away from gang land role models.

“The Black Power was originated by black people from America. They had no time for us brown people. Mongrel Mob was instigated by a Pakeha judge calling two Maori boys mongrels, dogs, and now our young people are saying sieg heil, using words from a culture our tupuna, their uncles fought against that whole thing,” Mr Morrison says.

He doesn't have all the answers but he hopes the lessons from his own life where Maori culture was a foundation will help young people set a positive direction in their lives.

He hopes the book, being co-written with Willie Apiata biographer Paul Little, will be out for Christmas.


Spectrum reserved for Maori under a treaty settlement is finally coming off the shelf.

Mobile phone company New Zealand Communications, which is 20 percent owned by Maori, announced today it is changing its name to Two Degrees and entering the market in August.

Two Degrees chairman Bill Osborne says the successful completion of a national mobile network after nine often-frustrating years vindicates the efforts of Te Huarahi Tika Maori spectrum trust to make the settlement work commercially.

“I think Maori were left behind and were shortchanged initially and I don’t think this is a substitute for continuing to fight for Maori rights to this but I was in a position way back in 2000 where if Maori didn’t get hold of something at that time they were going to be left with nothing so my fight over the last nine years has been to commercialise something that is a bit uniquely aligned with Maori in general,” Mr Osborne says.

Maori groups will get further opportunities to invest in Two Degrees if more capital is needed.


New Zealand will come under fire for its treatment of Maori when the United Nations Human Rights Council releases its full 37 recommendations to the government tonight.

That's the word from race relations and human rights commissioner, Joris de Bres who has seen some of the recommendations made in response to a New Zealand government report outlining its commitment to equal rights for all New Zealanders presented last week.

“There was a significant number of recommendations on the situation of Maori, on the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People, the foreshore and seabed, the need to fully understand the causes of the inequality faced by Maori, the treaty settlement process, these issues were all raised and the government will need to respond to when it goes back to the United Nations in September,” Mr de Bres says.

He says the UN recommendations are simply guidelines for the government to respond to.


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