Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Kiwifruit bug threatens Maori growers

Maori kiwifruit growers and distributors have called an urgent hui in response to the discovery of the vine killing PSA bacteria on a Bay of Plenty orchard.

Hemi Rolleston, the chief executive of Te Awanui Hukapak, says last Friday's discovery is causing deep concern across the multi-million dollar Maori businesses.

“All growers are doing their own inspections. Anything that looks remotely like it could be (infected) has been sent in for further investigation. A specially coordinated Maori growers’ hui has been arranged for this Friday so we are encouraging all growers and particularly Maori growers to attend,” Mr Rolleston says.

He says growers hope the bacteria can be contained, as it has the potential to wreak havoc on the industry.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says he's disappointed at the heat coming on him from the Maori media over the Marine and Coastal Area Bill.

Criticism of the bill by iwi such as Ngai Tahu and Ngati Kahungunu and from Taitokerau MP Hone Harawira has been extensively reported.

But Dr Sharples says it's better than the existing Foreshore and Seabed Act, and the Maori media should reflect that.

“They forget we’re there on their side to do stuff for them. Instead of sort of helping us knock down the barriers, they try to knock us down as the barrier. And yet without as it were the initiation of us in there, there would be no efforts at all and in the context of past Maoris in government, we have really achieved outstanding results,” he says.

Dr Sharples says the Maori Party hasn't got enough credit the whanau ora welfare delivery model and for his rehabilitation units in prisons, which will open next year.


All Black and Maori All Black great Waka Nathan says being named as a Rugby World Cup ambassador was a surprise.

The 70 year old was never in a losing side in the 14 times he pulled on the All Black jersey.

He was a stand out loose forward in the powerhouse Auckland team of the 1960s, and later served as selector and manager of the Maori team.

He says being asked to fill the spot in the ambassador's group left vacant since the resignation of Andy Haden came out of the blue.

He is particularly looking forward to encouraging younger kids into rugby.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei is questioning the right of the Iwi leaders Group to hold closed door meetings with government on mining policy.

Prime Minister John Key and Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee met the group last night to discuss how they fitted in with the Government's plans to encourage more resource extraction.

Maori Affairs minister Pita Sharples was not aware of the meeting when contacted by Waatea News last night.

Ms Turei says the Prime Minister is talking to the wrong people.

“We're talking here of course about whanau and hapu land. They are the ones that have sovereignty over their own land. Iwi leaders I can’t imagine have any mandate for negotiating deals over that and even these conversations are scary enough given how much government wants to dig out as much of our land and resources as possible and sell them off to the highest bidder,” she says.

Ms Turei says Maori need to stand up to the Iwi Leaders Forum and demand accountability back to whanau and hapu.


Maori Affairs and Associate Corrections Minister Pita Sharples is welcoming the involvement of Maori groups in some of the consortia lining up to build and run a new prison in south Auckland.

Tenders for the 1000-bed Wiri Prison were called last week.

Dr Sharples says the public private partnership model has opened the door for Maori.

“Maori are invited to tonu as one of the Ps of the PPPS and I believe that there is a line up of private companies tendering and some of them have already formed relationships with Maori groups,” he says.

Dr Sharples says another prison is necessary because too many people are being locked up.


37 rangatahi from Otago secondary schools have been given Mana Pounamu Young Achievers awards in what has become a highlight of the school year in the south.

Organiser Janine Kapa says her later mother, Alva Kapa, instigated the awards 10 years ago in response to the lack of Maori faces in the annual list of top scholars published in the province's newspaper.

Winners of senior awards were offered three-year scholarships at Otago Polytechnic, while junior winners get entry to next year's Otago University Hands on Science week.


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