Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, November 12, 2010

Liquor law change finds easy scapegoat

The director of Otago University's national addiction centre says the Alcohol Reform Bill now before in Parliament is attacking the wrong people, including young people and young Maori.

Doug Sellman estimates about 180,000 of the 700,000 heavy drinkers in New Zealand are Maori, mostly older men.

He says the bill cherry-picks the recommendations of the Law Commission report on alcohol and sidesteps the real problems.

“Over 90 percent of heavy drinkers in New Zealand are 20 years and 0ver so to say that this is a teenage or youth problem is actually missing the point. It’s an adult-led heavy drinking culture,” Professor Sellman says.

He says the government is ignoring actions which tackle alcohol abuse head on, including price rises, reducing availability, banning deceptive advertising and lowering the alcohol limit for drivers.


The outbreak of the kiwifruit vine disease PSA could affect supplies of traditional Maori kai in the Bay of Plenty.

Maori growers are holding a hui at Te Awanui Hukapak's Mount Maunganui headquarters to learn about the extent of the outbreak and how they will need to respond.

Organiser Hemi Rolleston says there are some unique issues for Maori, who own about 10 percent of the vines.

“One of the guys said the me the other day the whanau are continually picking watercress and puha from our orchards and we probably may need to look at that practice,” Mr Rolleston says.


A past winner of the Ahuwhenua trophy for Maori farmers is encouraging land trusts and individuals to enter this year's awards, which focus on sheep and beef operations.

Ingrid Collins, the chair of Whangara Farms and the newest member orf the awards' organising committee, says it's a great way to learn more about farming, business and governance.

She says her trust, which farms nearly 7000 hectares on the East Coast, got invaluable feedback from the judges.

“We thought we were pretty good, being whakahihi and all the rest of it, but we weren’t as good as we thought we were, and when we got the comments from the judges, that made us sit up and listen and say ‘gosh, there is more we can do,’ because we thought we were … and that’s just a lot of humbug,” Ms Collins says.

The Ahuwhenua Trophy was first awarded in 1932 by then Maori affairs minister Sir Apirana Ngata to encourage Maori farmers to share knowledge, and it was revived in 2003 to acknowledge the growing importance of Maori incorporations and trusts in the sector.


Waikato-Hauraki MP Nanaia Mahuta says the Iwi Leaders Group is jumping the gun by talking to the government about mining on Maori land.

She says the leaders have made no effort to canvass the views on their members on the kaupapa.

She says the majority of Maori are likely to want to protect their tribal estates rather than open them up for mining.

“If the iwi leaders have been talking about opportunities for mining on Maori land, I would have thought all those leaders would have raised that issue with their respective iwi prior to putting that to the government, because it’s as contentious amongst our various iwi as it is amongst the general community,” Ms Mahuta says.

In her electorate, the hapu at Taharoa south of Kawhia is now looking at alternate uses for their land rather than the ironsand mining that has been going on for decades.


The chief executive of Maori-owned kiwifruit company Te Awanui Hukapak says it's important Maori work together as they respond to the outbreak of the vine killing bacteria BSA in Te Puke orchards.

Hemi Rolleston is hosting a hui for Maori in the industry this morning at Hukapak's Mount Maunganui headquarters.

He says Maori-grown fruit accounts for 10 to 15 percent of the industry's $1.4 billion annual export earnings, so the growers are keen to know what they should do.

As well as industry leaders, he is hoping Agriculture Minister David Carter and Maori Party MPs will be present.

Mr Rolleston says Maori growers have a history of working together.


The question "can i take a photo of the marae" has sparked a Ngati Porou photographer into a wider investigation of how photography is seen in te ao Maori.

Natalie Robertson, who coordinates the Maori art and design programme at AUT University, heads for Holland today to speak at a symposium on Photography and Post Colonial Perspectives in Contemporary Art.

She says after photographing marae for more than 20 years, she's keen to share her views with other photographic artists from around the world.

“I'm interested in photography and the relationship between photographers and the marae have developed. The majority of photographs taken of our people have been taken by tauiwi, by non-Maori, so along with a number of other Maori photographers we’re very interested in taking control of our own representation,” Ms Robertson says.


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