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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tainui keen on role in Wiri prison PPP

The chair of the Tainui executive, Tukoroirangi Morgan, has confirmed the iwi is in discussions with firms vying to build and operate the new 1000 bed prison at Wiri.

The government has called for tenders for the prison to be up and running within two years.

Mr Morgan says the prison is in Tainui's rohe, and the tribe sees the public private partnership model being adopted as an opportunity to get involved.

“We will take some involvement. The reformation and restoration of health and well being of our people irrespective of where they are, whether they are incarcerated or out amongst our communities is hugely important to the tribe and we have a social responsibility to help those who cannot help themselves,” Mr Morgan says.


Labour leader Phil Goff says he's keen to reintroduce trade training for rangatahi.

He says bringing back a version of the schemes which were disestablished by the Lange Labour Government in the 1980s should resonate with Maori voters at next year's election.

He's concerned at the number of young Maori men and women who are out of work.

“What we want to see is our kids out of the malls where they are hanging around the malls with time heavy on their hands, into training and into jobs that pay well. I think that will be a big focus along with other things, education, healthcare really important, rights in the workforce, that’s critically important to Maori workers as well,” Mr Goff says.


Maori academic Rawiri Taonui says the government isn't spending enough money to revive the Maori language in places where Maori actually live.

The former head of Maori studies at Canterbury University says significant sums are spent each year on initiatives like noho marae, or marae stayovers where people can be immersed in the language.

But they aren't available in the big smoke.

“They're held in places like Palmerston North, Gisborne, Waimarama Marae out there in the Hawkes Bay and so on and so forth, but we need half a dozen wananga reo or kura reo in places like Auckland, another half a dozen a year in Wellington and the big population centres, as people are just not able to access those sorts of things,” Mr Taonui says.


Tainui chair Tukoroirangi Morgan says the appointment of Parekawhia McLean to head the tribal administration is a win for the tribe.

The former government official, whose most recent position was helping formulate Treasury's contribution to the Whanau Ora policy, beat out former assistant police commissioner Clint Rickards in a close contest for executive board votes.

Mr Morgan says she brings a huge range of skills and contacts to the job.

“Parekawhia represents a new face of leadership in the tribe. She’s highly skilled, she’s worked in the offices of three prime ministers as senior advisor, prime ministers Bolger, Jenny Shipley and Helen Clark. Here’s a women that has been in the public service more than 20 years, has cut her teeth at the highest level, has managed big teams of staff,” he says.

Clint Rickards has been doing consultancy work for Tainui as well as serving on the tribal parliament, and that may well continue.


There was a distinct Maori flavour to many of the works showcased in an exhibition of graduate work at Auckland's AUT University which opened last night.

Natalie Robertson from Ngati Porou, the programme coordinator for Maori art and design, says Maori students are well represented across the seven art disciplines offered, including digital media, fashion, product, spatial and textile design, and visual arts.

She says it's not only Maori artists who are incorporating Maori themes and motifs into their designs.

“Many of our international students, particularly those coming from China, are very interested in engaging in the indigenous art forms here. Each year we have noho marae for all of our incoming students in programmes such as visual arts to give them a grounding in the marae context so they have some understanding, at least at a very basic level, of the indigenous culture here,” Ms Robertson says.

The design courses are also attracting many students who have been through kura kaupapa immersion learning.


Organisers of a competition to repackage New Zealand digital data are encouraging Maori to find new ways to tell their stories.

People have until the end of the month to create their remix or mash-up.

One of the organisers, Courtney Johnston, says the competition is tapping into a worldwide open data movement for official information to be released in formats which allow them to be reused in new applications or artworks.

“If government particularly and local councils can release some of the information and data that they have got, they’ve got statistics on everything, from how many sheep there were in New Zealand in 1960 to Maori education success rates. Creativity for humans has always been about taking things that we already have and casting them in new right and adding our own voices to them,” Ms Johnston says.

Details on the competition are at


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