Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, January 31, 2011

Tainui looks to asset sales gold rush

Waikato Tainui leader Tukuroirangi Morgan says state assets are an ideal investment for iwi.

Mr Morgan is supporting Prime Minister John Key’s plan to sell shares in the state-owned energy companies if National is re-elected.

He says Tainui has the option to buy Genesis Energy’s Huntly Power Station if it is ever sold, and it also wants shares in Mighty River Power, which owns the hydro dams on the Waikato River.

“Here's an opportunity for us to secure a slice in some of the most successful SOEs in this country, and who better to buy. If you sell to Maori, we don’t expect the prices to be discounted, we’ll never sell. They’re an investment that we will keep for those that come after us,” he says.

Mr Morgan says Tainui has discussed pooling its resources with Ngai Tahu to invest, and there could be opportunities for smaller iwi to participate.


But a Maori kiwifruit industry leader says past-settlement iwi may be better investing in orchards than using spare cash to buy shares in state assets.

Te Awanui Hukapak chief executive Hemi Rolleston says the return per hectare for an orchard growing the Hort 16A gold kiwifruit can be as high as half a million dollars a year.

“Not only is it a good investment in terms of dollar returns but it’s a labour intensive industry and so not only does it utilise our land but it creates jobs. Work on an orchard is all year round and there is also the post harvest,”

Mr Rolleston says.

The industry has risen to the challenge of last year’s outbreak of the PSA vine killing disease, so that should not be seen as a deterrent to investment.


One of the contributors to an exhibition exploring gay male identity in Maori and Samoan cultures says Polynesian culture traditionally accepted close relationships between men.

Mana Takatapui, Taera Taane, which opened at the weekend at the Wellington City Gallery, features video, sculpture and photography by Maori artists Richard Kereopa, Hoteera Riri and Fear Brampton and Samoans Dan Taulapapa McMullin and Tanu Gago.

Mr Kereopa says curator Reuben Friend was keen to show cross-cultural perspectives.

“Within broader society there is a lot more acceptance that all Polynesian peoples originate from the same kind of waka really. Reuben wanted to get a good cross section of artists who could express how takatapui could be conceptualised from their own cultural backgrounds,” Mr Kereopa says.


Maori kiwifruit industry leader Hemi Rolleston says measures to keep holidaying whanau out of orchards over the summer have worked.

The Te Awanaui Huka Pak chief executive says no Maori kiwifruit orchards were among the 140 which tested positive for the vine killing disease PSA last year.

The owners want to keep it that way, even if it means some shareholders can’t visit familiar spots.

“From a Maori perspective we’ve been diligent in terms of practices. The orchards I’ve been involved in have updated their practices, put up more signage. Of course some of our orchards are on islands and a lot of the whanau return home over that period so we’ve had to put more stringent practices in place,” Mr Rolleston says.

All growers are affected by the PSA outbreak in the Bay of Plenty because of the damage it has done to the ZESPRI brand they have shares in.


Greens co-leader Metiria Turei has expressed skepticism that the Government’s proposed national biodiversity policy statement will go far enough.

The statement, which sets out the Government’s expectations and guidance of how local councils will protect biodiversity on private land, was announced at the weekend’s the Bluegreens Forum in Akaroa.

The statement was sought by the Maori Party as part of its support agreement.

Ms Turei says the Government’s record on the environment so far this term has been poor.

“From a kaitikitanga point of view and from a business point of view a good biodiversity protection system would be great but we can’t trust National to do what is best for Maori or for our economy or for our environment,” Ms Turei says.

Maori, councils, landowners, Maori, environmental groups and other New Zealanders are being encouraged to make submissions on the statement by May.


Entertainer Maisey Rika is on the wagon from tomorrow.

She’s given up alcohol for February as part of the Drug Foundation’s FebFast fundraiser.

She says while drinking is not a big part of her life, she’s aware of how many young people struggle with alcohol and wants to show them there are alternatives.

Money raised will go to youth-oriented programmes in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Information on the challenge is at febfast.org.nz


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