Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Maori taskforce to push for fibre benefit

A member of the Maori Economic Taskforce says the creation of a Maori working group on the rural broadband initiative should bring benefits for rural marae and Maori communities.

The seven-member Nga Pua Waea will meet regularly with Telecom and Vodafone, who won the $285 million government subsidy to extend fibre and fixed wireless broadband into the countryside.

June McCabe says the taskforce lobbied for a Maori input when the government first announced both the rural broadband and ultra fast broadband initiatives.

“These issues impact us significantly so for us it’s about having a voice at the table with the roll out and negotiating the priorities and we know that schools will get priority but we hope through this working group that entities such as marae for example can also be given priority,” she says.

Ms McCabe says the Maori Economic Taskforce considered that based on past experience, Telecom and Vodafone could not be trusted to do the right thing for Maori.


Ngai Tahu leader Mark Solomon is counting on advertising by Tourism New Zealand to correct misconceptions affecting the South Island tourism industry.

Mr Solomon says revenues in the tribe's extensive tourism businesses are down about 15 percent on last year.

He says many potential visitors from overseas are getting turned off because of what they've heard about the earthquake from web sites reporting the whole of the South Island is affected.

“Hopefully with a bit of proper advertising through the tourism board and the government it will get known around the world that it is only Christchurch and Christchurch is still open, albeit with a lot less accommodation,” Mr Solomon.


They went from the Bay of Plenty to seek the land of plenty, but Maori in Queensland now want to reaffirm their ties with Aotearoa.

Singer Ria Hall from Ngati Ranginui and Ngai Te rangi says they're organising a Tauranga Moana Day in Brisbane in August featuring artists with links to the region.

She says it's about letting the children meet whanaunga from home and recognising their hau kainga ... and after living in Brisbane for three years, she can understand how whanau are feeling are feeling disconnected from their homeland.

The event will be held in Logan, where a lot of Maori have settled.


Ngai Tahu leader Mark Solomon says the latest population projections underline the importance of upskilling the Maori workforce.

The Ministry of Social Development says by 2051 up to 10 percent of the workforce could be aged over 65, as baby boomers stay working to keep the economy growing.

Mr Solomon says the reality is more likely to be that taxes on Maori workers will be needed to pay the pensions of the large number of Pakeha retirees.

“If you look at the demographics going forward, by around 2050 around half off Pakeha New Zealand is on an age benefit which dramatically changes the nation’s tax-paying workforce. It makes the majority of taxpayers by 2050 Maori, Pacific Island and Asian,” he says.

The median age of Maori males is about 14 years younger than Pakeha and females 12 to 13 years younger.


Political commentator Chris Trotter says if Hone Harawira's Mana movement's could be a political game changer if can get young Maori to the voting booth.

Chris Trotter says the mix of left wing activism and Maori nationalism on display at the launch in Auckland on the weekend could appeal to younger people.

He says a lot now depends on how Hone Harawira drives te Roopu Mana.

“If he can reach them in a way that makes them register and then turn up, bring their mates along on election day in November, you could really produce a game changer in terms of New Zealand political direction,” Mr Trotter says.

He says to succeed, Mana needs to be about getting new voters rather than just taking votes from other parties.


This year's Miss Universe New Zealand hopes not just her looks but her Maori values will hit the right note on the international stage.

Priyani Puketapu travels to the world final in Brazil in September after taking out the title on Monday night.

The 20 year old Massey University communications student and aspirant television presenter says she's proud of her Te Atiawa background.

“I do think I am identifiable as a Maori and hopefully the international competition will recognize my Maori heritage and really appreciate that,” Ms Puketapu says.

Learning Te Reo is important to her, as is her association with Waiwhetu Marae in Lower Hutt.


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