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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, May 26, 2011

MPs attack on Maori fishing ignored facts

The chief executive of Te Ohu Kaimoana says criticism of Maori fishing practices is unwarranted and based on flawed advice.

At this week's Maui fisheries conference in Nelson, both Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley and Maori Party MP Rahui Katene raised the issue of use of foreign crews to catch Maori quota.

Peter Douglas says the practice is widespread throughout the industry, and the Maori fisheries trust's commercial subsidiaries comply with an industry code of practice aimed at ensuring crews aren't mistreated.

“Sealord has three vessels which are foreign-owned and foreign-crewed. They’ve had these arrangements for close to 20 years. The crews are all paid in New Zealand before they go home, they’ve got a relationship with those operators and the people who run and work on those ships that is long standing and is mutually beneficial to both sides,” Mr Douglas says.

While some iwi may want to own fishing vessels, few have large enough parcels of quota to make them economic.


New Plymouth district councillor Howie Tamati says Taranaki Maori are upset at the council's refusal to create separate Maori seats.

About 60 Maori attended the council's meeting to discuss advice from Race Relations commissioner Joris de Bres that such seats were justified ... and walked out in disgust when the motion was rejected.

Mr Tamati says the council is falling down in its attempts to create a partnership with the region's iwi.

“They're happy for us to conduct the ceremonial part of things, powhiri, say karakia at the beginning of the huis and also mihimihi and they allow kaumatua in at special times to represent New Plymouth but they don’t allow them to vote, so is that tokenism?” he says.

Mr Tamati says Maori were keen for the council to make a decision, rather than put it as a referendum question in the 2013 local government election.


Te Arawa has welcomed a trove of long-lost taonga to their turangawaewae.

Greg Mcmanus, the director of the Rotorua Museum, says the items include a model war canoe and a greenstone adze which have been in the British museum for more than a century, as well as gateways and carvings from museums around New Zealand which are on five-year loan.

He says emotions ran high at the meeting house Tama te kapua as the artifacts were brought in.

The taonga will go on display at the museum's new Don Stafford wing in August.


The Maori Party's Te Tai Tokerau candidate says the best thing he's got going for him is the party's brand.

Solomon Tipene, the party's Whangarei co-chair, says with 40 years of public and private sector experience, he offers voters the stability they haven't had with Hone Harawira.

He says people assume that as the incumbent Mr Harawira has an advantage in the June 25 by-election, but they should remember he win the seat under the banner of the Maori party, not his new Mana party.

“One of the things that attracts the voters is the Maori Party. Maori Party has a proven track record, Maori Party is in the house, and that’s one of the things people warm to. Maori Party is still in the house, Maori Party is still in coalition and Maori Party is still supporting those issues that have an impact on our people up in the north here,” Mr Tipene says.


Meanwhile, Hone Harawira's campaign team is treating its first major Auckland event as a bit of a joke.

It's holding a fundraiser in a Maori-owned bar on Karangahape Rd, headlined by comedian Mike king.

Organiser Helen Te Hira says the team will be working hard in the weeks ahead, so it wanted to start with something different.

“Kicking off you know let’s start off with a good laugh and raise some money. People want to help out and they can’t all be at huis. They’ve got to go to work or whatever. Starting off with a good laugh on a Thursday night in Auckland is a good way to do that,” Ms Te Hira says.


Outgoing Maori Trustee John Paki says his successor will play an important role in developing the Maori economy.

The job of managing 2000 properties on behalf of 130,000 beneficial owners has gone to lawyer Jamie Tuuta of Ngati Mutunga, who currently chairs several Maori land trusts including Taranki's giant Paraninihi ki Waitotara Incorporation.

Mr Paki says after managing the Maori trust office's transition to being a stand-alone entity outside the Crown, he's pleased to see it in such good hands.

“It's developing business to business relationships with Maori asset-holding entities and iwi organisations who are seeking to develop shared working relationships with the Maori trustee and I think we are succeeding with that and moving the organization forward which is a different approach from previously when the Maori Trustee was under the guidance of government,” Mr Paki says.


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