The Minister for Maori Development Te Ururoa Flavell and his Northern Regional team recently hosted the Tai Tokerau He Kai Kei Aku Ringa Hui at Kerikeri (May 18, 2016).
The collective impetus for Northland to move forward was reflected in the large number of people in attendance with locals from iwi, hapu and Trusts attending alongside Local and Central Government officials, business public and pupils from Secondary Schools.
The day was opened in accordance with tikanga with Te Runanga o Ngati Rehia conducting the formalities.
Harry Burkhardt Chairman of the Ngati Kuri Trust Board, Director/Owner of Replas - a plastic waste recycling company - and Chairman of the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan Advisory Group, provided the opening address starting with congratulations for what has already been achieved.
He reinforced the requirement for transformative action in the Maori Economic sector and the aspirational space for conversations.
The second presentation was by the Senior Regional Economic Development Official Ben Dalton from the Ministry of Primary Industries. Mr Dalton, a former CEO of Ngapuhi, provided a baseline data set that reaffirmed the dearth of economic achievement by Maori in Northland and leveraged off those figures for the the need to turn all the well-being indicators around.
A secondary message was that the Treaty Settlements process for Ngapuhi will take some time to complete and in the interim the existing wealth of land in hapu and whanau hands is capable of much better returns for the owners. That is the current focus of MPI staff and resourcing.
Other highlights included;
- A considered presentation by Rangimarie Price of the Tai Tokerau Iwi Chief Executives high level strategy ‘He Whenua, He Tangata, He Oranga’ which reinforced the new idea of Maori being ‘Educated, Healthy and Employed’.
- Hone Mihaka spoke of his personal achievements with the very successful ‘Taiamai Tours’ business and freely dispensed snippets of advice for marketing the region as a whole.
- Pita Tipene of Ngati Hine and Rangitane Marsden of Ngai Takoto informed the gathering of new collaborative efforts in the fields of Forestry, Dairy, Red Meat, Honey and Tourism that are under pinned by dissatisfaction with previous results and a desire to improve the returns for owners through peer support and collective market capacity. Again the messages regarding Treaty Settlements were that they are not the panacea for everything however, to achieve optimum value the Mandated Iwi Organisations (MIOs) will need to build upon the existing asset base in a manner consistent with tikanga.
- Raewyn Tipene outlined some of the achievements of the He Puna Marama Trust in particular the business initiative of Rangatahi Inc including the Toru Café and work done by the pupils to complete the library of Tourism photos for Northland Inc.
- An overview of an industrialised site at Ngawha was presented by Russell Shaw, CEO of Top Energy. The agreement with Parahirahi C1 Trust has enabled planning for the two new 25 Mega Watt modules to proceed.
- Another former Ngapuhi CEO Teresa Te Pania-Ashton informed of initiatives undertaken by her team at the Maori Women’s Development Incorporation which has run a number of financial literacy programmes in partnership with various Runanga and provides micro finance for businesses run by Maori women.
- One of the most pertinent messages was delivered by Moana Maniapoto renowned artist and owner of Black Pearl who highlighted once again the importance of the soft capital given to us by our tupuna by way of tikanga and kawa. That legacy is highly regarded around the world and provides a unique difference which everyone at the Hui could deploy to their economic advantage.
- Craig Adams from the New Zealand Merino Company delivered a hugely energetic review of the last twenty years in the fleece industry. A single point of which was the need for all businesses to connect with their customers and deliver product that relates directly to their needs.
- Minister Flavell then rounded off the presentations with congratulations to all who presented and relayed his confidence that people in the north were embracing the ‘He Kai Kei Aku Ringa’ strategy.
- Finally, chairperson of the Maori Economic Development team Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith assessed that it was best that everyone take some time to absorb all of the information presented and use that evening to reflect upon that information. Having absorbed the presentations attendees could then then take definite action to bring the about change which to improve Maori well-being in the north.
Northland Inc CEO David Wilson attended the Hui along with Maori Economic Development Manager and another former Ngapuhi CEO George Riley.