Thursday 2 August 2012

Praise where praise is due

Ok, so if you haven’t guessed I’m not the sort of blogger who can produce a post every day or even every couple of days. I’ve tried but finding time and space or even the inclination is sometimes a little tougher than I thought it would be but boy have there been some interesting issues concerning Maori in the media over the past couple of weeks.

Well really it is just one issue that has been constantly evolving. It is the thing that everyone is talking about, I’m sure, and every major media outlet has produced at least one story about the water rights issue since it was announced that the Maori Council had requested an urgent hearing with the Waitangi Tribunal. It is, to borrow the words from a cousin, the hot topic of this time.

However I have already discussed this issue on this blog and, as I’ve already said, the story is constantly moving forward so I wanted to dedicate this post to another subject.

So I came across this story reading through my google alerts and I couldn’t help but think wow.

The story is about a $1million fund set up by the Primary Industries ministry that will be used in co-investment in projects by Maori. The story got me to thinking about something that an old man once said to me.

Somewhere in my travels I was told that Maori land, which is collectively owned by a Maori grouping, makes up only 5 per cent of the country but that at least 95 per cent of that land is underutilised. Bear in mind that I have not researched this information but simply quoting something that the old man said to me, but even so that seems like heck of a lot of waste.

I know much of this land will not be prime farming acres but the prospect that there could be $1 million out there for people to use to get this resource producing something, anything sounds amazing.

However, and I know this sounds cynical, I’m almost sitting here waiting for some media outlet to pick up this story and try the (non-Maori) outrage angle.

I can just see another Louis Crimp or Phil Foster being trotted out to criticise the fund as unfair towards non-Maori.

But here’s the thing Radio New Zealand, because of its focus and nature, simply just state the facts. Very rarely is opinion allowed within the online snaps and I really enjoy this in a world of sensationalism and biased reporting.

Radio New Zealand is often the source which has the most diverse Maori news and it should be commended for its work. I’m not a big radio listener preferring to listen to my own music most of the time but I am glad that I am able to get updates online. I only wish that their online presence was a little bit smoother so that I could feel as though there was a human behind the updates.


  1. Kia ora Karla,
    Ae, I heard of MPI's fund, though working at Lincoln University we're probably more in the agribusiness loop than most.
    Couple of things. First, $1 million isn't a lot for research purposes and will probably be split up into projects from 20 to 100k.
    Second, applicants have 4 weeks to get the paperwork in, which means aims,approach and relationships etc must be nine tenths sorted. Very few land owners will be in this position.

    Maori will be providing free labour somewhere along the way . Okay, that's supporting the kaupapa etc but sustainable means covering the economic, environmental, social and cultural aspects of development. I'm sure the money will be divided up and announced with bells and whistles: it will likely go to the 'usual suspects', AgResearch, LandCare, NIWA, Plant and Food, and those private Maori consultants well-connected and fresh out of government officialdom. (I have friends in this position, and hope they score the putea!).

    On a tangent, I find RNZ increasingly intellectually bereft. While i do still tune in, I'm disappointed by how often I hear someone bemoaning the state of the world, laughing at random research they pull from the internet, and the disconcerting approach of allowing ignorance to masquerade as balance.

  2. Kia ora for your comments, Simon, you have raised some very interesting points. However while I find your message very interesting it also leaves me feeling incredibly sad. I acknowledge that very Maori land owners will be in a position where they can provide the documentation needed to secure any part of this funding. But hopefully this will be ongoing and as Maori learn to work together through lands' trusts and whanau trusts perhaps one day in the idyllic future our children and their children will be able to see the benefits of such investment. However that you raise well-connected Maori consultants and orgranisations will be but a few to get rich from this initiative deeply saddens me. I know that this happens. It is like the old adage that only one group gets rich in a legal process and that is the lawyers. Maori consultants and things like this, or at least those who do not produce something rather they help "facilitate", really get to me. I once heard described as "just another snout at the trough". Disgusting, sorry. But I get what you are saying and hopefully you get my rambling. Mauri ora.