Monday, March 30, 2009

okay, okay, so I didn't invent the term 'Ninny State'

Other poets have beaten me to it: i've yet to neologise. Here's a 2007 blog , something from 2006.

And as for the 'Nanny State' (the term), it seems Maggie 'There is no such thing as society' Thatcher used it yonks ago. Good luck to her...

The Ninny State

For many years we enjoyed the dazzling humour that posited Aotearoa/New Zealand as a Nanny State, brought to its knees in the nursery of the world by an overwhelming Leftist 'Mothership' government. (Oh, and remember how women were to blame, there were chicks/no dicks from the top office to the Chief Judge...).

While no great fan of the Labour government (Treaty partnership anyone?), I would like to claim dibs on the term 'Ninny State'. The gushy John Key continues to plow a furrow through the twirling world, hoping always for the best and assuming, 'cos people say how nice he is in person, that everything will work out. A cycleway the length of the country (oops, too expensive, and I still refusae to bike through Halswell Junction or Sockburn roundabouts), training for workers laid off for one day a fortnight (um, what sort of training, the free sort offered by desparate Polytechs?), borrowing for tax cuts (but not for Kiwi Saver), upping ACC levies (despite no real long-term drama). Anyways, going off on a bit of a (non-referenced) rant. Ninny State: you heard it here first.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Whakairo te whenua

I recall a cover piece to a New Zealand atlas, ‘Whakairo te whenua”, sculpting the land. We do not live as animals, relying on evolution to fit us to our niche [okay, I’m not a strict evolutionist, having been persuasively persuaded by Lewontin and Levins and their The Dialectical Biologist (with Richard Levins). We attempt, for better or for worse, to make our lives easier, to give us more time to sit and play with the kids, enjoy a Three Boys IPA, reread Gravity’s Rainbow, or whatever.

"You are sitting in the deconstruction of the American Dream," he says, indicating Baltimore. "Which is to say there was a fundamental myth that if you were willing to work hard, support your family, stay away from shit that ain't good for you, you'd do all right. You didn't have to be the smartest guy in the room. The dream wasn't that everyone could get rich. It was that everyone gets to make a living and see the game on Saturday, and maybe, with the help of a government loan or two, your kid'll go to college."

His anger is wide-reaching: deprivation in Baltimore, imaginary WMDs in Iraq and Wall Street scandals are all part of the same betrayal - of capitalist institutions "selling people shit and calling it gold".

Never again...?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Minister of Maori Affairs appoints Taskforce on Maori economy

Lets take a look at the line up...
Mark Solomon, (Ngai Tahu). Kaiwhakahaere of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu (Seemingly forever embroiled in a leadership challenge).

Ngahiwi Tomoana, (Ngati Kahungunu). Chair of Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, based in Hastings

Bentham Ohia, (Ngai Te Rangi, Ngati Pukenga, Ngati Ranginui, Te Ati Awa, Ngati Rarua). Pouhere (CEO), Te Wananga o Aotearoa, for past five years, Chair, Te Tauihu o nga Wananga (national body of wananga). Trained teacher, senior manager at TWoA for 14 years.

Daphne Luke, (Ngati Kahungunu, Rongomaiwahine). Tumuaki, Te Arahanga o Nga Iwi Maori Economic Development Agency, Otaki. Self-employed business coach and consultant. Post-graduate lecturer in Maori entrepreneurship, Te Wananga o Raukawa

John Tamihere, (Ngati Porou ki Harataunga). Consultant and broadcaster, CEO of Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust. Former Minister of Statistics and Associate Minister of Maori Affairs (Economic Development)

June McCabe (Ngapuhi, Te Rarawa and Te Aupouri). Chair of Exelerator, New Zealand Leadership Institute, Auckland University. Board member of Television New Zealand Limited (TVNZ) and a former director of ACC and the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund Limited. Former Director of Corporate Affairs, Westpac Bank,

Rob McLeod (Ngati Porou). Managing Partner, Ernst and Young New Zealand. Chair of the NZ Business Roundtable, Member of Capital Markets Task Force. Lead negotiator, Nga Haeata (Ngati Porou hapu Treaty settlement committee). Chair of Government Tax Review in 2001. Former Chair and director of major New Zealand and Maori enterprises

It's not true to say, as many culpable in the crisis have, that no one saw it coming. Lots of people did, although reading through the Maori media editorials of last year you'd be hard pressed to say they had any original insight into the economy. This is an important point as Maori argue we have a) a different economy, and b) this economy is somehow better (not necessarily in earning more money - although we all accept that would be nice, but in how it operates, how it treats people).

I'm skeptical, in the professional sense (i.e., steering clear of that oozing, dripping cynicism that too often passes for a critique on anything Maori, although also avoiding like the plague that romanticised view of the battlefield caravaneers...).

Sharples has put in place a two years project, by which time the recession will be over and the Taskforce no doubt lauded a success. Nice work if you can get it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tahuri Whenua hui-a-rohe: Ruatoki, 6th-8th March, 2009

Te whanau Tahuri Whenua enjoyed a fantastic three days at Tauarau marae, Ruatoki, from the 6th to the 8th of March. An excellent turn out, with over 80 people listening to presentations on Nick's trip to Peru, Eddie's Olive grove and Sid Clark on the manuka venture up Ngati Porou way.


Our first stop was just down the road from tauarau, Ngakahi Trust, where Nesi Bryce showed us the gardens that included a native plant nursery, kumara seedbeds, two types of store houses, and a puipui weaving operation.


Aroha checking out a pataka built by staff and workers at a hapu venture, Ruatoki Valley



Hanui (Hastings) and Fraser (Tikitiki) check out the kumara seed bed

We also took in a guided tour of Eddie Smith's olive grove, a dream he had nurtured for many years, aided by several seasons picking olives in Afghanistan, Iran, Greece, and France. His advice for Maori entrepreneurs? Be blind, deaf and dumb! Because if you thought too much about it, you'd never do it!! His daughter, Miriama Smith, is the gorgeous judge on tv's 'Got Talent' show...just thought I'd mention it.


Eddie's Olive label...Hinu (fat or oil; takawiriwiri, spiral)

We visited several other places, including Molly Turnbell's place where we enjoyed a few beers. Later that evening, more beers were had in a tin shed on which the rain pounded and lightning flashed! All this by candle light as there was an extensive powercut that night. Two ukeleles and a guitar, a dozen good voices and some old crooning songs! Oh and Johnny Walker popped in, downed by the cap in a style reminiscent of the islands. Auae, a good night was had by all!

Simon Lambert

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