Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Maori and Pasifika poverty

No surprises that the income gap between Maori and Pasifika communities and what are still colloquially called 'Europeans' (I think they mean Pakeha) has grown over the past four years of wider economic contraction.

The Vulnerability Report, published by the NZ Council of Christian Social Services contains some frightening information on how the local recession and GFC (Global Financial Crisis) have impacted upon vulnerable whanau.

Maori youth NEET (Not in Employment, Education, or Training) is particularly galling (see graph below) but there are tragic consequences across the entire gamut of Maori and Pasifika communities.

It is difficult to know where to begin on resolving all this. First, it exposes the current political approach - Maori Party coalition with National and ACT - an abject failure (and I hear strange rumblings about Whanau Ora here in Otautahi and lesewhere, the one policy that the Maori Party has pinned their reputation on). Second, I am now very distrustful of the iwi-based approach of Treaty settlements, voiced earlier through ongoing posts on the so-called Maori Economy. The 'Maori Economy' represents Maori-centric businesses that variously engage with their own shareholders.

The wider reality of Maori economic being-ness is clearly bad and getting worse.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Indigenous Peoples and the urban environment...

Now working on a chapter for a book to be coming out soon on Indigenous resilience. Edited by Amohia Boulton, some of the contributors, including yours truly, will be on a panel discussing Indigenous resilience and health at the upcoming 'Indigenous Health Knowledge and Development (INIHKD)' conference on the St. Lucia campus of the University of Queensland, September 24-28.

Anyways, the literature and found this ...Urbanizing frontiers: Indigenous Peoples and Settlers in 19th Century Pacific Rim cities by Penelope Edmonds. The PAcific Rim angle is particularly enticing as I argue that we have new and emerging risks through our occuppance of urban areas around the Pacific Ring of Fire...

Friday, July 20, 2012

The recent eruption of another significant Maori resource issue - water rights - provoked by the government policy of partial-privatisation of four NZ energy companies. The case provides a nice comparison to how the mainstream NZ reacted to the Foreshore and Seabed case a decade ago.

My own iwi, Tuhoe, will be watching with interest as we claim Waikaremoana whose waters run through several hydro schemes. As I often say, we can korero about our waters in terms of myths and legends, but we can also incorporate cumecs and megawatts, dollars and cents.

Joshua Hitchcock has a dissection of the Maori Council's actions:

"The NZ Māori Council have done Māori a great disservice in bringing this particular claim and linking in to the partial sale of State-Owned Enterprises in the manner that it has. By linking this claim to the keystone legislation of the Government’s second term, it was always doomed to fail. The Māori Council is a body desperately searching for relevance amidst the rise of independent Māori political bodies and the more representative Iwi Leaders Group. It no longer speaks with the authority of Te Ao Māori behind it, instead it appears to have been captured by the specific interests of Titewhai Harawira and Donna Hall. It speaks volumes about the strength of their case that the Iwi Leaders Group, a body comprised of the elected leaders of Iwi throughout Aotearoa, refused to support the claim and instead preferred to continue negotiation with the Crown around water rights."

Morgan Godfrey has a comment on the several Maori organisations variously engaged or marginalised by the current National-led government. I've attended several Federation of Maori Affairs (FOMA) hui (and hope to get to this years AGM as well), and like many others am somewhat in the dark about the Iwi Leaders Group (ILG). That the government's approach follows in a long line of colonial 'divide and conquer' approaches makes it no less palatable to Maori.

The usual smokescreens are blowing across the battlefield, including taniwha and a pay dispute

No Right Turn is typically scathing of John Key. While I think history will treat Key badly ('It's the economy, stupid...') he has played this with great Machiavellian aplomb. He's 'stood up to Maori' on the one hand, while quietly dealing with the corporate-focused ILG on the other, ensuring the planned share offering can go ahead with at least some Maori 'agreement'. 

Of course, Maori who oppose this strategy may yet go to the courts, in which case all bets are off!

Friday, July 13, 2012

John Campbell, oops

The assumption that newsreaders hold some sort of intellectual superiority was squashed a long time ago of course, but still a little concerning to see our most public faces display ignorance.

John Campbell (TV3 news) was taking email responses to an item when one response referred to Ngai Tahu as Kai Tahu.

'No, no, no, [chuckle, chuckle, chuckle]. That's NGAI Tahu dear watcher...'

Now anyone with any sort of familiarity with Maori in the South Island would know that there is a Ngai Tahu dialectical variation that sees the 'ng' replaced with a 'k'. Thus the mountain/maunga/mauka Mt. Cook/Aorangi is often called Aoraki. I work at Te Whare Wanaka o Aoraki (although I will often refer to Te Whare Wananga o Aorangi, which reflects by te reo lessons and not my tribal dialect of Tuhoe who have 'n' instead of the 'ng' and hence the old joke of the Tuhoe boy in the city who calls out 'Hey cuz, sin, sin o son!'

I assume someone from Ngai/Kai Tahu sorted him out.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2012

Latest report on 'State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2012' released. 

"One of the overriding threats facing minorities and indigenous peoples in every region of the world is the risk of being driven from their land and natural resources, which are vital for their livelihoods, their culture and often their identity as a people. Many communities have been closely tied to their territory for centuries. Yet once their land is targeted for development – mining, oil and gas, dams, agribusiness, tourism or conservation – they are deftly and often violently evicted with little or no compensation."

Maori lead the Indigenous world in many respects but I increasingly sense we've plateaued...

Monday, July 09, 2012

Maori, Water, the Markets, and Surety

We're always told the markets like surety, they like to know what's going to happen. So much interest will turn to the remarkable developments in the claim for water by Maori. First a decision in the Paki v. Attorney General case in which  the descendants of the owners of five blocks of land along the Waikato River at Pouakani have claimed the Crown acquisition of the riverbed was in breach of the Crown's duties.
Essentially this turns on an interpretation of the river being navigable under s14 of the Coal Mines Amendment Act (1903). Where a stretch of river is not navigable, an enforceable interest to the riverbed might remain in the hands of the Maori customary owners.
Some nice turns of phrase by Mai ChenThe philosopher Heraclitus said that you cannot step into the same river twice. Change is constant. It remains to be seen whether the Government finds the Supreme Court's decision in Paki "navigable".
                                                               Venn Young and Eva Rickard 
Source: http://envirohistorynz.com/2010/08/15/from-adversity-comes-opportunity-the-unlikely-origins-of-qeii-trust/

Then the Maori Council takes an urgent case to the Waitangi Tribunal seeking to stop the governments planned sale of State Owned Assets: Mighty River Power, Genesis, Meridian and Solid Energy.
The PM has come out firing:"We don't believe anybody owns water. What we do accept is that people own water rights. We don't think the sale of 49 per cent of Mighty River Power in any way impinges on those water rights."
He goes on: "The Waitangi Tribunal's rulings are not binding on the Government, so we could choose to ignore what findings they might have - I'm not saying we would, but we could." 

Of course if the Government refuses to act on the findings of the Waitangi Tribunal, the Maori Council could take its case to the High Court. 

We're along way from the surety that markets desire. Good job.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Maori Economy Googled...

Haven't posted an Google Alerts on the Maori economy lately...still a very patchy feed anyway. here's some random stuff:

Big ups to Huia Publishers...I recall a time when it was possible to own and read every book on, by, about Maori. Now, forgedditaboutit!

Huia Publishers – Celebrating 21 years in Publishing
... throwing its long shadow over the New Zealand economy and still being in ... Even more so when your business is a Māori business publishing books about ...
Blue-collar classes persecuted those below them
Otago Daily Times
It has long been the lot of women, Maori and Pacific workers to hold this status on the economy's"reserve bench". Cibele Locke in Workers in the Margins ...
Bryan Gould: Maori leaders have the right idea
New Zealand Herald
... shaky mast because the failure of an economy still mired in recession to ... so that they can hold the assets in trust for future generations of Maori.
Another Crown Minister bragging about how they treat the natives here...
Opening address to the Rio+20 Summit
... the Treaty of Waitangi has created a special partnership between the government and Maori...New Zealand sees a green economy as a driver of economic...

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Maori economy: insights from the just past Nga Pae conference

So much going on but a potted review offered anyway of last weeks International Indigenous Development Research conference, held at Auckland University.

I was lucky to be in a great session, well chaired by Te Tuhi Robust, that started with an update on Te Awanuiarangi's Te Tupunga Māori - Te Pae Tawhiti, Māori Economic Development Project, a Nga Pae-funded project. 

Titled 'Creating clarity in the clouds of definitions of and for Māori Economic Development', Rawinia Kamau and Richard Jefferies defined and framed their approach, drawing out distinctions between Western and Indigenous approaches. Richard offered interesting insight from his board meetings with Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd. and kiwifruit operations. Like any other corporations, these are always pleased to announce their profits, achieved as much by screwing down labour as expansion and investment. 

As Richard pointed out, Of course, tribal shareholders have whanau subject to that screwing down...

Richard recalled his time at Matsui, and the insights he had on Japanese thinking that promotes Japan ahead of anywhere and anyone else.

I then threw out a quick presentation on Maori and innovation, critiquing the Flat world approach that assumes, among other things, that geography and culture don't matter.

Then came a fascinating presentation by Dr. Sean Kerins from the Centre  for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University. Called 'Building for the bottom-up: Indigenous development initiatives in the southwest Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia.' Working with Waanyi and Garawa peoples, Sean outlined how they had achieved better biodiversity and successful fire management through traditional approaches to country.  

Monday, July 02, 2012

Nga Pae o te Maramatanga project launched: Networks of Support for Māori Mental Health: The response and recovery of Tangata Whaiora through the Ōtautahi earthquakes.

Very proud to have spoken for our latest project which was launched with five other great projects at this weeks International Indigenous Development Conference at Auckland University. For our team at Lincoln, the recent earthquakes in Ōtautahi/Christchurch have clearly challenged all networks in the city at a time when many individuals, whānau, and communities were under severe economic pressure. Traditionally, Māori draw on extended whānau, marae, hapū and iwi for their ‘resilience’ - the ability to absorb shocks and speedily regain stability following disturbance. Specifically we examine networks of health and well-being through community support for Tangata Whaiora (Māori mental health clients) and their whānau whose experiences will be recorded and then analysed to identify pathways by which this community has shown resilience through the disaster. 

The project also presents a unique opportunity for illuminating the interface of two bodies of knowledge: Mātauranga Māori on the one hand, and the rapidly evolving sciences of disasters and hazards on the other. We explore online community mapping with particular attention to how ‘cloud’ computing opens up opportunities for Māori communities (and especially rangatahi) to programme their own knowledge requirements for individual and collective resilience. The deaths, destruction, and dislocation in Ōtautahi have revealed a compelling urgency to develop more effective strategies for surviving future disasters in Aotearoa/New Zealand. For future Māori community resilience, time-critical Māori-centric approaches such as this are vital.

I took very few photos during the conference but did find this little piece of graffiti near Queen Street.

Simon Lambert

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