Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Impacts on Māori of the Ōtautahi/Christchurch earthquakes

Here's a link to our Lincoln 'Conservations' page on Maori Resilience and a draft of a Working Paper on our recent survey results, framed by statistics and interview quotes gathered over the past year.

Impacts on Māori of the Ōtautahi/Christchurch earthquakes

Our conclusions are that while resilience has become a commonplace term within the city, our results show the Māori experience thus far is best described as endurance: the ‘bounce back’ in people’s well-being has yet to happen. This should not be a surprising conclusion at this stage of the recovery in a process that will take many years to complete.

Overall, Māori are remarkably philosophical about the effects of the disaster with many proudly working in their roles through a historic event of great significance to the city and country. Most believe that ‘being Māori’ has helped cope with the disaster although for some this draws on a collective history of poverty and marginalisation, features that undoubtedly contribute to the vulnerability of Māori to such events. Reducing our future vulnerability will require the collective continuance of our cultural practices and an increase in Māori economic wellbeing.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Maori views on life, the universe and everything...

Horizon Research recently released a survey - Maori Viewpoint 2012 report - that tracks our views on a range of issues (actually, not that varied a range as it happens...). The survey was done in August and is of 433 adult Maori. (Some of these results are compared with a similar survey from May, 2011).

More of us evidently think Aotearoa/NZ is headed in the wrong direction, 71.8% (compared with 63.1% in May 2011). While consistent across all age groups, concern rises to nearly 80% among rangatahi. Goodbye Gisbourne, G'day Brisbane.

We're also increasingly dissatisfied with the Government’s handling of the economy and more are reporting their household financial positions are worse than a year ago, and more expect them to worsen in the next year. Overall 34.5% of Maori expect household financial positions to crapify.

As for iwi involvement, 5% of Maori are now more involved in iwi affairs than in 2011, though a third are still not active in iwi affairs. 51% have little or no contact with their iwi and 24.6% only rate contact with them by their iwi as adequate or better.

We feel better informed on iwi issues up from 42% in May 2011 to 55%. Nearly 44% of us think our iwi is/are adequately consulting. However, a small majority of 56% feel this consultation is inadequate (it was 72.3% in the previous study). Most of us - 82.3% - want more involvement.
53.7% of Maori say we have received no personal benefit from treaty settlements; 58% feel only a few cousins are benefiting. There has been a 14% fall in the number who feel their iwi are adequately managing their fisheries. Two thirds (64%) feel we have no influence on iwi fisheries policy.
No surprises that 81% of us oppose the Government’s policy to sell shares in state owned energy companies. The party splits are Labour 95%, Mana 100%, Maori party 79% and Green 82.2%. But we're a diverse mob nowadays, so of those who voted National, 67.03% support (14.40% of strongly). There is less certainty over whether Maori own water rights and can attach a value to them: 48.7% say yes, 32% no. The survey was taken in the week the Waitangi Tribunal started hearing an application from the Maori Council and others regarding asset sales and water rights.

Health, unemployment and secondary education are seen as the most important future challenges. Less important are mining and gas and oil exploration; marine and coastal area rights are still viewed as a priority by most Maori.

Maori and Pasifika squeezing through a narrower window to Victoria University

Victoria University has applied to raise fees in its undergraduate education, social sciences and humanities courses by 8 per cent - twice the maximum permissible under government regulations - and justifies this by saying the revenue would allow the university to better support Maori and Pasifika students.

These courses have the highest proportion of Maori and Pasifika students.

With inflation running at a lower than predicted 0.8%, we continue to see universities seeking to raise fees by 4% across all courses.

As a lecturer I know that many students are really struggling financially and will take on whatever employment they can to minimise their debt. But tertiary study is time-intensive - we expect students to spend an hour or preferably two buried in the texts for every hour they sit in a lecture room but many are working as bar staff or supermarket shelf stackers, hardly conducive to intellectual exertion.

With education still our way out of the mire of poverty and underemployment, anything that narrows the window of opportunity is to be opposed, as Ivy Harper, Lincoln PhD candidate, argues...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Zizek and the Maori economy II

A typically jokey and random interview with Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek appears in The Guardian.

I've noted in an earlier post about insights on the Maori economy through his thinking on how capitalist hierarchies enforce lower social status while constantly articulating the inherent value and nobleness of our drudgery. So we have tribal leaders, iwi elites, senior managers, cultural brokers and so on pronouncing on rank and file 'tribal members', beneficiaries, and shareholders. Because we hurt, our path must be the right one...

I actually recognise a kindred soul in his subversive interpretation of humour and its role in revealing truth. "Most people think I'm making jokes, exaggerating – but no, I'm not. It's not that. First I tell jokes, then I'm serious. No, the art is to bring the serious message into the forum of jokes."

Gets you in trouble though ay.

Nice reposte to those who think intellectual elites have more insight than others: "When people ask me what to do with the economy, what the hell do I know? I think the task of people like me is not to provide answers but to ask the right questions."

I love laughing at Indigenous elites and their pretensions to intelligence, leadership, and even style (what is it with the orange-tanning application?! Or $70 underpants?!). But this can come back to bite you on the kumu, being such a small world n'all. And even though they are too often idiots, they too often have power, which is no less utilised despite being given them by The Man.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

He aitua: Wilson Whineray

Lincoln University pays respects to the memory of distinguished alumnus Sir Wilson James Whineray who died in Auckland on Monday 22 October aged 77.

Best known throughout New Zealand and internationally as a renowned All Black player and captain, Sir Wilson also had outstanding careers in the business world and with community organisations. The bulk of his business life was with Alex Harvey Industries/Carter Holt Harvey where he rose to be Deputy Managing Director then Chairman of Directors. He was also a board member of many other leading companies and CEO of the Wool Corporation. Community organisations he served included SPARC’s forerunner the Hillary Commission for Sport and Recreation, which he chaired, the Halberg Trust for Children, the Sir Peter Blake Trust, and the Cochlear Implant Trust (Children).

Sir Wilson came to Lincoln University, then Canterbury Agricultural College, in 1953 as a Rural Field Cadet, an elite group the College groomed for government department jobs connected with agriculture. He completed the Intensive Course then the course leading to a Diploma in Valuation and Farm Management, awarded in 1958.

Although born and brought up in Auckland, he came to Lincoln University from Southland where he had been engaged in farm work waiting to take up his Rural Field Cadetship. His father’s background included dairy farming in the Waikato and Wilson turned to the land for his first job after obtaining University Entrance at Auckland Grammar School, where he had been a prefect and vice-captain of the 1st XV. His mother wanted him to return to school but he wanted to “get on with things”.

When awarded the Bledisloe Medal by Lincoln University in 2006 for outstanding contributions advancing New Zealand’s interests, he confessed that he would have gone farming as a career if he had possessed the money! Instead, with his Diploma in Valuation and Farm Management, he went to a position with the State Advances Corporation, then later entered the business world having in the meantime completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree.

In 1969 he was awarded a Harkness Fellowship which took him to Harvard University and an MBA degree. He was encouraged to apply for the Harkness Fellowship by Lincoln College Principal Sir Malcolm Burns, himself a Harkness alumnus, and he always acknowledged Sir Malcolm’s support.
“My time at Harvard University and in the United States of America was life-changing,” he said.
At Lincoln University Wilson captained the 1st Rugby XV in 1957, under coach Harry Garrett, and led his team to winning the Ellesmere Senior Competition. At Lincoln he was both a Rugby and Boxing ‘Blue’ and it was from there that he was selected as an All Black in 1957 while still a student. He was the University’s third student All Black after John Hotop (1952) and John Buxton (1955). In all, as a student, he played for Lincoln College, New Zealand Universities, Ellesmere, Canterbury and New Zealand.

In later years Wilson would tell of travelling to games in the back of the College’s student truck - covered but with a wooden seat - and of quick after-match socialising before rushing back to the College for dinner by 6.00pm! He said he was always “hugely grateful” for his years playing rugby for Lincoln, Ellesmere and Canterbury.

Wilson Whineray was knighted in 1998 for his services to sport and business management. He is survived by wife Lady Elisabeth, two daughters and a son.

Here's a pic from our archives, Wilson Whinerary is back row, second from the right.

1957 VFM
Back Row: Walshe, W.M. Tothill, T. Firth, R.A. Keene, M.G. Wilson, A.R. Cashmore, B.D. Pinckney, G.W. Janett, D.L. Cassie, A.F. Whineray, W.J. Such, B.W. Front Row: Dalmer, M.J. Mason, G. Cull,S.J. McGregor, E.M. Guise, J.W.B. Frengley, G.A.G. Manson, R.M. Tate, G.F. Tait, R.B. Batten, G.J

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

IGU in Kyoto: Indigenous disaster session

I've put an abstract in for next years IGU conference in Kyoto...

Indigenous responses to hazards and disaster: risk, recovery, and resilience

"Recent disasters around the Pacific’s ‘Ring of Fire’ have emphasised the risks all inhabitants face from ever-present natural hazards and their recurring disasters. Several events stand out for the scale of destruction and the severity of disruption to affected communities: tsunamis in Japan (2011) and Samoa (2009), and a series of earthquakes in Christchurch (2010-11). Climate change is expected to exacerbate flooding and bushfire hazards in Australia and sea-level rise is a daunting challenge for the Pacific Islands.

Indigenous communities often find themselves more at risk to such hazards through histories of marginalisation, discrimination and poverty despite these communities possessing extensive knowledge of local hazards and maintaining collective memories of past disasters. This session aims to bring together aspects of Indigenous knowledge relevant to reducing exposure and surviving disasters. Contemporary experiences will also be examined for response and recovery approaches. In particular attention will be drawn to the increasing urbanisation of Indigenous communities which exposes them to new and emerging risks."

The conference theme is leveraged off an old Japanese whakatauki - on-ko chi-shin - evidently taken from a Chinese one (wengu zhixin) that says only by exploring the old can we understand the new. Understanding how traditional ideas, linked to interaction between society/culture and the environment, were formed in different countries and regions will be fundamental to future development. This works well with our earthquake research and I'm really excited to have the opportunity to take this offshore.

A panui will be coming out from organiser Brad Coombes. We have an optional hikoi of Ainu ventures which I hope to go on but time and budget are always tight. Anyone interested in being involved, please get in touch.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Maori Farmer of the Year: who was the first winner?

I'm updating my Google map of Te Ahuwhenua winners and placegetters and want to upload a picture of William (Bill) Swinton, the inaugural winner of 1932. To that end I'm publishing the picture here. The reference is pages 192 and 193 of Ranginui Walker's biography of Ngata (2001, Viking). Bill farmed at Raukokore in the Bay Of Plenty. 

Bill receiving the trophy from Lord Bledisloe, with Apirana Ngata in the background. I had a lovely email from a descendant of Bill, explaning that his tipuna had just performed in the local kapa haka competition, hence his clothing.

Big day on the marae!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Federation of Maori Authorities and Maori farming data

Enjoyed todays hui-a-rohe for Te Waipounamu of the Federation of Maori Authorities. Chair Traci Houpapa and CEO Te Horipo presented on The Federation's new strategy and progress as well as updating attending members and supporters on current issues such as water rights, dairying, and the ETS.

AgITO (soon to be relaunched as Primary ITO) and OPUS International were also in attendence and gave presentations on their work with Maori.

Of interest to me is the broad survey on Maori agricultural assets held by FOMA members undertaken by StatsNZ. FOMA members farms are nearly 2,000 hectares, eight times the size of the average NZ farm. It's acknowledged the data is probably quite an underestimate, indeed one presenter spoke of the 38,000 cows contributing to Miraka Ltd., most of which are on Maori land. I've reproduced two of the tables below...

The ETS analysis was of particular interest, given Maori have perhaps 45% of pre-1990 forests thus limiting us in our current development options. Keep putting your tamariki through law school...

Monday, October 01, 2012

He aitua...

You knows your old when you just need the name to know they're gone.

Eric Hobsbawm misses out on the maiden century with a well-compiled 95, but then most of us will.

I read his four volume 'Age of' series -  The Age of Revolution: 1789-1848 (published 1962, god I was negative 3), The Age of Capital: 1848-1875 (1975, still running the blacksand beach of Castlecliff), The Age of Empire: 1875-1914 (1987, jesus, dropped of UC and was making concrete reinforcing mesh in Bromley), The Age of Extremes: 1914-91 (1994, hell I think I was unemployed in chch!).

To quote the Guardianista:

The four volumes embodied all of Hobsbawm's best qualities – the sweep combined with the telling anecdote and statistical grasp, the attention to the nuance and significance of events and words, and above all, perhaps, the unrivalled powers of synthesis (nowhere better displayed than in a classic summary of mid-19th century capitalism on the very first page of the second volume). The books were not conceived as a tetralogy, but as they appeared, they acquired individual and cumulative classic status. They were an example, Hobsbawm wrote, of "what the French call 'haute vulgarisation'" (he did not mean this self-deprecatingly), and they became, in the words of one reviewer, "part of the mental furniture of educated Englishmen".

Like that 'mental furniture'...not just the preserve of Enlgishmen, bless.

Go well koro.

Michael Parekowhai...rocka my soul in the Bosom of Abraham

Thought I'd better acknowledge the change in background, from the 'Plastic Maori' display to Michael Parekowhai's The Bosom of Abraham (2003). Parekowhai is of Ngā Ariki, Te Aitanga a Mahaki, and  Rongowhakaata stock.

This traditional kowhaiwhai pattern is on plastic and is illuminated from behind. It's one of my favourite pieces in Lincoln's art collection, which features some great Maori artists who I'll feature regularly. It is one of two pieces, the other pictured below...

Regarding the use of  plastic, many of us will recall the derogatory comments on Ngati Whatua's plastic waka that was used to promote Maori business ventures during last year's Rugby World Cup.

Michael has contributed these trippy bulls on grand piano's pieces to the ruins of Otautahi...

Simon Lambert

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