Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cultural Law, a text and a cautionary tale...

Cambridge text on Cultural Law that has some interesting chapters on Indigenous Peoples, including Maori, on the basis that 'legal issues lead multiple lives.. they can be political, economic, social, historical, and cultural' (p. 1).

A New Zealand example is legislation to regulate against offensive marks in the Trade Marks Act of 2002 that prevents trade marks being registered if they are likely to be offensive to a significant section of the community, including Maori.

Of course, there is always a test case to rattle the cage. I recall an application for Tiki Wines being declined by the Maori Trade Marks Advisory Committee on the basis of this offense clause with 'TIki' being interpreted as an atua of humankind, generic to all Maori and thus protected by this legislation.

Permission was finally given when it was pointed out that 'Tiki' was a tipuna of Royce McKean and the whanau who owned and operated the vineyard, and they had the perfect right to use the name!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Thar she blows...MoBIE report on white elephants?

Further to the reports released by MPI on Maori land productivity comes a negative report on MoBIEs performance on, among other tings, the Business Growth Agenda (BGA. Page 24 notes 'no sense of the extent to which these actions are contributing, or will be sufficient, to achieve the BGA goals.'

Say what?!

As for direct engagement with Maori, 'MBIE’s approach is embryonic and needs to clarify what the right role for government is in helping promote Māori economic development in the post-Treaty settlement phase. While MBIE is more focused on this issue than its constituent agencies, has better links with other agencies and has an advisory panel to help it still needs to refine its approach, develop its relationships with Māori business and build its internal capacity.' (p. 26).

So situation normal then.

Further, 'Expectations need to be well anchored in more refined deliverables or there is a risk they 
will get ahead of what government either should be doing or can actually deliver.'

The trick is to have zero expectations and then be relieved when they spell your name right.

MoBIE is behind other Ministries in '[s]ector collaboration and partnership' which are 'particularly important to realise the benefits from accelerating Māori economic development, particularly given MBIE’s starting place. MBIE has much to learn from organisations, such as MPI and NZTE which got an earlier start.' 9p. 53).

I'm not convinced 'accelerating' our economic development is possible in the vacuum of Pakeha leadership in this point in time and space.

Pardon the cynicism but it's Xmas. Gordon Campbell of Scoop discusses this and other 'bad news dumps' to herald the close of the year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

'One the first day of Xmas my government gave to me, a Maaori ecooooonomyyy'

The latest reports on 'our economy' are out. This one from Kinnect/MPI finds that not only is MPI brilliant at working with (selected) Maori, there remain issues over governance, scale and capability, specifically:
  • a need to consolidate multiple owners with small shareholdings into mandated governance entities with effective decision making;
  • economic scale to support profitable agribusiness;
  • and the capability to grow agribusiness productivity and profitability.
Another report (PriceWaterhouseCoopers/MPI December 2014, same link as above) has some interesting tables on Maori land use and potential for improvement. Note over a quarter of Maori Freehold Land (MFL) is in natural forest and a further 8% in plantation forest. Conversion to dairying remains the sexy beast in the picture... 

The purpose of this report was to confirm the value of additional work into converting and otherwise innovating on Maori land (the original impetus for this came from the BERL reports of 2011 I've posted on before). The Benfit Cost Ratio of 'interventions' are tabulated below, by sector:

A figure below 1 means you technically 'lose' money by intervention.

We can quibble about methodology till the cows come home but dairying remains the go to approach for growing our/the economy (although note horticultures high BCR though against a very low percentage of MFL).

So, business-as-usual.

Given the now confirmed decline of our water quality, including our iconic beaches (remember when iwi/Maori were the risk to these strips of foreshore and seabed?!), there are considerable costs and risks associated with dairy. Further, given the urban character of our rangatahi and the struggle we have with the education system, how to we get our people into secure employment when the trend is less security?

No answers, just more patai.

Meri kirihimete tatou katoa!
Simon Lambert


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ecology Scholarship at Lincoln University

Lincoln University and Wairewa Runanga are delivering a two year research
programme to research and evaluate how native plant communities can provide benefits to land and water eco-systems with specific application around the shoreline of Te Roto o Wairewa (Lake Forsyth, Wairewa, Little River).

The results are to inform environmental management strategy and practices that will improve the ecological wellbeing of the lake and its environs. The two year scholarship includes tuition fees and payment of an annual stipend. A team including Wairewa leaders and leading ecologist Professor Nick Dickinson will supervise and support the student. Myself and other Maori colleagues will also be a part of that support :)

For more information contact Lincoln University:
Professor Nick Dickinson - E: DD: (04) 423 0741 or
Carmelle Riley - Contact - Mobile – 0275 361 699

I'm happy to talk to potential applicants as well.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Maori Council report opens door for urbans

Expansion of Maori collective representation as Maori Council report opens door for urbans...

Just a reminder, 85-ish% of Maori are urban. We're not all 'disconnected' but many have little if any contact with 'iwi' (a social cosntruct is ever there was one).

Maori have always been able to collectivise and support each other through promoting and enacting our culture. The challenge now is to revisit our economic structures and make sure this trickle down isn't just mimi.


Iwi muscle on workers' rights?

Interesting challenge to corporate behaviour from CTU Vice Prez, Syd Keepa.

Keepa reckons iwi could threaten to pull funds from ANZ unless the Ozzie banker stops being such a wan#*@er to its staff...

He notes that iwi leaders and Maori farmers forced Affco into good faith negotiations with its workers, who were on strike.

I'm not sure iwi are the activist collectives that Keepa hopes. Read more:

Meanwhile opposition MP Nanaia Mahuta is trumpeting Labour's 'Future of Work Commission' as a way for Māori businesses, trusts, Iwi organisations and small businesses to discover further opportunities to boost regional development.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

New website on Maori Resilience

I've just built a new website as a location for our work on Maori Resilience, particularly that undertaken on our Ru Whenua/Christchurch earthquakes projects. It will also contain a blog on which I'll post on updates on, among other things, progress on the Resilience to Nature's Risks National Science Challenge I'm peripherally engaged on.

Work-in-progress as we say...

Website here
Simon Lambert

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