Ngati Kahungunu Ki Heretaunga Economic Summit
Ngati Kahungunu Ki Heretaunga Economic Summit
Wednesday 27 February 2002
Thank you for inviting me to open the Ngati Kahungunu ki Heretaunga Economic Summit and thank you Piri for the kind words accorded to me.
I would also like to acknowledge Wi Huata, chairman of the economic strategy committee.
It is a pleasure to be here and to be able to participate in such a significant event for us all.
I am told this conference is the start of putting Ngati Kahungunu on the economic success map and in doing so putting your “own success stories forward”.
For that, I applaud you.
We all know about the contribution that Ngati Kahungunu has made to the likes of Heinz Watties and to other initiatives in the region.
But while it is important to acknowledge our achievements, there is still much more that can be done if we are to realize our full ‘economic’ potential as a people.
Last year, together with the Prime Minister and a number of my colleagues I visited the region and engaged directly with many of you on issues of mutual concern.
It is very rare to get that kind of Ministerial presence in any region but what it tells you is that this government is very committed to working in partnership with whanau, hapu, iwi and Maori organizations to support their development aspirations.
And in terms of Maori economic development that means at a practical level supporting Mäori business directly through both the Mäori Business Facilitation Service and Industry New Zealand.
In this region the MBFS has provided valuable assistance to businesses such as Textured Garden Planters, producing garden planter pots, producing clothing specifically designed for shearers, and Orca Products, processing fish and bait products.
Another example is government’s commitment to the “Making Work Pay strategy”, where Hawkes Bay beneficiaries have been assisted into work at Heinz Wattie. In short, this scheme is getting our people into employment as well as fostering an enterprise culture.
In terms of the wider domestic scene, Maori have a growing asset base.
In 1999 our commercial assets totaled over $5 billion.
As well Mäori interests are estimated to control up to 37% of the total fishing quota and that about 10% of New Zealand commercial forestry estate of 1.5 million hectares is grown on Mäori owned land.
You only need to look at forest estates like Te Awahohonu Forest at Te Haroto.
The potential for Mäori to develop economically whether through land, other assets or through allied businesses is enormous. The key in my view is the need for us to work ‘collectively’ not as individuals.
Our greatest asset, however, is our human base – “he tangata, he tangata, he tangata”.
Our demographics tell us that we have a young population base.
Our rangatahi are the future of Mäori businesses.
This government realizes the importance of creating development opportunities for them, through increased participation in education, training and employment.
As Mäori businesses become more viable, and are working well some of the returns should be provided to help Mäori businesses train their young people.
This is essential and this is where many of you can play an important role in mentoring and supporting our rangatahi.
This is something that I am passionate about.
The reality is that our leaders and kaumatua will and are passing on and I believe we are on the verge of ushering in a new generation of Maori leadership both political and economic.
We need to prepare for this.
That is why it is important that we invest in our young people now.
Not only do I want to ensure they are competent in all matters Maori but are equally comfortable in the global world.
Recently, government released its Growing An Innovative New Zealand (GAINZ) framework, which aims to do just that – create a New Zealand that is innovative, creative and can adapt quickly to a changing international environment.
In my mind a very good example of someone who hails from Kahungunu that fits this bill is Hinewehi Mohi.
She represents to me what New Zealand will be about – a bilingual, dynamic and creative New Zealander – who also happens to be Maori – “footing it” on the international stage.
But in my observation someone like Hinewehi and other emerging young Maori talent have gotten there because 9 times out of 10 they have been nurtured by their whanau as well as recognized the importance of education.
I cannot stress enough the value of ensuring your tamariki/mokopuna are well educated.
It is something that I reflect often on when I visit my own mokopuna and the aspirations I have for her.
It’s also a challenge that I put before you all.
Where do you see your tamariki/mokopuna in ten years or in 20 years time?
For me, I want her to be proudly making a difference in her chosen field.
To bring it back to Ngati Kahungunu, there have been many positive developments in this region.
In Ngati Kahungunu you have already achieved the beginnings of development of a mussel venture; been party to deregulating the pip fruit industry; instigated Mäori export branding of produce and have a joint venture relationship in the grape growing industry.
The examples of how Ngati Kahungunu have developed over the past few years bodes well for future development but we must approach future development as a people together, and in partnership with whomever we need.
Which brings me back to what some of the key drivers are for us as Maori:
- We have land
- We have people
- We have opportunities
- We are entrepreneurial - our people traded widely in the 1800's nationally and internationally
- We know what the impediments are - lack of resourcing, capital and base infrastructure
- We want to progress into the future
What have we achieved -
- We have fishery assets
- We have forestry assets
- We have land assets that are well developed and productive
- We have a stake in Radio Spectrum
- We have a Maori Television service that will go to ‘air’ this year
There is much more work to be done.
Maori development is a long-term game.
The challenge for the nation is to become more aware of and responsive to Maori values and aspirations.
You are already meeting the challenge today by calling this hui.
It is an opportunity to network and share ideas.
You are going to hear from many interesting speakers with a wide range of views and experiences.
It is heartening to see so many Mäori achievers; from Craig in ICT, to Mavis in the wool industry, to Ronda in the creative industries, to that great All Black captain, Buck Shelford to name but a few.
From this hui, take the ideas and actions that will work for you and your business.
I wish you well in your endeavors.
It is with great pleasure that I declare the Ngati Kahungunu Ki Heretaunga Economic Summit open.
I would now like to invite my colleague the Hon Jim Sutton, Minister of Agriculture to speak to you all.