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Parekura Horomia: Maori succeeding as Maori

Parekura Horomia: Maori succeeding as Maori

Maori succeeding as Maori

Thank you to Te Ohu Kaimoana for inviting me to address this hui.

It's been a busy day.today I opened the final chapter of what can be aptly described as an epic journey for whanau hapu and Iwi.

The Mâori Fisheries Bill went before the house this afternoon and it is a significant piece of legislation that will finally see the fishing assets held by Te Ohu Kaimoana downloaded.

The Maori Fisheries Bill will give effect to the agreed model for allocating Maori Fisheries Settlement assets, as proposed by the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission in its report He Kawai Amokura.

In short the government has accepted TOKM's view on how to distribute the multi million-dollar assets to whanau hapu and Iwi. Earlier this year the government asked the Commission to make some technical changes before taking the Bill to the house.

This Bill has wide ranging implications for everyone here this evening. Its passage will herald a new era of Maori participation in the fishing industry, enabling whanau, hapu, and iwi who are beneficiaries of the 1992 Fisheries Settlement to receive the assets and use them for the economic and social benefit of all Maori. This is a settlement worth more than $700 million

People we are in exciting times right now. When I look around this room I am overjoyed at the number of students who are training in the fishing industry (around 130).

Te Ohu Kai Moana has played a key role in developing a vision to enable whanau hapu and Iwi to enter the industry with a clear purpose.

Since 1995 it has invested $1-million per annum to assist the industry by conducting a training development and scholarship programme.

During that time over 16-hundred Maori have benefited from these initiatives. This is significant because I suspect they have been people who represent a demographic bulge in our population where the majority of our people sit.

It is worth noting that 55 per cent of the Maori population is 25 years old or younger. This is hugely significant because it tells us where to target training packages.

As part of its training initiatives TOKM is assisting people in their Doctoral study and research. The people they assisted this year were completing a range of research topics that included: - The evolution of Iwi organisations toward management of commercial fisheries assets; - Eel aquaculture through to governance; - Investigating the effects of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons on estuarine macro fauna.

TOKM is also assisting 28 students to complete diplomas in marine studies, with 15 of them completing under graduate and Masters degrees at various universities in New Zealand.

This is impressive because it is growing capacity in the fishing industry. If there is one thing that I have been consistent about - it's that I want to see our people driving this industry rather than working for it. In order to achieve we must play a navigational role in determining that direction. We must ensure we have skill sets that allow this transition to happen. TOKM is providing leadership in this area by recognising the industry needs.

Sustainable Development It is important that we develop strategies to ensure that development of our natural resources is sustainable. It serves little purpose owning the largest fishing enterprise in the Southern Hemisphere if stock numbers are not being replenished.

By managing that aspect of the industry we are also able to ensure that employment opportunities are ongoing. We are continually looking at ways of improving the industry.

I know that companies like Moana Pacific have invested in ways of getting the product to the markets in best condition possible. They are involved in live crayfish exports and are looking a ways of growing King fish and other species in holding tanks.

I don't know what the future holds but the day may well come when all of our fish stocks are grown in a way that ensures a sustainable future for generations to come.

All of you in this room will play a part in determining that future. What we do now has consequences. I believe we have grown enormously over the past few decades. We now recognise the ocean can no longer sustain the wholesale harvesting that existed in the past.

Everyone in this room is responsible for making that a priority.

As Maori you can make a difference because your whakapapa demands it.

The situation now means we must balance the commercial aspects of the industry.not against but with.the traditional concepts of tikanga Maori. Whanau hapu and Iwi are all relevant in deciding these issues because like everyone here they too have a stake in developing this industry.

Last month I launched the Maori water safety campaign. During that speech I spoke about the connectivity that I have always had with the Sea.

The water is as much part of me and I am of it. It is an important part of who I am. We always respected the sea because it was our food basket. It sustained our people for generations and continues to carry out that role today.

We have been micro managing the sea for generations - Tolaga Bay (where I'm from) was like other places where specific whanau were designated particular areas to harvest seafood.

These whanau groups acted in their capacity as kaitiaki or guardians. And to some extent that still occurs today. They were also an integral part of the extended hapu and Iwi group with wider responsibilities.

So why is this relevant now?

Because it is important to remember that our responsibility to the Sea is historic. The effects and intentions were the same then as they are now.

We are now part of a global market but I believe the fundamental blue print remains constant. I recognise that there is larger scale commerciality issues involved in the industry and I am confident that we can continue to manage the industry in a way that is reflective of who we are.

Mâori are already major players in the industry and given the types of succession planning that is underway we can grow our share. Like it or not many of the students here tonight are part of that planning process.

TOKM and the government are laying the foundations right now but it will be up to you people to carry that work forward in the future.

It is important that we engage partnerships both nationally and internationally. We must recognise the importance of developing strategic partnerships. The government and the industry both have roles to play.

There are opportunities in the public service sector that can assist with training. We have a government that is working to up-skill our young people. At the last count we had around 900 young Mâori involved in the Modern Apprenticeship Training programme. Most of them were training in forestry and other primary industries.

New Zealand has been one of the best performing economies in the OECD - we posted the fastest growth rate at 4.4 per cent and that is creating an environment of opportunity.

Mâori unemployment dropped below the 10 percent mark for the first time in 16 years last month. We still have some way to go to reach the national average but its trending toward the right direction.

These statistics clearly show the government is playing an important role by providing stability to the economy. One of the primary roles for any government is to provide a stable environment that will assist growth and innovation.

Part of that responsibility is to ensure that information is downloaded and shared.

Earlier I mentioned that TOKM had invested in training opportunities since 1995 to the tune of 1 million dollars per annum.

What astounds me is that whanau hapu and iwi have spent just as much (if not more) paying lawyers to sort out a whole range of issues in relation to the settlement process. Had that kind of investment been directed at education from the outset then we would have assisted twice the amount of people in industry training.

Finally I want to conclude by taking three excerpts from a book I launched yesterday. It's called "Tikanga Maori Living by Maori values" It is written by Hirini Moko Mead, and has been published by a Maori company called Huia publishers.

"A culture that sets aside its pool of tikanga is depriving itself of a valuable segment of knowledge and is limiting its cultural options."

"Tikanga comes out of the accumulated knowledge of generations of Maori and is part of the intellectual property of Maori."

"Tikanga Maori is no longer bound geographically, culturally or ethnically. Wherever Maori go we take our tikanga with us."

No reira, kia piki te ora ki a koutou katoa.ahakoa ko wai, ahakoa no hea.

Mauri tu Mauri ora.

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