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Packed house hears Maori view of Motueka's future

May 14th, 2015
[by David Armstrong]

A large crowd of just under 100 people attended a hui at Te Awhina Marae last night to hear representatives of the five different Maori entities talk of their vision for the long-term future of Motueka.

The meeting, one of the highlights of the Motueka 2030 programme, was historical in one sense. As the MC of the evening, Barney Thomas, said, "this is the first time ever that the five Mari entities in this area have been together under one roof".

Initial fears that the meeting would be mainly attended by Maori people were unfounded, with at least two-thirds of the people present being non-Maori.

The five entities were the two local iwi Te Atiawa and Ngati Rarua, the Marae Board itself, and the two business units Wakatu Inc and NRAIT.

Their spokespeople all gave brief histories of their entities, through to a summary of their visions for the future, both for their own entity and for the health and well-being of Maori and the broader community.

Many attendees spoken to afterwards said how much they appreciated learning more of the detail of the history of these groups, and understanding how they fitted into the total picture and why they hold their goals so dear.

Under Barney's entertaining leadership, the meeting was very much enjoyed by all, with a great mixture of laughter and passionate comment, openness and inclusiveness.

The five presentations climaxed with an outstanding address by Wakatu leader Ropata Taylor, who explained the political history behind the present operations and changes within the Maori community.

Some of the questions asked during the evening prompted explanation that local iwi are only now starting to work on where to go from the long-awaited Treaty settlements which were concluded last year.

Several speakers explained that the main responsibility at present for Maori entities is, as was put by Te Atiawa Chairperson Glenice Paine, "Maori cultural revitalisation underpinned by strong, stable financial base".

It was also explained that Maori leadership were burdened by resource problems, with so many government agencies, large NGOs and community groups expecting Maori to attend meetings and sit on boards.

One connection that both iwi spoke of is their representation on the board of Vision Motueka, a community group with which they wanted to work in the local area.


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