Potaua Biasiny-Tule: Talking about spectrum

By Potaua Biasiny-Tule

Whiti whiti a e te ua. Many of us welcomed the recent rains. Our tamariki have loved the sun, walking around semi-naked much of the day while we adults look for shade and a bit of breeze. It has been a magnificent summer though.

Our hearts have carried a sad tune lately with the passing of dearly loved whanau and friends. I have been on the road a bit and have heard about tangihanga, especially that of uncle Paora Te Rangi.

It was always comforting to see Uncle Paora with his cowboy hat, talking and smiling, passionately Pikiao. His wisdom and warmth helped many people and we loved how he respected and practised our tikanga and kawa every day. Aroha tino nui ki te whanau, nga hapu, nga iwi.

Now once more we're on the road, trying to determine whether the destination is worth the journey. One of the main talking points for our trip to Gisborne is to korero about what we would do with $30 million being offered by the Government.

Maori spectrum is a taonga from our atua, a harnessing of knowledge and technology that allows us to stay connected, to communicate, to innovate. Iwi radio is transmitted over AM & FM wavelengths, Maori TV broadcasts on a digital frequency and 2degrees started up on spectrum allocated to Maori.

Anyway, with more people using iPhones, iPads and tablets, the need for data will increase and new spectrum is being apportioned by the Government and will be auctioned to some big international players. Kei te pai tera. But as has been shown, Maori have rights and interests in spectrum as new technology allows us to enhance, explore and empower the use of te reo Maori.

Because of this awareness, Minister Amy Adams has offered Maori $30 million and no spectrum, which is counter to our understanding of partnership under the Treaty of Waitangi.

We could do lots with the money. We could invest in existing Maori businesses by building support systems that could help us learn, share, market and sell our services and products. We could offer new scholarships and training, perhaps making smart homes in Christchurch. We could even buy $15 million of shares in Mighty River Power or Telecom and work from the dividends. But you know what we're going to do?

We on the Digital Maori Forum will explain spectrum is a taonga from our atua Ranginui and Papatuanuku, carried by Tawhirimatea and harnessed by the children of Tane Mahuta - us.

New Zealand, you can sell your part of your spectrum to overseas companies. We want to keep our spectrum and retain the responsibility of looking after our gift. No one turns down money, especially government money, but we'd rather retain our values and keep the ability to grow our digital space. Well, let's see how that goes down in Wellington. Whiti whiti a e te ra.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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