Region plan for Maori economic development launched

By Laurel Stowell

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Sir Mason Durie and MP Te Ururoa Flavell launch Te Pae Tawhiti, a plan for Maori economic development in the Horizons Region. PHOTO/ NGATI RANGI TRUST
Sir Mason Durie and MP Te Ururoa Flavell launch Te Pae Tawhiti, a plan for Maori economic development in the Horizons Region. PHOTO/ NGATI RANGI TRUST

Horizons Region Māori have added their own plan to Manawatū-Whanganui's Accelerate25 plan for economic growth.

Te Pae Tawhiti was launched in Ōhakune on Thursday, by Maori Affairs Minister Te Ururoa Flavell. There were about 80 people there, including two mayors, regional and district councillors and iwi leaders.

The plan's name refers to the distant horizons - and it goes from 2016 to 2040.

The name comes from a quote by Whanganui's late Dr Whakaari Rangitakuku Metekingi: Ko te pae tawhiti, whāia kia tata, ko te pae tata, whakamaua kia tīnā - Seek out the distant horizons, while cherishing those on the near horizon.

The plan's lead team were Sir Mason Durie, Pahia Turia and Mavis Mullins, but many others contributed.

When iwi went along to Accelerate25 they "noticed their face wasn't in there", Ngāti Rangi pou arahi Kemp Dryden said. The plan is a response to that, and makes up another opportunity in the drive for economic growth in the Manawatū-Whanganui region.

It 's a "gem" of a plan and worthy of emulating by others, Mr Flavell said. But it will be of no use if it isn't put into action.

"The hard part comes now. The challenge is how do we put this into action, with a regional approach - not every iwi doing its own thing. With some things it's better to work together," he said.

Sir Mason said the plan's overarching goals were ongoing wellbeing for people and the land. Like Accelerate25, Te Pae Tawhiti listed possibilities for economic development.

For iwi they included honey, river and seafood, tourism, forestry, house building, care for kaumātua and digital enterprise.

More specific opportunities were sheep dairy, free range eggs and poultry, surf clams, glass eels, freshwater crayfish, eco-tourism, harakeke (flax) products and Maori digital media.

There were pathways needed to make it happen, Sir Mason said. They included the tribes working together, a central support office, community hubs and co-operation with government and industry.

Mr Flavell said government would "chuck money in" if all went well.

He was "respectfully" teased by Mr Dryden earlier about the Maori Party's relationship with National. In reply he said he met Economic Development Minister Stephen Joyce every day.

"I can't say this hasn't come about because of that relationship."

Mr Joyce had a passion to get things happening, Mr Flavell said.

"All of this will be of no use whatsoever unless stuff happens. So I really ask and implore you to drive hard on it."

The MP did announce some finance himself. There was $130,000 from the Ministry of Māori Development/Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Horizons Regional Council to advance Te Pae Tawhiti. There was a further $100,000 from Te Puni Kokiri to support Massey University's Māori science academy.

"It's not a lot, but it's a good start," he said.

The Te Pae Tawhiti document gives a lot of information about Māori in the region. One page has a breakdown of all the monies Horizons Region tribes have received in treaty settlement.

Ngā Rauru Kītahi got $31 million in 2003, Ngāti Apa $16 million in 2008, Ngāti Toa Rangatira $70.6 million in 2012, Whanganui Iwi $81 million and $30 million in 2014, Rangitāne o Manawatū $13.5 million in 2015 and Rangitāne o Wairarapa and Rangitāne Tāmaki nui-ā-Rua $32.5 million in 2016.

Other groups were still in negotiation or heading for negotiation.

The meeting was held in Ngāti Rangi's shiny new renovated Te Pae Tata/Ruapehu Community Learning Centre and Technology Hub. An example of economic development itself, it is on the grounds of Ruapehu College.

Ngāti Rangi is still negotiating its treaty claim, but chairman Shar Amner said it didn't wait for treaty money before developing.

Treaty settlements were for adding to what was already being done, he said, rather than starting things off.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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