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No. 19 (August 1957)
– 50 –

FROM EELS TO BUTTERFAT (conclusion)

Final Settlement

Some of those chosen as farm trainees, once more had their doubts about justifying the confidence placed in them. Before being placed on a farm each boy had to spend two years on a training farm which was established at Pouakani where he learnt all he could from his training, benefiting from the experience of the supervisors. Even when his training was completed he was not his own boss, but remained under probation. Once he proved that he was capable of running a farm, while under probation, he was then given a 42 year lease, during which time he must pay off the mortgage. Many did not realize (although they had been told by the department) to what extent the farms would be mortgaged, when they began. Considerable sums of money had been spent by the Government in developing each farm. The value of improvement on each farm were around £10,000 with livestock and plants worth another £2,500.

At home the parents and other young men eagerly awaited reports. Were the boys succeeding: Would more farms be available for younger brothers? More boys decided to go to Pouakani. After all, once they were settled on a farm they would no longer be working for somebody else. While many were successful there were also a few who did not measure up to the required standard, and after much official consideration gave up their farms, making way for others to try. The replacements, carefully selected have proved very successful.

To date, 26 dairy farms and 2 sheep farms have been settled. There are a further 7,700 acres under development and 1,500 acres more would be worth developing in the future. But it will be a few years before any more individual farms will be made available, and even then only 36 mixed farms and 11 sheep farms will be available. This will not absorb more than a fraction of the younger boys still living in the Wairarapa. The actual development work being carried out by the government, still provides employment for many, who hope to be given preference when more farms are ready.

The Future

Meanwhile in the Wairarapa, the pakeha farmer, who previously was dependent upon the local Maori people for casual labour, is now finding it more difficult to get work done, which does not warrant a full time employee. However, as more of the younger boys are growing up, and with a stalemate in the settlement of farmers on Pouakani, this position will soon be alleviated. From the Maori point of view, it means that these boys now growing up are not going to be able to find steady employment within the district. Their hope lies in training for the trades and professions.

It is a problem similar to many other farming districts. Most farmers prefer older, married men as permanent employees. Therefore unless these boys leave the district, they are going to be dependent, chiefly upon seasonal work, such as shearing, as were the young men in the days before the development of Pouakani.

The town of Mangakino, which is owned by the Maori people of the Wairarapa may provide employment for some. It is situated on 636 acres part of an area of 675 acres of which the Crown has a leasehold which is to expire 6 months after the completion of Maraetai, Whakamaru, and Waipapa hydro-electric schemes.

The owners have formed themselves into an Incorporation with the view of managing the owners' assets in the town. Negotiations are now taking place with the Ministry of Works to settle the arrangements. The owners wish, not only to preserve the town but also to develop and extend it, providing employment, other than farming, for many of those boys in the Wairarapa.

At present Mangakino provides a livelihood for 5,000 people. When the Ministry of Works with-draws, it is estimated that the town will provide an assured livelihood for 2,500 people.

In addition to the Maori Affairs Department's activities, at Pouakani, the Lands and Survey Department also has extensive land development schemes in the area, and these are regarded as sufficient support for the town. The owners desire that the whole block leased for water power be managed so that all the owners benefit.

Most important of all, the owners wish to see a Maori Community Centre established in Mangakino, to benefit not only those living in the town, but all those living on the Pouakani block.

A nine-man management committee of the new Incorporation consisting of Messrs M. Parker, G. Te Whaiti, G. Enoka, W. P. Karaitiana, R. Tamihana, R. P. Te Maari, P. Otene and A. H. Palmer was elected recently. An annual report, giving an account of operations during the year must be submitted by the committee to the owners.

The last ten years have confirmed Sir Apirana Ngata’ belief that Pouakani would be of immense value to the Wairarapa Maoris. He has provided this part of Ngati Kahungunu with their major landed heritage where many young men have been given the opportunity of permanent employment and the chance to prove that they are capable of running their own farms. Also, the owners, some at Pouakani, but many still living in the Wairarapa, now have a steady income, no matter how small, derived from something which two or three decades ago was valueless. And the Wairarapa pakeha farmer knows that his land will not be flooded, because the lake is now kept open.

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The Iron Millionaires
of Taharoa

New Zealand may soon have a large iron and steel industry based on Taharoa, a small Maori village south of Kawhia harbour. Taharoa is one of the most isolated places in New Zealand. Strong opposition against the onrush of modern life by the people of Taharoa has so far prevented even a road to be built to the settlement. The people carry their supplies, including building materials for their homes, on sledges drawn by horses. Access is either through the Kawhia Harbour or by canoe over a lake east of the settlement.

On May 15 the people of Taharoa, at a meeting of the Maori Land Court at Kawhia, were definitely told that a powerful syndicate was interested in mining the 6346 acres of ironsand they own. They were offered royalties at the rate of one twentieth of the value of minerals which are being processed at the pit-mouth.

As a first move, it was proposed to send several hundred tons of partly refined sand overseas to America, Scandinavia or Southern Europe for trials to see just what the sands are capable of producing. The whole project, if proceeded with, would be a good deal larger than the Kawerau pulp and paper enterprise.

The Maori owners, represented by Mr B. D. O'Shea, of Ngaruawahia, the solicitor of King Koroki, have asked for an adjournment to give the proposal the study it deserves.

Te Ao Hou is preparing a full-length feature story in a subsequent issue on the rugged conservatism, and the remarkable future of Taharoa.

Queen's Birthday Honours

Two Maoris have been honoured by the Queen in Her Majesty's birthday honours which were announced recently.

Mr Karauria Tiweka Anaru, of Rotorua, has been made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.).

Mrs Olma Taka Moss, of Christchurch, has been made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.).

Mr Anaru is a Justice of the Peace and secretary of the Te Arawa Maori Trust Board. Before the last Municipal elections he was deputy mayor of Rotorua for three terms. At the last elections he declined nomination.

Mr Anaru is a chief of Whanau Apanui and has been prominent in the affairs of his people. In addition he has given outstanding public service to the people of Rotorua.

At present he is president of the Bay of Plenty Justices of the Peace Association.

Mrs Moss is president of the Christchurch branch of the Maori Women's Welfare League and is South Island representative on the Dominion Council of the league.

She has been prominent in welfare matters pertaining to South Island Maoris. In addition she has done general welfare and social work in the city of Christchurch. In making the award recognition is given to the part that she has played, with drive and initiative, in greatly helping the promotion of the Maori Women's Welfare League in the South Island.

* * *

The Maori population of Canterbury was 1500 in 1945, but in 1956 it was over 2000. Most of the increase comes from young North Islanders who came to Canterbury to find jobs.

Picture icon

Four members of the interim committee of owners of the Taharoa ironsands had their photographs taken during the Maori Land Court sitting at Kawhia last May. (From left) Messrs A. Rubay, W. Falwasser, P. Tuaupihi (secreatary) and M. Ratahi (chairman). (Photocraft, Hamilton.)