MĀORI SPECTRUM AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
The New Zealand Māori Council is part of the Wai 2224 Spectrum Claimant group and is a member of the Electoral College for Te Huarahi Tika Trust, the body established by Māori in 2000 with a government grant of $5m to manage an allocation of 3G radio frequency spectrum. In July the Executive appointed Tamati Cairns to replace Willie on the College.
The other WAI 2224 claimants are Huirangi Waikerepuru and Piripi Walker of Ngā Kaiwhakapūmau i Te Reo and Graeme Everton. The Council is represented by Professor Whatarangi Winiata, a long-standing Council member who, amongst other things, led the Council’s Broadcasting Claims resulting in Iwi Radio and Māori Television.
Te Huarahi Tika share in Two Degrees, along with other Māori investors, Tuarōpaki Communications and Wairarapa Moana Inc, is valued at $10m just below 5%.
A major issue for Te Huarahi Tika is how to support greater Māori involvement in digital technology. Te Huarahi Tika and the WAI2224 claimants including the Council’s representative Whatarangi Winiata, negotiated with government to this end and in 2014 secured an offer that government establish a $30m fund to increase Māori participation in Information and Communications Technology. Huarahi Tika envisaged a permanent fund managed by Māori that could be grown by investment and donations but on 4 July the Minister of Māori Development advised that TPK will lead the administration of the fund which will be spent over the next six years. Te Huarahi Tika has expressed its concerns that this is a short term fund where TPK is likely to add to administration costs.
The Minister has advised that there are three funding priorities:
a) Improving digital skills and pathways for Māori into digital technologies;
b) Growing digital technology businesses; and
c) Enhancing new Māori language and culture initiatives through digital technologies.