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'Waipatu to Wanchai'

30 May 2019

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated Chairman Update  

The Asian part is to introduce our customers to Takitimu Seafoods brand from HB Seafoods and to try to sell $10m worth of fish mainly hoki and tuna to old and new customers. We as Ngāti Kahungunu have never been in this position before. Nino and Karina are on the first part to support us, then Mere and I will continue on from Tokyo. So thanks to all those who made the purchase of HB Seafoods possible. We are realising a dream that started 30 years ago by Alby Walker, John Scott, Eru Smith, Charlie Mohi and others.


But back to the present. What do you get when you’re totally relaxed after months of frenzied work sitting on a plane with a beer ready to knock yourself out! The GOUT!!! That’s what!  Out of nowhere I got the gout. No hint, no build up just boom! My pills are in the luggage and we got 12 more hours of flying and my foot goes as tight as a bongo drum. I'm too relaxed Mere says. Great, I reply just great! “You go better under stress” she said. “You’re not meant to rest like us”. “Have another beer”, she offers in her doctors’ voice – “dull the pain”. Yeah rite! Boom bloody boom goes my foot, for 12 hours. By the time we reach Hong Kong  my foot is like an elephants and I can barely stand and Karina rushes off to get a wheelchair. But ahh ahh. No not me…. I’ll walk through customs thanks. I’m Kahungunu hard! Yeah right, and I feel needles and glass shooting through my foot at each step nearly fainting in agony. Half an hour later we come out the other side and Nino gives me a little red pill from his luggage and my foot goes down like a hissing balloon. Phew!

By the time we reach our hotel we are ready to go for a walk but I’m afraid of a relapse so we just suss our surroundings out. But sitting 17 storeys above Kowloon (Nine dragons) Bay and thinking back on some of the traumatic issues we have faced and are still facing, it’s no wonder we amp up on self pressure as leaders. In just 3 weeks, 7 deaths in one whanau tragedy, a seemingly suicide epidemic, and baby snatching by a ruthless system of government bent on whānau-cide and gang recruitment. Or so it feels. So here we are at a distance recovering from a ‘gout bout’ wondering how to deal with whānau things at home as promised.  Well I have some BRILLIANT ideas that I’ll share over the next few weeks and months. Cant wait!


Back to Hongkong which means "Fragrant Harbour" and Mere and I go for an hours walk at 6am in the misty rain. Great stuff. We try to catch up with our old customers and NZTE officials but to no avail.  Hong Kong appears more in lockdown mode with very little movement into new products or ventures. Not even the light shows come out to play at night anymore. Hmmm. It’s still very exciting though! To think we used to export all our fish here including crayfish, eels, paua, ling soles, tuna and flounder.


Hayden rings from Vietnam to tell us they’re coming over on the way home. Him, Stacey, Kenny and Quentin.  They are pursuing hemp production in Vietnam and hemp product development. It has huge potential as a project both financially and socially and will support better outcomes for whānau. He practices his hemp presentation on us for the Fish Hook summit and it looks like a hit!


The richest man in Hong Kong is Mr Ko, no relation to Lydia. He owns everything from 22 casinos in Macau to the largest floating restaurant in Asia. He has more $$ than all New Zealand. The richest company is the Hong Kong Jockey Club which made $221 billion last year. So Mere and I rocked up to the Sha Tin races to tap into this rich vein of profits. There was a $10 million race on with over $1billion betted on it. Well we now know how they make so much money. We left there with empty pockets and so did everyone else, or so it seems.


There are many graves bedecking hillside urupa here and you’d think they’d run out of room soon but no. They have recently moved lease out graves for 6 years because after 6 years you become reincarnated, turned into something else like an animal an insect or a tree. The corpse is dug up and cremated and the ashes are "blown in the wind" as they say here. Reusable holes. 


Anyway it’s time to head for the airport for Beijing where  we will meet the NZ Ambassador regarding the Registration of Pania Fisheries and the Glomfjord onto the China official register so that our processing and exporting throughout Asia can come through China. It’s the proper way to go.


We are in Wanchai which means small bay. From Waipatu to Wanchai, Hawke’s Bay to Small Bay, Hastings to Beijing.


Shaizen and Xiexie

Tihei Kahungunu

After three weeks back in the Chair with an amazingly happening schedule we finally made it to our first Board meeting at Waipatu including pōwhiri. The current new members and whānau appeared nervous but calm and the departing ones supportive and wise. We were taken through an induction by the staff who performed the tuakana role taking is through form function and futures without a hiccup.


It was a great start. Rose Peres voice rang clear, "Once the course has been set, Takitimu and Kahungunu lead from the back" she often reminded me. And that’s how it felt on the day- having set the 25year vision, the people have entrusted us to embody and achieve that vision "Ki te whaiao ki te ao mārama" over the next three years.


Then it was kihi and ka kite as Mere and I bolted for Pakipaki to pack our geewaas for Asia and America, the Asian segment for Takitimu Seafoods and the U.S for Iwi Chairs. So we will be hopping from Hong Kong to Beijing to Tokyo to LA and onto Oklahoma City before returning home on the 10th of June.

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