Tēnā koutou katoa, On behalf of the Ongare Board of Trustees, we wish to acknowledge recent Anzac Day services that were observed around the country this past week in commemoration of those servicemen who died during war, conflict and peacekeeping missions as well as those who are returned servicemen.
This year’s annual Dawn Service for those Māori Servicemen, whānau and supporters was held at Te Whetu-o-te Rangi Marae in Tauranga in tandem with another dawn service held for the 5th time at Tuapiro Marae north of Ongare Point in Tahawai.
We wanted to tautoko both kaupapa, one of which we have been an active sponsor of including again this year and one because of it’s proximity to Ongare and the relationship we are looking to build and strengthen with the whānau at Tuapiro,
So we decided to ensure that Ongare Trust was represented at both Dawn Services with returned serviceman and Trustee Joel Ngatūere participating in the march on for the servicemen and laying the wreath on behalf of Ongare Trust at Whetu Marae.
Our Kuia and Ongare Trustees Pua Taikato and Kura Benton also laid a wreath together for Kumikumi Trust at Whetu. Kumikumi is a key relationship for us as whanaunga and joint venture partners in the Matakana Berry LP development on Matakana Island.
At the invitation of the Tuapiro Marae service organising committee, Ongare Trust was represented by Parewhati and Enoka, our Chair and Orchard Assets Manager. This was the first time that we had heard of the service at Tuapiro so it was a welcome opportunity to connect with whānau there.
Tuapiro Marae itself had 7 servicemen from one whānau - the Ngarae whānau who had been lost to more than one war and initiated the dawn service 5 years ago in recognition of their sacrifice from the home people.
Enoka joined the march on by returned servicemen whilst Parewhati delivered a kōrero during the service about tupuna and returned serviceman Rongoihaere Rikihana, who is one of many stories that whānau hold about their loved ones and the hardships they endured.
Enoka and Parewhati also laid a wreath together on behalf of Ongare Trust at Tuapiro and were encouraged to tautoko Tuapiro with future dawn services.
A few weeks ago our Matakana Berry LP and the Saunders Family had a visit from other Miro Berry Growers from the East Coast including Hauiti Berries led by Wayne Amaru and Ahu Whenua awards finalist Wi Pere Trust led by Wayne Hall.
Ongare and MBLP joint venture partner Tukairangi Investments Ltd, who are also a finalist in the Ahu Whenua awards and were devastated by cyclone Gabrielle, were in attendance for a meet and greet with our fellow Miro Berry Growers hosted by Miro CEO Liz Te Amo and her team ahead of the field day visits to Pahoia and Matakana.
The field days are designed for the growers and operations managers to be able to share their experience and learnings together in situ or on location and the other growers were treated to an overnight stay at the MBLP orchards in the onsite worker accomodation before heading home to the East Coast to continue rebuilding their communities.
We expect to have a dual AGM sometime in the near future for both MBLP and TMML or Matakana Berry LP and Tauranga Moana Miro Ltd and will keep you all updated.
April saw the Federation of Māori Authorities annual Business Summit being held in Te Whanganui-a-tara and although we did not send any delegates or representatives from Ongare, one of our Trustees and Kuia Pua Taikato did attend the hui at the invitation of Ngai Tukairangi Trust.
We look forward to hearing about some of the key takeaways from the hui which culminated in the handing over of the mauri from Te Whanganui-a-tara to Mataatua. There will be a future hui either in the Mataatua rohe or potentially in a more central location.
Whareroa Marae which is the primary Marae that most Ongare owners whakapapa to and Whareroa has hosted some major events in the past month. These included the annual Poukai that was held for the first time ever at Whareroa this year. This was at the request of our late Uncle Kihi Ngatai a few years ago before he passed away.
The other key event that was hosted recently by the whānau at Whareroa were the Environment Hearings to hear evidence from tangata whenua against the proposed expansion of the Port of Tauranga wharves.
Nathan James, Joel and Awhina Ngatūere and others were key speakers on behalf of the whānau and you can watch their awesome kōrero on YouTube. Check out day 10 of the hearings from the Let Whareroa Breathe Again Facebook post on February 27.
Earlier in the month Zespri co-hosted a meeting with Māori Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated or MKGI which is Chaired by our whanaunga Anaru Timutimu to announce the launch of their new collaborative marketing partnership to export fruit to Hawai’i.
This arrangement is a first for this market although in the past there have been other such arrangements like where Te Awanui Huka Pak and Seeka were exporting to Malaysia.
The market will offer new opportunities for Māori Growers and Ongare are excited to see how this opportunity takes off.