|Meeting Polynesian representatives at Radio Watea, Mangere|
|With the Trade Commissioner and official, Michael Jones at the Consul Office of Samoa|
|With the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Fiji, Mr Harish Lodhia JP at Tulja Centre, Mt Roskill|
1. INTRODUCTION .
The second trip to Auckland was planned for quite some time as follow-up, firstly, to promote the World Melayu-Polynesian Organisation (WMPO) after its establishment, following one of the resolutions at the Ist International Conference of the Malay-Polynesian Ancestral Nations held in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia in July, 2012 (see the write-up in this blog on the retionale and objectives of the formation of WMPO and other adopted resolutions in the article entitled ‘The First International Conference of the Malay-Polynesian Ancestral Nations’ ); secondly, to facilitate the preparation and organisation of the 2nd International Conference of WMPO scheduled to be held in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand in March 2014 and attend the fund-raising dinner; thirdly, to get acquainted and expand the WMPO network with other Polynesians; fourthly, to seek the views of all stakeholders on the proposed Nusa-Polynesian Internatioanl University (NPIU); fifthly, to explore opportunities of collaboration in trade and business in the areas of fishery, agriculture and eco-tourism. The visit extended from October 9 to 15, 2013.
2. FUND RAISING DINNER
The Dinner was held on Friday Oct 9 in the main hall at Mahurehure Marae Powhiri starting at 17.45 hrs. It was attended by an estimated 150-200 participants, made up of community and business leaders of the Polynesian communities. The programme of the night started with the opening address by the Hon. Dr Pita Sharples, Minister of Maori Affairs, who highlighted the common Austronesian ancestry of the Malay-Polynesian peoples, with the Malay stock inhabiting Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and the Polynesians making the islands in the Pacific Oceans of Aotearoa, Samoa, Fiji, Cook Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and others, their homes. Dr. Sharples with loud emphasis announced that ALL OF US AUSTRONESIANS ARE COUSINS, to the applause of those present . He indicated his support for the strengthening of the linkage among the Malay-Polynesians or Austronesians through WMPO and its programmes, activities and projects.
The address by Y. Bhg Col Prof Dato’ Dr Kamarudin Kachar, President of WMPO, reflected that the many commonalities and practices in culture, language and genetic make-up observed on his first visit to Maoridom in September 2011 inspired him to organise the first International Conference which resulted in the establishment of WMPO, among which, the objectives are:-
a. To provide a platform to reestablish and revitalise socio-cultural values, customs and practices
b. To promote cooperation among educational institutions and where appropriate, establish institutions to enhance the professional capability and skill
c. To explore and embark on trade and business partnerships in agricultural, fishery, ecotourism, oceanography and other sectors of the economy
among the 33 Malay-Polynesian ancestral nations.
Dato’ Kamarudin went on to elaborate on the proposed establishment of the NPIU which is an international university to generate graduates of high achievers focussing on areas where the Malay-Polynesians are best at – oceanography and related marine sciences. He recognises that the key element in the establishment of the university is its high capital costs but hope to raise funds from the many wealthy philanthropic leaders in the Malay-Polynesian community.
The third speaker, Dato’ Dr Hashim bin Abdul Wahab, Deputy President of WMPO, shared his thoughts on the possible areas of technology, trade and business collaboration in agricultural, fishery and ecotourism sectors. He illustrated how technology development through R&D has propelled oil palm, petrology and ecotourism into significant foreign exchange earners and contribution to the economy of Malaysia. Various area of technology, management expertise and marketing strategies available among the Malay-Polynesian communities could be shared. In his effort to encourage leaders within the communities to leave useful experiences, wisdom and other legacies, he prodded them to write about them.
The Dinner participants were entertained with cultural show and a band. President Kamarudin displayed his talent with the violin with the rendition of two ‘dondang sayang’ songs.
3. MEETING LEADERS AND REPRESENTATIVES OF THE POLYNESIAN COMMUNITIES
The following representatives were among those that we met during the visit, excluding the participants at the Dinner. The participants at the Dinner represented community and business leaders from 16 tribes of the Maoris and other Polynesians residing in Auckland and the neighbouring cities. The issues that were highlighted and discussed include the aim and objectives of WMPO, the establishment of NPIU and how, through the network, WMPO can provide a platform for us to get acquainted with one another, build friendship and trust which are the foundation for cooperation, collaboration and partnership in many areas – education and training in capability building, research, trade and business in such economic sectors as oils&gas, livestock, agriculture, fishery, ecotourism etc.
a. Melino Maka – Tonga – Tongan Advisory Council
b. Faavae Gagamoe – Samoa
c. Maiti Arama Tamaabiki - Ngati Whatua Tai Nui – Cook Is. Tahiti
d. Taha Fasi - Niue Island - business consultant
e. Rereata Makiha – Te Mahurehure
f. Harish Lodhia JP - Honorary Consul for the Republic of Fiji
g. Trade Commissioner and Michael Jones at the Consul Office of Samoa
h. Captain Hoturoa Kerr - Captain of Haunui Waka and members of the crew
i. John Panoho - Director Sales and Marketing, Navigator Tours
j. Prof Manuka Harare- Professor at The Univ of Auckland Business School
k. Emeritus Prof Nicholas Tarling – Director, Southeast Asian Studies
l. Assoc. Prof. Dr Don Sheridan – Dept of Information Systems and Operations
Management, The University of Auckland
m. Ockie Simmonds - Business Advisor Health & Safety Group, Ministry of
Business, Innovation and Employment, NZealand
n. Wesley Faleolo - Samoa - Training Centre for Maori Youth
o. Murray Bright - one of the members of the crew of Huinui Waka
4. PREPARATION FOR THE 2nd INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
4.1 Secretariate - the Organisers have located the secretariate at the training
centre for Maori youths under Ms Ann Willoughby
4.2 Participation - the planning is on the basis of 200 participants. A participants are expected from Malaysia
4.3 Programme - the Conference proper is two days on 28 and 29 March, 2014 which is to be held at Copthorne Hotel, Bay of Islands. The no. of papers needed will be around 15-20. The post-conference activities are:
(a) One- day tour around Bay of Islands and one day tour around Auckland
(b) Six-day tour of the Polynesian Islands of Cook, Samoa and Fiji
A two-day trade show in Auckland will also be organised. The secretariate is to work out the costs of the various packages – the Conference proper, the tours around the Bay of Islands and around Auckland, the six-day tour of the Polynesian Islands
4.4 Papers . To date the no of papers are still short of the target 20. Among the papers considered important include the following topics with the respective proposed speakers to be invited to contribute:
(a) Oceanography - Prof Redzuan Halim of UniMAP
(b) Deep Sea fishing – Dato’ Dr Halim Hamat,
(c) Livestock – Dato’ Amir Kamarudin
(d) Halal Products - Dato’ Dr Zamzam of MARDITECH
(e) Oils & Gas - representative from PETRONAS
4.5 Communication - a website on the Conference will be established with background information on the Ist International Conference, WMPO, the videos taken on the Ist Conference, details on the 2nd Conference, as a promotion tool. An IT consultant has volunteered to undertake the task of establishing the website.
4.6 Finance – the Organisers will finance the costs of the Conference through sponsorships, donations, registration fees and through sales of stall spaces for trade show.
5. TOURS OF PLACES OF INTERES
Among the places of interest that have been incorporated in the itinerary are as follows:
(a) Vegetable and Fruit Market
(b) Auckland War Memorial Museum – sections of interest that were visited were the Maori Polynesian, Natural History, Military. We were brought around by two guides of the Museum. The visit was on Saturday and the museum had many visitors. At the same time the Museum was celebrating the Military Heritage Week and many of the war veterans including those that served in Malaysia during the communist insurgency were present in their uniforms.
(c) Sailing in Haunui Waka around the the Auckland Harbour Bridge and Waitemata. Captain Hoturoa Kerr briefed the participants which include a few members of the Maori community, on the sailings of the Polynesian ancestors to discover and settled the many islands in the Pacific Ocean.
(d) City tour covering both the east and west side of Auckland, the memorial of the beloved Prime Minister Savage, Queens Street in the city centre.
7. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND CONCLUDING REMARKS
We were warmly received on arrival and at all the scheduled events. The Polynesians we met accept that we share a common ancestry and that, as Dr. Pita Sharple said, the peoples of Malay-Polynesia are cousins. The formation of the WMPO with its aims and objectives of reestablishing and revitalising the communities in the various fields encompassing socio-cultural, education, R&D, trade and business received a positive response with its iconic project of establishing the NPIU particularly is viewed as a unifying institution, in the long term, of bringing the Melayu-Polynesian communities together.
This visit has certainly advanced another step in bringing about better understanding that will foster subsequent cooperation in the various areas.
We wish to take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Chief Matutaera Clenden and Mrs Clenden and also Dave Fenton who have been with us throughout our stay in Auckland making sure that we have warm clothes to take care of the cool windy spring weather; providing fruits, cereals, milk and crackers for our breakfasts; taking us to a Malaysian restaurant where Dato’ Kamarudin can have his rice and chicken curry and his younger brother, Dato’ Hashim, his varied taste of chicken briani, roti canai chicken curry and fried kueyteow.
Hashim bin Abdul Wahab