Privatizing Electricity-Generating Assets on the Waikato River: Intergenerational Investment or Selling our Tupuna (Ancestor)?

Privatizing Electricity-Generating Assets on the Waikato River: Intergenerational Investment or Selling our Tupuna (Ancestor)?

Mon Nov 19

Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity Human Evolution and Social Change
Location: Wrigley Hall, 201
Campus: Tempe           
Cost: Free

On 29 January 2011, a headline in New Zealand’s most well-known newspaper, The New Zealand Herald, read ‘Nats to sell parts of state assets.’ According to Prime Minister John Key, the sale had become unavoidable because New Zealand was dangerously in debt. For many New Zealanders, the news of the privatization of the country’s electricity-generating assets was unexpected, as the National Government had assured voters the year before that they would not sell any State Owned Enterprises (SOEs). On the back of Key’s announcement of the asset sales, elected Waikato tribal leader Tukoroirangi Morgan voiced in the media that his tribe was excited by the prospect of buying shares in the electricity-generating companies Mighty River Power and Genesis Energy, which are located on the Waikato River and within his tribe’s ancestral region. In an effort to reassure New Zealanders that the assets would be in safe hands if bought by Maori, Morgan explained “iwi won’t sell [their shares in the companies]; the investments are intergenerational.” But observations of household economies for the current generation of Maori living within the Waikato tribal boundary show that many Waikato members live in poverty. They struggle to buy food and pay their bills, have poor access to health care and education and live in inferior housing. Also complicating matters is the fact that Waikato Maori regard the Waikato River to be their Tupuna (primary ancestor). 
 
All are invited to attend this special Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity seminar featuring Marama Muru-Lanning, postdoctoral fellow in anthropology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Dr. Lanning's presentation will be Monday, November 19, 12-1 p.m. in WGHL 201.


For more information
E-mail: jfraser@asu.edu
Website: Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity
Phone: 480-965-8318

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