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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sickening attack on Rotorua pou

Rotorua district councilor Trevor Maxwell says he came away deeply saddened yesterday after visiting the site of two pou which had been destroyed by a chainsaw late last week.

Mr Maxwell says only three weeks ago he was part of the blessing of the two taonga erected at the entrance to the city from Tauranga on state highway 36.

He says on a day when he was feeling elated by his re-election to the council on which he has served for 33 years with the highest number of votes of 28 candidates, the shock of seeing the fallen pou was hugely distressing.

“To go over there and see the space empty, to see one of them obviously the result of a chainsaw attack, it is very disappointing and makes you feel very sick and ill inside to think anyone could do that,” Mr Maxwell says.

Police are trying to find out what happened and iwi are right behind their efforts.


Meanwhile four giant pou at the four corners of the new Eden Park stadium unveiled at dawn yesterday have received a totally different reception.

Eden Park Trust chairman John Waller says when the veils fell from the three meter high tekoteko standing on three meter plinths to be blessed by Ngati Whatua elders Maori and non-Maori jaws dropped at their magnificence.

“They're inspirational. We’ve got the four Maori gods, wind and weather, war and peace, and forest and they’re inspirational. I think a lot of teams that play Eden Park will really draw from these and they will be passionate about going onto the field or doing whatever activity they are doing at the park,” Mr Waller says.

Many of the 18,000 visitors to the Eden Park open day which followed the blessing of the teketeko, were all full of praise for the carvings and the new stadium.

The carvers were the work of a team led by Ngati Whatua kai whakairo Arekarea Maihi.


The national director of Prison Fellowship, Robin Gunston, says the country can’t afford to new half billion dollar prison economically or socially.

Groups working in prisoner aid and rehabilitation have met in Lower Hutt to discuss where the sector is going.

Mr Gunston says it’s not good for New Zealand to have one of the highest imprisonment rates in the western world, and the Maori imprisonment rate is a national scandal.

He says politicians seem only able to think of ways to get prisoner numbers up rather than down.

“There’s lots of things lead to prison but what do we do about turning it around. We can’t talk of investing another $500 million next year into a new prison in Wiri, we’ve got older prisons out there which should have been shut down a long time, let’s start turning our focus like Finland did. It said let’s halve our prison population. We think we should go further than that,” Mr Gunston says.


Te Wai Maori Trust, which was established as part of the Maori fisheries settlement to promote Maori interests in freshwater fisheries, says nothing short of ownership will satisfy Maori concerns with water quality.

Chairperson Morrie Love says the government will be unable to resolve competing interests over the use of fresh water until it engages with iwi and Maori over ownership of waterways.

He says last month’s report by the Land and Water Forum, which includes iwi, industry and conservation groups, was inadequate because it failed to address ownership.

“Maori are seeking to have a much greater say in things like setting low flow conditions, setting water quality conditions, and actually being a decision maker. If you’re the owner, you’re much more likely for that to happen. If you’re not, you get a form of co-management which means you’re consulted, you might get some money, but you probably don’t make the decisions in the end of the day,” Mr Love says.

While the Government pretends water is in public ownership, laws around its use have evolved that create tradable private property rights.


The chief executive of the Maori Language Commission - Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori - Glenis Philip-Barbara says nobody would have left Saturday night's Maori Language Awards ceremony uninspired.

Glenis Philip Barbara hearing the work award recipients were doing to promote te reo Maori and seeing the humble way they all received their honours was deeply moving.

“If there was a common theme that came out of the acceptance speeches it was that each and every one of us as individual has a responsibility to think about the nature of our contribution because it’s by the efforts of many individuals on a similar kaupapa that the language will live, so a pretty inspiring night actually,” she says.

The Supreme Award, Te Tohu Huia Te Reo, has joint winners, Ruakawa Charitable Trust from Tokoroa which were last year's winner and Massey University.

Katerina Te Heikoko Mataira won the Taku Toa Takimano award for an individual's effort who has engaged more the 30,000 people in Maori language learning over the past 33 years as well as publishing extensively.


Rotorua District councilor Trevor Maxwell has put paid to the idea that Maori cannot get elected in general local body seats.

Not only has the two-term deputy mayor been returned to serve a 33rd year as a district councilor, he topped the poll of 28 candidates with 11,500 votes.

Mr Maxwell says he supported the Royal Commissions recommendation of dedicated Maori seats for Auckland super city but in provincial areas like Rotorua where the people get to know those standing special seats aren't needed.

“Whilst I am comfortable in Te Arawa and in the Maori circles it’s also working to be comfortable with non-Maori right acriss the bard. I thgink that’s part of it, get out of your comfort zones and work amonst the people in your
OUT: ....community,” he says.


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