Feedback sought on earthquake memorial

February 18, 2015

The public is invited to give feedback on the six designs shortlisted for the  Canterbury Earthquake Memorial:

The Memorial will honour the victims of Canterbury’s earthquakes and acknowledge the suffering of all those who lived through them as well as the heroism of those who participated in the rescue and recovery operations.

More than 330 submissions were received from 37 countries after designs were sought by the Government, Christchurch City Council and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

The six short-listed were selected last year and have since been adapted following consultation with stakeholders, including those who lost loved ones and those who suffered serious injuries, and in order to ensure they met design criteria.

“I think each of the designs is outstanding and reflects the Canterbury experience in a different way. Every one of them could be a fitting memorial for what we lost and what we have been through as a city,” says Associate Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Nicky Wagner.

“The public now has a chance to have its say on which design best reflects that shared loss and experience.”

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says this is an important step towards having a memorial space that will mean so much to so many people, here and around the world.

“Allowing the public to have a say in how we commemorate what we have lost, while capturing a sense of hope for the future, will make a real difference.”

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Tā Mark Solomon says: “It is very important for the region, our city and our communities to have an appropriate place to honour and reflect on the events of the earthquakes. I believe as a community we will achieve this.”

The short-listed designs can be viewed at www.ccdu.govt.nz/ideas-to-remember and feedback can be given on the website until 15 March. . .


Maori don’t own water – Solomon

October 22, 2012

The Maori Council’s view that Maori own water and their rights are threatened by the partial sale of a few energy companies isn’t share by all Maori.

Ngai Tahu chair Mark Solomon says:

. . . We were the first people here. We managed our river systems. What we’re saying is we want input into the governance, into the management of the water systems. We do believe that we have a right to an allocation of water. But we do not – and this is a Ngai Tahu perspective: we cannot stand up and ask the government to recognise our rights and interests in water by advocating the taking away of rights and interests of other people. Ngai Tahu was part signatory to the Treaty of Waitangi, to which we believe is a partnership. We believe that there is a win-win model that gives Maori access to water alongside the rest of the nation so that we can be part of the economy of New Zealand. . .

. . .  Do I believe that Maori have an ownership in the sense of a fee simple title? No, I don’t. That is a Pakeha concept. Um, when I look at the concept of ownership within a Maori paradigm, I believe it’s about you have a right of use to use the fruits, or in a Pakeha term, the usufructuary rights, but I think you have a reciprocal obligation of kaitiaki. How you define that to a Pakeha word of ownership, I’m not quite sure.

This is part of an interview with Shane Taurima which shows a far more moderate and reasoned view of issues over water and the partial sale of energy companies than most others which have hit the headlines.

He also has this to say about the Maori Council’s pending court action:

Ngai Tahu’s stance and the members of the Iwi Leaders Group, our position is we would far prefer a negotiated agreement than court. Court, to us, has always got to be the last option, not the first. All it does is give the lawyers the new Mercedes every year.

SHANE           Have we reached that point, in your opinion?
 
MARK             No.

This shows the difference between an Iwi which is focussed on growth and those which are still stuck in grievance mode.

Court action will get publicity but it will be costly and will almost certainly achieve less than negotiation.

SHANE           So what should, do you think, be happening instead of going to court?
 
MARK             We can’t speak on behalf of all Maori. There is a big group of us that have a view that we need to be coming to a negotiated agreement. We will go along our path. We cannot stop any other group from taking legal action, and that is their right if that is the path that they wish to take.
 
SHANE           But you won’t be supporting this action being taken by the council?
 
MARK             Not at this stage. No, we will not.

SHANE           Tainui and the Maori King have pledged their support for the council; you won’t. So, going back, I suppose, to the Winston Peter’s quote, isn’t he right when he says the government is dividing?
 
MARK             There are 500,000, close to 600,000, Maori in New Zealand. I’ve never known any sector or community to have a unanimous view. We are like any other people. We will have varied views, and that is all of our right.

This is an important point and why the government keeps saying it will deal with individual Iwi rather than Maori as a whole.

Some Maori see a threat in the partial sale of a few energy companies. But while Solomon says he doesn’t support the sales personally he doesn’t believe the sell-down of a state owned energy company will affect Ngai Tahu’s rights and interest in water.


Greenstone Editorial Gone

June 22, 2008

The story of the pounamu  gifted by the Christchurch City Council to China which flew first class because it would be culturally insensitive to put it in the hold prompted an editorial in The Press. Private Bin in the NBR (which isn’t on-line) noted the editorial had disappeared from the website and it hasn’t reappeared so here is a copy from the print edition:

 

Ngai Tahu asserts that Christchurch’s gift to China is imbued with spiritual force. That is debatable, but the boulder certainly is imbued with farce.

Its journey from Fiordland to Wuhan provides the basis for a novel of the absurd, in which the voyage is preposterous, the characters pretentious and the implications portentous.

Fortunately for the reputation of Christchurch, this wacky combination will initially be laughed at and attributed to the city’s liking for crankiness. But underneath the nonsense is a city council losing touch with reality.

The request for an inanimate rock to have a partly ratepayer-funded escort and a seat in first class should have been vetoed before it had a change to develop legs. However serious the claims by Ngai Tahu about the boulder’s spirituality they are not supported by the large majority of Christchurch citizens, in whose name the gift was being made. A mayor in tune with his citizens would not have associated them with such hocus-pocus, let Ngai Tahu pay for the exercise of its religious beliefs and had the rock presented with typical Kiwi restraint.

 

But Christchurch has a council so in thrall to its sister-city relationships that its successive mayors and councillors repeatedly risk political demerits to cement the international contacts with visits, hospitality and gifts. So enthusiastic is city hall about these shenanigans that it now has a paid official with the title of international relations manager.

Part of her job, it seems, is ensuring Christchurch ratepayers do not get to know about things like the rummage in Fiordland for a rack, its luxurious passage halfway round the world, and the associating of the city with cultish beliefs. These facts were made public only because The Press forced them into the open by way of the Official Information Act.

Mayor Bob Parker need merely have remembered the public’s contempt for retiring MPs’ junketing on the Speaker’s tour to curtail the madcap greenstone trail. His lack of nous about such international skylarking will now require him to deflect a spectrum of critics: those unimpressed with Maori claims to privileged spirituality; those sickened by gravy-eating politicians; those intent on pillorying over-inflated city burghers.

The pounamu is now resting in the unkind keeping of the Communist Party of China. If the rock is consigned to the attic, as are most official gifts – even those received by totalitarian vulgarians – Christchurch’s spiritual out-reach will have been in vain. But there is hope of a more productive outcome.

China’s political bosses, driven into a corner by adherence to the unswerving olgic of dialectical materialism, might find the rock’s spirtiual immaterialism useful. An unquiet Tibet, a spluttering Olympic torch, a carbon-laden atmosphere, a political structure immune to renewal – these and China’s other gigantic problems seem so unlikely to be solved by Marxist administration that genuflection to a green stone could reasonably be tried.

On the other hand, Bob Parker, embarked on a mayoralty littered with gaffs, might need to reclaim the pounamu and beseech it for political advice. If he does, he would be wise to bring it home escorted only by recycled wrapping, protected by a butter box and placed in the belly of a plane.

 

The following letters to the editor were printed in response the following day:

Your editorial yesterday contained errors of concern to the Christchurch City Council.

The first of these is the implication that information about the gift of pounamu to Christchurch’s Friendship City of Wuhan, China, was discovered only through the Official Information Act.

The council issued a media release on April 22, detailing this gift and how it had travelled to Wuhan. Your newspaper received this release on this date, and published an article about the gift on April 26. The Star also ran the story on April 30.

At this time, no reporter called the council requesting any additional information, which we would have been happy to release.

The second point is that you inferred that the position of civic and international relations manager was new to the council. This position has been in existence for at least 10 years.

The manager’s role is not just to source gifts for our sister cities, as inferred in your editorial. She is responsible for identifying and developing international relationships that result in economic benefits for Christchurch – Tony Marryatt CHief Executive CCC.

The views expressed in your editorial yesterday displayed a remarkable level of insensitivity and ignorance, and are full of inaccuracies.

For generations pounamu has been central to Ngai Tahu culture and survival, with the gifting of pounamu an important Ngai Tahu tradition that carries with it our mana and protection. It is an act that has become commonplace, as was displayed in 2004 when the entire New Zealand Olympic team wore pounamu to Athens.

Your comments do your publication, the citizens of Wuhan and Ngai Tahu great disservice when one considers the spirit with which the gift is intended. Mark Solomon Kaiwhakahaere Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu

Yesterday’s editorial was intended to be tongue-in-cheek and whimsical. It ailed badly in making that clear and the intemperate, and in some instances offensive, sentiments are The Press’s editorial policy. I can only apologise. – Andrew Holden, Editor.

And:

New Zealand greenstone, a true jade, is pounemu. Bowenite – sometimes called greenstone by the geologically ignorant, and not a jade – is takiwai. Bowenite “greenstone” is not pounemu.

The addition of ‘stone” to pounemu, as pounamu is know in the south, is redundant.

This isn’t difficult nomenclature. How did your journalist get so muddled. (“Pounamu stone flies first class to satisfy protocol,: June 14)? Keri Hulme.


%d bloggers like this: