Sunday, June 19, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
Right, so, I am annoyed this morning. I have been hearing and seeing a lot of culturally insensitive people, some who aren't even Aucklanders jumping up and down about the Taniwha that is guardian over the creek that runs underneath Auckland's Queen Street.
Taniwha = mythical creature that protects its domain's Mauri.
Mauri = Life force/spirit. It can be added to or it can be subtracted from. Things that subtract from Mauri are things that disrupt the natural balance.
Kaitiaki = guardian. Maori are kaitiaki over their lands, people and gods. The land is kaitiaki over the Maori, animals and plants who live upon it. The gods are kaitiaki over everything.
The taniwha, to my understanding, is a lower level god.
The "T-bomb" was dropped at the Auckland Council this week. The "T-bomb" that could stop Auckland's rail link from going ahead. I don't mind, it won't get all the way out to where my parents live anyway so why waste my rates on it. But it does affect those who live closer in and may use it.
What I want to point out is that people are ridiculing someone else's belief system. One that was perfectly fine until us white fullas came along and ruined it because we thought that our ideas are better. The land was fine, it was productive, birds sang and there was plenty of food to go around. Possums didn't eat the native foliage and stoats didn't eat the Kiwis that ran around in the bushes in the cute way that they do.
This taniwha was NOT the government's idea. In fact, certain Maori MPs who are part of the government have been making jokes about it on Twitter all of the last 2 days. I don't think it's a government stalling tactic at all and would have said the same thing if I stood on the other side of the political "fence" (bahaha what fence?!).
I want to point out that this member of the Maori Board (or whatever it is it is being called, Auckland Council still confuses me, doing my local government policy assignment on the Waikato for that reason) is asking a valid question. Have you considered the spiritual protector of the land? Have you considered its Mauri? Have you thought about how you are going to minimise Environmental Impact? If you have not, you'd better do it again because like it or not it's in the Resource Management Act that all factors, especially those relating to the Treaty of Waitangi should be considered and a full environmental impact assessment undertaken. What he is getting at is that perhaps full consultation was not undertaken and whether or not that is legally ok is beside the point, is it morally unquestionable? I don't know.
Suffice to say that whilst I did initially laugh at the taniwha that lives in the Auckland CBD, I am not going to ridicule it because even though it's not my belief, it is someone else's and we live in a multicultural society where, at least I thought, it is part of our collective culture to respect other people's beliefs.