The Point of Order team, constantly keeping an eye on Beehive decisions that affect the way we are governed, has been looking for evidence that the Minister of Conservation is in charge of the Department of Conservation and that her department can over-ride travel bans imposed by anyone who cares to put up a “Keep Out” sign.
The evidence sadly suggests the Minister, Kiritapu Allan, is not in charge.
At least, not when Maori tribal leaders opt to flex their muscle.
This raises significant questions about accountability and ministerial responsibility under the Ardern government.
It also raises questions about so-called Treaty partnerships and co-governance.
Our appetite for checking out Allan’s grip on DoC was whetted by news that tribal leaders in the Bay of Plenty area have slapped a “Keep Out” sign on the Whirinaki Conservation Park.
They don’t call it a “Keep Out” sign, of course. They call it a rahui. Continue reading “The Treaty partnership at work? DoC’s Minister is defied after declaring opposition to a rāhui in Whirinaki Conservation Park”
The Waikato and Waipa Rivers have been declared off limits during Level 3 of the Covid-19 emergency, prohibiting food gathering and all recreational activities on the waterways..
Elsewhere around the country people have been barred from going to some beaches by vigilante groups who set up checkpoints to impede the public.
In the case of the two rivers, the prohibition has been imposed by a former truck driver who now rejoices in the title of Māori King Tuheitia.
He has declared the rivers are subject to a rahui, a cultural and spiritual prohibition. It came into effect on Monday.
The king’s authority to make a rahui binding on anyone who feels they should not be constrained by it is dubious.
Point of Order hoped Local Government New Zealand would guide us on King Tuheitia’s entitlement to bar people from swimming or fishing in the rivers or boating on them. Continue reading “Maori monarch flexes muscle to make waterways off-limits but we may muse on the matter of legality”
Oh dear. A former Green MP has been ired by the government’s decision to lend $13 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to a gold mining project under DOC land on the West Coast.
Now the chairperson of Coromandel Watchdog, Catherine Delahunty said she and her group are appalled that the PGF
” … is being used to subsidise a dinosaur industry at Reefton.
“The old Blackwater Mine at Reefton cost the Government $3 million to clean up and now they are being funded to create more toxic waste.”
“ What is worse is that the proposal is to mine under DOC land .”
We can find no record of Delahunty’s reaction to Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage’s announcements of government handouts for environmental projects. Continue reading “Our taxes are to be used to look for gold, reduce waste, restore wetlands and help businesses hurt by a rahui”
Two newspaper reports illustrate the contrasting involvements of science and spiritual beliefs in the aftermath of the White Island eruption.
Meanwhile several iwi have placed rāhui over their customary coastal areas.
This effectively represents a customary prohibition on all maritime activities for the whole of the Eastern Bay of Plenty coast.
New Zealand Herald science writer Jamie Morton yesterday examined the role of scientists in a report headed White Island eruption: How do scientists forecast potential further eruptions?
He reported that GNS Science experts had given a 40 to 60 per cent chance of another eruption outside White Island’s vent area in the next 24 hours. Continue reading “While scientists measure Whakaari tremors, spiritual leaders tell of the warning their ancestors are sending”
Whether tourists should have been allowed to visit Whakaari-White Island in the past and whether tourists should be allowed to visit in future are among the questions inevitably raised in the aftermath of the tragic volcanic eruption this week.
Concerns have extended beyond the operations of White Island Tours, which is owned by Ngāti Awa Holdings, to all adventure tourism.
The effects of the prohibition imposed in the form of a rāhui – does this amount to a ban on tourism, what authority does it have and for how long will it remain in place? – seem to have have gone unquestioned.
The rāhui ceremony was performed by Whakatane District Council pou tikanga Pouroto Ngaropo.
According to a Newsroom report, Ngaropo said the rāhui covers the island and the waters around it.
The report did not mention a time frame.
It did suggest a rāhui is much more potent than a council sign that says: “Danger – keep out” or “Trespassers will be prosecuted”. Continue reading “Post-tragedy rāhui raises questions (which media prefer not to ask) about what it means”