Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chillin' On Egmont

A group of crazy climbers who carried a barbecue and couch up to the summit of Mt Egmont...opps, no, I mean Mt Taranaki...for an epic barbecue, has earnt the ire of local maori.
An "outraged" (???) Taranaki DOC boss Phil Mohi says "The act of cooking over an ancestor is tapu (sacred) – it's something that you just don't do." He said it was disappointing the young people hadn't learnt that the mountain and especially the summit is very sacred for Taranaki iwi. "The very highest part is the most sacred of all – and (we) ask climbers to avoid standing there. There's a difference too between eating prepared food for sustenance and actually cooking on the summit."
He also swiped at people who'd left graffiti on the summit. He's not suggesting these climbers were responsible: some is years old, mostly people's carved initials, but "the graffiti offenders went out of their way to cause offence." (out of their way???) Meanwhile these guys actually went "out of their way" to collect and bring back other people's rubbish that they saw on the climb!
So, spot the problem?
What some call a "sacred ancestor"...most others know is just a dormant volcano. A bloody big rock that would be cool to climb! And a fun challenge would be to lug a couch and barbie right to the top!!
Seems it's "something that you just don't do" if you're maori...but most people are not maori.
Ancient graffiti?
Everyone who climbs something tall wants to reach the very top - thankfully Hillary wasn't maori or he'd never have conquered Everest!
And most like to proclaim they've achieved something - look at the centuries-old graffiti atop the pyramids! Or cave art around the world. Or maori rock carvings - is that graffiti too?
Just as these climbers had some fun chillin' on top after their efforts, Taranaki maori also need to chill, and remember it's a question of perception. We're not all the same - our magic is in our diversity.
PS: 20 Jan.2011 - Meanwhile a mountain guide who's been climbing Egmont for 40yrs is surprised by news of the summit tapu!!
PS: 23 Jan.2011 - Michael Laws says of Taranaki iwi: "It's the Madonna in the condom all over again!" A good read...

1 comment:

Leon, Bell Block said...

For crying out loud!
Do they want us to all turn Around three times anti-clockwise, face Mecca, pray to the God of the Forest, and buy the nearest maori some KFC before we set foot on a mountain THAT BELONGS TO EVERYONE????!!!!
Get over yourselves!