Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wellington's Waka Wimp-Out

$100K got the capital a pretty impressive canoe back in '89.
Built for the national 150th annvsy celebrations in 1990, Te Raukura – or "Wellington's waka" – was meant to be the centrepiece of the new waka house. The focal point of the Wgtn.waterfront party zone for the upcoming *yawn* Rugby World Cup 2011, the idea was to display the 14m waka behind a glass viewing wall.
The canoe's been housed by Waiwhetu maori in Lower Hutt, since it went there for repairs in 2006. It was meant to be returned on NZ Day this year for the opening of the waka house. But the Lower Hutt bros refused (some dissatisfaction over their $25m cash-and-property Treaty settlement...the return of the paddleboat was caught up in the hissy-fit).
After two mediation attempts failed, High Court proceedings began. But finally a frustrated Wgtn.City Council backed down, caved in, wimped out, relinquished all claims to Das Boot. In return, it gets $150K from the Lower Hutt bros which it'll spend on a new waka. So, the tally board:
Cost of waka: $100K.
Legal costs: $250K.
Cost of waka house: $11.5 million.
What ratepayers have: one empty waka house, $150K compensation.
In stepping down from the claim, court documents say: "While officers are confident High Court action would favour the council, it is also likely to be very expensive and will not contribute to positive relationships."
Well, hello - if you're sueing someone for stealing your possessions, you'd go them for court costs too! As for "positive relationships", that'll need a bit more than a $150K Band-Aid to fix!
In my world, if you pay for something, it's yours. If someone does not give it back - then Houston, we have a problem.
PS: 20 May 2011 - Lower Hutt bros still haven't paid up! It's about to go legal...
PS: 23 May 2011 - The bros pay up, just in the nick of time!
PS: 13 Aug.2011 - The first of Wgtn's two waka has arrived...

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