Thursday, June 9, 2011

Taniwha Torpedoes Train?

Is Auckland's $2.6-billion train project becoming “the little train that might not”?
Mayor Len Brown has staked his political future on a tunnel under the CBD, linking Britomart station to Mt Eden. But the govt has crunched the numbers and reckons it’s a dog. As if that ain’t enough, now there’s another hiccup: Horotiu the taniwha.
Is THIS a taniwha?
[For overseas readers: a taniwha's a mythical maori monster supposedly lurking in deep pools, caves and the sea. They can be dangerous predators and supposedly also guardians - but they can bite you if they don't like what you're doing.]
The interesting thing about this taniwha is that it’s never been mentioned in any talk or planning about this rail tunnel – not once. All of a sudden, Maori Statutory Board member Glenn Wilcox raises the issue…saying no-one's asked the local Ngati Whatua tribe about the plan, and now *surprise-surprise* there's a taniwha sitting right in the path of the planned tunnel!
No, THIS is
a taniwha!!!
Wilcox agrees the taniwha issue is a shot across the bows of the Auckland Super City, to remind them that the Maori Statutory Board exists and has issues. Riiiiiggghhtt!!! (Interestingly, the tribe's heritage advisor Malcolm Paterson has never heard the story of the taniwha!)
For ancient creatures, the ol’ taniwhas have adapted to the modern world with incredible ease. Back in 2002, plans for State Highway 1 through Meremere in the Waikato were disrupted by a taniwha…which curiously disappeared immediately after the Transit NZ chequebook was opened.
Cryptically, Glenn Wilcox says, "There are always ways to placate taniwha." Hmmm, I’ll bet there are, Glenn! Wonder how much it’ll cost for Ngati Whatua to make Horotiu, the mysteriously-appearing mythical taniwha, vanish again…
Furthermore, when will local and central govt stop allowing projects to be disrupted by myths that're merely greed in disguise...?

PS: 11 June 2011 - An NZHerald editorial claims the taniwha issue damages maori credibility...


Timespanner said...

I'd like to see proof that this legend regarding the Waihorotiu in central Auckland has been around longer than June 2011. Only reference so far I see on line -- apart from this -- is to taniwha associated with the Horotiu River in the Waikato. I'd be very keen to see some proven indication that this is not simply a 21st century confusion.

Writer Of The Purple Sage... said...

EXACTLY!!! And excuse my cynicism...but what's the bet, once the treaty settlements are all concluded, we'll suddenly see alot MORE taniwha. After all, how ELSE will the coffers get topped up?

Anonymous said...

A professor is saying the taniwha is the maori method of resource management. Oh please!!!!
If that's the case, why don't they just say "we've got concerns about this or that..." rather than all of a sudden saying there's a bloody great man-eating lizard under the city???
If modern maori wanna keep living in the past with monsters, they'll continue to look pretty basic, and be treated like that.