Monday, August 1, 2011

Waka Waste!

Well well well, waka surprise!
NZ Herald reported last weekend that the $2-million tupperware waka on the Auckland waterfront is likely to be scrapped soon after the *yawn* Rugby World Cup!
It’s meant to be a maori tourist attraction for rugger fans, but the govt and the Akld Council don't want it afterwards, so the bros who got it for free from the taxpayer (Ngati Whatua o Orakei) will become its owners after the tourny. But now they're worried it’ll be a heavy financial loss...yeup, ownership brings responsibilities.
And as I blogged back in April, I told ya so…
Earlier this year, tribal CEO Tiwana Tibble wrote: "Our fallback position is to sell or demolish the waka in Feb.2012 and therefore exit from this whilst still having positive funds in the bank."
Y’see, it’s more than just scoring a maori freebee as a pre-election sweetener. The waka itself will cost $135k yearly in maintenance and storage. It’ll cost post-RWC users $25k to put it up, and another $25k to pull it down. Ngati Whatua expects to know its revenue opportunities by year’s end, and is looking at international options to hire the waka out: China would be an example of a country where it could be used to cement a NZ relationship...
Forgive me for appearing dim, but WHY would China want a 75m-long maori waka?? (Don't forget the financial flop of the multi-million dollar inflatable rugby ball!!) Let’s be serious here, bros.
The ongoing costs and unknown income of this white elephant have pissed off some in da hood. Tribal member Joe Pihema says scrapped or not, the waka project's failed them: "The cost is not only the (annual) storage, but the lost opportunities to further our people through improved education, housing, cultural and health packages."
Ahhh, maybe that’s your answer, Joe: put it on your marae and use it to accommodate abandoned urban maori streetkids who’d otherwise be sleeping under an overpass, maybe provide some schooling and a medical clinic for them…do some GOOD with this otherwise waka-waste-of-space! Ownership brings responsibilities.

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