The Eye of the Fish

Maximus
February 16, 2012

Tuhoe nation freedom-fighters, or just dickheads?

I know that this is straying away a little from our stated aim of discussing architecture and urbanism, but before we get back to discussing buildings on the waterfront, isn’t there something more important that we should be discussing? I’m talking about the current trial – I was away during the actual police raids a few years back, and so have never heard or seen anything about this before. I’m sort of amazed that there is not more discussion on this. From memory, there were a whole lot of people saying that the police had massively over-reacted, and that the charges were trumped up, but certainly the images being shown of a bunch of pseudo-commandos training in the Ureweras are worth raising a few eyebrows over.

What with the civil war in Syria, the continued unrest in Egypt, simmering tensions in Libya, outright civil breakdown in Greece, no doubt soon to be followed by rioting in other European countries as their economies collapse, we have been living in a wonderfully tension-free country here, if you ignore the continued rumbling of earthquakes. But this alleged warfare training by members of the Tuhoe, and their curiously naive scandic hangers-on, is a real eye-opener. We all know that apparently no member of Tuhoe signed the treaty of Waitangi, and so that some of them therefore consider that they are not part of the rest of New Zealand. That has been largely ignored by the Government for the last 150 years, and it has all been business as usual in this one-big-happy-family country of ours. I say “ours” advisedly, as I believe that we are in the lucky position of being an island, and not having borders with other countries. Imagine living in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the boundary has changed continuously over the last 1000 years. They’ve been governed by the Turks, the Austrians, the Serbs, the Croats, the Yugoslavs, the Hapsburgs, probaly the Germans, the Russians, the Holy Roman Empire, and possibly even at some stage by themselves. Always rather nastily, with the rulings being at the point of a gun. Never quite the place for a quiet holiday.

Unlike the Ureweras, where the Children of the Mist live. Apart from some military encounters around 1840 or so, the Tuhoe have been largely left alone. Its not that onerous being a New Zealander, and while there may have been some impositions on residents all over our isles, like paying taxes, forcing buildings to be built to a rather wonky building code, sending your children to school so they can speak at least one language, etc, there have been some advantages. Like, we have a reasonable hospital system, a few roads up and down the country, and a handful of totally crap tv stations. Not a lot else really, especially in Tuhoe country. Luckily for them, no TV reception! But is it worth getting all military over, this running around the bush with guns, shooting at imagined nasty targets, building molotov cocktails and thermite bombs (like the ones the US Military destroyed the World Trade towers, don’t you know), and generally planning an imaginary armed insurrection? The naivity of the blonde man in cavorting with the tattoed heads in planning this battle is interesting too – but I don’t want to get into that. What is of more interest is how would an independent Tuhoe nation work within a surrounding Aotearoa? Would there have to be a roadblock on the road from Wairoa? Would passports be required? Seeing as there is no hospital actually in the Ureweras, would Tuhoe have to pay fees to attend hospitals like other foreign visitors, or would there be visitors rights?

It all ties in with the questions of whether “we” should be selling the Crafar farms to an overseas buyer. Whether they are Chinese overseas buyers, or Swiss-domiciled overseas buyers (ie turncoat corporate-raider pirate “Sir” Michael Fay), really doesn’t make much difference. Either way, the owner will live off shore. Either way, money to pay for that will have to come in from overseas banks. Either way, money raised from the sale of milk will be squirreled away to an overseas fund. Either way though, the money may be flowing around, but the land is staying here. And either way, it is no more accessible to you or me, whether it is owned by Chinese, Swiss, American, or Tuhoe. None of them can take anything away (except for the profit). None of them can change any of the laws and rules (except, perhaps, Tuhoe, at the barrel of a gun). What would be much better for New Zealanders is if the land was sold at reasonable prices to young New Zealand farmers, who of course would have to buy it with funds from the bank, all of which come from overseas, and probably mostly the money comes from China anyway…

Tutaekuri
16 - 02 - 12

Seems like it would be a good time for the Film Archive to screen “Sleeping Dogs” right now….

Jack
16 - 02 - 12

I’d guess that the lack of discussion is because the issue is currently sub judice, making it a crime to comment on the evidence of the case. See, for example, http://www.imperatorfish.com/2012/02/on-urewera-trial.html

Seamonkey Madness
16 - 02 - 12

Addendum about Sleeping Dogs – wasn’t it like the 20th anniversary of the film when they did the raids on the “terrorists”?

Maximus
16 - 02 - 12

Jack – thanks, yup, that’s why I’m not talking about the case, but instead the hypothetical situation of “What would it be like if Tuhoe had their own independent Nation?” I mean, how many other people snorted in derision at Jonkey’s comments that he “doesn’t think that New Zealanders want to be tenants in their own land”? By which he is meaning, white honky farmboys like 99% of National voters want to be the farmer, not the sharemilker.

But isn’t that just what Tuhoe (and others) have been saying all along? But whether it is a Chinese company owning the land and taking home the profits from the milk (if anyone has a right to complain, the cows should be protesting against slavery and continued sexual assault…), or a kiwi farmer owning the land and keeping the profits, or even Tuhoe owning the land and keeping the prophets…. either way, I am but a tenant in someone else’s land.

erentz
16 - 02 - 12

It’s hard to see how it would work well, maybe some kind of north american style indian reservation with some sort of self governance, casinos to lure in tourist dollars, drug and alcohol problems, poor schools, some level of self controlled law enforcement backed up by a New Zealand FBI… I’m not really sure why you’d want to do it to be honest. There may well be grievances and problems that need solutions, but I’m not really sure how having little plots of semi-sovereign areas dotted around the impoverished parts of the country is going to solve that.

PS. what happened to Ernesto?

Richard
16 - 02 - 12

At least we could talk about Wellington dickheads. Such as what was peace activist Valerie Morse doing running round the Ureweras with a pistol?

Nana
16 - 02 - 12

Exactly! Morse has been the go-to rent-a-mob for years, protesting against everything and anything. She’s worse than Minto was in his prime, but at least he stayed peaceful and never packed a pistol, even though I’m sure the police would have searched him enough times. But Morse has run her last code – she’s history now. You can’t be a peace activist and be packing heat – that’s like fucking for virginity.

Maximus
17 - 02 - 12

Erentz, welcome back to town! How is the wintery north? You back for good, or just passing through?
To answer your last question first, Ernesto closed down because the building was declared an earthquake risk, and the landlord hadn’t strengthened it. We’re all hoping they return sometime soon – but there’s nothing quite like that location! Curious that if the building is at risk, a 2nd hand store should open up there, but that’s the way that particular cookie has crumbled.

Re your suggestion of an Indian style reservation, with casinos and odd licensing laws – yes, I know what you mean, but No, thank you. The Ureweras are already a bit of a step back in time, not quite like a Wild West, or even a Wild Wild West, but more like Jurassic Park with Tuhoe taking the part of escaped Raptors. it’s a fantastic wilderness, with almost no one there, and they’re doing a Zealandia type thing with a peninsular on the lake to keep the flightless birds in, and the dirty rats out. I hope they succeed.

Ernie
17 - 02 - 12

“Ernesto closed down because the building was declared an earthquake risk, and the landlord hadn’t strengthened it. We’re all hoping they return sometime soon – but there’s nothing quite like that location! Curious that if the building is at risk, a 2nd hand store should open up there, but that’s the way that particular cookie has crumbled.”

The Ernesto building hasn’t had the “OMG move out now!!!” notice. Instead, according to the DomPost, the cafe owners considered that the publicity about its earthquake hazards had hurt business, and unilaterally decided to stop paying full rent. Funnily enough, the landlord didn’t like that, and evicted them. Last I’ve heard is that a Resource Consent application for strengthening and additions is being processed at the moment.

Maximus
17 - 02 - 12

Ernie – yes, you’re right – i just went for the shorter version. I think that the fuller story is even more bewitched than that, involving a window being blown out, and landlord not replacing it for ages, etc etc – but none of that need concern us here. Related to that is the news on the paper today of all the buildings that could fall down and block routes into and out of Wellington:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/6435266/Quake-risk-strategic-route-map
which if i get a chance to, i’ll post something on this one day. If Ernestos falls down, it blocks Cuba and Ghuznee – not as much of a concern now, as when Ghuznee was also SH1. Actually though, Ernesto appears to have a concrete frame, and big plastered concrete beams – I would have been less concerned about that building, than the one next door, which is all just romantically crumbling brickwork….

60 MPa
17 - 02 - 12

I heard on the radio that the town hall is to be closed for two years whilst being base isolated?

Maximus
17 - 02 - 12

Yep – base isolation specialists are going to be in hot demand over the next few years. I think we have to look at it this way – there are going to be incredible opportunities over the next few years, where kiwis, and in particular Wellingtonians and Cantabrians have a chance to become specialists in the remediation of buildings. There is a chance to find ways to save buildings without knocking them down, and there will be other buildings which have to go no matter what. We have that choice: Christchurch didn’t.

DeepRed
18 - 02 - 12

Re: Ernesto – the proprietor is opening a new place in the former Munchener Burger, after the owners retired. Watch this space.

erentz
20 - 02 - 12

@Maximus, just passing through. Wintery north is good. I retract my previous statement about rain, it’s not as bad as people say (or have I just been indoctrinated…)

Maximus
21 - 02 - 12

Erentz – sorry to hear you’re just passing through – but then again, perhaps you are now in the wonderful position of being able to give us a Post on the state of the Union – the soggy city up the West coast, if that’s where you’ve gone back to…? We’d love to hear – and see – what they’re up to. I haven’t been there for years…