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Ngawha Protests in Wellington
3 July 2002
Kia ora tatou
In solidarity with people in Kaikohe and Auckland 30 people picketed the Head Office of the Department of Corrections in Wellington today. People distributed 200 leaflets ( text of the leaflet found below ).
There were two banners, one said Defend Wahi Tapu! and the other said No Prison in Ngawha!
Nga Puhi resident in Wellington spoke about concerns over the recent appeal in the High Court where Ngapuhi spiritual beliefs were being determined by other people. As one speaker put it "the spiritual beliefs of a people should be determined by those people themselves, not by courts or government departments, how would people feel if we put the pope on trial and asked him prove that Jesus rose from the dead?". Elaborating on this speakers noted that the cultural evidence of Dr Pat Hohepa of Ngapuhi was deemed inadmissible, yet evidence of Wira Gardiner of Te Arawa (paid by the Department of Corrections) regarding Ngapuhi tikanga was admissible.
People also noted that the 37 arrests some of whom were elders/kaumatua were sanctioned by all the major political parties, primarily Matt Robson (previously of the Alliance), Dover Samuels (Labour), and John Carter (National). As one person noted "Why should Maori bother with the election?, it means more empty promises. - all they are doing is greasing people up for votes."
Some people touched on the environmental consequences, concerns with the rising mercury levels, and how that would impact upon the waterways. Northland Regional Council monitoring manager Tony Phipps confirmed mercury levels in the stream had reached a "trigger level" of 5.4 parts per billion, compared with the "satisfactory" level of two parts per billion.
A staff member from the Head Office of the Department of Corrections spoke with people, he said he was of Ngapuhi descent - he thought that prisons were great for Maori. You can ring the Department 04 499 5620 to find out who he is!
Rounding up - the final speaker refuted this saying, the last thing Maori need is more prisons, incarcerating us on our own wahi tapu is the ultimate insult
noho ora mai
Save Ngawha! Leaflet
Why we refuse the desecration of Ngawha
The Ngawha waters are taonga tuku iho. Treasured for their healing qualities for generations.
These waters have been shared by local people, with all of Tai Tokerau, with colonisers and with people of the world.
This taonga is waahi tapu (sacred).
Our tupuna fought and died on this whenua.
We Kaitiaki must protect this taonga.
How can the taonga Te Ngawha Hot Springs be protected if the prison site is directly above the vent providing the precious source waters, intercepting them before they reach the pools? The pitiful attempt to stabilise the site by using 30,000 wick drains will affect the pools.
Demanding Te Ngawha for a Prison tramples on the mana of Ngapuhi-Nui-Tonu/Taukauere.
Our tupuna have set the kaupapa, the purpose for this whenua. Now the Department of Corrections ignores that wisdom and insists on putting a prison on our taonga.
They are desecrating our taonga, whenua, and tell us it is for our well-being. Bringing our loved ones closer to home does not justify a prison on Te Ngawha.
With 83 alternative sites we can see no reason for the use of this costly site. The government is not allowing Maori to be assets in their homeland. Surely it makes economic and social sense for the whole country to have Maori self-reliant rather than forever indebted to the welfare system.
This whenua must not be disturbed. The Department of Corrections insists on interfering with Te Ngawha to a massive degree. This attacks the mauri (life-giving force) of both whenua and water.
To build on the epicentre of any geothermal field, let alone the only geothermal field in Tai Tokerau, has nothing to do with common sense and all to do with economic oppression.
Natural gas omissions on site and beyond are lethal. Farmers throughout the district fence off such places to keep stock away. Carbon dioxide cannot be seen or smelt. It is heavier than air and will settle in the hollows of the land, so why build here at the bottom of the catchment basin.
Why choose a dangerous site enormously more expensive than any other?
We demand justice from the Minister of Justice.
We have experienced the injustice of the legal system - the tremendous cost of that process; of time, energy, health and money.
It was devastating to have the Environmental Court rule that the Court was secular (things not spiritual) and that Maori spiritual and cultural beliefs were irrelevant.
The cultural evidence of Dr Pat Hohepa of Ngapuhi was deemed inadmissible, yet evidence of Wira Gardiner of Te Arawa (paid by the Department of Corrections) regarding Ngapuhi tikanga was admissible.
The evidence of Albert Clarke with the mandate of 1180 Ngati Rangi was inadmissible, yet the evidence of the few Ngati Rangi paid by the Department of Corrections was admissible.
Is such blatant injustice possible because the Minister of Corrections is also a Minister of Justice!
We are Tangata Whenua
We are Kaitiaki
We will protect this taonga!
Can you help?
Koha Donations - All Welcome
For campaign costs: you can either make a donation directly to the campaign account Kiwi Bank Dove Account No. 38.9000.0220397.00 or post a cheque made payable to The Dove Account, to PO Box 601, Kaikohe (include a note with your name and address if you would like a receipt)
For legal costs: you can either make a donation directly to the legal costs account ANZ Bank 'R. Te Ripi and R. WiHongi' Account No. 01.0382.0046919.00 or post a cheque made payable to R. Te Ripi and R. WiHongi, to PO Box 601, Kaikohe (include a note with your name and address if you would like a receipt).
Riana WiHongi and Toi Maihi: tel (09) 405 2121, fax (09) 405 3131, mobile 021 673 881 Mama Mangu: tel (09) 401 9995, mobile 025 801 033 or 029 120 4049 Radio Tautoko: tel (09) 4018991 Or write to PO Box 601, Kaikohe.