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Flavell: Lancaster Park Land Vesting Bill

Christchurch City Council (Lancaster Park) Land Vesting Bill
Wednesday 16 April 2008; 9.00pm
Te Ururoa Flavell, Sports and Recreation Spokesperson, Maori Party

Over a century ago, a humble advertisement promoted a major event to be held at Lancaster Park in Christchurch. The notice read:

Tena Koutou, Tena Koutou. Haere Mai, Haere Mai. Kapai the Pakehas, Kapai the Maoris of the North Island

And with that auspicious welcome, the Maori carnival at Lancaster Park was established to raise funds for the Mahanui Maori Council.

The Maori Carnival was held on 12 and 13 November 1903 and was the largest gathering of its kind with over two hundred attending. Amongst them were representatives of key pa sites at Tuahiwi, Taumata, Port Levy, Little River, Raupaki (now called Rapaki) and Temuka.

It is a history which doesn’t rate too much of a mention in this Bill, a Bill which takes as its primary motivation the need to redevelop Lancaster Park as a modern sports stadium for the future.

In a land which so often prides itself on our youthfulness, it would be great that we not lose sight of the invaluable history which can be associated with historic sites such as Lancaster Park.

The Maori Party believes that the advancement of Aotearoa cannot be achieved without celebrating, promoting and reflecting on the notable events over time that distinguish our history.

I am told that the people of the Sioux nation have a saying, that a people without history is like wind in the buffalo grass.

We need to understand our history, to learn from it, and to create a record or the people and the events of our past will disappear, like the wind in the buffalo grass, or perhaps in our case, amongst the pingao.

Madam Speaker let us not forget that:

* it was at Lancaster Park on 3 February 1962 that Peter Snell established a world half-mile record as well as break the world record for 800 metres, and set an unofficial world record for the 660 yards.

* On 15 August 1981 a day of massive protest action around the country was galvanised at Lancaster Park as demonstrators vented their anger at the first day of the infamous Springbok Tour.

* In around 1982-83 I sat on the sidelines as a reserve for the Auckland team in our clash with Canterbury (but I can’t remember who won);

* In 1985 the NPC and Ranfurly Shield encounter between Canterbury (coached by Alex Wylie) and Auckland (coached by John Hart) at Lancaster Park is known as the greatest game of the NPC’s history.

* In 2003 a dramatic new stadium won the NZIA Resene Supreme Award for Architecture.

* And perhaps less gloriously, I am told by my co-leader Tariana Turia, (although she wasn’t watching) that Lancaster Park was the location where in 2006, All Black Jerry Collins decided to spontaneously irrigate the sacred grounds, creating massive outrage and talkback debate.

And right now loyal Cantabrians are waiting for the announcement of the new name for the East Stand, as the groundwork is laid for preparing for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

All of these events, all of these people have earned a rightful place in the history of Lancaster Park, including of course Benjamin Lancaster of Bournemouth England, whom previously owned the land.

And it is this issue of ownership and occupation which of course gives Lancaster Park its most distinctive place in history. This Bill is one of only a few that have come to the House, where we can say that mana whenua have been fully consulted, and are a clear supporter and participant in the drafting of the Bill.

Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu has confirmed there has been honest and open consultation with both the Victory Park Board and the Christchurch City Council regarding the future development of the park.

From the point of view of Ngai Tahu, they have always considered themselves to be a major player in the Southern Economy and the Southern Community. It is very clearly, therefore, in their interests – and the interests of the greater Christchurch community - to support the development of the site as a prestigious sports stadium for the future.

Ngai Tahu note too, that the Christchurch City Council has an excellent track record in their relationships with Ngai Tahu – negotiations which the iwi themselves describe as honourable.

This Bill clearly demonstrates that the intent and meaning of the Ngai Tahu Claims Settlement Act were followed and upheld and the provisions provided within the Act were sufficient. That in itself may be yet another reason to distinguish this Bill from the crowd – that the Settlement legislation is being recognised and adhered to as a vital mechanism for an ongoing relationship between Ngai Tahu and the local authorities.

Ka Pai Ngai Tahu. Ka Pai Christchurch City Council. The Maori Party is happy to support this Bill.


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