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Waahi Tapu Becomes Panacea For National's Slump

Waahi Tapu Becomes The Panacea For National's Flagging Fortunes

"The due process put in place by the National Party has now become the panacea for reviving their flagging popularity" the spokesman for Ngati Pukenga and Nga Potiki tribes, Te Awanuiarangi Black, says.

"Ngati Pukenga and Nga Potiki applied to the Historic Places Trust that Kopukairoa is, according to our spiritual beliefs, within the designation of waahi tapu. What that means under this process is the local authority needs to consult Maori if resource consents and building permits are applied for. Nothing more. Nothing less. The local authorities have the final say on the resource consents applied for, not Ngati Pukenga or Nga Potiki," says Te Awanuiarangi.

He says the National Party has picked up the issue as a political football to resurrect its flagging fortunes.

"I don't believe that the landowners or the New Zealand public actually believe that Buffalo Bill is sincere with his public posturing about this. This is not about the land, race or the law, it's about votes. Does the National party believe that collecting signatures to petition Parliament is going to make an iota of difference? No! This is simply a public relations smoke screen to cover up the fact that they approved this process in the first place. Instead of drawing lines in the sand Bill English should pull his head out of it," says Te Awanuiarangi.

Ngäti Pukenga and Ngä Pötiki believe that protecting heritage sites insures that a legacy is left for succeeding generations. "We are not against development. We are just trying to protect the environment and see its beauty and spirit maintained. The growth of the Tauranga district is huge. This place used to be paradise with beautiful beaches, a temperate climate and relaxed style of living. Now people only see the environment as something to profit from, build on and destroy. We see our role as kaitiaki (guardians) of this sacred earth, and if we do our job properly then all of us, the whole Nation, benefits."

There are around 6000 registered places about the Country that carry the same weight as waahi tapu. Only 63 are registered as waahi tapu, while non-Mäori people registered most of the rest.

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