Shearer departs from water rights thesis
Mon, 10 Sep 2012 6:09p.m.
By Patrick Gower
Labour Party leader David Shearer has long-held beliefs that taniwha must be respected when it comes to Maori and their interests in water. His views can be traced back to his master's thesis, and he stands by them today.
Water has been the big political issue of the year, but when Mr Shearer was first asked who owned it he didn't know.
But it turns out Mr Shearer has a degree of expertise on the issue - a master's thesis in fact. It was called Between Two Worlds, Maori Values and Environmental Decision-Making.
In his thesis he advocated that "the belief in taniwha or spiritual pollution…while they may appear irrational to many…cannot simply be dismissed as irrelevant”. It’s a belief he still holds today.
“I absolutely stick by that,” says the Labour Party leader. He says we should acknowledge taniwha. “We have been doing that for the last 20-something years when we have made decisions around water.”
But Mr Shearer isn't so keen on all his ideas from 1986, such as making 'Marae Forum', a "compulsory requirement" that developers, councils and Government must attend.
“That was 25 years ago. Things have moved on a lot since then.”
While the academic Mr Shearer suggested a provision in environmental law to "recognise the specific cultural relationship between Maori and their use of water”, the political Mr Shearer says it’s not needed now.
“We don't need to go legislatively to that I don't think,” he says.
For the record, Mr Shearer's position on water is now the same as Prime Minister John Key's.
“Nobody owns water. It’s everybody's resource.”
And like Mr Key, he says rights can be negotiated iwi by iwi, hapu by hapu, river by river.
“It doesn't work,” says Mr Shearer. “It doesn't work if you rush it and what John Key's going to do is rush this through.”
So Mr Shearer still believes taniwha must be respected, but he would no doubt prefer his old progressive views are kept on the back-burner because he'll be worried talk of taniwha will frighten voters.
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19/09/2012 12:06:21 a.m.
Aorangi is the taniwha of Lake Rotoaira located in the headwaters of the Waikato river system at the feet of Tongariro.Aorangi is known for its sweetness spirit reflected in the quality of the water of the lake, different from the soured water of the Whangaehu which flows Southwards from the same ice field higher up. Some years ago I was asked by the elders to find Aorangi as it had dissapeared from the Lake. I found the taniwhahad been cast up on a beach due to the alteration of the dynamics of flow of the lake with its conversion to the purposes of Electricity generation, whereby Lake Rotoaira has like Lake Taupo been converted to the status of a hydro dam.Aorangi is guardian of the spirit of sweetness of the water way of the Waikato which like the Whanganui, Rangitaiki, Mohaka, Tutaekuri, Rangitikei and Whangaehu that have their origins in the mountains of the Tongariro group.With regard to Lake Taupo its taniwha is Horomatangi. This taniwha arrived in Aotearoa with Kuiwai and Haungaroa sister and niece of Ngatoroirangi. The functionof Horomatangi is to maintain the neutral spirit of the Lake which lies in the Heart of Te Ika a Maui.I have photographs of Aorangi cutting through the water of Lake Rotoaira as I guided it into a small stream with the intention of attending to its well being over the summer.It is important to understand Taniwha do not serve the same purpose. an example of a Taniwha located on land is one Wheao, which has its lair at my marae North of Turangi. This taniwha is the guardian of the Manawhenua of Tuwharetoa which lies with women.A few years back a curious intellectual fully armed with a pocket full of Phd's, disbelief and a sound reputation of mind having co written papers upon rationality, was knocked over twice by the wily wheao much to her horror and my amusement. This is to say that in this hinterland it is taniwha that are the guardians (kaitiaki) of its water ways not mankind. I agree with the foolish and weak minded Minister.
15/09/2012 6:59:19 a.m.
Poor Shearer! Forced to select from his early PC beliefs to keep just the items that may bring him a few more votes come election time. Nice guy, intelligent but totally useless as someone who could be seen as selected to run the country eventually.
Who is capable among our politicians to run the country for all our benefit? Key? Nope, he runs to someone else's tune. Shearer? Obviously not. Russ Norman? You have to be joking!! Just shows how bleak the leadership prospects are for NZ.
13/09/2012 10:23:46 a.m.
John Barton wrote:
Whilst not disagreeing with his views, I note that David has demonstrated that he has muddled the concepts of mana and taniwha. Mana is not pride, or egotism, but the opposite - the conquest of these. If the taniwha represented some worthy entity, why - in Maori mythology - would chiefs gain mana by SLAYING taniwha? i.e., killing the ego.
The word taniwha derives from the Pali 'tanha', indicating that Hawaikii was Sri Lanka and the Mauryan Empire. As Horatio Robley pointed out a century ago, the Hei Tiki is a debased image of green jade depictions of Buddha. In legend, Ao-kehu is swallowed by a taniwha, but cuts himself free - killing it - using a maripi or shark-tooth knife. Paralleling the myth of Jonah in the Bible.
Tanha means the root of evil, as longing for experience, that binds man to life. In Buddhism, it is annihilated by the T(r)ipitaka, or three baskets of the Buddhist canon. In Maoridom, this translates to the taniwha-slayer Te Pitaka, heroically killing the taniwha named Hotu-puku, which means 'craving experience'. Water, in the Bible and all legends, represents mind, the dwelling-place of taniwha.But many taniwha were said to be cave or land dwellers.
When the taniwha is finally caught, after killing many 'people',it is cut open and reveals all the warriors etc inside; i.e. all the personalities that the reincarnating ego has adopted. A notion quaintly related in Christianity as "the resurrection of the dead". At which point the individual is entitled to recover memory of his past lives.
In short, everyone has his taniwha, and the whole purpose of life is to conquer it:
"Ka mate te taniwha ra!". Vote for the TEA Party - Taniwha Eradication Association!
13/09/2012 9:21:00 a.m.
That is your belief and version GOSH.
11/09/2012 11:06:51 a.m.
Ask any maori what a taniwha is and you will get conflicting ideas, some say spirits of the dead, some say the entity of water itself. In reality it was an eel type creature with gator like teeth and is long since extinct.
11/09/2012 9:53:27 a.m.
An idealistic youth has the *controversial* idea that other people's beliefs should be respected. There's nothing wrong with that.
11/09/2012 9:25:29 a.m.
Elves, pixies, fairies, goblins etc....Maori aren't alone in their belief of spirits, may i point out that Taniwha aren't so much a living thing, more of a guardian and in that respect- all cultures have their own versions. What it basically boils down to is RESPECT for nature, a universal and timeless belief.
11/09/2012 8:41:55 a.m.
25 years ago this paper was written and Im sure Ive grown in my last 25 years. Obviously vaughn and twe havent. I understand shearer states that talking to maori iwi by iwi is the way to go forward which will be beneficial for all. Maori have beliefs as do all nzers and taking the time to consult and come about a conclusion everybody can live with is a good choice. Running off half cocked in the mouth has been proven not to work and causes disrespect as jk has found out. Perhaps patience and understanding are needed and this is what shearer seems to be saying to me. I agree and hope this happens or there will be more court action when all maori wish for is consultation and respect as we all do. No need to divide a nation on it at all and one thing all nzers want is to keep our beautiful country in nzers hands.
10/09/2012 8:36:37 p.m.
I didn't really know enough about Shearer to have any opinion on him. Now I know that he's a complete fool.
10/09/2012 7:44:12 p.m.
Well what a spineless wimp of a man he is then. Again all to appease maori. NZ is finished if this is the best we can do with leaders like this. Craven, spineless, jellyfish who will bend over backwards to give maori radicals what they want to the detriment of 90% of the rest of the country. Maori came here by boat just like the rest of us. Just because they sing some songs about mountains, rivers and sea doesn't mean they own it. White NZers are the most craven of all. Anarchy reigns when good men do nothing.
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