Bay of Plenty Times

Tau­ranga ruc­tions fol­low waka-load of griev­ances

- Ti­raroa De­bra Reweti Ti­raroa De­bra Reweti (Nga¯ti Rang­inui/nga¯i Te Rangi/te Arawa) is awriter and com­pany di­rec­tor with more than 30 years ex­pe­ri­ence in main­stream and Ma¯ori me­dia. She lives in Tau­ranga. Tauranga

It’s a tough job pro­tect­ing such long-held Tau­ranga val­ues, but the coun­cil’s old guard seem com­mit­ted.

When the Honourable Nanaia Mahuta, Min­is­ter of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, For­eign Af­fairs and as­so­ciate Min­is­ter of Ma¯ori De­vel­op­ment makes her de­ci­sion abouthowto re­store or­der in Tau­ranga

City Coun­cil she will need awaka-load of com­pas­sion.

For a start, there’s

Tenby Pow­ell­who last­weekre­signed af­ter 15 “soulde­stroy­ing” months as the city’s mayor.

Pow­ell had a 4000-vote ma­jor­i­ty­when he claimed the may­oral chain and at the start he ju­bi­lantly said “the peo­ple have spo­ken, it’s time for the old guard to let go”. In spite of his mil­i­tary back­ground, he didn’t see the trenches un­til it­was too late.

The old guard en­trenched in the coun­cil cham­bers for gen­er­a­tions were go­ing nowhere, but it­maybe that they also need­someof Nanaia’s com­pas­sion.

Af­ter all, they are pro­tect­ing their com­mu­nity— atau­ranga com­mu­nity which aims to de­fend the city from lib­eral in­vaders, like Pow­ell or fromma¯ori “rid­ing the Treaty gravy train” or any­one else they see as dif­fer­ent from them­selves.

It’s a tough job pro­tect­ing such long-held Tau­ranga val­ues, but the coun­cil’s old guard­seem com­mit­ted.

De­fend­ing and pro­tect­ing the sta­tus quo must be es­pe­cially hard whenyou are also be­ing paid to ef­fi­ciently gov­ern the coun­try’s fastest-grow­ing city.

Nanaia’s com­pas­sion can­not fix the $2 bil­lion short­fall in cap­i­tal projects and over $33 mil­lion of ratepay­ers’money wasted through bad coun­cil de­ci­sions. She can­not fix the past but she can have com­pas­sion for all those Tau­ranga fam­i­lies af­fected by what has be­comea fis­cal dis­as­ter.

Idonot speak for tan­gatawhenua of Tau­rang­amoana but as tan­gata whenua, and today I feel op­ti­mistic that she will also have com­pas­sion for us.

As aminor­ity pop­u­la­tion in our own­rohe and com­ing from three dis­tinc­tive iwi, we­have— through rau­patu/con­fis­ca­tions and Pub­lic Works tak­ings— in­ad­ver­tently pro­vided the lands up­on­which this city of­more than 150,000 con­tin­ues to grow.

Tosay­we­have been eco­nom­i­cally dis­ad­van­taged by the ac­tions of Tau­ranga City Coun­cil would be an un­der­state­ment.

One­ex­am­ple from one ofmy hapu¯, Nga¯i Te Ahi, was in 1965when 40ha wastaken for “the pub­lic good” to build awa­ter plant. Four hectares was used for the plant; the re­main­der was sold by the coun­cil for profit.

Fast-for­ward 55 years andwe have our lat­est ex­am­ple, in­volv­ing a 100mbus lane.

In Au­gust, whilewewer­e in Covid alert level 2, Tau­ranga City Coun­cil passed a by­law to for­malise the lane through the sub­urb of Hairini, home to our Nga¯i Te Ahi marae and pa­pakainga, ef­fec­tively block­ing off one end of the street.

The coun­cil had al­ready in­stalled a traf­fic cam­era so af­ter two months started fin­ing all traf­fic, $150 a pop, apart from buses.

It said thiswas a safety is­sue, but it has al­sobe­comea tidy source of pas­sive in­come gen­er­a­tion.

Twoyears be­fore— prior to

Pow­ell’s ar­rival— andafter the road had al­ready been blocked and the bus lane se­tupready to trial, a sin­gle pub­lic meet­ing­was held. Lo­cals were an­gry and shocked. At the meet­ing, Tc­c­trans­port man­ager, Martin Parkes ad­mit­ted: “Nor­mally we’d go through a lengthy con­sul­ta­tion process. But there­was an op­por­tu­nity and in the trans­port world, when­these op­por­tu­ni­ties comeup, some­times you’ve got to take them.”

Trans­port man­ager John Mccarthy of­fered: “If you don’t like it, move­out of Tau­ranga.” While he ac­knowl­edged af­ter the meet­ing it was a “flip­pant com­ment“, that­was the con­sul­ta­tion process in ac­tion.

Badly planned road­ing has plagued us for years. State High­way 29 sep­a­rates us from our urupa¯ and half of our­wha¯nau. Although the coun­cil says the Hairini Bus Lane is adone deal, we, the peo­ple, Ma¯ori and non-ma¯ori, dis­agree. We’ve had enough and started a pe­ti­tion“we De­serve Re­spect­from­tau­ranga City Coun­cil”.

For the first time— with Nanaia Mahuta’s help and com­pas­sion— there is a real chancewewi­ll all get whatwedese­rve.

 ??  ?? When the Honourable Nanaia Mahuta, Min­is­ter of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, For­eign Af­fairs and as­so­ciate Min­is­ter of Ma¯ori De­vel­op­ment makes her de­ci­sion about how to re­store or­der in Tau­ranga City Coun­cil she will need awaka-load of com­pas­sion, says Ti­raroa De­bra Reweti.
When the Honourable Nanaia Mahuta, Min­is­ter of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, For­eign Af­fairs and as­so­ciate Min­is­ter of Ma¯ori De­vel­op­ment makes her de­ci­sion about how to re­store or­der in Tau­ranga City Coun­cil she will need awaka-load of com­pas­sion, says Ti­raroa De­bra Reweti.

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