Re­spect owed not shown says board mem­ber

The Northland Age - - Local News -

The Vent­nor me­mo­rial planned for the Rawene ceme­tery has been han­dled badly by the Far North Dis­trict Coun­cil, ac­cord­ing to Kaikohe-Hokianga Com­mu­nity Board mem­ber Shaun Reilly, who believes that, as a re­sult, the re­spect owed to the lo­cal peo­ple and the de­scen­dants of the Chi­nese min­ers is not be­ing shown.

Te Rarawa and Te Roroa had been “ut­terly re­spect­ful” in bury­ing the re­mains washed up on the west coast in 1902 in their own urupa, with their own peo­ple. Per­haps the mat­ter would have been bet­ter left there,” he said.

Mean­while the com­mu­nity board had ap­proved the New Zealand Chi­nese As­so­ci­a­tion’s pro­posal for a large me­mo­rial, that it was pre­pared to fund, at the ceme­tery, sub­ject to an ex­cep­tion be­ing ob­tained un­der Sec­tion K Sched­ule 1 of the Build­ing Act.

“This was an er­ror. That by­law was de­funct. Un­seemly haste and care­less plan­ning is not a good foun­da­tion for this or any other pro­ject,” Mr Reilly said.

“This board, and even the FNDC it­self, has no right to agree to any­thing for the Rawene ceme­tery. It be­longs to the peo­ple of the Hokianga.”

Con­di­tions also in­cluded con­sul­ta­tion with Rawene, and with hapu and iwi, which did not take place “in any real sense”. The NZCA, pushed by the coun­cil and the board, un­der­stood it could build the 30-me­tre me­mo­rial with two-me­tre foot­ings with­out con­sent by call­ing it an art­work. Work be­gan, un­su­per­vised by this coun­cil, ex­pos­ing and break­ing coffins, the coun­cil CEO “disin­gen­u­ously” blam­ing Cy­clone Gita when Mr Reilly blamed neg­li­gent site prepa­ra­tion and work­man­ship.

The first site had failed, with dam­age done, and with­out suf­fi­cient com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion, a sec­ond site was now be­ing ap­proved.

“The first site needs to be put to rest, and is­sues and con­cerns with the sec­ond site, and in­deed the me­mo­rial it­self, need to be con­sid­ered,” Mr Reilly added.

“Not­with­stand­ing the at­trac­tive videos and sales hype pro­moted by the NZCA, it should have noth­ing to do with these pro­cesses be­yond the plans they have pro­vided. The idea of a me­mo­rial to his­tor­i­cal events is fine, but the pro­mo­tional value to the as­so­ci­a­tion and its wider in­ter­ests should not be driv­ing the plan­ning pro­cesses. Nor should it be driv­ing the FNDC.

“At the very least, if the me­mo­rial is to pro­ceed at all we re­quire a map show­ing prox­im­ity of graves and other pur­chased plots to the pro­posed site.

“We need com­pre­hen­sive engi­neers and geo-tech re­ports re­gard­ing the sta­bil­ity of the land. We need to know how the FNDC will rec­tify the con­tin­ual wa­ter flow through the ceme­tery. Any me­mo­rial site needs to be fur­ther away from graves in a po­si­tion agreed by the Rawene and wider Hokianga com­mu­nity.

“It is one thing for the NZCA to put up the cash for the me­mo­rial, but we need to know how the as­so­ci­ated work will be funded — from gen­eral rates or an in­crease in Rawene res­i­dents’ rates?

“There must be ap­pro­pri­ate con­sents, and site work in­spec­tions, should it pro­ceed.

“We need to con­sider the con­di­tion of the present road and park­ing, which is in­ad­e­quate. We need to con­sider the con­di­tion of ex­ist­ing fences and gates, ac­cess for dis­abled, and seat­ing.

“Right now the coun­cil should re­scind au­thor­ity for the NZCA to pro­ceed with the SS Vent­nor pro­ject in its present form un­til all the is­sues raised are in­ves­ti­gated and re­ports made avail­able to the ceme­tery com­mit­tee and to the wider com­mu­nity. This is what peo­ple car­ing for the ceme­tery want. It should be re­spected.

“Fur­ther com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion pro­cesses should not pro­ceed un­til the lo­cal peo­ple manag­ing the Rawene ceme­tery and the coun­cil have reached an agree­ment on the suit­abil­ity of the NZCA pro­posal for the ceme­tery and the sec­ond site.

“It is not our place to help the NZ Chi­nese As­so­ci­a­tion ap­pear in some favourable cul­tural con­text in this mat­ter,” Mr Reilly said.

“It is our duty to re­spect the mem­ory of the Chi­nese min­ers, the iwi who re­trieved their re­mains, and the peo­ple of Hokianga by con­duct­ing this mat­ter in a trans­par­ent and dig­ni­fied man­ner.” The Earth­quake Com­mis­sion is ad­vis­ing home own­ers who suf­fered land­slip dam­age from re­cent bad weather to lodge a claim sooner rather than later.

“Any­one whose prop­erty was dam­aged by the week­end’s bad weather should talk with us,” man­ager na­tional cus­tomer care Robyn Na­tion said.

EQC cov­ers storm and flood dam­age to res­i­den­tial land, and land­slip dam­age to res­i­den­tial land, plus home and con­tents, within cer­tain lim­its. Claims must be lodged within three months of the dam­age oc­cur­ring.

“EQC’s ap­proach is to cash-set­tle claims for land dam­age, and it is the home owner’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to ar­range for the nec­es­sary work to clear or re­pair their land,” Ms Na­tion said.

“We will con­sider a claim for fi­nan­cial costs in­volved in ur­gent re­pairs that might in­clude clear­ing de­bris caused by a land­slip or flood. Our ad­vice is talk to us be­fore you make any ur­gent re­pairs that mean you need to in­cur a cost. Ei­ther way take lots of pho­tos to help us un­der­stand your dam­age.”

EQC cov­er­age of land in­cludes un­der a home and out­build­ings, within eight me­tres of a home and out­build­ings, and un­der or supporting the a main ac­cess­way up to 60 me­tres from the home (not drive­way sur­fac­ing), bridges and cul­verts, some re­tain­ing walls, and the re­moval of de­bris, such as silt or fallen trees.

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