Shane Jones: Bastion Point monument 'ridiculous'

11:41 am on 17 July 2018

A proposal to build a "garish' monument on the scale of the Statue of Liberty at Bastion Point has no mandate within the Māori community, New Zealand First MP Shane Jones says.

Shane Jones

Shane Jones says Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei doesn't have a mandate draw on the legacy symbol of Papatūānuku. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

A preliminary proposal by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei was shown to Auckland councillors last week.

The plan was for a 30m-50m statue of Māori earth mother Papatūānuku which would greet ships as they pass through the Waitematā Harbour.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has thrown his support behind the proposal and the council has earmarked $100,000 for the concept development phase and a further $900,000 for its implementation.

But Mr Jones said the idea must have broad support, not just from one hapu which was a "tiny group within Māoridom".

An Auckland hapu is considering building a statue on Bastion Point.

A statue at Bastion Point was one of the options being considered by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, spokesperson Ngarimu Blair says. Photo: Google Maps

He said Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei was claiming it would be a contribution to nationhood but is asking the ratepayers to foot the bill.

"Go and get a mandate and get the authority of the broader community, in particular the Māori community, when you're going to draw on what's a legacy symbol of Papatūānuku. That is not the exclusive preserve of one hapu, as rich as they may be."

"It's a very bad look that this particular hapu should be claiming to do it as a contribution to nationhood and at the next point reveal that their hand is out and that the ratepayers of Auckland are paying for it."

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust spokesperson Ngarimu Blair has said the idea was being considered from a Māori tourism perspective.

He said indigenous tourism opportunities were not being fully realised.

"It's a huge industry - it's one of our biggest sectors and we know in the Auckland region there are few Māori tourism experiences. We need them, they add to our economy and they tell the story of our country."

Mr Blair said the proposal for the statue should not have been made public at such an early stage and stressed that it was just one of the options being considered by the trust as it investigated Māori tourism opportunities across the whole region with other tribes.

Mr Jones said the Ōrākei hapu was a wealthy landowner and "should pay for it themselves".

"Phil Goff has got greater priorities than to spend money on such an initiative."