21 Nov 2013

Carver suspects 'corporate tribe' protest behind pou damage

11:21 am on 21 November 2013

A master carver suspects some Maori tourist and information carved posts are being deliberately ruined by iwi members unhappy with their relatives supporting projects led by so-called corporate tribes.

Two pou have been damaged this month - one in Hawke's Bay and the other outside the Maori King's office in Ngaruawahia.

A master carver in Rotorua, James Rickard, says he suspects the culprits could be iwi members not happy with whanaunga leading the project.

"There's a whole lot of things that are going on rather than just random acts of vandalism. It's a sign of the times about people being disenfranchised by corporate Maoris."

Mr Rickard says some of the posts are in isolated areas and it's also possible a non-Maori person could be unhappy with the carvings being there.

Ngati Kahungunu master carver Hugh Tareha is heartbroken after a pou he created in Taradale near Napier was ruined by a chainsaw attack about three weeks ago.

The destruction prompted him to call for Ngai Maori to come together and find ways to talk with vandals and share the stories behind the carvings.

Changes are being made to avoid vandalism, such as in Rotorua were a post has been placed on a plinth after it was damaged by the use of a chainsaw two years ago, and at least one carving has been made out of steel.