JAFA-Just Another Fabulous Absurdity?


 “What’s being done about the taniwha Horotiu who lives just outside here, and that tunnel will be going right through his rohe (area),” Glenn Wilcox to the Auckland City Council’s transport committee.

A case of tunnel vision?

It’s not news that Len Brown’s downtown train project for Auckland, the $2.6 billion city loop, might be de-railed by Horotiu, the resident taniwha.But I can give you an exclusive insight into what is really happening behind the Super City scenery.  

While the government says the project is uneconomic, Mayor Brown has staked his political future on a tunnel under the central city linking Britomart station to Mt Eden.

But, says Maori Statutory Board member Glenn Wilcox, no one has asked the local Ngati Whatua about it at all. Because the iwi was here first, it is supposed to be kept in the rail loop. So Wilcox played his ace card Horotiu.

A horror story?

In Māori mythology, taniwha are beings that live in deep pools in rivers, dark caves, or in the sea, especially in places with dangerous currents or deceptive breakers. They may be considered highly respected kaitiaki (protective guardians) of people and places, or in some traditions as dangerous, predatory beings.

In the changed political landscape are taniwha still being handled with culturally wary kid gloves? In 2002 Transit New Zealand moved part of State Highway 1 after Ngati Naho claimed it was cutting through the domain of one eyed taniwha Karu Tahi near Meremere . The same year, there were some Corrections:  a Northland iwi unsuccessfully claimed a prison should not be built at Ngawha because of a taniwha.

Mr Wilcox said Horotiu’s realm ran from Myer’s Park to the sea, under the Town Hall and Queen Street. Ngati Whatua acknowledged him by naming the creek that once existed there, Waihorotiu. With Pakeha settlement it became a sewer known as Ligar Canal.

Auckland art writer Hamish Keith adds some useful history, while smelling a rat: “Revealing a taniwha in the Ligar canal/Horotiu stream should be no surprise – it’s where the Plague arrived in Auckland in 1901.” Maybe it’s never left, which would explain a lot. Get the medics from Shortland Street on the job pdq.  They’re  mythical creatures too? Surely not!.

There are always ways to placate taniwha Wilcox said, getting a little multicultural and more mystical than mythical. “The Maori world has its own yin and yang, and taniwha had their own yin and yang…As kaitiaki or guardians they protect people, but they also get up and bite you if they do not like what you are doing.”

Neither once bitten nor twice shy and certainly not loopy, Ngai Tahu commentator Tahu Potiki says    “…when it comes to using cultural arguments that draw entirely on mythology and religious beliefs, one is always on shaky ground.” * As in Christchurch right now?  He says that traditional Maori thinking would immediately look to mythological causes to explain natural phenomena like earthquakes and volcanoes, but nowadays we are supposed to know better.

Mutual Disbelief?

John Key says he doesn’t believe in taniwha, whether singular or plural*, inviting the retort that they may not believe in the PM, either.  Taniwha do not even make an international list of mythical creatures*-it’s almost as if they never existed. The griffin and the phoenix topped the list, followed by unicorns and satyrs, but  taniwha are dragon the chain.

In the bulbous blogosphere the taniwha has been fair game, with Labour MP Phil Twyford saying the real threat to rail is not Horotiu: “It is a roads-mad Transport Minister determined to sink the plan for a modern rapid transit system in our biggest city. If there is a taniwha threatening the rail link its name is Steven Joyce. ”

The Joycean response to the news that the project appeared to be plagued by a taniwha, or in this case a trainiwha:“It does not massively surprise me,…Treasury found a few fiscal taniwhas as well, so it doesn’t surprise me that another one has turned up.”

The Government says the rail extension is much less economic than the Auckland Council does, but the new Super City Council will be pretty browned off if its vaunted scheme becomes a railway sleeper.

The Tunnel’s Shocking Real Purpose

I can now reveal that the proposed tunnel under the central city linking Britomart station to Mt Eden is actually the complete opposite: it is a tunnel linking Mt Eden Prison to the Britomart Station. It’s an inside job and it is being promoted by an international gang of money launderers whose boss has been inadvertently incarcerated by Her Majesty.

Far-fetched? Here’s the clincher. What do they use to launder their ill-gotten gains? Yes, you’ve got it in one: long stockpiled stocks of Taniwha soap powder.And who has got the key to the ultimate detergent?  Yes, the slippery impending escapologist in question. He expects to make a clean getaway, singing Kiwioke-style this touching song written to introduce Maori words to pre-schoolers and sung to the tune of  ‘You are My Sunshine’:

One Day a Taniwha*
One day a taniwha
Went swimming in the moana
He whispered in my taringa
“Won’t you come along with me
There such a lot to see
Underneath the deep blue sea”.
I said “Oh, no, no, no!
You’d better go, go, go,
lthough I know we could be friends.
My Mama’s waiting for me
Underneath the kowhai tree”
Taniwha, haere ra…

http://folksong.org.nz/one_day_a_taniwha/index.html   Words and video

#Lyall Lukey 18 June 2011
http://www.lukey.co.nz/  http://www.smartnet.co.nz
http://lukeytraining.wordpress.com/ My other (bit more serious) blog 








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