Tag Archives: cenotaph

Why the Foxton Cenotaph Must Stay Put

This important information from William McGregor concerns a matter currently the subject of public consultation … the North end of Foxton’s main street. Mr McGregor is Manawhenua.  He was born of this rohe (region) and is a Kaitiaki – (Guardian) of what his Tupuna (Ancestors) left behind.
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The cenotaph in Foxton’s main street, currently the subject of consultation by HDC


Kia ora mai tatou katoa ….

To say I am “passionate” about the Cenotaph at the Northern end of Main St. Foxton is an understatement, and here’s why ….

It is of VITAL importance to understand a few things first – there is a MAJOR difference in understanding when two (or more) “Cultures” merge, yet VERY FEW apply simple RESPECT to the fact that “we” ARE DIFFERENT in what we say/mean …. and therein lies the problem. Bear with me ….

To those of you who have read the “Fiftieth Jubilee” (1888 – 1938) of Te Awahou, you would note the mention of Ihakara Tukumaru as being the “Paramount Chief” of the locality, and, because of HIS “friendly & peaceful outlook”, that “European Settlement” was easy & rapid. (Paraphrasing)
In 1843, Rev. James Duncan settled over on Matakarapa (the land Te Rauparaha “tuku’d” (gifted) to Ihakara Tukumaru) and he stayed there until he moved across the river onto ANOTHER piece of “land” that Ihakara, (AND HIS PEOPLE) “gifted him”, in appreciation for the work he (Duncan) was doing for the local Maori on a Spiritual level.

Earliest records show there was a old “Native” Meeting house where the Cenotaph stands today.
It was replaced with a Church and that’s quite possibly because of Rev. James Duncan’s work with the Natives, in bringing “God” into their lives. We can only speculate ….
What we KNOW is that there was an ANCIENT “burial ground” there, that contained “Natives” BEFORE the Settlers arrived, and some of Te Awahou’s (Foxton’s) earliest Settlers were interred there …. Why? – BECAUSE THAT WAS the cemetery!
Avenue Road, Lady’s mile etc. WEREN’T EVEN “established” yet!

Here’s where you need to use your imagination ….
BEFORE the Settlers came to Aotearoa, the “Natives” DIDN’T bury their loved ones in “regimental lines” that you see today!
They buried them by trees, boulders, hills – where-ever the terrain allowed; there was NO “right way/wrong way” – that’s just how it was!
Now *NOTE –
When Settlers died, the “Undertaker” took the corpse away and attended the body and the funeral was held – DONE!
When “Maori” died, it’s as it is today – we sleep with the body, we cover it with cuddles/kisses – we loath when the three days are up; this is the FINAL ACT of our loved one’s “earth” journey …. their Spiritual journey BEGINS ….
These understandings of our “loved ones” FINAL JOURNEY is VASTLY DIFFERENT, and THAT’S O.K.! It is what it is! But, it needs to be acknowledged!

So, HERE’S MY POINT –
When Ihakara Tukumaru (and HIS PEOPLE) tuku’d that piece of whenua (land) to the PEOPLE OF TE AWAHOU, they KNEW who was buried there, they would have EXPECTED that the remains of both Maori AND Settlers alike to be RESPECTED as their FINAL RESTING PLACE!

I heard it said “But, when something is given as a “gift”, you have no say after that as to what happens to that “gift””!
I say “If it was a piece of whenua (land) “EXCESS TO NEED”, of NO CONSEQUENCE, then yes – walk away – it doesn’t have any significance to anyone”.
But that’s NOT THE CASE HERE – for (indeed) Ihakara HIMSELF is buried there! And so are other members of his Whanau – in fact, even some Immediates!

When the Cenotaph was put in place (1920) “koiwi” (human remains) were unsettled – it was an accident – it can be forgiven…. I believe it IS forgiven.

But, to go back and unsettle MORE koiwi – KNOWING that there are MANY over a VERY BIG AREA still there, is SACRILEGE; it is WANTON DESTRUCTION and (because it is known what is there) that “act” is NOT FORGIVABLE!

And FOR WHAT …. a few people’s VANITY?! WHY?!
The Cenotaph is a memorial to those who died for Te Awahou – and like my Tupuna, I say – LET THEM “REST IN PEACE”!
Ake, ake, ake – Amene.

William McGregor


Note:

I attended the first meeting and considering what’s being said here by Mr McGregor, nowhere did I see official acknowledgement of the fact that beneath that cenotaph is an urupa (cemetery) in spite of the fact that HDC claims to respect their relationship with Iwi and wahi tapu. You can read their official statement on that at their website. Here is a relevant excerpt from there:

Through its decision-making processes, Council recognises the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and kaitiakitanga, providing for the relationship of Maori and their traditions with their ancestral lands, water sites, waahi tapu and other taonga.


Concerning the Consultation

Regarding this part of the street restructure, there has been one consultation meeting so far, led by a facilitator. Had the HDC had their way this cenotaph would likely have been moved already. Last year they arranged for a blessing of it prior to their street revamp plans and the original plan was to see it moved. However both tangata whenua and other local citizens of Foxton protested with a peaceful sit in to express their grievances. The final disbanding of that process happened following a meeting with protest leader William McGregor and other protest representatives, the CE of HDC and a Police mediator. A promise was made it was said to those present (which HDC now flatly deny – article to follow shortly on that) that no more work would be done either beyond Wharf Street or to the cenotaph without further public consultation and this has been the main bone of contention. Lack of proper consultation. Many folk simply want the street left as is, aside from a tidy up, and the $1.6 million spent on what they see as more urgent priorities like clean drinking water, opening the river loop and paying down the $68 million council debt which they know will inevitably hit their pockets in the form of raised rates. The next protest in March this year concerned all of these issues and the fact that HDC was said to be reneging on their word. There was a letter from three HDC Councillors circulated to all households the day the second protest started citing the original agreement between parties at the cenotaph protest claiming the promise was about the cenotaph only. It was signed by the CE. Who ever heard of the validity of an ‘agreement’ though, with the signature of only ONE party to the agreement on it? Imagine the Treaty of Waitangi with only Governor Hobson’s signature. Hardly credible is it?

The other thing is, none of those attendees of the said meeting ever received a copy! (Well not until they cleared their junk mail at the end of the day the March protest started that is).

On the note of consultation, as set out on the HDC website/info, consultation is defined as to:

  • Provide easy-to-understand summaries of proposals and plans
  • Identify who will be affected by decisions and encourage them to make their views known to the council 

In addition:

  • councils also must give reasons for their decisions and
  • Find out what all the practical options are for dealing with issues and carefully assess them

I have spoken with the facilitator & asked how many meetings there would be. There are three altogether, the first was for all parties including the public to contribute their ideas. The second is by invitation only (due I’m told, to numbers) and will concern key stakeholders. Stakeholders are the public, Iwi and business people from the main street. Certain property owners will be invited, I’m not sure about the renters of property. That was not too clear.

The second meeting will take place after all the comments are collated and we have no date yet for that. The third meeting will be public allowed, and excuse my cynicism but I’d say it will be all done and dusted by then. The decision that is. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.

And who makes the final decision? Council does.  If you would like to contact the facilitator I’m sure HDC would enable that. If not contact us. And keep yourself up to date on meeting announcements by visiting HDC’s website regularly.

EnvirowatchRangitikei

 

The Horowhenua District Council has broken its agreement with Foxton’s tangata whenua – another PROTEST

“The treaty is a partnership between Māori and the Crown, which requires the partners to act toward each other ‘reasonably and with the utmost good faith.’4  Treaty Principles – from the Waitangi Tribunal

In September last year a protest was staged by both Te Awahou (Foxton) tangata whenua and other local Foxton residents regarding the proposed moving of the cenotaph by the Horowhenua District Council (HDC). The cenotaph is placed over a urupa ( burial ground) and is a wahi tapu (sacred site). Following discussions, an agreement was made by HDC that there would be no more work on the main street beyond Wharf Street, or shifting of the cenotaph, until further consultation took place.

However:

“On February 27th the HDC advised that the CE (David Clapperton) has decided to go ahead, THIS WEDNESDAY, 1ST. MARCH 2017, WITHOUT the further dialogue that he PROMISED would take place WITH ALL PARTIES CONCERNED. This promise was made at the Cenotaph “gathering” last September IN FRONT of a Police Mediator, and it was on THAT PROMISE, we dismantled our camp at the Cenotaph.” 
William McGregor

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The main street how many locals want it to remain … wide not narrowed

Read the full information provided by Mr McGregor & quoted from his FB post:

“Well, the day is finally here – H.D.C. has decided that work on the Main Street “Re-construction” is about to re-commence, REGARDLESS of the Public out-cry for the more important things (like Drinkable water to ALL house-holds, a more “long-term” solution to the waste-water/sewerage which they intend to spray onto the land over the river on Matakarapa – pray there isn’t a Westerly wind; you’ll get the “drift” straight in the face in town 😦 – and retaining affordable housing for the “Elderly” of Foxton).
They would like you all to be EXTREMELY HAPPY with a Water-tower that glows different colours in the night, and two fill-your-own water “out-lets” – one in town, & one at the beach.
So now, the NEXT IMPORTANT priority on their books is to NARROW the Main Street, put “resting Islands in the middle of the road, and place “garden plots around the street to EMULATE all the OTHER towns in the district, DESPITE THE FACT that the MAJORITY of Foxtonians would rather leave the Main Street alone, and concentrate on the more IMPORTANT THINGS!
Else-where we have seen “written comments” from people who have lived in ALL those towns From Waikanae in the South to Whanganui in the West – Fielding/Palmerston North in the North to Ashhurst …. ALL of them are replicas of each other, and I’m sure would “cut off their left arm” to have the wide Main Street we have in Foxton!

I received a courtesy call from the Mayor (Michael Feyen) that the C.E. (David Clapperton) has decided to go ahead, THIS WEDNESDAY, 1ST. MARCH 2017, WITHOUT further dialogue that he PROMISED would take place WITH ALL PARTIES CONCERNED. This promise was made at the Cenotaph “gathering” last September IN FRONT of a Police Mediator, and it was on THAT PROMISE, we dismantled our camp at the Cenotaph.
I was warned at the time not to trust “his word”, and to (at least) get it down on paper; you were right Corney – I was too trusting.
It was mentioned that “we” had called on the “Nomads” to back us up; that they THREATENED workers at the Cenotaph.
That is a COMPLETE LIE! Those members of the Nomads who were present are Whanau, and their PROTEST was the same as ours; THIS IS THEIR TOWN TOO!
NO-ONE was EVER THREATENED – in any way, shape or form.
I ask ANY-ONE who feels they need to “stooped to THIS LEVEL of fabricating” to cease it IMMEDIATELY; you really need to “grow a pair” ….

So, I serve notice here that I, and ANYONE ELSE who wants to accompany me am NOT going to sit “idly by” – I am going to stand in the way of ANY WORK continuing until that PROMISE is FULFILLED.
I am passive; my intentions are non-violent as are those who choose to accompany me; my word is my bond – (unlike others I have met associated with this FIASCO)!

I am going to get EVERY “MEDIA” I can to cover this T.V./Paper/Radio – we live in a DEMOCRACY …. We have a DEMOCRATIC RIGHT to know WHY the majority is being IGNORED, and just WHO is BENEFITING from elevating this “cosmetic make-over” ahead of the BASIC RIGHTS for ALL HOUSE-HOLDS of the Te Awahou “Rohe”!

I also want a “Petition” showing those FOR, and those AGAINST this Main-Street “make-over” which I will take to the HIGHEST AUTHORITY IN THE LAND if necessary; NO “handful” of people should be able to hold a WHOLE TOWN TO RANSOM!

So, Nau mai, haere mai, haere, haere, haere ….
Come down & keep me company, help me with your say in the Petition, and ANY-ONE with ANY IDEAS please feel free to suggest them.
Unlike the H.D.C., “we” WILL listen …..
(And this Invitation is to EVERY-ONE; a Nomad “Patch” is NOT a reflection of how a person feels about their home town – you are ALL WELCOME – no prejudices here!)

I will be there around 5:00am – Wednesday 1ST March 2017″

Further details and updates on this can event can be found at both the Te Awahou – FOXTON – Aotearoa & Horowhenua Environmental Health Watch Facebook pages.



Recent History

The cenotaph is situated at the northern end of the town’s main street. The protest at the cenotaph last year was part of the proposed plans by HDC for a very controversial street revamp that many Foxton locals do not want. Two weeks ago Council representatives gave a presentation of their intended street plan at a public venue in Foxton which brought out again the ongoing opposition by the public that exists to the revamp. The street is unique in its width and locals want it to stay that way.

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Foxtonians are obliged to filter their own water or use the newly provided outlets to fill their own bottles

They would prefer that the intended $1.6 million spend on the street be spent on cleaning up the drinking water and opening up the river loop at Foxton where the water is stagnant and polluted.

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Polluting the water at the Foxton river loop
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The water at the Foxton Loop is unsafe

During last year’s protest, a meeting was organized at the Foxton Police Station between the protest leaders and  HDC’s CE David Clapperton. Then Councilor Michael Feyen (now the Mayor) was not permitted to attend. That meeting ended with the promise from the CE of no further work without further consultation with the public. That point was pressed home in Mayor Michael Feyen’s concluding address at HDC’s recent presentation. He continues to maintain his stance against the street narrowing.

Paying Lip Service to Treaty Principles

The Horowhenua District Council’s website does pay tribute to the ongoing important relationship between tangata whenua and the Crown, however in light of these events it is leaning somewhat towards lip service:

  • Maori see people and the environment as closely inter-related and share with us a strong interest in maintaining and protecting the environment
  • Horowhenua District Council recognises the importance and special position of tangata whenua within the region.
  • Council seeks closer and meaningful working relationships with the Maori community
  • Council is committed to the continuing process of consultation with Maori in the District
  • Council recognises the principals of the Treaty of Waitangi and kaitiakitanga, providing for the relationship of Maori and their traditions with their ancestral lands, water sites, waahi tapu and other taonga

SOURCE: http://www.horowhenua.govt.nz/Council/Iwi-Relationships

 RELATED:

Council to consult with iwi over Foxton cenotaph plans

Community up in arms over cenotaph move

Foxton Locals are Protesting – They’re Fed Up with the District Council’s Lack of Consultation Over Their Main Street

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Local people gathering on Monday for their peaceful protest concerning HDC’s lack of consultation with the community of Foxton

A Foxton tangata whenua representative, William McGregor, and other locals have organized a peaceful sit in at the town’s cenotaph. There is a lot of history behind this part of town which was the original Te Awahou settlement (Te Awahou is Foxton’s real name) . The local Horowhenua District Council has plans to move the cenotaph and do up the main street at the obscene cost of $1.6 million.

The people want the cenotaph to remain where it is. Council, in keeping with their plans, held a last minute blessing of the area last week in readiness for the moving day. This demonstrates the extent of their commitment to consultation. At that ceremony those officiating with regard to the blessing diplomatically acknowledged it was out of respect for those fallen in the wars and those buried there that they came.

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The last minute blessing organized by HDC last week

The Council is already in debt to the tune of $100+ million, according to two councilors, however Mayor Brendan Duffy claims the debt is only $68 million. Either figure, it is still too much and some wise spending is in order.

What the local people really want is clean water, however the Council claims the water if fine and the Mayor says on FB that he drinks it. It is in fact regularly a brown colour and is highly infused with chlorine, a known carcinogen. Chlorine of course is the sticking plaster for pollution that most DCs don’t want to spend money on cleaning up. Witness the fact we can no longer swim in 40% of our ‘clean green’ rivers.  The Horowhenua also has an horrific track record of disposing of its waste into the local waterways.

That aside, the point is, nobody (except a few shop owners apparently) wants the street to be narrowed with gardens replacing many parking spaces. Nevertheless, Council has already had contractors demolish the old Council building, old records and all. Antique books have been left lying in the rain where they fell.

So, the beef that locals have with the council is that people weren’t consulted. It’s said RSA was, however it turns out dozens of RSA members who’ve dropped by the protest claim they were not asked. They’ve also added photographs of the fallen soldiers onto the base of the cenotaph. I think Council are in for a rough ride and this is the price they pay for not consulting with the people they’re supposed to be working for.

A tent has been erected next to Ihakara Gardens for the protesters to stay in, and gifts of food and supplies have been pouring in from the public, including local businesses. They’re in for the long hall.

For as long as I’ve been following the lack of consultation issue over the street changes, our local representative in Council, Cr Michael Feyen, has said repeatedly he’s been left out of the consultation loop and in spite of requests has not been shown any plans for the street. Yesterday however, the HDC issued a press release replete with plans and history, and also denying the claims they’ve not consulted locals. The sit in organizers claim the details in the press release are simply not true. They are the tangata whenua and they know if they’ve been consulted or not. They haven’t. For further information on that visit Cr Michael Feyen’s FB page.

Although HDC’s website claims partnership & consultation with local iwi, it appears to be just lip service. This became evident with the Shannon waterways pollution & what ensued there. Little if any respect for tangata whenua.

Radio NZ has published an article on this … you can read it at this link.  

The latest news from Cr Feyen’s FB page at 5pm today is, Mayor Duffy and CEO Clapperton are at the site in discussions with the organizers. However, note, Foxton’s own District Councilor, their own representative, is not privy to that discussion. Not allowed.

So much for democracy & consultation. I rest my case. 

 

EnvirowatchHorowhenua


 

RELATED:

Foxton residents stage sit-in over cenotaph move

Community up in arms over cenotaph move

Horowhenua Environmental Health Watch