A crowd lit by burning braziers gathered at dawn as Ngati Rongo’s Richard Nahi and Ngati Manuhiri’s Herby Skipper and Mikaera Miru placed an aukati rahui (political rahui) on Waste Management’s proposed Dome Valley landfill site.
As part of the ceremony which took place on Spindler Road in Wellsford, each member of the crowd placed their hands on two stones taken from the west and east coast, which were then placed in the Hoteo River.
In a stirring speech, Mikaera Miru, who is of Ngati Manuhiri descent, responded to media reports of Ngati Manuhiri Settlement Trust chairman Mook Hohneck saying that the group of landfill opponents did not have the mana to place the rahui.
He referred to the fact that a group of 280 community members, including representatives from Ngati Whatua, met in Wellsford on June 9 and unanimously voted in favour of placing a rahui on the proposed landfill site.
“What we put on the table was to place an aukati rahu and everyone gave that the tautoko (support). If Ngati Manuhiri or Mook Hohneck wasn’t present, then who is it they are talking to?” Mikaera said.
He said he had major concerns about Maori statutory boards, which have been established by treaty settlements, not representing the will of the people they are purported to represent.
“We are here, and we are going to proceed to put this karakea over the land to protect it. How many things do you have to show on TV like the Fox River or Hampton Downs to show that landfills are environmental disasters?
“We have a legitimate reason to be here and have gone through a tikanga process of customary Maori law. Maybe Mook Hohneck needs to get his book out and start studying what tikanga Maori is all about.”