Andy Oakley, Department of Conservation, Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Toa, Te Ati Awa, Te Rauparaha, Whale rights

Te Rauparaha's tribe honours spirit of whale by hacking off jaw with saw

Whale on Paraparaumu Beach

A kaumatua inspects the sacred whale before…

Whale on Paraparaumu Beach being butchered by iwi

…iwi butchers, protected by DOC, hack off the lucrative jawbone.

In the shadow of Kapiti Island, once home of New Zealand’s cruellest cannibal, Te Rauparaha, horrified onlookers yesterday watched the local iwi butcher a beached whale.

The tribe’s sacred purpose: to turn its jawbone into jewellery.

And to hell with anyone who didn’t agree with their traditional take on saving the whales… for themselves, that is.

Stuff bears witness to the gory spectacle:

Police and Department of Conservation staff had to hold back angry and upset onlookers … after those removing a whale’s jaw were left “up to their knees” in blood.  

Grief and anger erupted among the 300 onlookers as Ngati Toa, Ngati Raukawa and Te Ati Awa iwi members took three hours … to remove the jaw…  

Local whale-bone carver Owen Mapp said children were in tears and some of the crowd became angry about  the whale being butchered.  

“There was a lot of blood and guts. Some people were horrified.”

Creating cultural objects or carved artifacts enabled contemporary society to honour the spirit of the whale, he said. “It is a way the whale can live on.”  

I see, so the culturally appropriate way to honour a whale’s spirit is to hack off its jaw with a saw (an evil pakeha chainsaw, presumably), then cut it, gouge it, sand it, and sell it.

Cost of raw materials: nil. (Thanks, DOC.)

Profit: handy.

By this logic, do Te Rauparaha’s descendants also “honour the spirit” of their dead by ripping out and flogging off their sacred gold fillings?

Sounds more like the spirit of free enterprise to me.

DOC protocol allowed iwi first use of the whale.  

Er, shouldn’t that be “exclusive use of the whale”?

Did DOC contact the local Japanese community to see if they wanted to remove the meat?

Did they invite the descendants of New Zealand’s early whalers to “honour the spirit” of their ancestors by rekindling their family’s association with the great mammal of the deep? (See comment below from Andy Oakley.)

And they say there’s no Maori privilege.

Ngati Toa member Nelson Solomon said people complaining about the gory work did not have to watch.  

How thoughtful. Ngati Toa’s manners have obviously improved since Te Rauparaha’s dinner guests were forced to watch their companions being tomahawked, eviscerated, roasted and devoured, while they mentally prepared themselves for their role as his next course.

“We tried to put up barricades to stop the public going in.”  

Yes, how dare DOC’s Chosen People be interrupted in their sacred duty by stupid pakeha clinging to the wimpish notion that the best way to “honour the spirit” of a dead creature is to bury it intact?

“We are sorry if people were offended but we thought we did what was best in our interests.”  

And that’s the thing about tribes. Tribes care about themselves first, and others not at all. Anyone outside the tribe is the enemy.

It’s the same the world over, wherever tribalism has been tried.

(Which is pretty much everywhere. Including, of course, Britain, whose history runs red with the blood and gore of tribalism — Celtic, Roman, Viking and Anglo-Saxon.)

My point is, Britain and other societies have got beyond tribalism. It’s time Maori did too.

Shouldn’t whaler
descendants get first dibs?

Kapiti reader Andy Oakley made this comment on another thread yesterday:

We had a whale wash up on our shore yesterday.

The local iwi were quick to claim it, rope it off, and rip it open for the jaw bone.

The local council’s unelected iwi representative would have had a hand in this.

Surely the descendants of our country’s early whaler settlers had as much, if not more, cultural connection to this whale than local Maori?

New Zealand was founded by these early settlers and their whaling activities.

While there is no history of pre-European Maori whaling at all. (Though they would cut them up if they ever happen to beach themselves.)

But alas, the whaler descendants were never even consulted.

And here is the reason why:

If you are a descendant of a whaler — i.e. somewhere in your family history someone was a whaler — this does NOT give you the right to call yourself a whaler.

Obviously you are not a whaler. You are just a descendant of a whaler.

And you have NO special place in New Zealand.

However, if you are a descendant of a Maori — i.e. somewhere in your family history someone was a Maori — this DOES give you the right to call yourself a Maori.

And you DO have access to the dual set of rights our government attributes to Maori.

Does anyone else see the hypocrisy in this?

I have no problem with Maori culture, I embrace it.

I do have a problem when it finds its way into every part of our lives at the expense of all other cultures.

You and me both, Andy. Good point about the whalers.

Of course, the tide has turned on the business of hunting and harpooning the uber-mammal. That’s because the whale has joined the dolphin in the ranks of the cute, if not cuddly.

(And, no doubt, because we no longer crave lamp oil and whalebone corsets. Or share the Japanese taste for whale steak.)

But if it’s good enough for Ngati Toa to honour the bloodthirsty Te Rauparaha with a stadium in Porirua, it’s good enough for European New Zealanders to “honour the spirit” of the brave whalers and sealers, from whom so many of us (both white and brown) are descended.

Now how do we get DOC to help us make money out of it?


57 thoughts on “Te Rauparaha's tribe honours spirit of whale by hacking off jaw with saw

  1. Sorry, Steve, we posted about the same time. I don’t want to bury your post. You have made a good point and show where the problem lies.

    Nothing could be less racist than wanting equality for everyone.

  2. Tan,
    Have you just got home from the pub?
    Maori are not a race, there is no such thing as a maori race, they are an offshoot of the Polynesian race.
    We have people from many different backgrounds in this country, all are emigrants, same as the maori, The maori history in New Zealand is so recent they can even remember the canoes their forbears came in, but cannot say with certainty where it was from where they departed. So much for oral history.
    When was the last time in New Zealand we had a war between Irish tribes, Scottish tribes, Dutch tribes? from whence do you get white tribalism?
    If tribalism so upsets you have a look at the Waitangi tribunal settlements, all dispensed on a tribal basis. even now, in a so called Democratic country.
    Most agree that this is not a whites only country, all Maori have a percentage of white blood, or some other race, that is what this blog is all about. Why should some people who have a bit, big or small, of maori blood, be entitled by law to so many advantages that are not available to all people of the country, we are all, or should be New Zealanders first, and then if needed one can disclose their racial make up, but only for interests sake, not financial, or any other gain..

    1. My ancestors traveled from Hawaiiki to Aotearoa on Tainui waka far before Pakeha settled here.
      You know nothing to talk as if you know our history.
      And why does our Maori blood have a percentage of white blood?
      Because they were RAPED! And talk of good things were told and agreements made without full knowledge of what was really going to happen.
      But at least you won’t get our MANA

      Ko Te Heuheu te tangata
      Ko Tuwharetoa te iwi
      Ko Tongariro te maunga
      Ko Tainui te waka
      Tihei Mauri Ora

      1. I would like to point out that your ancestors murdered innocent people then claimed New Zealand as your own. So whatever happened to your kind was deserved.

      2. Raped ? How absurd; surely you are not serious. The evidence points in the opposite direction – early Maoris were heavily into raping, killing, cannibalism, infanticide and slavery. And that is just what they did to each other, let alone white settlers and the environment. I always chuckle when someone with such a barbaric ancestry blurts on about “mana” as if everyone else is supposed to be impressed by that very vague and frequently quite dishonest term.

  3. check out this comment on the waikato times today regards a whale stranding in Raglan,pretty disgusting stuff torturing a creature because we must wait for maori to perform a karakia…….

    My son and his friends – and I – tried to save a similar whale (a kyogia) a couple of years ago in Wellington Harbour on the Pencarrow Coast. Apparently it was a very rare species, and an international research/conser­vation organisation got in touch with me after I posted to Youtube to ask as many details as I could provide. There’s something weird about feeling their surprisingly warm, soft skin and looking into the intelligent eye, my boys were doing their best to save it but in the end, after waiting hours and hours, it was euthanised.

    I’m not sure it appreciated the kairaka and hanging on in agony with its guts hanging out its anus while being bashed on the gravel by the swell for a couple of hours so it could be performed. Even if was an ancestor, I’d like to think I treated my antecedents better than that. I pleaded with the local cop to go home and get his gun and do it a favour about 5 hours before it was humanely killed. Not very humane. Possibly better off being eaten by sharks, imho.

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