Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Rock Art is our Taonga - TRONT let's get serious about protecting it

Good news that the Rock Art is getting some resources.

"Timaru District Holdings will invest in the Ngai Tahu Maori Rock Art Centre planned for Timaru, because of the positive impact it will have on the district's economy. "

This is what happens when others get involved - it becomes all about money - so embarrasing and shameful. It's not about money it is about the sacred taonga.

"Timaru district councillors approved the investment of $280,000 in Te Ana Whakairo, the company set up to build and run the rock art centre in the Timaru Landing Service Building.

It needs a further $800,000, with an application for $650,000 to be made to the Lotteries Commission's significant community projects fund, Ngai Tahu Maori Rock Art Charitable Trust curator Amanda Symon said yesterday. It will be March before it is known if the application has been successful. The outcome of funding applications for a further $200,000 should be known this month.

Shameful that the good people have to beg for money when Ngai Tahu have over 500 million - whose taonga is it?

Financial support for the project has come from various sources, including $400,000 from Ngai Tahu's contestable fund for cultural projects, $280,000 from South Canterbury Charities (now Trust Aoraki), $185,000 from Te Puni Kokiri, $100,000 from the Southern Trust and $200,000 from the Lotteries Commission's environmental and heritage fund. "

So all good news, isn't it?

If Ngai Tahu can't resource and look after our own taonga - what is the point? TRONT have the images on the front page of the website - what will it take to give this area the mana and importance it rightly deserves? Yes it is good that the Ngai Tahu Fund has given money but the funding for the protection of this should be part of the major funding not contestable. Are we really going to take money from anywhere and everywhere to create this resource for our people?

This is our taonga first and then the countries, not the other way around. Many times i have heard the call, "Let government look after their bits and Ngai Tahu will look after theirs." The Rock Art is ours. It is time to honour our ancestors and honour the taonga they left us as signposts for now and the future.

Take control and front up - TRONT give some money and resources to our sacred taonga - what are you waiting for?

What is more important?

What are you waiting for?

What is more important?

What are you waiting for?


Anonymous said...

kia ora marty

i think this is a case where you need to look before you leap. this project is not about protecting rock art. it is about creating a visitor experience in the town of timaru. it is a celebration of rock art and there is a hope (and i stress hope) that the project will pay for itself and some surplus to help with the ongoing protection of rock art sites.

te runanga has supported the simwrap for years and as a result of that support lots of rock art sites have been rediscovered and recorded and some have been protected with fences etc. the papatipu runanga of these areas are the ultimate kaitiaki of these sites not te runanga.

i think you would be surprised to know how much over time te runanga has spent on this project let alone others like it.

i know of many (but by no means all) of sites of huge significance to us all. i could easily work out how to spend all of the annual budget of te runanga on these sites or indeed the whole of the 600 plus million we are told the tribe is worth. and i personally think that these sites are more important that the language and the hui a tau and te karaka and education and so on. i think our sites and our landscape are who we are - but i also know that money is not the solution for most of these places. money is not the fix. it is the passion and commitment of the kaitiaki runanga not money that will retain and protect these sites.

i also know that what i think is most important for our iwi is not what others think is most important. and i know that spending our capital base would doom all future generations.

so if you want to advocate that te runanga spends more money on all of our special sites i am with you - but lets spend it on the sites not a psuedo commercial activity in the centre of a town

Marty Mars said...

Kia ora anon

I agree the centre is just the centre but it could be a training centre for our rangatahi who live near the sites. A way to present our taonga to the world our way.

i am just concerned that we will get down the track and say, "Oh we should have done more to protect our taonga."

And you are right we could spend money left, right and centre. It does appear to be a prioritization issue and lots of things are important if not essential. I appreciate everything that has been done to date by all concerned.

I can see how we could protect these sites (and i would say there are a percentage that at the moment are not protected), create knowledge and understanding for all our people and create economic opportunities for papatipu runaka.

Who decides what the prioritization various areas have? Our reps? TRONT? Kaitiaki Runaka?

The rock art has been given to us by our tuupuna to help us reconnect, in this time... it could bring us together.

feddabonn said...

off on a tangent (as i usually am), but your post made me wonder whether it was a good idea to compensate for land with money. *not that i have any other solution up my sleeve...just thinking out loud. it sometimes seems to me that our dependence on money as an acceptable exchange for an increasing number of things is a big problem. but then, what are the alternatives, eh?

Anonymous said...

Land without $ is a recipe for bankruptcy. One of the challenges for Maori is to balance the desire for land ownership with the reality that it costs to own land unless the land is able to generate economic returns. And usually the land that has spiritual associations does not have economic potential or if it does we don't want to use it that way.

The simple truth is that the Ngai Tahu settlement was about .003 cents in the dollar so the tribe was never going to be able to satisfy the desire to own and manage lands as well as to grow the putea and pay for distributions and language programs.

Anonymous said...

I this discussion has come eventually come to the point and that is that I am not sure we value Rock Art. To me it is one of the most valuable things we have as it links us to the past and keeps alive our heritage. What is the value of that -priceless. What is it worth on a commercial scale? Who cares. We don't need to get sucked in the debate. It can't be replaced.

We must remember we have really struggled to emerge from our difficult past and this along with the language is critical. It not only tells us about our past, the care and management of Rock Art also indicates our future. Lets not squander this opportunity.

Why must it always be TRONT expected to fix up the issue? Is it because we only see the solution in dollars and cents? The value is non financial and the role of kaitiaki rests with the papatipu runanga. That is part of their role and that is both the problem and the solution.

Marty Mars said...

The rock art is protected by kaitiaki runaka but it is for all Ngai Tahu - like the language. There are rock art sites being shat on now, today, and who is doing something about it?

It is not the money - these sacred rock art sites are NOT coming back. Once gone they are lost.

This needs have some focus and serious activity. If Ngai Tahu can't protect these sites then Ngai Tahu should say so. And TRONT are the body, with all the money, to say it.

These sacred taonga are the heritage of ALL Ngai Tahu, not just the papatipu runaka IMO.

Marty Mars said...

True feddabonn good question - what are the alternatives. That is why it seems so topsy turvey to me. That the people that took the land decide what to give back - how about the lot mate, and then maori will give you back what you need. Sure give the money but the money is an illusion. Money is simply a medium of exchange. Many good programs have started and use money - that is good. But the important things are beyond monetary value. Money has no meaning where these taonga are concerned. Our sacred rock art is one of those taonga.

Anonymous said...

Good news that the Rock Art is getting some resources. Rubbish obviously you have been fooled again. Waitahas’ challenge in respect of Holcium was to protect the Waitaha historical rock art at Te Ana a Raki ki të ka herehere that Tahu wanted destroyed. This is only a screen to have the Minister of Maori Affairs attention diverted.

Marty Mars said...

Kia ora anon - appreciate your comments. I was being sarcastic or ironic - not sure, but one of the two.