Home' The Wellingtonian : September 15th 2011 Contents 11
THE WELLINGTONIAN, SEPTEMBER 15, 2011
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Raw deal for Pacific neighbours
As early as opening night at
the Rugby World Cup,
some of the international
media contingent were asking
local reporters about the extensive
use of Maori symbolism.
Did this indicate New Zealand
was really a bicultural country,
one foreign journalist asked me,
or was it more like a marketing
Somewhat guiltily, he confessed
to already feeling a sense of haka
Clearly, during the World Cup
the natural curiosity of our foreign
visitors and the international
media will lead them to reach
their own conclusions -- some
favourable, some less so -- about
On the tournament eve, two
important meetings in Auckland --
of the South Pacific Forum and
the International Rugby Board --
also struggled to put genuine sub-
stance to outward expressions of
For decades, South Pacific
nations have struggled with small
populations and limited resources,
and with their distance from glo-
Some solutions now seem to be
almost within reach, as nearby
Asia becomes the centre of the
world economy and technological
advances help to shrink the dis-
In addition, the looming impact
of climate change on island states
also requires an urgent response
from the forum.
However, as the forum has con-
tinued to dither, China and its
Asian neighbours have begun to
challenge the traditional domi-
nance of Australia and New Zea-
land on trade and diplomacy
issues in the South Pacific.
In Auckland last week, the
forum meeting could agree to
make only disappointingly token
gestures about the region s trade
imbalances, aid dependency and
Driven by Australia and New
Zealand s desire not to offend
Indonesia, the forum also con-
tinued to ignore the independence
struggle in West Papua.
By coincidence, the Inter-
national Rugby Board meeting
mirrored the forum s reluctance to
deal with issues of injustice.
For decades, the All Blacks and
Wallabies have made good use of
the rugby talent from the islands.
While some players have ben-
efited from the opportunity, one
effect has been to bleed the
national teams in Samoa, Fiji and
Tonga of top players, arguably to
the detriment of the game.
Last week in Auckland, the
Pacific Island unions asked the
International Rugby Board to
change the rules that forbid
players from representing more
than one national side during
This would enable Pacific
players no longer wanted by the
Wallabies and All Blacks to return
and play for their national teams.
The rugby administrators
refused on the patently hypocrit-
ical grounds that allowing players
to return to their national teams
would deny openings for young
island players to top rugby.
It was hard to escape the con-
clusion that the change would also
hinder the ability of talent scouts
from Australia and New Zealand
from spotting and co-opting young
talent -- rather than any genuine
concern about old players
returning home, filling the
national squad and stifling
rugby s growth in the Pacific.
As a token concession, the
International Rugby Board sched-
uled a few games in the Pacific in
coming years with countries like
The trade in rugby players --
like trade in general within the
South Pacific -- tends to be one
way, and is mainly of benefit to
Australia and New Zealand.
For now, as the overseas
journalist surmised, the cel-
ebration of Maori and Pacific cul-
ture at the World Cup looks more
like a gimmick, and conceals a far
less pleasant reality.
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Send your letters to PO Box 3740,
$11 million of ratepayers money
(which could have been better
spent elsewhere), six people hurt,
and one young woman killed. For
five minutes less of travel time!
Was the Manners St upgrade
worth it? Yeah right!
You ve got to be joking. And to
suggest more ratepayers money
be siphoned off to study the
impact -- get real.
Perhaps it s time that those who
make these decisions realise we
live in the 21st century and take a
walk in downtown Wellington,
perhaps have a coffee in a cafe,
listen to the buskers, have a look
at the shops.
They might get up-to-date with
the prevailing trends in more
enlightened cities, such as in
Cities are for people to walk
through, browse, enjoy (in fact,
Cuba Mall and, previously,
Manners Mall were excellent
We don t want highways in our
Promoting good public
transport is an essential
component of a modern growing
city where key issues are
sustainable development and a
healthier lifestyle that promotes
more walking for people, and the
use of bikes as plausible and safe
Buses and traffic generally
should skirt the outside, not pass
right through the centre.
I note your front page story World
Cup wobbles (September 8).
Surely the heading should have
been World Cup wonder. The way
the World Cup has brought the
country together has been
The presence of visiting teams
in Wellington has lifted the city
and provided real spark.
More than 1.9 million people
watched the opening ceremony
and/or the first match, New
Zealand v Tonga, on television.
That is the biggest television
audience in New Zealand history,
which must say something about
how most people view the World
There are always people who
adopt a glass half empty
attitude, but in this most difficult
of years for New Zealand, the
World Cup has been a tonic.
And I write that without even
knowing if the All Blacks can win
The World Cup is here and
although I m not a rugby fan I
admire the enthusiasm with
which many people approach the
event. Yes, it s a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity to host the cup by
such a small nation, but is it going
to be like the saga of Terry
A great time and lavish
spending for a few and then the
rest of us left to carry the cost?
$20 million worth of tickets still
unsold at the start of a
tournament can hardly be
something that was factored in
when working out the World Cup
bid. Who will pick up the debt?
The editorial commented that
the CBD is not a residential area
and that the residents shouldn t
complain about additional noise
during the tournament.
I disagree. The fact that our city
council has signed off on
apartments and conversions is a
clear statement that it has indeed
become a residential area.
People choose to live in the
inner-city and its fringe areas for
a number of reasons -- to reduce
travel, enjoy the culture on offer
in the city and some to provide
their children the opportunity to
live close to their universities
without incurring additional debt.
I think most city dwellers
accept the noise within reason,
but are concerned with the effect
of bars being open till 6am and
the resulting behaviour, all of
which will possibly be worse
during the next six weeks.
FROM THE WEB
Laura: No, it wasn t worth it. One
fatality and six pedestrians
injured. The council needs to be
charged with wilful damage to the
city. Now the loonies want to give
up car lanes for bus priority even
though the passenger numbers
The City is Ours: Was it worth
it? Why not ask the commuters
using the south-bound service for
a balanced view lacking from this
Phil: It was totally worth it to
get all the lowlife scum out of the
old Manners Mall. That place was
unsafe at nights for people
walking home. Funny thing is
they called it Manners but good
manners was the last thing
anyone expected, even from the
Flash haka hits CBD
John: An email calling for
participants described the
impromptu haka . A planned
event is not impromptu. Do not
treat your readers as idiots with
reporting of this nature.
Clinton: Whakatangata kia
kaha nga tama toa o Te Aute!
Jamie: This is beginning to get
really, really embarrassing.
Flash-mobsters -- no-one actually
thinks what you re doing is great.
It s pretentious, aggressive and
makes most of us cringe.
Especially with the world s eyes
upon us. Please stop. It s no longer
Evie: What s wrong with
people? So negative! I m an Irish
woman living in NZ for the last 11
years and this still gives me
goosebumps. Great job guys. I was
there and it was awesome.
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