Martin Kay at the Dom Post reports:
Labour MP Shane Jones has hit out at plans for a giant $2 million taxpayer-funded plastic waka to promote Maori during the Rugby World Cup.
Ngati Whatua o Orakei is getting $1.8m of Government funding to create the giant waka as part of Auckland’s world cup celebrations.
The canoe will be 60 metres long and almost 15 metres high.
The hapu will contribute $100,000 for the project, which was estimated to cost $1,988,000, and will then own it after it is built. The waka would be used to promote “brand Maori” during the Rugby World Cup and other international events, hapu trustee Ngarimu Blair said.
Jones said the ”blow-up waka” risked exposing Maori to ridicule and smacked of last-minute desperation to get Maori involved in the tournament’s celebrations.
Jones, who is contesting Maori Party co-leader and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples’ Tamaki Makaurau seat this year, said the only thing Maori wanted to see from the world cup was All Blacks Piri Weepu and Hosea Gear holding the trophy aloft.
I have to say I’m with Shane Jones on this one.