Why is there a need for any bylaw on ashes?

June 5th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Plans to make grieving families apply for permission to scatter their loved ones’ ashes in public have been labelled crass and insensitive.

As part of a wider bylaw covering cemeteries and crematoria, wants to prevent people from scattering ashes in any public place – including beaches and reserves – unless they have written approval from the council or Wahi Tapu Maori Kimiti (a Maori committee that oversees sacred areas).

Even people wanting to scatter the ashes in a public cemetery would need to fill in forms for approval and pay “applicable fees” to the council.

The proposal, which could come into effect as early as November, has angered many people who feel the act doesn’t harm anyone and often helps grieving families to find closure by honouring a loved one’s final wish.

It’s ridiculous. Having to apply in writing and pay a fee to scatter ashes.

The Council should scrap its proposed bylaw. What need is there for one? What is the problem they are trying to fix?

If they do pass one, then everyone should ignore it. Dare the Council to prosecute you for scattering the ashes of a loved one at a local beach (for example), and watch the community rise up in outrage.

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82 Responses to “Why is there a need for any bylaw on ashes?”

  1. Brian Smaller (3,999 comments) says:

    I had the same issue when I went to Italy to scatter my Mother’s ashes as per her last wishes. Against the law there. But what were they going to do? Sweep her up again?

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  2. lolitasbrother (487 comments) says:

    absolutely as above Brian, thank you for good comment, on Farrars piece .

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  3. jackinabox (636 comments) says:

    Most of the deceased’s ashes are dumped at the local tip, only a few vertebrae are ground up and solemnly handed over to the blissfully ignorant dearly departed’s family.

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  4. kowtow (7,653 comments) says:

    Councils extending their unwanted arms into our pockets and evry aspect of life. There needs to be a serious push back.

    Should the Mayor need to apply in writing and pay to zip all over council offices?

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  5. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    Maori won’t say nothing cause they don’t get cremated. Do Maori have vested interest in Auckland waters.

    Not before the ports that’s for sure.

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  6. flipper (3,589 comments) says:

    Any by law will be honoured by non observance…,.and woe betide the ‘crat/pollie who tries to enforce it.
    Absolutely crass bullshit, especially the lie that H & S is involved..

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  7. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    Not sure I’d be too keen on someone dumping ashes on the council berm outside my house. What about in Aotea Square?

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  8. thor42 (922 comments) says:

    The proposed bylaw is complete madness.
    I would take huge pleasure in ignoring it.

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  9. Nick R (497 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  10. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    Maybe just a list of suggested places for scattering ashes is all that’s required. The rest is probably just good manners.

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  11. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (789 comments) says:

    Wait for an announcement from Messiah Cunliffe that he will solve this issue within 100 days of assuming office….

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  12. RRM (9,478 comments) says:

    Len won’t even discuss why he needs a $5000 personal gym at work, but he wants a say in how people’s ashes are scattered? He wants people to ask his PERMISSION and pay FEES for the privilege?
    :evil:

    FUCK OFF MASTURBATOR.

    The council exists to SERVE citizens and ratepayers. Not the other way around.

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  13. Captain Pugwash (93 comments) says:

    I think the wellington council had issues with with ashes being sprinkled on the roses at the botanic gardens. Apparently they can cause problems with the roses, plus the gardeners objected to digging up the ashes.

    ,,, “Look at it another way. You are minding your own business, eating your lunch in Albert Park, when someone walks up and starts throwing human ashes around. You wouldn’t want that in your sandwiches.

    I don’t blame the Council for wanting to regulate this. After all, thousands of people die in Auckland every year, and most of them will be cremated. That’s a lot of ashes. But I wonder if they could have come up with something a bit more tactful than a bylaw.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4 “…

    Can’t say I’d be happy having a picnic and find I’m sitting on someones dear departed great aunts ashes.

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  14. Huevon (192 comments) says:

    Oh man, what are they going to say about my wish to be burnt on a funeral pyre (my wife self-immolating optional)??

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  15. ross411 (220 comments) says:

    Oh David, the Auckland Council has Opera to support so the councillors can get comped tickets without having to support it themselves by buying them. This is an important tax that goes towards a worthy cause. They can’t bill it all to the ratepayer.

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  16. Mark1 (89 comments) says:

    “Not sure I’d be too keen on someone dumping ashes on the council berm outside my house. What about in Aotea Square?”
    Is that already happening Mike? If not then what’s the issue?

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  17. David Garrett (6,463 comments) says:

    God my blood boiled when I read this today…If I was still in Parliament I would have immediately drafted a Private Member’s bill preventing any Council passing such a fucking stupid by-law…And as for “consulting with iwi” before any sprinkling is done…Like hell…the day I consult with the supposed representatives of the people who were here 400 years before us before scattering the remains of a loved one will be a cold day in hell…

    Nick R: With respect, what a stupid comment…who do you think would be crass enough to scatter the remains of their loved one anywhere near someone eating their sandwiches? And if perchance there was such a wanker, a request that he perform the last rites elsewhere would surely have the required effect.

    I have done a sprinkling of ashes at sea following my late father’s wishes…the “ashes” are more a kind of fine porous gravel…imagine scoria ground down…He was gone without trace within a couple of minutes…

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  18. Akaroa (544 comments) says:

    Scattering ashes can be a tricky business, and isn’t to be undertaken lightly.

    I was once present when someone’s ashes were scattered at their request. They were in an urn and were pretty plentiful.

    Unfortunately they were caught by the breeze and a number of mourners wore them.

    Like I said – not to be undertaken lightly

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  19. RRM (9,478 comments) says:

    Nick / Pugwash -

    Don’t worry, I hear human ashes go great with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

    :neutral:

    Seriously… what?

    Have you ever been eating lunch in the park, and a grieving family has come along and showered you with their granny’s ashes?

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  20. JC (909 comments) says:

    Why don’t Aucklanders start posting the ashes direct to Len and Councilors?

    The beauty of this approach is you can also include ashes from last night’s woodburner.. over and over again.

    JC

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  21. tvb (4,210 comments) says:

    This is a deeply cynical way of raising money. Councils invent all these silly rules that cost money to administer so they charge people to pay for them. Local Government is utter rubbish. There should be a provision for ratepayers to petition to appoint a Commissioner with a remit to take a chainsaw to staffing and unnecessary by laws and town planning. The Commissioner can be appointed for a fixed 6 year term.

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  22. greenjacket (418 comments) says:

    Nick wrote: “You are minding your own business, eating your lunch in Albert Park, when someone walks up and starts throwing human ashes around. You wouldn’t want that in your sandwiches.”

    I sympathise. I am continually going to the park at lunchtime and being showered human ash. There are roving gangs of bereaved people who stalk Queen Street and fling human ash on members of the public. There is a light film of human ash dust coating Auckland creating a health and safety issue. It is clearly a major public policy issue, and I am pleased the Auckland Council is focussing on the problems that really matter for Aucklanders.

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  23. David Garrett (6,463 comments) says:

    JC: What a brilliant idea!! The containers they come in are a sort of better sealed “click-clack”…No doubt someone wholesales them…

    During my time ACT had a Bill in the works which would restrict Councils to their “core functions”…essentially rates roads and rubbish, and bugger all else…Isnt this just a perfect example of the justification for such a Bill??

    Greenjacket: Superb sir/Madam…it’s a hazard all right…

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  24. Akaroa (544 comments) says:

    Hey greenjacket!

    Yours at 5.16 – comedy gold!!

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  25. unaha-closp (1,117 comments) says:

    Len’s planning on spending $2.8 billion on a really nice set of catacombs for Auckland.

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  26. nasska (10,696 comments) says:

    Why take the risk of Granny flavouring someone’s cheese & onion sandwich?

    Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LifeGem

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  27. Nick R (497 comments) says:

    @ Captain Pugwash – the Wellington Botanic Gardens was exactly what I was thinking of. And yes, I have seen people scattering ashes there.

    But I stand by my original comment – you don’t need a bylaw for this. There has to be a better way than threatening fines on people.

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  28. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    I’m not in favour of either cremation or burial. Instead, I’ve asked my family to drive my dead body up to Auckland and then use a giant catapult to fling me across Albert Park, aiming at Nick R while he is eating his sandwiches. As far as I can see, this would be completely legal.

    I hope they post the video to YouTube so you can all see Nick R’s face as I touch down in his lunchbox, and his grumbling that Len Brown should have passed a bylaw to stop that sort of thing happening.

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  29. SGA (816 comments) says:

    Captain Pugwash at 4:59 pm

    I think the wellington council had issues with with ashes being sprinkled on the roses at the botanic gardens. Apparently they can cause problems with the roses, plus the gardeners objected to digging up the ashes.

    I’ve heard the same about a problem with the roses at our botanical gardens being too popular (even that on odd occasions some of the ashes weren’t all as completely “ash” as they could have been -don’t know the “truth” of the last bit, just what I was told)
    That said, if a loved one wanted their ashes scattered somewhere, I’d probably just go and do it.

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  30. B A W (98 comments) says:

    Pay a fee?

    All you need is a few rules saying don’t distribute ashes in these locations. (Say public beaches, and gardens) And make sure you have a few locations where you can.

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  31. anticorruptionnz (166 comments) says:

    simple its about $$$$$$$$$

    you pay for permit you pay Koha you get to scatter the ashes.

    Dust to Dust Ashes to Ashes money to coffers.

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  32. Jaffa (82 comments) says:

    I have an idea.

    How about letting Common Sense and Decency take over!

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  33. Albert_Ross (252 comments) says:

    DPF: Do you need a regulatory regime and fees just to say, be considerate. Of course not.

    Indeed not. But just saying “be considerate” doesn’t make people be considerate. If it did there would be no need to have any enforceable laws at all.

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  34. Steve (North Shore) (4,500 comments) says:

    DPF ” What is the problem they are trying to fix?”

    A huge shortage of money for Len’s stupid ideas it what they are trying to fix

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  35. Colville (2,085 comments) says:

    Fuck this is really stoopid beyond His Wankerness usual stoopid.

    The Family got together and chucked Grandpas ashes around his favourite park bench. It was where he took a breather walking to and from the pub to have his daily pint.

    Going to be a bit tricky to deal to the Ole Man. He wants to be left under a tree in his favourite hunting perch, a couple of hours walk into the Ruahines. and no not his ashes…he wants his boots on and gun in his hand!

    a few concrete blocks in the coffin me thinks :-)

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  36. Grant (427 comments) says:

    Jackinabox, you know this how?
    G

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  37. Sidey (248 comments) says:

    The children of a guy I know keep telling him that when he goes they’ll give him a viking funeral, but as they quite like their boat they’ll cast him off in the canoe, piled high with dry brush and a liberal sprinkling of petrol.

    His protestations that he’s in fine fettle and only in his 40′s doesn’t seem to dampen the kids’ enthusiasm too much.

    I have a place that means a lot to me where I want to be sprinkled, although I’ll be dead so won’t know either way. The council can get stuffed. What’s a bit of ash compared to the piles of crap I see lying around the streets every day on the way to work. How much do we pay these guys to come up with this shite?

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  38. adze (1,870 comments) says:

    Emptying ash on private property is one thing – but otherwise it’s a private business that Council’s and other quangos should keep out of. It’s not like they are digging up bodies against family wishes or something.

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  39. WineOh (556 comments) says:

    @Pugwash, yes I remember hearing about it being a problem at the Wellington Botanical Rose Gardens, as lots of people apparently were having their ashes surreptitiously sprinkled over their favourite flower bed and it was stunting the growth of the roses. Too much ash upsets the nutrient balance. But instead of putting in a bylaw, they just asked people to stop doing it- problem solved. Isn’t that how it should be?? We’re (mostly) all adults ffs.

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  40. OneTrack (2,621 comments) says:

    “How much do we pay these guys to come up with this shite?”

    Too much, far too much.

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  41. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    I’ve changed my mind about this. Unless it can be shown that there is some problem with people scattering ashes inappropriately then there is no need for regulation.

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  42. JC (909 comments) says:

    Sidey, we were a bit more civilised. We kept telling the old man we were going to take his body to the Puketapu cemetary outside Taradale and dump him in the Catholic area. He used to laugh at some of our bizarre ideas to get rid of him but I think the Catholic bit got to him.

    JC

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  43. adze (1,870 comments) says:

    Good man, mikenmild

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  44. arkhad (65 comments) says:

    Maybe its because ashes could upset the delicate system of a taniwha who can only digest legal tender

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  45. David Garrett (6,463 comments) says:

    Mikey: I concur…well done…I always respect someone who can change his position based on evidence. I would be prepared to wager that the Auckland Council has never even received ONE complaint about inappropriate ashes scattering…and in particular, no-one who has had someone’s granny on their sandwiches…

    Edit: Some Maori might have complained because they could see some koha in it…As I said earlier, fuck them and the wiped out moa they rode in on…Racist? Nah…just very tired of the stone aged first inhabitants of this fair land making up shit about what is sacred to them…

    Arkhad: Very good sir…delicate beasts those taniwha…

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  46. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    Well, about the only thing I can think of is be careful of genuine wahi tapu areas. But again, that’s just good manners.

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  47. Southern Raider (1,590 comments) says:

    Goes hand in hand with everything this Council does at the moment.

    My wife complained to AT because she kept on getting parking tickets in a suburb outside the CBD and asked where we was supposed to park as there is no parking building or long term carpark options near her work.

    They responded with take public transport.

    She said but I have to drop by daughter off and pick her up from daycare.

    They responded with take public transport.

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  48. Southern Raider (1,590 comments) says:

    Also the compost trial on the north shore what a waste of time and money.

    Couple of years ago some private operators wanted to train a lot of Auckland trash to meremere where they would incinerate at a high temperature which would have the byproduct of building materials and power generation. Left wing parts of the council rejected it, but it is okay to run a third group of rubbish trucks around Auckland collecting compost material

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  49. JeffW (320 comments) says:

    This is a good idea, as it will allow Council to hire more people to monitor it, and therefore justify taking more rates.

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  50. David Garrett (6,463 comments) says:

    Mikey: And what pray are “genuine wahi tapu areas?” In whatever the Bill which replaced the Foreshore and Seabed Act, “wahi tapu” are whatever the local iwi…whoever they may be – say they are..

    And talking of what is sacred, when I was drilling oil wells the local kaumatua would accept a ride on a helicopter and “bless” an offshore well…the only “koha” necessary being a slap up lunch…now wells suddenly require “tapu lifting” for a much more substantial fee…all in less than 30 years…

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  51. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    Well David, if you knew that a particular site had deep spritual significance to local people I would imagine that your good manners would prevent you from casting human remains in the vicinity.

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  52. Johnboy (15,006 comments) says:

    I think I’ll get my ashes dumped on Hutt Rec. and a thin trail of them dribbled over to the Bellevue! :)

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  53. Tauhei Notts (1,612 comments) says:

    This will get a huge number of down ticks but here goes.
    The police are too crafty these days to charge anybody with any stupid law.
    What they do is wait for that person to renew their licence, then they object to the renewal.
    “We object to the renewal of that person’s bar manager’s licence because he scattered his late mother’s ashes within 300 metres of a marae.”
    “We object to the renewal of that person’s gun licence because that person scatttered their late father’s ashes in the botanic gardens.”
    And if the police object it will cost a fortune in legal fees to get their objections treated with the disdain they deserve.
    It is an insidious way of getting people to obey idiotic laws. I first read about those sort of tactics when studying German history 1933-39. Now I have seen those sorts of tactics, with my own eyes, amongst law enforcement people in my country.
    It leaves me a bit sad.

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  54. David Garrett (6,463 comments) says:

    Milky: I suspect I am older than you…I am blessed with a very good memory… I remember for example a stranding of 300 odd pilot whales north of Gisborne when I was a boy…I recall my horror at local Maori chainsawing off jawbones while the poor bastards were still alive…they didn’t have the decency to shoot them first…I remember – as I have said – kaumatua solemnly blessing oil wells off Taranaki with no thought of koha…Now suddenly, for Maori, probing into the earth is as significant as the Greens think it is…an invasion of Gaia’s person… excuse me if I call bullshit to the whole charade…

    Tauhei: the first uptick for your comment is mine…

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  55. Johnboy (15,006 comments) says:

    Milkey’s a HOBM supporter David. They have no morals! :)

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  56. Johnboy (15,006 comments) says:

    I gave him the two plus David! :)

    And one for you of course! :)

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  57. prosper (132 comments) says:

    There are a lot of regulations being promulgated for no or dubious reasons that slowly but surely erode democracy and freedom. They are currently also dreaming up regs on life jackets, boat ramps,parks and so on.

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  58. Johnboy (15,006 comments) says:

    Milkey’s a bit of a sad cunt of course. He takes note of this jigaboo sacred shit I’ve noticed.

    The rest of us realised many years ago that Murri religious beliefs can all be bought off if the chequebook is capacious enough! :)

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  59. Johnboy (15,006 comments) says:

    Make sure your new boat is longer than 6 meters prosper (like your handle :) ) and you’ll be OK my son! :)

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  60. nasska (10,696 comments) says:

    ….”The police are too crafty these days to charge anybody with any stupid law.
    What they do is wait for that person to renew their licence, then they object to the renewal.”…..

    The authority goes to their heads…..that said an equal load of brickbats is due to the half wits who draft the idiot bylaws & expect them to be obeyed.

    We have far too much law.

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  61. Johnboy (15,006 comments) says:

    Where are the ashes of Ekatahuna’s latest sacrifice to be scattered nasska? :)

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  62. nasska (10,696 comments) says:

    Buried JB…..he was of the Tangata Whenua.

    But the planting is at Riverside Cemetery in Masterton.

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  63. Johnboy (15,006 comments) says:

    Has the lamposts family made a victim statement yet? :)

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  64. David Garrett (6,463 comments) says:

    Seriously though chaps…How can it be that in 1985 when we drilled ..cant remember the name of the well, but it was the first hole for a rig called the SEDCO 600 – we had several kaumatua come out to bless the rig and the well…food on offshore rigs is always excellent – there are no women and no booze, so they feed you very well…the kaumatua required no more than the lunch we all had, then it was back on the chopper to New Plymouth..

    30 years later I am told they take quite a different attitude…considerable koha is required to get them on the chopper – much more to bless the undertaking…

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  65. Johnboy (15,006 comments) says:

    I think on cultural grounds the kaumatua should have to paddle out the rig on a waka, braving the Taniwha’s of the ocean and after a jolly good feast and piss-up paddle back again. Te Rauparahau would have! :)

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  66. nasska (10,696 comments) says:

    Are these blessings value for money DG? I mean do they prevent the spirits & sundry Taniwha from wrecking havoc on the drilling platform or do they just signify that you’ll get a discount on the koha allowing a permit for the next well?

    Not being as one with spiritual people I’m left short of answers. :)

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  67. David Garrett (6,463 comments) says:

    JB: well that one would have taken a couple of days to get to JB…It was about 75 k’s off the north Taranaki coast…it is very firm in my mind because it was the well that decided me to go and do something else…on New Years Day 1985 it caught fire…I remember thinking:: “If this thing blows we will be world news for a couple of days, and then dominate NZ news for six months (like Pike River)…but five years later no-one will remember us”… that was the day I decided to go and do something else with my life…I enrolled in the most eclectic BA known to NZ tertiary education the following year…

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  68. Steve (North Shore) (4,500 comments) says:

    arkhad@6.52 “Maybe its because ashes could upset the delicate system of a taniwha who can only digest legal tender”

    Show me a dead Taniwha, show me a live Taniwha.

    “TANIWHA” is the Moari word for Pakeha Checkbook

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  69. Johnboy (15,006 comments) says:

    We’ve never had a major well blow-out in NZ nasska so it must work.

    All the really big blow-outs we’ve ever had in NZ have been involving murri given the opportunity to get their hands on other folks money.

    Best to support a protection racket if it helps save the ecosystem I guess! :)

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  70. Steve (North Shore) (4,500 comments) says:

    I’m going to burp and fart real bad shortly.
    How much do I pay and what is Moari’s bank account number?
    Better be quick – huge fart soon

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  71. Steve (North Shore) (4,500 comments) says:

    Johnboy, what have ewe done with Judith? The silence is making my ears hurt

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  72. wreck1080 (3,735 comments) says:

    I guess this company wouldn’t do so well here…

    http://myholysmoke.com/About.html

    Several years ago I was talking with my friend and co-worker at work one evening. We were discussing the passing of one of our relatives and the topic of conversation turned to our own demise and whether we preferred burial or cremation. I told my friend that I had some cost, waste of space and ecological issues with burials and that I thought I wanted to be cremated and in some fashion, have my ashes tossed into a river or spread through the woods.

    My friend smiled and said “You know I’ve thought about this for some time and I want to be cremated. Then I want my ashes put into some turkey load shotgun shells and have someone that knows how to turkey hunt use the shotgun shells with my ashes to shoot a turkey. That way I will rest in peace knowing that the last thing that one turkey will see is me, screaming at him at about 900 feet per second.”

    Heard on newstalkzb this morning.

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  73. Rich Prick (1,557 comments) says:

    I find ashes scattered far less offensive than the mayor’s jizz sprayed round public property. Perhaps Auckland Council needs a bylaw dealing with the mayor requiring him to apply and pay a fee before he sprays the walls of the Town Hall. For all we know it may even generate more revenue.

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  74. prosper (132 comments) says:

    Johnboy
    my boat is longer than 6 meters but the tender is 3 meters. I will wear a life jacket if conditions warrant. I do not know why some council boatless bureaucrat thinks it’s his responsibility to impinge on my freedom. I was on the consultation panel. The bureaucrats ignored the expert advice.

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  75. freethinker (681 comments) says:

    Time to lodge an OIR to identify the cretin who thought this up, we can then publicize the cretins name etc so his employers(ratepayers) can scatter their scorn or a suitable substitute on him or her .

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  76. gump (1,491 comments) says:

    I live near the Rose Gardens in Parnell.

    There’s definitely an ongoing issue with people dumping ashes there. The council has even put up signs around the park entrances to ask people not to scatter the ashes. But people still do it anyway.

    My guess is that there probably are a few problem areas, so they’re proposing a blanket bylaw to deal with it.

    Seems like they’re using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut.

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  77. duggledog (1,362 comments) says:

    Why?

    Because Auckland Council is billions in debt and they have guessed correctly that meek and mild Kiwis will not do anything about it. Imagine how the French would respond they’d go mental. Kiwis take it up the arse from central & local governments time and time again

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  78. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Lecher’s ashes will be laid under a Chou structure, never left home.

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  79. G152 (158 comments) says:

    Whats the biggie?
    Ashes are ashes.
    Doesn’t matter if they’re out of a fireplace or a crematorium.
    You should be able to place them where ever the person asked to be placed and where you want.
    Some authorities need to remember who’s paying their inflated wages

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  80. Akaroa (544 comments) says:

    Off topic (Sorry)

    RE: David at 7.56 pm: “…….I enrolled in the most eclectic BA known to NZ tertiary education the following year…”

    I’m interested David. Mine was pretty eclectic too: Political Science (!!) — Wot a larf!!

    Just went to demonstrate to me – if any demonstration was needed, that is – what an charade higher education really is. At Uni I met people who were qualified academically to the nth degree – (no pun intended btw) – but who’d have trouble crossing the road.

    Well, maybe not quite as bad as that, but i’m sure you get my drift.

    No, The finest ‘Uni’ – to use the in-term – is the wider University of Life and Living. Gives you all the smarts to survive and prosper.

    (You’ll ask, ‘Why study for a University degree then, if you consider it practically worthless?”

    The answer to that is that to get anywhere in this life you have to play the silly game everyone else is playing – and in this context that means ‘Get a degree – any degree!!”

    As they say” QED (!!)

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  81. jem (47 comments) says:

    Not much they can do to you …after they’ve been scattered !
    I am really interested to see how they plan on policing this!!!

    “But officer, I just dropped some of my fireplace ash”… how can they react to that?!
    Simply a joke , it’ll never fly.

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  82. Steve Wrathall (243 comments) says:

    Too much ash on the roses? Simple. Add some sulfur to lower the pH…Or they could enact a bylaw

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