We suppose that there is no surprise that the fact a huge waka was to be built as part of the Rugby World Cup 2011 was greeted with derision from across the political spectrum. ACT, and Labour both hate it.
But it is Labours Shane Jones who is looking silliest.
He was first out of the block this morning claiming it belittled Maori. No he belittled Maori by showing that he was wanker who wanted the ratepayer to pay for his guilty little pleasures.
He called it a plastic waka. Its not. Its a grand showpiece for Maori culture. But the Government and the Maori Party were slow to react to the instant media storm he created. It has undoubtedly been the populist story of the day.
The Jones boy has harped on saying it is not " traditional." As a Ngai Tahu muttonbirder we have replaced kelp bags with plastic buckets to store our muttonbirds in. Traditions are not static. We build on what we learn.Traditions evolve. Poi are made out of all sorts of modern material theses days as are piu piu.
So his assertion that it fails for not being "traditional" are spurious.
Not sure where watching porn in a hotel room fits with Traditional Maori practices but maybe Jones Dalmation ancestors were voyeurs...
And perhaps if the Honourable member for the Far North goes in and out of the Uber Waka a few times he might find it is a pleasurable experience.
We think that the Uber Waka or ( Wakanui) is an inspired concept. Its a big idea. Its fun and it represents the pioneer spirit of Maori who travelled huge distances to call Aotearoa home. We are a people of the water. Its our playground, and its our food basket and Waka were the transport so what better way to transport visitors to the past to show our story. It is the very embodiment of modern thinking coupled with a nod to a rich past.
And $2 million is not a hell of a lot in the scheme of things. Especially if it offers Maori the chance to showcase their traditions old and new and offers the chance to develop work skills and jobs.
Maori own the tourism scene in Rotorua - may they give Auckland a shake up.
After all there are by our reckoning a fair few Maori in the All Black Team. They have adopted a traditional Haka as their own. The World Cup imagery is laced with a modern take on traditional Maori designs.
So to say that we shouldn't have something tied to the Rugby World cup that is uniquely Maori is just silly.
Think about the possibilities of the Big Waka for jobs and for promotion of this country. Remember tourists come here to get a taste of the essential New Zealand - Not all of them will be able to make it onto a real Marae. So the Uber Waka has a place to play in whetting their appetite for more exposure to the many facets of our culture.
Anyway, we think that the Uber Waka is bloody fantastic. So everyone needs to take a bloody big deep breath.