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Letters to the Editor



Governance system needed
Recent events in the Mangawhai Village and Hakaru RSA have culminated in court appearances and criminal convictions for two local residents. This should alert and serve as a warning to local organisations that vigilance needs to be exercised to ensure that they to do not become victims to those who seek to prey on and infiltrate their ranks for personal gain.

Many local organisations rely on community-minded people to serve on their teams of volunteers and as committee members to manage their affairs. Most organisations have sound governance and financial management frameworks that are both transparent and open. Some however may not and this will make them vulnerable to those who will view them as soft targets to take advantage of and exploit.

Local organisations by their very nature are made up of trusting and accepting people who want to make a positive contribution in their communities. In today’s world this is sadly not enough and safeguards built into the way in which organisations operate are a necessary precaution to protect from the unscrupulous who seek out opportunities to exploit flawed systems for their own advantage.

The many community organisations operating in Mangawhai and the surrounding districts may want to take heed of the recent activities of the two locals who were convicted of dishonesty offences, to ensure that they do not fall victim to similar miscreant behaviour. Establishing sound governance and financial management systems are a starting point and regular scheduled reviews important to ensure that where necessary changes are made to maintain the integrity of systems.

With this in mind CommunityNet Aotearoa is an excellent resource for those wanting to learn more about good governance or those who do not have the expertise in the ranks of their organisations to develop good governance structures. It is an online hub of resources designed to strengthen community organisations and was set up in 2013 by the Department of Internal Affairs to provide the right tools to build and develop community organisations. Definitely worth a look.

Irene Donaldson/Derek Parrott
Former committee members The Anchorage Association Incorporated Society


Look before you leap
Northland doctor Lance O’Sullivan has until recently been a role model for many youngsters in the Far North. Then along came the movie Vaxxed: From Cover-Up To Catastrophe. Dr O’Sullivan was invited by the organisers to view the documentary but refused the offer, instead acting in an intimidatory manner to disrupt the screening.

If he had taken the trouble to watch the movie he would have discovered that it was not anti-vaccination as such but critical of the multiple MMR injection given at a very early age before a baby’s immune system was sufficiently developed to cope with such an invasive procedure.

The documentary actually encouraged vaccination, but pleaded for the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) inoculations to be administered separately instead of in one hit, thus eliminating harmful additives contained in the multiple injection and allowing the child’s inbuilt immune system to gradually adjust to the invasive greeblies.

Dr O’Sullivan has obviously formed his opinion through “fake news” media reports that were more concerned with sensationalism than they were with facts.

There is an apparent world-wide trend to shout down opinions that conflict with one’s own – something that can be observed in this country with activists screaming out words such as racist, homophobe, xenophobe etcetera, and even threatening violence instead of entering into rational debate on any given subject, completely ignoring the fact that by listening to an opposing viewpoint they may learn something new.

Freedom of speech is indispensible for democracy to prevail, but there are those who would not hesitate to destroy the democratic rights of others in order to promote a personal agenda.

Let us hope that those who previously held Dr O’Sullivan in such high regard can recognise his behaviour on this one occasion as a temporary aberration and not let it cloud their appreciation of the fine work that he has been doing in the medical field.

Next time, Dr O’Sullivan, please look before you leap.

Mitch Morgan


Early Shipwreck History
Your correspondent Liz Clark needs to do more serious research into our early history on several counts; one of which is shipwrecks.

Since a trip up the coast of Western Australia, visiting all their maritime museums, it reignited my interest in the subject.

From what I understand, our own Northern West Coast has over 100 ancient wrecks, which puts it on par with Australia for the number per 100 kilometres of coast.

Without the available overseas archival material, Liz Clark could at least read the book To The Ends Of The Earth And Back, one of over 70 well researched books on our history I have in my own library.

The Portugese and Spanish history is enlightening and my research shows that the so-called ‘oldest wreck in New Zealand’ is almost certainly the Cicillia Maria, of Portugese origin, circa mid-1500s, located in Midge Bay.

Waitaha oral history gives a clear account of its stranding and the slaughter of the 22 crew except the captain, Pieta Condantouz de Lamora. He was wearing full armour and helmet and considered to have tohanga status by the Ngapuhi war party.

This captain was taken to the Bay of Islands, given a Maori maiden as his wife, and decendents using the name Pieta and various derivations are still among us.

The suggestion that the wreck is of Dutch origin has been made by Winston Cowie and Johnathon Palmer, the dendrochronologist, after analysis of timbers. These were teak and lagerstromia and I have the full 7-page report in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Unfortunately, the piece of teak given to these researchers, was not from the same wreck, due to one of the mismatched labelling mistakes in the Dargaville Museum, an honest mistake made by staff. Consulting with Noel Hilliam, who has salvaged almost all the maritime timber on display, could have prevented this.

The extensive identification and carbon dating of these timbers however, is all valuable archival material.

I quote from the ‘conclusions’ paragraph of the report mentioned earlier: “The dimensions and technology used suggest the vessel may be of Dutch origin but further work, including an extensive excavation, is needed to confirm this.”

Hilliam has never subscribed to a Dutch origin of this wreck.

B Jones

Climate change not considered?
As a Ruakaka resident I presume I am right in thinking that the item ‘Alarm over subdivision’ in the latest edition of the Mangawhai Focus refers to Mangawhai Central. Has it not occurred to anyone to consider the effects of climate change in this instance of predicted sea level rise on land adjoining a tidal estuary?

There have already been numerous warnings of the need to exercise caution when proposing development in coastal areas. Does this developer consider that the Mangawhai estuary will be exempt and so, like Donald Trump, does not believe in climate change? The only problem here is that climate change is not a belief or new religion but a scientifically observable fact whether we like it or not.

Just because developers and residents alike cannot see any change does not mean it is not underway. A visit to the Arctic, Antarctic or even more locally to the retreating glaciers in our Southern Alps would confirm that global warming is in action.

May I suggest that before proceeding any further, the vulnerability of this proposed site to sea level rise should be investigated. For instance, try reading Climate Change and the Coast: Building Residential Communities.” Better still, contact one of the editors Bruce Glavovic, EQC Professor of natural hazard planning at Massey University. Of course there are always the latest IPCC assessments (Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change) and a contributor Professor James Renwick, climate change scientist at Victoria University would be another useful informant.

Not only will tidal levels in the Mangawhai estuary rise but will also be periodically elevated by low pressure and warm surges. By just how much it is difficult to predict at this point in time. Nevertheless uncertainty is no excuse for inaction. Here in Ruakaka, as a result of over-enthusiasm and under-researched planning, another proposed development, Marsden City has still failed to take off some ten or so years later (though for very different reasons I might add). But surely it would still pay both the developers and the KDC to take a second look at the long term viability of Mangawhai Central before proceeding further. Although we have yet to see a detailed plan it does appear that at least some parts of this proposed development are too close to the estuary for comfort.

M B Hicks


In response
Dear B Jones (re LTTE, Mangawhai Focus, May 29):

Actually I have educated myself, which is why I do heritage research. In doing this kind of work the role includes investigating all sources when it comes to a given site. Those questions include 'X has been stated, why is that?' and thus the sourcing is followed up.

Despite the claims made of stone cities in Waipoua, the fully available unrestricted archaeological reports state to the contrary. The sites studied by real archaeologists (not self-proclaimed ones) have concluded all are of Maori origin.

The recent debacle involving the disturbance of urupa by Mr Noel Hilliam has now involved an investigation by Heritage New Zealand. All pre-1900 sites Maori and European (or otherwise imagined) under the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act (2014) require a permit to excavate any archaeological site, known or not.

The attempts at reinventing our heritage based upon conjecture rather than hard actual archaeological evidence fails to impress. All studies have shown the first people in New Zealand were of polynesian origins.

Regardless of the attempts by the extreme far right to use the 'anything but Maori were here first' version of their own devising, the Treaty of Waitangi is a legally binding document between Iwi and the Crown which cannot be undone no matter what Mr Hilliam, Mr Bolton, Doutre, Cook and Brailsford would like to see.

I rest my case.
Liz Clark


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