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CBD Rail Link Sacred Topic - City Rail Link - AKT

CBD Rail Link Sacred Topic


Update Horotiu discovers Twitter - his feed


Thank goodness for that.

Even if the Government had approved the CBD rail link it wouldn’t have been able to happen.

Maori Statutory Board member Glenn Wilcox has complained to the Council that no one has asked the local Ngati Whatua about it at all. And they are supposed to as the iwi was here first.

“What’s being done about the taniwha Horotiu who lives just outside here, and that tunnel will be going right through his rohe (area).”

Taniwha according to www.teara.govt.nz/en/taniwha

A few years back the transport agency (Transit) decided to move part of SH1  after Ngati Naho of Meremere protested that the highway cut through the domain of one eyed taniwha Karu Tahi.

According to the official NZ encyclopedia Witi Ihimaera, author of The whale rider, says that he has a kaitiaki (guardian) which is a taniwha. Her name is Hine Te Ariki and she lives in the Waipāoa River.

Maybe Hine could give Horotiu a call and tell him it’s OK, the tunnel is all good.
The politically correct encyclopaedia also reminds us the building of a prison in Ngāwhā, Northland, was also opposed because of belief in a taniwha.

“Takauere, a taniwha in the form of a log, was said to have been created by a Ngāpuhi ancestress, Kareariki. While he was mainly located at Lake Ōmāpere he was also believed to manifest himself at Ngāwhā Springs and other geothermal areas. Local hapū were concerned that the prison would impede his travel. Ultimately, against these objections the prison was built.”

Thank goodness we got the unelected Maori representatives on the Council transport committee so they can give us a reality check.

I’m happier now I dont’ feel so bad about Steven saying no as it would not have been right.

Never upset a taniwha. According to the encyclopaedia they are angry beasts. Maybe we could get Horotiu to have a meeting with the Minister?

Even though the Rail Link might have helped Auckland’s transport woes and boost inner-city rejuvenation, depending on which version of the story you believe, there is no way we could have messed with a taniwha.

That aside, it was good to see Auckland Council and Transport officials positively pressing ahead with their determination to get the Link happening.

Work to be done on brainstorming possible funding avenues is exactly the course that is needed now that Bill English has shut his cash register on the project.

Who knows some bright out of the box idea may come forth, although some of the big funding options (like regional taxes and tolls) still need a government buy in.

The Council and Auckland Transport is doing a good job in not rolling over but acting as if it will still happen. It has to.

Auckland Transport has publicly reminded us no development means the city’s roads and railway lines would become clogged by 2024, when there would be no spare capacity left for trains and buses, let alone more cars.

The Government and their officials remain living in the belief this is 1960s and Auckland can become a motorway jungle like LA.






  1. Doloras says:

    Eh, taniwha can be appeased. As someone was saying elsewhere, this kind of stuff happens all the time in Hong Kong with various feng shui operators and priests needing to be appeased when new infrastructure projects go through. Sometimes a cash donation helps; other times something symbolic (pictures of the taniwha Horotiu on the walls of the Aotea Square station?)

  2. Owen Thompson says:

    Does this unelected Maori on an advisory board honestly believe this? Seems like another way to fleece the PC European.

  3. Cam says:

    Wow Glenn Wilcox sounds like a real asset to the Auckland council. Really glad he’s there, somebody had to warn us about Horatio the Taniwha.

    I’m sure stumping up a cash donation to this guy to appease his imaginary friend would be a great use of public funds.

  4. Kiran says:

    I wonder if it possible to have a Public–private partnership for the rail link, just like they do in Australia.

  5. JB says:

    Wilcox makes a stronger argument than Joyce

  6. Anthony says:

    Jeezes, IMO, I reckon the Taniwha’s on top of the Beehive in Wellington make Horatio like like a cute kitten…

  7. Patrick R says:

    Cool! The CRL just got itself a spirit. I’m sure Horotiu would love to have a bigger underground playground than just the sorrow of his stream in a pipe…. bring him onboard.

    Transport cat-fight: Jacinada v. Nikki here:


    Go Jacinda!

  8. Doloras says:

    I’ve got little time for the Labour Party, but am seriously considering giving my electorate vote to Jacinda just to watch her give Nikki a spanking. Not that Nikki’s a bad or incompetent MP, but she’s muzzled by her party policy on PT.

  9. Kurt says:

    Thank you National, thank you John Key and of course thank you ACT for giving Auckland an unelected expensive body like this who can endanger a development because of a myth.

    Fantastic if this were the 12th century, then we could take this lot seriously.


    I can’t wait for the Save the Troll department to speak out.

  10. Matt L says:

    Who voted for Glenn? oh that’s right nobody, he’s unelected and trying to make decisions that affect everyone else that lives in the region.

  11. Carl says:

    I wish i could pretend I had an imaginary dragon under my house so i could get some money to.

    All respect aside, PISS OFF, how is that it just so happens to pop up know?

    why in 2011 are we still allowing this rubbish to happen.

    I remember when the built the motorway down by Meremere power station, they had to realign it because apparently one slept there.

    honestly this is no kindy, its a fable.

  12. tbird says:

    Sometimes a cash donation helps; other times something symbolic

    I’ve got a sneaking suspicion they’re aiming for the former!

    The sad thing is that Len Brown supports this bullshit. So do the Greens.

  13. Matt L says:

    The other thing to remember is that the route was released in March last year, local iwi have had 15 months to raise this so why now?

  14. richard says:

    Can we please have a map showing where all the taniwha live so we all know where to avoid before expending huge resources and effort trying to advance this country and city

  15. Buffalo Bob says:

    Ngati Whatua is getting a free plastic waka events centre………surely this is enough to please the Taniwha….

  16. Patrick R says:

    Settle and simmer people, this is not an issue to be so angry about, or are there other frustrations being vented here? Compared with Mr Joyce Horotiu is not an obstacle he could well be an ally….

  17. anonymous says:

    it’s funny how everyone here can talk like they know what they are talking about. Did you ever think this was taken out of context…I have worked with the media and trust me, its a whole lot of bullshit to sell a good story.

  18. DanC says:

    The Maori people have strong beliefs in things we might not understand. I do think that when the link is built to acknowledge this would be good for all parties. And not as in “donations” but a sculpture, art, story that all can see. Good to show the Maori beliefs right in the heart of the CBD, good to have this passed on to future generations of all races and good for tourism.

  19. Harry says:

    How long until Stephen Joyce uses the taniwha as another reason not to build the rail link

  20. Giel says:

    Understanding peoples beliefs and rituals is important to human enlightenment and not to be rubbished as some are doing here.  The Maori understand more about the world in a metaphysical sense than many Pakeha do and before you rubbish that I suggest some understanding of quantum physics and philosophy is required. It is not rubbish but a representation of a enlightenment that many modern humans have lost and that science combined with metaphysics and spiritualism will eventually re discover. Anyway respect it and work with it for the good of the project! As some have said to do so may indeed help the project

  21. Matt L says:

    Giel - my issue is not the Taniwha itself but the fact the route has been public knowledge for 15 months and is only now an issue plus that it is raised on a council committee by someone who the residents of the city had no say in whether they should be there or not.

  22. Owen Thompson says:

    Giel, I’m European.

  23. tbird says:

    “The Maori understand more about the world in a metaphysical sense”

    That explains their high employment rate and low child abuse statistics. This metaphysics stuff sounds really useful. I guess it’s a branch of physics.

    What we need is to import a luckdragon and the Loch Ness Monster for a period to convince this taniwha to move. Let’s all pray to Jesus Christ the Lord God our Saviour for this to happen!

    Holy, holy, holy. Lord God of power and might. May we tunnel through Maori taniwhas, but in the tunnel we shall not drown.

  24. Giel says:

    Matt L- No issue with your point just the rubbishing of the idea that others have stated here.
    Owen Get with the play the fact you are European is not relevant. The modern definition of Pakeha is a person with no Maori ancestry - so includes many races including Asian. Yes 50 years ago it may have meant European but not today - so yes you are European but also Pakeha unless of course you have Maori ancestry. Language in it’s use is always evolving and today’s is quite different from a 100 or even 20 years ago! So in the context I used it, it was the best word to describe the non Maori races.

  25. Patrick R says:

    Not sure ‘European’ is really a useful description in this context, unless of course you are from Europe, ie have an EU passport. Like ‘caucasian’ which rarely referred to anyone from Caucasia but was used as a fancy way of saying white. I really like the moniker Pakeha as it gives me something to be rather than using a word that (rather inaccurately) describes somewhere my forbears came from, but that I don’t live in and in fact that I can only visit for limited periods. Quite keen on the CRL having a Taniwha too, hope he’ll stay……

  26. Carl says:

    Giel - all rubbish aside, the only maori that believe in this so called enlightment are the ones that know how to use it when they can get something they need.

    I’m sorry, I have a lot of maori friends, I have a lot of friends from different decent also, but every time something needs to be built, its like “oh actually he lives there, maybe we’ll get some money”.

    these things didn’t require money 100′s or 1000′s of years ago when the existed and if they wake up know, awesome, maybe they might gobble up all the idiots who believe in it.

    in the context of faith, if they go to church of an domination and say this stuff is real, they are actually controdicting themselves, because most religions preach you can’t respect false gods….

    they aren’t real, no one has ever seen one, there are no bones to prove anything.

    science is real, this stuff is not, because lets face it, they only seem to wake up when maybe some money is on offer….

  27. Sam Finnemore says:

    “How long until Stephen Joyce uses the taniwha as another reason not to build the rail link”

    In this morning’s Herald he drily pointed out that Treasury have already identified several fiscal taniwha in the way - so this is just a handy political bonus from opponents’ perspective to paint the whole rail link project as a farce, no matter how easily it might end up being resolved through further consultation.

  28. Giel says:

    Carl - “Real” is what you have defined it to be in the context of what “you know” it to be - problem is that it is not necessarily “real” for someone else or might not always be “real”. I suggest if one is to appreciate such belief systems they look into philosophy. Science is often a word that people use to debunk things they don’t understand or appreciate - true Science is open to any hypothesis and confirms something as “true” on preconditions that are in satisfied in the original hypothesis until of course something else comes along to prove the original hypothesis conditions were wrong - which happens all the time in science eg Hypothesis “All Dogs have tails” - so if you see something that doesn’t have a tail but looks like a Dog it isn’t a Dog! Perhaps the hypothesis was wrong and it is a Dog after all!! As I said the Taniwha is not necessarily “real” in the way you understand “real” to be but maybe a manifestation of other things “real” for the people that believe and thus deserving of respect .

    Anyway who said they were after money - that is just your interpretation of “reality” not necessarily others. Also I actually found Steven Joyce’ s comment’s on it rather amusing – remember as the Cheese add says – “Good things take time” and so it is with the CBD tunnel. Progress is being made!

  29. Doloras says:

    Yeah, every time this comes up the people who really, really can’t stand Maori people, have no respect for their traditions, and think that they’re at the bottom of social statistics because it’s their own fault, pollute the thread with…. the R-word.

    Let’s put it this way - everyone knows that the ghosts of the dead are “a fable”, “not real”, etc, but if you started being mean and sarcastic because people didn’t like the idea of a motorway or rail line going through a graveyard, you would be seen as an insensitive boor.

  30. Greg says:

    Having been involved in the engineering of several civil construction projects that local iwi were holding up because of a Taniwhia who lives there. It is strange thou, what happens is the local iwi elders will request money under the table for the taniwha to move somewhere else. You pay the money out of miscellaneous and resource consent budgets and taniwha disappears, the next week you see the elders down at the local Ford or Holden dealership getting a new car. We’re just not allowed to have the actual payment in any official document and the worse part is the money doesn’t appear to go to the iwi for their social benefits but the elder’s own pockets.

  31. Ingolfson says:

    I think it is painful to think that such an important piece of infrastructure should, potentially, be seriously held up, or - scientific age of reason forbid - be blocked by what is essentially magical thinking.

    But unless one is rude about singling out Maori, that has nothing to do with racism. Pakeha and other races have (or have had) lots of pretty weird, and totally unscientific beliefs too, which have been used - cycnically, or with all sincerity - to stop beneficial projects.

    As for the graveyard comments, Doloras - doesn’t it make a difference between whether it’s an actual graveyard, or a mythical site, emphasis on the “myth”, in my opinion? Also, we have built lots of motorways through graveyards (Symonds Street cemetary is about half the size it once was). It would be particularly ironic if we now, decades later, stopped a project that will prevent MORE motorways being bulldozed through elsewhere because of that.

    And finally - what if the Taniwha LOVES trains? I know that comment is pretty irreverent, but why should we always suppose that mythical figures are grouchy?

  32. Doloras says:

    Yeah, but I think it was WRONG to build the motorways through Grafton Gully and Bowen St cemetery in Wellington. I don’t believe in an afterlife in a mythical sense, but I think that a culture which doesn’t respect the bones of its dead is kind of sick. And I think that in NZ progress should take taniwha seriously for the same reason that in Hong Kong progress takes feng shui seriously.

    Actually, the question of whether the taniwha loves trains isn’t irreverent, it’s actually a good one which can be answered within the frame of reference in which the term “taniwha” means something. I have suggested elsewhere that Horotiu might be satisfied to have pictures of him (her?) on the walls of the Aotea station.

  33. Matt L says:

    Doloras - I don’t think this is so much an issue of resentment of beliefs but the way it has been raised which has pretty obviously been done to get attention more than anything else because:
    a) the route has been known about for 15 months so why raise it as an issue now,
    b) that iwi were consulted before the final route was chosen and again late last year, there is no indication there was ever a problem then.

  34. Luke says:

    I think people are worrying about things a bit much.
    The head of the Maori statutory board played things down a-lot on Radio NZ this morning.
    The board memeber was trying to make a point that the Auckland council had ignored Maori generally.
    The taniwha lived in the old stream along Queen St, so there is no way to avoid it. If this is seen as a sacred site then I’m sure that appropriate acknowledgement and a blessing or similar will help soothe the tension.
    There are still several years before construction starts so I dont think this is a big issue.

  35. Willuknight says:

    What a load of metaphysical bullshit.

  36. Carl says:

    if its a scared site, has everything else that has been built around it or on been asked for compensation?

    next thing, someone will want to start charging an admin fee to get in this area.

    if car, buses and trucks can trundle along above ground, then we go underground.

    fair game if its a burial or arch site and there remains or artifacts present.

    I wonder if we’ll also have to get someone to walk over it to a do a water devine with two sticks?

    honestly, who is paying this guy to speak up now to hold up the situation? because its just stalling it even more.

    the rest of the world moves and we still don’t have a decent transport system.

    man when the british media arrive for the Rugby, they are going to have a field day with stuff like this.

  37. Patrick R says:

    Fantastic, let’s rebrand the CRL; The Taniwha Line, something to scare Joyce with as we make it rise from the dead…..

  38. Tasi says:

    After reading today the comments made by Ngati Whatua representatives, the Taniwha sounds more like a chance to reflect on the environmental impact, rather than a spiritual monster. Sounds sensible to me.

  39. Giel says:

    Sounds a good name to me - like it

  40. BD says:

    Not only has the CBD link managed to reach all the local NZ papers it has even managed to appear on the Daily Telegraph Newspaper. Now the whole world knows about it.


    Hopefully all this publicity will generate a positive return and make the loop happen a lot sooner than we think!

  41. Sam Finnemore says:

    Breaking news! Taniwha confirmed as actually not that big a deal after all.


    Unfortunately, judging from Herald letters/cartoon and the general NZ blogosphere, a lot of people are already in full-on “Yet another bloody ripoff from the Maaaaris” mode and likely to stay that way for a little while.

  42. PT says:

    Well said Sam.

    Its a shame to see that some of our enlightened group’s foresight extends only so far and in certain directions. The media jumps on this Taniwha story, realising its headline grabbing qualities amongst middle NZ and hook, line and sinker some of our fraternity (no doubt frustrated by the actions of an S. Joyce) find an outlet for their frustrations and set about defining the comments and actions taken by a few, as the inherent beliefs and characteristics of the many.

    You’d think we’d no better, and thankfully some of our group do.


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