A blog stalker accuses

There’s a lot of funny ironies on blogs, and this is one – a commenter on The Standard has accused me of stalking him:

Te Reo Putake

ps, prism, you’re not alone in trying to work out the meaning. Check out my stalker! :roll:

There’s actually multiple ironies there. ‘Te Reo Putake’, previously ‘The Voice of Reason’, is one of the most unreasonable voices I’ve seen at The Standard, a union/Labour hack who tries to shut out any voices he doesn’t like.

And accusing me of stalking takes the cake – I wrote one post about him. This is the second, over two months later.

‘Te Reo Putake’ was a resident Standard stalker who tried to troll attack me frequently for more than a year. He knew he was under protection of The Standard moderators so could be as abusive and disruptive as he wanted without fear of any restriction, and knew I was under severe moderator restrictions that end up in a permanent ban. He was an integral part of The Standard machine that kept desperately trying to control their attack lines and clobbered anyone trying to hold them to account.

Labour activists stalk away, wondering at the same time why their party struggles to regain support.

An alternative translation of ‘Te Reo Putake’ is “The Standard Taniwha’.

Labour Krampus and Patrick Gower

Patrick Gower has annoyed some in Labour by dredging up

Shearer departs from water rights thesis

By Patrick Gower

Labour Party leader David Shearer has long-held beliefs that taniwha must be respected when it comes to Maori and their interests in water. His views can be traced back to his master’s thesis, and he stands by them today.

But it turns out Mr Shearer has a degree of expertise on the issue – a master’s thesis in fact. It was called Between Two Worlds, Maori Values and Environmental Decision-Making.

In his thesis he advocated that “the belief in taniwha or spiritual pollution…while they may appear irrational to many…cannot simply be dismissed as irrelevant”. It’s a belief he still holds today.

“I absolutely stick by that,” says the Labour Party leader. He says we should acknowledge taniwha. “We have been doing that for the last 20-something years when we have made decisions around water.”

But Mr Shearer isn’t so keen on all his ideas from 1986, such as making ‘Marae Forum’, a “compulsory requirement” that developers, councils and Government must attend.

“That was 25 years ago. Things have moved on a lot since then.”

I agree, a thesis 25 years ago has little relevance to what Shearer might think today. Nevertheless Labour leadership has responded:

Grant Robertson ‏@grantrobertson1

@patrickgowernz Paddy, I have one of your exercise books from 1986. Hard to believe you were that gullible about Santa Claus. #revealatsix

Paddy will be devastated by that revelation.

Trying to take the wrapping off ancient media gifts runs the risk of Krampus his style.

The taniwha dilemma

It’s difficult to know how to deal with Taniwha stories.

On one hand there are thoughts of showing respect for Maori customs.
And on the other there’s an inclination to call aout old superstitions.

Taniwha are a bit like Irish leprechauns, but there seems to be a general reluctance to laugh at taniwha so as not to offend anyone. We are now in an age of Maori Correctness.

There is also the difficulty of definition – what exactly is a taniwha? It’s not ‘a thing’, it can be various things.



(noun) water spirit, monster, chief, something or someone awesome – taniwha take many forms from logs to reptiles and whales and often live in lakes, rivers or the sea. They are often regarded as guardians by the people who live in their territory.


In Māori mythology, taniwha are beings that live in deep pools in rivers, dark caves, or in the sea, especially in places with dangerous currents or deceptive breakers. They may be considered highly respected kaitiaki (protective guardians) of people and places, or in some traditions as dangerous, predatory beings, which for example would kidnap women to have as wives.

So who’s meaning it is and how the meaning is used can make it confusing.

In the current context of taniwha guardianship over water, are taniwha:

  • highly respected spiritual kaitiaki (protective guardians) of waterways?
  • predatory beings, which for example would hijack a political process for financial gain?

So the crux of the dilemma is:

There are people who genuinely believe in old spiritual legends, and there are people who use any advantage they can to extort a financial advantage.

And it’s difficult to tell them apart.

Are we confused, or are we being exploited?

On taniwha it’s it’s it’s…difficult to comment diplomatically

Reporting from the Maori Council statement at the Waitangi Tribunal.

Taniwha proof of Maori water rights

Mr Geiringer said hapu and iwi which spoke at the hearing had clearly shown that the relationship they had with their water in 1840 and since was akin to the modern English concept of ownership.

“Hapu have had in 1840 a relationship for which the closest cultural equivalent within modern English concepts is one of ownership – of full-blown property rights. What I’m going to ask you to find is that one at least it seems highly likely that the same could be said of every hapu and every water resource throughout Aotearoa.”

He said Pakeha scoffed at the concept of taniwha because they did not understand it.

However, the Maori belief that taniwha were the guardians of their waterways giving them exclusive use of that water was evidence that Maori believed they ‘owned’ the water in modern English terms.

“People say ‘in this resource is my taniwha, my guardian spirit. He protects me, he protects my water resource. He’s not your taniwha so if you are going to use that resource without my permission, he will do terrible things to you’.

Phew, what can one say apart from “I think this makes Key’s option of ignoring a bit easier”.

Ok, I can saymore, but just as well I can’t comment at The Standard at the moment, any perceived slight on anything Maori can get a hammering there. Nevertheless I’ll try and keep it diplomatic.

I can understand that there may have been widespread belief in taniwha in 1840. But we are living in 2012, 172 years later. Most Maori will now be either Christian or non-religious.

If Maori claims want to be taken seriously they have to get serious. I don’t know if they really deeply feel they are right about taniwha based rights, or they are trying it on, knowing that criticism of Maori culture is often severely frowned on.

But I’ll stand up and call this as I see it. We have to put a stop to this mumbo jumbo coercion. This is a taniwha too far.

Note: In the same news report from NZH it says that the Maori Council counsel has had a severe cut to his fees. On the surface this seems very unfair to the claimants.