30 Jul 2011

World Cup waka not destined for destruction

3:58 pm on 30 July 2011

A member of the steering group behind a Rugby World Cup waka in Auckland denies that the showpiece faces demolition once the event is over.

The Government has provided nearly $2 million to Ngati Whatua o Orakei to build the 75-metre craft as a showcase for Maori culture on the waterfront during the tournament.

The New Zealand Herald reports that tribal leaders are worried the waka could be a financial burden once the cup is over.

But a steering group member Ngarimu Blair says talk of the craft being destroyed is nonsense and the waka will be used for many years all over the world to promote New Zealand.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples endorses that view and says the newspaper report is untrue.

Dr Sharples says Ngati Whatua will have full ownership of the plastic waka after the World Cup and if there is any suggestion of the iwi destroying it because of money problems, the Government would likely step in.

He says the iwi views the waka ownership as a business investment, and there has already been interest from other Maori groups wanting to use it after the tournament.