12 Feb 2014

Trans-Tasman row over Maori totem poles

7:50 pm on 12 February 2014

A trans-Tasman row has erupted over Maori totem poles.

Two four metre high carved pou have been commissioned by the Blacktown City Council in New South Wales to commemorate the 30 year Sister City relationship with Porirua.

But the decision to put up the carved Maori poles at the entrance of the Nurragingy Reserve has outraged the local aboriginal community.

A Darug aboriginal elder, Sandra Lee, is upset that neither the Blacktown City Council nor the Maori community have properly consulted her people about it.

She says she's happy for the carved poles to stand anywhere inside the reserve, but not at the entrance.

The pou are being carved in Australia by two skilled wood carvers from Porirua under the guidance of Ngati Toa elders.

The Blacktown City Council says the Maori totem poles will be placed within the New Zealand South Pacific Garden in the Nurragingy Reserve, not at the front gate.

The carved pou have been scheduled to be unveiled in May.