New Zealand Gov’t Building $1.5 Million Waka for Rugby World Cup

The New Zealand government, in an attempt to celebrate the culture of the native Maori, the native culture people who assimilated with visiting Europeans at the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.  A Herald Sun article describes the structure:

A GIANT plastic canoe being built especially for the Rugby World Cup is causing a cultural and financial furore across the Tasman.

Nicknamed the “tupperwaka”, a play on the Maori name for canoe, the huge pavilion is set to grace Auckland’s waterfront by the time the tournament kicks off in September.

The 60-metre long, 15-metre high government-funded structure will be able to fit 1000 people standing or 200 seated for dinner and will be an entertainment and cultural hub for 17 days of the games.

But there has been significant opposition to the building of the structure, with many proclaiming it a waste of money for a nation reeling in debt.

The country’s opposition Maori affairs spokesman Shane Jones likened it to plastic kitchenware, labelling it a “nauseatingly wasteful gift” from a government in deep deficit.

And a New Zealand Herald editorial today doubted it would add much to the games either.

“The waka, we are assured, will be ‘world class’ and ‘showcase New Zealand’,” John Armstrong wrote.

“We are only fooling ourselves if we believe that claptrap. Its economic value is zilch and it will not draw one extra rugby fan from overseas.”

There is going to be a massive rugby tournament attended by rugby supporters from around the globe.  There is going to be a giant boat on the water for people to eat, drink and dance on.  And the people of New Zealand think this will not be worth it?  I am betting the people opposing this idea are those who don’t like to drink, eat and dance.

And you want proof this idea will work?  Here’s some.  Until I read this Herald Sun piece, I knew nothing about the Maori.  I just spent thirty minutes engrossed in their culture.

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