"We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity" - Neil Roberts

Until we have legislation adopted into law to ensure fiduciary accountability and transparency in public affairs we will continue to have human rights breached because the existing crown immunity and lack of any independent oversight invites corruption to flourish.


"Question authority, and think for yourself" - Timothy Leary


"We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity" - Neil Roberts


"Information is the currency of democracy" - Thomas Jefferson


‎"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does." - Margaret Mead

"The truth is like a lion, you don't have to defend it. Let it loose, it will defend itself."

"I = m c 2 [squared] where "I" am information" - Timothy Leary

"Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." Leonard Cohen

"The internet is a TV that watches you"

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Julian Batchelor's dodgy earthworks:

Julian Batchelor's been a busy man.  Below is a screenshot from Mr Batchelor's website.

Much of the material on Mr Batchelor's websites has been blatantly plagiarised from the local tangata whenua and their own existing land management plans, but Julian Batchelor likes to make out that all this is his idea, and he is leading the local tangata whenua who are his great friends.  This would not seem to be the case in actual fact.  In fact, emails between Mr Batchelor and Ngati Kuta kaumatua and hapu representatives expose a very ugly picture of Mr Batchelor indeed, nothing like the image Mr Batchelor likes to portray in his carefully stage managed public profile.

"Recently we wrote to the Department of Conservation and the Government asking them to seriously consider . . . " blah blah - this is directly copied from the hapu resource management plans and marae websites.  But Julian Batchelor hasn't consulted with hapu at all.  His communications with the tangata whenu seem to be that he met a couple of Maori chaps on the beach one day, asked them if they were locals, they told him they were, so he asked them if they'd like a job mowing his lawns etc.  Julian is now claiming that these chaps told him they were local kaumatua and authorised to speak for the hapu and make important decisions.  On the beach. Or while they were mowing the lawns perhaps . . .

Ngati Kuta and Patukeha would have expected Mr Batchelor to have written to the hapu long ago requesting a formal meeting to discuss his extravagant plans.  If he had done so a hui would have been convened at Te Rawhiti Marae, and notices issued to the whanau far and wide to allow full consultation, to facilitate this.  Mr Batchelor is a real estate agent.  He knows all about the importance of doing due diligence, and the implications of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, including the all important and much overlooked fourth clause of Te Tiriti regarding the sanctity of preserving the Maori spiritual beliefs and freedom of religion.

Julian Batchelor, as a real estate agent.  He is also very well aware of the importance of the laws and bylaws regarding proper consultation processes.  Everyone knows that every second Maori gentleman down the beach is likely to pull their leg and tell the tourists he's a local kaumatua, and his grandmother was a Maori princess, that's what the tauiwi want to hear.  A real estate agent - especially one who has received emails since 2009 - prior to him purchasing the property from the person who had no right to sell the land to him, advising him in no uncertain terms that the land is Ngati Kuta land, in fact our most precious and sacred land, and is under claims in the Waitangi Tribunal, and under protection from Heritage NZ - Julian Batchelor is taking the mickey to feign innocence in the knowledge of these matters!  Of COURSE he was aware of the legal requirements!

Having been stopped abruptly in his tracks by the Stop Work Notice and the Heritage New Zealand intervention, Mr Batchelor suddenly wants to "consult" with the locals.  'The locals' are not fooled - Mr Batchelor has been used to doing things on a very matey basis with the FNDC, fooling them into giving him vague "verbal consent" to desecrate our land and wreak destruction upon our land and Crown land and DoC land, on the basis of a cup of tea and a verbal chat.  Hapu are not so casual in their approach to this matter and have requested that Mr Batchelor and the Far North District Council provide all information regarding Mr Batchelor's developments, resource consent and building consent applications etc, forthwith and have advised them in no uncertain terms that there will be no 'consultation' until ALL of the information has been provided - Mr Batchelor was given until the 4th December 2015 to provide ALL information regarding the recent works to FNDC, then FNDC gave him until the 12th, then the 23rd - he's provided NONE of it!  But is trying to hurry hapu to meet with him, on the eve of the Christmas holidays, and make decisions in the absence of any information whatsoever - who does he think he is???




Julian Batchelor is a real estate agent and property developer from Auckland.  He is also the founder and 'leader' of a religious cult.
Julian and 'the team' at Evangelism Strategies International, ready to take on the world.

He has a plan to get rich renting out his "Oke Bay lodge" - the going rate for similar accommodation is $1200 per night plus extras.  He also plans to use Maori land and other land he doesn't own as part of his plans, which also include "evangelising" everyone who uses the Department of Conservation track to "Cape Brett", and has set up a slick website, including Department of Conservation "APPROVED" logos, intellectual property belonging to the local hapu (Maori tangata whenua, people of the land) which he has blatantly plagiarised without permission, etc.

Unfortunately, Mr Batchelor's plans don't live up to all the hype.

Here we have some evidence of Mr Batchelor's handiwork. 

We're waiting to see Mr Batchelor's resource consents - does this look straight to you?

This picture clearly shows the pohutukawa tree Mr Batchelor demolished to make way for his lawn.

You can see what a mickey mouse job this is just by looking at it!




Mr Batchelor then had some vague verbal chat with his mates at the Far North District Council, who issued "verbal consent for some work but not the work Mr Batchelor actually carried out" according to the Far North District Council.

Not worrying himself with trivialities and bothersome details such as resource consents and legal requirements, Julian and his trusty retired Christian engineer swung into action.  No end of heavy machinery was brought in and the knight in shining armour set about constructing a castle befitting his status as the very embodiment of god himself sent to save the world.  Unfortunately for the local residents whose lives depend on the road, which promptly collapsed into the sea under the weight of the heavy machinery and the erosion caused by Julian Batchelor's cowboy plumbing arrangements.

Julian parks his logs anywhere he likes.  This is the access to the local urupa (cemetery).  Locals are disgusted.

The actual size of the logs, and weight of them, can be seen in this picture.  Completely blocking the access to the urupa.




Te komiti are exploring a number of legal avenues and have a number of plans in place should Julian Batchelor attempt to continue to desecrate our land and evangelise our people.  We have our own spiritual leaders at Rawhiti and may of the local tangata whenua are deeply offended by Mr Julian Batchelor's arrogance and the utter contempt he has shown for the very laws that Ngapuhi signed a treaty to enforce against the tauiwi, let alone the utter contempt, and patronising condescension he has demonstrated toward the tangata whenua.

Mr Batchelor touts that "the locals are friendly" - and so we are.  The people of Te Rawhiti have been always renowned for their hospitality to visitors.  We are a kind, humble, gentle people, with a history of getting along with others, and working with others to mutual advantage, but the only advantage to be had from Julian Batchelor's plans is to Julian Batchelor. Mr Batchelor is blatantly exploiting the tangata whenua, and blatantly flouting the law with utter contempt for either the law or his neighbours.

Mr Batchelor also touts on his websites that his Oke Bay Lodge is well equipped to deal with "the overflow of visitors at the local marae".  He can't even deal with the overflow from his own teka kaka (filthy stinking raw sewage) let alone the visitors to our marae - if he'd bothered to take a glance at the websites of Ngati Kuta me Patukeha and Te Rawhiti marae he would have perhaps become aware that among the spiritual beliefs and practises of the people of the marae are included several other religions, such as Ratana.  He may perhaps have become aware that in fact the very first Ratana church in New Zealand is at the site of another Ngati Kuta Patukeha wahi tapu very close by.  Our kuia conduct Ratana church services regularly in the whare at our Marae, and Mr Batchelor's ignorant and arrogant lack of respect to their spiritual beliefs and freedom of religion, and freedom to visit their loved ones on the wahi tapu above the Marae, without Mr Batchelor's incessant harassment, his accosting them on the way to the urupa and our other lands, and his obsessive efforts to 'convert' them to his preferred form of religion.  He has no empathy or understanding of other people whatsoever, they don't matter to him, apart from where they fit in his plan, and he decided where we fitted long ago, the trouble is, he has never consulted with us, about any of it.  He is now claiming that he knew nothing about any problems.  That's blatantly untrue.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Paturoa Kauri ring-barked in shocking early morning attack:






In breaking news, another local property developer has shown a similar contempt for the law to that shown by Mr Julian Batchelor - killing a tree in West Auckland without conscience or right, with utter contempt for the tangata whenua OR the english laws:

23 December 2015
7.30am


The ancient Kauri in West-Auckland that has been the focus of a community campaign to save it was attacked at 6.15am this morning and viciously ring-barked risking the safety of Johno Smith occupying the tree.

As the arborist lay up in the canopy he was woken by the noise below. He saw eight people suspected to be security guards dressed in black arrive on the property. Three had electric chainsaws and proceeded to cut the tree while five were waiting in a van.

Shocked neighbours called out to the men who immediately stopped and departed the site but by then they had cut the full circumference.

“This is vengeful action by the developer who was facing being stopped by the High Court today” says Aprilanne Bonar, spokesperson for Save Our Kauri.

Neighbours are currently assisting Police who are on-site interviewing. Eye witnesses have given the registration of the van to the investigating officers as part of their enquiry.

Last Monday Save Our Kauri applied to the High Court for a Judicial Review and was in negotiations with the developers until late last night.  




Sunday, December 20, 2015

More trouble for Julian Batchelor - under investigation for possible damage to archaeological heritage sites:

Te komiti o te Kaitiaki o Opourua received information this afternoon that Heritage New Zealand are investigating possible damage to archaeological heritage sites on the land Julian Batchelor is occupying at Rawhiti.

On top of all his other problems, Batchelor now has to pay to have an archaeological report undertaken, and faces having the book thrown at him if he has damaged the ancestral wahi tapu.



Julian and 'the team'

Julian Batchelor spreads teka kaka on te wahi tapu o Opourua.

Te komiti o te Kaitiaki o Opourua are looking forward to viewing the information held by the FNDC and Julian Batchelor regarding the plumbing at his 'Oke Bay Lodge'.  Locals are less than impressed by Mr Batchelor's project management of the developments at Rawhiti in the breathtakingly beautiful Ipipiri (often referred to by visitors as the Bay of Islands).

The crucial criteria Julian Batchelor requires from the engineer apparently consists of the following:
  • Be a Christian
  • Be retired
  • Be prepared to work for no pay
 Julian sees himself not so much as a real estate agent, but more as a knight in shining armour, ready to save the world and evangelise every one of the (supposedly) heathen savages of the land and anyone else who ventures forth on the 'Cape Brett Track' and everyone in the near vicinity in fact, and nothing is beyond his superman capabilities, even plumbing and building retaining walls, let alone being God's spokesperson.  His God will provide and all will be well, Mr Batchelor knows what he's talking about; according to him.


Of course it helps to attract the simple minded and gullible if you tell them that the land is owned by a Christian Charity - a "trust". 

Instead of telling them the truth.  The land is Maori land.  It has always been Maori land, owned by Ngati Kuta.  It is one of our most sacred and precious wahi tapu.  The bones of our great grandparents lie on that land.  Mr Batchelor has demonstrated nothing but contempt for the tangata whenua, and nothing but contempt for the law.

Locals witnessed and recorded the ongoing saga of Julian Batchelor's handiwork.  In detail, unfortunately for Mr Batchelor. 

This is an easterly facing view of Mr Batchelor's deck - the road and sea are behind the photographer.

This is the same deck.  Beneath it can clearly be seen a pipe or hose underneath the deck.
If the image above is opened in any reasonable image viewing software and enlarged, the pipe or hose under the deck can be clearly seen.  It disappears into the fill behind the original retaining wall, right above where the wall collapsed.  And right above where the road collapsed too.  

This is the same area shown in this video:




Other pipes on the property were also leaking, including what several 'guests' and witnesses described as "raw sewage flowing down the driveway".



'Guests' staying at Julian Batchelor's lodge witnessed (and photographed) raw sewage flowing down the driveway of Julian's 'Oke Bay Lodge.  Julian charges $5000 for the pleasure of watching sewage flow down the driveway, over our land, our sacred wahi tapu.

Julian Batchelor may care to reflect on the fact that there may well be serious consequences resulting from his actions.

Friday, December 18, 2015

All hell breaks loose for ESI's Julian Batchelor:

Statement from one of the tangata whenua:
Rawhiti Bay of Islands

Possible violations of FNDC consents for a large scale luxury accommodations lodge for tourists in Rawhiti, Bay of Islands, by the Auckland based ESI CHURCH Group, has got local residents and community members revved up in a fury of anger.

The earth works began several weeks ago without appropriate consents which has resulted in an abatement notice being served last week.

 But, unfortunately not soon enough. Many native and legacy trees on the property have been destroyed.

“It breaks our heart to see, of all things, a CHURCH, bulldoze over native trees that made up the landscape of a prime and possibly one of the most beautiful locations in New Zealand, in order to make itself money, said John Willoughby Rewha Parkes of the Rawhiti Hapu Whenua alliance”.

Visually, the destruction is hard to the look at. The natural shape and flow of the land has been changed to make it look more like a supermarket car park.

It’s disturbing to look at, and also disturbing to think that a Church group is capable of such destruction.

We will be seeking redress of course, but at this point in time we are gathering all information concerning what approvals were or were not issued and for what work exactly.  We are also seeking all engineering reports and archaeological reports.
The property is registered as owned by a commercial entity of the ESI Church structure and is being project managed by Church founder Julian Bachelor.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Retaining wall collapses, road falls into the sea and more trees cut down:

This is the situation on the property in September when the komiti began actively recording the damage and looking into the situation regarding Mr Julian Batchelor's resource consents.  The retaining wall collapsed, several kauri trees and other vegetation had been removed and this was just the beginning of what was to come.

The road also collapsed into the sea directly in front of Julian Batchelor's collapsed retaining wall at the same time.

During the next six weeks or so Mr Batchelor - a real estate agent who knows the rules but chooses to ignore them, went ahead with further major works without consent from the Far North District Council, without consulting hapu or iwi, and in breach of the bylaws.




Information requested from Julian Batchelor and Far North District Council:



Julian Batchelor
Representatives from the komiti Kaitiaki o Opourua have requested information from Far North District Council regarding all works on the site at 147 Rawhiti Road in the Bay of Islands.

Last week Te Komiti o te Kaitiaki o Opourua urgently requested that the Far North District Council issue Mr Julian Batchelor with a Stop Work Notice effective immediately pending inquiries into breaches of bylaws and the Treaty of Waitangi, regarding work done without consent on land he occupies at Rawhiti, and the serious adverse effects of the breaches of the bylaws and unconsented works on the surrounding environment, and on the tangata whenua, our wahi tapu, and our whanau, hapu and iwi.

The Notice was duly issued by the FNDC and served on Mr Julian Batchelor last week and the komiti are currently awaiting the information that they have requested from the Far North District Council according to the Official Information Act, LGOIMA and other legislation, prior to convening a hui to discuss further action.

Correspondence regarding these requests is copied below:  To be updated . . .

Email sent by te komiti o te Kaitiaki o Opourua to FNDC on 14 December - 
Tena korua Wayne Smith and Sam Van Ameringen, 
Mr Julian Batchelor was given until the 4/12/15 to provide the requested  information relating to RC2160177.  Additionally he was required to provide information by the 14 December 2015 relating to bylaw and building code breaches. 

Has any of this information been provided?  If so please provide copies of the information, and please provide all information previously requested, starting with the most recent information and working back, regarding the property Mr Batchelor occupies, and the road in the near vicinity, including the recent collapse of the road in front of 147 Rawhiti Road which we witnessed, all roading reports, photographs of the collapsed road, etc, the consents for the retaining walls, the original one and the replacement one, all other consents applied for whether approved or not, verbally or in writing, and all other information FNDC holds regarding the property at 147 Rawhiti Road. 

Hapu can not make informed decisions in the complete absence of any relevant information, and we need to be sure about what has happened and when, and exactly how this situation has come about.
Please provide all information relating to the bylaw and building code breaches without further delay, in particular the information Mr Batchelor was required to provide by 14 December 2015, and all other information requested as soon as possible.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. 
Na Katherine Raue
KaitiakI o Opourua

Far North District Council have confirmed as at 16 December none of the information Mr Batchelor was required to provide has been provided.

This post will be updated and prior emails published as well as updates.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Stop Work Notice issued effective immediately:

The Far North District Council has issued Julian Batchelor with a stop work notice (Abatement Notice ordering him to stop all work immediately).

The notice can be viewed at this link.


Application for Stop Work Notice.

Te komiti o te Kaitiaki o Opourua me Araaka me Hauai have requested that the Far North District Council issue Julian Batchelor with a Stop Work Notice and Abatement Notice and ensure that he ceases the works and developments he is carrying out on the property at 147 Rawhiti Road at Hauai because of serious damage to the surrounding environment and the effect of this damage on the local people, as well as breaches of Far North District Council bylaws.



Above is an image on Mr Julian Batchelor's slick website, this is one example of the scope of Mr Batchelor's plans for not only the land he occupies, which is under Treaty claim and should have been returned to iwi by the former occupier as Mr Batchelor is well aware, but his plans to control access to and exclusive use of everything in sight including the track to Rakaumangamanga which currently under Department of Conservation management.  Mr Julian Batchelor has also taken the liberty of renaming everything in sight too, including our maunga tapu Rakaumangamanga (which he and others refer to as "Cape Brett"), our moana, Opourua, which he (and others) have renamed "Oke Bay", among other taonga and cultural heritage.  Not only is this disrespectful in the extreme, it would seem to be illegal.  The recent earthworks certainly are.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

More on Julian Batchelor's retaining wall:

This photo shows the damage to the trees and vegetation, Batchelor chopped down the historic pohutukawa tree and has erected a garish 'Christmas tree' instead.

The original retaining wall Mr Batchelor erected, which soon collapsed.  The shoddy standard of work is clearly apparent

The wall collapsed, taking the land with it.  At the same time, the road in front of the property collapsed, falling onto the beach.


Here is the link to Julian Batchelor's application for resource consent to "construct a retaining wall within the road and boundary set up." (sic)

Note Mr Batchelor only lists a Post Office box and writes "NA" - not applicable in the space where he is required to provide another address.



The Far North District Council gave "verbal consent" to Mr Batchelor, whereupon Mr Batchelor took the liberty of carrying out a considerable amount of vandalism and destruction, which was done without consent - the "verbal consent" applied to unspecified minor repairs, not the large scale earthworks which were actually carried out.

Here is the link to the letter the Council sent him requiring him to provide more information, specific information, by the 4th December 2015, according to section 92 of the Resource Management Act.  Mr Batchelor hasn't provided any of it, showing a further blatant disregard for due process or the law, and Council are now saying that that they are "trying to get hold of Mr Batchelor and speak with him but are unable to get hold of him."



Formal requests have been made to Council to issue a Stop Work Notice immediately pending further consultation with tangata whenua and local hapu and further investigation by Council and independent engineers into the damage done to the land and surrounding areas and the significant environmental and cultural effects.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Formal application for stop work notice to be served on Julian Batchelor:

Te komiti o te Kaitiaki o Opourua me Araaka me Hauai have requested that the Far North District Council issue Julian Batchelor with a Stop Work Notice and Abatement Notice and ensure that he ceases the works and developments he is carrying out on the property at 147 Rawhiti Road at Hauai because of serious damage to the surrounding environment and the effect of this damage on the local people, as well as breaches of Far North District Council bylaws.



Above is an image on Mr Julian Batchelor's slick website, this is one example of the scope of Mr Batchelor's plans for not only the land he occupies, which is under Treaty claim and should have been returned to iwi by the former occupier as Mr Batchelor is well aware, but his plans to control access to and exclusive use of everything in sight including the track to Rakaumangamanga which currently under Department of Conservation management.  Mr Julian Batchelor has also taken the liberty of renaming everything in sight too, including our maunga tapu Rakaumangamanga (which he and others refer to as "Cape Brett"), our moana, Opourua, which he (and others) have renamed "Oke Bay", among other taonga and cultural heritage.  Not only is this disrespectful in the extreme, it would seem to be illegal.  The recent earthworks certainly are.

REQUEST TO FNDC FOR INFORMATION REGARDING BATCHELOR'S UNCONSENTED WORKS:

Far North District Council
6 December 2015
Tena koutou katoa,
This is to confirm our request made verbally to Kyra earlier this afternoon for all information regarding resource consent application number 2160177-RMALUC for147 Rawhiti Rd by Julian Batchelor, and all information regarding all other applications for resource consent applications for this property and any of Mr Batchelor's other properties at Rawhiti. 
In particular, and with urgency, we request all information which Mr Batchelor was required to provide to the Far North District Council by 4th December 2015 regarding the application referred to above, and clarification as to whether or not Mr Batchelor actually had proper consent or not when he went ahead with recent major earthworks etc on the property.
Would you please confirm today whether or not Mr Batchelor provided all the information required by the due date, and provide it and the other information as soon as possible.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Katherine Raue
Te Komiti o te Kaitiaki o Opourua

Justice system - what justice system?

The decision of Brown J is still not on the Ministry's website despite the public interest in the decision.

That's hardly surprising considering what the decision actually says.

The decision is embedded below but can also be accessed at this link for easier viewing.

The New Zealand government is held in contempt overseas as well as on home ground for the manner in which they have manipulated the miners and their families, the money, the propaganda, and everything that's gone with it, toying with the baubles of office, telling tall stories, playing with so many lives.

This is a dangerous precedent and can not be allowed to go unchallenged.

Worksafe prosecuted Peter Whittall, not the Crown Prosecutor, 'Worksafe' - the former Department of Labour - the very people who should have been standing in the dock alongside Peter Whittall.  The real reason the charges were dropped, as we all know, is because it was clearly apparent that Whittall's evidence was going to incriminate the prosecutor - Worksafe.  

Para 31 looks at whether the prosecution decision was reviewable and talks about whether prosecutorial discretion was exercised or not - but crucially, not whether it was exercised PROPERLY, or fairly, or in an ethical manner.

This is why there is so much injustice and why the Ombudsmen and other agencies dealing with complaints are swamped with them, because the so called justice system is seriously dysfunctional and one of the main reasons for that is the difficulty in having prosecutorial decisions judicially reviewed.

The decision refers to precedents which established that prosecutorial decisions should only be subject to judicial review if they are in regard to abuse of process.  This case certainly seems to fit the bill in that department . . .

In paragraph 42 Brown J states "I do not consider that the impugned process is of such gravity that the high level of restraint should be relaxed and judicial review permitted."  Twenty nine men are dead.  What exactly does constitute "gravity" in his book I wonder?

The simple fact is this, if the Police or the Crown Prosecutors make the decision to prosecute they should get it right BEFORE they lay the charge, not after, and certainly not after making some dirty little back room Pontius Pilate deal like this one.  Otherwise, they should be subject to judicial review - especially after they lay a charge and then withdraw it or offer no evidence. 

Poor wee Joseph.  Look at him, full of hope for the future, all he wanted was a job, full of trust, we should be demanding accountability for Joseph and the other men - look at this young man - barely more than a child, and killed inside a mine that everyone knew was a time bomb!

And have a look at the ladder - the emergency exit - what a joke!  The shaft collapsed during construction, the whole mine was an utter death trap and a catastrophe just waiting to happen.





Related links are here.

Recommended reading - Rebecca Macfie's book - Tragedy at Pike River Mine

At this link is an unrelated example of a seriously flawed and blatantly and indisputably corrupt prosecutorial decision of similar magnitude, which also shows how even the threat of judicial review was enough to make the prosecutor think again, suddenly announce they intend offering no evidence and run for the hills.  In order for there to be justice and transparency in New Zealand prosecutorial decisions must be subject to  review.  This site's full of such examples - must make a new label - never enough hours in the day - this post will be updated, but is being published now due to public interest in the decision.

Monday, November 30, 2015

A salutory lesson on the perils of public advocacy:


The Taranaki Regional Council's attempt to seek costs against a group challenging the Council on its attitude to repeated pollution of the Waitara River is simply vindictive an bullying.  However it illustrates the ease with which taxpayer and ratepayer funded Council legal department staff have in exploiting the naive.

Last month, Fiona Clark, along with Andrea Moore and Robert Taylor - who are all Friends of the Waitara River (FOWR) members -  appealed to the High Court against a District Court ruling that the group had to pay the Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) for an independent resource consent hearing held in 2011, along with interest and court costs.

In a judgement released this week Justice Robert Dobson dismissed the trio's appeal but decided not to impose any further costs on the group.

Regardless the group will have to pay $22,598.40.

The High Court judgment is the latest development in a four-year long legal dispute between FOWR and the TRC that has cost the council thousands in legal fees.

In July 2011, the New Plymouth District Council applied for a resource consent to discharge waste water into the Waitara river. FOWR opposed this move and asked the TRC for an independent hearing to be held.

Following the independent commission hearing in October 2011, the resource consent was granted. The hearing cost $12,256.70.

An initial request by FOWR to have the hearing charge waived was declined by the TRC and in December 2014, the council applied for the costs to be paid, a claim that was upheld by the District Court in March this year.

Fiona Clark said while FOWR were happy no extra costs had been added by Dobson, the TRC's actions were tantamount to "bullying."

"The TRC are vindictive in pursuing us, Clark said.

But TRC director corporate services Mike Nield said the District Court and High Court rulings had found the group responsible for the payment.

"As with any debt owed by any person, they have a responsibility to pay it. The council is adamant that regional ratepayers should not foot this responsibility," Nield said.

He said the group knew about the cost involved in the hearing from the outset and the ball was now in the trio's court to pay the money.

During the October 19 appeal hearing in the High Court at New Plymouth, FOWR lawyer Alex Hope said as the issue related to a matter of public interest, it was unfair to expect the trio - who lacked the financial means - to pay up.

But TRC's lawyer John Shackleton said Clark, Taylor and Moore were aware from the outset they were responsible for any costs related to the process.

Justice Dobson ruled in the TRC's favour and said there were no errors in law made regarding the District Court's decision to impose costs on the group.

Along with the $12,256.70, which related to independent hearing, Dobson also upheld court costs of $9,222.50 and disbursements of $1,119.20.

In his ruling, Dobson said it was highly likely the money spent by TRC in pursuing payment from FOWR "would have substantially exceeded the sum in issue" but neither party could be criticised for acting on their respective principles.

Clark said the court decision will be discussed at the next FOWR meeting but the group were resigned to the court outcome.

"We'll have to pay and it means the community has to pay," she said.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Lake Alice psychiatrist loses appeal:

Child abuse at Lake Alice in New Zealand is one of the topics the Age reported about in 2008. “Disgraced former psychiatrist Selwyn Leeks” had lost his appeal against a former patient. Leeks had to pay $55’000 in damages for sexual assault.

Leeks had been under investigation for using electric shock aversion therapy in the 70s to punish children. The damages were awarded in August 2006 by County Court Judge Jim Duggan who found that Leeks had taken advantage of his patient for his own sexual gratification. Duggan called Leeks’ behaviour “reprehensible and a gross dereliction of duty.”

Leeks escaped further disgrace and trials by promising not to practice ever again when he was faced with the long-awaited investigation by the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria. The board spent eight years investigating Leeks’ treatment of children at the notorious Lake Alice Hospital near Wanganui.

Aspersions have been cast regarding the involvement of 'Dame' Margaret Bazely at Lake Alice and Sunnyside, another similar institution, early on in her meteoric rise to fame and fortune.

In the 70s, Leeks was in charge of the child and adolescent unit. His punishments included pain-inducing injections aside from electro shock therapy (ECT). He moved to Australia in 1978 after two inquiries into his use of ECT.

In a 2001 class action suit, approx. 100 ex-Lake Alice patients were awarded $NZ 6.5 million ($AU5.57 million) in compensation. They also received a public apology from Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Paul Zentveld was one of Lake Alice’s victims. He was admitted to Lake Alice five times as a teenager. He stated that he “was one of several males at the child and adolescent unit who were punished by being given electro-convulsive “therapy” on their genitals.”

Paul was punished for bed-wetting with electro shock therapy. A urologist later found out that his bedwetting was actually a medical condition and not a result of misbehavior. Paul said that he was punished on eight occasions each involving three separate shocks without anesthetics.

Electric shock therapy or low-level electric current therapy (ECT) was used as “aversion therapy” to treat behaviour disorders. The definition is as follows: electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure, done under general anesthesia, where small electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can quickly reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses.

However, ECT was never been medically approved for this purpose. Furthermore, applying ECT at genitals or knees could be harmful causing long-term psychological problems and would not meet the brief seizure as described.

An inquiry by retired New Zealand High Court Judge Sir Rodney Gallen found that the Lake Alice children were controlled by “aversion therapy,” were forced to help move the ECT machine into the room where it was used, and were made to watch as it was administered to other children. All former patients at the inquiry spoke about the screaming which other children could easily hear.

New Zealand police claimed for years to be investigating the complaints to see if any criminal activity occurred that would call for criminal charges. But in 2009, they ended that investigation and nobody of the Lake Alice staff was prosecuted. “The UN’s committee against torture has raised concerns and sent the Government a please-explain letter over the stalled police investigation into claims of child torture at the former Lake Alice psychiatric hospital.”

On the blog Kiwi Justice, we see that in 2015 “the board had been investigating Dr. Leeks for seven years. Last week it wrote to the complainants, saying that after receiving Dr. Leeks’ undertaking, it had decided not to proceed with a formal hearing into his professional conduct.” As mentioned above, he stopped his practice.

This is disturbing.

A medical professional violates his oath and the law by exposing children to torture. But when he promises he will never play doctor again, he does not need to be put on trial. What kind of justice is that? If I torture a child I will go to trial. If I promise that I will never do it again I will still go to trial. This proves there is justice for a select few and then there is justice for the rest of us.

This whole story centers on lack of impartiality and impunity. The government polices itself and as long as some promise to never do it again, they are let off the hook. But the victims still suffer.
I’d like to introduce you to “Malcolm“. He was admitted to Lake Alice when he was a child. ECT has caused memory loss. In Malcolm’s words:
The following are some of the things I forget: the names of people and places. When the title of a film is mentioned I may have a vague idea that I have seen it, but cannot remember what it is about. 

I don’t like reading much as by page 2 or 3, I start to lose what is happening in the book and have to reread it just gets to frustrating. My family tells me the outlines and I am able to remember other things at the same time 70 % of the time and the rest just can’t recall any of what they are saying. 

I forget to post letters and to buy small things such as toothpaste, I put things away in such safe places that when they are needed it takes hours to find them.”

You can read more about the history of Lake Alice here. If you wish to see photography of the inside of the hospital, check out Nathan’s blog. For more posts about child abuse especially for the United Kingdom go to the blog Researching Reform from Natasha Phillips.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Karakia me te waiata tino aroha nui

Te Komiti o te Kaitiaki o Opourua is committed to bringing healing, to bringing peace through truth and love, with the guidance of our tupuna, atua, kuia me kaumatua, me waiata.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Getting away with murder - Open letter from the family of Murray Christensen:

 Dear All - (from Murray's sisters - Lynette Stevens and Sandra Heke)

Lynette and I are seeking your help. We've turned to Social Media to get our message out there. I am genuinely worried about our situation and especially for Lynette, who co-incidentally? had her car windscreen broken this week outside her house when they were out on Christmas morning).

We are asking for your help in seeking justice for our brother, Murray who was killed at his workplace 11/11/11. If you could like and share this, it would help us to know as many kiwis as possible know of our situation and what we are trying to do. We all want to feel proud when we talk about 'home' and what it means to be a kiwi. One thing I think is clear about Kiwis is that we all hate 'injustices' and our desire to seek an end to any is strong. So this is why 'Murray's story' needs to be told. If all of us can fight corruption - there will be no corruption. We extra'ordinary' kiwis can only fight corruption and injustices with information so this is Murray's story:-

Murray went to work in Koheroa Road, Mercer, South Auckland on 11/11/11 but never returned home (to his then 9 year old daughter). He worked for the Balle Bros - (there's many of them and previous to working for them, worked for James Chapman). They all own many businesses and entities in South Auckland/Waikato, including Pukekohe, Mercer, Pukekawa etc etc etc). The 'Company' have so many entities, in fact, and their businesses are so complex, that 3 years after Murray's workplace death, the correct entity to be prosecuted for Murray's death has still not been identified, and Worksafe have told our family, it is very unlikely that will ever happen. But I'm digressing because that's another story (still, can you believe that in New Zealand in 2014 that there is such a gap which allows a company to avoid prosecution for a workplace death?).

Lynette has always 'felt' there was something 'very wrong'. You see, she went up to the site on the Monday, (he died on a Friday), after Murray died to get some CD's out of his car for the funeral. The farm managers wife was there and told Lynette she heard yelling and abusing from Murray at the time he died and a 'WHOA WHOA WHOA'. One of the 'bros', (who later in the court case, Police vs Karl Lobb said he was the spotter but wasn't looking at the time of the accident but said Murray must have slipped and fell and was run over by the bulldozer because he had "like a sixth sense, um yeah, a sixth sense"), but that day when Lynette and Roger and another witness went up to the farm, he told Lynette he wasn't there at all. Um? So which one was it? Were you ACTUALLY there or not JB?

It has taken our family a while to start asking questions. It's only now we have the strength to 'fight this'. Those of you who know us, know that Dad died six months after Murray, heartbroken, really. Dad was sick with emphysema but we truly believe his death was precipitated by the stress of Murray's death. Mum had to move from Palmerston North to Auckland to be near, Lynette, Ken and Murray's daughter, (who misses her beloved Daddy so much). Lynette has 'nursed' Roger through cancer and a subsequent heart attack. I've just finished my breast cancer treatment and prior to that was assaulted whilst doing my job as a bus driver. Yes, it's been an horrific period but I'm not being so transparent to seek sympathy - rather to explain its BECAUSE our family have endured so much, it has had the opposite effect - and that is - it has strengthened our resolve. It gives you perspective too. Family is everything and that's why I know you will all understand when I say, "if it was your brother/son/father, what would you do?"

We have in our possession TWO pathology reports by the ONE pathologist, Dr Jane Vuletic, - there are different causes of death on each report. The two reports are dated THREE months apart. Murray was cremated the day of his funeral - only 1 day after the Serious crash Unit Investigator had stated he had not slipped and run over as 'everyone else' including the pathologists' first report was trying to claim. We got hold of the court transcripts of the Police vs Karl Lobb court case and we learn that the Serious Crash Unit investigator told the Patholgist Murray was crushed, not that he had slipped and because the Pathologist then was most likely forced to change to the correct cause of death, she 'disappeared' and was not even available to give evidence by video link. (She disappeared to Newcastle, NSW and we have laid complaints to the relevant authorities to ensure she never practises in either country again). This comprised the prosecution so our family were forced to accept a 'restorative meeting' with *KL*, the bulldozer driver who crushed Murray between his digger and the bulldozer. (With regards to Dr Jane Vuletic, try googling - Kahui twins trial + Dr Jane Vuletic - this medical 'expert' was questioned by Dr Ferris - check what she DIDN'T do which compromised that prosecution).

In our endeavours to seek answers and justice for Murray, witnesses have started to talk. We know the 'brothers' were 'very unhappy when the Pathologist changed the cause of death - so then she is unavailable for the court case? hmmm. And the farm managers wife, KW, (who has just rung us today trying to recant on her statements to us? Why? Someone is *warning her off*?), why she was never even interviewed by the Police in the first instance! Why not Counties Manuaku? Or the neighbour who was a volunteer fireman and turned up with his truck and who Worksafe tell us they have no record of him being there? So what WAS he doing there? But hang on, we rang the Mercer fire station and they said they had a call but it was cancelled and they were told they weren't needed. So Mercer don't have any record of the Company's neighbour/their volunteer? being there either? So it must have been the ambulance called first, right? Well no - So who was first to the site? Oh, that was a daughter of one of the brothers, supposedly as the 'health and safety officer' of the 'Brothers' company. The daughter, (RC), who we now find out, rang the Dept of Labour at 2:45 pm and told them'she was on her way to the accident where there was a possible fatality" when the farm managers wife told Lynette that this same daughter was first on the site. The farm managers wife knew who arrived and in what order because she was there all day and asked another mother to pick up her children from school and keep them away from the site because there had been a bad accident. Maungatawhiri school finishes at 2:30!!! So, back to the Police - Counties Manukau - why weren't these witnesses questioned? Why weren't they called in the pathetically inadequate court case? We've given you their information and still not?

We've also given them some more information because in trying to seek answers about Murray, a connection, or two!, to the CREWE murders in Pukekawa came up. (For those of you, too young, ask someone older and they'll know - one of the most well know unsolved murders in New Zealand.) Check out the Police Crewe Homicide Review finished only this year - go to Page 124 - see the conflicting statements 10 years apart of one 'Karl Lobb'. (One and the same man who crushed Murray!). Turns out most of the 'brothers', Chapman, Lobb, Thomases' Crewes, Stuckey, all have 'quite some history together' in South Auckland and the Policeman from Counties Manukau who was 'supposedly' overseeing Murray's case, well he was 'involved' in the police Crewe Homicide Review as well! He couldn't find anything wrong with Murray's case??!!

And there was, supposedly, nothing new that came out of the Police Homicide Review either. (Just for your info - Note - Lawyer Peter Williams, QC, who represented Arthur Allan Thomas at the Royal Commission, said "the whole case just reeks and reeks of Police corruption" and is disappointed by the findings. Meanwhile, Mr Mike Bush, Police Commissioner says "the review findings add to his regrets about having spoken at the funeral of Mr Hutton - the Policeman who perverted the course of justice by planting evidence implicating Arthur Allan Thomas)", praising him as an officer whose integrity was BEYOND REPROACH.

Now, back to Murray's case.

There were apparently no notes taken by Police when they arrived at the accident?

The first Dept of Labour investigator who arrived at the site later that day on the 11/11/11, was replaced on the 14/11/11 by another. TMcG, wrote her report claiming Murray 'had been run over'. We now have information that the Pathogist agreed to this 'cause of death' without even seeing Murray? (Surely not?), and Murray was cremated the day of his funeral and BEFORE she changed the 'cause of death' THREE months later. We know this TMcG rang a Solicitor at some stage, (why? - Did she begin to realise the implications?) and was told by that Solicitor that there was a 'conflict of interest'? Hmmm, and so rang a Dept of Labour solicitor. She is no longer with MBIE (used to be DOL). She did not appear in the court case, Police vs Kark Lobb. Why not?

The Serious Crash unit weren't invited up there until FOUR days after Murray was killed and only a day before Murray's funeral and cremation.

That Serious Crash Unit Investigator, (who was the ONLY one who stated Murray was crushed and whom we believe acted with integrity by stating to the Pathogist "there was no way he was run over - can't see any tread marks on him"), had to take a year off after Murrays case and moved from Counties Manukau to Taupo! hmmm.

When we relayed information to the Police about the Crewes, (being the transparent kiwis the Hon Amy Adams, Justice Minister, talks about in her latest Media release), the Police Commissioner who had originally sent Murray's file to Hamilton, suddenly detected an 'admin problem', and the file HAS to be sent back to Counties Manukau who are the very people who 'mishandled' Murray's case in the beginning and since. And the Detective who was 'handling' Murrays case and couldn't find anything wrong with it, well, he NEED'S it back. (Hence we are now 'putting 'Murrays story' out there' - we need to know you all know - better to be safe than sorry).

We still don't know who or at what time, if any, an ambulance was called, as Murray lay dying at his workplace. (We've been told he was still alive after the 'crushing'). Do you know how that makes us feel knowing Murrays best interests were not the focus that day as he lay there dying at his workplace?

Murray's upper clothing which lay beside his body (and yes we have had to witness that too in court - can you imagine what that was like for mum?), has 'mysteriously' disappeared after making the police photo and before the court case. The 'brother' who we now know perjured himself in court, tried to sway the court that that clothing would show Murray slipped and that he was run over but oh, he didn't know where they were or who took them.

This company has in effect, paid their way out of being held accountable for a workplace death. Wonder who paid for the best lawyer for KL? (That lawyer was GF - who acted for one of the three DOT COM defendants). Wonder if this lawyer was paid by you, the Taxpayer, or was it the 'Company'? My mum can't get legal aid to find out what happened to her youngest when he died at his workplace - No - it seems Mum doesn't 'fit the criteria' even though she lives in a mobile home in a caravan park, (in amongst all the Company's many farms). Ironic isn't it?!!! but Mum felt the need to be close to her granddaughter who also lives in the area.

Oh and check out one Solvent action of 'Mercer Ferry Properties No 5 Ltd' - all the directors being 'the brothers' who employed Murray - this entity was struck off after Murray's death. (The police homicide review tied the Crewe murders to the Thomas'es 'Mercer Ferry Road farm'. The Thomas farm where police evidence against Thomas had been forged). Maybe the 'brothers' wanted to avoid the possibility of any connection with Lobb in both Murrays case and the very old unsolved Crewe murder case which the Police have only just finished 'reviewing'? But what they didn't reckon on was that there would be two persistent sisters who want our brother to rest in peace. Some of these farmers know 'more' but they reckon it's 'better to let sleeping dogs lie".

That'incident report' - written by the 'daughter' - was reviewed by 'Safewise' owner -the Dept of Labour didn't have any record of her being there that day but they did her husband? At what capacity was he there?

For our whanau - (Love you all so much)!The 'brothers'made special note of the fact they had had the local Kaumatua to bless the site where Murray died. But we've asked and now believe it didn't happen at all? Maybe some of you might know if this happened? Because this Heke family weren't invited, or Murray's mum? Or brother? Or his sister Lynette or Murray's little daughter maybe? And then, these 'brothers' go and name the road where Murray died, "Murray Christensen" road. Maybe they 'felt better' but can you imagine my mother and Lynette's shock when they drove past and they hadn't been notified. I mean how much is this family supposed to take?

Thank you for supporting us in seeking justice for Murray. It was never our intention to do anything but act with transparency and we have, in hindsight, naively thought we would be accorded the same treatment by all Authorities, the Company and MP's etc.  It hasn't been afforded us at all. In fact, our worse fears have been realised and then some, after witmesses have started to talk - there is a cover-up of monumental proportions and indisputable evidence of serious corruption involved in covering up Murray's murder.

There is another person who deserves answers too - Rochelle Crewe.

Please help us all in seeking transparency and justice for Murray. That is all we have ever wanted and that should never be too much to ask especially in a country like NZ where Transparency International voted them No 2 in the world, only behind Denmark, in the least 'perceived' corrupt and for transparency. Well Murrays case is as clear as mud and the murky depths are frightening.  The public are being conned by the media trumpeting about Transparency International and their focus on the PERCEPTION of corruption - the PERCEPTION of the world is carefully controlled by the media and those who fund them.

We had a meeting with Worksafe, they came from Wellington to Auckland, their CEO and their Chief Inspector. They admitted 'failings'. We have contacted all the relevant MP's, the Solicitor-General, Transparency International, the Attorney General and many more.

To finish - maybe the 'Company' felt better after their apology in a letter stating, "we are sorry Murray was hurt that day.

Hurt? Really?

Murray was not just hurt, he was KILLED.  By a man who had repeatedly threatened to kill him, which establishes a case to answer for a charge of premeditated murder.

My poor mum - Her son is killed, her husband dies heartbroken, she moves to another city, away from her family home, to support her granddaughter, the young girl who lost her beloved daddy.  Mum has had to witness a photo of her son lying dead at his workplace, after he went to work on his day off for a co-worker who had cancer, her son-in-law is diagnosed with cancer and has a subsequent heart attack, a daughter gets assaulted at work, and gets breast cancer, her other son has been suicidal after suffering the loss of his brother, (they were SO close)), her daughter gets her car window smashed in, she goes past a road (erected without her knowledge), named after her son at the site where he died and where she was not invited to the blessing - but hey, she got her apology said the Company. ("Sorry Murray was hurt that day") - what more do you want?" - Justice, actually - that's all we've ever wanted.

Sandra Heke and Lynette Stevens

The damning Police report into Bruce Hutton's corruption can be accessed at this link.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre - Lunatics running the asylum:

If the regional mental health facility, the Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre, wasn’t already a circus, it soon will be when ringmaster and Director of Mental Health, John Crawshaw send’s in the clowns for another token inspection to ascertain why this service is failing so miserably.

And what a dismal track record this outfit has.

In 2010 Christine Morris scaled the security fence and bludgeoned her neighbour, Diane White, to death. Coroner Peter Ryan recommended that the DHB erect a higher fence, Clinical Director of the Henry Bennett Centre, Rees Tapsell refused.

In 2013, it was reported that psychiatrist Paul Fox, who had been de-registered in the USA for sexual misconduct, and was the former clinician for the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass murderer Adam Lanza was employed by the DHB. Fox was de-registered in NZ by the Medical Council in February 2014.

In March 2015 Nicky Stevens, known to be suicidal, was allowed to leave the wards for an unsupervised cigarette break, despite the families’ pleas to keep him safe. Nicky’s body was recovered from the Waikato River three days later.

The following month two patients with a history of violence scaled the security fence and fled the city.

More recently it was discovered that a man gained employment with Waikato Mental Health Services posing as a psychiatrist. Mohamed Shakeel Siddiqui has been arrested and charged with obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception.

It certainly is quite a pitiful rap sheet for a service designed to care for and protect a very vulnerable group within the community.

Should we really be surprised though? Are the lunatics in fact running the asylum? It seems so;
In addition to the dubious hiring practices highlighted by the examples above, one member of staff who understands forensic Mental Health treatment first hand is Peer Support Worker Trudi Tapsell, yes sister of Clinical Director Rees Tapsell.

She was once a special patient herself, detained under the Mental Health Act. Ms Tapsell, as a 26 year old, was found not guilty by reason of insanity of the brutal murder of her grandmother, whose decapitated body was found wrapped in plastic bags in a freezer, her head was found in a rubbish bag nearby. Ms Tapsell, with the help of her brother, has now moved on from being the patient to being the clinician, working with a very vulnerable group of people.

Clearly her current employers know her background (given it is a family affair), but considering she carries no conviction for the murder of her grandmother, because Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity is an acquittal of sorts, is it not appropriate that in the interests of transparency and trust, the patients she works with, and their families, know her background?

One would think so, although unfortunately this is not the case.



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The epic saga of Phil Taueki, kaitiaki o Te Awa o Horowhenua:

Lake Horowhenua activist Philip Dean Taueki is back in court, this time because he is determined to stop the Horowhenua District Council endangering the lives of children playing on their own land.
Lawyers funded by the district’s ratepayers are questioning Taueki’s standing to bring a case to prevent council discharging Levin’s stormwater into the privately-owned Lake Horowhenua.

Dr Max Gibbs from NIWA warned several years ago that Lake Horowhenua is so toxic that a mouthful of water can be lethal enough to kill a child.  Levin’s stormwater is a major source of phosphorous, and phosphorous is the major cause of cyanobacteria that has plagued the lake in recent years.  In his 2012 report, Dr Gibbs refers to a report that 80% of the lake’s phosphorous comes from the town’s stormwater system.

As an owner of the lake, Taueki had filed an application with the Maori Land Court to get the stormwater out of the lake several years ago.

During a two-day hearing in March 2012, council’s lawyers promised to provide within 28 days an authority that would allow them to pipe stormwater across Maori Freehold land and into the lake.

Instead, the Horowhenua District Council engaged Wellington legal firm Buddle Findlay who have resorted to a variety of diversionary tactics, including strike out motions and appeals to the Appellate Court.

In their determination to undermine Taueki’s standing as an owner, the firm’s lawyers have even managed to convince Judge Doogan that he has the jurisdiction to consider overturning a judgement released by the more experienced Judge Harvey during May this year.

This hearing is scheduled to take place in Levin on 17 September, and Taueki has been advised to bring along a lawyer due to the technical issues involved.

He scoffs at that. “There is only issue involved, and that is the safety of our children.”


Taueki, under arrest, after protesting about the state of the lake.
 
Taueki is no stranger to the courtroom.  Since he was first arrested in September 2008 following a confrontation with sailors using his lake, he has remained on bail while defending a multitude of charges which he says are nothing but an excuse to keep him away from his lake.  In that time, he has lost count of the number of times he has been arrested, the hours wasted in police calls and the assaults, even while in prison on remand.

But he has kept a tally of the thirty consecutive charges that he has defended over the past few years that have been withdrawn, dismissed or quashed on appeal. Two convictions with discharge, he appealed before leaving the courthouse because he is adamant that he is innocent of those as well.
However it is the state of the lake that bothers Taueki most.

There is no dispute whatsoever that Lake Horowhenua is privately-owned.
A certificate of title was issued in the name of Mua-Upoko owners in 1899.
Nobody can reach Lake Horowhenua without crossing this Maori Freehold Land.
But in 1905, Parliament passed a law letting the public use this lake ‘free of charge’.

Click for big version

An 1887 Map of the Lake and Levin
Control of the lake was placed in the hands of a Domain Board, with no provision for any representation from the owners.

Within a year, questions were being asked in Parliament about the repeal of legislation that ‘appropriates a valuable estate without the consent of the owners’.

Even though there have been commissions of inquiry, delegations to the Ministers and numerous court cases over the past century of so, nothing has changed.

It is, says Taueki, theft by statute.

On the very day of his sentencing on his final criminal charge, out of the blue Taueki received a letter from the Minister for Maori Development conceding that such a law would not be put in place today.
The Hon Te Ururoa Flavell says he can understand how these arrangements had generated conflicts, going right back to the early 1900’s and earlier.
 
But this letter is cold comfort for the owners whose pristine lake has deteriorated to the extent it is now rated one of the most polluted lakes in the country.


David White photographing Taueki in Lake Horowhenua, with the assistance of supporter Bryan Ten Have.
It is now three and a half years since Dr Max Gibbs from NIWA warned that the waters of the lake had become so toxic that a mouthful of water was lethal enough to kill a small child.

The response from the five statutory bodies with a responsibility for the state of the lake was to set up a Lake Accord.

Part of the Accord’s management plan is to eliminate or reduce the nuisance cyanobacteria.
The Local Government Act does not allow a local authority to create a nuisance on private property, even when constructing works for land drainage.

But the Horowhenua District Council has failed to come up with a resource consent, an easement or any form of authority that would allow it to pipe contaminants across Maori land into the waters of the lake.

Taueki is not impressed with the Lake Accord, stating that it is nothing but an excuse to extract funding from the Government and set up a few cosmetic projects that will impress the gullible.

The Accord has already been granted $1.27 million from the Government for a Clean Up Fund.
Research commissioned by the Waitangi Tribunal tends to support Taueki’s contention that this Accord is yet another in a long line of empty gestures.


An historic picture of Lake Horowhenua before it became polluted
As for the Maori Land Court, he is not impressed by the fact that they fail to grasp the principles of kawanatanga expressed in the preamble to their Act.

The irony is that the standing of this court relies solely on the Treaty that Taueki signed as the Rangatira of Mua-Upoko on 26 May 1840.

Taueki is, as the name implies, a great great grandson of Taueki.
As such, he is entitled to ‘undisturbed possession’ of land collectively owned.

Undisturbed possession, he reckons is the right of Mua-Upoko children to wade in the shallows of a lake on their own land without suffering the effects of council’s contamination.

This October marks 110 years since Parliament passed the law that took away the right of owners to control what happens on their own land and gave that authority to other parties.

Taueki is disgusted with the hypocrisy of another Accord partner, Horizons.

Bio-security consultant Bill Chisholm provided Taueki with a report that the mere presence of a sign near the boat club warning that boaties and other recreational users of the lake about the dangers of lake weed spread, is insufficient to manage the present threat of aquatic weed invasion.

While a complete ban on boating may seem draconian, he said that “boaties should be reminded that if these aquatic weeds enter the lake, then there will probably be no boating at all in the future because the weed mats will make boating physically impossible”.

Aware that motor boats were not allowed on the lake, Chisholm said this is probably the main reason why three particularly invasive weeds were not yet present as they can easily hitch a ride on motor boat trailers and outboard propellers.

However, he added that the threat from non-motorised boats and their trailers remains.
Taueki took the responsible course of action by applying to the Maori Land Court for an injunction to prevent boats being launched on the lake until the Domain Board installed a wash-down facility.
Judge Doogan rejected Taueki’s application.

A month later, Horizons and NIWA turned up at the lake ready to launch their motorised boats on the lake. Taueki quickly parked his truck on his own land in an attempt to stop them. The police were summoned and arrived, as usual, in force. Taueki was ordered to remove his truck. He refused.

Several police officers then grabbed him in a choke hold and wrestled him out of his truck, even though a supporter was videotaping this incident. Charges of obstruction and resistance were quietly dropped after Police Area Commander Pat Handcock referred this matter to the IPCA.


Taueki is taken into custody after trying to prevent Horizons and NIWA launching unwashed boats into the lake.
Nevertheless, Taueki had been arrested, handcuffed and marched down to the police station to be held in custody while Horizons and NIWA placed his lake at risk of irreversible damage from an invasive weed.

If Taueki is prepared to put his life and his liberty on the line for his lake, this passion arises from his heritage.  His duty as kaitiaki cannot be abrogated, he says simply.

Mua-Upoko was once renowned for its fighting prowess, stamina, ingenuity and hospitality due to the native delicacies that once thrived in the lake.  Seven artificial islands created on their lake provided a sanctuary for their women and children, while their warriors slept close to an arsenal of weapons.  The mutilation of a high-born Mua-Upoko woman walking alone, provoked a retaliatory raid on Te Rauparaha and his family, leaving his favoured son and daughter dead. Escaping naked into the darkness, Te Rauparaha vowed to exterminate Mua-Upoko.

This time, Mua-Upoko’s foe was armed with English muskets.  When Ngati Toa attacked Mua-Upoko’s island refuges, so great was the slaughter of men, women and children that the waters ran red with blood.  Many Mua-Upoko fled.  Those captured were herded like sheep as fresh meat to feed their enemy, or stockaded on an island to be consumed one by one, after a tortured slaying.
Concealed in the Kawiu clearing nearby, Taueki would have heard their plaintive cries drifting across the silence of the lake, unable to rescue them if their tribe was to survive.

Nevertheless Taueki’s allies were gaining momentum, and even a contemporary biographer accepts that Te Rauparaha was eventually forced to retreat to his own island of refuge, Kapiti.
However the weapons of law proved to be more potent than the weapons of war.


The gentlefolk of Levin boating on Lake Horowhenua in 1908 shortly after the 1905 appropriation of use of the lake by statute.
 
It was Prime Minister Seddon who spearheaded the legislation that effectively deprived the owners of all rights of ownership.

This colonial arrogance became so entrenched in the Levin community that there was nothing the owners could do to stop members of the sailing and rowing clubs erecting clubrooms on land that they did not own, and without permission from the owners.

The leases negotiated with the Lake Domain Board expired in 2003 and 2007 retrospectively.
The Reserves Act introduced in 1977 prevented the Domain Board from renewing these leases and therefore in 2006, the Domain Board circumvented the law by resolving to roll them over on a month by month basis.

Taueki questioned the legitimacy of this situation at the time, but was ignored.

One sunny Sunday morning in 2008, he spotted a group of sailors transporting in yachts and preparing to launch a motorised boat for a regatta organised without the permit required by the Domain by-laws.

In court, the sailors had no hesitation admitting they were not going to let Taueki ‘go spouting on’  about by-laws and spoiling their plans for the day, even if it was a condition of access under the Reserves Act.

Instead, they summoned the police and as soon as the police arrived, Taueki was in handcuffs and his way to the police station where he would be held in the police cells while the sailing club continued with their regatta uninterrupted.

One of the complainants, David Brown denied he swore at Taueki.

Obviously he did not realise that all emergency calls were recorded, because when his call was replayed in court, he could be clearly heard calling Taueki a ‘black bastard’ and a ‘fucking wanker’ before trespassing Taueki from his own land.

The transcripts and court judgements that Taueki has assembled over the years present a compelling account of a community that treats the lake as their own asset, and Taueki as a mad Maori who is the cause of all the problems down at the lake.

There is for instance the case where Justice Kos refers to another regatta that had not been organised lawfully. “There was no permit for the assembly or event. And there was no permit for the motorised craft on the lake. Each permit should have been obtained.

“To make matters worse, the organiser of the event was a constable.”

To make matters even worse, that day Taueki had just collected relatives arriving from overseas for his Mum’s tangi the next day. From inside his home he could hear people laughing while setting up stalls only metres away.

He approached the organiser who told Taueki in no uncertain terms this was not his land before summoning his colleagues to come down and lock Taueki up.

Taueki then spent several hours fretting in the police cells that he would miss his Mum’s tangi.
There were other cases dropped at the last minute because the evidence that Taueki intended to produce would prove too embarrassing for the police.

A classic was the time a rowing club member and accomplice drove over to his sister’s place where Taueki had been bailed due to early morning death threats at his previous bail address. His sister and her husband ordered these intruders off their property. The intruders refused to leave and continued to make threatening gestures. When Taueki was punched in the face, she phoned the police. She was also attacked in front of her young children getting ready to leave for school.

The police did not arrive at the scene until later that afternoon, and then only to investigate a complaint that the intruder’s van had been damaged before leaving the property.

Charged with wilful damage, Taueki served a summons on the intruder’s wife who had phoned the police that morning worried her husband would seriously harm Taueki. A senior Government manager, she informed Wellington Communications that if that happened, the police would think ‘yay’, before laughing.

Despite a survey peg marking the Domain boundaries, these rowers preferred to launch their boats north of the Domain boundary on land where they had no right of access. As this site is waahi tapu, Taueki would tell them in no uncertain terms to get off his land.

Following mediation arranged by the Human Rights Commission, Police Inspector Mark Harrison set in place protocols for the local police to follow whenever the rowers trespassed on his land. He was to phone the police and take photographs.


A picture of the unspoilt lake, prior to Pakeha settlement in the Levin area
 
On 11 February 2013, Taueki followed these procedures, but the police notes confirm that the police officers on duty that evening delayed departure while they checked out Taueki’s bail conditions, presumably looking for an excuse to hold him in custody that night.

As soon as the police arrived, Taueki was handcuffed and bundled into the back of a police car to be taken back to the police station.

Taueki was held in custody overnight until his appearance in court the following afternoon. He arrived home to find his Mercedes car parked outside his bedroom window trashed beyond repair, and his camera containing evidential photographs stolen.

Every window was shattered and every panel stoved in; so Taueki says it is obvious that only people who could have done that were those who knew he was being detained in custody that night.


The state of Taueki’s car, after a night spent in custody.
 
On 20 July that same year, a group of twenty rowers blatantly crossed the Domain boundary despite being cautioned by Judge Atkins not to do so.

When his supporters arrived on the scene, a police officer was reading Taueki his rights ready to arrest him, even though he was in a state of shock, with blood streaming down his hair from a blow to the back of his head and a face lacerated after being pummelled into the rocks.

Taueki laid a formal complaint, and when he asked a police sergeant whether it would be investigated, he was told: "Probably not."

Six months later, the police sent Taueki a letter confirming that they were not going to prosecute the rowers even though they admitted tackling him to the ground and holding him there for some time. As the senior police officer reported, Taueki ‘remonstrated’ with the rowers, they believed an assault was imminent and whether they were trespassing was ‘immaterial’.

But Taueki says that it is not just a case of trespassing.  The rowers use the bushes in this area to urinate, as rower and councillor Jo Mason testified nonchalantly in court.  From the window of his home, Taueki often observes people squatting there, depositing faeces and toilet paper.

Inside a building used by rowers is a sign pointing in this direction for toilets.

These Domain buildings are another contentious issue for Taueki.  As fixtures, they now belong to owners of the land upon which they were built.

The Supreme Court established in 2013 that the sailing and rowing clubs did not have any legal right to occupy these buildings at Lake Horowhenua.

In the Maori Land Court, Judge Harvey had already told the Chairman of the Lake Domain Board that ‘it would not be unreasonable to expect that formal notice of the requirement to vacate the buildings would be issued’.  The rowers refused to budge.

During the summer of 2014, rumours reached a group of owners that the cyanobacteria had got so bad that year that the rowers have transferred training to the Manawatu River, and were storing their boats elsewhere.

By the end of March, these owners decided to the time had come to use their own buildings to store their own boats and equipment.  They entered the building, shifted a few items of no value to one side, swept it out and moved their gear in.

A day or so later, the police held the owners at bay while the rowers turfed out the boats belonging to the owners and changed the locks.

The police then put in place a 24 hour scene guard to stop the owners from returning to their own building.

A Police Inspector was dispatched from Police National Headquarters to meet with Taueki and his supporters in an attempt to defuse the situation. As soon as he arrived, he stood down the scene guard. Following a lengthy meeting in which Taueki produced copies of the various court judgements supporting his position, Taueki was given an assurance that this police officer would get back to him the next day.

That deadline was extended, and then Taueki decided he was not prepared to wait any longer.
He re-entered the building, and was removing some junk when the police turned up. Taueki explained what he was doing, and told them that they could not arrest him for being unlawfully in the building, because the previous time the police had tried to do that, the charge was dropped well before it came before the court.

In court, the police testified that they gave Taueki permission to drive his truck away.  He went inside to make a number of phone calls, and then eventually decided that he was no longer going to wait around for the police to come up with some other b*** charge as an excuse to arrest him.

The next morning, visitors found cops swarming all over the place.  Several weeks later Taueki was arrested when he turned up for court on another matter, and remanded in custody on a total of eleven charges, including escaping from custody.

Four were withdrawn six months later.

Six were dismissed following nine days of trial during February this year.

In court, the police still insisted that the rowing club leased the building, even though not a single prosecution witness could provide any evidence of a lease.

Dismissing a couple of male assaults female charges, Judge Hastings came to the conclusion that the complainant was the aggressor. “The force used was in self-defence and was reasonable in those circumstances in that it was proportionate and no more than necessary to remove the scooter from Mrs Williams”.

Taueki says that it is absurd that the only charge the police got him on is escaping from custody, and so convinced is he of his innocence on that one, he had lodged an appeal before he had even left the courthouse.

He questions whether any reasonable person consider himself to be in custody when given permission to leave. With any doubt or confusion, he says the case law favours the defendant.
Taueki often wonders whether he had been set up that night.

When hearing the charges laid on 11 February 2013, a crucial issue for Judge Hastings had been whether the rowers launched their boats within the Domain south of the boundary peg, or north of it.
At the time this case was heard, Taueki was on EM Bail conditions so strict that he was unable to leave his bail address for any reason except to attend court. As a self-litigant he was denied the right to meet with prosecution witnesses unless they came to his bail address at a supporter’s place or track down crucial documents that had gone missing from his home in his absence.

During the trial, James Watson as the complainant, testified that the rowers decided to launch from the south to ‘try and appease your small-mindedness’.  When asked if they launched their boats north of the boundary now that Taueki was not at the lake, he replied: Yes.

In other words, Taueki’s two months in custody on remand and then release wearing an electronic bracelet prohibiting him from going anywhere near his lake meant that the rowers could once again do what they liked down at the lake because there was nobody around to stop them.

If anything exemplifies the Treaty violations when it comes to the lake, Taueki considers that his Supreme Court judgement would top the list.

As a self-litigant, he had managed to convince the Supreme Court to hear his appeal into a non-injury assault conviction following the incident that took place down at the lake on September 2008.
Judge Atkins had ruled that Taueki was not in peaceable possession of his own land, relying on a Canadian case known as ‘Born with a Tooth’.

The proposition Taueki put to the Supreme Court was compelling: define peaceable possession in a matter that recognises the unique circumstances in New Zealand due to the existence of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Such was the interest in this case in legal circles, that Dr Gerard McCoy QC offered to fly back from Hong Kong to represent Taueki in court pro bono.

In the Court of Appeal, Crown Law argued that title was nothing but a name on a piece of paper, and the owners had the same sorts of rights as the public.

Dr McCoy presented his arguments to the Supreme Court during a hearing in Wellington on 11 March 2013.

The outcome was a disappointment.

The Treaty rated not even a mention.  Funny that.

Delivered nine months later, a week before Christmas, this Supreme Court judgement suggests that even ownership of a property in fee simple estate is not sufficient to establish that a person is in peaceable possession of his own property.

Over the years, the Mua-Upoko owners have neither sold nor leased their privately-owned property to any other party, including the Crown.

And yet the Courts in this country, from the lowly Maori Land Court to the Supreme Court itself, claim to respect the right of the Maori owners to decide what happens on their own land.  Taueki says that these courts have undermined the whole concept of property ownership in this country.
“Title is, as Crown Law claims, is nothing but a name on a worthless piece of paper.”
But he is adamant that he is not going to let this matter rest there.

He says there are court judgements going back a century or more establishing that the lake was to be administered along the principles that applied before the advent of the Pakeha and their artifices for creating laws and property rights.

He says that the decision by a mere Maori Land Court to call a special hearing to determine whether he has the standing to stop the local council polluting a privately-owned lake and endangering the lives of children is the final straw for many of the owners.

It is now only a matter of time before the owners seize back control of their own land and their lake, and he dares the police to arrest those who do so.

The time for waiting is over, he says. The time for action is here.


Anne Hunt is an author who has documented this matter extensively, who served three terms on the Horowhenua District Council. For the past five years, she has championed Taueki’s cause, regularly appearing as his McKenzie Friend in court and providing a bail address whenever necessary to prevent a remand in custody.