World Cup canoe plan makes waves - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

World Cup canoe plan makes waves

06/04/2011 03:43:20 PM Comments (0)

A New Zealand plan to spend $A1.45 million on a giant plastic canoe to showcase Maori culture at this year's Rugby World Cup was labelled wasteful and "ridiculous" Wednesday.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples said a 60-metre (200 foot) long pavilion shaped like a "waka", or war canoe, would be built on the Auckland waterfront for the tournament, the largest event ever staged in New Zealand.

Sharples said the PVC structure would allow New Zealand's indigenous Maori people to display their culture to the tens of thousands of international visitors expected for the September 9-October 23 World Cup.

"The waka will provide the cultural heart of the entertainment programme on Auckland's waterfront," he said.

"We will showcase the very best of Maori arts, culture, business and enterprise, right in the heart of the Rugby World Cup capital."

Opposition Labour party lawmaker Shane Jones described the plan as "a last-minute, panic-stricken stunt" to include Maori in the tournament.

"Maori will feel far more pride at seeing (All Blacks) Piri Weepu and Hosea Gear holding the cup aloft than they will at anything else," he said.

"They certainly don't want to be exposed to ridicule by this piece of idiocy."

The leader of the ACT Party, Rodney Hide, a minority partner in the National Party-led coalition government, criticised the cost of the waka, saying it sent the wrong message at a time when New Zealand's economy was struggling.

He was also unhappy that an Auckland-based Maori tribe would own the giant canoe, even though the government was footing 95 percent of the cost.

"The idea that we'd give away NZ$1.9 million to have a waka that the people of New Zealand won't even own is appalling," he told public radio.

Auckland city councillor Cameron Brewer defended the waka, saying it would "put Maori up in lights" during the World Cup.

"This is no crass bouncy castle," he told the New Zealand Herald. "This will look spectacular."

AFP gc WELLINGTON, April 6 AFP - A New Zealand plan to spend $A1.45 million on a giant plastic canoe to showcase Maori culture at this year's Rugby World Cup was labelled wasteful and "ridiculous" Wednesday.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples said a 60-metre (200 foot) long pavilion shaped like a "waka", or war canoe, would be built on the Auckland waterfront for the tournament, the largest event ever staged in New Zealand.

Sharples said the PVC structure would allow New Zealand's indigenous Maori people to display their culture to the tens of thousands of international visitors expected for the September 9-October 23 World Cup.

"The waka will provide the cultural heart of the entertainment programme on Auckland's waterfront," he said.

"We will showcase the very best of Maori arts, culture, business and enterprise, right in the heart of the Rugby World Cup capital."

Opposition Labour party lawmaker Shane Jones described the plan as "a last-minute, panic-stricken stunt" to include Maori in the tournament.

"Maori will feel far more pride at seeing (All Blacks) Piri Weepu and Hosea Gear holding the cup aloft than they will at anything else," he said.

"They certainly don't want to be exposed to ridicule by this piece of idiocy."

The leader of the ACT Party, Rodney Hide, a minority partner in the National Party-led coalition government, criticised the cost of the waka, saying it sent the wrong message at a time when New Zealand's economy was struggling.

He was also unhappy that an Auckland-based Maori tribe would own the giant canoe, even though the government was footing 95 percent of the cost.

"The idea that we'd give away NZ$1.9 million to have a waka that the people of New Zealand won't even own is appalling," he told public radio.

Auckland city councillor Cameron Brewer defended the waka, saying it would "put Maori up in lights" during the World Cup.

"This is no crass bouncy castle," he told the New Zealand Herald. "This will look spectacular."

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