The Grumbles reckoned Northland was a great place, when they toured it some years ago.
They would not recommend a visit there nowadays, alas, after another attack on tourists holidaying in the region.
Let’s face it, even the Prime Minister has been assaulted by stroppy locals in that scenically beautiful but socially troubled neck of the woods.
The Herald reports the latest nasty incident today –
Three French tourists were attacked.
Police said three male Maori, aged between 20 and 30 years, were responsible for the aggravated robbery inside a campervan just south of Mangamuka village on Friday.
The tourists, all in their late 20s, heard someone knock on the window of their campervan and demand money.
“After the demands were met, the man then broke into the campervan through the entrance door and was followed by a second male,” police spokeswoman Sarah Kennett said.
Two of the tourists were assaulted before they were robbed of property.
The Herald says one of the tourists suffered facial injuries and required medical treatment.
It recalls a similar attack on a German tourist in Paihia in December who was robbed of a camera and toiletries and suffered a fractured jaw. He needed surgery at Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital.
Before that, three Chinese tourists were threatened with knives and robbed of cash and possessions on Te Paki Rd, a metal road near the northern end of Ninety Mile Beach.
The timing of this attack on overseas tourists was unfortunate from a tourism-promotional perspective.
Maori tourism operators were given a dollop of extra dosh in this year’s budget to grow their businesses.
Tourism operators will receive $4.5 million to develop leadership in the sector, improve Maori tourism products and promotion.
Labour’s spokesperson for tourism, Kelvin Davis, another Northlander, mentioned the ill-effects for Maori tourism in his expression of disgust at the spate of attacks on tourists in the Far North.
In the wake of an attack on three French tourists in Mangamuka, Northland by two Maori males, Labour Party Maori MP and Tourism spokesperson Kelvin Davis says he is sickened and ashamed of the way some of his own people treat visitors.
“It is totally opposite to our customs and values to abuse visitors, and these thugs don’t deserve the right to be called Maori. We are a proud and noble people and these scum undermine that,” Kelvin Davis said.
“Just yesterday I wrote an article for a tourism publication, urging the government to support Maori in tourism, saying we are a unique and vital element to the New Zealand tourism scene. These mongrels simply undermine any attempts for Maori to get ahead in the industry.
“They will undermine those Maori entrepreneurs who are looking to open marae up to the influx of tourists expected at next years Rugby World Cup.
“This latest attack on tourists just jeopardises that whole concept, because no one will want to be hosted by a bunch of Maoris who in their minds are just going to smack them over and pinch their belongings.
“Those folk who were opening up their marae were adamant that tourists would have to follow correct tikanga or protocol. This incident by two brainless bums, demonstrates how pathetically hypocritical we are. One moment we have a group of Maori insisting visitors abide by tikanga, then the next moment we have another group of Maori trampling on tikanga as they loot and pillage our visitors. So much for manaakitanga (hospitality).”
Tourism is a job-rich industry that is crying out for constructive Maori input, Davis pointed out.
Maori thugs kept their people rooted at the bottom of the ladder to success.
Northland-based Labour MP Shane Jones has climbed into the matter, too, in today’s Herald report.
…described those responsible as “bandits” and has called on residents in Hokianga and the Mangamukas to dob them in. “It’s disheartening but what’s more perturbing is undoubtedly that these two villains are known to members of the Northland community.
“Someone will know them and whoever you are, dob them in.”
Mr Jones said those who preyed on tourists tarnished the goodwill and reputation of Northland and the sooner they were caught and brought to justice, the safer everyone would feel.
Alf says the incident should not be a reflection on all of Maoridom, of course.
But the Maori Party has fought for and secured recognition of Maori as “special” people under the United Nations declaration on indigenous rights.
It wants Maori distinguished from the rest of us.
Mind you, maybe this is no bad thing. It might enable the PR people to put a better spin on incidents of this sort.
The French tourists will be able to go home to report they were treated to a really close encounter with some of our “special” citizens.
That might be more attractive to them than having to talk about being robbed and beaten by a bunch of common, mindless thugs.