Alf’s ancestors – because they happen to by very dead – don’t give a toss about what happens to the places where they once lived.
Most of them happened to have lived and died in England, some of them buried long ago in cities upon which the Luftwaffe dropped many bombs during World War II.
The good citizens of those cities were deeply affronted by the bombings, of course, and regarded Herr Hitler’s assault on their country as seriously disrespectful. But so far as Alf is aware, his ancestors were blissfully indifferent to the blitz.
Dunno if this indifference happens to be a British thing, but in this country the ancestors of the tangata whenua are much more twitchy about having things dropped on the places where they once wandered.
They find if difficult to express their concerns, of course, because one of the many downsides of being dead is that you can no longer tell the government of the day, or your local council, or you family what is pissing you off.
But the ancestors of tangata whenua are blessed with having stroppy spokesperons in the land of the living who make damned sure their objections are registered.
A case could be made for giving these ancestors a vote, Alf suspects, although another downside of being dead is that it is difficult to put a tick on a ballot paper. The aforementioned spokespersons would have to do that too.
Alf is sure they would do it very eagerly.
One example in recent days (here) is the Ngati Pukenga kaumatua who says a drop of the toxin 1080 on a Coromandel mountain is disrespectful to the ancestors of Te Arawa.
The Department of Conservation will drop the toxin over 4500 hectares of Mt Moehau between June and August.
DoC has used 1080 in the Coromandel before to eradicate pests such as possums and stoats, but this will be its first aerial drop over the mountain.
Te Moana a Toi Leaders Forum chairman Awanui Black says Moehau maunga is the final resting place of the captain of the Te Arawa waka, Tamatekapua.
Mr Black says the 1080 drop will hurt the mountain’s mauri (life-force) and threaten Moehau’s waterways and wildlife. He says the Government should trust Maori with the mountain’s guardianship.
DoC says it is important to protect the forest and wildlife at Moehau, and the drop is necessary to eradicate rats and possums.
This no doubt is true.
It says it has consulted more than nine tangata whenua including Ngati Whanaunga, Ngati Hei, and the Hauraki Collective.
This no doubt is true too.
The possums regrettably were introduced to this country by someone else’s ancestors (Pakeha, yes, but not related to Alf, he hastens to insist). This blunder has been environmentally disastrous.
Alf supposed the ancestors of the tangata whenua would rather the possums be poisoned than be allowed to continue to breed and to poop and to piss on their wairua.
He is disappointed to learn DoC is being disrespectful by using the only weapon in its arsenal capable of wiping out the buggers by the thousand.
After all that consulting, DoC will be disappointed too.
The way Alf understands it, Herr Hitler wasn’t too strong on this consulting lark and didn’t bother. He just went ahead and dropped his bombs.
Maybe if he had dropped 1080 instead he would have learned from Alf’s ancestors how terribly disrespectful he had been.