Be ready to keep a straight face when taniwha become the stuff of new law on water rights

July 20, 2012

It is unusual for Alf to turn to the Human Rights Commission for help, because he is apt to regard the outfit and its work with an element of disdain.

But it might be worth checking whether it has a role to play in influencing what’s happening on the matter of water rights and ownership.

Alf especially observes something on the commission’s web-site about New Zealand being a secular state, although Easter and Christmas are observed as public holidays, Christian prayers often form a part of public ceremonials and there is a degree of statutory recognition of Maori spiritual beliefs.

The critical point (here) is that –

New Zealand is a secular State with no State religion, in which religious and democratic structures are separated. In legislation and policy, the State respects freedom of thought, conscience and religion. There are few constraints on the freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs. Matters of religion and belief are deemed to be a matter for the private, rather than public, sphere.

That’s as it should be.

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It’s the 21st century but still we believe in psychic powers and astrology

December 7, 2011

If something must lurk in the water, mermaids are prettier than taniwha.

The New Zealand Skeptics are fighting a losing battle against superstition, mythology and pottiness.

The skeptics form a network of New Zealanders including magicians, teachers, scientists and health professionals and their members have a variety of religious faiths, economic beliefs and political leanings

…but are all interested in examining what objective scientific support there is for claims of such things as psychic abilities, alternative health practices, creationism and other areas where science, pseudo-science and shonky science interact.

There are always more questions!

Of course there are.

But Alf is deeply disturbed this morning to learn of a study that found a third of New Zealanders believe aliens have visited Earth and a majority think psychic powers exist.

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Auckland transport planners may never see what hit them as their tunnel project is threatened

June 9, 2011

Bugger...we should have consulted with Horotiu.

Alf wonders what the taniwha thinks about things, as he lurks beneath the streets of the Queen City.

Maybe he is a she.

But whatever the gender, above ground it is being said the wee rascal could upset plans for an Auckland city rail link tunnel.

It seems a bit late in the day for the Auckland Council’s Maori Statutory Board to be sounding a warning to transport planners.

But better late than never, eh, when you are dealing with a taniwha, who – we are told – lived in an ancient creek running past the Town Hall and down Queen Street.

This taniwha has found a champion in board member Glen Wilcox who

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It looked like a chance to lock up every progress-frustrating taniwha in one place – until you read further

April 30, 2011

Can you see the taniwha? No? Then you aren't looking hard enough.

A press statement from the Wellington City Councilsays dragons and taniwha, as well as bears and sharks, “are moving into Opera House Lane”.

Oh joy.

Until he was disabused by subsequent information in the statement, Alf saw this as a great opportunity to round up every bloody taniwha in the country and have them corralled in one place, well out of the way of modern developments they otherwise would frustrate.

But nah, no such luck.

In this case, we are dealing with arty-farty stuff.

At least 20 young people are right now buffing, undercoating and preparing the lane before they take to the fresh canvas with their stencils and paints over the weekend.

Led by the Boys and Girls Institute (BGI), this is the start of a number of projects Wellington City Council wants to undertake in Opera House Lane to improve people’s sense of safety.

Improve our sense of safety?

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