Te Papa staffer in domestic assault case takes refuge behind an overseas travel sob story

August 11, 2011

The head of the Women’s Refuge, Heather Henare, has cause to be upset today as she rails against a decision in Wellington District Court.

Her dander is up after police did not oppose the discharge of a defendant without conviction, which Judge Bruce Davidson granted.

And so Noel James Osborne, 47, ducked any penalty despite his involvement in what is reported to have been a “degrading” assault on his pregnant former partner.

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Maori would be better off – wouldn’t they? – trying to get ahead instead of trying to get heads

May 13, 2011

Alf prepared some questions for asking in Parliament this week, but a caucus colleague advised him against asking them in that forum.

He thought our Maori Party coalition partners might take serious cultural offence.

Fair enough. We might need their votes to have Budget legislation enacted.

But Alf remains very curious.

He wants to know how many people are needed to bring a few mummified tattooed Maori heads back to this country. Lots, it seems.

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Those Chilean miners would not have been imperilled if they had taken a kaumatua’s spiritual advice

October 26, 2010

The spooks are on the march.

Last heard of somewhere in the bowels of Te Papa, a place best avoided by menstruating and pregnant women, the wee buggers have infested the Waitomo Caves, too.

Alf has it on good authority they have travelled world-wide and account – among other things – for the recent Chilean mine collapse.

Or rather, a failure to observe the right protocols in places where the spirits have taken up residence led inevitably to the collapse.

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We should be encouraging women to come to Te Papa – so let’s keep out the taonga instead

October 13, 2010

Alf admires a politician who is prepared to stick his neck out and – in the case of Te Papa – seem to be over-ruling a bit of superstitious nonsense emanating from the mandarins who run the joint.

Hats off, therefore, to Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Chris Finlayson.

Today he is quoted as saying the controversial warning to pregnant or menstruating women to stay away from Maori artefacts at Te Papa is simply an advisory.

Women can decide to ignore it.

If you want to find out what this fuss is all about – as viewed by the country’s bloggers, anyway – you should check out the post on the matter at Homepaddock.

It includes a reference to a post by the admirable Cactus Kate, headed: “Cook Your Own F**ing Eggs I’m Menstruating”.

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Margaret Mutu tells us more about the mystical matter of Maori and menstruation

October 12, 2010

Uh, oh. Looks like anyone who takes Alf’s advice and protests against Te Papa for basing its policies on superstition could be in for a rough ride.

Chances are such champions of common sense and progress will suffer the same fate as Paul Henry, and be denounced as racists, or as culturally insensitive, or something.

Alf sounds this note of caution on learning that Margaret Mutu has got in on the act after the Dom Post revealed that pregnant or menstruating women are being discriminated against at Te Papa “for their own safety.”

She has gone out to bat for the idea that pregnant and menstruating women must be kept out of certain areas, which happen to include gardens and fishing grounds as well as Te Papa.

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Here’s a matter worthy of protest action – Te Papa’s advice to pregnant and menstruating women

October 12, 2010

Pregnant women shouldn't walk under ladders, either...

The mandarins who run our national museum have succumbed to superstition, although they tell us they are simply respecting somebody’s belief system.

They are advising pregnant or menstruating women against attending a Te Papa exhibit “for their own safety.”

An invitation for regional museums to go on a behind-the-scenes tour of some of Te Papa’s collections included the condition that “wahine who are either hapu [pregnant] or mate wahine [menstruating]” were unable to attend.

Te Papa spokeswoman Jane Keig said the policy was in place because of Maori beliefs surrounding the taonga Maori collection included in the tour.

“There are items within that collection that have been used in sacred rituals.

“That rule is in place with consideration for both the safety of the taonga and the women,” Keig said.

Oh yes. We can always come up with a credible-sounding rationale for a ridiculous rule.

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Culture shock at the Alexander Turnbull

April 15, 2009

Almost missed it, in my breeze through the Dom-Post yesterday, but it contained a cautionary tale about curious goings-on at the Alexander Turnbull Library, the nation’s research library within the National Library.

Jim Traue, a former chief librarian of the Alexander Turnbull Library, tells us moves are afoot to turn the place into a digital Disneyland, so help us.

It looks suspiciously like building up the entertainment side of the library will be done at the expense of the research side.

Yep. Some staff are grumbling, but

An attitude change expert has been appointed, a “culture survey” compiled and a programme of “people change” is under way to rehabilitate the critics.

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