As a Pom who had not experienced the joys of living in Godzone during the construction of the Waikato Expressway, I was bemused to hear my Kiwi colleagues spend much of this week ranting about a ‘Taniwha’. Although I’ve made a point of learning some basic Maori phraseology so that I don’t become completed befuddled by the bilingual nature of some conversations – I now know that when I come home in the evening my wahine is expecting kai – this was entirely new ground.
When pressed, the rantee’s couldn’t exactly define what a Taniwha was – common consensus placed it somewhere between a tribal guardian and a monster and firmly in the realm of mythology – but their ire was raised by the fact that it was threatening to bugger up the proposed Auckland CBD rail tunnel.
The Taniwha in question – this one is called Horotiu and even has a Twitter account – apparently dwells in a subterranean stream somewhere in the region of Queen Street and should someone thoughtlessly build a train line through its home will cause all kinds of mischief with public transport. At least that is what Glenn Wilcox, a member of the Auckland Maori Advisory Board, tells us.
I suspect Mr Wilcox is not to be believed.
Let’s be honest, once the rail tunnel is built Horotiu will have no chance of competing against ARTA who, by that stage, will have a full two decades of hands-on experience in buggering up public transport. And I also suspect he’ll still be having far too much fun messing with the heads of used car purchasers. Read the rest of this entry »