Tuesday, August 23, 2011

American Eagles are landbound

This from today's NZ Herald is an unfortunate story about the USA Eagles.

" They may have the courage to face the world's rugby giants but World Cup minnows the USA Eagles are too nervous to take a waka trip across the Whanganui River.
And their decision has the makings of an international incident.
The journey from Putiki Wharanui Marae to the Waimarie berth on ceremonial waka was to have been the highlight of the September 4 greeting for the 46-person American party, which will spend a week in Wanganui before the Rugby World Cup.
But "safety and security reasons" prompted them to scupper the waka journey."

I have to say that the chances of this causing an international incident are zero. I have no idea what the advice given to the Eagle's management was if any and that is a definite failure on the part of the New Zealand Rugby Union.

" It may be something some of them are not used to.
"We will still be providing an opportunity for the public to engage with the US party along the riverbank - we are looking at alternatives," said Mr Cobb, admitting that time was short."

The iwi will be gutted. The Eagle's probably aren't aware of is that this is an opportunity that very few New Zealanders ever get. I haven't got around to looking at the Eagle's team  yet but it seems inconceivable to me that there aren't at least a couple of Kiwi's in the team and if I am correct on that they either weren't consulted  or if they were weren't listened to or and I would struggle to believe this, gave some very bad advise to team management.

"The USA team manager did confirm with their team liaison officer that they did not wish to go on the waka on the river.
"They do not mean any disrespect by this."
Whanganui iwi representative and Wanganui District Council Maori liaison officer John Maihi said he wanted to hear the official word on the matter for himself.
"My position is that we've never given up on anything else before, we'll probably challenge them."
He said he expected Maori Affairs minister Pita Sharples, Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia and Wanganui MP Chester Borrows to "make a ruckus" if the US pulled out."

That is a bad idea and Sharples and Turia are experienced politicians and  will more likely work behind the scenes to get a resolution. I hope they do because there are no safety or security issues  involved, for  fucks sake this is New Zealand  not Afghanistan. The American Eagles will not get past the opening round but have fought very hard to qualify for the Rugby World Cup. These  young men will remember playing for the USA in the spiritual home of rugby union for the rest of their lives, I suspect they would also remember the waka ride and the Maori cultural experience that this  is part of for the rest of their lives and it might well have become as they get older a fonder memory than playing in the Rugby World Cup.

Incidentally you probably didn't notice this spelling  
  this spelling. Maori New Zealand  insist it is Whanganui but the good people  idiots of  Whanganui insisted  that they know ( no ) better how to spell Maori than Maori the NZ Geographic Board in a totally gutless back down to redneck stupidity authorised both spellings.

Hat Tip Keeping Stock

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