Waka TF?


It’s your money -$2 million of it - and here it is.

The plastic Waka, paid by the Government to sit for a fortnight on the Viaduct near Wynyard Quarter’s Te Wero Bridge, has arrived and will be officially opened by Prime Minister John Key tonight.

The Waka has arrived at Auckland's Viaduct


After it has been there for the last fortnight of the Rugby World Cup, it’s whereabouts are unknown as it’s too expensive to ship anywhere and storage won’t be cheap either.

Perhaps it can  form a Plastic RWC Memorial somewhere and join The Cloud and giant rugby ball!

Let’s just remind ourselves what happened when the taxpayer gift was granted, much to the delight of Maori Party’s Pita Sharples who may get a few election votes out of it.

His Labour candidate rival Shane Jones dubbed it Tupperwaka,  said that  “this idea is simply out to lunch,” and $2m could have produced a fleet of beautiful waka, authentically handcrafted from kauri or totara.

Jones was back on message tonight calling it a “foolish misuse of taxpayer funds” and pointing out that at this late stage of the tournament, “apart from Wales, Australia and France, not much of the world is left here.”

“While the nation’s attention is on another waka threatening the Bay of Plenty coastline, John Key and Pita Sharples will be at party central celebrating the launch of a project which has been nothing short of an electoral gift to Pita Sharples to try to allow him to claim some mana from Maori participation in the RWC.”


Rodney Hide said it was wrong that Ngati Whatua would own the plastic boat even though the taxpayers are paying for it and it sent the wrong signal when the Government is supposed to be saving money.

The Greens immediately threw up their hands of the mention of PVC  and ACT”s Heather Roy got out her calculator and estimated that the money could have been better spent providing essential health services for hundreds of patients – 51 hip replacements, 31 hiatus hernia procedures, 41 grommet operations, and 116 cataract operations.

The plastic waka on Wynyard Quarter's entrance

Brushing off the criticism, the chief exponent and political beneficiary of it, Maori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples, waxed lyrically: “The Waka will provide the cultural heart of the entertainment programme on Auckland’s waterfront.”

Well there seems to be some sort of tent marae alongside the waka that is described by Sharples as being a vessel for Maori culture, and a vehicle to convey ‘many people as one’ around the globe. That’s all good but why add the $2m waka?



Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua chairman, Naida Glavish, issued a statement angry at the criticism saying : “We are creating a wonderful bow wave for our people. It is a shame Shane is messing about in the backwash playing local politics.”

Naida Glavish called it “a wonderful demonstration of Maori innovation, drawing on ancient traditions and bringing them to life with a 21st century flavour” and bringing “wonderful new dynamic to the ongoing Auckland waterfront celebrations during RWC.”
Judge for yourself.

It doesn’t look too flash inside as preparations continue for tonight’s ceremony.


But it’s really just a plastic shell anyway. An images of what it may look like tonight were released at the time of the announcement.

This is what it's supposed to look like tonight


The men outside the plastic waka looked like a Destiny Church meeting. Maybe that’s its purpose - to provide a waterfront pulpit for Pastor Brian.


Of course what’s $2 million when the millions keep being poured into the RWC  which will produce for NZ a deficit of many more millions.

The Cloud of course was a small $9m.

Even that RWC clock in QEII square opposute Britomart transport centre cost ratepayers $120,000.


The QEII Rugby world cup clock

All will be forgotten when attention goes back to rugby at the weekend.




  1. Travis says:

    I like it….aside from the ownership issues and the fact that it is only there for the final 11 days of the tournament.

  2. Geoff Houtman says:

    Training up master waka carvers all round the country only to avoid them and extrude a plastic one? WTF indeed.

    Send it to Chch with the Cloud.

  3. Matt says:

    Stick on a big white trunk, and some big white ears, and you’ve got National’s mana in a nutshell.

    It doesn’t even look like a waka. More like the world’s biggest tampon.

  4. Julie Fairey says:

    With respect Matt, it doesn’t look much like a tampon. I think the “Tupperwaka” tag is witty and apt.

    Does anyone know when they are expecting to have a decision on what will happen to it in 16 days? That’s not very far away, and getting closer every minute…

  5. Bryce says:

    ..and people think it’s time for KZ1 to be removed? I would rather the 1988 plastic fantastic. It was a bit more than $2m though.

  6. Pim says:

    I honestly don’t get it. Why would anyone support this? Does anyone support this? I’m sure there are still Maori tribes out there who could make these sort of things out of wood and make art out of them, and some of them don’t have jobs, so it would give them jobs aswell. I reckon that that would be a much smarter thing to do from the governments point of view.

  7. mean maori mean says:

    ATAAHUA! 11 days left until the end of the tournament or not, we should be proud and we need to stand together. We want the world to have a taste of cultural heritage here in NZ and showcase it afterall our culture is what sets us apart from the rest of the world. If tourists leave NZ having had awesome experiences they will return and that will be not only because of a ‘plastic waka’ but because of us…the people who make it memorable for all. In the meantime kia kaha and GO ALL BLACKS!

  8. Kip says:

    Hideously ugly and uneccessary.

  9. Ingolfson says:

    To the “mean maori mean” commentor - so essentially, because we are all one happy family, we will ignore our “family issues”, like the bloke who keeps pissing the money away?

    This government was quick to blame Auckland for any failures around the cup, so why do they expect us to be silent when they waste money like that? I don’t buy that.

  10. Jeremy says:

    I knew this tent wouldn’t be ready for the quarters when I last saw its hollow state.

  11. NOd says:

    3 points, 1st, Personally I like the idea of some sort of “Waka”/or other concept to Highlight Maori culture, people do come to New Zealand expecting to experience this. However, this PVC plastic fantastic representation of one to me does not visually shout at all Maori culture, especially in regards to the carving and design ability of Maori carvers and artists, it looks cheep and hasty. As such, it is an ugly waste of money. If your going to do something anyway (especially when there is so much public opposition) do it right from the start, make it look good and don’t cheap out.

    2nd, why is it only completed towards the end of the WRC? its not like people have only turned up for the event recently.

    3rd, Can anyone explain to me why the WRC countdown clock in the square opposite Britomart faces inwards towards the corner of the West field Mall…. I mean it’s not like that corner is bustling with people to see said clock. Surely there would have been a better place to show this. If your going to spend the money on such an item at least make it visible to a lot of people rather than hiding it.

    Oops Extra 4th point, despite all the issues, opposition, to things like the Slug and tuppa waka we need to make the best of what we have as its not like we can change it now ( it should provide some lessons though) and I hope people leave NZ having had a great time

  12. Nick says:

    Nod I know what you mean about the countdown clock! The best view of it is up in the foodcourt of Westfield. Surely putting it in a more visible public area (Aotea Square / Waterfront) and having it actually facing the public would have been common sense..

    As for the plastic waka it looks like crap and the only cultural thing about it is that the colours match the maori flag. Most overseas people will take much more about maori culture from the warrior who calls the teams out onto the pitch. I’m going to blame the government’s meddling for a poor result.

  13. Chris says:

    “3rd, Can anyone explain to me why the WRC countdown clock in the square opposite Britomart faces inwards towards the corner of the West field Mall…. I mean it’s not like that corner is bustling with people to see said clock. Surely there would have been a better place to show this. If your going to spend the money on such an item at least make it visible to a lot of people rather than hiding it.”

    Yes I’ve often wondered this myself. I mean there’s what, 10′s of people in Westfield food court watching it every day and thousands of people walking up the footpath everday - and the clock faces the 10s of people?? WTF?

    Yet another cockup from ‘smart’ people.

  14. Bob says:

    Re the clock. Could anyone read it during daylight hours? It worked best at night when the mall is closed so noone saw it. Would ahve been better on a building like Britomart station.

  15. Rogue Timekeeper says:

    The clock’s practicality suffered because of RWC commercial requirements. It couldn’t be displayed with other brands in close proximity so it was positioned with the neutral Britomart Station behind it. Dumb but apparently true.

  16. globaldrifter says:

    The events of the last few weeks have show cased NZ as the special needs unit of the southern hemisphere, and this monstrosity is just the icing on the cake. There is no craftsmanship in this poorly constructed rubber tent. Who the F@#K made this thing and how the hell do they justify $2M for it

  17. Martin says:

    too much too late. Who’s left in the country to see this ugly white elephant?

    Epic fail NZ

  18. lloyd says:

    140,000 visitors to the Waka in the first 3 days demonstrates the huge international and local interest in the cultural display and activities.A positive for the nation but no pleasing everyone.


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