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Public being ridden over roughshod

Opinion Piece
Letter

The Cook obelisk on Kaiti Beach Road is a national monument, and as such, any plan to modify that reserve should have been put to the public — first — before anything was done.

As I have repeatedly pointed out, this is yet another case of a complete lack of public consultation. The Department of Conservation (DoC) and District Council are at fault, along with other parties who arrogantly push their own barrows without regard for public feeling.

Not only is the Cook site a listed national historic monument, it was partly funded by the people of New Zealand through subscription. DoC was entrusted with the reserve’s oversight, but has trampled on this trust by allowing the site’s integrity to be trashed by these intrusions.

A monstrous concrete plinth (for a statue I assume?) has destroyed the large grass area behind the obelisk. It looks like it was deliberately planned to overshadow the Cook obelisk. The stalled and misnamed “thousand-year” bridge will complete the takeover.

Last Saturday’s Gisborne Herald briefly outlined the “redevelopment”, but to date not one fully-laid-out plan or architectural drawing has been produced to show the public how it will look when completed. Are we ever going to get one?

The site’s original purpose has been totally and unnecessarily compromised — the Maori stories could have been told without the slighting of Cook and existing monuments.

That the wider public has at no point been consulted, nor given the courtesy of design drawings to show fully what is intended with statues and the like is a disgrace.

We are being ridden over roughshod and I for one strongly object.

Roger Handford