An article in The Northland Age about the police finally taking action to open up an illegal roadblock is not all good news.

The good news is that that police finally acted last Wednesday on behalf of law-abiding surfers by intervening in order to let the surfers through the illegal roadblock. But that is all that they did.

The bad news is that, incredibly, the police have allowed the roadblock to continue and that a police Senior Sergeant is reported as telling The Northland Age that no one was doing anything wrong!

“No one got pushed around. That’s the main thing.” Senior Sergeant Russell Richards said officers had not demanded the road be opened, but had allowed surfers to walk or paddle to where they wanted to go.

“Our priority was to keep the peace and make sure everyone was safe,” he said. “No one was doing anything wrong.”
The BFD. Surfers finally got access to Te Kohanga on Wednesday, after police told Takiwa o Ahipara that it could not stop them. Picture / Supplied Northland Age

Even worse is the response from Patau Tepania, a leading road blocker, who was not happy and who claimed that blocking the road was not about power but all “about looking after our whanau”.

Bear in mind that this roadblock is set up to prevent people from accessing 90 Mile Beach which is almost always largely deserted. One might well wonder whether Patau and his cronies could be better off elsewhere “looking after” their relatives.

Tepania went on further to complain that “we are always being asked to justify” our behaviour, and “we’re sick of it”. “We are the kaitiaki (guardians) … our ancestors passed this land on to us … some people just don’t get it”.

Dead right, some of us just don’t get it. How is it that Maori can claim ownership of public property, and demand the right to prevent others from accessing it?

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