after head of Māori carving post on Great Barrier Island sawn off and taken
The head of a Māori carving post on Great Barrier Island has been sawn off and taken - and mana whenua and other locals believe it's an act of racism.
It comes after new water controls have been put in place for the area around the island.
"We now have racism coming out in the open and desecration of something that we hold most special is one of the worst things they could do for one of our sacred mahi, and that's around rāhui and the installation of pou whenua," said Jeff Cleave.
In Māori tradition, a pou whenua carving is a boundary marker post that also performs a spiritual function, acting as a kaitiaki, or guardian, and carvings like these are tapu.
To have the head, the most sacred part, sawn off and taken away is an insult that's come as a huge shock.