Ahipara gumfields is a dumping place for rubbish. It is a sad state of affairs, having lived in the gumfields for 39 years now and watching the whenua being abused, even by shareholders, pig hunters, dope growers, car thieves who dump and burn stolen vehicles, and many others, including trust members.

Now that I qualify under tikanga as Ahi Kaa Roa, I intend to start cleaning up the rubbish, hopefully setting a good example to people who visit our lands, expecting to see the beauty of Ahipara. They find themselves very confused, seeing the amount of rubbish and bad roads.

Once upon a time the gumfields and their history were known worldwide. In Europe there is a town named Ahipara, and we should have been proud of that. There are people who have sold their homes, and I see them most mornings going for a walk on the gumfields. Only to find rubbish on the sides of the roads. This must be very disappointing.

However, I intend to call on anyone who can drive or do other jobs, who are willing to donate their time to clean up the rubbish.

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I too have rubbish. The big difference is my rubbish can be cleaned in a few minutes, because I have all the earth-moving gear to clean it up with.

These people are destroying the mauri of the place, and for those people who criticise my efforts, remember 40 years ago the people of Ahipara tried to sell this land for a song. I came back from Auckland. I had a freehold home there, a million-dollar business. I sold everything and stopped the sale of this land, because my wife was a large shareholder on this land.

Also the top chief in Aotearoa was my great-great-great-grandfather, who was chief over the gumfields. He was the first signatory in partnership with King William, and I am heir to him, his name is Paerate.

I will be approaching the Far North District Council immediately to tidy up all the roads in the Gumfields.

I intend to start tomorrow, weather permitting.

I appeal for help at this stage. The mauri of Papatuanuku must not be destroyed.

SELWYN CLARKE
Ahipara