Taking feedback on board

Marius Viktorious, a US backpacker, slates our clean and green environment. (Nation, April 26). Of course, we should take on board the feedback from visitors regarding our environment. Helps our objectivity.

But, I wonder whether Viktorious left this country after a month of backpacking and freedom camping slightly cleaner or slightly dirtier than it was before.

I Brown
Pyes Pa

Vote no to separate Maori wards

Tommy Wilson's article (Opinion, April 30) in my view trots out familiar half-truths and insults.


There is, in fact, nothing noble or forward-looking in supporting a separate racially based political system for the Western Bay of Plenty.

Dr Martin Luther King, whom Mr Wilson refers to in the apparent belief that Dr King would have supported separate Maori wards, would most certainly have opposed such a separatist system. He repeatedly said he wanted people to be judged not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.

And frankly, that is the only way forward if we want New Zealand to be a country where all citizens have equal political rights, irrespective of when they or their ancestors came to New Zealand.

To imply that those with a Maori ancestor can't get elected to local councils on their own merit is patronising to Maori, and is totally contradicted by the fact that almost a quarter of members of Parliament are now Maori, including the leaders and/or deputy-leaders of every party in Parliament, none of whom needed the separatist Maori electorates to get into Parliament.

Let's treat Maori New Zealanders as adults, in every respect, as able to be elected to local councils as they have proved to be in Parliament. Vote "NO" to separate Maori wards.

Don Brash

Unfair to Maori

Margaret Murray-Benge (Letters, April 28) continues to reveal a huge hole in her objection to Maori electoral wards.

She believes that Maori candidates are not inferior so they should get elected but the huge hole is that very few Maori do get elected, and none in Tauranga, and Margaret does not address this.

The explanation seems quite clear to most people. The voting system is unfair to Maori because Maori voters are heavily outnumbered by Pakeha voters who mostly do not vote for Maori candidates because they are less familiar with them.

The Maori ward system would give us a more united community by providing more fair representation for Maori while making no difference to Pakeha voters at all.

Peter Dey
Welcome Bay

Bring back birds

In response to letters written by Dr Rebecca Stirnemann (https://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=12028831), Ann Graeme (Letters, April 13) and Dr Meg Butler (Letters, April 28) on the subject of mangroves, I agree that wading birds feed on crustaceans living in the mudflats in our harbours and estuaries.

The mangroves do not seem to support any bird life and the pukeko (limited) only exist on the fringe.

Having lived and worked around the Mount and Tauranga during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s I was unaware of the existence of mangroves within the harbour, but wading birds were plentiful (flocks of many types) feeding in the Welcome Bay estuary, round Fraser St, Hairini causeway and the Te Maunga estuary.

In fact, the Te Maunga estuary even had maimai in the duck shooting season!

During this era, I was unaware of any mangroves in these areas, and early photographs at the Mission House seem to support my observation.

I would like to see the mudflats protected and these traditional feeding grounds returned to the wading birds.

Eventually, we may once again see flocks of birds feeding at low tide in these areas.
A Proctor
Pyes Pa