A washed-up whale leads to the uttering of unadulterated world-class nonsense best suited to an asylum.

Three weeks ago a 15-metre sperm whale corpse washed up on Paraparaumu beach, a coastal district about 40 minutes' drive north of Wellington. There it lay for three days, drawing thousands of spectators, before being removed by the Conservation Department for burial away from the beach.

None of that was specially noteworthy, even if beached whales are not usually of the sperm variety.

What was extraordinary was the uttering of unadulterated world-class nonsense this event spawned, mainly and predictably by Maori exponents whose capacity to spout garbage is familiar to us all. Mind you, in fairness, a couple of non-Maori males made a hearty effort to give them a run for their money but frankly, they were way out of their league.

For example, well-known and predictably bearded carver Owen Mapp told the press that "creating cultural objects [from the whale's jaw bone] enabled contemporary society to honour the spirit of the whale so it could live on". If Mr Mapp believes that hogwash then, were it not illegal, presumably he'd be a starter to make a carving out of his dead mother's thigh bone so that he could honour her spirit (whatever that is) and enable her to live on.


It got worse.

The national museum's marine mammals collection manager, Anton Van Helden, undoubtedly bearded, chimed in, first giving a sensible explanation for the whale's death, only to spoil it by ignoring his Dutch common-sense heritage when he told a reporter, "Whales have a special significance to the community. They breathe air; we have a kinship with them; a relationship to their mystique; our heritage is closely tied to them".

Four points; all infantile nonsense. Tens of millions of different species, namely all animals, plants, fish, birds and insects, breathe air, some with lungs, other by diffusion, but that certainly doesn't give us a kinship with them. Mr Van Helden should acquire a dictionary which will enlighten him on the meaning of kinship; specifically a blood relationship.

As for our "relationship to the mystique of whales", Mr Van Helden gave no explanatory details of either the claimed relationship or the alleged mystique, doubtless for the very good reason that this was a spur-of-the-moment fiction. Finally, our heritage is absolutely not "closely tied to whales".

The first Europeans here were whalers and whaling continued in Cook Strait until a few decades back, but historically and economically these events were small cheese. Still, Mapp and Van Helden gave it a pretty good crack, but as I will show, they were outclassed in the nonsense-talking stakes once the world-champion Maori tripe-talking exponents came into play.

Launching the Maori counterattack for idiocy talking honours, kaumatua Don Te Maipi, another in need of a dictionary, told journalists that "the dead whale is regarded as an ancestor".

Mr Te Maipi didn't say who specifically regarded that whale so, but if there's anyone apart from him who does, then the asylum beckons.

Mr Te Maipi then moved into padded-cell-and-straitjacket territory when he added that he believed "the whale's death could have been connected spiritually to the death of Bruce Mansell". Mansell, a non-Maori, was a local shopping centre manager who had died two days earlier. He was not over-weight and certainly not of sperm whale dimensions.


An Ani Parata, described as a local iwi representative, piped up and told the same reporter, "The whale has given up his life for us," adding, "This is a significant message to us. We come from a tribe of whalers". No detailed explanation for this hogwash was given but nevertheless I can assure Ani Parata that the whale not only did no such thing but, in fact, would have been oblivious to her existence. What "the significant message" was, understandably was not explained.

Imagine if talking tripe was a criminal offence.

Dealing with Mr Mapp first, I reckon he'd cop a year's home detention and a severe warning with the threat of a prison sentence should there be further offending.

Mr Van Helden definitely would go down; probably for six months with an added two years for disgracing his Dutch heritage.

Mr Te Maipi would be history. In his case it would be a maximum sentence with a minimum 10-year parole term.

Ms Parata poses a difficulty, for she's a woman and the court would be confused by her trespassing into Maori male nonsense-talking territory. Her best bet would be to plead that she was in the middle of a week-long bender and was so drunk at the time that it would be unreasonable to hold her responsible for her words, for which she now has deep remorse.

Best of all, if such legislation were enacted, would there be the mass Sunday arrests of clerics? For compared to them and their pulpit fantasies, the Maoris, Mr Van Helden and Mr Mapp are mere pikers.