The Tupuna Maunga Authority (TMA) is now welcoming submissions on its draft operational plan 2020/21. The TMA owns and manages 14 maunga/mountains, in trust for the tribes and people of Auckland under the Reserves Act.
The TMA wants to reforest these mountains in natives, by first chopping down nearly all the exotic trees. The majority of these are mature, healthy, non-pest species including oak, ash, and giant macrocarpa. Hundreds of exotic trees from Māngere Mountain, Pigeon Mountain and Mt Wellington have already suffered this fate.
Of the thousands of native "trees" promised in their stead, most seem to be grasses and small shrubs.
Many have died or become overgrown with weeds, having been pegged on top of scoria in bottomless pots. Very few canopy species have been planted, and these will be slow growing if they manage to survive.
Why waste tens of millions of ratepayers' dollars destroying rare and valuable habitats, then replanting in such harsh, exposed conditions?
Felling on Owairaka/Mt Albert has been halted pending a judicial review regarding the resource consent and notification process.
Auckland Council has declared a climate emergency. We urgently need all of these huge, healthy trees. Surely best practice would be planting under the canopy and leaving the flourishing, diverse ecosystem to act as a nursery.
Liz McNair, Glen Eden.
Latin in practice
Yolanda Huo's comment (NZ Herald, March 2) is a pearler (bonum). If that isn't a giant (ingen) tick for retaining Latin in NCEA, I don't know what is.
Whilst (dum) in my prime, I lived in Spain, working as a waitress. I had done Latin at school for three years. No one spoke English and the restaurant owners got major hilarity by telling me very inappropriate things to say in Spanish to customers.
So, armed with my hazy Latin and a pile of translation books, I no longer asked customers shocking stuff and enquired: Chicken paella for how many, and was that four beers or two?
It was Latin - the basis of the romance languages - that saved my bacon (lardum).
Justine Adams, Ohope Beach.
Outside the language
It was with considerable joy that I read the contribution by Yolanda Huo (NZ Herald, March 2) on Latin teaching. The Year 13 student argued powerfully that a Latin option be retained in the New Zealand curriculum.
At the other end of the scale, I'm a 77-year-old male who was compelled (in England) to learn Latin for six years, starting just before my 10th birthday. Looking back, I am so grateful.
I studied and practised law, and learned and understood perhaps a few dozen phrases and sayings (maxims) written in pure Latin; one that is used here even in everyday speech is "de facto" although it wasn't a noun in Latin. I even picked up the odd word of Norman French (derived from Latin), but in practice legal drafting and speech was of course in English.
The point which Yolanda does not explicitly make is that learning a language like Latin creates a place for viewing our native language from outside. From outside the language, we learned as young children, the structure of that language becomes more apparent.
Her final point is that MoE proposes taking steps to improve New Zealand's declining level of literacy etc, yet is proposing to eliminate one valuable route leading to the achievement of that goal. Sure, anyone can get by without learning Latin, just as one can get by without ever doing any formal exercise.
Bruce Cropper, Three Kings.
Job done, Cobber
Greg Adamson's starchy criticism of Jacinda Ardern's choice words for Scott Morrison (NZ Herald, March 2) was rather short-sighted.
She was not poking her nose into the business of Australia's elected officials, but standing up for the nation she represents by confronting a festering issue of negativity for New Zealand at its source.
The deportation of people born in New Zealand but raised, and raising hell, in Australia has led to the rapid rise of new gangs, and the attendant misery that brings - shootings, terrified neighbourhoods - on the New Zealand landscape.
The Australian deportation policy was clearly devised by those with a similar mindset to the correspondent - as long as the trouble's off our patch, job done. But the trouble's ending up on our patch, and something needed to be said.
Yes, our nations have a long history of camaraderie, and that will long continue. True friends, though, will step up and serve you with a bit of bone-jarring honesty when it's needed.
Jacinda Ardern was doing her job and does not deserve contempt for it.
Nicholas Sorensen, Titirangi.
Australian Greg Adamson (NZ Herald, March 2) rightly says that, if New Zealanders living in Australia are unhappy with Australia's political decisions, they can go home.
In New Zealand, when immigrants object to our political decisions because they don't fit with the cultural values of the countries they are from, we back down.
J Leighton, Devonport.
Auckland City Council is responsible for providing a safe, clean, healthy, environmentally focused city for the approximately 1.6 million people who occupy the urban area.
Phil Goff (NZ Herald, January 27) promotes many building projects to be ready by 2021 because of planned events, and Andrew Barnes, chair of Regional Facilities Auckland (NZ Herald, February 28), tells us we need a cultural consultant before further decisions are made about future events.
Do they both assume the result of their endeavours will improve the quality of life for Auckland's citizens - all of them? Not just planners, developers and commercial property owners? Otherwise, why do it?
The world is changing - and fast. Climate change is becoming more evident. Our lifestyles enable medical threats to manifest themselves in our communities with unprecedented speed.
What guarantees do we have that in 2021 and beyond we will have visitors wanting to travel here for events or guests occupying the 1000 more hotel rooms Goff tells us will be available?
Goff and Barnes fail to understand it is our natural beauty which attracts our visitors; not being a replica of so many high-density cities around the world, lacking in grace or charm.
Kay Hook, Epsom.
Today I paid my fine for a traffic infringement. Was I guilty ? Yes. Did I know? No.
Let me explain. I am an 85-year-old driver with 70 years' accident-free experience.
I had driven my wife for an early morning appointment for eye surgery on a road I had not
driven at that time before.
On leaving the basement garage I turned left into what I did not know was a restricted lane. As the outer lane was blocked from traffic light to traffic light, I unwittingly drove 88 metres turning left at the green arrow.
I now have a colour portrait of my vehicle I did not want and which has cost me just under half of my pension.
I was offered an alternative court appeal, which at my age only adds to my frustration. The distance travelled approximates at $1.60 a metre.
I now know why Remuera Rd is referred to as "The Golden Mile".
It seems good drivers over many years are penalised rather than rewarded.
To add to my frustration and following instructions on the infringement notice I took the cheque to the Post Office only to be told that cheques were no longer accepted.
Oh for my city to be as it used to be.
Gerald Freeman, Takapuna.
The latest Kidscan campaign featuring chefs making euphemistically named "poverty meals" is simply a "pimp the poor" propaganda exercise in false guilt attribution.
I simply don't buy the lie that a New Zealand family cannot afford to feed its children.
In response to the "red soup" and "chicken head" meals, rolled out as sans-evidence exceptions attempting to prove the material rule, I have a menu of my own.
A can of baked beans, spaghetti or sweetcorn is 70c; a packet of pasta is 99c; a packet of vegetable soup mix is $1.69; a bag of "ugly" apples is $2. A tray of 20 eggs is $6.50. A loaf of bread is $1. A bag of cereal is $2. Two litres of milk is $2.50. A can of stew is $2.25.
Assume a seven-day menu, three meals a day, and four people in the family.
By my calculation, a week's worth of the above staples works out to approximately $44.30 per week for a family of four.
We don't need to raise benefits, we need to reinforce sound budgeting. We don't need to enable dysfunction, we need to encourage people into work.
And we definitely don't need millionaire gourmet celebrities and "woke" charities pretending that they know anything meaningful about how to fix societies problems - because they don't.
Dylan Tipene, Ranui.
Doesn't ad up
Obviously, I know nothing about what constitutes effective advertising. Thus I have to be bewildered when organisations spend what surely must be a considerable amount of money on TV advertisements, featuring what appear to be either grotesque monsters or half-wits.
There is AA Insurance with one happy soul singing "Born Free" and waltzing about with glasses of wine and another clown also singing "Born Free" while driving his car into a wall - I cannot get the hang of it.
There is some idiot running down a beach with an ice cream cone - so stupid that I cannot remember what it is about. There is a power company with a huge pink blob - I don't get the drift of that one either. I could go on and on.
If these firms really do think that this is good publicity for their operations, I would have to doubt their judgement.
Geraldine Taylor, Remuera.
Short & sweet
Letters: Deportees, coronavirus, drought, downtown buses and Destiny Church
Letters: Ardern's criticism, discrimination, coronavirus and sport
Letters: Kay Saville-Smith, national anthem, traffic congestion and cycleways
With Covid-19 spreading like wild fire in crowded areas like planes, cruise ships and high-density housing areas, it would be disastrous if it got into our prison system. Neil Hatfull, Warkworth.
I would like to congratulate Yolanda Huo for an excellent argument in support of keeping Latin in the NCEA framework. Her considered article was elegant in its simplicity and amply supports its retention. Linda Macdonald, Warkworth.
Heartiest congratulations to Yolanda Huo on her superbly written article (NZ Herald, March 2) about raising standards, not lowering them. She will go far, and I hope New Zealand will have a worthy place for such a competent, clear-thinking mind. John Hampson, Meadowbank.
NZ First minister Shane Jones has turned politics into poetry with his flowery language. Mohammed Yakub, Māngere East.
The increasing use of the word agreeance when what is meant is agreement is distressing. Its use by some radio and TV announcers who should know better is intellectual laziness and linguistic vandalism. Peter Clapshaw, Remuera.
Watching the enormous crowds attending the various live shows throughout the country recently, I wondered how many students (who couldn't afford to pay their debts) were there? Elaine Dowling, Cambridge.
I am having real problems locating Iddily on a world map. Can anyone help? Ed Porter, Herne Bay.
Issac Davison says there is a major shortfall of around 30-40,000 homes in Auckland. Yet Ashley Church says the housing shortage is a myth. So are there plenty of empty but unaffordable houses? Peter Thomas, Hamilton.