Their is a Maori myth that the sperm whales use the sound of Kauri “noise” to find their way home. The celts calling noise of the forest the tulloch or song of the earth. Both myth’s go to the very heart of the spiritual lesson of the need for balance and harmony in nature. The Maori Kauri whale legend is also a prophecy warning how mankind in its insatiable greed risked upseting that balance and in doing so would bring about the destruction of not just the Kauri and the Whale but also of themselves.
Last year while travelling NZ I found myself drawn to this myth and in Northland I decided to focus on the Kauri tree in homage to Tane Mahuta the god of the Forrest. When I began my research I was horrified to discover that in less than three years, with the exception of iwi land, NZ’s entire crop of swamp Kauri will have being brought up by Chinese multi nationals who in turn are stock piling it as they realize it’s greater than diamond fiscal value and unique story marketing opportunities.
It is a process the National Party is not only encouraging but is doing little to counter either the organised crime which is escalating the destruction of this most sacred resource, or the disease which is ravaging living Kauri tree and undermining the potential for NZ to develop a living Kauri tree timber market. A market that would make quality products sold to top tier markets for top dollar creating jobs and growing a lucrative resource stream for years to come. A process which would under mind the value of Kauri stockpiled by Chinese investors and Northland companies like Oravida Kauri. A firm whose board of directors include National MP Judith Collin’s husband David Wong.
In a superb piece by TV3 it was documented “Kauri logs that have been preserved for tens of thousands of years are now being sold offshore by the shipload. These irreplaceable treasures are going mostly to China in a black gold rush”…..after felling the forests, then digging up the kauri gum, the out comes is black gold that is worth more and more every day. 96% of swamp Kauri ends up in China.
“It’s rape and pillage on a grand scale,” says Dr John Allen, a geologist and member of the Northland Environmental Protection Society”. The consequences is asides from the extinction of NZ swamp Kauri “every wetland in private ownership will be obliterated”. Flora, fauna, rare orchids and entire food chains risk being wiped out. Meanwhile a council officer driving to court to testify against an illegal wetland operation was hit with a face full of bleach while a knife slashed his face as he was warned to “stay the f**k away”.
A year on, no one has been charged. The operator Mr Gary Beckham maintains his innocence in the attack maintaining the council worker did this to himself. He pleaded guilty to wetland mining and paid a $50,000 fine, whereupon he went back to making money. One tree alone can be worth up to a million dollars. Gary Beckham son Max Beckham is currently doing 20 years for millions in p ,kidnapping,torture,assault etc
Beckham was the main target of Operation Jivaro which identified Beckham, whose personalised plate read “B4DBOY” (if you use all cap case you get B$DBOY) . He was a significant figure in the methamphetamine trade in Northland and Auckland, police stated.
The case revealed how Beckham brought pseudoephedrine smuggled into NZ from China. Pseudoephedrine being the main ingredient of P. The case is also linked to Operation Manu, which busted a P ring running out of the SkyCity casino in 2006 which seized more than 30 million in P. The ring involved police officer and other prominent kiwis.
The Postman’s understanding is this is the tip of the iceberg concerning narcotic dealing and money laundering at the National Party backed Sky City which appears to be only a secret to NZ media.
One story has an entire floor rented at one stage by a dealer simply nick named the Russian.
Jivaro is the name of tribe of head hunters and would appear to be thinly veiled reference to the Head Hunters gang who have emerged as leading player in several high profile drug case involving P – with ingredients brought in from China – as the gangs ‘fight nights’ attract a stream of Auckland celebrity wanting to rub shoulder with the gang whose members only get patched so the legend has long maintained if they carry out murder.
Jivaro also involves associates of the Black Power gang whose members are also on “respective work forces”,or so called rehabilitation schemes. This includes those who working in at certain timber yards in Northland believed to be processing Kauri under which auspices they are reputed to work.” Schemes sanctioned by the National government including at this time Mike Sabin. An extension of Muldoon tender projects which first gave gangs their financial base stones in the 1980’s.
Sabin being the alleged anti P, former NZ police officer, turned MP who stepped down amid criminal charges and rumors in Northland as to what those charges are exactly and what the public are not being told. Sabin is being ‘investigated’ by Detective Bruce Scot, famed of the controversial Stephen Dudley homicide and the Terri King homicide case. During the King case this author witnessed form the press bench NZ Police officer joking about emails with informants (including a police officer who headed the Pretorian drug squad), jailed for record cocaine and ecstasy seizure (sold to NZ gangs), of the possibility of receiving a paid holiday in South Africa.
And it is not just the swamp Kauri that is getting plundered by organised crime as authorities are deemed, by those living in Northland and else where, to be looking the other way.
A fully grown tree is worth around $500,000 The Department of Conservation has seized three separate loads of felled Kauri from the Coromandel. They believe that tens of thousands of dollars of Kauri has been stolen from Crown land.
“To date, those taking the timber have been mostly targeting dead trees but DOC is worried the black market is growing and they fear that live trees may be in their sights”.
The Postman sources believes it more like millions of dollars is being “smuggled out in trees marked as macrocarpa”.Other means used to circumnavigate the 1949 Forestry Act, which specifically forbids the export of any native timber, unless it is a finished product, includes putting a smooth calling it a chopping block, table top.
So will the government step in?
Will lets put it this way at Ancient Kauri World I was shown a Kauri sculpture of a Panda and a Kiwi embossed on a globe. It is in fact a copy of a gift from John Key to the President of China.
One massive yard just outside Whangarei is leased by Oravida Kauri Limited – a subsidiary of dairy exporter Oravida Limited. In March Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye and National Party president Peter Goodfellow attended a function to celebrate Oravida’s purchase of new offices in the former Ports of Auckland building on Quay St. The offices were opened by then Justice Minister Judith Collins. Oravida founder Deyi “Stone” Shi who has worked hard to cultivate a strong relations with senior National Party figures since arriving 12 years ago. A director at Oravida and Ovarida Kauri is David Wong-Tung, the husband of former Justice Minister Judith Collins a National party MP.
In March 2014, Collins was accused of a conflict of interest after an overseas trip where she ‘dropped in’ and endorsed the milk produced by Oravida – a New Zealand company which exports to China – of which her husband is a director. After being admonished by the Prime Minister, Collins apologized and stated that she and a Chinese executive were ‘very close personal friends.
The timber in the Oravida yard is estimated to be worth at least $50 million.
While other exporters are sending material overseas as fast as they can the perception is Oravida is stock piling the wood planing to cash when their is little left in NZ and as it becomes rarer it values increases ex-potentially
Meanwhile the government has also seemingly abandoned funding to combat the dieback of Kauri a disease is estimated to have affected 11 per cent of kauri trees in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, as well as trees in private land and forests throughout Auckland and Northland. Agencies including Auckland Council, Northland Regional Council, the Department of Conservation and MAF Biosecurity have been managing the response to the disease through the Kauri Dieback Management Programme. In 2009, the Government pledged $4.7 million for the five-year programme to help fight the disease, adding to funding from other agencies. But the Ministry of Primary of Industries stated in 2013 there would not be another funding bid to the Cabinet.
Yet it hard to understand why such is the potential economic opportunities Kauri offers all of NZ.
‘Song of the Kauri’ director/producer and musician Mathurin Molgat spoke at a TEDx event in Queenstown New Zealand.
This must watch clips (see above) high lights not only how Kauri can be grown into a commercial sustainable manner that creates jobs but demonstrates how because of its “unique” story it can be used to make products – such as classical quality musical instrument – that simultaneously market NZ and fetch top dollar. The harmonics of the Kauri creating a fantastic sound (the song of the Kauri) that unfortunately will be silenced for ever if this plunder is allowed to continue.