Regional governance inquiry in the hands of Aucklanders
Mahurangi residents need to categorise themselves as Aucklanders. That’s if the Mahurangi wishes to be heard by the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance. Either that or Auckland regioners—ghastly language, which the Mahurangi Magazine is reluctant to encourage.
The terms of reference of the commission, including the title, contain 19 substantive instances of the word Auckland. In 15 of those instances, it is Auckland region, as opposed to Auckland. And as part of the title Auckland Regional Council, it is is mentioned just once:
Auckland region means the geographical area within the jurisdiction of the Auckland Regional Council
In contrast, the commission’s first media release contains 12 instances of Auckland or Aucklanders but only one of Auckland region. In the media release Hon Peter Salmon QC is quoted as saying:
We want to put Auckland’s future in the hands of Aucklanders
Small wonder that one Auckland mayor appears nervous.
So, does Mahurangi put up with it and put up (as opposed to shut up) as Aucklanders? Or does it tediously protest at every turn that it is part of the Auckland region, not of Auckland !
The future of the Mahurangi is inextricably bound with that of the Auckland region, yet anti-Auckland sentiment is often voiced by residents. It the editor’s avowed mission to encourage collaboration with Aotearoa’s metropolis, rather than give succour to isolationism—once opened, those tunnels can never be plugged*!
Besides, there are more lovers of the Mahurangi living in Auckland city (small c) than in the Mahurangi catchment.
Makaurau Speaking of lovers of the Mahurangi, there is an indigenous name, potentially, for the region: Makaurau—one hundred lovers, from Tāmaki-makau-rau. Leave Tāmaki as Tāmaki, along with its meaning of battle, and retain the positive and melodic Makaurau.
Of course, the driver for the unprecedentedly focussed navel gazing by the Auckland region is the clear need for its multiplicity of bodies and agencies to more effectively plan for the future. And while much of its rhetoric refers to conventional preoccupations—‘Auckland has to compete’—the commission’s terms of reference emphasise that the region faces ‘enormous change brought about by global … environmental … forces’.
Effective climate action demands effective governance of the region, if you’ll indulge the editor, of Makaurau.
*Anecdotal In 1974, during the editor’s only other bid to be elected to local body office, the partner of his Values Party running mate was advocating blowing up the Ōrewa Bridge, to hold back the city hordes. It was judged that he was only half joking—he indulged in some outrageous activities both before and after that period. And that was the old bridge, which would’ve little-resisted a little well-placed plastic.