'Racist' remarks derail Auckland maunga meeting

Devonport from across the harbour.
Devonport from across the harbour. Photo credit: Getty

A resident furious at the use of te reo Māori in a community meeting has derailed discussions on Devonport's Mt Victoria.

The residents were meeting with the Tūpuna Maunga ō Tāmaki Makaurau Authority on Thursday after cars were banned from the summit in March, Stuff reports.

Many at the meeting were frustrated at a perceived lack of consultation, including Geoff Chapple, who collected 1200 signatures asking for vehicle access to be restored.

Tūpuna Maunga Authority chairman Paul Majurey said the ban aimed to preserve the maunga.

But angry residents let their feelings known in the meeting during the traditional Māori welcome mihi.

A man introducing himself as Simon Clark interrupted and told the group to speak English. 

"Please speak in a language 99 percent of us here understand," Stuff reports him saying. "If I stood here and spoke Cantonese, Mandarin or Eskimo, would anybody stay?"

After dozens of people bickered, the mihi reportedly continued in English.

One witness said there were "so many racist remarks", but officials handled it well, staying polite.

A post on the Devonport Locals Facebook page expressed disappointment with residents' conduct.

"This attitude does not represent me or many others I talk to who refused to sign the petition and want to work with the Maunga Authority to create a place that respects many voices not just the tired old privileged entitled voice."