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We even provide code so people can embed their verification site seal on their websites and other online profiles. The book, Ancient Celtic New Zealand, featured an official archival document, which clearly showed an intention, by New Zealand Government Departments, to withhold archaeological information from the public for a period of 75 years. Since publication of the book, many indignant people have written to the National Archives for an explanation as to why such an embargo had been put in place.
They have questioned the legality of such imposed restrictions and have contacted their Members of Parliament to force a release of any information still being withheld. This author and others, simply wish to inform the public that, in New Zealand, archaeological information, artefacts and skeletal evidence can be deemed secret, with knowledge deliberately withheld in the perceived interests of government policy. Whether or not the fullness of embargoed information from the Waipoua Forest Archaeological dig has finally found its way to the public, is now considered irrelevant.
Various contradictory letters of explanation have issued forth over time from the official organs, assuring the public that the "Waipoua" fiasco was all just a big misunderstanding, that there never was any embargo and all documents related to the Waipoua Forest dig have always been available for public scrutiny.
The "good news" and "damage control" machinery has been working overtime to extricate culpable functionaries, deceivers and corridor creepers from the proverbial poo.
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Let's review what we know so far and closely analyse the logic behind explanations proffered by officialdom. The much discussed "Embargo" document signed by Archaeologist, Michael Taylor and accompanying 14 pages of "something", which neither the general public nor bona fide research workers were permitted to view until the year The document states, in the handwriting of Michael Taylor, that 'Prior consultation requires approval of the Te Roroa- Waipoua Advisory Committee or other appropriate subsequent Te Roroa authority'.
The printed line, which would allow bona fide research workers access to the information has been crossed out and overwritten with, 'restricted until '. The overall intent of this document, as the covering-page for a body of archaeological information deemed "top secret", could not be clearer.
This document is very clearly imposing a restriction on certain information related to the extensive and very expensive archaeological excavations conducted in the Waipoua Forest between the late nineteen-seventies until the late nineteen-eighties. Despite the fact that public money funded the entire archaeological probe, certain information was categorised as not appropriate for general consumption or scrutiny and was to be locked away until a time when all contemporary adult members of the public were long dead and buried We must, therefore, contemplate the possible reasons for such a degree of secrecy, "tailored" to span nearly four generations.
Did the archaeologists happen upon something of a profound military nature in the Waipoua Forest, the significance of which was so vital to New Zealand's national security that it needed to be enshrouded under the "State Secrets Act"?
How could ancient, stacked stone structures pose a threat to national security? Was the archaeological information derived from the dig somehow threatening to the Maori claim of being the original inhabitants of New Zealand the Tangata Whenua and restricted on the basis that any devolution of such knowledge was disadvantageous to Maori claims of sovereignty? What caused Ned Nathan, head of the Te Roroa Archaeological Advisory Committee to exclaim, within earshot of witnesses, 'that's years before we got here!
He is reported to have done this while looking at pages listing the "carbon dating" results.
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In researcher, Gary Cook tried without success to get a copy of the archaeological report covering the 70's's dig. In the end Gary had to acquire the services of a lawyer, who made submissions to the Ombudsman to force the lifting of the illegal embargo. To my knowledge, the restrictions would have remained in place until were the legalities not challenged, under law, through an incentive instigated by Gary Cook.
Was it solely 14 pages of material or was it intended to be anything and everything from the archaeological probe? A letter from the National Archives has, inadvertently, provided us with a clue, which helps answer this question. A letter, which has become the stock standard response from the National Archives, sent to those enquiring about the "14 pages" of embargoed material.
The Archives, in the above letter, state: They were in fact Mr. Taylor's handwritten list of records deposited here in Archive reference: That list was later typed, and I enclose a copy. There are no access restrictions.
Restrictions were proposed for accession A, but subsequently the parties involved decided that restrictions were not necessary'. The admission, therefore, is that a restriction was proposed for A, which, by appearance, embargoed all recorded entries found within the Waipoua Archaeological Project- Field Notebooks containing archaeological findings and notations from to What can we realistically surmise from this?
Well, excuse us in our ignorance of the truth The 14 pages simply nominated and identified all of the information that was not to be seen by the general public or bona fide research workers, for a period of 75 years. The Archives would be "pushing their luck" if they expected a discerning public to accept that an "index" without any in depth explanatory content was of such significance it needed to be held from view under the Official Secrets Act.
The entirety of the report, a body of information about as thick as two telephone books, was what the 14 pages identified as "restricted" material. Well OK, just like there's presently no Berlin Wall It's wonderful to hear that there are no access restrictions present tensebut what about the "were" aspect past tense?.
Only proposed you say Are you quite sure you're not being evasive or that there's not something being hidden amidst the jargon? Subsequently, now there's a word that gives us an idea of the passage of time Could the "duration" of "subsequently" relate to a period of about 8-years by any chance This is where the "Red Herring" brigade starts "strewing" the pathway with schools and shoals of the flapping "little critters". I'd venture to say they had access, whereas Joe Average couldn't get a look in Both Noel and Joan complained about the lack of access to the information in a Radio Pacific interview, Friday, 21st of June midday - 2pm.
Others have joined the fray, nudging and cajoling the authorities into proffering explanations, after all One tenacious bloodhound has been a gentleman in Taupo, who managed to solicit this response from The Hon. Burton consulted with the Minister of Conservation, The Hon. Well, from no disclosures earlier on or outright denials that there ever was an embargoit seems we were correct all along and, yes there definitely was some kind of access denial imposed by Pahinui Marae or Matahina Marae.
Despite appeasing, gloss over and confusing "double talk" in there, which attempts to minimize the gravity of the situation, we're getting closer to something that almost smacks of a disclosure.
Thanks Mark we'll vote you in again next time. Thank you also Sandra and Marian for almost telling us something Then there's this letter from The Hon.
Phillida Bunkle, which goes slightly further: Phillida Bunkle's response, which acknowledges that there was a restriction placed upon accessing Waipoua Forest archaeological information, formally suspended in In reality, this is the admission we have sought all along. The authorities will be pleased to learn that those of us "crying foul" concerning their imposed secrecy of archaeological findings have had our fair share of critics.
Members of the public have rolled over compliantly at the cosy, red herring explanations proffered by culpable functionaries, then come back at us for making a mountain out of a molehill. The reality is that a huge body of historical information was earmarked for suppression and successfully hidden away for 8 years.
It would have remained so unless someone was prepared to take up the cudgels and fight for the right to have it where it rightly belongs Archaeologists were employed by the New Zealand taxpayer to provide a service in behalf of the public. In the interests of scholarship and advancing our understandings of true regional history, it was our expectation to receive back a fully detailed appraisal of findings.
We were not interested in personal political agendas or what would be most historically convenient for minority factions What we got back for our heavy outlay of funds was suppression, evasion, deception, and what Justice Mahon would have referred to as, 'a litany of lies'.
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Denis Welch was told that he was not permitted to inspect the ruins. If people wish to seek Te Roroa approval to visit these non-Maori structures then they are advised to consult with other, more reasonable and spiritual, Te Roroa members.
This author has Te Roroa approval to visit the sites at any time he wishes and almost always goes to the structures with Te Roroa Iwi companions. They also were refused by the Nathan's and had to resort to filming Noel Hilliam's old photographs for Waipoua Forest footage.
Mike Havoc, New Zealand television personality, requested that this author take him to see and film the structures.