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Scattering ashes around scared tree in New Zealand

Scattering not welcome around the sacred tree: New Zealand residents asked not to scatter ashes around sacred tree for environmental and religious reasons

The famous Kauri tree, Tane Mahuta is where many New Zealander would choose to scatter their cremation ashes. The tree which stands at over 50 metres tall seems to resonate among many people of the islands. However the Maori guardians of the forest and environmentalists want people to stop the practice. The guardians of the Waipoua Forest are unhappy it seems because those doing it don’t appreciate the significance of the act scattering around this sacred tree many of those choosing to scatter their are obvious too Maori tradition.

To be frank, from the article I don’t understand the Maori position. The article states ‘Daniel Ambler of Te Roroa Kaumatua has lifted a tapu three times on the area his people consider sacred because someone scattered the ashes of a cremated human around the tree. “We feel insulted, but maybe they did that without knowing.” ‘Locals say the hurt lingers for them and it could also hurt the tourist trade.’

So what does that mean … he has lifted a tapu (a Maori forbidden practice) three times? They don’t know what they are doing – in what way? What hurt lingers? Come journalists do you job, explain it the ignoramus’s like me!

However I do get the environmental argument – it would take a lot of the ashes to contaminate the soil, but also there is the risk of the spread of pathogens (harmful bugs which in this case could carry Kauri Dieback Disease) which can be carried on the boots and shoes of those visiting the site.

“People that may be caught up in the emotion of the moment may not be thinking objectively about the risks and that’s where we’re asking people to take a step back and think about their behaviour in the forests,” said Stan Bellgard from. Landcare Research.

So if this tree was on the top of your list then revisit your plans – It is a county with more stunning scenery than it know what to do with, so I am sure you will think of somewhere equally symbolic, but with a little less impact.

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