A Google Maps image showing the ring road around the abandoned Sheraton hotel, which is now being redeveloped in Vaimaanga. 23102036
Every man and his dog are commenting on the old Sheraton site and its development and rightly so because prior to the announcement the current ring road will cut in behind the complex, everyone was happy to see the site being cleaned up, writes Ruta Mave.
Knowing it was in local hands was another tick to wishing
them well with their endeavour, even if some questioned the integrity of the
site when the original builders used ‘rusty second-hand equipment’.
Who am I to say or comment. I am not a builder, engineer or
developer with years of success. I am one of thousands who drive, run, cycle
around the island and will be personally affected by this innocuous decision.
So on behalf of the little people who pay taxes and suffer the axes of
government decisions that impact our lives I question this decision.
Businessman and developer Chris Vaile said he took on the
project in a “fit of madness”. I know little about Chris but I heard he donated
free diesel to help the elderly and tar sealed in front of the Arorangi CICC
for the 200-year celebration makes me think he has a heart.
Vaile stated they don’t plan on making a large amount of
money they just want to cover costs and not kill themselves in the process. He also
says “it won’t be a five-star resort and they are going to do it different from
the original concept”. So why not change the one element that will save money
Quoting the interest of people thirty years ago is not
Vaile and Pa Ariki have the opportunity to make it
The reasoning for a five-star resort was to increase tourism.
We managed without the five-star guest list and another Jetstar Sydney flight
bringing $30 million more into the country says we don’t need it.
Vaile is using his own financing. He is not beholden to
anyone so he could use his heart to decide how he will affect the majority of
Why would a businessman want to just “cover costs”? The
fact they don’t “plan” to does not stop them from making an enormous amount of
I can humbly admit my level of a “large amount of money”
is in a different stratosphere from Vaile and Pa Ariki but I hope in my heart
they acknowledge they have enough current business deals and land giving income
they can see the long-range value of not upsetting the public pawpaw cart – which
will inevitably ensure them good dividends and peace of mind than it will from dividing
the island with this ‘horseshoe’ diversion and potentially putting lives at
Ambulances attending crashes that happen frequently by YWAM
will be slower. Do they want it on their conscience if people suffer or die
from not being reached sooner?
Pa Ariki is a tribal title holder, this land will apparently
pass on to the next Pa Ariki when Marie passes; will they hold the same views?
Tribal titles are not a matter of succession, it is
customary process to decide and bestow the agreed new representative by
respective families and customary institutions based on papa’anga and parameters
like living in the vaka.
It is unimaginable in today’s land court that one person
would be given this massive area of ownership for only themselves. I am
certain the customary idea of carrying the tribal title is that the person
represents – looks after and shares with their kopu tangata. Income is earned from
lots of tribal title lands in Vaka Takitumu including the palace, while elderly
live in substandard containers.
Vaile calls the “curse” a “fairy tale”. They say “e mata
to te enua” the land has eyes and chooses the person. Maybe Vaile is the right
person or maybe the curse has yet to strike? Maybe “it is easier for a camel to
go through the eye of a needle” especially when the love for money is greater
than the love for people.
What an opportunity for two people in a powerful position
to give credence to what is right and proper now. An astute lawyer can argue Pa
Ariki is owed millions but we, the people, appeal to the heart and soul of two
who can change the original concept for the greater good.
Keep the newly upgraded road in place, continue access
for locals and tourists so the ‘curse’ will not roar its rearing head and only
good things will come to you both here and now on earth as it will be in
For the lawyer there is one letter of law that needs to be added to make this right and that is the letter ’s’ so the documents read Chris Vaile and the landowners.