Cultural theft sparks bidding war on TradeMe

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Sand, reportedly from Rotorua’s famous Pink and White Terraces has reached bids of more then $1M on TradeMe’s auction website, however the auction closed today without reaching its reserve. TradeMe spokesman, Paul Ford commented “We are pretty comfortable that it is a legitimate auction.”

However, after a Google search and TradeMe search, TangataWhenua.com noted that neither a cached version nor an expired copy of the auction was available, so clearly TradeMe were NOT comfortable with the auction.

Meanwhile, Te Arawa kaumatua have voiced their disapproval about the potential sale, saying that it clearly exploints Te Arawa history.

Two vials were for sale, the one which closed today was listed bya Taranaki man, and the another listed by a Blenheim person has so far failed to attract any bids, with a starting bid of $143.

The Pink and White Terraces were once considered the eighth wonder of the natural world and a popular tourist attraction prior to Mt Tarawera’s 1886 eruption. The Daily Post reported last week that two tiers of the bottom of the Pink Terraces were last week discovered by New Zealand and American scientists who were using underwater robots to map out the bottom of Lake Rotomahana as they looked for hydro-thermal vents and what could have happened to the terraces.

It was believed the terraces were destroyed in the June 10, 1886 eruption. The vials were listed for sale after the discovery was announced.

One GNS scientist, Cornel de Ronde, said it was doubtful the vial contained original sand from the famous terraces.

You would expect it to be pieces of silica from the terraces not sand,” he said.

Mr de Ronde said even if the sand was from the terraces it could probably never be confirmed. “I can’t say 100 per cent it’s not from the terraces but it would be hard to authenticate. You can’t date silica,” he said.

He called the price so far being offered as ridiculous.

The auction has attracted more than 7000 views and 18 bidders and numerous questions about the authenticity of the sand. Trade Me contacted the Ministry of Culture and Heritage and was told if the sand was from the terraces it could only be sold within New Zealand and not taken out of the country.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Hi

    Just been looking at the sale of pink and white sand. What the hell is wrong with these Maoris all I ever hear are these people grizling about something. Why do they think that everything in this country belongs to them. I thought I heard it all but a cupfull of sand when will these clowns get a bloody life. Then sand was on this earth millions of years before they were even heard of and will be here long after the lazy sods are gone. Perhaps they are just jealous that some person has had a wind fall. Good luck to the person who is selling then sand. No doubt if he sells the sand the tax man will have their hand out for his share, and in turn the Maori will also get some benefits from what the tax man collects

    • Delcan, there are many many of your people, that would disagree with you, as they are very positive thinkers. Peace not war eh! ! !

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