New Zealand: goat slaughter in suburban Auckland ritual sacrifice sparks investigation
The slaughter of two goats in a small suburban property sparked a black magic allegation and counter-claims of mischief and religious misunderstandings.
The ritual slaughter in Clendon Park, South Auckland, triggered an Auckland Council investigation and official warning.
A woman at the property said her male relative carried out the time-honoured ritual.
“He was supposed to do it in Fiji but unfortunately because of the Covid, he wasn’t able to travel to Fiji to do it. So he did it here.”
She said the ceremony, sometimes known as “kulu pooja”, was normally enacted in late autumn or winter.
“It’s just an offering to our God. It’s a ritual we have been doing for years … It’s also being done in India.”
A person who claimed to have attended the event said two goats near a shrine at the property were tied up one Saturday earlier this summer.
She said a man stood near the goats. “They were sharpening a brand new knife.”
She said the goats were tied up with leashes around their necks and appeared agitated. But she said the animals were then washed and decorated with red powder and seemed to calm down, before being slaughtered, skinned, chopped up, and offered to a deity.
She said about twelve people attended the ceremony which was dedicated to the deity Maariamma or Mariamman, a South Indian Hindu goddess of rain.
She said the people who enacted the ritual believed evil would afflict them if the ceremony was not carried out.
She said another ritual animal sacrifice was carried out recently on a private Bay of Plenty property.
Dr Pushpa Wood, a Hindi language and literature scholar, said animal sacrifices were now very rare in Hinduism.
“I am slightly flabbergasted to be hearing that it is going on.” Animal sacrifice was increasingly rare in India, she said.
Under Auckland bylaws, slaughtering stock other than poultry is not allowed on premises smaller than 4000 square meters (0.99 acres) in an urban area. People are not allowed to leave animal remains on any land if the remains created a nuisance or risk to public health and safety. Slaughtering of stock in public is also banned.
Dirk Timp of Auckland Council said a compliance officer interviewed a resident after complaints about animals being slaughtered.
The resident admitted he’d slaughtered two goats. Timp said the council explained the animal management bylaw to the person.
“The occupant of this premises was apologetic and informed us he was unaware of the [bylaw] and that he would refrain from slaughtering animals on his property in future.”