Patuharakeke Te Iwi Trust Board (PTB) presented evidence on behalf of Patuharakeke Hapu last Wednesday at Takahiwai Marae at the Hearing into the Refining NZ (RNZ) application to widen the Whangarei harbour entrance channel by dredging to allow fully laden larger oil tankers into the harbour.

Patuharakeke who has mana whenua over the area in which the Marsden Point Oil Refinery is located are opposing the RNZ application. It strongly believes that the range and magnitude of potentially unacceptable adverse effects means managing, mitigating or offsetting the effects would not be possible. It is not satisfied that the cumulative effects of the proposal (and other risks) in relation to coastal processes, geomorphology, ecology, kaitiakitanga and mauri can be addressed to ensure that adverse effects are avoided or mitigated. “There is no realistic mitigation to the current application as it stands” says Gilbert Paki, Acting Chair of PTB.

An independent review of the technical documents prepared by RNZ’s consultants was also undertaken at the request of tangata whenua to identify questions, comments or concerns for consideration prior to the preparation of the Cultural Effects Assessment. The independent technical review identified some key areas of concern, including:

  • The economic analysis provided by the NZ Institute of Economic Research, including the overall viability of the refinery in the long term.
  • The relationship of the proposed application within the context of climate change and New Zealand’s current and future policy over the lifetime of the consents sought.
  • The overall health of the harbour and the role of RNZ as a key stakeholder.
  • The practical implementation of the responsibility of kaitiakitanga in relation to the harbour.
  • The potential impacts of dredging, including disposal of dredgings, e.g. in relation to noise, loss of habitat and species, sediment plumes and changes in tidal dynamics.

Refinery NZ did not include the Cultural Effects Assessment in the notification documents provided to the Northland Regional Council.

Patuharakeke as kaitiaki holding mana whenua, mana moana for the area are, “resolute to protect what is left of its environment, its taonga tuku iho, central to Patuharakeke cultural identity” says Ms Juliane Chetham, Chair of PTB Kaitiaki Committee.

Patuharakeke leadership and involvement is pivotal in development activities occurring in its rohe, of which there are many. It has not seen a proposal of this size and significance since the Northport consents two decades ago, and Mighty River Power’s proposal for coal-fired power station at Marsden B, at Ruakaka in 2005 which it also strongly opposed. Patuharakeke is facing a number of key issues including the potential ‘Ports of Auckland’ relocation and subsequent substantial development around this, currently being driven by Deputy Prime Minister and NZ First Leader Winston Peters.

In 1997 PTB filed a Waitangi Tribunal claim in respect of various Crown actions and significantly the claim of confiscation in relation to Poupouwhenua/Marsden Point. This is a site of significance and includes the areas of concern for the hapu in terms of development and other issues. The outcome of the claim is pending.

Patuharakeke led a collaborative process ratified by hapu and iwi around the harbour to oppose RNZ’s harbour dredging proposal. At a hui-a-hapu held on 12th May 2017 the resolution was passed: “That nga hapu katoa oppose Refining NZ’s Crude Freight Proposal resource consent application/s”. PTB has had an MOU with RNZ since 1999 in order to provide a strong basis for ensuring Patuharakeke is better involved as kaitiaki in the monitoring of the use, development and protection of air, water and land resources located at Marsden Point. Patuharakeke was fully involved in activities arising from the recent aviation pipeline leak and containment process as it has been with other leaks and spillages which have occurred – including oil spillages into the Whangarei Harbour from ships at Marsden Point in 2014 and 2015


For further information contact

Gilbert Paki, Acting Chair PTB: 021 0410867

Kelly Dixon, Dixon and Co Lawyers, Counsel for PTB 021 990759


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