Patuharakeke hapu concerned over the Refining NZ Pipeline Rupture at Marsden Point
Patuharakeke the hapu that holds mana whenua over the area in which the Marsden Point Oil Refinery is located is deeply concerned about the leak of jet fuel potentially into waterways including the Ruakaka River, Estuary and ground water. Patuharakeke have a long association with Whangarei Harbour and Bream Bay coastline.

Patuharakeke Te Iwi Trust Board (‘PTB’), the body mandated to speak on behalf of Patuharakeke is aware of the jet fuel leak that occurred on 14 September 2017. PTB Trustee and Resource Management and Customary Fisheries Unit spokesperson, Juliane Chetham says the leak could have a major environmental impact on an area that is already in a fragile environmental and ecological state.

PTB is concerned at the level of information being provided and about the process being undertaken to contain and manage the spill despite being in contact with the Northland Regional Council.

PTB have approached Refining New Zealand (“RNZ”) to ensure they are able to go onsite as soon as possible and observe the recovery operation first hand. They are expecting RNZ and NRC to closely involve them from here on to ensure they can ascertain the quantity of fuel spilled the level of damage to the environment, any ongoing issues and the future process for site remediation. This will require haukainga/hapu involvement in the monitoring the physical and cultural impact.

This is a national issue that all New Zealanders have a vested interest in. As mana whenua Patuharakeke has a duty as kaitiaki to take care of the environment. Patuharakeke kaumatua Mr Paraire Pirihi stated. “We take this leak extremely seriously it could have been a major catastrophe. Refining NZ appear to be minimising the situation and this is concerning. As manawhenua and kaitiaki of the rohe we have important, sacred obligations to do what we can to protect our environment, our people and residents from harm. We will want to be fully involved and informed”.

PTB has had an MOU with RNZ since 1999 which provides a strong basis for ensuring Patuharakeke is involved as kaitiaki in the monitoring of the use, development and protection of air, water and land resources located at Marsden Point.

The jet fuel leak comes on the back of a deep water dredging application by RNZ to enable fully laden Suezmax Oil tankers into the Whangarei Harbour which has been submitted to the Northland Regional Council without the inclusion of a Cultural Effects Assessment (“CEA”) undertaken by mana whenua. The CEA would have provided the public with an understanding of the position and issues of all tangata whenua associated with the Whangarei Harbour.

CONTACT: Ms Juliane Chetham (021) 1697162