One year on from the RENA Tauranga still cleaning up

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Today it is timely that the Maori Party marks the anniversary of the grounding of theRenaon the 5thof October, 2011.

On his Te Arawa FM radio show, Te Ururoa Flavell acknowledged the collaboration of the people and hap? of Tauranga Moana in responding to the maritime disaster and setting forth a vision for the future of the environment.

In the months following theRena, I sawcommunities pulling together from all corners of Tauranga Moana. Kotahitanga amongst coastal iwi and hapu leaders was evident from day one in the shared vision to work toreturn our moana to the state it was before the disaster, no matter how long it takes and no matter what cost.

Considerable work remains to be done with salvage and clean-up of the ecosystem. The action to be taken in regards to the remaining wreckage is clear. Iwi and hap?have been united in their callto restore the water toits original state before theRena. They have an ancient and unique relationship with these waters which is built around kaitiakitanga (guardianship). This mandates full removal of the vessel, which will allow the ecosystem and the people to move on from the tragedy.

Primarily we are concerned with the health of the environment but it is equally important that the needs of the people are addressed. Consultation with mana whenua is of the utmost importance if the Government is to fairly negotiate compensation. Whilst the Crowns settlement has been finalised, it is vital that compensation is also settled with Te Moana a Toi as soon as possible.

There are lessons in this disaster that we can take around the motu. The drafting of Iwi Response Policy is a step that would help to protect historical interests in the wellbeing of the environment.

The community has done a great job in responding as best they can to theRena. One year on, the Government would be wise to look to the people of Tauranga Moana for how to proceed.

Media Contact: Kym Maxwell021 798 103

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