May 9, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Local Maori vow to stop turbines in Kaipara

2 min read

(By Brook Sabin TV3)

Opposition is mounting to a controversial plan to place huge underwater turbines in the Kaipara Harbour.

Local Maori have placed a rahui, or ban, on the area and are vowing to do whatever it takes to stop the project.

The Kaipara Harbour is one of the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere.

At the entrance, there is a ferocious current.

But plans to harness that with huge underwater turbines is facing fierce opposition.

If there are huge structures in that harbour, the harbour will just about come to an end ecologically, says local Ben Heta (Ngati Whatua Kaumatua).

Crest Energy plans to place up to 200 turbines in a fast moving current, to create the country’s first tide-driven power station.

It has approval for a staged introduction, so the environmental impact can be monitored.

Local iwi have spent half a million dollars fighting the project in court.

With legal action unsuccessful, they’ve now placed a rahui on the harbour mouth.

It’s what they consider a spiritual coverage of their harbour to protect their harbour, says Mr Heta. It’s a spiritual kopapa that relates to trying to protect their own harbour under their own tikanga.

Local fishermen are also concerned about the impact of the turbines.

You just have a look at a river and see what a stone will do to the turbulence of the water, says fisherman Ray Scott. But you put 200 of these two-storey buildings in there.

Mr Scott supports the spiritual ban.

Absolutely, he says. Anything to make these guys realise that they are affecting a hell of a lot of lives down here. It’s not just them and their dollars, it’s a whole community.

Crest Energy wouldn’t comment, other than to say it has a legal right to put turbines in the harbour.



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