Yesterday kaumātua, representatives of Patuharakeke Trust Board and Ngātiwai Trust Board met with members of the protest group who took up occupation at Marsden Point. The small meeting was offered by Patuharakeke in an effort to hear the protest groups concerns and why they were here.
“We have mixed feelings about the refinery closing. It has polluted our cultural landscape and harbour for over 60 years and is located on confiscated whenua. Poupouwhenua (Marsden Point) was illegally confiscated, occupied by the Crown, and eventually came into the refinery’s ownership” says Patuharakeke Te Iwi Trust Board Chairperson Deborah Harding.
“Opportunities to re-establish hapū ownership of Poupouwhenua is top of mind for Patuharakeke. The battle has been long and hard for us and now we have this group of outsiders coming into our rohe to occupy our ancestral lands?” affirms Harding.
As haukāinga there is a recognition of the loss of jobs in our local communities and regional economic impact by the closure of the refinery.
Patuharakeke and whanaunga hapū of the Whangārei rohe are committed to climate change action especially given that low lying coastal Māori communities and the poor will be disproportionately affected by the impacts of the climate emergency which is another reason why it is recognised there has to be change with respect to fossil fuels.
“We are proactive in the protection of our mātaitai areas in the harbour and the impact development in the area has had on our customary fisheries, other taonga species and their habitats – and are wary of the potential impacts of such an occupation at Poupouwhenua.” says Juliane Chetham of Patuharakeke Te Iwi Trust Board’s Taiao Management Unit.
“In communications received via email from Brad Flutey (Protest Organiser) he clearly stated he was not seeking permission from mana i te whenua and would occupy regardless. Our kaumātua shared their disappointment about the email received and the disrespect the protestors demonstrated to PatYesterharakeke” says Harding.
“Te Iwi o Ngātiwai support the position of Patuharakeke. Through our kaumātua at the meeting the protestors were invited to pack up their things and leave Poupouwhenua.” Says Aperahama Edwards, Chair of Ngātiwai Trust Board.
“Our kaumātua explained to protestors the importance of this whenua to mana whenua, our role as ahikā in the rohe and as kaitiaki with humility they asked the protestors to leave and return to their homes” states Edwards.
Hapū and iwi are united and seeking acknowledgement and redress in relation to Poupouwhenua and efforts are to be led from the haukāinga and not to be undermined by others who come into our tribal territories with their own agendas.
Deborah Harding (Chairperson)
Patuharakeke Trust Board
Phone: 021 714 254
Aperahama Kerepeti-Edwards - Heamana (Chairman)
Te Poari O Ngātiwai
Phone: 022 314 6006