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Support for Mike Smith’s court case from northern hapu.

Patuharakeke hapu is rallying behind Mike Smith to tautoko his personal court case against industry impacting climate change.


Environmental activist and iwi leader Mike Smith has been granted permission to continue court proceedings against seven companies who he alleges are not doing enough to reduce emissions, and failing to protect the country from climate change.

Smith filed proceedings at the High Court at Auckland against Fonterra, Genesis Energy, Dairy Holdings Ltd, New Zealand Steel Ltd, Z Energy, The New Zealand Refining Company Ltd and BT Mining Ltd.


Patuharakeke spokeperson Gilbert Paki says Mike Smith’s court case is critical for the climate future of Aotearoa.


“His personal court action to determine the legitimacy of the actions exacerbating climate change by industry and oil majors and their duty to cease contributing to climate change is critically important. Equally, it gives a voice to the concerns held by mana whenua around the development of industries such as NZ Refining Company at Marsden Point and the proposal to move the Ports of Auckland north.

“Something is intrinsically wrong when conversations happen in the media before discussions are held with tangata whenua over such important issues. We have many questions for Refining NZ, the port authorities and related industry. But firstly, we would like to hear from the Crown.”


Paki says Patuharakeke sent a letter to the Prime Minister in January this year asking to meet with Crown representatives, and they are still waiting for a response.

“Why isn’t the Prime Minister talking to mana whenua? Did we learn nothing from Ihumātao? There needs to be consultation, but it is hard to contribute to a one-sided korero when we are excluded. This court action, and the future of our oil refinery and ports is central to the national debate on decarbonization – and it needs to be just that – a national debate. As it stands, the refinery and the port sit on contested, confiscated land.”


Paki says if Ports of Auckland was relocated north, it will also have a devastating and irreversible effect on the local natural environment. “Our beautiful Whangarei Harbour is already highly ecologically stressed and failing. This conversation needs to happen with all New Zealanders, not just those representing business.”

Please see attached Patuharakeke’s open letter to Mike Smith.

For information: Ani Pitman M: 021 477291; E: admin@patuharakeke.maori.nz


Patuharakeke tautoko Mike Smith court case against industry impacting climate change Mike Smith’s court case is critical for the climate future of Aotearoa. So is the relocation of the Ports of Auckland. So why isn’t the Prime Minister talking to mana whenua? Did we learn nothing from Ihumātao?

Tena Koutou nga ‘Fourth Estate’. We would be grateful if you could make the following publicly available to Mr Smith.


Kia ora Mike – tautoko tenei mahi Rangatira. Your personal court action to determine the legitimacy of the actions exacerbating climate change by industry and oil majors, and their duty to cease contributing to climate change, is critically important.


Patuharakeke, the mana whenua, ahi kaa and kaitiaki at Marsden Point / Te Poupouwhenua are also considering these questions. These are questions for Refining NZ, the port authorities and related industry. But mainly for the Crown. Unfortunately, we are still waiting at the marae for the Crown’s ope to perform its duty to consult. It is hard to contribute to a one-sided korero when we are excluded.


Your questions are even more pertinent as we hear indirectly that the same industry and the government plans to potentially relocate the current industrial wasteland of the Auckland harbour front to sit beside the Marsden Point refinery and Northport. We learn such information from the media, not from our Treaty partner. Playing monopoly with larger Auckland-centric groups and developers over the highly lucrative prime real estate deals happening on Auckland’s waterfront appears a far higher priority. The media has been reporting the government is already in close consultation in these quarters. But talking to the mana whenua of where you are considering relocating this problem to apparently is not.


The question of the future of the refinery is central to the national debate on decarbonisation. The Marsden Point refinery and port sit on contested, confiscated land. The relocation of Auckland ports to Marsden Point to import cars and the like, if it happens, will be the most significant impact on the mana whenua, Patuharakeke, and our environment since the era of Muldoon’s think-big programme. Our beautiful Whangārei Harbour is already highly ecologically stressed and failing.


Patuharakeke, who have maintained ahi kaa on this land since well before Te Tiriti, will be the most affected party – culturally, socially, nutritionally and economically. These are critical matters for our future, our communities and the nation. Surely this is something important enough that we are entitled to first be consulted on by our Treaty partner? Wasn’t our Prime Minister’s emotive message at Waitangi this year all about holding them to account and working smarter?


From our side we are trying to follow her advice. Patuharakeke are an industrious people; members of our whanau have staffed the ports and the refinery for generations. But as kaitiaki and ahi kaa, we have a critical role to play in determining the future of our rohe and its resources. These are ancestral responsibilities we take extremely seriously.


We have written to our Prime Minister, respectfully pointing out these issues and suggesting there is much mutual benefit in both she and us sitting kanohi ki te kanohi to discuss these matters. The only response has been that her Associate Minister of Transport will be in communication “in due course”. We still await a response.

We mean no disrespect to our partner, the Crown, and we understand fully the complexities of a coalition government. We do have to ask whether the Prime Minster has fully considered the potential conflict of interest in the Crown delegating members of large neighbouring iwi to the north of our rohe to negotiate over such complex matters, especially when that Minister’s party leader is potentially similarly conflicted? Their bias toward moving the Ports of Auckland and maintaining a “steady as she goes” approach to the refinery’s future are widely reported.


After all the acknowledgements at Ihumātao, that it is mana whenua who are at the centre of such debate, we admit total frustration that we have still only the media to inform us. What options does this leave us? Protest camps and land occupations and the mana of the Kingitanga were needed at Ihumātao. By the time it has got to that point, the opportunity for measured debate is usually past.


Kia kaha Mike, it is a shame you have had to take on this case personally given how critically important it is for nga iwi o te motu. Please keep our colleagues at the Fourth Estate apprised of your progress.

Patuharakeke Te Iwi Trust Board: PO Box 557, Whangarei

Takahiwai Marae: 229 Takahiwai Rd, Takahiwai, 0171. Email: admin@patuharakeke.maori.nz

Many whanau and friends have contributed to this website but we would especially like to acknowledge Gilbert Paki, Harry Midwood, Guy Gudex and Paraire Pirihi for providing some of the historical context; David Milner for providing photos and maps, Kieran Connellan for his photos (see www.flickr.com/photos/mrhappy8); Terenga Paraoa Marae Komiti and Te Warihi Hetaraka for allowing use of the kowhaiwhai pattern; Juliane Chetham for ongoing maintenance of the site. Nga mihi nui koutou. Disclaimer: The PTB board accepts no liability associated with publications, media or communications regarding PTB activity or business that has not been authorised by PTB in advance.