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Iwi fights sea turbines

ROSE STIRLING
Last updated 09:13 15/02/2012

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Dargaville & Districts

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A political rahui or ban will be placed over the mouth of the Kaipara Harbour by iwi group Te Uri O Hau on March 10 to protest the Crest Energy underwater tidal power turbine project there.

Te Uri O Hau spokesman Mikaera Miru says there will be a revolution if the government and Crest Energy ignore their concerns and refuse to take action.

He would not reveal details other than to say: "It's going to be as pro-active as possible."

Mr Miru says it's only a political rahui which means collection of fish and shellfish is not banned.

The rahui is only a ban on work carried out by Crest Energy at the site.

Te Uri O Hau says the government has not upheld the Treaty of Waitangi to act in utmost good faith and actively protect Maori interests.

The ocean is of great importance to iwi and Mr Miru doubts that power turbines are an environmentally friendly way to produce power. The area is of spiritual significance, he says.

"It's not called the graveyard for no reason."

He says original Maori settlers set up base at the mouth of the harbour but their village was washed away along with the bodies of their ancestors, which he claims are now at the bottom of the ocean.

The project gained resource consent in February 2011 from the Environment Court and was given final approval by Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson in March last year.

Mr Miru says they got nowhere with the government so turned to the political arena to rally support, which led to a political rahui aukati.

Crest Energy director Anthony Hopkins could not be reached for comment at edition time.

However he has previously said Crest has a legal and lawful right to go about its business.

At a public meeting on December 10 last year to discuss concerns over the project, it was decided to align the placement of the rahui with the tide which falls on Saturday, March 10.

The official ceremony will begin at 11am at the end of Pouto Rd.

Everyone is welcome.

Invitations will be sent to communities within Kaipara and out to wider iwi – particularly those within Taitokerau – to come and support the rahui placement.

Mr Miru expects thousands of people to attend.

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- Dargaville News

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