King Salmon regrets giving offence
New Zealand King Salmon yesterday said sorry to the Ngati Koata iwi for ignoring their rights over Pelorus Sound.
Speaking in Maori, King Salmon lawyer James Gardner-Hopkins said the company apologised for overlooking the mana whenua (rights) of Ngati Koata and wanted a positive relationship with the iwi.
Ngati Koata board member and navigation specialist Hori Turi Elkington accepted the apology but wanted it in writing. For 10 years King Salmon had denied Pelorus Sound was part of its rohe (area) and that caused deep and maybe lasting offence, he said.
Mr Elkington was giving evidence for his iwi and whanau at an Environmental Protection Authority board of inquiry hearing of an application by King Salmon to develop nine new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds including five in the Waitata Reach of Pelorus Sound.
On Wednesday last week King Salmon withdrew a report titled Iwi Interests in the Marlborough Sounds by historian David Armstrong because of its failure to acknowledge Ngati Koata mana whenua in Pelorus Sound. On September 5, operations and contracts manager Mark Gillard said overlooking Ngati Koata status was an oversight that he regretted.
Mr Elkington said removal of the report meant the King Salmon application no longer covered consultation with Ngati Koata; the board of inquiry had a Resource Management Act duty to fix that.
Consultation had been "inside out, back to front and the wrong way around", Mr Elkington said.
King Salmon told iwi about its plans after identifying sites instead of asking what they thought.
Ngati Koata sought a 10-year rather than 35-year consent for King Salmon because it had seen the damage that could be done by existing farms, Mr Elkington said.
Ngati Koata lawyer Frank Hippolite said iwi boundaries were an extension of how far their mana went. In the old days battles were fought over the extent of mana and now iwi used litigation.
Defining boundaries was not about drawing lines on maps, Mr Hippolite said. Iwi had overlapping and concentric interests.
Cultural consultant Buddy Mikaere of Tauranga said discharging pollution into the Sounds damaged the mauri (spirit) of that water. The expert for Pelorus Wildlife Sanctuaries and Pelorus Sound residents was more comfortable with land-based fish-farming which trapped and treated wastewater before return.
Mr Mikaere rejected a proposed condition that suggested Ngati Koata be part of a kaitiaki reference group which he said would have no teeth if conditions were breached. He criticised King Salmon for consulting with iwi after selecting its sites.
However, Mr Gardner-Hopkins said in April this year the company wrote to Te Tau Ihu (top of the south) iwi asking them to identify areas of cultural interest in Outer Pelorus Sound, western Port Gore and in or near Tory Channel where it was investigating farm sites.
Only Ngati Apa and Ngati Koata replied.
Mr Mikaere said these were big areas and contact after the company had chosen sites was not consultation.
Mr Gardner-Hopkins said at this stage the company had not settled on sites so it was not fair to say consultation was after the fact.
The hearing was to move to the Waikawa marae in Picton for the rest of the week.
- The Marlborough Express