Whanau slates poor cultural approach at hearing

PENNY WARDLE
Last updated 07:11 04/10/2012

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New Zealand King Salmon treatment of iwi bordered on offensive, given their attachment to places where it plans to build fish farms, said lawyer Tom Bennion at the Waikawa Marae, Picton yesterday.

It was hard to think of a culturally worse approach than the one taken by King Salmon, said Mr Bennion representing the Tahuaroa-Watson whanau at the Environmental Protection Authority hearing to consider an application by King Salmon for nine new farm sites in the Marlborough Sounds.

The several hundred whanau members object strongly to farms at Papatua in the outer Marlborough Sounds and Kaitapeha, Ngamahau and Ruaomoko in and near Tory Channel.

King Salmon selected optimum sites for salmon farming without first finding their importance to iwi, Mr Bennion told the authority board of inquiry deciding whether King Salmon should be permitted to build the farms. The company treated iwi as potential competitors by not telling them where it planned to build its farms before lodging its application. The Tahuaroa-Watson whanau had not seen the agreement Te Atiawa reached with King Salmon when it withdrew opposition to its application, Mr Bennion said.

Whanau member John Norton said he did not want the chosen sites commercialised and industrialised.

Trevor Tahuaroa-Watson said the King Salmon application was contrary to the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People.

Whanau member Laura Bowdler said she was worried that if granted, the King Salmon application could lead to a goldrush of applications for water space in areas where aquaculture was prohibited.

The Tahuaroa-Watson whanau was less worried about money than preserving the right to ensure the moana (sea) was kept healthy, Arthur Huntley told the board

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- The Marlborough Express

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