29 May 2010

Hapu formally opposes mining on Great Barrier

6:46 am on 29 May 2010

Maori hapu Ngati Rehua has formally opposed the Government's plans to mine Great Barrier Island.

Ngati Rehua has a Treaty of Waitangi claim for much of the island, including Te Ahumata Plateau, which is among the areas the Government is proposing opening up to mining.

About 39,000 submissions have been received during public consultation on the Government's plan to remove Schedule Four protection from 7058 hectares of conservation land. Submissions closed on Wednesday.

The proposal targets land in the Coromandel Peninsula in the North Island, the Inangahua sector of the Paparoa National Park in the South Island and on Great Barrier Island, representing about 0.2% of protected land.

The hapu held off on its decision to oppose the mining until after meeting Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee earlier in May.

In its submission, Ngati Rehua says the mining would destroy two sacred sites and land that needs to be conserved.

Rawiri Wharemate, the chairman of the hapu trust board, says it is culturally inappropriate to mine the area and the green pristine nature of the area would be damaged.

Mr Wharemate says it is not just about the proposed mining area, but about the conservation of the entire island.