25 Jun 2015

Iwi says 'time to forgive' Rena owner

6:29 am on 25 June 2015

A Bay of Plenty iwi has decided not to oppose a plan to leave the wreck of container ship Rena on Otaiti - the Astrolabe Reef - just off the coast from Tauranga.

The Government wants the part of the wreck in water down to 30 metres removed.

The owner of the 'Rena' has been seeking consents to leave the rest of the wreck on the reef. Photo: RENA PROJECT

The ship sank in October 2011.

The Rena's owner is seeking consents to leave what remains of the wreck where it lies.

After three years pushing for the wreck to be completely removed, Ngāti Ranginui has now signed an agreement with the owner of the vessel.

Ngāti Ranginui chair Tawharangi Nuku said the agreement signals a decision to acknowledge the grounding and its impact on Tauranga moana, but heralds a significant decision to move on.

He said the decision has been a tough one, but allowed the iwi to focus on other environmental issues in the future.

"We are aware of the immense difficulties associated with further work on the reef and the iwi do not wish to put any lives at risk, nor do we wish to put at further risk the environment, which could occur if any additional removal works were undertaken."

Mr Nuku said it was time to forgive and to learn from the incident and to move on with the iwi's relationship with the ship's owner.

The Rena ran aground in October 2011.

The container ship ran aground in October 2011. Photo: RENA PROJECT

He said the significant personal and professional strain that the negotiations had placed on both iwi and key individuals needed to be acknowledged

The chief executive of Ngāti Ranginui, Steph O'Sullivan, would not confirm if the agreement involved some financial compensation, saying the details were confidential.

She said the agreement had several components.

"It [the agreement] gives us some capacity to think about the future and the relationship is not just a financial and mitigation one, the agreement is an encompassing one, and it allows us now to consider developing our capability and capacity into the future, particularly to deal with resource management and environmental issues."

Ms O'Sullivan said the board felt it had pursued all of the issues to the best outcome possible and wanted to ensure a positive future.

"It has not been an easy process and in particular an easy decision for the board and taking into account all of the human, environmental, political and other factors."

Mr Nuku said Ngati Ranginui respected the right of other iwi to make their own decisions and do what was right for them.

Te Arawa has made a similar agreement with the Rena's owner.

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