Rueben Taipari Porter
Piki mai taku manu
Kake mai taku manu
Te taha o Te Wainui
Te taha I Te Wairoa
Ka tuu te rupe ki tai
Naumai piki mai haere mai
For our many communities here in Ahipara and Te Hiku o Te Ika, the statement from Pal Haremo Vice President of Norwegian Oil company Statoil that they are pulling out of Te Reinga Basin is still sinking in.
The commitment to the opposition to Deep Sea Oil Drilling in Te Hiku region by our whanau, hapu and community was prepared for a lifetime fight to stop them at whatever costs. We knew it was going to be a longshot against a rich giant oil company, but our history set by our ancestors dictated that we had to try.
Though the best defeat would be a failed exploration process with no reservoirs of oil found, our history of kaitiakitanga set the standard that we the local mana whenua should also make a stand and 100%, no negotiation, oppose the entire process.
The call to the nation to help our local communities was answered with a massive reply and all forms of communication either mainstream or social media were all extremely effective in achieving this result. The #STOPSTATOIL Facebook Groups in 5 communities covering the entire Northland region for example was such an effective tool to communicate, share the cause and gather support for our campaign.
The capacity to rally an action in an area within a matter of literally minutes was amazing. The look on National Minister for Energy Simon Bridges face when he was surprised at Whangarei airport to meet a strong protest presence against DSOD, set the scene for a vibrant and mobile campaign strategy that would over the years to come, have an impact on Statoil, a company who promoted itself as respectful and considerate of indigenous rights.
The awareness of Deep Sea Oil Drilling exploration goes way back beyond the Queen Street marches that Greenpeace organised or the public and contentious protests held by whanau and hapu of Te Tai Tokerau. The endless hikoi from Te Reinga to Waitangi, Auckland or Wellington and protests against oil exploration goes beyond the submissions or meetings with District and Regional councils, EPA, TGS, MPI, or audiences with to explain to them our informed stance of 100% opposition against DSOD.
It goes back beyond the time when all our local communities from Houhora to Kerikeri to Rawene, and wider communities from Onerahi to Piha all rallied to support the #STOPSTATOIL movement as we all realised we had to work together regardless of creed or culture to protect all our children’s rights to a pristine and healthy environment.
It goes back beyond the first hui that Mana MP Hone Harawira alerted us to in Kerikeri where Pal Haremo from Statoil, first secretly met with iwi leaders who supported them, or the dozens of hui we gatecrashed and imposed our protest upon all over Tai Tokerau. We protested changes to the Exclusive Economic Zone that Government agents were trying to push through as a “consultation” process with iwi, held in small quiet rooms with no public notice issued and raised awareness amongst the people persuading, pushing and if need be challenging the community to respond.
It goes back beyond the Takutaimoana Hikoi of 2004 led by Hone that raised the national profile of the threat that the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 posed to the rights of every citizen of Aotearoa NZ through legal confiscation of the marine zone of over 4 million square kilometres by the Labour Government of that time. Before all the general, local and by elections and all other political forums to highlight the threat of DSOD, we were aware that this day was coming.
Even before the Foreshore and Seabed Bill was first created in reaction to the 1997 Ngati Apa claim to recognise maori rights to the moana in which they used the 1963 Te Oneroa a Tohe (Ninety Mile) Beach claim lodged by Ahipara kaumatua based upon the legacy of 20 generations of kaitiakitanga set by our ancestors Poroa or Toakai who fought to protect this moana we call Karirikura for their descendants, the threat of corporate invasion has been predicted 100 years earlier.
So, this fight has been around for a long time….and it won’t be the last. Throughout our history there has always been invaders who will try to take this valuable taonga from our children, because it is exactly that, valuable, priceless and irreplaceable. But we will be prepared to fight again as our ancestors did to protect the rights of our children as is their responsibility to protect our mokopuna.
It has been an emotionally and financially exhausting campaign, but we will continue to be on guard against the next threat. The key to win the next fight will be how prepared we are to return to battle. This is where the Mana Movement is an important part of that strategy to defend our people against oppression by the rich corporations.
We the local beneficiaries of this successful campaign have so many organisations to thank but my personal letter here is to the Mana Movement is the only political movement who never budged in your support of our decision to 100% fully oppose Deep Sea Oil Drilling in Te Reinga Basin. Mana movement has been a massive part of this success and we need Mana to carry on doing the great work that it has done and can continue to do.
This has been a great success for our people and there is a bright future ahead of us if we are prepared to work and if need be, fight for that future. My whanau are grateful for that loyalty and we are committed to achieving that potential future. The Mana movement must gain strength and confidence from this success as we all were integral to this victory.
We will be eternally grateful every day as we take our tamariki and mokopuna down to our moana to partake in our cultural practises of feeding our whanau or sitting together as a whanau connecting to our culture and our history through this beautiful marine environment. The enormity of our united achievement is only just being realised and no doubt will be a memorable part of our local history for our next generation of kaitiaki.
Na Poroa te whakatauaki “kia uu kite whakapono, aroha tetahi ki tetahi.”
“Holdfast to the truth, be strong enough to respect each other”
No reira kaua wareware au, nga tini hunga mate, haere ratou ki Te Rerenga wairua he waahi tapu tera ara ki Hawaiki nui, Hawaiki roa, Hawaiki Pamamao, haere atu ra.
Tatou te hunga ora kia tatou, kia maia, kia toa, kia manawanui
Mauriora kia tatou