An oil spill response vessel has been named after Māori leader, the late Te Awanuiārangi Black, in honour of his legacy. Black passed away last year after winning re-election to the Tauranga City council Mauao seat.
Awanui is a $600,000 oil spill response vessel commissioned by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council in honour of the late Te Awanuiarangi Black.
However, a close friend of the late Te Awanuiārangi Black says the council needs to look further than cleaning up oil spills in order to continue his legacy.
"The taniwha in the awa or the elephant in the room I believe is not the oil and good on the council for spending 600,000 for that waka but I think it could have been better spent looking at what we're doing to our harbour."
Wilson says the council needs to consider the environmental impact that companies such as Balance Agri-Nutrients and Seeka Huka Pak have on Tauranga Moana.
"This is the biggest phosphate importer that ends up on the farms, ends up growing quick grass and lots of cows who urinate on the land and the nitrification ends up in our waterways, hence we have 80% of our waterways unsuitable to swim in."
Te Kāea contacted the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Balance Agri-Nutrients and Seeka Huka Pak for comment. They are yet to respond.