Environment Bay of Plenty Councillor Awanuiarangi Black says there is still disharmony among iwi who were affected by the grounding of the Rena today than there was when it first hit the reef. Today marks five years since the disaster, the impact of the oil spill was most significant in New Zealand history.
The Rena may be out of sight from the mainland but just on the other side of Motiti, part of the ship remains on Astrolabe reef.
Black says, “It's been five years and we still haven't found a way forward on this issue.”
After the grounding and the subsequent clean up, the Te Moana a Toi Iwi Leaders' Forum was formed. They looked at issues concerning the removal of the wreck and the future well-being of Astrolabe. Now the possibility of tourism ventures at the site is being looked at.
“All the iwi have separate opinions concerning that issue. Some are in support of possible tourism ventures on driving in the area but a lot of us don't support it.”
From the collective Leaders Forum, Ngāti Ranginui and the Te Arawa ki Tai Trust supported the Rena remaining where it is.
According to the owners of the Rena, the majority of those who originally opposed the consent application have withdrawn from the appeal process.
Ngāi Te Hapū of Motiti is currently in a legal battle with them that will see them in court in March.
“Iwi and hapū aren't united on their views.”
Black says the Rena continues to be a big topic in the Tauranga region and along the coast but in the next five years, he would like to see the full removal of the Rena.