Topic: Rena

Evidence of ecosystem's health presented at Rena hearing

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty
Day seven into the Rena hearings to decide whether the wreck should be removed from the Astrolabe Reef was today presented with evidence from a marine biologist expert Dr Joanne Freeman around the health of the ecosystem.
Marine biologist Dr Joanne Freeman presented facts today highlighting the theory many locals feared.
Buddy Mikaere says, “The experts don't seem to be in complete accord, so it seems that it's going to be a difficult task I think for the panel to make a decision.”  
The hearings have been ongoing over the last two weeks with a number of topics being discussed. 
One of those topics focussed on the mitigation of cultural effects surrounding the Rena wreck, which is why Ngāi Te Hapū spokesperson Buddy Mikaere has been vocal on its removal. 
Mikaere says, “There is no way dumping a wreck on a reef in some way that will enhance the life of our hapū and other iwi and Māori in the Bay of Plenty.”
The Rena grounded on the Astrolabe reef on October 5 in 2011.  The Waitangi Tribunal hearings were called after the owners of the cargo ship applied for consent to leave the wreck on the reef. 
The owners of the cargo ship Rena say they have the backing of the community to leave the wreck on the Astrolabe Reef in the Bay of Plenty.
Mikaere says, “We want to see the application for the consents decline and as we understand it that means the status quo applies and that they have to move the wreck.”
Ngāi Te Hapū along with a number of other claimants are set to present evidence on September 30 when the hearings move to Whakaue Marae, in Maketū.