Marae set to appeal Mangatangi opencast mine

By Heeni Brown
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A new resource, 'Māori and Mining is being launched which highlights the issues and challenges of mining in New Zealand and its impact on Māori communities and iwi.

However will this new information be effective enough to help the people of Mangatangi who are dead against a Glencoal Opencast Mine?

Mangatangi Marae plan to appeal against the Waikato District Council and Waikato Regional Council's decision to allow Glencoal to mine in their area

Hori Katipa of Ngāti Amaru and Ngati Tamaoho says according to information gathered by the Marae “at least 80 percent of the people in the area did not want the mine there but those concerns have been ignored”.

While legal advice suggests an appeal would do nothing in favour of Mangatangi Marae, they plan to push ahead regardless on the grounds that there are fresh water aquafiers in the proposed mining area.

A Mangatangi spokesman, Te Rangikaihoro says, “his people don’t intend to give up as they are the only advocates for the treasures of their ancestors and the land.”

The battle for Mangatangi Marae began two weeks ago when Fonterra's subsidiary company Glencoal Energy Limited was given the green light to mine coal on a 70 acre block they own in the region.

Otago University launched a book to help Māori gage a better understanding of all facets involved in mining. According to one of the books authors Dr Katharina Ruckstuhl, “it is never an easy task for Māori to go into discussions or debates with mining companies and this new resource can assist those wanting to know more”.

Among other things the new resource provides case studies from iwi who have dealt with mining companies intensively and they have contributed useful information on the economic, legal, environmental and cultural impacts of mining on Māori. Dr Ruckstuhl believes many smaller whanau and hapu dont know all of the information regarding mining and this new resource provides a reference of useful material.

Mangatangi marae chair Warahi Paki, says they'll be lodging an appeal on Thursday as the appeal period for the Glencoal opencast mine closes on Friday.