Iwi split over Rena decision

By Taroi Black

The Rena wreck will stay on Astrolabe Reef. A commission of enquiry found the ship's remains can be left on the reef subject to strict conditions. So what do iwi make of the decision?

Pia Bennett of Ngāti Mākino supports the decision for the Rena to remain on Otaiti and she says they won't be getting a cent.

“I don't want to comment on that, but actually no Ngāti Mākino won't be getting a pay-out,” says Bennett.

But last September, Bennett told Radio New Zealand that Ngāti Mākino had negotiated a settlement with the Rena owners. It included $1.25mil for a building to boost 'kaitiakitanga' of the sea and to honour the ancestor who named the reef.

Bennett says “Our position hasn’t changed, we supported a consent that had attached to it particular conditions, that would ensure that the wreck and the reef was managed into the future was sustainable.”

Buddy Mikaere represents Ngāi Te Hapū from Motiti Island who want the Rena removed.

He says money has left iwi split on the issue.

Mikaere says “Well good for them (Ngāti Makino) but you know, we think that they should keep their hands off our reef. Definitely they’ve sold out, anybody with integrity would’ve seen that the right thing to do from the Māori perspective was to oppose what was happening and the terrible impact on the mauri of that reef.”

Mikaere says he will now regroup with Ngāi Te Hapū to discuss a way forward.

“As far as we’re concerned this isn’t the end, we’ll go away and have a little tangi tonight. But tomorrow we’ll come back and look at our strategy for the future,” says Mikaere.

Ngāi Te Hapū will now submit an appeal to the Environment Court