National | Environment

Māori representatives against oil exploration meet with Saami Parliament

Members of the Indigenous Saami Parliament have met with a group of Māori representatives from Northland, carrying with them a message against oil-exploration at Te Reinga Basin.

A member of the Executive Council of Saami Parliament, Henrik Olsen and Political Adviser Runar Myrnes Balto were among the Saami representatives who met with the delegation earlier this week.

Hinekaa Mako says, “The meeting went really well, as the indigenous peoples of Norway the Sámi understand our concerns, they are considering ways to support us in the future.”

The Māori representatives traveled to Norway to take their message directly to the head offices of Statoil, opposing the planned exploration in the moana of their rohe.

The delegation includes environmentalist Mike Smith, kaumātua Sonny Otene and Hinekaa Mako who have taken with them letters of opposition from Ngāti Kuri, Ngāti Kahu and Te Rarawa.

Mako says the Saami Parliament, “appreciated our travelling to acknowledge the support extended by the President of Sámediggi last year. They reiterated their concerns then, as now are that the Free, Prior & Informed consent of Maori of the Far North, was not given to Statoil.”

The representatives are now making their way to Norway's oil capital Stavenger where the Statoil company headquarters are located. It is there where they plan to tell management of Statoil that their ships are not welcome in Aotearoa seas.

Hinekaa Mako says the journey carries with it the hope of "seeking to form a relationship of joint political, moral and legal co-operation with the Indigenous people of Norway."