National | Motiti

Debate continues on remaining Rena debris on Ōtāiti

The owners of the Rena vessel have begun to argue their resource consent application that aims to leave the remaining debris of the ship that ran aground on Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga.

An expert panel will hear the case over three weeks.

It's day one and Daina Shipping and its insurers have embarked on their challenge.

Representatives from the Greek-based company did not want to comment on camera.  Their case however argues that it isn't practical and is too expensive to try and totally remove the wreckage of the ship, which ran into the Ōtāiti (Astrolabe Reef) off Tauranga.

Submissions from the Ngāti Makino Heritage Trust on behalf of particular Te Arawa groupings however support the Rena owner's application.

Ngāti Makino Heritage Trust Environment Officer, Piatarihi Bennett says, "The information that everyone has agreed on at this point is that the kaimoana is no longer affected but that doesn't mean that we are happy with that.  What we are saying is that there needs some monitoring in place to ensure that it is consistently the results that we are going to get over time."

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council received over 150 submissions, including dissenting members of Ngāi Te Hapū of Motiti Island, who fought to have the Ōtāiti (Astrolabe Reef) recognised as a taonga in the Waitangi Tribunal.

Ngāi Te Hapū o Motiti Inc spokesperson, Buddy Mikaere says, "It is offensive because it totally destroys the mauri of that reef in our view and that's something that can't be repaired unless you take the debris away in their entirety.”

Ngāi Te Hapū o Motiti  submission applicant, Rangi Butler says, "It's all to do with saving money but not people and to me people are more important than the issues they are raising."

The hearing is scheduled for 16 days with a site visit to Motiti Island set for September 18.