National | Mining

Patea kids serve sea mining message to Acting PM

The Acting PM Winston Peters was served a serious sea mining message on a plate from Patea Area School. Students found a novel way to be heard bringing the best of their seafood cupboard to the top man at the beehive.

From the Patea sea to the Acting PM's table, a special delivery for Winston Peters.

A feast of paua, crayfish, watercress, smoked fish and many more seafood delicacies.

Student Maruata Ngarewa-Cribb says "[it’s] to show a piece of Taranaki and what out sea can provide for us and if the seabed mining goes ahead our food will be taken away from us."

Peters cheekily asked “who put you up to this” before seriously addressing students’ concerns.

"Well, we're going to make sure that our forward development ensures that things will be sustainable on the land and at sea. That's what we’re working on at the moment," says Peters.

"By sustainable, I mean things should improve and not get worse. Got that? Now go home and spread the word would you?"

Quick off the mark, Ngarewa-Cribb’s response was she “sure will”.

NZ First MP Jenny Marcroft asked Patea School students to prepare their food and message for the Māori Affairs Select Committee.

Student Charlotte Stark says “this is where it's [from] our ocean and it shouldn't be destroyed, we have a love for that moana too so it would be heart-breaking if [it was gone].”

Ngarewa-Cribb says if mining continues the surrounding sea-life and environment would die.

"It's our right. We have a right to [gather seafood] and if it's not there then it's like part of our identity is gone.”

While students came with a serious message, there's also a bit of competition.  A morning tea mana grab amongst Māori Affairs Select Committee MPs.

Marcroft says "it's not a competition as such but as always mana is on the line when it comes to kai time.
"I'm really showing off what can be found in Patea where my whanau live. It's been an opportunity for the kids to come down  and engage with parliament but at the same time help me win the morning tea stakes."

Committee Chairman Rino Tirikatene says "it'll be hard to top this one. We have a kai every week so this certainly beats the scones and sausage rolls."

While the government ruled out new oil and gas exploration permits, Peters assures these young leaders things won't get worse.