Taranaki iwi wins seabed mining appeal

By Jessica Tyson

South Taranaki iwi Ngāti Ruanui has won a landmark High Court decision to quash Seabed Mining off the coast of Patea.

Overnight, the High Court at Wellington announced it will not allow Trans-Tasman Resources (TTR) to mine iron sand off the South Taranaki bight.

Te Runanga o Ngāti Ruanui Trust kaiarataki Debbie Ngarewa-Packer says this win for the iwi and the community of Patea proves that voices and actions count.

"We have fought this battle twice and won each time, she says.

"This is a clear sign that the EPA did not get things right to start with so we hope they're actually listening this time. It's great to see the High Court judge clearly confirming the concerns of a small iwi working hard for its people regarding the lack of information and the environmental impact of seabed mining."

Ngāti Ruanui will keep up the pressure to decline this form of economic development should TTR appeal this decision.

"We continue to stand firm against this application. We respect this was a complex case and we will continue to battle for greater understanding regarding the issues created by Seabed Mining."

Ngāti Ruanui led the charge in this fight alongside 11 other appellants at the High Court at Wellington to ensure the Patea coastline would not be mined by Trans-Tasman Resources.

Through their legal team and QC Francis Cooke, Ngāti Ruanui set out legal errors when presenting to the High Court at Wellington. Errors about not establishing environmental standards were a key point.

Ngāti Ruanui actively opposed submissions presented to the court by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

"We lead this appeal because it goes to the heart of who we are as tangata whenua, ensuring generations can enjoy our shoreline," says Ngarewa-Packer.

"Today, our hearts are full. We are grateful to everyone who supported our plight. Together we have achieved something great."