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Brave Maori Say ‘NO’ to Drilling on Sacred Ground

Posted by feww on March 24, 2009

Submitted by TEAA

Maori Block New Zealand Drill Site

Taranaki Maori have occupied a drill site in an attempt to  stop drilling on their sacred ground, pā.

An estimated 75  protesters from Otaraua hapū [a division of Maori clan, iwi ] Sunday blocked the  entrance to the well site at Tikorangi, near Waitara in north Taranaki, New Zealand, to try to stop Greymouth Petroleum preparing for drilling, local media reported.

drill-site-protest Day two of the protest at Tikorangi, New Zealand: Police speak with members of the Otaraua hapu who are staging a protest at Tikorangi to stop drilling by Greymouth Petroleum. Photo: Cameron Burnell. Image may be subject to copyright.

Hapu members occupied the site, Tikorangi Pa, to prevent if from being desecrated.  The site is not protected by the district plan.

The group whose members are applying to the Environment Court for an injunction against the oil company, is angered “at the lack of consultation,” the Taranaki Daily News reported.

They were notified of the oil company’s intentions only on Thursday, Otaraua hapū spokesman David Doorbar said, adding that the drill site was “sacred and had great significance and cultural relevance,” media reported.

“Greymouth Petroleum has only recently advised us of their intent, and has not given any consideration to our concerns,” he said.

“They do not understand the significance of this site, which we had mistakenly believed would not be touched.”

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples said he was “deeply disappointed” that Maori interests are not taken more seriously.

He said Greymouth Petroleum should have consulted with the hapu.

“It shows ignorance by the companies that they can go ahead without thinking. I would expect to see consultation with iwi,” he said.

Taranaki Daily News said their attempts to contact Greymouth Petroleum national office were unsuccessful, and their messages were ignored.

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