18 Sep 2012

Port wants to rebuild iwi relationship

8:30 pm on 18 September 2012

The Port of Tauranga hopes to rebuild the relationship with local iwi, following a High Court decision to dismiss a hapu's appeal against plans to deepen and widen the city's harbour.

At the end of last year, the Environment Court upheld a decision made by a panel of commissioners, to grant the Port of Tauranga consent to dredge the harbour to provide access for bigger container ships.

Tauranga hapu Ngati Ruahine wasn't happy with the dredging going ahead and lodged an appeal in the High Court against the Environment Court decision.

But a judge today dismissed that appeal.

Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns says as part of the Environment Court process it was decided two trusts would be set up with the three major iwi in Tauranga Moana.

Trusts will be aimed at contributing to the upkeep of Mauao (Mt Maunganui) and also to restore kaimoana and will give the port company an opportunity to rebuild the relationship with local iwi.

Mr Cairns says the harbour dredging plans still need approval from the Minister of Conservation before they can proceed.