12 Oct 2012

Kaimoana taint from Rena all but gone

6:38 am on 12 October 2012

Iwi in Bay of Plenty say it's re-assuring that contamination of kaimoana along the Bay of Plenty coastline from heavy fuel oil, has all but disappeared.

It's a year since oil from the stranded container ship Rena, began polluting the beaches and Motiti island.

On Thursday night a research team, Te Mauri Moana, which has been analysing the effect of oil on the environment, released its preliminary findings to a meeting in Mount Maunganui.

Chris Battershill, who has been leading the team, said kaimoana were initially hit by high levels of toxicity, but they have now all but disappeared.

Rena recovery iwi representative Rahera Ohia said the fact that science has shown the food basket in the sea is returning to full health, is very important for Maori.

But she said for Maori, how their relationship is repaired with the body of water that's been contaminated, is something that's much less tangible.

Ms Ohia said that has as much to do with people's hearts and minds, as it does with science.