6 May 2015

Tribunal publishes final Rena report

7:01 am on 6 May 2015

The Waitangi Tribunal has published its final report on the Rena and has found that the vessel's owners were given special treatment by the Crown.

Recovery of Rena wreckage off the Tauranga coast.

The Liberian-flagged 'Rena' hit Astrolabe Reef on 5 October 2011. Photo: RENA PROJECT

The Tribunal said two Bay of Plenty claims, by Motiti Rohe Moana Trust, the Ngai Te Hapu Incorporated Society and the Mataatua District Maori Council, concerning the removal of the wreck from Astrolabe Reef were well-founded.

The latest report looked at the Crown's conduct in entering into an agreement in October 2012 obliging it to support the ship's owners' resource consent application to leave sections of the vessels where they were.

The Tribunal said the obligations placed the Rena's owners in a special position in the consent process that could significantly affect tangata whenua interest in the reef.

The inquiry concluded the Crown signed the deed without sufficient knowledge of the rights of Maori and without consulting affected tangata whenua.

It said the Crown damaged its Treaty of Waitangi partnership with the claimants - although it averted primary prejudice by partially opting to oppose the owners' consent bid in August 2014.

The Tribunal recommended the Crown actively protect Maori rights in the consent process and help those who are engaged in the process.

Read the tribunal's final report on the claims