24 Jan 2013

Iwi group concerned after contaminants found near wreck

7:04 pm on 24 January 2013

The chair of the Tauranga Moana a Toi Iwi Leaders' Group, Te Awanui Black, says confirmation that there are elevated levels of contamination close to the wreck of the container ship Rena, are of major concern.

The Rena Recovery Monitoring Group which recently gained access to Astrolabe Reef or Otaiti where the ship grounded in October 2011, is now working hard to determine the significance of contaminants found in samples of sediment, and what they may have on marine life near the reef.

Mr Black says the discovery of copper and polyaromatic hydrocarbons in the samples is a real worry for Maori, whose ability to source kaimoana has been severely restricted for the past 15 months.

He says the iwi leaders group will keep in close contact with the monitoring group, and are keen that any potential negative effects on marine life will be quickly mitigated.