27 Mar 2013

Parihaka community wants oil drillers out

7:11 pm on 27 March 2013

The people of Parihaka have told the Government to stop allowing companies to search for oil and gas in the Taranaki Tuturu territory.

They've written to ministers, councils and energy firms, strongly opposing fossil fuel exploration and extraction - especially around homes and coastal reserves.

The objection is being made by descendants, survivors and followers of Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi - two prophets who lead a peace campaign and established a pa (settlement) that was infamously overrun by colonial troops.

Leaders argue that finding petroleum produces short-term benefits for some, but the long term effects are detrimental to local communities and the world as a whole.

They consider fossil fuel extraction to be socially unacceptable - and ask the Government to stop issuing permits to look for oil.

In the past, names of tupuna (ancestors) have been given to blocks permitted for exploration - which has angered the Parihaka people.

However, they're now welcoming a decision by two energy companies to remove the names Tohu and Parihaka.