26 Mar 2014

Elders could have been bribed over Rena - Mikaere

7:05 am on 26 March 2014

A hapu, which wants the entire wreck of the Rena removed, suggests a council of elders has been bribed. Now it's issued a letter saying it's leaning towards supporting the ship being left where it is.

The wreckage is on Astrolabe reef near Tauranga.

Ngai te Hapu and Te Patuwai Tribal Council both claim mana whenua, and live on Motiti Island nearby.

Ngai te Hapu spokesperson Buddy Mikaere is disappointed by a letter by the Tribal Council because it means that tribal groups on the island are not standing as one.

He said he knows about various offers and inducements that have been made by the insurers and owners to tribal groups.

Mr Mikaere says that's possibly why the council put out its letter.

But, he said for his sub-tribe, Ngai te Hapu, it's not about the money instead it's about integrity and restoration of the marine environment.

Te Patuwai has not ruled out talks about compensation with the owner of the ship.

But it believes the Rena should stay where it is because it's too dangerous to move it and it could cost lives.