Iwi still concerned about Rena wreck

8:33 pm on 5 August 2015

The mauri of the area around the wreck of the Rena will never be fully restored while the remnants of the wreck remain, an iwi representative says.

The bow of the Rena in August 2103.

The bow of the ship can be seen above the water in August 2013 Photo: RENA PROJECT

A $2.4 million government-funded plan to restore the environment damaged by the ship's grounding in October 2011 has now been completed.

The Rena Recovery Plan Group's final meeting heard that no new oil wash-ups related to the Rena have been reported since March 2014.

Local dotterel and penguin numbers are now stable or increasing, and shellfish contamination is no longer at levels of concern for public health.

The Government wants the part of the wreck in water down to 30 metres removed.

Ngāti Ranginui has signed an agreement not to oppose a plan to leave the wreck on the Astrolabe Reef. Photo: RENA PROJECT

Ngāti Ranginui representative and co-chair Carlton Bidois said great progress had been made.

But he said iwi and hapū still had concerns about long-term effects and felt the mauri (life force) would never be fully restored while the wreck's remnants remain on Ōtaiti.

In June, Ngāti Ranginui signed an agreement with the vessel's owner not to oppose a plan to leave the wreck on the Astrolabe Reef, just off the coast from Tauranga.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council chairman Doug Leeder, who is also the co-chair of the Rena Recovery Governance Group, said while the recovery plan projects are now complete, a great deal of work would be continuing.

"Ongoing work like pest control and coastal environment monitoring will continue, in collaboration with iwi."

Other Rena-related work including wreck salvage and safety management is continuing.

In May 2014, the Rena owners applied for resource consent to leave some sections of the wreck on the reef.

A panel of independent commissioners will consider the application and associated public submissions at a hearing scheduled for 7 September 2015.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs