Yellow bags filled with oil-coated shrubbery and debris line the shore as the clean-up of the Maungatapu oil spill continues.
It’s an all too familiar task for local iwi who are reminded of the environmental disaster that was the Rena container ship grounding on the Astrolabe Reef off the coast of Tauranga.
Des Heke of Ngāi Te Ahi and Ngāti Hē is part of the group of iwi representatives involved in the discussions around the clean-up planning.
“Ko te whakaiti nei o te tangata kua haramai te hapori ki te manaakitia tēnei whenua.”
The spill was spotted on Monday while a ship was bunkering at the Port of Tauranga.
The tides and wind brought the oil south where it washed ashore on Maungatapu over an area of 2km.
Mr Heke also points out wāhi tapu that have been affected.
“Te motu ki korā, te Motuopuhi, tae noa kit e urupā tawhito.”
The ocean is being closely monitored to prevent further oil washing ashore, but Regional On-Scene Commander Adrian Heays says they don’t know how much oil has been spilt.
“I've asked Mobil to provide us with those details and their answer has been ‘it's very difficult’.
While Mobil says they will pay for damages, local iwi are adamant that money is not the answer.
“Ka haramai te moni, ka haere te moni. Ko te mea nui kia āta noho, kanohi ki te kanohi, kia mōhiotia mai he aha te hē.”
The crew aim to have all of the clean-up work completed by the end of the week.
People who spot oil on their boat or on beaches are being asked to contact the Regional Council's Pollution Hotline on 0800 884 883.
Published by Te Karere
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