Bay leaders involved in $1m Rena Recovery Fund

By Staff reporter

A group of local leaders will decide how a $1 million donation from the charterer of Rena will be distributed within the Bay of Plenty community.

The charterer, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), pledged the $1 million on October 18 last year, barely two weeks after the Rena ran aground on Astrolabe Reef.

A preliminary meeting has been held between Council representatives from the Western Bay region, and management of the Rena charterers, the MSC Shipping Company.

At the meeting, Sir Peter Trapski was appointed as chair of the MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company Rena Recovery Fund.

The other members of the committee will be Tauranga mayor Stuart Crosby, Western Bay mayor Ross Paterson and chair of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council John Cronin.

The shipping company will be represented by Kevin Clarke, the managing director of MSC (Aust) Pty Ltd.

A representative from iwi is yet to be appointed.

Applications for funding will be sought from local community groups for the committee to consider.

Mr Clarke said: ``Due to our longstanding and positive partnership with the Port of Tauranga we wanted to support the wider communities of the Bay of Plenty with this goodwill gesture.''

"We decided the best way to ensure that the funds were distributed to the right places was to involve the local people in the decision making process.''

The representatives at the meeting were unanimous in their decision that it was important to have an independent chair who understood the region and the issues its constituents had to deal with.

Sir Peter Trapski, who is a long term resident of the Bay of Plenty, was pleased to accept the role. He said that the first job, prior to the first official meeting, was to seek a local Bay of Plenty iwi representative to sit on the committee.

"We have been able to identify the appropriate people from the councils and all of us have agreed that we will need input from iwi right from the first official meeting.''

Sir Peter is a former chief District Court Judge and has formerly practiced as a barrister and solicitor in Mt Maunganui.

Since his retirement from the District Court, Sir Peter has been practising as a commercial arbitrator, mediator, trustee, company director, and consultant.

A request for applications to the fund will be publically notified following the first meeting of the full committee.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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