Thoughts on the Rena five years on

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On the five-year anniversary of the Rena, the Bay of Plenty Times spoke to some of the people involved in the aftermath of the grounding.
Today is the fifth anniversary of the grounding of the Rena. Photo/file
Today is the fifth anniversary of the grounding of the Rena. Photo/file

On the anniversary of the Rena, the Bay of Plenty Times spoke to some of the people involved in the aftermath of the grounding about their thoughts five years on.

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby: "The Rena saga had many elements to it, from poor seamanship, the heroic skill of the first salvers to get one thousand tonnes of oil off the Rena before the ship broke up, the efforts to remove containers, and the wild life rescue to name but a few.

Stuart Crosby
Stuart Crosby

The greatest story of the Rena was the public response to assist in removing the oil off the beach and rocks of our coastline. Over six thousand people had registered to assist in the oil removal which was hard and tiring work. The public effort has re-written the manual for responses for the future."

Nevan Lancaster, spokesman of the former Rena Business Compensation Group: "Disappointment and betrayal. Disappointed that nothing positive for the Bay of Plenty

Nevan Lancaster
Nevan Lancaster

region came out of it and betrayal as our government worked so hard to save a Greek shipping company and Swedish insurance company $400 million and leave a toxic legacy for the next 100 years sitting on Astrolabe Reef."

Buddy Mikaere, spokesman for Ngai Te Hapu of Motiti Island: "To Ngai Te Hapu, the Rena wreck remains a festering sore. While the wreckage might have been reduced to a point where it can't be seen above the water, everybody knows it is still sitting there and the

Buddy Mikaere
Buddy Mikaere

island still gets reminders of the presence of the wreck in the form of plastic beads and oil sheen/slicks on the water above the reef. The monetary incentives offered to iwi and hapu to support or not oppose the dumping of the wreck on Otaiti Reef has caused deep divisions amongst tangata whenua in the central and western Bay of Plenty."

The Rena's owners: "The owners' acknowledge the fifth anniversary and the role of the volunteers, including the wider Bay of Plenty community and tangata whenua. The owners and insurers are pleased that after almost five years of extensive salvage and clean-up operations being concluded, access to the reef has been restored and a resource consent - developed based on feedback from the community - has been granted."

Chrissy Jefferson, Oropi Native Bird Rescue Sanctuary: "Hard to believe it is five years since that terrible day that caused heartbreak, shock and disbelief. Our beautiful beaches, our wildlife and the people all affected by what had happened. I found myself being asked to go to Motiti for 10 days to triage oil penguins for their journey back to the mainland.

Chrissy Jefferson
Chrissy Jefferson


After that I worked at Te Maunga, washing, feeding and swimming the little blues to get them waterproofed and ready for release. It was a disaster that forged many new friendships that are still going strong today, with people here and from around the world."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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