Tai Tokerau summoned

By Lindy Laird

1 comment

Ngati Hau protesters are citing the Treaty of Waitangi in calling for all Tai Tokerau people to oppose explorative gold drilling at Puhipuhi mountain.

A Whakapara Marae committee called Kuia Kaumatua of Ngati Hau is making the call for Ngapuhi and other iwi to gather at the marae tomorrow in the latest in a series of actions organised by the Action Co-ordination Group.

"The Waitangi Tribunal has confirmed what our people have always known - Ngapuhi did not cede sovereignty," Ngati Hau Anti Mining Group spokesman Vaughan Potter said.

"We still have our mana motuhake and our tino rangatiratanga. Puhipuhi mountain, and any minerals that are part of it, are ours to protect. It will not be damaged by drillers and miners. Evolution Mining must leave."

Kuia Kaumatua of Ngati Hau member Thelma Connors said the invitation for all Northland hapu to act was a first.

"This is the first time Ngati Hau have called Tai Tokerau together in this way," Ms Connors said. "The hapu of Ngapuhi have been waiting for this call, and they will stand with us. We don't want toxic mining at Puhipuhi or anywhere in Taitokerau, not now, not ever!"

Opposition to Australian-owned Evolution Mining's plans has centred on the environmental risks but the company has repeatedly said it would not continue if mining posed any danger to the environment. Evolution is capping exploratory drill holes and has put on its website the independent Auckland-based consultancy Pattle Delamore Partners (PDP) reports on water quality and associated concerns.

The company has also yet to find if the quantity and quality of gold or silver, as well as environmental factors, make mining in the area viable.

Anti-mining groups say there is no guarantee of safety considering Puhipuhi is at the head of a complex aquifer and surface network draining into Hikurangi Swamp, the Northern Wairoa River and Kaipara Harbour.

- Northern Advocate

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