Rena: A decade after disaster

The container ship Rena sits in two pieces on Astrolabe Reef off the coast of Tauranga in January. Photo / File

October 5, 2021, will mark 10 years since the MV Rena slammed into Ōtaiti Astrolabe Reef, 12 nautical miles from the Tauranga coastline. The grounding would become New Zealand's worst maritime environmental disaster and the world's second costliest ship salvage.

The stricken vessel spewed thick crude oil into Tauranga's waters, blanketing the region's golden shores with black muck. Tar-like, it choked wildlife and decaying debris from the ship's strewn containers repeatedly washed ashore. It took years for the region to recover.

Journalist Kiri Gillespie covered the Rena saga as it unfolded. A decade later she revisits the disaster to find