A Northland roopu have filed a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal saying the Government should have sought consent of local iwi and hapu before issuing deep sea oil drilling permits in the Te Reinga Basin.

Te Ahipara Komiti Takutaimoana, who are the marae and hapu mandated group from Te Rarawa managing marine environment issues, filed the claim on May 22.

The claim alleged the Government breached the Treaty of Waitangi by not consulting Maori rights holders before permits to oil drill in the Te Reinga Basin were issued.

"The Crown is forgetting it has to uphold our human rights as a Maori people," said committee member Catherine Murupaenga-Ikenn.


The claim comes after months of protests in opposition of Norwegian oil company Statoil exploring for oil and gas in Te Reinga Basin and only weeks after a small delegation from the iwi travelled to Norway to meet the indigenous Sami Parliament and the heads of Statoil at their annual meeting.

Ms Murupaenga-Ikenn said it was vital the claim be lodged to protect the ocean.

"This whole beach is sacred. It's a pathway of spirits. I hate the words 'Maori myths and legends' because this is what I truly believe, that one day my spirit will travel along there and I will look back."

Te Ahipara Komiti Takutaimoana chairman Patau Tepania said ultimately the iwi wanted Statoil to go home.

"Stopping exploration for oil is vital if we are to provide a better more secure and fairer future for ourselves and for future generations. Given expert climate change predictions and advice - fossil fuel exploration makes no sense," he said.

Ms Murupaenga-Ikenn agreed and said the oil drilling would have a negative effect on the environment.

"There is technology now that allows clean renewable free energy."

The claim will be looked at by the Waitangi Tribunal to see if it meets the requirements of the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 and, if accepted, it will be researched before the tribunal issues a report.


Following this, the claimants and the Crown will study the report and consider their response until they both come to an agreement.