This month we are expecting a ruling from Supreme Court on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to grant Trans Tasman Resources' (TTR) consent for seabed mining.
TTR wants to mine up to 50 million tonnes of iron sand off the South Taranaki Bight each year for 35 years. It is my hope that the court will rule in our favour and we can put to rest seabed mining, a practice that would destroy ecosystems and damage our coastlines for generations to come.
For eight long years, across National-led and Labour-led governments, our iwi and Pātea community has fought to stop the desecration of our ocean.
We have sat in court after court listening to a corporation that has never practised in Aotearoa, tell us, who have lived locally on the Pātea coast for generations, that it knows better than us about what is right for our environment.
We endured an extensive marketing campaign of sophisticated videos making light of environmental damage, ignoring any marine life on the reefs. Newspaper articles promoting economic gain, and promising jobs.
We saw them lobby government and local government politicians who became some of their strongest advocates. And we stood quietly as they paid some leaders to visit machinery used to mine offshore.
We experienced trolling and verbal attacks for being "anti-economic" and "anti-progress", despite being employers of over 100 staff.
Iwi owners of the largest tourism infrastructure on the maunga, owners of the largest health provider in Taranaki with 10,500 patients, 51 per cent Māori, 49 per cent Pākehā.
We are developers of precision horticulture, social housing, and an e-sports arena.
This is the fundamental flaw in their corporate approach, in that they underestimated the extent of our iwi and community whanaungatanga, our determination and experience.
Firstly, we're not a community unfamiliar with exploration and fracking. We have more oil companies in Taranaki than anywhere else in Aotearoa, and each time wells dry up, and one packs up, they leave a debris of industrial equipment, pollution, and unemployed skilled workers.
We are an iwi and community experienced in stopping fracking.
We're also an extremely determined community familiar with hardship, and know full well the power of unity against all odds.
This is the same community who, during the Pātea Freezing Works closure, supported the Pātea Māori Club to bring to rise the record-breaking 'Poi E'.
Our frontline protests were indicative of natural Tiriti relationships, just as many Māori as Pākehā, shoulder to shoulder, all committed to protecting our moana.
Many whose grandparents stood together during the industrial upheaval at the foreground of the creation of 'Poi E'.
You could say it's in our DNA to work together under adversity.
Busloads of iwi, community and supporters went to Parliament with petitions.
The local diving club set up ocean videos so that we could quantify marine life in the South Taranaki Bight, and also established a proactive education programme with all the schools.
The fishing clubs funded billboards opposing seabed mining, the community held fundraisers and concerts to help fund iwi fronting the legal battles.
Scientific evidence was compiled with cultural evidence, an inclusive fusion that made for compelling court cases, skilfully presented by young wāhine lawyers and an older Pākehā QC. Again, a unity of strengths.
Through protest action, submissions and petitions, we have continued to state that the EPA did not get things right from the start.
Thankfully the High Court and Court of Appeal agree, confirming there is lack of information and data on the environmental impact of seabed mining.
Our intent was to protect the environment for our future generations, but without realising, our small community has helped set political precedence, with landmark High Court and Court of Appeal decisions to quash seabed mining.
Winning this battle so far for the iwi and the community of Pātea proves that voices and actions count.
It proves that no matter how big, how rich, how sophisticated or how politically supported the opponent is, there is nothing stronger than grassroots determination.
For this purpose and many more, I continue to be a strong advocate for "ground-up solutions" for communities to have a say in who they are.
Today, our hearts are full. We are grateful to everyone who supported our plight.
Together we have achieved something great. But the fight is not over.
It is one that I have carried with me into Parliament, and is the catalyst for my member's bill to ban seabed mining in Aotearoa.