South Taranaki iwi are united in their opposition to the iron-sand mining proposed offshore from Pātea.

Last week Te Kāhui o Rauru, with Te Ohu Kaimoana (the Māori Fisheries Trust) joined neighbours Ngāti Ruanui in lodging a cross-appeal to mining company Trans-Tasman Resources' attempt to overturn a High Court judgment that ended its ability to mine.

The company was given consent to mine in August 2017, but iwi, environmental and fishing interests appealed the consent to the High Court. The court's Justice Peter Churchman said granting a discharge consent on insufficient information was unlawful, and sent the matter back to the Environmental Protection Authority.

Trans-Tasman Resources then appealed that decision, and the matter will be heard in the Appeal Court - with urgency, the company hopes.


Kiwis Against Seabed Mining and Greenpeace have joined in a cross-appeal, wanting to uphold Justice Churchman's decision and also ensure the barriers to seabed mining are as high as possible.

Ngā Rauru supports this. It wants those considering any future consent to take a precautionary approach, insist on having the best information available and recognise the kaitiaki (guardian) role of iwi and the interests of fishers.

Ngā Rauru will always defend their moana, which is their marae, chief executive Anne-Marie Broughton said.

"The ocean is our Marae Moana so there's no difference to us."

Staying in the court battle would cost the iwi, she said, but it had to protect the ocean, which was already at crisis point.

The iwi is making its own effort grow the regional economy, with its Kaitahi The Native Superfood Company launched in June. The company aims to sell frozen smoothie drops.

"We're facing off against the big seabed mining industries with kai Māori and kaitiakitanga because we believe environmental protection and sustainable economic growth is the way to go," Broughton said.

Ngāti Ruanui lodged a cross-appeal much earlier. It has engaged experienced lawyer Richard Fowler QC.


Iwi chief executive Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said Government was looking to end new oil and gas prospecting, and it was disappointing mining programmes were not included. Offshore mining did not align with its carbon-neutral and economic policies.

"Too much energy is focusing on this sunset industry and its antiquated practices," she said.