The Environmental Protection Authority's split decision to approve seabed mining by Trans-Tasman Resources is an outrage, Te Kaahui o Rauru kaiwhakahaere Anne-Marie Broughton says.
"We will be appealing the decision. It is just plain wrong, as evidenced by two of the four commissioners dissenting against the approval."
The Waverley-based iwi has been through a wide range of emotions in the last few days, she said, from anger, sadness and frustration to steely determination to overturn the decision.
"We know we are not alone - we've received a huge number of messages from our uri (dscendants) and the wider community who feel the same way."
The decision is doubly frustrating with Government allocating funding to clean up freshwater earlier in the same week it approved work that will devastate the underwater environment, Ms Broughton said.
"While the decision paper is 368 pages long, the section with the dissenting commissioners' opinions makes it incredibly clear what risk is being taken and what damage will be done by this approval."
She wanted to mihi to (congratulate) the two commissioners; Gerry Te Kapa Coates and Sharon McGarry, who stood for the environment and common sense.
Ms Broughton said impacts from the approved mining would be huge.
"We are talking about excavating 50 million tonnes of seabed per year for 35 years over an area of 66 square kilometres, up to 11 metres deep - every scoop destroying the seabed and marine life and driving away the threatened blue whales who aren't just passing through but live in the South Taranaki Bight."
This was "dinosaur thinking", she said.
"Environmental protection is the new economy. We already have sewage from Whanganui being dumped out at sea, plus the nutrient run-off from intensive farming.
"Enough is enough! We need to overturn this decision, put a moratorium on seabed mining and bring some sense to managing our environment."