Today in the face of navy warship HMNZS Taupo, the crew of te Whānau ā Apanui’s fishing boat San Pietro went fishing at a safe distance in front of the deep sea oil survey ship, Orient Explorer. The longline with visible buoys was deployed within te Whānau ā Apanui ‘s customary fishing grounds.
From onboard San Pietro, te Whānau ā Apanui tribal leader Rikirangi Gage radioed the Captain of the Orient Explorer and said, “You are not welcome in our waters. Accordingly and as an expression of our mana in these waters and our deep concern for the adverse effects of deep sea drilling, we will be positioning the te Whānau ā Apanui vessel directly in your path…We will not be moving, we will be doing some fishing. That’s what our waters are for, not for pollution… This is not a protest. We are defending tribal waters and our rights from reckless Government policies and the threat of deep sea drilling, which our hapū have not consented to and continue to oppose…”
The Orient Explorer did not stop as police on two inflatables boarded the San Pietro.
Mr Gage said, “Te Whānau ā Apanui oppose Petrobras’ deep sea oil prospecting and drilling for good reasons. Our ancestors didn’t instruct us to be selfish in the way that the Government is thinking, risking so much and thinking of so few. A longer term perspective shows that bringing up oil from under the deep sea floor to be burnt will cause harm to ourselves, our resources and the world around us.”
“The Government have abused their power by first ignoring us, then apologising to us, now blaming the people out here with their heads on the line who want this to stop. Our mana is not for sale. What kind of people are we if the gifts we give to the next generations are beaches covered with oil and a dead sea? Or big floods, storms and droughts? The first thing we must always do is protect our food resources. Survival comes first.”
“Today a net of a new generation goes fishing, one that will catch the lies and one we intend to stop deep sea oil prospecting in its tracks.”
“Our ancestors did not agree to a Treaty that would ignore the wishes and needs of future generations and our environment. They carefully positioned us to continue to make good decisions that would enable the future of our peoples and our cultures.”
San Pietro, is the longliner owned by East Coast iwi, Te Whānau ā Apanui and is part of the flotilla including Greenpeace and the Nuclear Free Flotilla, in its third week of opposing deep sea oil drilling.