Controversial port under fire at Gisborne District Council

By Taroi Black

Some East Cape residents are calling for "No barge in Te Araroa" in response to the Gisborne District Council’s 10-year plan.

Ahead of making three submissions to the council’s 2021-2031 Long Term Plan Consultation today, a protest was held in front of the council building  led by local environmentalist Ani Pahuru-Huriwai and members of the haukainga from Whare Kahika and Te Araroa over the port proposal for their region.

“Hapū and marae in Te Araroa oppose the development of the barge port in our region due to concerns about the impact it will have on animals, wildlife, the people, the wellbeing of Karakatūwhero River and the land,” Pahuru-Huriwai says.

The barge port in Te Araroa would be centred within the Inlet of Karakatuwhero River.  The inlet is surrounded by the Maori landowners of Te Rimu Trust and a pocket of it is under Crown ownership.

While the trust supports the project, approved by the government with up to $45 million from Crown Infrastructure Partners to build the facility and provide over 100 jobs, some local mana whenua don’t see it that way.

“We have seen the problems other industries have caused like forestry.”

“There were claims about all these great benefits but it rarely ended well. We can see those same problems now. My generation doesn't want to create another bigger problem for future generations.”

Busby Akuhata-Poihipi is one of the landowners who is opposing the proposal. His concern is based on the shipping of logs that he says could end up like Tolaga Bay's mess if it's not managed properly.

“How are they going to contain the slash with that wharf,” he asks.