Environmental group locked to railway tracks in Dunedin coal protest

updated By Te Ao - Māori News
Photo / Supplied

An environmental group has locked themselves to railway tracks at Dunedin railway station to stop a daily coal train between Takitimu mine in Southland and a Fonterra milk factory in Temuka. 

Upwards of ten people locked themselves to the tracks blocking the train about 7.30am Saturday, while others carried flags and banners, with drums, creating a festive atmosphere, according to a Coal Action Network Aotearoa, Environmental Justice Ōtepoti and Extinction Rebellion statement.

The group says it is concerned about the environmental and climate impact of coal.

Fiona Clements (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha), an Environmental Justice Ōtepoti member, said in the statement that today's action is "very personal" as she has whakapapa to the Takitimu Mountains overlooking the coal mine operated by Bathurst Resources.

“Ko Takitimu te Mauka, Ko Takitimu te Waka, My whakapapa is on the line, being carted off like carbonised bones, no longer of flesh but stone. This happens on a daily basis past my own home transporting the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel. This undermines mana whenua and our place here as kaitiaki of Papatūānuku.

“Takitimu is the waka that brought my tīpuna from Hawaiki, it was turned to stone at Murihiku and now Bathurst desecrates this whenua daily by carving it out and burning coal in Fonterra’s factories.” 

Police are on site but so far no arrests have been made, the group said in a second statement about midday Saturday.