Iwi urged to be cautious of Oil companies issued exploration permits

By Heeni Brown

Iwi dealing with oil companies Chevron and Statoil need to be on high alert after the Government approved almost 48,000 km² for oil and gas exploration.

This from lawyer Dayle Takitimu who has long been against oil drilling here in New Zealand.

Never too far from Dayle Takitimu's thoughts are the protests and close encounters her iwi Te Whānau-a-Apanui and Greenpeace have had with Petrobras, the Brazilian oil giant awarded a permit in 2010 to explore the Raukūmara Basin for gas and oil.

Now she has a set of new worries for the generations to come, with the Government granting oil company Chevron an exploration permit here in New Zealand.

Dayle Takitimu says, “They're only here chasing money, despite knowing how precious the environment is and how much the indigenous people are against it.”

Chevron will also work with Statoil, a company currently carrying out their permit in Northland-Reinga despite protests over the weekend and the disaster off the coast of Brazil with an oil spill totalling 2400 barrels three years ago. Therefore Haami Piripi of Te Hiku o te Ika has been keeping a close eye on Statoil.

“Statoil has agreed for us to have a man on board their ship as eyes and ears for our iwi. They've agreed to that, but it's just a start,” 

Dayle Takitimu says, “Look at the Taranaki iwi, even though the Government has said it's bought good things to Taranaki, if you talk to the people themselves, the brown people, they haven't benefited at all from it, they've been left with nothing.”

While some disapprove of the Government's move, a launch will be held in March next year for a Block Offer.