Rena divides Motiti locals

By Ripeka Timutimu

A group from Motiti Island, Te Kāhui Kaumātua o Te Patuwai, is supporting the Rena owners in their application to leave the wreck on Astrolabe Reef.

But the move isn’t supported by all whānau on Motiti Island and it’s believed money could be the dividing factor.  When Council Head of Te Kāhui Kaumātua o Te Patuwai, Nepia Ranapia was asked by Te Kāea today whether they would receive any money if the wreck were to remain on the astrolabe, he answered yes, going on to say “I hear it's about $1 million. That's the price they have to pay.”

However Ngāi Te Hapu, a sub-tribe of Motiti disagree with Ranapia's position. Ranapia says his view is based on tikanga. “Our tikanga says that if you leave your waka on my whenua, then you have to give me whenua as repayment. Secondly, they did wrong. That's the cost of doing wrong,” said Ranapia.

Te Kahu Rolleston will be a voice for the youth of Ngāi Te Rangi at the hearings. He says it's disappointing to see the local iwi and hapu divided over the decision. “If you sell out, then you lose the mana of your land,” added Rolleston.

The hearings will continue next week over plans to allow the wreck to remain off Tauranga’s Otaiti (Astrolabe) Reef.