Ngāti Awa wins right to appeal water bottling decision
Te Runanga o Ngāti Awa (Ngāti Awa) has won the right to appeal a High Court judgment dismissing its appeal from the Environment Court.
Ngāti Awa went to the Court of Appeal to seek the right to challenge that ruling.
The Environment Court majority’s decision was to grant Creswell New Zealand Limited (Creswell), the right to extract 1.1 billion cubic metres of water annually from the Otākiri aquifer, for water bottling.
Creswell is a subsidiary of Chinese soft drinks giant Ngonfu Spring, headquartered in Hangzhou, China. Otakiri is a small rural settlement a short distance from Whakatāne and within the Ngāti Awa rohe.
Ngāti Awa first opposed the Creswell proposal in 2018, concerned that the proposal would have irrevocable and negative effects on te mauri o te wai, that Ngāti Awa would not be able to carry out their roles as kaitiaki and that the proposal was inconsistent with the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Leonie Simpson, Manahautū (CEO), Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa says: “This is an encouraging decision because we’ve won the right to be heard. He taonga te wai – water is an inherited treasure. Once it has been removed from our rohe our wai will never return. As kaitiaki and mana whenua we have a responsibility to act when decisions impact the natural resources within our rohe.
“Today is a step forward, but the fight is by no means over, and we shouldn’t have to do this as kaitiaki and tangata whenua of Aotearoa. We are really concerned about the continuing allocation of freshwater rights in our country. Successive governments have failed to address the issue, but the time is now right for it to do so as part of the freshwater policy review and RMA reforms.
“There is also the serious issue of pollution. We’ve just had evidence that the Bay of Plenty coastline is contaminated by millions of small plastic particles, which are then absorbed by kai moana and which people eat. Many of these particles come from plastic drink bottles. And if Creswell get the green light they could be producing up to 1,800 single use bottles per minute. If that’s allowed to proceed, central and local government authorities here would seriously need to look at themselves in the mirror.”
For more information please contact Bianca Ruakere on 021 453 189 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
Ngāti Awa are the descendants of Te Tini o Toi, the original inhabitants of the Eastern Bay of Plenty region, and the people who arrived on the Mataatua waka. Today Ngāti Awa represent 22 hapū and have 19 marae. For more information please visit the website: https://ngatiawa.iwi.nz/
Ngāti Awa first opposed the Creswell proposal in 2018, concerned that the proposal would have irrevocable and negative effects on te mauri o te wai, that Ngāti Awa would not be able to carry out their roles as kaitiaki and that the proposal was inconsistent with the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Water is an inherited treasure. Once it has been removed from our rohe our wai will never return.
Nongfu Spring is China’s largest supplier of packaged water and ranks as one of the top 20 beverage companies in China. They were founded in 1996 and are headquartered in Hangzhou, Zheijang Province, China. Creswell New Zealand Limited are a subsidiary of Nongfu Spring. The company website is: https://www.nongfuspring.com/