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Rena Recovery Plan helps restore mauri

Wednesday, 5 August 2015 2:00 p.m.

The $2.4m government funded Rena Recovery Plan has now been completed. Through the Plan, iwi representatives worked alongside government agencies and research providers to deliver on a set of environmental and cultural restoration and research projects, over a 3.5 year period.

Rena Recovery Group Co-Chair and Ngāti Ranginui representative Carlton Bidois said that the aim of the Rena Recovery Plan was to restore the mauri of the Bay of Plenty environment to its pre-Rena state.

“There’s been a lot of passion and hard work gone into delivering the plan objectives. I’d like to thank everyone who contributed their energy, effort and expertise to this kaupapa and to the ongoing recovery efforts,” said Mr Bidois.

At the final Rena Recovery Plan Governance Group meeting held last week, iwi and agency representatives heard that no new Rena related oil wash-ups have been reported since March 2014. It was also reported to the Group that local dotterel and penguin numbers are now stable or increasing, and Rena oil-related shellfish contamination is no longer at levels of concern for public or environmental health.

“Great progress has been made but we can’t say we’re back to pre-Rena state just yet. It will take more time for Mother Nature to complete her work. Iwi and hapū still have some concerns about long-term cumulative effects, and consider that the mauri will never be fully restored while the remnants of the wreck and its contents remain on Otaiti,” Mr Bidois said.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chairman Doug Leeder who is also Co-Chair of the Rena Recovery Governance Group said that while the Recovery Plan projects are now complete, a great deal of work will be continuing.

“Ongoing work like pest control and coastal environment monitoring will continue, in collaboration with iwi and as part of business as usual for the organisations involved.  A legacy of knowledge and understanding has been gathered through the Rena Recovery Plan that will be incredibly useful should the Bay of Plenty or another region ever be faced with a similar incident in future,” Chairman Leeder said.

Other Rena related work including wreck salvage and safety management is continuing. In May 2014, the Rena owners applied for resource consent to leave some sections of the wreck on the reef. A panel of independent commissioners will consider the application and associated public submissions at a hearing scheduled for 7 September 2015. Consent related information can be viewed at www.renaresourceconsent.org.nz

Through implementation of the Rena Recovery Plan, a range of assessments and reports were produced to provide information about the impacts of the Rena grounding on the environment, iwi and the wider community. The reports will remain available to the public at www.renarecovery.org.nz

Rena Recovery