Otaraua hapu save wahi tapu from oil pipeline

The Otaraua hapu in Taranaki began packing up their occupation camp today after finally protecting their wahi tapu, from Greymouth Petroleum's new pipeline.

After occupying the entrance to the well site and disrupting work on the new well for more than two months, the hapu's request to have Tikorangi Pa officially identified as a wahi tapu by the New Plymouth District Council, was approved for an independent review last night.

After previously demanding a written agreement from GMP, the hapu informed Greymouth Petroleum via fax yesterday, stating it was willing to accept a verbal statement by CEO Mark Dunphy that GMP would not drill a pipeline through Tikorangi Pa. The hapu seem confident that the District Council review, due out in a few months, will provide the protection they need for their pa.

Mr Doorbar said while the occupation had brought the hapu together and closer to achieving a common goal, the fight was "not over".

"It is important oil companies who work in our communities understand the impact they have, not just on tangata whenua but on the wider farming community … for ourselves we feel we have achieved the outcomes of why we undertook this occupation. Greymouth Petroleum did not drill through Tikorangi Pa. It remains to be seen whether or not we have to return to any form of peaceful occupation in the future."

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