New Zealand Greens Te Mātāwaka, Dr Elizabeth Kerekere and Teanau Tuiono met with the Rongomaiwahine descendants to discuss the lack of consultation that RocketLab has engaged in during the operation of their launch facility in the Mahia Peninsula.1

Teanau Tuiono, the New Zealand Green Party’s first MP with Cook Islands and Māori heritage, summarizes the issue by saying ”…RocketLab and the Government have missed the mark with honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi”. The Te Tiriti o Waitangi, or The Treaty of Waitangi, is a series of documents signed between the Māori People of New Zealand and the British Crown that forms the foundations for the Māori people’s legal obligation to be consulted with during Rocketlabs’ operations on the Whenua (Maori Land).

Tuiono continues,”It is a serious matter we are dealing with when shareholders of Māori land are being missed during consultation processes to do with their whenua…”

The RocketLab launch facility in the Mahia Peninsula has been in operations since late 2016, functioning as the world’s first private orbital launch complex, launching approximately 170 flights per year.2

Rocket lab Facility located in the Mahia Peninsula. 2016. Photo: Economic Impact Analysis of the Development of a Rocket Industry in
New Zealand. 2016

During operations, the Green Party’s Teanau Tuiono points out how the company has given very little information to the Māori people about what the whenau is being used for and that Teanau Tuiono will be working towards holding the government to improve transparency.

The Māori spokesperson of the Green party, Dr Elizabeth Kerekere acknowledges the meeting with the Rongomaiwahine that the Māori peoples have noticed that the recurrent activity of Rocketlab operations has extirpated local birds and kaimoana. This obstruction of the environment is a cause for environmental impact assessments to further protect the whānua (Māori ancestors and family).

The facility has also contributed to a perception of segregation Tuiono explains, because the facility has two separate roads to access the whānua, one for Rocket lab employees and one for the Māori people. The roads are a highly maintained, electric access road and a farm gate gravel road, respectively.

In addition to transparency, Dr. Elizabeth Kerekere concludes that the Green Party supports the Māori peoples call to right this act of separation and ”will work with you (the Rongomaiwahine) to ensure there are no gates to separate and segregate you from your own whenua”.2

Check out the New Zealand Greens website to learn more about the actions being taken to protect the Whenau and click here to learn more about New Zealands thriving Māori culture and traditions.

Joby Moffat

Joby is from small town Manitoba, Canada. Moving to the city of Winnipeg to pursue his interest in preserving the outdoors he grew up in, Joby attained a Bachelors of Environmental Studies with a minor in economics. He holds a strong dedication to the idea that efficient & effective environmental policy and regulation is the key to drive an environmentally sustainable economy and has directed all supplementary education towards putting that principal into practice. As a writer, Joby enjoys covering Green parties relationships with the public and the new and exciting initiatives that are created from these connections.

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