Friends of Waitara River Inc.
Ngaa Hoa Piri O Te Muriwai O Waitara
FOWR has existed since the early 1980s, trying to protect the quality of the water in the river and immediate offshore areas around the small North Taranaki town of Waitara. In 2011, we asked for an independent commissioner to hear three applications to Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) related to discharge of waste to the waterways.
The submission was signed by Robbie Taylor, Andrea Pikikore Moore and Fiona Clark, on behalf the group which, at the time of lodging, had no legal status. By the time the hearing was held, the group was incorporated and took formal ownership of the submission. The Waitara outfall and coastal pollution was the basis for the Wai 6 claim by kaumatua, the late Aila Taylor, in 1982. Robbie is his son and continues his work. Fiona was also closely involved with this Wai 6 claim and is well known for her documentary photography of the kaimoana reefs and kuia of the time. Pikikore is chair of the Manukorihi Hapu Society and active in environmental and social matters affecting tangata whenua.
The hearing was held in 2011 and the commissioners acknowledged the quality of the submissions seeking greater environmental safeguards.
The TRC decided to pursue the three individuals for costs, not the group, and took it to court where they won on the technicality of the few weeks between the signing of the submission and the incorporation of the group. This charge was discretionary. The Council could have absorbed the costs as part of the consent process. However, they were relentless in their pursuit of costs, refusing all attempts to negotiate and instead filing in court to bankrupt the three individuals. They even refused to hear a deputation from local kaumatua on this matter.
The original cost was $12 000 but later charges brought the total closer to $25 000. It was revealed that the Taranaki Regional Council spent around $270 000 to recoup the $25 000 from three environmentalists. The $25,000 was raised by the community, fully supporting and raising the entire amount, such was the feeling of our kaupapa.
Sitting councillor, Mike Davey, is seeking yet a further term on the TRC. He refused to meet with his local constituents and actively supported the hard-line court action, no matter what the cost was to the council.
Many believe this was a deliberate attempt to silence any environmental opposition and to ensure that people cannot afford to challenge future Resource Management Act hearings.
This is not how the RMA is supposed to work.
Over many years, plantings have been made by group members on the river tributaries and also in the lower town sections of the river. The group has also led clean-up days and attended meetings about the river.
The group spent nearly 40 years representing the community on issues relevant to the river, its tributaries and the Waitara coastline. It has challenged the NPDC on their stance allowing the dumping of industrial wastes through the offshore pipe-line, requested information about the number of effluent spills affecting the coastline, challenged local government through the consents process, opposed the dumping of fracking waste and other actions to try and ensure that our river, the land and its coastline are protected for all of our mokopuna.
The group membership consisted of fishermen and other river users, environmental activists, hapu members, artists, kuia and koro – Maori and non-Maori
Due to a lack of succession and membership, on the 4th September 2022 at the AGM, a vote was taken and the group was dissolved.
Individuals will continue to keep an eye out for the river’s wellbeing.
Taranaki Climate Justice Taranaki
Is a community group dedicated to justice, resistance, education and positive action at the front lines of climate change.We are based in Taranaki, on the central west coast of New Zealands north island.
The map of oil and Gas sites in Taranaki.
Web cam and stills image gallery, live art – Taranaki Vista a Rhyton Project.
The Waitara Project Inc.
The Waitara Project Inc.
Previously know as ‘The Corso Shop’ At 8 McLean Street Waitara, We are now – ‘The Waitara Project’.
The ‘Waitara Corso Shop’ was set-up in response to the idea of providing a recycling venue for Waitara. At the time of the rebuild of the Waitara dump we proposed to the NPDC – such a centre. However, the NPDC could not envisage what we meant, so we walked away and set-up the first shop at 4 West Quay [in the old garages]. We had achieved two things at that time; getting the ‘dump-site’ off the banks of the Waitara Rivers edge and setting up our own recycling community centre. We set up ‘Just Books and Pictures’ at 8 McLean Street – Independent of the ‘Main Shop’ and exclusively for Books, music and pictures. We moved the Main Shop to 57 McLean Street [The old Sharrocks Showroom]. Then in 2010 we added a new section onto the back of the 8 McLean Street Shop and combined the Books and the ‘Main Shop’ together. All this time we operated as a group within Corso Incorporated. And now with Corso Incorporated restructuring the National Organisation, all affiliated groups agreed to hold their own legal identity.
Gallerist – Michael Lett