Puhipuhi: Blockade on State Highway One
Members of the Ngati Hau hapu will blockade State Highway One for two hours at Waiotu on Thurs 28 November. The blockade will occur between 10am and Noon.
“We are doing this because the Government is not listening when we say we want the drilling for gold in the Puhipuhi hills stopped. It will lead to mercury poisoning of our waterways,” says Allan Halliday of Ngati Hau.
“We have tried inviting the Prime Minister and his MPs to visit us so we could show them what we mean and to also provide amicable solutions. But they are not interested. The Government is determined to go ahead with gold mining even though we have alternatives which can provide greater economic, social, environmental and cultural benefits not only for our rohe, but also for the greater Northland area. So we are making a stand to show the Government we are serious.”
“For any government to knowingly pollute our waterways is simply not acceptable”.
Te Raa Nehua, also of Ngati Hau, says their people will be standing on land at Waiotu which is owned by Ngati Hau.
“This piece of land is ours under native title, and is not owned by the Crown.”
“It is an historical accident that it has become a part of State Highway One, and we believe we are entitled to stand here.”
Te Raa Nehua says the Ngati Hau people will be joined by other hapu and iwi who will stand alongside members of the Puhipuhi Mining Action Group (PMAG) and the wider Whakapara-Hikurangi community.
The blockade will temporarily inconvenience some motorists who will be directed to detour through a longer route from Hukerunui to the Jordan Valley Road, and vice versa from the south. Emergency vehicles such as ambulance and the fire service will be allowed through during the two hour blockade.
“We are aware this blockade will be a cost to the Government,” says PMAG spokesperson Jenny Kirk. "But the long-term cost to this community and all who depend on the health of the waterways from Puhipuhi to the Kaipara will be even more immense should gold drilling and mining go ahead.”
“The Government is ignoring the future well-being of the dairy farming, the horticulture and the customary fishery, and our community’s basic need for clean water in its quest to put New Zealand’s gold, silver and other minerals in the hands of overseas mining companies.”