Iwi tells hearing, Dome landfill threatens health of whenua

Mr Hohneck said the views of his iwi on the landfill needed to be heard.

Commissioners were last week told that if a landfill polluted the Kaipara Harbour, it would jeopardise the very way of life of local Maori who depend on its kaimoana.

Iwi presented their case during a hearing on Waste Management’s resource consent application to build a landfill for Auckland on 1010 hectares, off State Highway 1, in the Dome Valley.

Ngati Manuhiri Settlement Trust chair Mook Hohneck said his people did not need to read hydrology reports to know that extensive underground waterways meant the proposed location was wrong for a landfill.

“Our people have always known about these streams. Look at the names given to the surrounding areas – Waiteitei and Waiwhiu,” he said.

Iwi, including Te Uri of Hau, Ngati Manuhiri and Te Rūnanga o Ngati Whatua, were united in their message that if the proposed landfill leaked leachate into waterways, it would be disastrous for the Kaipara Harbour and surrounding inhabitants.

However, Waste Management’s argument has been that its technical design would prevent such an occurrence from ever happening. This created something of an impasse at the hearings.

Dame Naida Glavish, on behalf of Ngāti Whātua, said that that the mauri (wellbeing or life force) of the environment would be inevitably damaged by unforeseen consequences if it was filled with tonnes of waste.

“Papatuanuku (earth mother) is like a body. What happens to the heart is felt in the bladder, and what happens to our liver is known by the backbone. What happens to the whenua (land) will be felt in the moana (water),” Ms Glavish said.

Kaipara Kaumatua Mikeara Miru went a step further and said putting rubbish into Papatuanuku violated tapu and that it was time that Waste Management and Auckland looked at alternatives to landfills.

The commissioners pressed Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua several times on whether its position was that it was the wrong location for a landfill or that landfills themselves were inherently wrong.

Chair Sheena Tepania asked Mr Miru about what he understood about the risk of leachate leaking into the Kaipara Harbour, based on Waste Management’s proposed technical specifications. Mr Miru said any risk was far too great.

“Where will these experts be when that liner does breach. They have not provided a 100 per cent guarantee.”

The hearing is continuing and can be viewed online at: aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/have-your-say/hearings/find-hearing/Pages/resource-consent-hearing-documents.aspx?HearingId=299

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