David vs Goliath: Tiny hapu battle government for marine protection
A tiny hapū is facing down the Government and fishing industry giants in a bid to protect fish and seabirds on its coastline.
The Motiti Rohe Moana Trust won "groundbreaking" rulings in the Environment and High Courts that give local councils powers to regulate fishing to protect native species. Now the Government is threatening to take the fight all the way to the Supreme Court.
Motiti islanders have battled to protect the marine life on their doorstep since the Rena container ship foundered on the nearby Astrolabe reef in 2011, spilling 350 tonnes of oil and countless fish and up to 20,000 seabirds.
On Saturday, Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash was forced to defend a move that will see the hapu tied up in litigation for years. He said a final decision on the appeal will be made next month.