Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa have lodged an appeal in the high court over the Environment Court’s decision to allow the expansion of the water-bottling plant at Otakiri.

The split decision by the Environment Court was released on the 10th December – during the week of the Whakaari White Island eruption – allowing Creswell NZ Limited to extract 1.1 billion litres of water per annum for water bottling from the Awaiti aquifer.

The consent was granted by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the Whakatāne District Council.

Following an appeals hearing in May, the two-to-one decision by the court dismissed Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust and Sustainable Otakiri appeal against the grant of consents.

Appeals to the High Court from decisions of the Environment Court are restricted to points of law.

CEO of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, Leonie Simpson says “We are extremely concerned about the effects on te mauri o te wai, and the ability of Ngāti Awa to exercise kaitiakitanga due to Creswell’s proposed activities. As kaitiaki and tangata whenua we must be included in decisions about our taonga and on issues that affect us in our rohe”.

“Our communications priority for this High Court appeal is to keep Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Representatives and hapū updated on progress, and we will not be making any further comment at this time.” Ms Simpson says.

“Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa also remains focused on caring for our manuhiri, their families, friends and our staff through the Whakaari tragedy. “