Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki and Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou have developed a new document that outlines their expectations of on-shore and off-shore oil and gas explorers in their region.
The rūnaka published the guidelines to deal with successive Petroleum Block Offer processes in recent years where oil and gas companies have bid for exploration licences within the Canterbury/Great South Basin area that cross the rohe of both rūnaka.
There are three companies with current permits off the Otago coast: local company NZOG, Texan company Anadarko, and global giant Shell, who have all been in contact with both rūnaka.
The guideline sets out the conditions where rūnaka are likely to oppose oil and gas activities, and the conditions where rūnaka may deem activity possible.
Dr Katharina Ruckstuhl, co-ordinator of the combined rūnaka oil and gas working group, says, “We needed to create this document to show explorers that we have a strong position on oil and gas exploration in our region.”
“As manawhenua we have a responsibility to act as the kaitiaki for our region and ensure future generations have access to our whenua and moana,” she says.
Over the past 10 years the two rūnaka have had to respond to government, business and community group enquiries about their stance on oil and gas. The guidelines outline their combined position and was generated over a number of years.
The document outlines how engagement with rūnaka should take place. It identifies Treaty of Waitangi and legislative obligations that oil and gas developers must follow. As well there are sections on international good practice.
“The government and oil and gas companies can now see we have a framework for considering oil and gas activity in the region,” says Dr Ruckstuhl.
The rūnaka is currently considering their climate change policy and expect this to be the next document they develop.