A unique multi-disciplinary study on how mining in New
Zealand relates to and impacts on Maori is being launched today
by the University of Otago's School of Business.
The 60-page publication Maori and Mining covered
myriad guides about resource extraction issues, from the
controversial fracking method of releasing oil and deposits
to Treaty rights, wider environmental issues and Maori values
in mining, co-author Dr Katharina Ruckstuhl said.
''The book looks at Maori values, drawing from Maori resource
management plans and other source documents.
''The legal context of mining as it affects Maori is
examined, as is mining's economic merits,'' Dr Ruckstuhl
Recent reports in the ODT on oil and gas exploration
and production in Taranaki and Glass Earth Gold exploration
have reflected how iwi consultation is becoming a larger part
of resource consent applications, in not only access
agreements but in considering land use.
Dr Ruckstuhl said the book also looked at the environmental
aspects of mining - including both good and poor practices -
and raised the issue of global climate change.
While mining was not a new debate, Dr Ruckstuhl said the nine
contributing authors were aware that before their book there
was no resource allowing whanau, hapu or iwi to assess ''the
often bewildering and sometimes contradictory'' information
available to make informed decisions.
''Maori in Mining is a comprehensive yet easily
accessible publication which includes a brief survey in the
inter-related and complex issues that make up the mining
debate in Aotearoa,'' she said.
Maori had responded to mining's issues in three ways; as an
economic opportunity, if there are environmental safeguards,
as a discussion on Treaty rights and as an environmental
Two examples are given of northern Maori benefitting by $50
million from their ironsand leases since 1972, and Ngai Tahu
seeking economic benefits from pounamu in the South Island.
However, Te Whanau a Apanui protested against Brazilian oil
giant Petrobras and initiated a High Court challenge in 2012
on Treaty and environmental grounds.
''This history should be borne in mind when considering the
new challenges Maori face in responding to government and
companies' consultation requests to explore and extract
mineral resources in traditional tribal rohe,'' the book
The book notes Maori collectives are being asked to develop
positions on mining using existing processes and approaches.
''Meanwhile, individual whanau are expressing their
viewpoints, sometime in contradiction to their own iwi,'' the
The ''social licence'' of mining activity remains contested
in many areas and Maori organisations, such as the Iwi
Leaders Group, have called for further examination of natural
''If Maori are to benefit from mining, as owners, partners,
licencees, employers or workers, then there needs to be far
more certainty about how such a social licence might be
gained,'' one of the book's conclusions suggests.
The book's five chapters examine the process of mining,
values, minerals law and Maori, the economics of mining for
Maori and the environmental impacts of mining, plus
identifying many of the largest mining operations.
• The book's launch will start at 5.30pm today at the School
of Business, with guests Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei
and Dunedin North Labour MP David Clark.