Confederation members set up road blockades and fight for their forest, Aotearoa/New Zealand

Ruatoki road block1 Oct 2006
Confederation members set up two roadblocks on Thursday afternoon near Waimana. The protest is directed against the sale of 94,300 hectares of timberland last year. Rayonier, a Florida-based multi-national company which is the seventh largest private owner of timberland in the United States, bought the forest of Carter Holt Harvey for $435 million.

Two roads into the Matahi Forest and the public Matahi Valley Road are being blocked with metal gates, cars and cones. Up to 50 people are at blockades and a camp has been set up.

Tangata Whenua have taken action against Carter Holt Harvey, the 2001 Roger award winner, for many years in this dispute.

Omuriwaka kaumatua Tom Te Pairi said: "Rayonier have brought stolen property, so that is why we are at the gate there turning them away." The metal gate has been erected on the Matahi Valley Road at a point where it crosses Maori-owned land.

"You take a look at the devastation up there," said Henare Heremia. "We¹re wanting to protect the forest -­ the pine trees should be gone in 30 years and native forest should be regenerated." Looking after the environment was a form of spiritual practice that is needed to save the earth from the dangers it is facing. "And that¹s not achieved by politicians writing laws, but people on the ground making a stand."

Links: Te Mana Motuhake O Tuhoe | Aocafe | Tuhoe (wikipedia)

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