Today I went into fhe forest at Waiomu (Thames Coast) with my grandson and wandered up the river. We didn’t quite get to the kauri but had a great time in the creek. I told him the story of how we fought for that piece of land, blocking the mining helicopters on the top of the range and fighting for years to stop the re- opening of the Monowai and Sylvia underground mines in that forest.
As we walked along the beautiful and peaceful track I told him how we stopped it becoming a highway for trucks up to the mines. It took quite afew years but eventually the proposals to mine in that forest were rejected and we had won. Just being there today, splashing in the creek, admiring the nikau and the young kauri along the way I felt very proud of our work.
I remembered how we had a spy called “ The Fantail” who worked for the mining company but phoned me vital information about their plans to drill at Waiomu, I recalled the leadership of tangata whenua wahine toa, Betty Williams who lived at Waiomu at the time and gave us her strength. I felt like stopping the people on the walking track to let them know how hard we had fought to keep the forest in a peaceful state.
On the way home I sat down on the bench dedicated to Margaret Pye, a wonderful leader from the Thames Coast Protection Society who worked closely with Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki to make sure the mines would never re open up that beautiful valley.
It was a beautiful day today and it reminds me, our work is vital and every place we are standing up for is just as important. There has been enough damage done to the earth.
We need to keep going and we will prevail.