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Deep sea oil drilling in New Zealand’s waters is simply not worth the risk


(Photo: Jereme Aubertin)
My name is Mischa Davis. I am the 2013 New Zealand Women’s National Surfing Champion, a title I won in my home of Piha this past summer. I was very lucky to be born into a surfing family and to grow up on Piha beach. I have spent my whole life in the ocean and now I can’t imagine my life without it. It’s my escape from my busy mind and hectic schedule at law school. We can all relate to that feeling of being in awe of nature when we visit places like Piha. For me, having Piha as my playground has taught me independence, given me purpose, and very importantly taught me to respect nature. I can’t imagine a life not wanting to protect it.
However our precious coastlines are now facing a very serious threat. New Zealand is witnessing the largest oil exploration programme ever undertaken here. Texan oil company Anadarko, the same company that was directly involved in the devastating Gulf of Mexico oil spill, has just announced plans to start deep sea drilling off the West Coast of the North Island this summer. Looking at the spill model data, if an accident were to occur at this drill location, the effects would directly hit my home of Piha. Once the spill begins, there simply is no way to contain it. The damage to our marine environment, coastlines, economy and reputation would be catastrophic.
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It’s Time to Get Free

It is time to get reinspired as a nation.

To feel proud again of those things that have made our country the coolest little country on earth.

And to remember how it was that we got our country that way. It wasn’t by sitting on our arses!

A Call to Action was mooted amongst groups working to defend our country from risky fossil fuel expansion. Then some people loved and respected were asked if they might be part of that call.

They were phoned and emailed and one after another – people said yes and often with great enthusiasm.

We asked doctors, academics, musicians, activists and entrepreneurs.

When we thanked writer/poet Albert Wendt for his participation he said “I feel honoured to be a small part of something I believe in.”

Maria Tyrrell, the daughter of Captain Alan Tyrrell of the frigate Otago which sailed in protest against French nuclear testing at Mururoa in 1973, joined the call. She said of the right to protest that she understood how important it was, and that her father was very proud of his role in the Mururoa mission.

Dr George Laking – Oncologist at Auckland hospital – made a powerful statement about the need to speak up given that “climate change was now the greatest threat to human health this century”.

Like many of us, Sam Neill was outraged at the ban on protest at sea and found his way to a studio in Sydney to record his section of the TV clip and call to action. Lady Blake and Lucy Lawless similarly sent their parts from afar.

Singer Warren Maxwell both joined the statement and when we asked if he would contribute his song Home Land and Sea, to the clip, he said, “this is the kind of thing that song was written for, so yes.”

These are the stories of but a few of those 24 participants in the call. All of whom went out of their way to stand up for the values and integrity of this country.

Here is what they said.