Oil sponsorships contradict WOMAD spirit

WOMAD – the World of Music, Arts and Dance – is here in New Zealand again, opening in New Plymouth this weekend (13-15 March). The aim of WOMAD is “to excite, to create, to inform and to highlight awareness of the worth and potential of a multicultural society“.

But did you know that two major sponsors of WOMAD NZ are Shell and Todd Energy?

Shell Nigeria Todd Mangahewa E Fiona Clark crop

Shell Todd Oil Services is currently seeking a consent to drill another 22 wells offshore and continue fossil fuel extraction for another 35 years. In a submission to the EPA, Te Korowai o Ngaruahine Trust of Taranaki wrote, “The ocean is a cultural site of significance for iwi, and Māori take seriously their role as kaitiaki of the sea. It is difficult for Māori to protect the māuri of the wai, without their rights being sufficiently respected, acknowledged and responded to as part of the EPA processes… The interests of Māori are given limited attention within the impact analysis. There is no recognition or understanding of te āo Māori. No real attempts have been made to engage with other iwi or try to understand the Māori world view.

Shell and Todd Energy, as with other oil and gas companies, profit from New Zealand by extracting fossil fuels on- and off-shore. In the process, they pollute our ocean, our waterways and our air, and threaten marine species. They ignore cultural values, erode the social fabric that hold communities together, and delay urgent actions needed to transition onto sustainable energy systems.

Internationally, Shell has caused terrible human and environmental atrocities in Nigeria and endless misery among the Ogoni people living in the Niger Delta.

Are we happy to keep taking their money?  Some would say “it’s blood money, dirty money, dirty dancing!

Surely WOMAD can be, and should be, funded by clean, ethical sources.

For WOMAD visitors who might like to experience New Zealand’s own gaslands, why not take a self-drive tour around Taranaki – here’s a brief guide to eight oil/gas industrial sites.

Photos: Niger Delta by Melange (left); Todd Mangahewa-E wellsite, Taranaki, by Fiona Clark (right)


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