People Stories

Below we collate true stories from local people in Taranaki and elsewhere in New Zealand affected by the oil and gas industries:


Emily Bailey lived and worked with the Parihaka community and succeeded in keeping the community safe from oil/gas drilling

Emily in PRI story 6Jun2016 20160319-IMG_7817

“the whole community wrote this letter … to all the companies, to the counsels, the government, the UN, some other industries … and said, ‘look, we don’t like what’s happening. We don’t want you to do it. It’s hurting our land, it’s hurting the atmosphere it’s hurting our people. Please stop.’ …

“And then about a year later we got the new oil and gas permit block maps and suddenly there was a square around us. They’d taken us off the map… They are no longer going to drill around us. It just showing that just by … saying what we think and why — that we’re going to stand in their way if we have to. They backed off.”
Emily Bailey’s interview, 6 June 2016 on Public Radio International


Taranaki photographer Fiona Clark is a longterm resident of North Taranaki.

Fiona Clark Art NZ Winter2016 issue158lge

When asked what it’s like living there, she said “My photos tell the story of living in Tikorangi gas lands.” She called her photo taken on 29 Dec 2014 (top right of collage) of Mangahewa-E wellsite, “Todd Energy’s genie out of the flare pit.”  Fiona Clark, 3 Jan 2015

Collage Fiona Clark 3Jan2015 LR


Taranaki elders fed up with oil rig invasion (Te Karere 26 Dec 2013)


Veteran oilman questions fracking (Kapiti News, 19 Feb 2014)


97 year old William Moore, from Waikanae, started working for the Europa oil company in 1934 and retired in the early 70s as an operations manager and a director. He is against fracking because of the chemicals involved. “No one knows what they contain … The industry has never disclosed it and no government has been prepared to tackle the oil industry…” William Moore


Fracking – Economic Boom or Environment Bust – tells Taranaki landowners Roberts and Morrison’s story (LIVE Magazine, Winter 2012)

“Landowners are being approached with a piece of paper and a big spiel, putting their mark on it and not realizing that for 20 years, they no longer have a say. … I feel completely isolated in this. … Like the district council telling me they’re no longer going to reply to me regarding anything to do with the notification of oil company consents. They all voted on it. They were fed up with me I think.” Sarah Roberts

LIVE magazine also ran a second story titled “Is Taranaki the new Texas” in April 2013, featuring the experience of other affected landowners in Tikorangi and Inglewood. Click here to download the article (2.84 Mb pdf).



Living in Petrochemical Heartland – one of a series of blog by a Taranaki landowner (Tikorangi The Jury Garden, 15 Sept 2012)

“You see, he’d been told that if he didn’t sign, they’d hop over the fence to his neighbour’s property and he didn’t trust his neighbour. He thought he’d have more control if it was on his own place. And pitching neighbour against neighbour was common practice, compounded by confidentiality agreements. …” Abbie Jury

Tikorangi Lost – how a little community has been sacrificed to the petrochemical dollar (2 Feb 2013)

“It appears that our local councils, without consultation, without an overall plan, dealing with applications on a case by case, non notified basis, have already consented or are in the process of consenting up to FIFTY FIVE, maybe even FIFTY NINE wells in our little Tikorangi. That is an area shaped a little like a cross and measuring about 6km at its longest point and 3km at its widest point…”  Abbie Jury

Saving Tikorangi – what could Councils do?  (2 Feb 2013)

“As the intensity of development escalates, the chances of a major incident greatly increase. This could be an on-site incident such as a well blow out or major malfunction, or a traffic accident involving heavy vehicles, often carrying dangerous goods. Many locals would like advice as to emergency actions in the event of such an incident. Put simply, which way should we drive to get out?”  Abbie Jury

 Tikorangi News 7  March 2013, 2 Aug 20138 Sept 2013,  10 Sept 2013,

13 Jan 2014


Parihaka send letters of opposition to petroleum industry

parihaka resist

Two letters have now been sent from a united voice of Parihaka to government, council, petroleum companies, media and the UN stating opposition to drilling in the region around Parihaka. Read the statements here: 2011 and 2013.


Fighting Fracking – Resisting oil’s hard sell – tells East Coast Wilcox family’s story (NZ Farmers Weekly, 10 Sept 2012)

“Our mother left us the responsibility as kaitiaki of this land. We have been here 15 generations and our responsibility is to care for this land, and to pass it on for another 15. And we don’t want our land to be violated in this way. So we ask you respectfully to leave our land in peace.” 

Haana Wilcox wrote to Tag Oil.


Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment from a Taranaki landowner

“I too belong to and care deeply about New Zealand’s clean green image and hope this will be our point of difference in the world.  I want to feel proud to live in a society where environmental protection sits alongside, rather than way below economic development. … The industry is expanding in my neighbourhood.  Seven days a week we have constant trucks passing our home taking oil/condensate from McKee, they are building a gas fired power station there and from our home we are exposed frequently to flares [that lit up the whole sky as in photo] (sometimes very black smoke billows) from 4 gas extraction sites close by, and others from a distance, and they promise us more sites will come. …” Margaret Smith


Otaraua hapu opposition in Taranaki

tikorangi occupation 2009

The 2009 occupation of Tikorangi Pa by Otaraua hapu opposed Greymouth Petroleum’s attempts to drill straight through the historic pa in order to lay their gas pipeline from the drillsite behind the pa. Here is an audio slideshow made by Cameron Burnell for the Taranaki Daily News.


  1. I own a building in Ngaere which is dependent upon well water as the only supply. The building was build in the 1940’s I believe.
    Research carried out before the property was purchased showed that over its entire history the well has been productive and never been dry. This property is rented out, today I was informed that the water disappeared 2 weks ago and has not returned. The neighbours well is also dry. The tenants are now having to truck water in. Altogether
    a sorry state of affairs. I was approached by Tag Oil before the drilling commenced to agree to signing their resource consent. I refused to provide my consent, instead I expressed my concerns about having my water supply disrupted. It appears I was spot on the money!
    The people responsible for advocating this destructive practice should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
    The councils should be restructured with decent individuals who have respect for our beautifull mother Earth.
    Our parliment should also be restructured and those creatins who worship Lucifer and all of his destructive corporations should also feel the wrath of the common people. If and when they ever awaken from their media induced coma.What can society do to chance things?, one solution could be the Ubuntu political party formed in South africa
    and now with representatives in over 200 countries worldwide.

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