Saturday, September 30, 2006

Whakatane, New Zealand - Tuhoe tribe members are blockading the Matahi Valley Road to Te Urewera National Park in order to ensure that the Matahi Forest near Waimana is not logged. The 94,300 hectares of timberland was purchased last year by Rayonier, a Florida-based multi-national company. The tribe however claims that they have sole rights to the land and that the $435 million purchase was not legal.

The demonstrators plan to maintain their blockade of the road until Rayonier abandon their plans to destroy the forest. Local police have stated that they have no plans to do any thing about the blockade, which is expected to continue indefinitely. Blockaders have made exceptions for local residents and emergency vehicles.