Ngāi Tahu supports ToKM’s stand on Kermadec

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu supports Te Ohu Kaimoana’s role in advocating for the protection of the 1992 Deed of Settlement (colloquially known as the Sealord Deal).

Māori fisheries trust, Te Ohu Kaimoana says the proposed 620,000 sq km no-take zone northeast of New Zealand breaches Māori right to fish in the region and would ‘extinguish’ customary and commercial fishing rights.

The Sealord Deal is a pan-iwi, pan-Māori agreement with Government and the full and final Settlement recognises Māori fishing interests as on-going. Te Ohu Kaimoana has filed proceedings in the High Court in Wellington to protect those iwi fishing interests in Fisheries Management Area 10, New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone around the Kermadec Islands.

Ngāi Tahu will continue to engage in direct dialogue with the Crown on the proposed Marine Protection Act.

Ngāi Tahu has led the way on seeking an integrated and collaborative approach to protecting and managing the takutai o te moana. The iwi has successfully negotiated a number of marine reserves, including the Fiordland Guardians agreement. The Guardians included commercial and recreational fishers, charter boat and tourism operators, environmentalists, marine scientists, community representatives and tangata whenua (Ngai Tahu). The formation of the Guardians was in response to concerns about the escalating pressures on the Fiordland Marine Area and a desire that the local community be more involved in the management of Fiordland’s marine environment.

Ngāi Tahu was also an integral partner in the formation of the Te Korowai o Te Tai-o-Marokura Marine Management Bill, which was signed into law as an Act of Parliament in August 2014. After seven years of research, discussion and consultation, Te Korowai ō Te Tai o Marokura finalised its community-led marine strategy, designed to protect the Kaikōura coastal area. That strategy was implemented in 2012 to help protect and sustain the Kaikōura coastal area for future generations.

These are examples of positive approaches to marine protection and the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary proposed by the Government is in direct contrast to these examples.

“In the case of Te Korowai, we received over 160 thoughtful and insightful submissions from the community and they helped to shape the strategy,” says Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Tā Mark Solomon.

“It was very much a collaborative process. Many months were spent carefully considering every point, which created good robust discussions within the group and provided good reasons for our final decisions.

“Te Korowai reached consensus on the strategy by using the philosophy of gifts and gains, where each group made compromises to sustain the Kaikōura coastal area. All groups involved made compromises to design a strategy that would create better fisheries and protect taonga, while sustaining both the coastal area and customary practices. That’s what should be happening in relation to the proposed Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary,” he says.

“Litigation should be a last resort and Ngāi Tahu will not join the proceedings at this time. We are certain that with dialogue and good will there will be a pathway forward,” says Tā Mark.