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The term ‘Mahinga Kai’ was used in the Crown’s Settlement Offer to refer generally to many of the cultural aspects of the redress package. Mahinga kai properly refers to Ngāi Tahu interests in traditional food and other natural resources and the places where those resources are obtained.
Elements of the Settlement Offer which particularly related to Ngāi Tahu Mahinga Kai interests were:
Nohoanga provide all Ngāi Tahu with an opportunity to experience the landscape as their tīpuna did, and to rekindle the traditional practices of gathering food and other natural resources, so long an essential part of Ngāi Tahu culture.
The term ‘nohoanga’ (literally ‘a place to sit’), traditionally referred to the seasonal occupation sites which were an integral part of the mobile lifestyle of the tīpuna, as they moved around Te Waipounamu in pursuit of various food and other natural resources. This traditional concept was given contemporary effect in the Crown’s Settlement Offer through the provision to Ngāi Tahu of 72 temporary campsites adjacent to lakes and rivers, to facilitate customary fishing and the gathering of other natural resources (see map).
The Crown’s Settlement Offer provided that Nohoanga:
These provisions enable Ngāi Tahu to have greater access to customary fisheries of importance to the tribe and greater input into the management of those fisheries.
There were eight separate but inter-connected elements within the Customary Fisheries section of the Crown’s Settlement Offer. Many of these give effect to work which has gone on in this area over many years.
” Through close contact with Ngāi Tahu over species management issues, DoC hopes to improve its relationship with Ngāi Tahu and to improve its understanding of species management.”
(Department of Conservation September 1997)
Through the Crowns Settlement Offer, the special relationship Ngāi Tahu has with 49 bird species, 54 plant species and 6 marine mammal species was recognised and acknowledged. Ngāi Tahu was offered membership to groups involved in threatened species management and will be provided with information about species management programmes. Those responsible for the management of species are required to consult with and have particular regard to Ngāi Tahu views about any management proposal. The protected status of endangered species, such as kakapo and yellow-eyed penguin will not be affected.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu has a role as an adviser to Fish and Game Councils in relation to the management of native game birds. Fish and Game Councils are encouraged by the Minister of Conservation to co-opt onto their regional boards a person nominated by Ngāi Tahu, and to enter into Memoranda of Understanding with Ngāi Tahu, to assist in the development of a stronger future working relationship.
” … these provisions will ensure that Ngāi Tahu will be guaranteed access to future Crown allocations of coastal space.”
The Crown’s Settlement Offer provided that if ‘coastal tendering’ is ever instituted within the Ngāi Tahu Takiwā, authorisations for 10% of the space tendered, of no less than fair average quality, will be made available to Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu at market value.
Coastal tendering is a process under the Resource Management Act which is available to the Minister of Conservation where there is competition for the use of coastal space. It prevents any resource consent being granted unless the applicant has first tendered for, and obtained, an ‘authorisation’ from the Minister.
Because the coastal tendering mechanism has never been used, and might never be used, a ‘fall-back’ provision will ensure that essentially the same 10% guarantee to Ngāi Tahu is carried over into any other mechanism that the Crown might use to allocate coastal space in the future.
Five areas of the coast (Kaikōura, Banks Peninsula, Otago, Foveaux Strait/Rakiura and Fiordland) will also be Statutory Acknowledgement areas as described above. The Ministry for the Environment will be required to have particular regard to issues of concern for Ngāi Tahu when carrying out its monitoring functions under the Resource Management Act in relation to coastal space within the Ngāi Tahu takiwā.
The Coastal Marine area is traditionally a very important mahinga kai area for Ngāi Tahu and these provisions will ensure that Ngāi Tahu will be guaranteed access to future allocations of coastal space. The tribe will also play an active part in future allocation and management decisions relating to the coastal zone.