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West Coast mataitai reserves announced

26 August 2011

West Coast mataitai reserves announced

The Ministry of Fisheries today announced the approval of four mataitai reserves in areas along the West Coast of the South Island. The four reserves are located at Mussel Point, Ship Creek (Tauperikaka Point), Bruce Bay and Hunts Beach, totalling approximately 2.9 square kilometres.

Okuru/Mussel Point Mataitai Reserve covers approximately 0.2 of a square kilometre and extends 200 metres from the mean high water mark; Tauperikaka Mataitai Reserve covers 0.6 of a square kilometre and extends 200 metres; Mahitahi/Bruce Bay Mataitai Reserve covers 1.4 square kilometres and extends 520 metres at its widest point; and Manakaiaua/Hunts Beach Mataitai Reserve covers 0.7 of a square kilometre and extends 300 metres at its widest point.

The four reserves come into effect on 22 September 2011.

Scott Gallacher, Deputy Director-General Resource Management and Programmes, said a mataitai reserve is different from a marine reserve established under the Marine Reserves Act 1971.

“Establishing a marine reserve prohibits all fishing. Establishing a mataitai reserve generally prohibits commercial fishing, but it does not affect the rights of recreational fishers,” Mr Gallacher said.

The right to fish in the four reserves is subject to the Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986 and the Fisheries (Challenger Area Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986.

“Establishing a mataitai reserve does not prevent access to the reserve and does not change existing arrangements for access to private land,” Mr Gallacher said. “It provides for customary fishing and management practices, and recognises the relationship that the applicants, Te Runanga o Makaawhio, have with the area.”

Establishing a mataitai reserve allows local Maori to recommend bylaws to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture that restrict or prohibit fishing in the reserve.

The Minister has discretion to accept or decline recommended bylaws. Before any decision is made, there must be public consultation and careful consideration given to the impact of proposed bylaws on anyone who fishes in the reserve. Bylaws apply to everyone fishing in the reserve and cannot exclude non-Maori.

Establishment of the mataitai reserves is separate from the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture’s and the Minister of Conservation’s consideration of marine protected areas recommended by the West Coast Marine Protection Forum.

Detailed maps of the four new mataitai reserves are available on the Ministry of Fisheries website, www.fish.govt.nz.


The recognition of, and provision for non-commercial customary fisheries, is an important component of the 1992 Fisheries Deed of Settlement that secured the settlement of Treaty of Waitangi claims relating to fisheries.

Maori may apply to establish a mataitai reserve over any part of their traditional fishing areas. There are currently 24 mataitai reserves established, including the four new reserves. Eighteen mataitai reserves are in the South Island and six are in the North Island.


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