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Kaitiakitanga anchors foreshore and seabed bill

7 April 2004 Media Statement

Kaitiakitanga anchors foreshore and seabed bill

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says the government's foreshore and seabed legislation will ensure that Maori traditional rights and interests will be guaranteed, protected and enhanced.

"For Maori this legislation is about kaitiakitanga or guardianship, which is a guiding and fundamental principle that ensures the protection and sustainability of everything in the ocean including the seabed. Guardianship of the ocean – kaitiakitanga a Tangaroa has always been an intrinsic part of being Maori," said Parekura Horomia.

"This legislation upholds the mana of Maori, takes account of the interest of all New Zealanders and has remained true to the initial guiding principles - Access for all, regulation of the coastline by the Crown, protection and acknowledgement of Maori customary interests and certainty for all.

"It offers flexibility to whanau, hapu and Iwi by ensuring a process is in place to recognise their tipuna connection with the foreshore and seabed.

"This legislation provides a process that allows whanau and hapu to identify areas of significance and to have them recognised by the Maori Land Court, and a mechanism for recognising traditional interests and activities.

"I support the framework promoted in this bill, and the protection it affords for whanau hapu and iwi.

"The Government has consulted extensively. We have taken into account the Waitangi Tribunal Report, we have discussed issues with leaders up and down the country, and we have a framework that is robust and fair.

"We will continue to listen and remain open minded as the policy moves through the select committee process.

"As Minister of Maori Affairs, I am entrusted with the responsibility of finding an enduring solution that will ensure that Maori can pass on their mokopuna what their tupuna left to them – no more no less," said Parekura Horomia.

ENDS

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