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Iwi Drive Working Group On Aquaculture

Iwi Drive Working Group On Aquaculture

Maori must not be prevented from participating in aquaculture reforms, an Iwi-led Working Group on Aquaculture said today.

The Maori Working Group on Aquaculture was established out of a larger group consisting of claimants that sought a recommendation from the Waitangi Tribunal as well as other Iwi and Maori with interests in aquaculture and the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission.

The Aquaculture Working Group co-ordinator Tutekawa Wyllie said that Iwi and the wider Maori community were working together on the Government’s proposed marine farming reforms and the recommendations from the Waitangi Tribunal.

“The aim of the group is to ensure Iwi and other interested parties are well informed on marine farming proposals,” he said. “Ultimately, the working group would like to see Maori develop a number of options to negotiate with the Crown to ensure guaranteed access to water space in the future.”

“Our people have been exploring and are involved in marine farming developments, but the current proposals could have the potential of alienating us from large sections of the coastal marine area and may see less participation the marine farming as a result.”

Mr Wyllie said most marine farms, either wholly owned by Iwi or with joint ventures between Iwi and commercial companies, were in areas that needed regional development and where there was high unemployment, such as the Far North, the Bay of Plenty and the East Coast of the North Island.

The Waitangi Tribunal found that Maori have a broad relationship with the coastal marine area and have an interest in marine farming. It also found that the Maori interest in marine farming forms part of the bundle of Maori rights in the coastal marine area that are protected by the Treaty of Waitangi.

Over the next few weeks, the Aquaculture Working Group will liaise with Iwi and the wider Maori community as it develops options. “The Waitangi Tribunal found that the Crown had not conducted adequate consultation. We want to ensure that all Iwi are well-informed about the impacts of the proposed reforms so that they can respond in a meaningful way when the Crown does come around.”

Mr Wyllie said the document containing background information and options for Iwi to consider should be completed soon.

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