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Education Key To Fisheries Settlement Rewards

Education - The Key To Reaping The Rewards Of The Maori Fisheries Settlement

The Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission chief executive Robin Hapi says if Iwi want to maximise the benefits from the Maori fisheries assets they need to focus on up-skilling their people.

The government is due to pass legislation that will allocate some of the Maori fishing assets directly to iwi. “While the political debate over the allocation formula has consumed much of our attention we now need to concentrate on building Maori capacity so Iwi can reap the rewards of such a sizeable settlement,” he said.

For the last eight years, the Commission has provided a $1 million dollar scholarship programme to assist Maori who want to enhance their skills and knowledge so they can participate in the fishing industry.

At this year’s hui-a-tau in Wellington, the Commission announced it is on target to approve 240 scholarships for the year. Recipients are studying marine science, business management, food technology and applying for their statutory marine certificates.

“The scholarship programme has continued to expand and we are seeing the results”, Mr Hapi said. “The first two students to study international business management at the giant food supplier Nissui in Japan have returned to New Zealand. Both of them are now working for Sealord.

“Success has come at all levels. 20 of the 21 scholarship recipients who trained at the Westport Deep Sea Fishing School last year are all employed in fish processing or harvesting. “

The Commission is also developing allocation training to prepare Iwi for when they will be solely responsible for managing assets allocated to them. Mr Hapi said, “It is vital that Iwi structures have the skills on hand to manage these assets.”

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