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20-Year Fisheries Claim Over for Iwi

31 August 2006

20-Year Fisheries Claim Over for Iwi

Te Ohu Kaimoana this week approved the respective entities of Te Atihaunui a Paparangi/Whanganui Nui Tonu and Te Rarawa in Northland to receive their share of the Maori Fisheries Settlement.

Receiving fisheries assets from Te Ohu Kaimoana will be the end of a 20-year battle for the Northland iwi, Te Rarawa, says the iwi's Chief Executive Kevin Robinson. Te Runanga o Te Rarawa has been approved as the Mandated Iwi Organisation (MIO) and Te Waka Pupuri Putea Limited as the Asset Holding Company for Te Rarawa. It will receive more than $6.9 million as their population share of the fisheries settlement.

Whanganui iwi will be allocated the population entitlement of their share of the fisheries settlement equating to approximately $5.69 million. Te Ohu Kaimoana has approved Te Whiringa Muka Trust as the MIO and Iwi Aquaculture Organisation, and Whanganui Iwi Fisheries Limited as the Asset Holding Company.

Both iwi will have the remaining share of the inshore, harbour, remaining deepwater and freshwater fishstocks allocated once agreements have been reached with adjacent iwi. These agreements can be concluded when those adjacent iwi have also been recognised as MIOs.

Te Runanga o Te Rarawa Chief Executive Kevin Robinson said today that this was a milestone because it was iwi from Northland who took the first fisheries claim to the Waitangi Tribunal in 1986 and which began the Maori fisheries settlement process with the Crown. "It's been a long up-hill battle for us, but this is certainly an historic moment because the entire fisheries settlement started in Northland. So, it's the completion of a 20-year process, and we look forward to planning the future," he said.

Whanganui River Maori Trust Board Manager Nancy Tuaine said that Whanganui Iwi celebrates the milestone of being mandated. "Energy can now shift to the positive development of the potential that this offers for Whanganui Iwi," she said.

Chief Executive of the Maori Fisheries Trust Peter Douglas said that over half of the asset value held by Te Ohu Kaimoana has been approved for allocation. "We continue bringing iwi through the Act's requirements to receive their assets despite the difficulties," Mr Douglas said. "Unfortunately in some circumstances, individual iwi's dealings with the Crown over land settlements are unnecessarily frustrating our process – but it's not something that we at Te Ohu can remedy."

Mr Douglas said Te Ohu Kaimoana had developed constitution and management templates to assist iwi in meeting the Act's requirements. The process itself is prescriptive and each iwi generally has an idea of the value of their share of the settlement.


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