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Chathams Family Opposes Tribal Sale Of Quota

Press Release from Dennis Solomon

Headline: Chathams Family Opposes Tribal Sale Of Quota

A prominent Chatham Islands whanau is opposing the sale of the Moriori Iwi's deepwater fisheries quota the tribe received through the Maori Commercial Fisheries Settlement with the Crown.

Dennis Solomon, a former Hokotehi Moriori Trust Board member, says the sale of the tribe's deepwater fisheries quota is short-sighted.

Mr Solomon's whanau has asked him to go public to highlight the issue to other Moriori iwi members before an August 7 meeting aimed at approving the sale of the deepwater quota.

He says it is especially disturbing when the two Chatham Islands tribes joined together to argue for a greater piece of the Maori Fisheries Settlement pie on the grounds that the Chatham Islands should be treated as a separate fishery under any allocation model.

"We argued, quite rightly, that the Chatham Islands iwi were hugely dependent on the resources of the sea and that we should be treated as a separate fishery under the Fisheries Commission's allocation proposals," said Mr Solomon.

"Now that we achieved that, the Trust Board wants to sell that down the road for a few dollars more because it can't meet repayments on some bad deals that it's done."

Under the model of allocation developed by the then Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission in 2002 and 2003, the two iwi on the Chatham Islands - Moriori and Ngati Mutunga - convinced other tribes that the circumstances for them were different, Mr Solomon said.

"We argued that there was a significant fishery around the Chatham Islands, that we were geographically isolated from the rest of Aotearoa and that we had an overwhelming cultural, social and economic dependence on fishing. We also had a very small population and small coastline and these were used to calculate iwis' entitlement under the Settlement. If we were treated the same as mainland iwi, we would not have got our fair share of the Maori fisheries pie," he said.

"Now, because the board has made a couple of bad decisions, they're ready to divest themselves of this taonga for a fistful of dollars"

Mr Solomon said he wants other iwi members to oppose the sale of the quota and to ask the board to look at alternative options to meeting funding shortfalls. "If we sell this taonga - a treasure we fought for long and hard to get the Crown to return to Maori, we won't get it back. This is something we will never get back. Once it's sold, it's gone forever."


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