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Te Ohu Kaimoana Mourns Passing of Hon Koro Wetere

Te Ohu Kaimoana Mourns Passing of
Hon Koro Wetere, 1935-2018

25 June 2018

Te Ohu Kaimoana (Māori Fisheries Trust) today paid tribute to Hon Koro Wetere, a former Māori Fisheries Commissioner who helped devise the formula for distribution of more than $700 million of valuable fisheries assets to iwi.

Hon Koro Wetere, who died on Saturday aged 83, served as a Commissioner on the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission from his appointment in 2000 until 2011. During that time, Mr Wetere was among the Commissioners who oversaw the completion of the method of allocation of the Māori Fisheries Settlement to iwi after more than 10 years of legal and political wrangling.

In the 1980s as the Minister of Māori Affairs under the fourth Labour Government, Mr Wetere was responsible for introducing the Treaty of Waitangi Amendment Bill into Parliament, which when passed allowed for Māori to make claims under the Treaty extending back to 1840. Prior to the Act, only claims from 1975 were legally permitted.

Te Ohu Kaimoana Chief Executive Dion Tuuta said Mr Wetere’s work as a Parliamentarian, a Minister and a Fisheries Commissioner ultimately culminated in hundreds of millions of dollars in fisheries assets distributed to iwi. “For some iwi still, those who have yet to complete their Treaty claim with the Crown, the money they receive from the Māori Fisheries Settlement makes up a significant, and sometimes only, part of their tribe’s income. Mr Wetere’s contribution to Māori as well as iwi economic development was all-encompassing.”

In April 2016, Mr Wetere was included in a media conference line-up of Māori Knights and Dames who opposed the former National Government’s move to establish the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, which will wipe out Māori fishing rights obtained through the Fisheries Settlement if it comes into being. Mr Wetere was unable to travel to Wellington for the media conference for health reasons and instead made his contribution via video link from Hamilton.

Te Ohu Kaimoana sends its condolences to Koro’s wife and whānau.

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