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Five New Mātaitai Reserves Announced

Five New Mātaitai Reserves Announced

The Ministry for Primary Industries today announced the approval of five new mātaitai reserves, three in the North Island and two in the South Island. The reserves will come into effect on 13 September 2012.

Mātaitai reserves can be established over traditional fishing grounds of special importance to local Māori.

Establishing a mātaitai reserve does not prevent recreational fishing, access to reserves, beaches or rivers, and does not change existing arrangements for access to private land. Only commercial fishing is prohibited in a mātaitai reserve. A mātaitai reserve only applies to species managed under the Fisheries Act 1996, which excludes whitebait and sports fish.

Three of the approved mātaitai reserves are located at Mahia Peninsula, on the east coast of the North Island: the Horokaka and Toka Tāmure Mātaitai Reserves are on the northern side of the Peninsula, and Te Hoe Mātaitai Reserve is on the southern side. These three Reserves cover the same approximate area as has already been closed to commercial fishing by regulations.

The approved Waihao Mātaitai Reserve is located north-east of the Waimate township, South Canterbury. This Reserve includes the Wainono Lagoon, and that portion of the Waihao River catchment, Waituna Stream and Hook River east of State Highway 1. The areas covered by this Reserve are already closed to commercial eel fishing by regulations.

The approved Okarito Lagoon Mātaitai Reserve is located north of Franz Josef on the west coast of the South Island. This Reserve includes the Okarito Lagoon, Lake Windermere and the coastal area at the Okarito Lagoon entrance.

“In establishing these mātaitai reserves, we have carefully considered the effect they will have on commercial fishers,” says James Stevenson-Wallace, Fisheries Management Director for MPI. “For the Okarito Lagoon Mātaitai Reserve, there will be some effect on local commercial fishers, but we are confident they will be able to continue to take their catch outside the Reserve.”

“These reserves will enable local Māori to exercise their customary rights through access to, and use of, fisheries resources from the Reserve areas.”

The mātaitai reserves do not restrict recreational fishers’ ability to go fishing, subject to the existing fishing rules.

Background – general

The Kaitiaki (Māori fishery guardian) may recommend fishing restrictions to contribute to the sustainable management of fisheries within the mātaitai reserve. However, the decision to accept or decline that recommendation rests with the Minister for Primary Industries and would be informed by public consultation and careful analysis of the input.

Māori rights to utilise and manage traditionally important fishing grounds for customary food gathering purposes were recognised under the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Settlement agreed in 1992.

Under customary fishing regulations Māori may apply to establish a mātaitai reserve over any part of their traditional fishing areas. There are currently 29 mātaitai reserves established, including the five new reserves (20 mātaitai reserves in South Island waters and 9 in North Island waters).

Customary fishing within a mātaitai reserve must be authorised by the Kaitiaki appointed for the reserve, and Kaitiaki must report customary authorisations to the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Any bylaws apply to everyone who fishes within the mātaitai reserve, the only exception being that appointed Kaitiaki can authorise the take of fisheries resources to sustain the functions of a marae.

In addition to recommending bylaws, Kaitiaki appointed for a mātaitai reserve can recommend regulations to reinstate limited commercial fishing within a reserve.
Background – Horokaka, Toka Tāmure and Te Hoe Mātaitai Reserves (Mahia Peninsula)

The Horokaka Mātaitai Reserve covers approximately 4.1 sq km and 3.4 km of coastline.

The Toka Tāmure Mātaitai Reserve covers approximately 2.9 sq km and 4.5 km of coastline.

Te Hoe Mātaitai Reserve covers approximately 14.5 sq km and 12.0 km of coastline.

The applications were lodged by the Mahia Māori Committee, representing Rongomawahine.

Background – Okarito Lagoon Mātaitai Reserve

The Reserve includes the Okarito Lagoon, Lake Windermere and a 2.6 km coastal strip at the Lagoon entrance, which extends 100 m offshore.
The application was lodged by Te Rünanga o Makaawhio.

Background – Waihao Mātaitai Reserve

The Reserve includes the Wainono Lagoon, and that portion of the Waihao River catchment, Waituna Stream and Hook River east of State Highway 1.

The Waihao Mātaitai Reserve is located north-east of the Waimate township, South Canterbury.

The application was lodged by Te Rünanga o Waihao.


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