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$440m Maori fisheries local solution to crisis

Press Release from Te Ohu Kaimoana (Maori Fisheries Trust)

HEADLINE: $440m Maori fisheries assets key local solution to global crisis

Te Ohu Kaimoana has now transferred more than $440 million worth of Fisheries Settlement assets to iwi - a resource that could play a key role in helping Maori come through the current global economic crisis, the organisation's Chairman Archie Taiaroa told Maori leaders today.

Speaking at Te Ohu Kaimoana's annual meeting which was opened by Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley in Wellington, Mr Taiaroa, said wise use of the Settlement resources by iwi, particularly in the regions, can help keep Maori employed.

"We must look at ways of assisting our people through these tough times - and by doing so look after our country - through putting our economic resources back into the regions to allow our people to manage their own economic base.

"Maori and iwi are significant players in fisheries, and we should all be looking at how we can utilise Settlement resources to support our people at this difficult time," Mr Taiaroa said.

He told delegates that 48 of the nation's 57 iwi now had Mandated Iwi Organisations (MIOs) to which assets could be allocated and, crucially, 25 iwi now had full or partial coastline agreements.

Under the Maori Fisheries Act, the Fisheries Settlement is allocated to MIOs on the basis of an iwi's size and the agreed length of its coastline.

"Te Ohu Kaimoana is putting a tremendous amount of work into assisting neighbouring iwi reach coastline agreements, and a lot has been achieved in the last year," Mr Taiaroa told delegates, including Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley.

Mr Taiaroa said Taranaki had been a particular success story with the first big group of six adjoining MIOs - Ngati Mutunga, Te Atiawa, Taranaki, Nga Ruahine, Ngati Ruanui and Nga Rauru - having "come to the very wise conclusion that co-operation was in their mutual best interests".

He said after many years, Ngati Kahungunu and Rangitane on the North Island's east coast have come to agreement, and Ngapuhi have settled all their coastline through a number of agreements with other iwi.

"I can't emphasise enough that our future success is all about how we co-operate as iwi," he said.


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