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Iwi Unanimous in Supporting Legal Action Against Crown

Iwi Unanimous in Supporting Legal Action Against Crown

Iwi organisations named in the Māori Fisheries Act have pledged their unanimous support for legal action being taken by Te Ohu Kaimoana (Māori Fisheries Trust) against the Government’s proposed Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.

At the 2016 Hui a Tau (Annual General Meeting) of the Māori Fisheries Trust yesterday, iwi unanimously agreed a resolution supporting the legal action against the Sanctuary and for Te Ohu Kaimoana to continue protecting Māori fishing rights in the region.

“The role and meaning of the Fisheries Settlement between Māori and Crown is not lost on iwi. The Settlement is full and final, not only for iwi members today, but for generations to come. If they allow the government to unilaterally take away their access to fisheries piece by piece, it’s only a matter of time before the value of the Settlement is completely gone,” Te Ohu Kaimoana Chairman Jamie Tuuta said.

“The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary is the thin end of the wedge, and iwi fully understand that.”

Mr Tuuta reiterated that legal action was a last resort but necessary in light of the fact the Government has ignored the impacts the proposed Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary will have on iwi fishing interests, returned to Māori through the 1992 Deed of Settlement (colloquially known as the Sealord Deal). The Sanctuary will extinguish all iwi customary commercial and non-commercial fishing rights in the Exclusive Economic Zone in FMA10, the Kermadec region.

All iwi – not only those located in Northland – have fishing rights in FMA10, specifically including development rights to particular fisheries. These rights – like all quota rights – endure and are not limited in time irrespective of whether iwi have or have not fished in the area.


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