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Media Article

Fury over fishery fiasco

Keri Molloy

17 September 2008

Courtesy of The Bay Chronicle

The campaign for a local fishery in the Bay of Islands has dragged on for more than 10 years, prompting fury and frustration at last week’s Hokianga Accord hui held at Paihia.

Taiamai Ki Te Marangai Roopu Kaitiaki chairman Judah Heihei blames the Ministry of Fisheries for lack of action, moving the goal posts and inefficiency.

Mr Heihei says: "Our 14 hapu have faced racism and a dictatorial attitude from ministry staff in trying to get the mataitai under way."

Ministry officials were present at the hui to field a blast of criticism.

Chief executive Wayne McNee assured the hui he would do his best to ensure ministry staff would implement the correct mataitai process.

The Te Puna – Mangonui – Inlet local fishery was initiated by Ngati Rehia o Te Ti Mangonui and Ngati Torehina in 1998.

Mataitai reserves are designed to protect customary non-commercial fishing by the establishment of customary fishing regulations at traditional fishing grounds.

Commercial fishing is usually banned within mataitai reserves. Tangata tiaki – Maori fisheries guardians – are nominated by tangata whenua and appointed by the minister.

The Hokianga Accord was formed three years ago when Northland Maori realised that their non-commercial interests were threatened by a lack of fish.

Maori and recreational fishing interests united to "restore access for all New Zealanders to the nation’s marine environment".

Under the banner More Fish in the Water, they sought strength in unity and urged the ministry, when making reductions in catch that it be from the commercial take, not customary or recreational catch.

Te Runanga A iwi O Ngapuhi’s Sonny Tau said at last week’s hui: "We have tried working with the ministry for the past three years to establish a forum to discuss non-commercial fishing interests.

"This has been unsuccessful due to the ministry’s reluctance to have customary and amateur fishing representatives in the same room. Despite that, we are determined to continue discussions among ourselves because our non-commercial interests in having plenty of fish in the sea extends to both Maori and Pakeha."

Ngati Rehia has long complained about the quantity and quality of kaimoana in local waters.

According to a report in its management plan: "Where once Ngati Rehia feasted on koura and paua and scallops, now you are more likely to be served kahawai and pipi. Our waters are more likely to be polluted. Now we face new challenges – expanding urban growth, coastal development, climate change."

A public meeting to discuss the proposal will be held on October 6, at Whitiora Marae, Te Tii.

"We look forward to having minitry support when we hold our meetings to discuss the plans," Mr Heihei said.

Mr McNee says there are two separate applications for two different types of reserve at issue. Concerning the latest application for a mataitai reserve, he says there is a legal process to be followed.

"The ministry will continue to work with Mr Heihei to progress the application."

He says staff have attended and addressed Hokianga Accord meetings many times and will
continue to do so.


More on the Hokianga Accord here » »


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