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Accord's Response Letter to MFish

Hokianga Accord Letter to MFish

By Sonny Tau

4 April 2006

Hui Report

Appendix Five


Mr GT (Stan) Crothers

Deputy Chief Executive

Ministry Of Fisheries

PO Box 1020



Tena koe Stan


Re: Provision for input and participation of tangata whenua in fisheries management – engagement between the Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) and tangata whenua


Thank you for your letter of 17 March 2006 being MFish’s response to the discussion between the MFish team and Hokianga Accord representatives who attended the hui at 4 Almorah Place, Newmarket on 7 December 2005 (December, 05 hui).


The report of the December 05 hui, dated 18 December 2005 refers, on pages 11 and 12 to the discussion concerning:


who would be involved in the Hokianga Accord;


with whom MFish would enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which complied with the Crown Maori Relationship Instrument (CMRI) policy relating to fisheries management;


MFish’s preference for agreement with a collective of iwi and not with each iwi separately; and


that MFish would look into the electoral college boundaries under the Maori Fisheries Act 2004 as a possible solution when considering clusters of iwi to engage in a formal MOU with MFish. 


Unfortunately it appears that there has been some confusion between ourselves and MFish to date on what we have been trying to achieve in terms of our relationship with each other concerning the Minister providing for Ngapuhi’s input and participation into fisheries management. 


From Ngapuhi’s viewpoint it is our intention to develop with MFish the most efficient process possible by which MFish can assist in providing for Ngapuhi’s input and participation into your decision making processes in order to meet the statutory requirements of the Fisheries Act 1996. 


MFish teams at previous hui have referred to the cabinet guidelines for the development of CMRI’s, including MOU’s, which form the basis for your views of what an input and participation process may look like.  We intend making our own inquiries in relation to those guidelines. To assist Ngapuhi please provide us with the policies and guidelines you have referred to in your previous correspondence. 


In the meantime, we also set out a brief explanation of Ngapuhi’s position to help MFish understand where we are coming from, and why some of the proposals MFish have put forward are unhelpful to us.


It is also important to note that the question for Ngapuhi is whether the process that is developed will provide for the substance of that process, namely, real input and participation into fisheries decision making in our rohe potae. 

What is less important for us is whether this process meets a particular form or has a particular name attached to it.  This may have resulted in your queries concerning the status of the Hokianga Accord.

Status of the Hokianga Accord

As you know, the Hokianga accord is the name given to the relationship that has developed between Maori and non-Maori non-commercial fishing interests in the mid North, all sharing common intentions of improving our coastal fisheries so that iwi and hapu can continue feeding their families and to that end putting “more fish in the water.” 


Iwi of the mid North, namely, Ngapuhi (including the hapu of Te Roroa and Te Uri O Hau), Ngati Wai and Ngati Whatua have called all four hui held to date with a fifth to be held on 6 and 7 April 2006, to which they have invited non-Maori commercial fishing interests to discuss and share views on current fisheries management practices and how best to achieve the above common intention.


As mentioned, Maori non-commercial fishing interests from outside mid North and non-Maori non-commercial fishing interests who attend these hui are manuhiri (guests and visitors) whom we have learned to respect and value the way in which they have shown a willingness to assist us in fulfilling our statutory right to make input and participation into fisheries management.


In a practical sense I see no good reason why MFish could not carry out the Minister’s statutory obligations to provide for the input and participation of tangata whenua in fisheries management at and during the hui. This is because issues discussed at the hui are likely to be the same issues that are discussed at any separate meeting to provide for the input and participation of tangata whenua. 


In essence we see these meetings being able to provide the outcome that both Ngapuhi and MFish are seeking under section 12 of the Fisheries Act even though they may not exactly fit the form that MFish might prefer. 


However, as a compromise, with all parties present at the hui we could conveniently meet separately with the MFish input and participation team following this meeting.  In that regard please note that Ngapuhi reserves the right to invite and have such consultants as Ngapuhi requires to assist the Ngapuhi team at such meeting.  MFish may also wish to have its advisers attend as required by MFish.

Establishing an Iwi Forum with Ngapuhi                                                                     TOP

At the December 05 hui the MFish team expressed MFish’s preference to a CMRI/MOU with a collective of iwi. You have repeated this in your letter by stating that the establishment of a regional forum with Ngapuhi only presents MFish with some difficulties not made immediately apparent from your letter.


The obligations on the Minister in section 12(1)(b) of the Fisheries Act 1996 require the Minister to provide for the input and participation of tangata whenua having -

i.    a non-commercial interest in the stock concerned; or

ii.   an interest in the effects of fishing on the aquatic environment in the area concerned - 

-    and have particular regard to kaitiakatanga.


The term tangata whenua is defined in section 2 of the Fisheries Act in relation to a particular area, means the hapu, or iwi, that is Maori and holds mana whenua over that area.


We note that MFish’s obligation is simply to provide for input and participation of the iwi and hapu of Ngapuhi into fisheries management decisions. This obligation is not dependent or limited by the funding that might be available for this, nor is a particular process prescribed.


Therefore, as I have said previously and go on record again saying, the Minister’s obligation under section 12 cannot, and must not be held up or delayed whilst MFish decides with whom it will meet to provide for the input and participation of tangata whenua, namely, Ngapuhi on its own, or with other mid north iwi in a collective.


I will talk with you about this kanohi ki te kanohi when I see you at the hui on 6 and 7 April 2006 but emphasise that for my part Ngapuhi is an iwi with whom MFish can enter into a CMRI/MOU now just as soon as the terms of those documents have been agreed. 


In the meantime, as I have stated at previous hui and again go on record to state, successive Ministers of Fisheries have failed to provide for the input and participation of Ngapuhi in fisheries management in Ngapuhi’s rohe (area) since the Fisheries Act was passed in 1996.

Use of Electoral College Boundaries to Establish Regional Forums


We have made our own enquiries on this issue.


As we understand it, the electoral college boundaries in that Act relates solely to electing Maori fisheries commissioners, and I agree that the use of electoral college boundaries under the Maori Fisheries Act 2004 to establish regional forums would be inappropriate for fisheries management.

Terms of Engagement

I disagree with your statement, namely, the difficulty that has been encountered by both parties in some of the previous Hokianga Accord Hui. 


Nevertheless, we appreciate your wish to detail as far as possible the housekeeping issues relating to how the business of the Hokianga Accord hui will be conducted.

Criteria for Funding Meetings


As explained above, the series of Hui called by Ngapuhi, Ngati Wai, Ngati Whatua and hapu under the banner of the Hokianga Accord do comply with MFish’s Regional Forum model, and as such qualify for government approved funding for input and participation. 


As I explained earlier, the attendance by non-Maori non-commercial fishing interests is by invitation from iwi and hapu and does not in any way disqualify us from the government approved funding for such forums.  We look forward to reviewing the policy papers I have requested to complete my enquiries on this point.


In this regard, I remind you that we consider that the provision by MFish of $20,000 per annum towards the cost of the hui is quite insufficient to cover the cost of providing for input and participation by tangata whenua on particular sustainability measures as they arise from time to time.  It would also be useful if you were able to provide us with the background policy behind this funding figure to explain the reasoning for it.

Summary and Conclusion

MFish has an obligation to provide for Ngapuhi’s input and participation into fisheries management. To date this has not occurred, and we now have a means or process in place which could be used to meet this obligation.  From Ngapuhi’s viewpoint we see no reason why we cannot begin to work together now to ensure that these obligations are met.


The hui called to date by Ngapuhi, Ngati Wai and Ngati Whatua to which non-Maori non-commercial fishing interests have been invited, comply in essence with the MFish Regional Forum model, and therefore qualify for and are entitled to the government agreed funding of $20,000 per annum for input and participation by tangata whenua in respect of those hui. Additional funding will be sought to provide for input and participation on particular sustainability measures.


Ngapuhi, as the iwi having an interest in the effects of fishing on the aquatic environment in its area of influence, is entitled to have MFish provide for its input and participation as contemplated in the Fisheries Act in its own right.  This obligation is not conditional on funding arrangements or the ability of other iwi to also participate.


I look forward to seeing you again at the hui at Whitiora Marae, Te Tii on 6 and 7 April 2006. 

Mauri Ora

Raniera T (Sonny) Tau


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