Hokianga Accord Letter to MFish
By Sonny Tau
30 June 2005
Tena Koe e Kara e Carl
E hoa nga mihi nui ki a koe, to horo hoki ki te hakautu taku imeera ki a koe. Ohu pai ahau ki tena horo. Thank you for your prompt reply to my e-mail. I also acknowledge reciept of your letter dated 22 June 2005, which appeared yesterday also.
Thank you for the confirmation that the dates, times and venue suit the ministry. This is indeed an historical occasion, being the first for the Ministry and all non-commercial fishing interest groups to meet in Ngapuhi. The kaumatua and kuia are enthusiastic about this inaugural hui. We can now get underway in finalising preparations for this occasion.
Carl, like the All Blacks v’s the Lions rugby test last Saturday, Tana Umanga said that he had to “constantly straighten play” as his inside backs were crabbing across field forcing him and wings to the sideline, as they ran sideways. I liken this to your recent correspondence.
Like Tana Umanga, I want to straighten play on a few matters raised in your latest e-mail of 27th June, which shows a continued fixation by some in the ministry to continue driving a segregated approach to this issue. We have been clear in our desires from day one which was stated in my initial e-mail to you dated 20 May 05, I quote: “non-commercial fishing interest groups, including Customary interests, are looking forward to meeting with you and your team from the Ministry.”
We excuse you for the content of this latest e-mail as we see it was written by a ministry official, on your behalf, laced with an entrenched divisive approach and I quote, “I can assure you we are looking forward to discussing the issues associated with the management of your customary fisheries.” This is a significant shift in view as that stated in your letter dated 18 May 2005. I quote, “1 look forward to working with Te Runanga A 1wi O Ngapuhi and the recreational sector as together you strive to manage fisheries of interest to each other.”
I want to repeat what I said to you in our discussion when in Wellington for the Seafood Conference, “up until 23 September 1992, the signing of the Sealords deal, when Maori went fishing for the whanau, they were customary fishers. From the signing of the Sealords deal, 99.999% of the time Maori go fishing they are categorised as recreational fishers.” Through your legislation, customary and recreational fishing matters are inextricably connected. We therefore ask that these matters be communicated properly without the appearance of separation of the issues in future correspondence.
I turn now to the matter of costs. As I said in my correspondence previously, this is an historical occasion. Never in my eight years as a trustee or chairman of Te Runanga A iwi o Ngapuhi, have the ministry ever had a meeting to consult, communicate or touch base with Ngapuhi to explain customary or any other legislation concerning co-management of our inshore fishery.
We are aware that your present role is relatively new, however you would think that as the iwi authority, and the largest iwi in this country, meetings would have been had with Ngapuhi before today. I am aware that Allen Wihongi did have one meeting with us as he explained the desired structure the ministry was pursuing at that time. Other than that nothing.
The matter of costs you raise in your latest e-mail warrants further inspection, as we have been very clear from the start where costs were concerned. We raised this immediately in our letter to you dated 1 June 05 when speaking about a process of communication with the Runanga, and I quote, “She will be able to update you on any matters pertaining to hui venue and costs which no doubt Mfish will carry.”
MFish in its latest publication of “the bite” has your CEO John Glaister on the front page trumpeting the thrust of your new statement of intent, where in part, he states, “I am confident that we now have the right strategy to take the Ministry forward. Looking out over the next four years, the statement defines our core business role as well as how we will work with others who have an interest in fisheries management. Its overarching theme is one of engagement and collaboration.”
If engagement is in fact an overarching theme of the Ministry going forward, I would expect the Ministry to find the resources to ensure that this unique occasion sets the scene for meaningful engagement. You will be hard pressed to find a better opportunity to engage with non-commercial fishing interests anywhere in this land.
Be aware, it is here in the North where so many of the people live and/or holiday. This narrow strip of whenua gives so many people access to so much of the rohe moana. It is only forty minutes between coasts. It is therefore imperative we engage appropriately on non-commercial fishing interests as early as possible with a huge dollop of “te tika te pono me te tuwhera”.
Please, do not let resourcing this hui stand in the way of effective engagement, especially given the significant funding voted by Government to achieve exactly what this hui sets out to achieve. Do not forget that non-commercial fishing interest representatives are entirely unfunded by Government. We have been kept poor for many years. It is those that give of their time and effort so freely who are doing the hard yards of initiating and organising this hui for you to deliver on your responsibilities – unpaid!
Carl, I suggest the Ministry also explore the meaning of the word “collaboration”. Both of my dictionaries offer two, almost opposite definitions.
1. To work together, especially in a joint intellectual effort.
2. To cooperate treasonably, as with an enemy occupation force in one’s
Obviously it is the former rather than the later that is intended in the SOI korero.
Where all parties are similarly resourced this makes good sense. However where one party is hugely resourced and the other is starved of resources and capacity, the definitions and meanings of the word become a little blurred. Food for thought.
Further, I would ask that you provide us with written answers to our questions no later than Tuesday 19th July, in order that we have plenty of time to read, understand, analyse and prepare for our hui. We requested these in our initial correspondence.
Finally, we are buoyed by your promise to provide a koha for your team, which in Maoridom goes without saying, however, it is lethal to get koha, confused with fees. We need to sit and meet kanohi ki te kanohi kia tatu tika teneki take, kia kore rawa e tikoki to tatou waka. Please ring me.
Ma Io Te Matua, ana manaakitanga e uhia ki runga i a tatou katoa, taenoa atu ki te mutunga.
Raniera T (Sonny) Tau
Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi