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Hui Report Aug 2005



Whakamaharatanga Marae Hui

By Trish Rea

30 September 2005


A hui to discuss non-commercial fishing interests and Maori customary forums

29 - 30 August 2005

Executive summary Extension officers Appendix One
Introduction Representation on forum  
Hokianga Accord Terms of reference & MOU  
Representative organisations Fisheries management  
Crowns obligations Management input  
Essentials for progress Fisheries plans  
Role of the forum Conclusion  

Executive Summary

Ongoing concerns about fisheries mismanagement and improving the protection of our marine environment led to a series of meetings between Maori customary and recreational fishing interests during 2004 and 2005. These discussions resulted in three hui being held in Northland between April and August 2005. This is a record of discussions held at the third hui, at Whakamaharatanga Marae, Hokianga from the 29 th – 30 th August 2005. This report was commissioned by the Hokianga Accord and was written by Trish Rea with input from Sonny Tau and Scott Macindoe.

The Hokianga Accord is a unique regional Maori customary Forum as it includes Maori customary, Maori recreational and non-Maori recreational fishing interests. Ngapuhi, Ngati Whatua, Ngati Wai and Te Rarawa representatives have been clear that working together will achieve a better outcome for all interests and more importantly to accomplish the common goal of "more fish in the water"

The Crown has a statutory obligation to tangata whenua in relation to section 12 of the Fisheries Act 1996 and also the Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992. In order to satisfy these obligations the Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) has initiated the regional Maori customary Forums to deliver fisheries management outcomes that meet the aspirations of Maori.

The Hokianga Accord has a decision-making role rather than a purely consultative function. It is obvious from the outset that the $20,000 allocated to the Forum will be insufficient to provide for the input and participation of tangata whenua in the formal MFish processes. Sustainable funding and resources are essential for the Hokianga Accord to succeed.

An Extension Officer will be provided by the Ministry to assist the Forum with technical services. The Hokianga Accord can decide what role the Extension Officer fulfils within the Forum and externally.

Due to the decision-making capacity of the Hokianga Accord it is important that those in the Forum are representative of the people that have appointed them and that they can make decisions.

Terms of Reference between the parties of the Hokianga Accord have been drafted and circulated for input. A Memorandum of Understanding describing the relationship between the Hokianga Accord and the Ministry of Fisheries is also being drafted and circulated for feedback. A Working Group has been nominated to present completed drafts to the next hui.

Fisheries management and the impact current MFish strategies are having on non-commercial fishers were explained by Paul Barnes. Interest was high as Paul explained why fishing during spawning season makes very little difference to the numbers of fish in the water. The value of pooling our resources to achieve better fisheries outcomes was clearly explained and generated positive discussion during the hui.

The Ministry recommend the Hokianga Accord formulate fisheries plans for important species. The Hokianga Accord envisages additional MFish funding will be required for the implementation, maintenance and research of any fisheries plans.

With the active participation of MFish's Terry Lynch and the Customary Relationship Unit   (Te Tari o te Kahui Pou Hononga) staff this hui was another successful occasion. The commitment shown by all participants was heartening. There is a greater understanding of fisheries issues and an appreciation of the mammoth task in front of the Hokianga Accord. Undaunted, the Forum has committed to working collaboratively to address common issues and achieve the goal of   –

  "more fish in the water"

"Kia maha atu nga ika i roto te wai"


After assembling outside the Whakamaharatanga Marae in Waimamaku, Hokianga we were treated to a welcoming powhiri by the Hokianga hapu of the Ngapuhi iwi. Sonny Tau, Ngapuhi Runanga Chairman and facilitator of the hui welcomed all those who had come to discuss the non-commercial fisheries Forum and customary Maori management tools.


The Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) have initiated a process for Maori customary regional forums to be established around the country. The Customary Relationship Unit (CRU), Te Tari o te Kahui Pou Hononga, has been created and will be providing funding of $20,000 per annum to each customary regional forum. Each region has a representative in the Unit; Graeme Morrell is one of two Pou Hononga for Te Tai Tokerau (Northland).

Accompanying Graeme Morrell to the hui were other MFish staff. Carl Ross, Manager of CRU, Operations Manager (CRU) Tom Teniti, Terry Lynch and George Riley.

Discussions are still underway whether there will be two Forums or one in the north. This will be confirmed at a later date. Currently there are three customary Forums established in other parts of the country.  

Parallel to these customary Forums is a series of regional recreational fisheries Forums.   The major difference being the Minister of Fisheries appoints the representatives to the proposed recreational forums and they are not Ministry funded.

At the last hui in July Ngapuhi, Ngati Whatua, Ngati Wai and Te Rarawa representatives were adamant they would not participate in segregated forums and wanted their customary Forum to include recreational non-commercial fishing representatives [1] . We have been advised that the Ministry are struggling to find volunteers to fill the positions available on the Northland recreational Forum. It was suggested to MFish that the Te Tai Tokerau Forums be combined to represent all non-commercial fishers interests and the money to support the Forums also be combined. No formal response has been received regarding these suggestions.

A series of points agreed upon during July's hui included the recommendation that non-commercial recreational fishing and Maori customary representatives should be funded by the Ministry to reconvene within four weeks to discuss:

  •  Terms of Reference for the Forum.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
  • A strategic plan for the Forum.


Hokianga Accord

At the conclusion of this latest hui it was agreed that the next Forum would meet at Whakamaharatanga Marae. This joint Forum of non-commercial recreational and customary Maori fishing interests would be called the Hokianga Accord .

Non-Commercial Representative Organisations

NZ Recreational Fishing Council

The NZRFC has historic connections with tangata whenua. The "Rotorua Accord" led to changes in their constitution to give recognition to Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840. Arising out of the 1990's Accord was the facility to have up to four tangata whenua delegates nominated to the Council of the NZRFC. Current President, Keith Ingram, advised the hui that it was up to tangata whenua to organise and nominate the delegates to the Council. It was not for the NZRFC to stipulate who the tangata whenua delegates should be. This news was accepted by the hui and would be discussed by tangata whenua at a later time.

NZ Big Game Fishing Council

Richard Baker represented the NZBGFC at the hui and once again offered valuable advice and a unique perspective on the topics discussed. The NZBGFC has 60 member clubs with 30,000 affiliated members and a national management structure of eight zones feeding into the management committee. The focus of the Council has broadened in recent years and it actively participates in other management processes concerning fisheries of importance to the public including Maori. John Holdsworth is one of the contractors the Council employs to represent our interests.

The NZBGFC is heavily committed to supporting the Kahawai Legal Challenge both financially and with resources. Council President, Jeff Romeril has completed an affidavit to support the judicial review of the Minister's 2004 kahawai allocation decisions. The NZBGFC fully supports the development of the Hokianga Accord and is very keen to participate.


option4 has been consistently represented at these three hui by Paul Barnes, Scott Macindoe, Trish Rea, Jeff Romeril, John Holdsworth, Richard Baker and Don Glass. As a result of their attendance there is now a greater understanding of fisheries management and the various Ministry of Fisheries processes.

One of option4's functions within the Hokianga Accord could be communication. option4's existing networks allows it to communicate with a large section of the fishing   public who, we believe, would be interested in measures to achieve better marine protection and the goal of "more fish in the water".  

It was important New Zealanders were given the opportunity to learn about the different marine protection tools available, apart from marine reserves, and the tools available to tangata whenua. Once people were educated, understood the issues and recognised the benefits of using Maori management tools to protect our marine environment there would be less chance of a backlash against these initiatives. Some participants in the Hokianga Accord already had initiatives rejected by an "uninformed" public. Judah Heihei's group in the Bay of Islands now realise the opposition to their mataitai initiative was born more of ignorance than anti-Maori sentiment. It is obvious a publicity campaign is needed to educate the public before we progress too far with any initiatives. To illustrate this Sonny Tau reminded the hui that it was only very recently that Maori had come to realise that 99.9% of the time Maori fished to feed the whanau, Maori were categorised as recreational fishers.

The hui agreed that it was the Ministry's responsibility to fund such public awareness campaigns and option4 was willing to do its best to assist in creating a more receptive environment for Maori initiatives to be implemented.

It was important to have measurable outcomes so that the Hokianga Accord could verify people's understanding of the tools available to protect and enhance our marine environment. Only when there was sufficient understanding would it be appropriate to initiate and install any measures that we could offer. The process would need to be inclusive of the public to avoid resistance to new measures.


Reference to the Treaty of Waitangi

It was recommended to option4 and the other recreational representative groups present that the organisations should consider making reference or clearly stating a position on the Treaty - Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840. This needs to be discussed and agreed upon amongst each group.


Crown's Statutory Obligations

The Crown has a statutory obligation to tangata whenua in relation to section 12 (1)(b) of the Fisheries Act 1996, as follows:

Section 12 – Consultation

1) Before doing anything under any of sections 11 (1), 11 (4), 11A (1), 13 (1), 13 (4), 13(7), 14 (1), 14 (3), 14 (6), 14B (1), 15 (1), and 15 (2) or recommending the making of an Order in Council under section 13 (9) or section 14 (8) or section 14A (1) of this Act, the Minister shall-

(b) Provide for the input and participation of tangata whenua having-

  1. A non-commercial interest in the stock concerned; or
  2. An interest in the effects of fishing on the aquatic environment in the area concerned-

and have particular regard to kaitiakitanga.

It was debated several times during the hui whether the proposed regional customary Forums would actually fulfil the statutory obligations of the Crown in respect to section 12 above. MFish considers these Forums, if established correctly, will meet their obligations.

MFish Response (Terry Lynch unless stated otherwise)

" From the Ministry's perspective, our statutory obligation is to provide for the input and participation of tangata whenua, hapu and iwi, into the big decision making processes. The Government has given us some resources to put some policy skills on your side of the table so you can plan for your future and bring them to us instead of us telling you what your future should be."

Terry went on to say that the Ministry's responsibilities were:

  •  Liaison facilitation
  • Resourcing the meetings
  • Capacity building and training for the people on the forums

Pou Hononga would have up to 15 Extension Officers available to work with the customary Forums to assist with their participation into fisheries management processes and other matters that affect Maori customary fishers. Currently there are four Extension Officers, all based in Nelson. The expected number of Extension Officers is comparable to current numbers of MFish staff in policy/fisheries management around the country.

MFish envisage each Forum compiling a plan with annual targets included of what is desired by the Forum, for their area of interest, preferably in a priority list.

The Ministry suggested the Hokianga Accord work together, without their involvement, to decide on what it wants to do and achieve. The Extension Officer can assist the Forum at any stage but it would be beneficial to only call a meeting with MFish after the Forum has made its own decisions.

Effective Input and Participation

Input and participation was also required in the annual fisheries management processes if the Forum was to be successful. There has been no input and participation by tangata whenua with a non-commercial interest in fisheries, at any of the meetings recreational interests have attended in the past few years.

Working Groups, research planning and management processes are devoid of active input from tangata whenua non-commercial interests. This is an area where the recreational fishing groups could offer some assistance, by being present, representing non-commercial interests and reporting back to the Forum.   It is possible, depending on experience, that the Extension Officer could fulfil this role for the Hokianga Accord and possibly other Forums as well. There is likely to be some fisheries that are of common interest to all of the Forums and one representative at these meetings could suffice.

The Hokianga Accord does not take away the ability of each individual, whanau, hapu, iwi or group to have input into fisheries management processes. This is a forum to talk directly with MFish on issues to achieve a common goal.


"In terms of decision-making, the Forum can make its decision about what its own aspirations are for the management of the fishery. Input and participation for tangata whenua is the right to be involved in the decision processes, with the Crown, about how those fisheries are managed."


Settling on a Terms of Reference and a Memorandum of Understanding is an important part of the Forum establishment process. Crucial to this process will be the nomination of who will be participating in the executive of the Hokianga Accord.


[1] Whakamaharatanga Hui Report 27-29 July 2005

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