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Media Backgrounder

Hui Media Background Information

15 May 2005



Ngapuhi are New Zealand's biggest iwi. Their tribal boundary extends from south of Whangarei to the north of the Hokianga Harbour. Over 100,000 people belong to Ngapuhi.

The New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council has national affiliates and represents over 33,000 members through fishing clubs.

The New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council is the peak organisation for fishing clubs and individual members.

option4 is an NGO that promotes the interests of non-commercial marine fishers in New Zealand.



Ngapuhi www.ngapuhi.iwi.nz
NZBGFC www.nzbgfc.org.nz
NZRFC www.fishing.net.nz/organisations/rfc/index.cfm
option4 www.option4.co.nz
Kahawai Legal Challenge www.kahawai.co.nz


Media Backgrounder

What has just happened?

Non-commercial fishing interests have met to discuss how to work together to rebuild important inshore shared fisheries that of mutual concern for both Maori and non-Maori.

Why has this happened?

People are concerned about the mismanagement of the inshore fisheries by the Ministry of Fisheries and successive Ministers. Most of the important fisheries have fallen below acceptable levels reducing people's ability to gather food from the sea.

Why was this action necessary?

Maori have believed for years that their non-commercial fishing interests would be protected by the customary fisheries regulations. The Ministry of Fisheries has done nothing to dispel this notion. Maori are coming to realise that when they fish to feed their families they are categorised as recreational fishers.

What will be achieved?

More fish in the water is the objective. Maori and non-Maori representatives will work together on issues of mutual concern and share information between groups. It is hoped more iwi will support this initiative and form a strong collective that can deal with the Ministry of Fisheries and Department of Conservation. There is strength in unity.

What needs to be done?

Communication is the key. A network needs to be established so we can share information in an open and transparent manner. Before we achieve this we need to fully understand each other's concerns. There is a lot more talking required before we will appreciate each other's strengths and weaknesses. Progress will be made as we link our people together and work to achieve a common goal of more fish in the water.

How is customary fishing controlled?

The regulations relating to customary fishing is in section 186 of the Fisheries Act 1996.

How is recreational fishing controlled?

Recreational fishing in managed according to the Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986.

What is the preference debate?

The Quota Management System was "sold" to non-commercial fishers as a mechanism to control commercial catch in 1986. Commercial fishers were causing the fishery to decline; they were threatening inshore stocks that were nearly all depleted. The public gave their agreement to the QMS on the basis of the promise made by Government.

What is Moyle's Promise

Government's position is clear, where a species of fish is not sufficiently abundant to support both commercial and non-commercial fishing, preference will be given to non-commercial fishing. This position reflects Government's resolve to ensure all New Zealanders can enjoy and benefit from our fisheries.

What Next?

Both Maori and non-Maori fishing representatives have a lot of work to do to convince their "constituents" that this partnership is worth pursuing and has potential. It is now recognised we have so much in common. Ngapuhi leadership are holding talks with their people. The recreational fishing organisations also have a mission to go out to the public and explain the benefits of working with Ngapuhi to achieve the common goal.

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