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Hui Report May 2005

Inaugural Hui for Recreational Fishing

By Jeff Romeril

May 2005

Report for NZBGFC and NZRFC

The recreational fishing Hui hosted by Ngapuhi iwi during the last weekend of April may in the future be noted as a watershed event. Noted for being the catalyst for the growing of relations between Maori and non-Maori as they group together to take a stand on issues that will benefit both in recreational fishing matters. Probably the biggest single issue that the Hui brought out was an appreciation by Maori representatives that while they might not like the term, they do in fact fish, almost all of the time as "recreational fishers". It is recreational fishing that enables them to take from the sea to provide food for their whanau and manuhiri (guests) just as it is for all New Zealanders. All should be pursuing a common goal of ensuring that our recreational interests are being served fully.

The Hui was titled "Kia Timata Nga Whakawhanaungatanga" or "let the building of relationships begin". Held at the Whitiora Marae at Te Tii a short distance from Kerikeri, there was a good presence from NZRFC, NZBGFC and option4 representatives. Also attending and speaking were Floor Anthoni on water quality issues, Stuart Ryan on legal issues and John Holdsworth for management issues. The Ngapuhi hosts were strongly represented by their Board (Runanga) and Chairman Sonny Tau plus a number of elders. There were also representatives of 3 other iwi attending who observed to take their impressions and views back to their own iwi for further consideration.

From the outset the Hui experience catered for the many guests from recreational bodies that were not familiar with the protocols and procedures of a Hui on a Marae. Introductory sessions were held on Ngapuhi history and Maori customs. To explain what it is to be Maori and why they see things differently perhaps than New Zealand non-Maori or better known as Pakeha. It was an appreciation for all, as recreational representatives were thanked for their willingness to partake in the Hui and step outside of boundaries where they normally feel comfortable. The hosts and elders benefiting from the accumulation of knowledge held in our membership on representing recreational fishers to Government and their officials.

Considerable time was allocated to the Kahawai Legal Challenge and outlining why this was so important. This required a full briefing of the history of how our interests have not been well served since the introduction of the QMS and just what it is we want from fisheries management. The phrase "more fish in the water" best described the outcome of this session and what we should be collectively striving for.  

Attached to this report is a press release that outlines the views of those attending. Also attached are speech notes from Sonny Tau on a recent address on Tautoko Radio reporting on the Hui. Both are very supportive of the intentions and direction of the Hui. There is also a summary of all the presentations given. From a NZRFC and NZBGFC point of view, it was something that should have happened a long time ago. For the NZRFC especially, as it has within its provisions an obligation to take aboard Maori interests as applied to recreational fishing. We had a reminder at the last NZRFC AGM that we had failed to facilitate this in a meaningful manner. The Hui was a very good start to further develop this interest. We have so much in common in what we want from the shared fisheries and a united front in presenting this to Government and their officials holds considerably more weight and likelihood of success than separate views and outcomes.  

Current major concerns of Ngapuhi are very similar to our own. The lack of kahawai from their traditional fishing areas (Rohe) mirrors our own concern and supports our intention to judicial review. They agree that management goals of all inshore species are not in the best interest of Ngapuhi as recreational fishers and a more conservative approach should be used to ensure over fishing is avoided and put those fisheries already over fished on the road to recovery.   They are also very concerned with the development of marine reserves, lack of consultation by DOC and unnecessary denying of access to the fishery. Water quality is a huge factor for Ngapuhi because of the effect it has on the food source and also the health of the sea which has deep spiritual meaning for them.  

Each of the participants was invited to speak at the end of the Hui to give their views on the value of the Hui and directions that could be taken. Everyone, without exception, gave a positive review. Some admitted to being initially skeptical of outcomes or ability to understand each other views. But quickly changed that view when it was clearly shown we all share the same problems and together can provide solutions. Some admitted to having a lifetime of preconceived ideas of what it is to be Maori overturned as they took the bold step for them to enter a Marae, listen and ask questions on well presented cultural discussions. All agreed the way forward on recreational fishing matters was working together and that the necessary channels were open to ensure all are informed and agree. Many saw the Hui having benefit beyond fishing issues and could lead to better relationships on cultural issues.  

The Hui achieved all that it set out to do. The participation by numerous recreational representatives was well received and will lead to further developments as we continue the relationship building. Ngapuhi iwi, as the largest iwi in NZ, are fully committed to the direction taken, we now need to build on this and bring other iwi into the loop. The runanga of Ngapuhi are to be congratulated on their initiative to host the hui and the support we enjoy from them on the important recreational fishing issues in front of us.    


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