Hui for Recreational Fishing
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
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
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.