in the name of Conservation
This article was originally
published in the New Zealand Fishing News August 2005 edition.
Without due process or any
justification the proposed marine reserve off the north east coast
of Great Barrier Island has been approved by Chris Carter, the Minister
of Conservation. Although slightly smaller than originally proposed,
the massive 49,500 hectare Aotea marine reserve only needs the agreement
of Carter's two Cabinet colleagues to become established.
option4 is appalled Carter
has approved the reserve knowing full well the tactics the Department
of Conservation used to promote their initiative. The Ministers
of Transport, Pete Hodgson and Fisheries, David Benson-Pope have
been asked to give their concurrence (agreement) to the proposed
Feelings are running hot
on the island and tangata whenua have occupied Okiwi Station in
response to the announcement. Lynette Hoey, Motairehe Marae Trustee
and Convener of the protest sent this message via email, "Ahi kaa
tangata whenua together with our communities, have been forced to
assert our mana whenua as Kaitiaki, by taking up occupation at the
Okiwi Station, in opposition to the establishment of the recently
announced Aotea marine reserve. We will remain at the station until
the Minister of Conservation & Local Government, Minister of
Maori Affairs, Minister of Economic Development & Associate
Minister, comes to Aotea (Great Barrier Island) and meets "Kanohi
ki te Kanohi" (face to face) with tangata whenua, and address
the concerns impacting on the protection, management, growth and
future of our communities concerned."
We encourage you to offer
support to these people. Their direct action is all they can do
right now to express their outrage. Here we have a contemporary
grievance unfolding right before our eyes. Community, boaties and
tangata whenua standing shoulder to shoulder sharing very similar
sense of loss, frustration and anger. Any contributions will be
very gladly accepted – please post to Motairehe Marae, RD1,
Port Fitzroy, Great Barrier Island. Or call Lynette Hoey on 09 4290790.
The exclusion of 508 hectares
around Whangapoua Beach does nothing to address the overall concerns
that a no-take reserve of this magnitude is not required for this
area. It is merely a stunt designed to promote the government's
arbitrary goal of achieving a 10% target of marine protected areas
by 2010. Kevin Burke of Okiwi explains, "From a local viewpoint,
the exempt zone is a bit like giving beads to the natives, pretty
but useless. It is also an insult. It would take a trawler about
2 hours to clean it out, and they are often in the excluded area.
There was one working the area last week. They will give it a hammering.
What else do you do while sheltering on a lee coast? We should rename
it 'The Dead Sea' now."
- Poor process has not been inclusive of tangata whenua and the
- Confiscates some of the best fishing grounds available around
the Hauraki Gulf.
- No justification for such an extensive no-take area.
- Against the interests of locals, tangata whenua, others who
enjoy the area and our future generations.
- Creates a grievance that tangata whenua and the public will
challenge until resolved.
- Does not achieve an integrated approach to marine protection
as the public has clearly asked for in a cooperative and coordinated
- Denies tangata whenua the opportunity to develop the use of
Customary management tools that will be of benefit to all who
use the area.
- Does not address overfishing and will displace existing commercial
fishing effort into a smaller area which is likely to create localised
depletion – not what the locals fishing for food want to
be confronted with.
- The purpose of a marine reserve is for scientific purposes as
per the Marine Reserves Act 1971. DoC has not demonstrated why
a no-take reserve is required to achieve this purpose.
- The reserve interferes unduly with and will adversely affect
existing use of the area for recreational purposes and is in contravention
of section 5 (6) d of the Marine Reserves Act 1971.
- The reserve is contrary to the public interest in the area and
therefore contravenes section 5 (6) e of the Marine Reserves Act
What can you do?
Pete Hodgson and David Benson-Pope
are now the keys to final affirmation of this confiscation. If you
would like to write to them they can be contacted by addressing
the letter to them, c/o Parliament Buildings, Wellington. No stamp
required. If you write a letter they are obliged to respond in writing.
You can also email them. Address for Pete Hodgson is firstname.lastname@example.org
David Benson-Pope's email
option4 fully support the
NZ Recreational Fishing Council in setting up a fighting fund to
challenge the decision in conjunction with NZ Fishing News. Donations
to the fund can be sent to Aotea Fighting Fund, c/o NZ Fishing News,
PO Box 12-965, Penrose, Auckland. Cheques should be made out to
the NZ Recreational Fishing Council.
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