was originally written by Naida Glavish for Mana magazine.
ever thought that Pakeha fishermen would ever stand
up for Maori fishing rights?
Yet this has been the case for those individuals and
organisations that took the Minister and Ministry
of Fisheries to court over the allocation of one of
our taonga, kahawai.
The judicial review of the Fisheries Minister’s
2004 and 2005 allocation decisions for kahawai, commonly
known as the Kahawai Legal Challenge, was concluded
in the High Court at the end of 2006.
good news is that in March this year Justice Rhys Harrison
ruled that sustainability was the bottom line for fisheries
management and that the Minister must take into account
the social, economic and cultural wellbeing of the people
Ngapuhi, in their wisdom, supported the challenge taken
by the New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council and the New
Zealand Recreational Fishing Council. The option4 fisheries
advocacy group has been instrumental in resourcing and supporting
the successful legal action. We can only speculate what
the outcome of this process would have been without the
input and support of Ngapuhi and option4.
It has been a privilege for Ngati Whatua to support Ngapuhi
and we tautoko the very powerful affidavit signed by Te
Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi (TRAION) Chairman, Raniera T (Sonny)
Tau, which said in part,
schools of kahawai are less plentiful this affects not
only the ability to put food on the table, but also our
ability to enhance the mana of our Marae. Individual mana
enhancement is also drastically reduced.
“TRAION has resolved to support this legal challenge
by the Recreational Fishing Council and the Big Game Fishing
Council, which aims to increase the amount of kahawai
in the sea, and to increase the quality of the fishery
for non-commercial fishers to enjoy. This includes the
99.99% of the time Ma¯ori go fishing non-commercially.
“The Minister in his decision has cut, in equal
proportion, the commercial and non-commercial take. This
cuts right across our Tikanga or principles, developed
and upheld since the beginning of our existence as Tangata
Whenua in this land. This also drastically reduces our
ability to exercise our rights guaranteed in article two
of Te Tiriti O Waitangi. The inability of the Ngapuhi
nation to satisfy these Tikanga because of bad advice
given to the Minister leading to his final decision is
unacceptable to TRAION.
“I am clear that our people require that when it
comes to a reduction being required for a fish that is
a staple food, that cut must come initially from the commercial
“Quite simply if there is to be a cut to a fishery,
then our board wants to see food put on the tables of
our people, ahead of it being sent to foreign tables or
wasted as pet food or Australian Cray bait.”
in support of the Kahawai Legal Challenge from TRAION
only came about after extensive process and consultation
with hapu. The process timeline is now online at http://kahawai.co.nz/ngapuhi.htm.
some of you may question why Pakeha would support
Maori fishing we need to consider the reality of our
Ever since the Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims)
Settlement Act 1992 was signed, fishing for sustenance
(without a customary permit) has been classified as
amateur or in legal terms ‘recreational’.
As Maori we own significant
commercial fishing rights, all of the customary rights
and the majority of adult fishers are Maori.
recreational fishing right was the most 'useful' of
all the fishing rights because that is the right that
we exercise when fishing to put food on the table
and to feed the mokopuna.
though our mothers taught us never to play with our
food, it is up to Maori to acknowledge and protect
the ‘recreational’ fishing right so our
tamariki and mokopuna can fish in the future.
is not only about the sustainability of the fish and its
environment but also the intellectual property of being
able to teach the mokopuna how to fish using traditional
Kia ora Ngapuhi!
Ko tou rourou me toku rourou ka ora ai te iwi.
By Naida Glavish JP
Chair Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua
For Mana Magazine