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What is a Taiapure

November 2000


Taiapure, translated literally as "a coastal patch" is one of the means by which the government has acknowledged that Maori, as tangata whenua, are entitled to have rangatiratanga over their fisheries (amongst other natural resources), as guaranteed by Article II of the Treaty of Waitangi.

To be established, an area with clearly defined boundaries must be proposed and the reasons for importance, relationship of the local people to the area, current utilisation by commercial and noncommercial fishing, the food species that are of particular importance and proposals for improved sustainable utilisation, must all be clearly described.

If the Minister of Fisheries, in consultation with the Minister of Maori Affairs, considers the proposal to be a runner, it is notified as a proposal in the Gazette and in local newspapers applicable to the area notified. Any person may make a submission, objecting to, supporting, or proposing any alterations to the proposal. A public tribunal then hears all submissions on the proposal and reports to the Minister with any recommendations that might be appropriate as a result of hearing the submissions. If the Minister considers that the proposal should go ahead, it is then declared so in the Gazette.

The Minister on the nomination of the local Maori community appoints a committee of management. (N.B. The committee is not required to be Maori but can be anybody who is nominated by the local Maori community).

The committee of management may propose regulations for the sustainable management of the resources in the area to the Minister of Fisheries and if he approves them, they must apply equally to all people and nobody can be refused entry or be required to leave a Taiapure-local fisheries management area by virtue of race, colour or creed.

In practice, this has the potential to allow local coastal communities to have a great deal of control over the management of their local seafood resources of their area and at the same time, to acknowledge an important component of the nation's founding document.

If Maori share it and Pakeha support it, a local committee of management can bring about fishery management strategies that are tightly focused on local issues with potential solutions formulated by local people conversant with local conditions. This can be carried out under the auspices of a Maori-led structure, which therefore acknowledges their management rights under Article II of the Treaty.

Of course, for such management to be of benefit to anybody, and in particular, to the local fishery resources, it must be cognisant of any current species management carried out under the Fisheries Act with regard to sustainable utilisation and it must be aimed at improved kaitiakitanga for those fishery resources.

This aspect of kaitiakitanga, the respectful use of the resource while having due regard for the mauri, the life force of all natural resources, has the potential to add the missing dimension in today's scientific modeling management of fisheries resources.

The respectful use, molded by the observations of generations of coastal people who have been immersed in the careful utilisation of coastal resources is increasingly recognised, around the world, as having an appropriate balance to the clinical computer modeling upon which so much of modern fishery management is based.

If Maori share it and Pakeha support it, a Taiapure-local fisheries committee of management has much to offer local communities in their ability to propose management measures for the care of their local seafood resources.



Taiapure-local fisheries : a coastal patch managed by local people (note hyphenated dual language)
tangata whenua : people of the land
rangatiratanga : chieftainship
kaitiakitanga : guardianship
mauri : the life force behind, within, integral to all natural resources and the resulting
food chains. Since man has been on the earth, the Indians and the Celts called it
the power, to the Chinese its chi. It's what all environmentally sustainable, natural
resource management, must come back to.

Link to Customary Tools page here >> >>

For a more comprehensive glossary of Maori terms go here >> >>

For more recent discussions on the exciting potential of customary Maori management please go here >> >>

Back to the Fisheries Management FAQ page here >> >>


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