Whakamaharatanga Marae Hui
A hui to discuss non-commercial fishing interests and Maori
10 - 11 November 2005
Fish in the Water
There was some discussion
on how much progress had been made in regards to the common goal
of "More fish in the water" "Kia
maha atu nga ika i roto te wai".
It was accepted that for
both Maori and non-Maori representatives the awareness of each other's
challenges is growing. The relationship is developing, as is the
realisation amongst Maori that most of their fishing for the whanau
is now categorised as recreational.
There is a strong feeling
that the Ministry of Fisheries had deliberately kept Maori and non-Maori
representatives separate in the past. The Hokianga Accord is an
opportunity for all parties to work together.
Te Raa Nehua of Hikurangi
attended the hui specifically to discuss whether the Hokianga Accord
is able to umbrella freshwater fisheries issues. "Don't forget
our tuna (eels). When the fish run out in the ocean you will be
coming back to eat our tuna, so it's correct we think about the
The Ministry offered to return
to the next hui with whatever information the Hokianga Accord requires.
A request to Jodi would be sufficient to get the process underway.
Much of the Hokianga Accord's
discussions had been focussed on fisheries management when the real
battle was on two fronts. While the Hokianga Accord might achieve
the goal of "more fish in the water" the public might find
itself in a position where the fish cannot be caught because the
coastline had been locked up in marine reserves. The Department
of Conservation are intent on an ideological path that the only
good thing for the marine environment is to lock up as much of it
as possible so the only opportunity left would be to look at the
The draft Kaupapa Whakahaere
needs to be strengthened in recognising the threats associated with
marine reserves, particularly points 11 and 12.
Current issues regarding
marine reserves are covered under the Marine Reserves Act 1971.
There has been a review of that Act and this is now in the form
of the Marine Reserves Bill. This new bill gives complete control
to DoC, with no concurrence (as per Barrier discussion) required
from the Ministers of Transport or Fisheries.
The department seemed to
be acting on the presumption that the Bill had been passed. It does
seem that the current Bill would not get through parliament given
the mix of MPs after this past general election, but this would
need to be monitored.
The same effort that is going
into Maori and non-Maori working together on fisheries matters needs
to be applied to marine protection issues.
Ministry were asked to provide
a comparative analysis of the different marine protection management
tools i.e. Marine reserves, mataitai, taiapure, and rahui, for the
next hui. MFish agreed to this request.
It was also suggested that
DoC be invited to attend the next hui to answer questions, considering
much of the discussion is focussed on the department's actions in
the marine protection area.
There was some concern whether
the Hokianga Accord was going around in circles and not addressing
the real issues. In response Judah Heihei assured the Forum it was
making progress, albeit slowly, but it was important everyone understood
the basic issues facing both customary and recreational fishers
and shared information with each other. Only then could a collective
stand be taken.
People would be more accepting
of the concept if the word sustainability were used more often.
Sustainability has more positive connotations in looking after for
future generations than protectionism, as in marine reserves.
Environmentalists see marine
reserves as a benchmark with reserves having a place in the marine
protection suite. There is no reason why a new tool or a new plan
could not be invented if the current statutory or customary tools
did not suit. The power is working together with Maori, fishers
and environmentalists to achieve the goal.
Without a doubt this hui
was the most progressive for the Hokianga Accord. The evaluation
session at the conclusion of the Accord's third hui at Whakamaharatanga
Marae proved the value of the collective knowledge that had been
shared at the hui.
A common theme was the need
for public awareness to be increased if the Maori customary management
tools were to be implemented. MFish had very little to offer in
this respect so this essential role will need to be fulfilled by
those promoting mataitai, taiapure and rahui. Critical factors for
the success of these tools are education and the inclusion of other
stakeholders from the beginning of any process.
Sceptics within Maori and
non-Maori were impressed with the korero (talk) and were most surprised
to learn that 99.9% of the time Maori fish to feed their whanau
they are categorised as recreational fishers. The need to impart
the information learnt during the hui was acknowledged as many non-Maoris
considered Maori were out to claim all the fish and many Maori considered
pakeha were out to stop them claiming their fishing rights.
Proportional allocation of
fisheries was mentioned many times as the issue that needed to be
addressed before any other matters could be resolved.
The "race for space" in the
marine environment also needs to be addressed. Maori have the opportunity
to determine their aspirations in the form of iwi/hapu fisheries
management plans. Standard principles included in these plans can
influence outcomes for both fisheries management and marine protection
issues in the rohe.
The input from MFish was
appreciated. The Ministry team's willingness to listen, answer questions
and provide follow up information is a positive ingredient as the
Forum develops its combined knowledge.
Having both Maori and non-Maori
non-commercial fishing interests working together to achieve the
common goal of "more fish in the water" is a credit to
the effort put into the Hokianga Accord initiative by Sonny Tau,
Scott Macindoe, Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi and most importantly
the kaumatua and kuia of Whakamaharatanga marae and their hard working
team of helpers.
Everybody left Whakamaharatanga
Marae anticipating the next hui at Whitiora Marae, Te Tii, Northland
in February 2006, on a date to be confirmed.
tawhiti ke to haerenga mai, kia kore e haere tonu He tino
nui rawa ou mahi, kia kore e mahi nui tonu"
come too far, not to go further, You have done too much, not to