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Hui Report Nov 2005

Whakamaharatanga Marae Hui
Page 9

(PDF 450Kb)

A hui to discuss non-commercial fishing interests and Maori customary forums
10 - 11 November 2005

More fish in the water
General discussion


More 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.

General Discussion

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 tuna too."

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 fish.

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.

"Kua tawhiti ke to haerenga mai, kia kore e haere tonu  He tino nui rawa ou mahi, kia kore e mahi nui tonu"

"You have come too far, not to go further, You have done too much, not to do more"


Sir James Henare, 1988




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