In the Tribal Policy Statement of Ngaati Te Ata it is stated
- Ngaati Te Ata consider that within their tribal territory they are the legitimate authority. This authority arises from the mana of the iwi and is in accordance with the Declaration of Independence of 1835 signed at Ngararapapa, Awhitu 22 July 1839.
- We require recognition of their our within their tribal territory
- The tikanga of Ngaati Te Ata, that is its inherent right as an iwi, gives it the right to define its own reasons for anything, to have its own methods or logic for determining what is significant, to have the authority and control to determine what is right, correct, and normal for it, and to have its own customs, habits and values, independent of others.
- Ngaati Te Ata are willing to enter into relationships with other agencies such as the Crown, local authorities, other iwi, and community groups on the understanding that their rights as a sovereign nation are respected.
- In addition the UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, recognised by the New Zealand Government in 1989, includes the clause: "the freedom of indigenous peoples to manage their own affairs, to develop based on their own needs and value systems, to preserve their cultural identity and pursue their own cultural development, to collectively and individually own, possess, or manage their lands and resources in accordance with their own preference". This principle means that Ngaati Te Ata and no other person or organisation external to it determines its preferences and how they are expressed, managed or controlled.
- As kaitiaki, that is custodians, guardians or protectors, the approach to ecological management is holistic and provides for the following:
1. Restoration of damaged ecological systems
2. Restoration of ecological harmony
3. Ensuring that resources and their usefulness increase.
4. Reducing the risk to future and present generations.
5. Providing for the needs of present and future generations.
6. Protect sensitive features of the environment.
All who interact with Ngaati Te Ata within their tribal territory must give effect to and positively support such aims.
- Ngaati Te Ata have never relinquished the kaitiaki-ownership of its waterways and the fisheries therein within its tribal territory and only they have the right to manage and control the fisheries. Neither have they relinquished kaitiaki- ownership of natural and physical resources within their tribal territory. Under Section 17 of the Environment Act 1986, having never relinquished authority and responsibility for natural and physical resources, they consider they are the legitimate environmental managers of all natural and physical resources.
Participation in the Establishment of a Marine Park
As regards protection of coastal waters, intertidal areas and shoreline through the establishment of a Marine Park it follows that Ngaati Te Ata consider we have the right to control fisheries, harvesting of the intertidal areas, and protection of the shoreline and coast.
We specifically require:
- That recognition be given to the ownership of the fishery resource within their tribal waters.
- We have the right to determine management preferences in respect of the fishery.
- That we can prohibit all commercial fishing in our tribal waters, inland waterways and associated tributaries within their territory.
- Existing fishing regulations are not adequately enforced so much illegal fishing To enforce their own justice system as it applies to iwi or resources or taonga owned by iwi they should have the right to appoint Maori Rangers or Wardens. These would protect the fisheries both as regards their own justice system and existing fishery regulations.
- We consider that the same fishing regulations should not be applicable to the East and West Coast. They consider that because of the cooler waters scallops are immature and the season should be a month later on the West Coast. No fishing should be permitted for flounder during the spawning season.
- Fishing reserves we were promised in the 19th Century are still not recognised. Such reserves must be recognised and given protection.
- There must be full consultation with Ngaati Te Ata as regards naming of land or sea areas or species within their tribal area e.g. the name for the southern sector of the proposed Marine Park or the reclassification and naming of North Island Hector's dolphin.