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Te Kawerau a Maki Trust West Coast Marine Park Discussion Document

Te Kawerau A Maki Submission To The Discussion Document For The West Coast Marine Park


Te Kawerau a Maki Trust offer this submission to the discussion document produced by working group for the proposed West Coast Marine Park. Representatives of Te Kawerau a Maki have met ongoingly with Forest & Bird on this issue, and have been invited to participate in the working group. The thorough consultation process by the working group, particularly by representatives of Forest and Bird, is commendable. This document summarises the array of issues Te Kawerau a Maki presently have in response to the proposal.


Mana Whenua and Mana Moana are fundamental concepts in Maori culture, encompassing spiritual, ecological, social and economic dimensions. Mana in this sense relates to the authority of an iwi or hapu to control a specific area of land or water. This authority includes the ability to prevent or restrict access to certain areas or resources therein, including fish and other marine resources. Tino Rangatiratanga and the rights of hapu to own and manage their lands, fisheries and other prized possessions are guaranteed under the Treaty of Waitangi.

Te Kawerau a Maki assert our status as having Mana Whenua and Mana Moana over an extensive area within the proposed Marine Park. This mana is derived through hereditary descent from Kawerau tupuna, and through occupation since time immemorial. The place names left by Kawerau a Maki tupuna along the West Coast are numerous, as are sites of cultural and historical significance, such as wahi tapu, pa sites, and former kainga.

Te Kawerau a Maki claim shared ancestral interests in areas throughout Southern Kaipara (Zone 1), and exclusive rights in the same area, though to a lesser extent. Our iwi also have shared and exclusive interests in Motutara (Muriwai), the northern limit of Zone 2, and its surrounds. Our exclusive interests as mana whenua/mana moana extend south from Motutara to Whatipu, encompassing extensive parts of the northern Manukau Harbour foreshores. We recognise limited interests of other hapu within our rohe, particularly those of Te Taou at Karangahape or Cornwallis.

Please note that the nature of Maori land tenure is complex. The matters described above are part of our Treaty of Waitangi claim, WAI 470, and naturally the claims of other tribal groupings. We recognise that the issue of mana whenua/mana moana is contentious and potentially impacts the proposed Marine Reserve. We are committed to entering into discussions with other iwi as necessary to ensure that a positive outcome is reached.

Te Kawerau a Maki maintain a close association with the coastal portions of our rohe. We still collect kaimoana from the areas our kainga and pa once looked out to. Many pou whenua, carvings of Kawerau a Maki ancestors stand sentinel along the coast, such as at Piha, Karekare, Cornwallis and Whatipu. Therefore we have a vested interest in protecting the coast for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations of our iwi.


Kaitiakitanga may be described as the ethic of environmental stewardship. It recognises the essential spiritual link we have with nature through our descent from Papatuanuku. Kaitiakitanga is therefore a holistic concept and set of practices, linked intimately with Mana Whenua and Mana Moana. For example, traditionally it includes the ability of hapu to effect rahui, or in a modern context is the onus on tangata whenua to advocate and practice sustainable development.

The tribal structure of Te Kawerau a Maki is intact, and our iwi continually pursues means by which to extend our capacity as kaitiaki. The recognised iwi authority is Te Kawerau a Maki Trust. Part of the role of Trust officers is to work with local and central government, private individuals and community groups towards improving environmental outcomes.

Nowadays, legislation exists to enhance the role of tangata whenua as kaitiaki, such as the Resource Management Act (1991) or the Kaimoana Customary Fishing Regulations (1998). Te Kawerau a Maki are open to exploring the means of environmental protection described in the draft proposal for the Marine Park insofar as our role as kaitiaki is recognised and enhanced. This includes the application of existing or development of new legislation.


Te Kawerau a Maki support in principle all of the proposed protection measures that comprise the Integrated Management Plan. We would expect further discussion around the specific implementation of the various measures. This would occur through continued liaison with Forest & Bird representatives and involvement in the working group.

Many of the ‘Hot Spots’ identified in the draft proposal are within the tribal domains of Te Kawerau a Maki, including Oaia Island and Muriwai Beach, Maori Bay Coast, Te Waharoa Coast, Anawhata Coast, Lawry Point Coast and Big Muddy Creek. There is potential for various Maori fishery Management Tools to be employed in the protection of these areas, but this requires further investigation.

To address each of the protection measures specifically:

4.1 Marine Park

This overarching concept is supported in principle. It is particularly innovative and appropriate because it considers a wide range of measures. This allows for greater involvement by tangata whenua and the community, and perhaps more flexibility when it comes to potentially restrictive regulations and by-laws. Greater involvement of course increases the sense of ownership the community has, hopefully making the Marine Park more effective. It is important to involve tangata whenua in the development of any proposed legislation.

4.2 Marine Mammal Sanctuary

Te Kawerau a Maki acknowledge that the Maui’s dolphin is at risk and requires active protection. It is important that this taonga is not lost from our oceans, therefore the proposed Mammal Sanctuary is supported in principle. We recognise though, that a Marine Mammal Sanctuary will prohibit commercial fishing within the specified area. Whilst this appears to be the main threat to the dolphin population, prohibition of commercial fishing may be difficult to achieve. It is important for tangata whenua to be aware of the impact of the sanctuary on commercial fishing, and also of any research on the Maui’s dolphin, such as its seasonal movements, food sources etc., so that we can make an informed decision about prohibition. Te Kawerau a Maki agree that tangata whenua names for the Maui’s dolphin should be sought and used in future promotion of the Marine Park.

4.3 Marine Reserve Network

Establishment of a number of marine reserves along the West Coast will no doubt compliment the objective of greater protection of marine habitats. Other marine reserves in the Auckland region demonstrate how successful this form of protection is, and create areas for the enjoyment and education of the public. This network could be further enhanced by the implementation of Maori Fishery Management Tools. Further investigation is required as to which measures are more appropriate for specific areas.

4.4 Maori Fishery Management Tools

A number of legislatively empowered measures are available to enhance the customary authority of tangata whenua in relation to their fisheries. These are discussed briefly in the draft proposal. Each of these methods is considered from a Te Kawerau a Maki perspective, particularly in terms of how practical each would be to implement.

Taiapure and Mataitai

These two protection measures are similar in some respects. Taiapure allow for the creation of regulations, and Mataitai for the creation of by-laws that determine how the specific areas are managed. For example, by-laws can relate to species that can be taken from a Mataitai, the quantity and size of takes, and the area which kaimoana is able to be taken from. Both measures relate to specific areas that are of special significance to tangata whenua, and this must be demonstrated to the Minister of Fisheries. Therefore, part of the implementation process of either measure will necessarily involve a historical analysis of coastal areas of significance to Te Kawerau a Maki.

Prior to implementation, both of these measures require an extensive consultation process with all affected parties. This is undertaken by the Ministry of Fisheries. Should such an option be taken, it will be important for tangata whenua to work closely with Forest & Bird to achieve adequate consultation.

Both Taiapure and Mataitai are required to be managed by a committee nominated by tangata whenua. For those areas within the rohe of Te Kawerau a Maki, we would seek to involve local community members in such management committees. Local people are close to the areas, physically and emotionally, and therefore have a vested interest in their protection. Involvement of the community also helps increase awareness of tangata whenua values and practices. It is important though, that tangata whenua retain a governing role within these management committees.

Commercial fishing may be allowed within either Taiapure of Mataitai, though is generally prohibited. This is determined in consultation between tangata whenua and the Ministry of Fisheries. Any regulations within a Taiapure must apply equally to all people. Mataitai reserves allow for customary fishing outside of by-laws, however certain conditions still apply. Rahui are permissible within either method of protection.

To summarise, the main differences between Taiapure and Mataitai are:

  • Purpose: Taiapure allow local Maori to recommend to the Minister of Fisheries regulations for the management of fisheries in estuarine or littoral coastal waters. Mataitai reserves are specific fishing grounds placed under the authority of the tangata whenua for non-commercial use.
  • Establishment: The procedure for Taiapure is quite long and complex and can be costly. The process for Mataitai reserces will be shorter and simpler.
  • Control: Taiapure management committees have power to advise the Minister of Fisheries on regulations to managme local fisheries. Mataitai management committees will develop by-laws to be approved by the minister of Fisheries, who will consider issues of sustainability. These by-laws will directly control the taking of fish for non-commercial purposes.
  • Extent: taiapure management controls may apply to both commercial and non-commercial fishing activities. Mataitai reserve management will apply only to seafood harvested for non-commercial purposes.
  • Where: Taiapure are restricted to estuarine or littoral coastal waters. Mataitai reserves may apply to fish managed under the Fisheries Act (1983) in all New Zealand fisheries waters. This does not apply to freshwater species.

(Mataitai Reserves and Taiapure, New Zealand Fisheries Information Series No.24, MAF, 1993)

Practically speaking, it is likely that Mataitai Reserves will be easier, less time consuming and require less resource to implement than a Taiapure. Mataitai also allow for customary fishing and more flexible local management. At this stage Te Kawerau a Maki tend towards the use of Mataitai as a protection measure. However this requires further research and consultation within the iwi before committing to a course of action.

Tangata Kaitiaki

Tangata Kaitiaki are individuals or groups who can authorise customary fishing within their rohe moana, in accordance with tikanga Maori. Their appointments are notified by the tangata whenua of an area. Tangata whenua is defined as the whanau, hapu or iwi, which holds mana whenua manamoana over a particular area (A guide to the Kaimoana Customary Fishing Regulations 1998, Ministry of Fisheries).

The main responsibilities of Tangata Kaitiaki are:

  • Issue authorisations for customary fishing.
  • Give directions to customary fishers on use of their authorisations.
  • Keep accurate records of authorisations they issue, and the quantities of fish taken under each authorisation.
  • Take part in fisheries management processes run by Ministry of Fisheries, such as setting Total Allowable Catches and developing regulations to manage wider fishing activity.
  • Prepare management plans, for approval by tangata whenua that will guide the issuing of authorisations for the rohe moana.
  • Meet with tangata whenua before 31 March each year and report to them on various issues.
  • Report to the Ministry of Fisheries every quarter providing a summary of information on the authorisations.
  • Show records of authorisations to any Fishery Officer if they are investigating offences against the regulations.

In addition:

  • Tangata Kaitiaki can develop iwi planning documents. Under the fisheries Act 1996, these documents can be used for the development of sustainability measures for those fisheries in the rohe of the tangata whenua.
  • Enforcement of customary regulations remains the responsibility of Fishery Officers or Honorary Fishery Officers. Tangata Kaitiaki can however be nominated by tangata whenua to become a Fishery Officer or Honorary Fishery Officer.

In the case of a Mataitai Reserve, Tangata Kaitiaki are responsible for the management of non-commercial fishing through the making of by-laws. These by-laws can be made to cover:

  • Species that can be taken;
  • Quantity of each species that can be taken;
  • Size limits relating to each species to be taken;
  • The method by which each species can be taken;
  • Area or areas in which the species can be taken, and
  • Any other matters the Tangata Kaitiaki considers necessary for the sustainable management of fishery resources.

These by-laws apply equally to Maori and non-Maori. Any proposed by-laws must be made available for public inspection and submissions. Customary fishing is still permissible within Mataitai Reserves, although this is still managed by the Tangata Kaitiaki.


Rahui is a customary voluntary prohibition on the collection of certain fish or seafood, to allow those species to regenerate. A rahui is a form of tapu, and therefore held in serious regard by tangata whenua. In a metaphysical sense, the purpose of a rahui is to allow the mauri or life force of an area or species to strengthen. Such a voluntary rahui has been in place at Karekare for the collection of shellfish for some years. It has received great support from the local community, and has been quite successful in reducing collection.

Section 186A of the Fisheries Act 1996 allows the Minister of Fisheries to temporarily close an area to fishing, in order to provide for the use and management practices of tangata whenua in the exercise of their non-commercial fishing rights. (Temporary Closures and Method Restrictions, A guide to Section 186A of the Fisheries Act 1996, Ministry of Fisheries)

Temporary closures or method restrictions will give legal support to voluntary rahui which have always been used by tangata whenua to manage their fisheries. Section 186A is designed to respond to local depletion of fishery resources, which may be affecting the ability of tangata whenua to catch fish for customary purposes.

Temporary closures or method restrictions apply equally to everyone. There are no exceptions to this rule. Closures are not permanent though, unlike Mataitai reserves. They can last up to two years, with the possibility of extension for a further two years. Closures or restrictions may apply seasonally, for specified times each year within the two-year period.

Before putting a temporary closure or method restriction in place the Minister must consult with representatives of all those that have an interest in the fishery. This may include environmental, commercial, recreational and local community interests as well as tangata whenua.

4.5 Summary of Action Steps for Implementation of Maori Fishery Management Tools

Any of the above Maori management tools will require the following steps:

  • Formation of Customary Fishing Management Committee:
    • Convened by Tangata Whenua, who will need to define terms of reference for committee, and who will have ultimate decision making authority
    • Other members from coastal communities, interest groups, local authorities etc. should be invited to have representation on the committee.
  • Preparation of Historical Analysis:
    • This is required to demonstrate to the Minister of Fisheries the mana moana status of tangata whenua or their customary relationship with a particular fishery.
  • Research as to the status of fisheries:
    • Identification of most at risk areas or species, and the most appropriate protection measure(s).
  • Appointment of Tangata Kaitiaki by Management Committee
    • Determine areas where tangata kaitiaki are most needed and determine how many will be required.
    • Select individuals for nomination as tangata kaitiaki for areas within Kawerau a Maki rohe, in consultation with the iwi, Forest and Bird, working group, local communities etc.
    • Training of Tangata Kaitiaki in their roles and responsibilities.
  • Establish liaison with Minister of Fisheries:
    • Need to consult ongoingly with the Minister to implement any of the legislatively empowered protection measures.
  • Consultation with public/interested parties:
    • This will be a significant exercise, particularly given the enthusiasm of West Coast communities for their local environment. Consultation will require time and resources, so it must occur in an efficient manner with support from a variety of agencies.
  • Resourcing:
    • Obviously the implementation of the above will require significant people, time and money resource. A long term plan may be necessary to identify the most effective route towards fulfilment of collective goals, as well as to identify the extent of resources required. This resource is likely to be beyond the current capacity of Te Kawerau a Maki, an issue that we will seek wider support on in due course.


A key factor in the success of the proposed Marine Park will be education, whether of local communities, visitors, school groups, tourists, commercial interests etc. Te Kawerau a Maki also see this as an opportunity and environmental education is one of our priorities. We are interested in developing and providing education programmes on topics such as:

  • Local mythology relating to sea and land
  • Local history, place names, landmarks etc.
  • Tangata whenua values and customary knowledge relating to the sea
  • Sustainable use of natural resources, whether for food or other practical purposes
  • Local biodiversity

Our long-term goal is that these programmes and others can be offered to members of our iwi and to the public from an education centre based on the West Coast.

As a natural flow-on from education, there are opportunities such as training, research and monitoring, whether in relation to aquatic or terrestrial habitats, plant or animal species. We see all of these as having the potential to enhance our role as kaitiaki. We look forward to working with Forest and Bird and the wider community to further develop our Environmental Education Portfolio.


Preservation of our environment and its biodiversity is an increasingly critical issue for New Zealanders, not in the least because of its importance as a part of our identity. The West Coast Marine Park Working Group and Forest and Bird are to be commended for their ongoing efforts to protect our heritage, in this case the West Coast, a taonga to Te Kawerau a Maki and Aucklander’s alike. We look forward to developing this proposal further in due course, and to strengthening the relationship we have with Forest and Bird and the wider community.

Any queries relating to this submission can be directed to the report writer:

Wayne Knox Private Bag 93109 Email:wayne&364;te-kawerau-a-maki.iwi.nz
Environmental Officer Henderson Office: (09) 835-0292
Te Kawerau a Maki Trust WAITAKERE CITY Mobile: 027-226-9020


Tino Rangatiratanga – Literally ‘highest chieftainship’; The right of self-determination
Tupuna - ancestor
Wahi Tapu – Sacred site, such as a burial ground or ancient battle field
Iwi – Tribe
Hapu – Sub-tribe
Kainga – Village; Settlement
Kaimoana – Seafood
Tapu – Sacred
Taonga – Prized or valued possession

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