A Guide to the Te Arawa Lakes (Fisheries) Regulations 2006
This guide explains how the Te Arawa Lakes (Fisheries) Regulations 2006 work. As part of the Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Act 2006 the Crown has made regulations to empower the Trustees of the Te Arawa Lakes Trust to manage the customary and recreational food gathering of included species in the Te Arawa Lakes.
What do the Te Arawa Lakes (Fisheries) regulations cover?
The Te Arawa Lakes (Fisheries) Regulations (the regulations) cover non-commercial customary fishing within the Te Arawa fisheries area. The regulations do not provide for commercial fishing. Anyone who is given permission to take fish under these regulations cannot trade the fish, exchange the fish for money or accept any other form of payment.
As part of the regulations the Trustees may make bylaws applying to the whole or a specified part of the Te Arawa fisheries area to restrict or prohibit the taking or possession of an included species and/or the quantity of an included species that that may be taken and possessed. The Trustees may also make bylaws for any purpose that they consider necessary for the sustainable utilisation of one or more included species.
Until bylaws have been made people may continue to take included species under the Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986. Once the bylaws have been made, and dependent on the extent of the bylaws the Te Arawa Lakes (Fisheries) Regulations 2006 prevail over the Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986.
Do the regulations refer to the Treaty of Waitangi?
The regulations were developed as part of the Crown’s undertaking in the Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Act 2006. All references to the Treaty of Waitangi are contained within this Act.
Where do the regulations apply?
The regulations apply to the Te Arawa lakes within the Te Arawa fisheries area. The lakes are:
- Ngāpouri (Ōpouri)
- Ōkaro (Ngākaro)
The regulations only apply to the lakes and do not include the streams and rivers flowing into the lakes.
When do the regulations apply?
The regulations came into force on 15 December 2006. The regulations only apply in an area when the Trustees of the Te Arawa Lakes Trust have established komiti whakahaere, appointed poutiriao for the whole or part of the Te Arawa fisheries area and management plans are in place. The Trustees may also make bylaws applying to the whole or a specified part of the Te Arawa fisheries area to restrict or prohibit the taking or possession of an included species and/or the quantity of an included species that that may be taken and possessed.
The Trustees may make bylaws to:
- restrict or prohibit included species to be taken or possessed;
- the quantity of each included species that may be taken or possessed;
- the taking or possession of included species that are smaller or larger than a specified size;
- the method by which an included species may or may be taken;
- the area or areas from which an included species may be taken;
- any other matter that the Trustees of the Te Arawa Lakes Trust consider necessary for the sustainable utilisation of included species.
Until a komiti whakahaere has been established, the only rules allowing the taking of included species for customary purposes are Regulation 27 and 27A of the Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986 (see the MFish pamphlet Interim Rules for Customary Fishing: Regulation 27A of the Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986).
People taking included species for recreational purposes under the Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986 can continue to do so until Trustees of the Te Arawa Lakes Trust make bylaws that may restrict or prohibit this activity. Restrictions or prohibitions imposed on individuals by bylaws generally apply to all people fishing in the Te Arawa fisheries area.
Do the regulations apply to freshwater fisheries?
Yes. The Act makes provisions for the management of certain indigenous species (included species) which is defined under the Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Act as fish and aquatic life as managed and administrated under the fisheries legislation. The Act excludes whitebait, sports fish or unwanted aquatic life but includes whitebait, any specific whitebait species or any other species if at any time they are managed and administered under the Fisheries Act 1996.
Terms used in the regulations
The regulations use Māori terms that the Trustees of the Te Arawa Lakes Trust have provided. These terms are:
Komiti whakahaere means a fisheries management committee established under the regulations
Mahire whakahaere means a management plan made in accordance with the regulations
Poutiriao means a person entitled to issue puka whakamana who is either a member of the komiti whakamana or an additional poutiriao
Puka whakamana mean an authorisation for customary food gathering issued by a poutiriao in accordance with the regulations
Rehita whakamana means the register of authorisations required by the regulations
RESPONSIBILITIES OF KOMITI WHAKAHAERE
What are komiti whakahaere?
Komiti whakahaere are the management committees who are appointed by the Trustees to manage customary food gathering within the Te Arawa fisheries area. The duties of the komiti whakahaere include:
Preparing mahire whakahaere for the management of included species in accordance with the regulations
Supervising the operation of poutiriao in issuing puka whakamana
Establishing and maintaining the rëhita whakamana
Reporting to the Trustees on the:
management of customary food gathering;
total number of puka whakamana issued;
total quantity of each included species taken under the puka whakamana; and
parts of the Te Arawa fisheries area from which each species was taken.
Submitting to the Minister, for the purposes of the Fisheries Act 1996, the information required as set out in the regulations.
Who are Poutiriao?
Poutiriao are individuals who can issue puka whakamana within part or whole of the Te Arawa Lakes fisheries area.
Who decides who will be the poutiriao of a particular area?
The Trustees of the Te Arawa Lakes Trust, after taking in the wider views of the relevant iwi and hapū, nominate persons to be the members of a komiti whakahaere. Their appointments are notified by the Trustees of the Te Arawa Lakes Trust to the Minister of Fisheries. All members of a komiti whakahaere are poutiriao. The Minister will, no later than 40 working days after receiving notice of the nominations, confirm the appointment by public notice in the Gazette and in a newspaper circulating in the locality of the Te Arawa fisheries area.
Is there a limit to the number of poutiriao for an area?
No. The regulations allow for more than one poutiriao to be appointed for a particular area.
What happens if a poutiriao is ill or unavailable?
How can the appointment of a poutiriao be cancelled?
The Trustees of the Te Arawa Lakes Trust must notify the Minister if a poutiriao resigns from or dies in office. The Trustees may also request to the Minister that an appointment be cancelled if a poutiriao acts inconsistently with the regulations or any other reasonable cause. The Minister must, as soon as is reasonably practicable after receiving the notice cancel the appointment and notify the cancellation in the Gazette and in a newspaper circulating in the locality of the Te Arawa fisheries area.
POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF POUTIRIAO
Who has the power to authorise customary fishing?
Only the poutiriao have the power to authorise customary fishing in their area.
What information must be specified on every puka whakamana?
Every puka whakamana must specify the following information:
the name and address and other contact details of the person (and if applicable the associated harvester(s)) authorised to take and possess included species;
the date and time when the puka whakamana is issued and will expire;
the included species to which the puka whakamana applies;
where the catch may be used (e.g. tangi, hui etc); and
any other condition that the poutiriao thinks is necessary.
Is there a standard form for puka whakamana?
Yes. All standard authorisations must be made on the puka whakamana form which will be supplied to all poutiriao by the Ministry of Fisheries free of charge.
Is there scope for alternative forms of puka whakamana?
Yes. A poutiriao may issue a puka whakamana if it is impracticable to do so in writing, orally, as by telephone, for example. However, if the puka whakamana is issued orally, the poutiriao must complete the puka whakamana form and record the information as noted above and note on the puka whakamana that it has been issued orally.
The poutiriao issuing the puka whakamana must give the person applying for it an authorisation number. This authorisation number is unique to each puka whakamana.
Can puka whakamana be issued after customary food gathering has taken place?
No, not under any circumstances.
Do customary fishers have to carry their puka whakamana with them?
Yes. Unless the puka whakamana has been issued orally (in which the person must have the puka whakamana number) a customary fisher must be able to produce a puka whakamana to a Fishery Officer on request.
Can non-Māori apply for a puka whakamana?
Yes. The regulations not only govern access to included species, they determine the right to manage included species fishing activity. The rights belong to Te Arawa, through the Trustees. A poutiriao can decide if it is appropriate to issue a puka whakamana to someone who is not Māori.
What are the main responsibilities of a poutiriao?
- Issue puka whakamana for customary food gathering
- Give directions to customary fishers on the use of their puka whakamana
- Keep accurate records of puka whakamana they issue, and the quantities of included species taken under each puka whakamana
RESPONSIBILITIES OF CUSTOMARY HARVESTERS
Important information for users of puka whakamana
When poutiriao issue puka whakamana they should make sure the people receiving them are fully aware of their responsibilities and the legal requirements. The key points are:
- Anyone taking included species under a puka whakamana must have the puka whakamana with them when undertaking customary harvesting, or have the number of the puka whakamana on them if issued orally
- Puka whakamana must be shown to Fishery Officers or Honorary Fishery Officers on request
- Included species in the possession of a customary fisher must comply with the details on the puka whakamana, such as quantities, size limits etc
- Anyone taking included species under a puka whakamana must report the actual quantities taken to the poutiriao within 48 hours of fishing
OFFENCES AND PENALTIES
What constitutes an offence under the regulations?
It is an offence for any person to gather or possess included species for customary purposes unless:
- They have been authorised by a poutiriao for the area from which the included species is taken;
- They are in possession of a puka whakamana (or a puka whakamana number if issued orally) at the time of fishing; and
- They are taking included species to the instructions of the poutiriao as specified on the puka whakamana.
It is an offence:
- to issue a puka whakamana if you are not a poutiriao;
- if you fail to report accurately on the catch taken under a puka whakamana;
- if you refuse or fail to produce a valid puka whakamana or give details of a valid puka whakamana if requested to do so by a Fishery Officer;
- to alter a puka whakamana issued by a poutiriao, other than in accordance with the regulations;
- to take or possess an included species for any commercial purpose, including sale or other pecuniary gains or trade.
What are the penalties for offences?
The first time a person is convicted of an offence against the regulations is liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000. Any subsequent conviction will be liable to a fine not exceeding $20,000.
Anyone convicted of taking and possessing included species for any commercial purpose (as set out in regulation 29(g)) is liable to a fine not exceeding $20,000. Any subsequent conviction will be liable to a fine not exceeding $100,000.
Can Te Arawa carry out enforcement under the regulations?
No. The enforcement of the regulations remains the responsibility of the Crown and is carried out by the Fishery Officers employed by the Ministry of Fisheries. The Ministry is working closely with the Te Arawa Lakes Trust to ensure that they are involved in the process for employing both Fishery Officers and Honorary Fishery Officers, and that they have the opportunity to nominate people to fill those positions.
For further details of the Te Arawa Lakes (Fisheries) Regulations please contact either the Ministry of Fisheries or the Te Arawa Lakes Trust.